Have no illusions. We’re just numbers. Commodities. Expenses for employers or clients. Seldom an investment, and all investments expire eventually. All that matters is providing more requiring less. To survive we must be experts in bidding on an endless rat race. The highly technological and promising 21st century is all about leaving behind human rights, civil rights, unions, social welfare and the social state. Each one by himself is the motto.
See Donald Trump and other thugs. See the sites for job offers. See the freelance platforms. The jungle persists, in spite of the new foliage. No doubt the extraordinary global effort to manufacture a vaccine against Covid-19 might give us some hope about communal behavior, but once the danger gets more under control the law of the jungle will be back on. And the vaccine will be part of the game. Exploitation is far away from being expelled as the engine for the so-called civilization.
Dictatorship, either governmental or corporative, from Left or Right wings, is all about dehumanizing individuals. The recurring excuse for the procedure is called “the common good” or “the grand picture”, phrases heavily distorted, an ordinary phenomenon to well meaning rhetoric and ideals. There is always someone ready to make bad use of good words. Such vocabulary becomes the fundamental tool to make us believe we are cherished and taken care of. Try reading the texts of job offers. I insist. And the freelance platforms, where bidders adopt the same language to sell their services, making commodities of themselves.
Commodities we are. From exploitation we die.
This word is of extreme importance. Leaders must give it due value in this time of pandemic, of global disease and death. It is the solidity of civilization and the strength of its institutions that will determine how many of us will survive. The amazing capability of humankind to get organized and raising individuals to use their talent for the common good should be the at the heart of both business and politics, instead of the plain accumulation of money. Ambition goes far beyond profit and vanity. It includes vocational fulfillment, a sense of purpose and utility, the idea of having a role in society. Even without knowing or admit it, we all share the goal of becoming civilized or taking the benefits of civilization.
Even the most selfish of individuals, even psychopaths realize that one must be inside the game of being civilized, at least for a while, to avoid being ostracized. Civilization, through ages, developed several shapes, the known pinnacle of which being democracy. What frightens me, and is the reason for the writing of this post, is how fragile civilization is and how common is the mistake of taking it for granted. More, this pandemic is putting civilization to the test and, in spite of the death tolls, thousands of powerful individuals are not taking it seriously. I am afraid of colapse.
This is one of those times when a strong democratic and powerful regulator is needed, if such thing would ever be possible. The only way to imagine such a possibility is with the strict use of fundamental proven laws to the equality of human rights. Instead of giving money and making business with dictators, our democracies should endorse movements to the spreading of democratic secular states. Parliaments should have a scientific council for matters of physical and mental health, education, poverty and the proliferation of job offers. Wealth should be supervised with a non-exploiting and non-impoverishing criteria. In short, laws must be decent and their inspection efficient and effective.
These are my castles in the air. No matter how distinct are civilizations around the world, no matter their languages – all different as a punishment from God, if one is to believe in Babylon -, no matter the selfishness of several of us, I believe a day will come of solid institutions to preserve our rights, justice, and the guarantee of survival, no matter how deadly a pandemic.
Covid-19 is showing us how a great portion of individuals from the civilized world still has the mindset of the Middle Ages, wants to remain in that condition and intends to persuade others to follow their beliefs by every possible means. The motivations of such obscurantist can be sincere, manipulative or both, and their common trait is loyalty to a dictatorial system of faith that repudiates and forces the disavow of rationality and its institutions, namely science. Obscurantists of today have inquisitorial behaviors that go far beyond the red line of respect for human rights and nothing is being done by authorities and politicians to prevent them.
Simple gestures with tremendous power to save human lives – washing your hands, wearing a mask and keep social distance – are deliberately presented by obscurantists as restraints to their civil rights and freedoms, instead of exceptional laws for exceptional times that could be taken as lightly as traffic rules. The vast popularity of attachments to stupidity as the denial of Covid-19 is achieved through the terror of losing individual achievements, resources and liberties, the same recipe for the propagation of xenophobism, racism and general mobilization to war.
Recent and ancient History has shown us how neighbors once living in harmony can slaughter each other all of the sudden. Such is the power of obscurantism. It frightens its rise in both Europe and America, specially when extremists get seats on parliaments and governments. It is appalling how once again we citizens are letting this happen until it is too late. Horror comes when realizing obscurantism contaminating our friends, families and homes.
Take the man seriously! See what happens? History repeats itself. No matter the winner of the American election, there is a huge mass of fascists among us. Stupidity is extremely dangerous and time has come to stop laughing about it.
I am afraid. Human rights and decency are taken from granted by most intellectuals to the point of neglecting their teaching to the less fortunate. Politicians, as I mentioned in this article, are fond of herds and encourage fanaticism towards their party, like the one of sport fans. Their rhetoric is still demagogical, revealing a mindset in which voters are nothing but a mob. Unfortunately, as this election shows us, they still are.
Dividing to rule continues to be the credo of both intellectual snobbery and politics. Non-educated voters search for identity in their leaders, vulnerable to the feeling of being related to them as close as possible. Dictators and thugs are instinctively aware of this, embracing the theatrical part as people’s souls while climbing to the top. All they have to do is naming an enemy to blame for the mob’s disgrace.
The farming of fanatics must have an end. Genuine democracy leaders must invest in ethical education, defending the values of human rights and empathy. Intellectuals must become humble and conduct their energies to efficient communication of the pragmatics to basic human respect.
I was raised to hate commerce, business and money. All that had to do with wealth had the spectrum of dishonesty, selfishness and harm to others, either through exploitation or deceive. To my ethic self, decent activities were those which income came from wages. A person worked and was regularly paid without having to kiss ass. Salespersons were ass-kissers, greasing customers with coupons, sales, discounts, bullshit discourses about the quality of the products and the integrity of their makers. The same line of thought were applied to service providers, artists included, and their cult of personality or campaigns of self-promotion. All publicity should be banned to my eyes.
I was a jerk in wonderland.
Only when I became aware of the concept sovereign debt I came across reality and the nature of both trading and money. Sovereign debt meant that nations were part of the investment market. That denoted wages for public servants and funds for public infrastructures came from thousands of anonymous investors who could be either businessmen or drug cartels washing their money. Nobody knows for sure if one’s country runs on blood money from thugs. And astonishingly enough, from our stained hands we give them back the money with interests through our taxes. We also give money as consumers of the products thugs sell to us, most of them made in countries where workers have no human rights.
Two main lessons are taken from this. First, all wages come from trading. Second, all trading has blood in it.
As far as my actions, this means that becoming a salesman, either of my products or my services, is not a loss of nobility. On the contrary, it is a gain. I would be providing my own money instead of having a boss with the hard task of making the decisions for an ensured income. Such a task is now mine. As for the blood, I might have the possibility of making the right choices, while as wage earner I have no choice at all.
I have no idea whether my store and my drawings will open the possibility of having a business of my one. Nevertheless, I have learnt that publicity is both legitimate and essential. The challenge is to make it effective and decent.