By: Skot Ward
I often wonder why the march of humanity's progress seems to slow from time to time, sometimes even stopping entirely and doing an about-face in the direction it came from. We are collective only to the degree that it serves us independently, and we tend to accentuate our rights over our responsibilities. There are a great many things which we adopt an unapologetic cognitive dissonance about, and among the greatest of these things I feel, is the absolute inequality between the wealthy and those who are stricken with generational abject poverty.
When I was younger, I truly believed, (albeit naively), that it was in the best interest of mankind to never allow any of his fellow men and women to falter upon the path of evolutionary progress. It seemed obvious to me that due to the fact that we, as a species of animal, having the luxury upon this planet of being the dominant one, coupled with the fact that we lived upon a finite space, with finite resources, understood that it was within our best interest to highlight the importance of our responsibility, and accountability of being a collective species; working together for the common good. Ibelieved that we would hold above all else the knowledge that we were inherently aware of our need to take care of the planet we lived upon, as well as taking care of one another in a genuine spirit of love, compassion, and altruism.
The the evolutionary dilemma however, is who decides what the common good is? And that being decided, who decides who's involved in the common good, and who is left out of it?
As societies grew, and the tribal systems which we had relied on for thousands of years slowly gave way to organized systems of development, our world became more and more unrecognizable to us, despite the fact that we were it's architects, causing all of us to be categorized into two very distinct groups of “followers” and “leaders.” As the systems became more and more structured, we began to give a lot more attention and reverence to the trait of being dominant, than we did to the trait of being intelligent. According to the laws of natural selection, the most highly favored trait is the one which becomes the most selected; competition to be the “best” became synonymous with progress. Consequently, the world seemed to split into two groups; those who were being served, and those who were serving. Although it is nearly impossible to pinpoint exactly where in our evolution this happened to our species, it is my opinion that this is one of the reasons which is highly responsible for the denigration and dissolution of the collective intelligence within our species; the concept of the haves, and the have nots.
When the poor, (the base of the wealth pyramid within our capitalist society), are silent, and go about their business of diligently and effectively creating profit for the wealthy, the wealthy have absolutely no problem with them. All of the wealth is generated at the bottom through hard, labor-intensive work, and is subsequently funneled to the top, just as it is supposed to be. But when that wealth does not “trickle down” from the top of that pyramid, and return to the people who created it, the working poor begin to lose the ability to sustain themselves and their families. Basic survival mode begins to kick in for the human animal. This wealth inequality eventually leads to a class system of people, which itself eventually leads to a collapse of the system; this is usually around the time when a revolution begins to ensue between the people who have and the people who don't.
There is an obvious cognitive dissonance about the people who have not, perpetuated by the people who have, which seems to elude the minds of the wealthy, and is consequently a problem which they are blissfully ignorant of, and completely oblivious to, and it is this: People will no longer serve you if you do not reward them for doing so, nor can they be expected to continue to do this. This by definition is slavery.
The rich hide their wealth in offshore tax Havens and shelters, all the time forgetting to give back to the society that created their positions of wealth and positions of authority, while at the same time, they continue to blame the poor for being poor, and not working hard enough, for being too “lazy” to keep generating wealth through taxes when they themselves are supposed to be the ones generating the capital the country thrives upon by producing jobs for everyone to have; or so their very own trickle down economics theory states.
The working poor in this country, who make up approximately two-thirds of the population, are being scapegoated by the remaining third of the population who are hiding their own wealth from them. Social and educational programs are cut drastically year after year, while defense spending skyrockets to hundreds of billions of dollars every single year, and we're supposed to be happy and grateful for the crumbling reality which is literally and figuratively falling down all around us.
If there is ever going to be a real and honest hope for equality within our society, it's going to have to start with the destruction of greed. As long as people aren't willing to distribute what is necessary between everyone; everyone will continue to not be necessary.
Here is how Skot describes himself: My name is Skot Ward, and I've had 41 trips around the sun to make sense of this little blue dot floating inside infinite space. I truly believe that if enough people care, we can all make sense of it together.
Here is how Brian McKay describes him: Dude, when I met this guy at my cousins wedding I knew instantly he was special. We are so privileged to have him writing.
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license