Speaking of the United States, there is something deeply wrong, and that knowledge is in the public consciousness at this point. People are sad, scared, exhausted, and desperate. To show those feelings, however, is to be vulnerable and to admit moments of weakness and uncertainty. To acknowledge them is to start the process of confronting them. It can seem easier not to do those things. But is it really easier? Is it not worse to live that way, sedating ourselves and avoiding change–the change that we are desperate for–and the real growth that is needed to overcome our problems?
Look at the strife in this country, and ask, “Who stands to gain from this?” It is not the average person. While we are at each other’s throats, this machine, this system, is functioning as it was designed to, and becoming all the more efficient at it. The rich buy a new vacation home while housing becomes unaffordable for many. They get purely cosmetic surgeries while the rest of us worry how to pay our healthcare bills. Power is robbed from those that need it more than ever, and given to the powerful. The more we rage against one another, the more we miss what is really happening here. We are the divided and the conquered, for as long as we allow it.
Corporations run this country. Corporations buy politicians, and those politicians sell us the ideas and implement the changes the corporations want them to. A politician that receives most of their funding from a large coal or oil company is likely to always strike down renewable energy, even if it is in the best interest of the majority, even if fossil fuels are killing our planet and polluting the air we breathe. Their principles and actions are auctioned out to the highest bidder.
Please, stop tearing other people down. That is wasted energy and only makes things worse. If we all keep each other down like crabs in a bucket, we can never rise up out of this. Is it any wonder people feel like they cannot trust each other anymore, when this is the way we treat each other? We are social creatures. Strength lies in unity, not division.
Join me in resisting this machine. Love, help, and be kind to others and to yourself. Foster new skills and become proficient in them. Learn how to cultivate equanimity in the middle of this turbulent storm. These are the seeds of revolution and change. Revolution and change start within. Do not pour from an empty cup and wonder why the world thirsts. Fill it, and then pour.
The process of mending societal problems and ills is a nuanced topic, and one that has no easy answer. Perhaps wishing for compassion after mentioning some of the grave injustices of society sounds idealistic, or even naive, but it is important all the same. Trying to change society for the better is a fool’s errand if we have not first changed ourselves for the better. Otherwise, we are more likely than not to be part of the problem. We are part of the society we seek to change.
Here are some books that have helped me. I hope they may be useful in that journey.
Mindfulness in Plain English by Henepola Gunaratana. Mindfulness and meditation have changed my life for the better, and not a minute engaging with them has been wasted.
The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival by John Glubb. John contextualizes the history of the United States and its gradual decline.
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden. It illustrates the state of online privacy and mass surveillance in the form of a memoir.
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. A warning in the form of dystopian fiction.