Why are most people so deprived, distracted, detached and/or disillusioned? What is up with the adults? Just watching our parents stress over work and money makes us never want to grow up. Today, we took a closer look at what is wrong with the modern lifestyle that leaves people so deflated, harried, nonchalant and pessimistic to care about the looming mess.
Our group raised a lot of questions and attempted many different answers. Why are most people not happy? Because they are too busy, too tired, too stressed and/or too poor. Why is that so? Because there are too many demands on them, at work and at home. Why are there so many demands? Because our money-driven capitalist economy keeps pushing for more: people wanting more money, working more hours, making more stuff, selling more to generate more money, and buying more stuff. What is the meaning of these? Natural resources are depleted; the environment is degraded; the poor are exploited; the wealth gap is widening; the governments are ineffective because they are controlled by plutocrats; and the general public is disengaged and disenchanted. Why do people keep doing it? Because they do not think they have a choice or there is any other way of living.
In nature, the wildlife only gets stressed over a matter of survival, in life or death situations, like when there is danger from predators and other natural threats or when there is not enough food or water. For humans, it has become less straightforward, to the point of being complicated and nuanced. We are supposed to work to live, not live to work. Over the course of human civilization, the opposite has happened. Nowadays, most jobs have no meaning or purpose in the bigger scheme of things and most workers are not valued and are considered expendable.
How many people do we know literally work to live unless you are a farmer growing food for human consumption or do something that sustains or takes care of human lives? Most workers do not do anything even remotely related to life and death, e.g. an iPhone factory worker, or a stockbroker. We are so removed and detached from the basic physical needs of living that we have completely lost our direction and connection with actual aspects of life and death. As a result, we have been channeling valuable human, material and financial resources to satisfy the moneyed class while undermining the basic rights to food, clean air, clean water and shelter to a certain number of the world’s poorest population.
Instead, most of us are redirected away from the farms that feed us. Complicated and intricate industrial and subsequent economic systems are developed to deliver life sustaining resources to us with the promise of a better and easier life. In exchange, we all become a part of the cogs and gears of this giant gizmo (we dubbed it the ‘Hamster Wheel of Capitalist Progress’) that ends up running the world but somehow also slowly ruining it. We are trapped because we are locked in a cycle of labor and monetary payback that keeps us living even though it does not necessarily contribute to our well-being and happiness. Most of us just go along blithely just like everybody else because we do not know any other way of living outside the system. Even as we carry on, the entire system is slowly crashing on its own because it is not designed to be sustainable. Now, as the reality of the resulting unintended climate change hits upon us, we are helpless. We are damned if we keep the same system, and damned if we don’t.
What can we do? There is no other way but to start a new radical system reboot which is sustainable, self-sufficient and resilient. Our priorities should put the basic rights to food, clean air, clean water and shelter back in the front and center of human civilization, and give people meaning, value and enjoyment while they make a living. We hope NATORZ may, can and will achieve that.
Let us imagine what if…