The Absurdity of Our Age

November 11, 2016

Today is Remembrance Day, and in the spirit of what the day represents we feel it is important to reflect on the state of the problems in our world and with the environment today. All the overpopulation, social inequities, lack of human dignity, and rape of our global environment did not happen overnight, and did not happen because of God or fate or other similar argument. All our current world problems happened because we humans collectively made choices and behaved in certain ways based on a belief system that values greed and self-enrichment at the cost of everyone and everything else. I talked about this value system in an earlier post.

We have tricked ourselves into believing that humans today are smarter and our needs more complex than those who lived millennia ago. This idea is really rooted in our grandiosity. Stupidity, greed, laziness, and apathy are no different in our age as in previous times in human history. In fact, it could be argued that these negative qualities are even worse now because we have so much more population who outwardly exhibit those attributes.

We are the creators of all our problems and if we start to take responsibility for our own behaviour and thinking, we have the potential to be the solution to those problems—although it is very doubtful that the extensive environmental damage that has happened in certain parts of the planet, like China, can ever be rectified. And the solution to our problems is not technology; it is a change in mental attitude which, when enough people do it, will lead to different behaviours.

Several years ago I came across a poem that is attributed to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, and it seems very apropos today.

“The Paradox of Our Age”
We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgment;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness;
We’ve been all the way to the Moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbour.
We built more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever,
but have less communication;
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods
but slow digestion;
Tall man but short character;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It’s a time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room.
Dalai Lama

I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
Major General Smedley Darlington Butler (1881-1940), from a speech in 1933

The equal right of all men to the use of land is as clear as their equal right to breathe the air—it is a right proclaimed by the fact of their existence. For we cannot suppose that some men have a right to be in this world, and others no right.
Henry George Progress and Poverty (bk. VII, ch. I)

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.
Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850), political economist, author The Law

When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.
Napoleon Bonaparte

I am afraid that the ordinary citizen will not like to be told that banks can and do create money …And they who control the credit of the nation direct the policy of Governments and hold in the hollow of their hands the destiny of the people.
Reginald McKenna, past Chairman of the Board, Midlands Bank of England

When the people of the world have a common monetary language, completely freed from every government, it will so facilitate and stabilize exchange that peace and prosperity will ensue even without world government. A union of peoples rather than a union of political governments is what this world needs.
E.C. Riegel, author The New Approach to Freedom 1949

Throughout the ages, the devices of cunning men have turned money to their nefarious purposes. Money, beginning with private enterprise as a means of escaping the limitation of barter, soon developed the cheat to exploit the honest trader who, in an effort to protect himself, turned to government for protection, only to find that now he had two thieves, the private money changer and the political plunderer working hand in glove against him. By this combination the money changer gained the prestige of political sanction through legislative license and the state secured a deceptive device for laying taxes upon the citizenry (by means of the hidden tax called inflation). It was and remains a vicious alliance.
E.C. Riegel, monetary theorist & consumer advocate

As long as we cling to the superstition that we must look to government for money supply, instead of requiring it to look to us, just so long must we remain the subjects of government, and it is vain to follow this or that policy or party or ism in the hope of salvation. We can control government and our own destiny only through our money power and until we exert that power it is useless for us to debate the pros and cons of political programs.
E.C. Riegel, monetary theorist, author The Surprise Weapon, Private Enterprise Money, 1944