We are born. During our childhoods we are taught how to be productive employees and in adulthood, we become servants. As adults, we are expected to find a way to pay for our lives. The cost of a life is endless toil. If we are lucky enough we realize that we actually do have some control over how long we have to serve. But most never have this realization. There is no corporate master. In reality the corporations are merely the overseers. The master is the system. It forces us all to toil. The system, a prison, is made up of many bars one of them is desires that can never be fulfilled. This a constant treadmill of the next venti latte, the next neat gadget, the next cocktail, the next pill, the next episode. Another is consumer debt. I don’t pretend to know all the chains that make up this system- they are invisible until you break them. There are those that benefit from this system of perpetual servitude- I assume- though I’ve never met these people. But in reality what life is really better off from maintaining this system? Does vast amounts of wealth really make up for the knowledge that you could have done better for your species? That your actions perpetrate and perpetuate a system that is creating one of the worst tragic comedies in the history of mankind; climate change. The people want more because the advertising tells them to. The companies create more products which create more greenhouse gasses. The gases trap more heat from the sun, which warms the Earth.
The biosphere of Earth, likely the only place in the universe that so perfectly nurtures human life, that created human life, our home, our mother; collapses around us. And while our environment begins to break down, we see this inhospitable place and think, “its everyone else”, “it’s the oil companies”, “it’s China”, “it’s the other people, the ones who look different, talk different, act different”. “They are the ones to blame.” Meanwhile, all along, the blame lies with me. It lies with you. It lies with us. And with them. We are all culpable in this crime against humanity. We are doing it to ourselves. This system was created with short sighted goals and it has been successful. We profited with high GDP, good salaries, great sales figures. At least, when our grandchildren think back to the choices that we are making now, the choices that could have prevented the collapse of our home and our way of life, they can console themselves with this fact: “they had nice things.”
But that future isn’t inevitable. We can change it. You don’t have to be a servant. You aren’t without choice. You don’t need that new car. That bigger house. That overpriced hand-bag that you think will make you feel more important. Those things won’t make you happy. They are part of that lie, that you need more. That there’s something outside of yourself that will satisfy. That will finally make you happy. The truth is that happiness doesn’t come from consumption. Happiness comes from relationships, being a part of a community. Feeling, experiencing, being, creating. No matter what the ads say, happiness, real enduring happiness, can not be bought. And this is the answer, our solution to the climate crisis is the realization that all that stuff…has no real value. As our culture redefines the value of stuff appropriately we are changing our coarse. Our values are changing. We are building communities that showcase the things that really matter; not malls but meaning. Not luxury car dealerships but a sense of belonging. Our lives are short and have so much potential to be beautiful, they should not be spent commuting to jobs we hate that only serve to perpetuate this self-destructive system. Your life is your own, you can choose to live one that you can be proud of. You can buy your freedom and spend your time on the things that really matter to you.