Beyond The System describes our civilization as being built around the institutions of government, economy and religion. My thesis is that this system has brought us as far as it can, and that we can all become better people without it. Among the response to this blog I got the understandable criticism: “It’s not very realistic.” We are deeply embedded in the system (and it in us), so naturally it is almost impossible to imagine society without it. Indeed, the machinations of the elite are partly meant to convince us that we need them and their institutions, and arguing the opposite is considered fringe ideology and not to be taken seriously.
If you feel the same way, I understand your trepidation. I have not always felt the way I do now. I used to think of the system (whether it be politics, the economy, religion, or whatever else) as a tool for us as people to bring structure to our lives, to improve the world and to correct the injustices that stem from human nature. If one system would get out of control, we could use the others to intervene and we would keep fine-tuning them all until they worked perfectly and – of course – in the end everybody would be happy. But that is not what we see happening in the world around us. The system may have been born of good intentions, but inasmuch as those intentions are still alive within it today, they represent the true Utopian ideal.
So what’s the plan? Why should we want to deconstruct the system, and what would happen next? Honestly, I don’t know what would happen next. For the moment, envisioning a world with no system is a purely philosophical exercise. The powers that be teach us to fear it – they illustrate a that future as one of chaos, egoism and uninhibited violence. But it is in their own interest that we feel that way. For those of us in the middle of the status quo, or at the bottom, it is tempting to believe that everything will and can only get better. But it is not so easy – it will take time, and it will take a great deal of growth. We should not expect the elites to surrender their power willingly, and to truly change means to make ourselves vulnerable. At the same time, it is not all too complicated to find a place to start: becoming more aware is key to furthering our collective social evolution.
Awareness means to profoundly realize the consequences of living within this system: we don’t know what we eat, we don’t know the people who govern us or what drives them, our morals are decided for us, schools are only teaching us what government thinks we should know and we have very little influence on the laws we are expected to abide by.
We consider ourselves free, but the countless restraints (both passive and active) on our personal freedom are an inescapable reality. How free is the market when a manufacturer is prohibited from selling cars to consumers? Is this just one small example or is it part of a pervasive web of unnecessary, contradictory and oppressive regulations managed by an army of bureaucrats and obsolete institutions? Obviously, there is no comparison to the people living under the yoke of actual dictatorships, but just because things could be worse does not mean they could not be better. Awareness is the difference between shrugging off – perhaps even laughing at – the articles referenced here, and wondering how we can make a difference.