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Root of everything?

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Well, this is a bit of a rant, so bear with me.

 

See, the long and short of what I believe to be one of the main roots (if not the root) of modern civilization's problems is greed. What do I mean by that? Quite the obvious, but allow me to clarify.

 

When you go to the store and buy a gallon of milk, everything's fine. Two weeks later, you go to the same store and buy the same gallon of milk only to find out that it's around a dollar more. While there is a minor drought in your area, the local farms haven't been too affected when it comes to cattle. However, because of the drought being persistent and the vendors being fearful of losing money, they implement a slightly higher price on the stock that they sell, and the stores then raise the prices to compensate. Because of this, the average population monetary loss for that milk could easily be a couple thousand dollars over the course of a few weeks (depending on the population size).

 

What about the gas station? You work there as a part-time employee for some extra cash. When you get the call to change the gas prices, you note how it's only $2.48. A week goes by and you look over at the TV in the corner after handing a customer their change. There's a report briefly covering some skirmish in Syria over oil drilling and rights that temporarily halted the operations of a local oil refinery. Two days after the fact, you get a call and are told to change the sign to $2.79. It doesn't sound like much, but that quickly adds up to a couple thousand more in revenue assuming that the trend continues.

 

While both of these are theoretical and are very loose in detail and viability, the point is this: the moment that anything comes up, anything that even begins to threaten monetary loss for any given corporation, they will clamp down and inflate prices for fear of losing out. Hey, it's better to screw over your customers and have a bit of extra money for when things collapse rather than having nothing, right? This is truth for virtually everything today because we place such value in money, but moreso because everything is now an industry.

 

"Oh, it's okay, a company has to make a living, right?"

"It's the industry, what did you expect?"

 

Companies obviously need money to survive; they wouldn't be much of a company without it. However, what most people defend is now a massive circle of schemers who care for nothing but money and will find every way possible to nickle-and-dime the hell out of you, and the gaming industry contains countless irrefutable examples if you look at almost anything mainstream within the past five years. Microtransactions are now in almost everything mainstream, with people blindly defending (almost with a passive-aggressive nature, mind you) these multi-million dollar corporations by trying to pole vault over the massive mountain of garbage and pick out a tiny gem from the heap. This has expanded to integrated third-party analytical systems meant solely to figure out how to force people to cough up money for that $65+ game that they just bought. It's no longer a gaming world, it's a gaming industry, and those of us that remember the days of old are among the world's dying remnants.

 

This is applicable to oil, this is applicable to science and general R&D, this is even applicable to minor systems like public transport. We form massive conglomerates to skirt around the various anti-trust laws and such, then we find methods of milking whatever we're involved in for everything that we can. It is because we succumb to our avarice that things are the way they are, and acknowledging our downfalls is the first step that we have to take before any true progress as a society or as a civilization can occur.

 

Anyways, it's now 5:00 am and my rant is over. I've left out plenty of what I had to say because of exhaustion, anyone have something to add?

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To put my views very succinctly, I'd actually argue that most of human history has been dominated by 3 key elements of human nature:

 

-Laziness (This does not mean that everyone is inherently lazy, but that the majority of everyone desires for the least amount of work for the most reward, if they have the ability to do so)

 

-Greed (While being a desire for too much, this is also tied into a human desire for safety. They desire more than they need in order to feel safer in their positions in life, and can turn into greed. But the desire for more for whatever reason is another driver of human actions)

 

and lastly,

 

-Fear (This is another great driver for a lot of human action. Fear of something or other is and has been a great motivation to change things in human society in numerous ways both good and bad.)

 

Letting any of them get out of hand causes problems, but I don't think its actually possible to entirely remove them from us and our ways of thinking.

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Those 3 are the primary focus of most religions, some of which are even called the root of all evil. Interesting isn't it?

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Yeah, I agree with you, Templar, but what I'm advocating is not some kind of removal of those traits. I want for people to acknowledge and then combat these urges in their day-to-day lives, to try and figure out when it's a good practice and when it's actually harmful. If you have a child and you warn them about walking across the street without looking, that's a rational fear because you don't want them to get hit by a car. However, if you then refuse to let them walk to school even when they enter middle school and get angry at them when they finally do it, that is a prime example of harming more than helping.

 

While it sounds preachy, nature is all about balance. If you can't balance the good with the bad then all you're generally left with is a chaotic sense of daily progression. If you're overprotective and actively shelter your kids, there is a very good chance that they will actually suffer more trauma rather than less when they're finally exposed to the world. If you always prefer to eat what's left after a big meal despite not feeling hungry, it just leaves you with an enlarged stomach and more cravings. If you prefer to have a couple beers with a friend or two and then remember that you have to go pick up your niece after soccer practice, there's a good chance that little Suzy might not make it home.

 

I don't want removal of our humanity through drugs or anything like that, but I definitely believe that our lack of self-awareness and willpower is obscenely low; because of this, we let out humanity take more of a dark turn and quickly corrode into unhealthy practices.

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Well, modern Christian scripture is more or less a modified version of the traditional teachings and sayings, so it's not surprising.

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It very much depends on who you are.

 

I would say our societies, throughout the developed world particularly, are not disposed towards encouraging such self-awareness or will-power. In fact the corporate cultures would encourage exactly those 3 main traits we discussed in some fashion.

 

Tyrannical or barbaric though they many may have been from our perspective, there is an argument to be made about how past societies and earlier humans or even simply less developed societies were arranged and ran and how they in turn effected the mindsets of the people within. As a species, our history can arguably be defined as becoming progressively less and less focused on needs, and more focused on our wants and desires. A human being who doesn't need to devote 90% of their time and energy just to ensure that you and those you care about are gonna have something to eat and a safe place to sleep and live in, isn't somebody who's got time to be philosophizing, for example.

 

Modern convenience and liberty of lifestyle go towards ensuring that these problems don't come up in the lives of most people, they never have to really deal with the effects of avarice. Its only in crisis situations where such things would get turned on their heads and people actually MAYBE clue in, or situations of scarcity, which eventually happens unless the interested parties actually find a new source that isn't as quickly exhaustible of whatever the scarce commodity is.

 

Even in recognizing such a thing though, may not change anything on its own. I assume you know of Thomas Hobbes and his Leviathan and Behemoth? Specifically in Leviathan, he even knew in his time exactly how people think and react in situations of scarcity, particularly when there is no overarching authority to enforce a state of affairs. In such a situation, life is "Nasty, brutish, and short." as the competition for resources doesn't end at any point. Its why he argued an overarching authority was necessary, why government is necessary, basically.

 

And today, while we have governments and bodies of authority in various manners and subjects, none of them seek to really enforce lifestyles as they did in the past. I don't think they should, I think people have the liberty to make their own mistakes in life and shouldn't need to be guided or forced down every path in their lives for their claimed betterment, for better or worse. When it harms others is when they aught to be punished for it, but you cannot really make a person not harm themselves, you can only try to.

 

But then that's where I think the problem becomes, there isn't really anything to enforce lifestyles in many different places beyond laws, and most laws of most countries are not THAT intrusive into people's lives beyond certain subjects that would be hard to argue otherwise in (within the context of the culture, of course). Organized Religion does not hold the power it once had, so it cannot fulfill this role anymore, Science while being more compelling can be constantly ignored by skeptics on all manner of subjects simply because it is not infallible, and Philosophy is nothing but compelling thoughts and arguments that are in between the two. We also know that globally, we have no centralized authority with any real effective power to completely enforce certain ways of life. Slavery still exists, for instance despite it being banned in the majority of nations, genocide has been overlooked even though by international law it is forbidden under any circumstance.

 

I also doubt that activists can do it.

 

So, where does that leave us? It means we're basically just hoping more people become more self-aware and develop more willpower on their own, or that something changes to help impress those things into peoples' way of thinking. Proper critical thinking and self-reflective education IMO is one of the best ways of doing this on the small scale and is a positive thing, but even that isn't foolproof. Situations of general scarcity could help, like if we had another Great Depression Era sort of scenario, that'd be very humbling for a lot of people, you'd still have some greedy fucks, but in that situation you'd at least have a lot of people who might know that its like to have a massive fall in fortune in a short time, but people would suffer.

 

But yeah, IDK what to think. Its a nice idea, and one that arguably should be promoted, but the cynic in me sees nothing changing on any major scale unless people are forced to change for whatever reason. Not in our societies, anyway.

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And that is my overall point. Nothing is perfect, nothing is infallible, nothing is certain and everything is questionable. People lack the ability to discuss, to debate, to think in critical and analytical terms, and it is because of this that we now even lack the ability to communicate when combined with general social media. You and I are people, beyond the trivial and petty concerns of society such as race and gender. However, because of our conditioning we have been deceived in a way. We believe that social media bring us closer, and it does, but it also drives us further apart and creates a communication deficiency by making face-to-face conversations and interactions somewhat rare outside of friends and family, and even that is becoming rare. We are becoming drones, empathetic to everything except for our most basic human desires. This is stimulated by our indulgence of arrogance, of greed and avarice, of lust and envy, and even of self-preservation.

 

While it is not something that someone should say lightly, I can confess that I would kill to defend others in a dark sort of irony. If a man walked into a bank or a school with a drawn weapon, I would have no hesitation to break his arm and execute him. Incredibly dark and obscene as it may be, my anger issues over the years has led to this point. While it pains me to see us fall so far and I truly have hope for society, I also have such incredible hatred for all of humanity. We are disgusting, horrible abominations of what we are meant to be, arguably degenerate to the point of being worthy of annihilation. I say this as a perfect example. I honestly feel all of this, but I at least try to override it and help others. I volunteer when I can, I try to be kind and open to others, I listen to others when they need someone to talk to. If I can overcome my rage, then why is it that others seemingly cannot? Are we really that lacking in self-awareness?

 

One of the main problems with our regulations is that we've left them open to corruption through ourselves. When the richest person will win an election over 90% of the time, there's a problem. When the laws that are supposed to protect and help us become mere mountains of red tape that hinder our progression and ability to live as we want, there's a problem. When the conglomerate that is meant to assist international coordination falls apart and becomes a political battleground with all but a rogue army behind its back, there's a problem. For society to be convinced of anything, we must discuss and teach when we can. We have become so conditioned by government and media in so many different things that we must perform conditioning of our own through persistent education and discussion. It will be hard and trying, but it is something that must be done. Every system that has been proposed has lacked one certain thing: a coexistence between the four. We have always required thought and societal mutations to advance and expand, we have always had those who delve into the unknown and try to make sense of things throughout existence. Faith is something that we have to have in some capacity or form; otherwise, everything is seen as pointless or inevitable in its destruction. You need faith not just in a religion, but in yourself and in other people. You will be let down, but that is when you pick them up and teach them. The moment that you intentionally drop a person is when you know that you have failed, and you can even feel this in the form of loss.

 

There is so much more to everything than what we want to acknowledge or admit. True scientists understand this, they understand that nothing is 'fact' and that everything is subject to revision or further study. True philosophers definitely understand that all of their thoughts and theories are subject to change and evolution. Those of faith understand that it requires more than just religion or what a book can teach you, that you can never abandon people without abandoning yourself. Everything aligns when you look at it, but we are so lacking in self-awareness and in generational memory that we cannot perceive this. Overall, I've learned one constant 'truth':

 

We have to save ourselves, and we have to do so through unity and understanding.

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It kinda depends on the company and field in question. Not every company is a corporation which makes millions in profit and some of them are barely holding on as it is so a small increase in manufacturing costs can put them in the red easiely. If anything corporations will be very glad of price increase as they can keep the old prices and just "weather the storm" until the small businesses collapse, making them the monopoly.

 

As for society criticism, I recall something along the lines that modern media wants to keep us intelligent enough to think we are smart but not enough to actually think about things. In essence espousing mediocrity as a virtue. We need to be lazy to buy thing for convenience but not too lazy to work. We need to be greedy and want everything to ourselves but not too greedy to think for the long term rather than immediate happiness. We need to be fearful of new ideas and stick to our current status quo but not too fearful to mistrust the corporations/politicians.

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