People ask me what the solution is to our problems. Well, first we must put our finger on the problem(s). Otherwise, we spend our time solving the wrong problem.
By “wrong” we mean instead of examining the root, the heart of the matter, we are caught up in chasing the various symptoms or manifestations of the problem, which are legion.
Identify the cause, instead of being confounded by the effects.
It is highly probable you are not going to like my answer. However, there is quite a shortage of people willing to speak publicly and honestly.
We need to have a talk with ourselves. Our innermost selves.
America suffers from a spiritual illness of self-centeredness and narcissism and meanness and resentment and greed. Naturally, this sort of spiritual illness requires a spiritual solution.
By “spiritual,” I mean thinking of other people. Sharing. Do unto others. Turn the other cheek. Compassion. Kindness. Cooperation.
Could be secular. Could be religious.
The Bible calls our problem the worship of Mammon or the Golden Calf.
We could call Mammon a demon, if you are inclined to such.
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
(1 Timothy 6:10)
Dante and Virgil encounter Plutus, guardian of fourth circle , engraving by Gustave Dore
If you are not a fan of Bible verses, a secular version of this is called Plutus. In Greece, the personification of wealth and greed was known as Plutus, as in plutocracy.
A plutocracy is one in which an elite ruling class of people derives their power from their enormous wealth. America certainly isn’t the first example of this sort of thing.
The culmination of Mammon can be seen in the spectacle of Donald Trump, as he represents the quintessential example of spiritual sickness.
In other words, Trump is an advanced symptom, not the problem. Trump is a personification, as is Mammon, Plutus, and Ares.
If we remove Trump from office, the spiritual sickness he manifests still remains. Getting rid of Trump accomplishes nothing significant, for the underlying problem remains.
The other politicians in Congress and their super-rich masters are manifestations as well. In this case, if the head is removed, the body remains and continues on.
Make no mistake, both the Democratic and Republican parties are filled to the gills with this sickness. They are not medicine.
One of the problems we have is ordinary citizens worship celebrities and listen to them. For example, many believe a celebrity billionaire talk show host named Oprah Winfrey is the solution to the celebrity billionaire game show host named Donald Trump. We have learned nothing.
This shows our tendency to chase and treat the symptoms rather than focus on the illness. We are WINNING!!!
The Worship of Mammon ~ Evelyn De Morgan. 1909
The economic, political, violent (etc.) manifestations of this radiate through America as tentacles from a giant squid.
In economic terms, we witness the religion of the “free market.” This is a rather strange religion based on the worship of money, in which we are told the solution to every economic problem and the answer to every economic question is “the free market.”
No one can really tell you how or why the “free market” works. It just does.
The “free market” somehow has an omnipotent mind of its own, which cannot fail to achieve maximum efficiency if only we leave it alone (e.g., have no regulation and privatize everything).
We have this neoliberal market, late-stage capitalism ruining our economy and our ordinary lives. Basically, neoliberalism has transferred all significant wealth from the regular people, and placed it in the banks of the super-rich. Yet we applaud and admire these fucking scoundrels for winning the American Dream game. Don’t we?
Why they would need more money is a mystery which cannot be answered. They just do.
This hunger requires unending interventionist foreign policy to maintain. Hence, the super-rich must invade other countries to burst open new unexploited “free markets” and take their resources.
Spreading freedom – YAY!!! else this capitalist rampage must consume itself.
The ouroboros of the snake eating its own tail. This is dressed up as “helping” other countries develop “democracy.”
We all know in our consciences this is a lie.
To ensure this intervention continues indefinitely, the government uses the military-industrial complex as a form of corporate welfare for the plutocracy.
This entails killing people who get in the way of privatization of goods and services.
Ares, god of War and Killing, is invoked to keep Plutus, god of Wealth and Greed, company. The War Machine is no doubt America’s biggest export.
So what is the solution to all of this?
The “American Dream” is rotted. It is degenerate. It is rooted in a philosophy of individualism and competition and death.
Therefore, any effective remedy must be based in cooperation, community, and life. It must.
We all must have skin in the game for this to work.
Yet as of now, there are no leaders to speak of. Certainly no world-shakers such as Jesus or Buddha. Is there one to rival the leaders of the 20th century: MLK, FDR, and Gandhi?
Hollywood celebrities cannot help us here. Neither will the billionaires. To be frank, they do us much more harm than good. Vampire squid.
We need someone – anyone – to speak truth to power. Hence, we wait for leadership. Or perhaps we become our own leaders.
For most of us, this is simple. Simple is not the same thing as easy. Be mindful of our words and actions. Set a good example. Do not partake in the division or tribalism or unending greed which define Americans.
We should look inside ourselves. Purify our own hearts and minds. Free our brains from the chains of propaganda and bafflement caused by advertising. End the magical thinking.
Clearly identify the people ruining our lives, our children’s lives, and our planet. With clarity and intestinal fortitude, we can change this hellish course before it is too late.
Ares: god of war and bloodlust, bronze statue, Gaziantep Museum of Archaeology
The politicians are not going to do this for us. Neither political party will save us. It is not in their interests.
Therefore, voting will not fix this. Voting for the “lesser of two evils” is still evil. That path is what got us here, no?
We require stillness before moving to action. Not sure this can be remedied without some drastic French Revolution sort of ending. Kings and Queens and guillotines.
Certainly a third party is necessary to end the duopoly.
Without hope, we are lost. So have hope.
If you have none, borrow some of mine.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.”
~ Jesus (Mathew 6:24)
header image: Mammon. Dedicated to his Worshipers (1885 oil painting)
~ George Frederic Watts