AIG: altogether in greed

The AIG bonus boys and their apparent greed are just the most visible aspect of our economic problem. The rest of us are the variously less visible aspects. We are all being directed by an inherited, primitive, economic religion. It is not universally accepted or commonly supported but more of us support it more than less so the resultant activity dominates our existence; and its dominance is increasing. The more money we have and the stuff it buys the more meaningful our lives will be, is the motivating myth of our religion.

The void can not be filled with money and the stuff it buys so our religious activity is a constant struggle to make more; and we pass it on. From an early age we are taught to hunt and gather better deals; and if we don’t “get ahead” we will get behind and be trampled. We are trained to get as much money as we can any way we can for self-worth is equated to net worth and wealthiness is considered next to godliness. We learn the golden rule is to do unto others before they do unto you. We discover the evolutionary principle is the survival of the financially fittest. Our religion puts greed before need.

In our ability and desire to compete for more we are not created equal. Consequently, our ‘house of worship’ is cone shaped. Bill Gates by virtue of his $40 billion net worth stands alone at the top. Beneath him are increasing numbers of less and less wealthy individuals. At the bottom are about 1 billion individuals countless thousands of whom each day become too weak to stand, and fail to live on less than $1 a day. We can’t live outside the cone; and we compete separately at the level determined by our ability and desire. Cash is valued more than compassion.

We are told the Economy is god, the provider of the jobs and money that maintain our ‘house’; but that it is not a self-sustaining creator. It requires a constant supply of cash to keep it healthy. Indeed, Economy’s ‘doctors’ have determined two thirds of its lifeblood comes from consumer spending so in essence whether hewers of derivatives or drawers of UI our ultimate purpose is to spend. We are taught failure to maintain the health of Economy is a sin for which we will receive “wages” from hell. We accept the teachings without question.

It seems we have recently begun working in hell. Economy is in the global ICU. Doctors have diagnosed a critical case of monetary anemia caused by toxic assets. Its condition is so critical priests of business have begun sacrificing increasing numbers of fellow humans further removed from the routinely sacrificed bottom dwellers. To compensate for the loss of normal cash flow Doctors have prescribed massive IV infusions. Now we wait on Economy, look for someone to blame and waste time planning to prevent future infections with more regulation.

Blaming and wanting to crucify the bonus boys at AIG for their part in infecting Economy is typically myopic. The IRS spends most of its budget catching “cheaters”. For years Mom and Pop’s have been sacrificed for better deals at Wall-mart. Kids play basketball with hoops having no nets; the president installs a basketball court in his house. US Legislators receive a million dollar benefit package; tax payers pay for one or do without. A bonus “by any other name is still a” bonus. Now, who will drive the first nail, the Pope? I think not. Though unequally, as Pastor Obama didn’t want to imply, “We are all in this (greed) together.”

Since we have no one to blame but ourselves, I find the scene of humanity gathered around its hospital bed waiting for Economy to recover, utterly depressing. Economy has no power except what we give it and we have given it absolute power. Without us Economy doesn’t exist and we act as if we can’t exist without it. The specter of its death has so flustered us we can think of nothing better to do than to inject into a pathetic junkie trillions of dollars we have borrowed from ourselves and have to pay back to ourselves. DUH.

We are so focused on Economy we do not see the background of the present scene, our critically injured Mother Earth. I have not heard a scientist from this planet who does not concur our religious activities have wounded her, perhaps mortally. She is in worse condition than Economy yet she sits in the waiting room while we try to restore its health; and we need her, to live. Our obsession with Economy is obscuring the fact that if Mother Earth dies, nothing else matters. Not long ago I thought we would come to our end in this present mindless Age of Entertainment. Now I am thinking our end will be in the new Age of Asininity.

I take full responsibility for my depression. Had I no vision of what facts indicate life can be without the myth I wouldn’t be depressed by seeing that believing in it has diminished all life and accordingly if Economy recovers, we will continue to diminish life until there is none. Does it matter if we self-destruct? It may not. There are no facts to support it matters that we survive. I won’t argue it does. However, it is a fact we won’t discover it might matter that humanity lives, if we die. If we grow Economy we will certainly never know. If we grow Humanity we may discover why.

The process of change from certainty to possibility would involve simply getting rid of the myth. If we did, the boys at AIG would be sacrificed, for money making industries would become extinct. However, they would be treated with compassion by the millions of individuals who having already been laid off, know how to live with just the essentials. Those who do what they do more or less to make money will only have to shift to doing what they do to make life. To make life, everyone would need to be fully employed.

Without the myth the cone would become a plane and we would come together. Accordingly rather than increasing, the rules, laws and restrictions needed to maintain the cone would disappear as collective need replaced individual greed. As we became aware that financial differences are not what make us strong we would begin discarding other myths that make us weak. All conflict would diminish as we all became peace makers. Without restrictions individuality would flourish and humanity would thrive.

It is only by getting rid of our myths, by emptying the void, that we will be able to bring about “change we can believe in.” It is a dream but we do not know if it is an impossible dream. We know the alternative will be a worsening nightmare. I am not certain but I think we have a choice.

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