The Human Failure
How our cultural DNA is killing us and 6 things to do.
Why do we believe that someone building or protecting a city is a hero and the one saving a forest or a tree is a misguided hippie? I wonder why most of us don’t feel sadness, madness or lack of life upon seeing pictures of miles of city. I know I do. The more blocks of concrete, the better we are doing?We do have the technology to make cities green, self sustainable in energy and food, yet aren’t implementing it. Would help life on the planet and also be an essential asset when the economy bumps. What is wrong with us people? Lets explore this with some starting questions.
When very few people hold enormous amounts of power, then their personal flaws, or external pressure, can influence everything. How is that a healthy idea?
When very rich companies can cross boundaries at will, buy politicians in many countries while polluting the earth, how is that a healthy economy?
When millions of the poor desire the same products Western consumers have, then what does that mean to global resources? What alternatives are possible?
If millions want a more ecological healthy future, then why don’t the corporations deliver, or only seem to act under pressure while investing millions to keep getting away with it?
NOTE: This is the Alpha edit. Editing with Grammarly is sorely needed I hear. For now just read the bold bits, and it should make sense too. This is a very similar article that meanwhile has been published and overlaps this one in interesting ways, sadly totally supporting the message: https://aeon.co/ideas/the-bad-news-on-human-nature-in-10-findings-from-psychology
The importance of the bigger picture
Most people look at problems from way to close up. They open any newspaper and they scoff at the left or right, their president or a new regulation hitting their home. They comment on stars breaking up and violent attacks by individuals, while not noticing there’s no daily reports on any progress, or lack of it, towards a clean planet. They miss the bigger picture and therefore solutions that lie within the root of the problems. Here is an attempt to make that visible in a short clear history.
Our current power structure has become criminal, even when the law says otherwise. Our souls feel destruction of natural habitats is criminal. Instigating conflicts to install beneficent regimes is a crime. Depriving people of access to healthy water, food, homes for profit is a crime. Buying politicians and deciding for all that you are entitled to major incomes depriving others of theirs is a crime. It is and should not be our normal. Our society is at stake, our world is at stake. How did this get to be our normal? How to heal that? That is the question of our times.
We think in social ranking and accept it as a natural order. Problem is, our acceptance of the status quo is killing us and life on this planet in a very slow but certain way. The pyramids of power have become industries that slowly reduce our planet to a wasteland. All efforts and dialogue within that given will not make enough of a difference. The real issue is our culture is about our focus on growing power at the cost of. Our jobs and life styles are centered around maintaining this status quo and consuming in a damaging way. How does it work and what can we do to stop it?
And yes, I know, there are millions also within the pyramids who are worried, try to do the good thing, or at the least convinced themselves they do. Yet the entitlement, the fear of losing large sums, and easy way money buys more power all make a real turn sadly very unlikely. All indicators point towards the rich getting richer and more powerful and the poor becoming poorer, worse the world getting dirties and eco-systems in increasing danger. How crazy can you be?
We are still wired to operate in small family groups
It’s a long story and a short one at the same time. For 100 thousands of years human kind travelled the plains, forests and steppes. It lived in groups and our biology slowly adapted to that life style. Then, as our brains slowly developed, we invented language. Now we could discuss strategies for survival around the campfire. Slowly over time we developed smarter hunting strategies, collaboration strategies, crafts and diverse culture each finding solutions to their dominant environment. Our social traits, developed to function in small groups, slowly became roles in separate positions, away from the healthy balance with others. This is haunting us still to this day.
As noted by scientists, certain traits among people are quite regular in appearance. The number of psychopaths, homosexuals, soloists, social animals, inventors, caretakers among groups is quite stable. They do have a function, if not now, then just in case of.. You need social animals to bring calm in a group. You need soloists to scout, or guard. You need evening people mixed with morning people to have guards all day. Etc. What once was functional however may not be anymore. Once in tribes all members mattered, and brought in their specialties. Now we have tribes were certain specialties are thrown out, or don’t count as much anymore. In fact devaluing women is a huge part of the problem. We value mediating women way less than scoring men who bring in millions. And that is a huge problem, not in the least because these men keep most of that money.
The rise of the power pyramids
Thus in our prehistory strong men, and a few women, with lust for power found you could combine groups and have bigger groups. At first through alliances, but over time through forming larger tribes. To keep people in line the leaders of the bigger tribes at first may won their position through force. The Alpha males of the most expansive driven tribes discovered various ways to claim entitlement to their position. And their followers learned to follow through fear, persuasion, briberies, higher positions and for convenience sake; not having to fight the order of things everyday brings inner calm. Thus we have many people who accept leadership from others as a natural state.
To claim entitlement to their position and privileges (mostly male) leaders created many ways to support that claim. First they would dress up more majestic. Note that higher classes often wore more inconvenient clothing to show they didn’t have to get dirty, or active, so they could prance. They, the leaders and the people around them who profited as close followers, would instate cultural rituals where leaders might be honored. This could be things like simple bowing and naming titles, to celebrations for everyone each time a new leader was chosen. Most important perhaps were the stories shared that strengthened the status quo, like divine approval and heroic tales. The entitlement culture around leadership must also be regarded as an essential invention of our species. It once led to order, now it’s part of our self-destruction.
How (most) stories support the leaders that be.
These hierarchy confirming stories have become part of our understanding of daily life. Every day we utter sentences based upon this supporting the entitlement of the powerful. “Study harder, or you’ll never get a good job!” “Don’t insult those people, do you know what they can do?” “What’s a girl like you going to do about it?” “Look, you need to earn honest money don’t you?” Honest means in this case legal and ways not bringing you in conflict with the law, but including legal fracking in nature reserves and helping banks with foreclosures. “Be realistic man, you can’t make a difference any way.” “Hey, don’t you want to get rich like them?” Etc.
These stories are still very much alive. To succeed you must keep climbing towards higer positions (check all success books). To be accepted by them, read get a good job, you must help strengthen the status quo. Or better, read a book to become (like the) very rich! If not happy (with the status quo) find happiness through, becoming an even more successful follower. If that doesn’t work for you, through (spiritual) acceptance of your situation, through letting go of climbing up or through finding meaning in helping others who also were damaged by the pyramid. Very (too) few (self) development books suggest to really change and challenge the status quo of the powerful. Try finding a book helping you making a difference by changing the system as a whole.
It’s perhaps interesting to note, that even how language is pronounced ties into this. Watch any epic Chinese movie, and you hear people speak in heroic slogans that must be adhered to. Higher rules aren’t to be questioned the language itself seems to say. American movies are all about danger from the outside (and sometimes inside) that must be fought. They are full of tough language of strong men protecting normal weaker people. And English movies love to exaggerate class differences through language and pronunciation, thus, even when a movie questions class differences, class is imposed upon the viewer. Add to that the idiotic sense that the upper class sounds civilized and lower classes rough and stupid. Yet, those same upper classes that incite wars, colonized the world and hide money on the Cayman Islands to prevent paying taxes.
Is the status quo ‘normal’ or an imposed norm?
In our modern world we are still run by these pyramids of power. We’ve noted the fundamental principle is; the higher you get, the better for you. All the logic in the world is framed around the preference to social climbing. If you drop out, you’re either a loser, artist, or someone who found other values, like family, more important than rising in the rat race. And that once again is a huge problem. We should wonder what values ‘losers’ find aren’t addressed higher up in the pyramid, that make them step out? The pyramid isn’t inclusive while we must realize all life is. Thus the ‘order’ is a false order.
With the rise of the first empires the alpha males, or psychopaths, before a minority in the little family bands on the plains, could now collaborate to keep their positions. They became cleverer and cleverer at playing the power game. Once thought up tricks became normal over centuries. Take how armies will have used centuries of refinement to make it ‘heroism’ to be willing to run towards enemies shooting at you. This is one more ‘normal’ that maintains the status quo, or order as we all seem to believe. A huge majority of us rather protects the idea of our country, our company, our tribe than question the crimes our own leaders commit.
Everywhere are the signs, that those in power love to stay in power. They may play fair, they do play dirty. At best through propaganda, media manipulation, buying politics, bending laws in their favor and spreading money around in safe places. Things get worse in countries where critical voices get attacked, people disappear, others get blamed for effects of their powerplays. All in all, we too help things stay this way. Too many of us believe in the father figure of authority who knows best (check those that believe Trump against all reason). We accept the status quo as it is, to afraid to disrupt the peace or come head to head with bigger powers.
How this ‘normal’ is the biggest threat to our world
The anxiousness of our ‘owners’ to stay in power/keep their wealth is now turning against us all (in fact always did so, except then mostly the victims were the ‘enemy’ or barbarians/heathens of a different believe/color and all ‘own’ people sacrificed for this). Recently a group of billionaires requested a consultant if escape into space would be feasible. Can we terraform Mars? The main issue was protecting their own safety when things would go sour with the planet or their power. The idiocy and danger within this request should be obvious. For one, we’ve never even succeeded in building a bio-dome that worked, given all the balances nature really needs to work. Thus building a base on Mars is far from feasible, let alone giving up the joy of walking in a real forest. Secondly, the request is devoid of care and safety for everyone else. The real question to the billionaires should be: how can you help save the planet, with all your money and power? For exactly that could turn them into our biggest heroes and thus safe them for our ire and pitchforks.
For now the well oiled machine of growing wealth and power through growing industries is highly destructive for us as a whole. The owners of this machine don’t want to lose their investments. To keep the greed machine healthy they install psychopaths in boardrooms, people willing to destroy habitats, nations, eco-systems to keep profits up. To them it’s all logical tactics. They are surrounded by millions of cronies thinking they have good jobs, justice systems that protect the order, not our planet. Why else pressure Trump to allow fracking in nature reserves?
We should all wonder: Is my work helping ‘the machine’ to grow and devour more nature, or am I helping sanity and return to health?
I also wonder if the lack of meaning of many jobs is because they are fake? The reasonable paying jobs that make no sense just add an layer of people, who will side with the status quo, to protect their peace, and offers hope to all those who aspire to be part of the ‘machine’ as it offers money, status and peace…except it doesn’t any more. It’s destroying the eco-systems on this planet.
There are of course impact investors who do seek change, but rather without losing their money. And there are those who donate to charity or help protect some nature. We may wonder though when it’s meant, and when it’s marketing. Sadly also charity never changes the causes, it only alleviates some of the destruction or helps some of the victims. So if we can’t expect any reason, any empathy, any real solution, only distractions, smearing critics, more pollution as long as they can get away with it, then what to do? As long as most people play along, aren’t interested, love keeping their flights, meat, cars, polluting ‘clean air’ sprays to bring ‘natural’ air to smelly homes change won’t happen. How to wake everyone up? And what to do?
Why being hesitant about ‘solutions’ makes sense too
Here’s another issue. We are afraid of change, as also solutions may have disastrous effects. Communism wasn’t the answer to worker suppression, as it mostly created just a new as terrible elite. We may conclude, however, that the fear of unions in the USA has created terrible working conditions for the lowest classes. Same with the French revolution, the murderous new elite committed mainly revenge, didn’t heal anything. The rise of Qanon in the USA is hopefully a fluke. New systems leaders who say: “Follow my lead, my model, my solution, then all will be fine.”, reason with the same power logic as the current establisment. I understand the sentiment. You want all the power to do it better, and people must obey until you get it right. Right? Oops.
As our eco-system has shaped itself over millions of years and our social structures over thousands, we cannot fully know, what effects a big overhaul (though really needed) will have on us all. Continuing as we do now however is even more stupid. Our individual brains can never be smart enough to include all reactions. As with other new systems, wolves, the elite will seek ways to turn it to their advantage, and thus corrupt it from the get go. Many green companies have just become more capitalistic driven ownerships, or sold out to multinationals. And many bottom-up solutions run into rules and regulations, because they endanger.. private investments.
Just as a note, we used to say the owner/investor takes the risk and the employee gets a safe income. This has become bullshit. Small time entrepreneurs take the risk, big business buys what works. Money makes money. It rather has become risky to be an employee at the bottom, and the low pay doesn’t make up for that. It increases the risk. They are in danger of getting fired, have less and less rights, with less and less pay and must take more jobs (bad for health) to make up for it. This unfairness in itself should be reason enough to start changing things. If only you dared and knew how.
Thousands of years our elites have sought to stay in power and developed over time a culture that made that the normal. Infinite growth and unquestionable obedience are part of humans cultural DNA. It’s now the core of the problems we face. In recent years the Elite even stepped up their game. Ownership rules have made that 3 people can own as much as the bottom half of all Americans. Our eco-systems and climate is on point of collapse, yet the current elites show no real incentive to hurry up major shifts towards regenerative design, let alone protect the last healthy bits over nature as hard as they can. And we’ve almost always supported their power and accepted their position as normal. Except this ‘normal’ has in the last centuries turned into a highly destructive invention. If we can’t trust a violent revolution will make a healthy difference, nor can we trust our governments to help us, then what can we do? Let’s work from the story above:
1. Support help anything, anyone that gives hope.
If you wait, your neighbors wait. If you act, change, pressure your bosses, ask them questions towards being more healthy, let alone sustainable, you help. Read these columns to get started. When you talk to very rich people, ask them how they are helping us all. With great power comes great responsibility. Ask them and yourself if we listen enough to the dreams of children, who will inherit the planet from us.
Inform yourself. While I warned about ‘solutions’ do read about them. Read about innovations that are there. Why do we allow fracking when wind, and solar energy are so much more safe and healthy? All the technical knowledge for it is available, therefore fracking feels to me as a crime against the planet. Thus politicians allowing it are criminals. Seek to buy much less junk, choose organic and green whenever possible.
If anything, become a mystic or sacred activist. Develop the inner strength and vision to make a difference. Use your spirituality to help others, and shift the system as a whole towards a planet healthy for all beings. The more power and money you have, the more essential this is. Note that Elon Musk at his best is regarded a hero, and the Koch brothers esteem is fully bought. Listen to a woman as dr. Vandana Shiva to hear a real sacred activist.
2. Unions must update to a new century
Come on Unions, fossils of the 20th century! Update, upgrade! You’ve protected jobs and addressed safety issues at work. But when the whole system falls, all that work is meaningless. Two things to start fighting for from now on. Jobs must be organized towards more meaning. People with jobs must understand what bigger operation they are part of. Anyone with a job must be able to stop unethical behavior, must be able to freely and safely express ideas and innovations towards a more healthy and ecological sound business practice. Anyone within multinationals must, with job security, be free to turn his organization towards a construct that is healthy for the planet as a whole, let alone the local environment.
3. Every multinational must install a wisdom board
We need wisdom councils in every multi-million corporation. These councils consists of elderly wise people, some independent scientists, some sharp highly ethical kids, people from diverse ethnical backgrounds, all worried about or collective future. They get to veto on all major investments. They get a good salary for their job paid by the UN. They are only in function for one year. Any pressure on them from the side of the company to allow certain choices is a crime. On top of that I highly suggest anyone in business or politics tested as socio or psychopath will be exempt from leadership roles. When companies claim to be of service of market demand, then when over 70% in the USA wants universal healthcare, they they should help deliver that. When humanity wants clean air, water, healthy primal forests, then they should not stand in the way. They should lead the way.
4. Laws of countries must be more aligned with what has soul and meaning for the whole.
The USA can’t be great, when it steals from the planet, suppresses minorities and starts trade wars. Power doesn’t make you great. Greatness starts with being supportive of the needs of the whole, helping the planet as a whole to shine. Laws must protect nature, social rights as much as the economy, read the rich. When companies claim to be smart and innovative let them switch to bio-degradable plastic within 2 years. The USA could switch after Pearl Harbor to a war economy in 3 months. Wisdom councils, like indigenous leaders, can help (you) to frame laws and principles that have soul and compassion for the whole. Listening to wise voices is not weakness, it’s true greatness when you know when to be humble.
Also money must be taken out of politics. All donations are like bribes. Thus real democracy means all individual civilians can’t give more than 50 bucks a person. And if companies count legally as individuals, then their max contribution is the same: 50 bucks. Any shady loops must be accounted for as criminal manipulation. Cities and locations however may donate space for rallies, and that’s it. Media that ignores popular candidates will be fined and lose their journalistic licenses, because apparently they are propaganda channels. Thus protest all money in politics. Corporate lobby time should be restricted, meeting real people in real world situations enlarged. If you daren’t face them, your not serving the people, are you?
Note: If you ask people who was one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century the name of Nelson Mandela shines above the rest. Then why don’t our political leaders aspire more to have similar dignity, wisdom, empathy for all?
5. Companies and politicians become accountable for all destruction to the planet and or loss of lives they create in their wake
Planet Earth is not a infinite resource, nor is nature a commodity. There should be consequences to that. You cannot cut a tree, without replanting 3 new ones. You cannot profit from a war and refuse to let the refugees live on your properties. You cannot be tested psychopath and become a CEO. If you work for justice departments, you cannot be forbidden, let alone threatened to not investigate large companies or people in power. Any individual cop, or journalist, must be allowed to retrace a big pollution, cutting down of a forest, murder of a social activist back to the corporations who are behind it, or allowing it to happen. Presidents of both corporations and governments are forbidden to lie. They are forbidden to pressure news media into protecting their interests.
Actually it makes sense that, the higher your position, the higher you get punished when you consciously commit a crime. It’s weird that one stabbing by a drunk leads to longer imprisonment, than for politicians who took bribes allowing thousands of deaths through the opioid pharmacies. And they too should be held accountable. If your banking tricks make people lose their houses and commit suicide, then the bank must make up for it, fully.
Notes to the super rich:
Ask yourself: What would you be willing to die for? I bet it isn’t being murdered in a golden palace clinging to a bag of gold, or due to cancers because of dirty air your breathed thanks to your own or best buddies company. I bet investing in a legacy, leaving your great grand children a flourishing planet, would be the much better deal. What a way to go, working for the best possible outcome for everyone. If being a business or entrepreneur really means taking risks, then you don’t take risks when you change laws to play it safe. You must learn to deal with laws that may make outdated or unethical practices obsolete. Accept that. Take your losses. For the whole of our planet, help create the Green Overhaul. There are millions in that to earn, and you’d be a hero for generations to come. I do believe you want these generations to be there don’t you?
6. The media must daily update
Indeed, like the weather we must daily hear how things are going. Tell the world about any progress (=hopeful) or lack of it (=painful). Or show daily what solutions elsewhere are working so your country, city, household can copy them. Tell about plastic free supermarkets, the Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg, Eco-villages, replanting projects and methods. Every day a little bit might make positive change the desired new normal.
About me, as much as it matters:
Perhaps interesting to note is that I was personally was born in the rising middle class. The generations before my parents however consisted of bankers, lower (agrarian) nobility, artists, military, small shopkeepers, teachers. Thus my family is made up of social climbers and social descenders meeting in the middle. This has me given the gift of talking to all sides and hearing their stories. I’ve worked with refugees and (international) millionaires, with bankers, engineers and muskusrat catchers.
It is because of my ancestors from the richer side that I understand the importance of heritage and investment in the family as a whole. New scientific insights confirmed my personal sense that all life is woven together and caring for the whole is caring for the Self. It is because of my shyness in youth and the poorer side of the family that I understand what it may mean to be discarded for lack of meaning. I know how that hurts. I chose it to be my profession to bring aliveness and meaning in corporations, conferences and groups. But creativity and play are not enough when purpose is lacking. And purpose was born when I chose to help work for a future that would see our planet flourish for all live on it, as the best possible world. Nature took millions of years to become balanced to support us. Let us heal nature as the best investment for all of us.