Are we a humane Society?

There is so much strife in the world today. Sixty-five million people are refugees and looking for a better place where they could bring up their children in safety. The refugees often assume the nations of the European Union are shining examples of a “humane” society.

I wonder where they got that idea from? We, in the West, believe that the Western nations have indeed achieved a high level of human existence. We convinced ourselves, that since the end of the 18th Century, and the birth of the Enlightenment, we had turned the corner to a better world populated by enlightened people. We thought we had become more humane.

The educational reforms following the Enlightenment produced a better-educated populace. Research and inventions pushed us progressively towards a capitalist society in which the majority of people were indeed better off in the material sense. But the seeming progress also brought extreme poverty in its wake. Henry George wrote about the reasons behind this development in his Progress and Poverty.

The rise of capitalism brought us two terrible world wars and we still live in the aftermath of those wars. That there is something wrong with Capitalism was recognised by a group of people who were members of the so-called “Frankfurt School“. Capitalism is not interested in a humane society. Its interests lay in making a profit in the shortest of time possible. Never mind the victims of this system. Exploitation does not lend itself to “humane” behaviour. The two world wars and the ideologies espoused by some societies surely put an end to the notion of a humane society.

Seventy-one years after the end of World War II we can see the inhumane behaviour of our fellow men in action all over the world. In the Middle East, every group attacks any other group with a ferocity that reminds us of the Middle Ages.

Nevertheless, people all over the world are still dreaming of a better, peaceful  world in which they  can expect humane behaviour. But we are still waiting for such a humane society.

Can we ever hope to achieve a humane society, where love and kindness rules?

The reality of the present is always against such a hope. The reality of the present demands struggle. And as we struggle we alienate others and therefore create the conditions for future struggles.

We struggle because of our pessimistic view of our future. This view is the result of our fears. Our imagination regarding the future has two sides: a positive one, hope and a negative one, fear. Fear is a more instinctive emotion. Hope is an act of faith and not so easily achieved.

The people with a negative view of the future will build barriers, physical or psychological. For some people, it pays to nourish and spread fear and keep the masses bound to the grindstone of debt and consumption.

A humane society would be a simpler one than the one we have now, that is for sure. Perhaps we would have to throw out the smartphones first. We are addicted to the modern world of gadgets and apps. We are hooked on technology and are not a humane society. While we look at the flickering screen of our smartphone we don’t even notice the person next to us.  A recent power blackout in South Australia, due to a massive storm, started a political discussion along party lines because someone has to be blamed.

We lock up people in detention centres when they flee to our shores because life in their own societies became intolerable,  partly  because of our actions and interferences.

All this shows that our “humane” behaviour is just a thin veneer covering our inhumane capacity for greed and domination of others.

No, we are not a humane society. Not yet by any means.

Life, today, makes no Sense

IMG_0718Nothing makes sense to me anymore. We have arrived at the Orwellian future, where one thing is said and the opposite is meant. We live in a country where the Prime Minister scares the wit out of us and proclaims he will protect us from the nasty terrorists. Fourteen women, so far this year, have been murdered by their deranged husbands or partners. None has been murdered by deranged terrorists, still the PM wants more control over our lives. He said we have to forgo a few of our freedoms to be safe. He wants to save all our mega-data for two years so he can one day go on a fishing expedition to find an enemy of the regime. All this is the way of a fascist.

I think our value based society, established as an outcome of the enlightenment, is in its terminal stage. The Enlightenment started about the same time as the industrial revolution. For a time, it looked as if we were getting a better society, but the capitalists won. They have more power than our democratically elected representatives. What then is democracy good for?

Our ministers sell their time to the captains of industry instead of working for us, as they promised under oath. A nice little earner on the side helps with the bills. In the meantime, they are planning to reduce the old age pension after 2017. to such a level, that the pensioners will not take part in the increases in the standard of living.

The freedoms we used to enjoy are but a distant memory. George W Bush used to say, “Our way if life is not negotiable!” But that was a lie or wasn’t it? Our freedom, our way of life, is eroded on a daily basis without any negotiation on our part. In Australia, we don’t even have a Bill of Rights. So, the new way of life is being forced upon us by governments who tell us they are democratic and liberal. It does not matter what the governing parties are being called. They seem to me doing the biddings for a secret establishment consisting of multi-national companies, secret services and media conglomerates. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the so-called victory of the Capitalist system “The end of History” was proclaimed. That was the naive outpouring of an intellectually challenged person celebrating this victory too much.

Guess what? History has not ended and we see on YouTube people are being beheaded, by people with black beards who make their own history. Our governments are not the least better, bombing other people and countries who do not believe in our way of life. The permanent war of “1984” is here.

The principle is if you don’t want to be my brother, I hit you on the head. Our own governments are running local and international protection rackets for the benefits of the Military and Industrial Complex! We cry “wolf” and supply the weapons to slay the wolf.

It is for our security, we are being told, that our air forces attack others. Aren’t those drone attacks beheadings by more technological means? And we wonder why they hate us. And when people run away from their hell on earth, we lock them up on islands in the middle of the ocean and pretend they are the terrorists. People say the refugees only come because they want to have a better life. Who doesn’t want to have a better life?

The statement, “We never had it so good,” by John Howard, probably was correct at the time. It seems that was a long time ago. We are now looking into an abyss and this view is supported by the government to get control over our lives.

Good luck and good night!

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Fundamentalism

 

Fundamentalism is alive and kicking. How do I know? Well, read or listen to the news.

Fundamentalism is the main motivation for many people and is a sub-function of their “Fear”. It must be a fundamental motivation of our self-centredness we call “I”. “I’m right,” nothing else matters. And if “I” is not right I have to work towards it and bring it about. That is what fundamentalism is all about. That is the position some people want  to achieve and when they  have achieved it, they must defend the position to all comers.. New rules will be established and with those new rules new rulers will assert their power over people. This is what happens with revolutions. They get rid off an old fundamentalism and over time create their own.

 “Fear” tells us, that our  position is the fundamental bastion we have to defend at all costs. This is our “Fundamentalism”, our line in the sand, so to speak. The more fundamentalism is about, the more the others, the non-fundamentalist people, become marginalised and they in turn become non-fundamentalist fundamentalists.

According to the all knowing Wikipedia “Fundamentalism is the demand for a strict adherence to orthodox theological doctrines, usually understood as a reaction to Modernist theology”.

I think it is more fundamental than this. Because it  is also an unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs’ who do not need to be religious at all. I think fundamentalism is tribal. It is, we are right and you are wrong. What we are saying to others is, if you do not want to be my brother, than you are my enemy and I hit you as hard on the head, or worse, as I can. Those sentiments are older than religions, they came with us, and our DNA, out of the jungle.

Gun ownership in the US is a form of fundamentalism. They swear they need their guns to survive.

http://stuartjeannebramhall.com/2014/06/23/gun-ownership-and-the-nonviolent-civil-rights-movement/

It seems to me that religions developed because some wise people, usually men, were sick and tired that people in ‘dog eat dog societies’ were knocking each other off. Over the generations those same religions became fundamentalist themselves because they became tribal too.

The great teachers, Moses, Siddhārtha Gautama, Jesus or Mohammed were all peace loving people who wanted to free people from their fundamentalist fears.

To penalise someone because of a breach of a so-called religious law is actually showing mistrust in your God. It seems to me, it is assumed, that the culprit is getting away with it and God might not send the perpetrator to hell.

Capitalism is fundamentalist too, as was Communism. Communism is gone for almost twenty five years. Younger people might ask what it was. It is hard to imagine that it put fears into the rich for over seventy years, ever since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 in Russia.

Maximising profit” is a fundamental rule of Capitalism. Ayn Rand was a typical prophet of this form of fundamentalism. Her promoting of individual rights went so far that she even rejected altruism. Yet scientists tell us today, that altruism is part of our DNA and has survival value. 

From Bolivia reaches us the news that people should have the right to send their children to work and to contribute to the economic well being of the family. It is argued that families should be able to decide freely whether to send their children to school or to work. For this very reason Nineteenth Century England sent the children of the under classes into the coal mines.

http://www.dw.de/finding-balance-in-the-child-labor-debate/a-17728255

We know of course where that argument leads to; reduced wages and conditions. Bolivia is the testing ground now and if it works there, it will be introduced in other countries too.

In Australia we are heading for “capitalist fundamentalism”. Less money for education and sciences will be spent. Dumbing down the population and freeing up the labour market are all part of economic orthodoxy – fundamentalism !

Fundamentalism is part of the human make-up. Enlightenment and respect for others can be an antidote, not more. We have to work hard at avoiding that fundamentalism will rule our lives.