Civilization … On Trial!

Happy Friday, All!

Have I got a message for youse!!  But first things first … TGIF with me, please!!  Very cool!!  Thank you, even!

I remember a social studies class that I was in years ago at White Plains Public Schools.  We talked about culture:  a people’s way of life.  We talked about civilization, which is a culture that lasts over a long period of time.  Where is our “civilization” NOW?!?  I know … I know …  We’ve gotten so busy and wrapped up in ONE aspect of the cultures of Western civilizations … Money!  Ownership!  Wealth!  Are we really that lost?!?  Now, when Europeans first arrived on the North American continent, the “natives” had a problem with exchanging “The Creator’s Land” for the white man’s money.  The natives tried to explain to the newcomers that the land is NOT theirs to give or sell to ANYONE!  The land didn’t burn up and turn into ashes as the European money did, they tried to clarify.  But the “Europeans” weren’t hearing that!!  They had traveled from an already overcrowded Western Europe in search of “new” land …   Hmmmpppfff!  We know about all of the savage attacks inflicted ON the Native Americans …  by the Europeans.  Now, connect the dots … and you can see WHY!!

This has been one of my “kitchen table topics” as I attempt to navigate my way through a collapsing capitalistic world.  I often search for answers so that I can sleep better at night.  First, I want to introduce a quote from Russian historian, philosopher, scientist, activist, and revolutionary Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921).  It reads: “Competition is the law of the jungle, but cooperation is the law of civilization.”  Ponder that a bit and note how your approach to life may or may not consider Mr. Kropotkin’s observations.  Nowadays, there are so many “lost souls” who can’t compete well in a capitalist economy due to various inconsistencies and social roadblocks across the board.  If we look at the political systems around the world, people are struggling with the “greed factor”.  That is when someone or a community (tribe even) has enough goods and services but wants to gain more control over others and their goods and services using the power of money.  With the advent of “property ownership” and the concept of wealth (hoarding in disguise), human civilization is currently struggling to balance itself and avoid destruction via weapons of mass destruction, not to mention the “long guns”/AR-15 style weapons now appearing in the hands of directionless disgruntled “shooters”!  Our modern-day world is so out of balance with the emphasis placed on the aforementioned that we humans are losing our souls as we focus on material wealth and power!

Arnold Toynbee’s book “Civilization On Trial” offers an approach to this situation as one that is more spiritual or religious, so to speak, than economic as Karl Marx had suggested as his approach elucidates the clash(es) between the proletariat (workers) and the bourgeoisie (owners of the means of production).  While Kropotkin offers an anecdote for human greed in the form of human cooperation, we can see that at the core of such cooperation MUST be commonly shared values that emphasize our need to cooperate with each other’s cultures and attempts at civilization in order to save our own souls … ourselves.  In other words, world civilization must put aside these calcifying notions of eternal greed and power over people, places, and things and learn to embrace the value of human life and how we can offer equal opportunities for all human civilization(s)!

Now, that WNBA Britney Griner is “back home”, we see a lot of other professional athletes vowing to stay away from such disheartening human situations that can be found in places like Ukraine and locations in China where the Magyars are virtually enslaved as the government appears to be trying to exterminate them, too!  Now, I have been a part of various “self-help” programs that de-emphasize a focus on capitalism, power, and wealth and have more spiritual foundations to help humans get back “on track” if you will.  Now, all that the world needs is several intelligent yet humble leaders, powerful yet not greedy types!  Remember the historical axiom, “Power corrupts; and absolute power corrupts absolutely!”  Our world is at a point where the leaders in many places simply want to “grandstand” rather than humbly lead their people.  They MUST lead by example and we at the grassroots must change our foci as well!  This competition thing and tribal warfare crap have gotten way out of control!!  We need to get back to the basic values of cooperation, peace, humanitarianism, love, and care for our Planet!  No “knight in shining armor” is coming to save us!!  We have to save ourselves.  Start NOW!


John I. Cook, Director

Thank you for reading!! Blessings!!

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