A colleague was just mentioning an article that described how Skype has changed over the years, pointing out that communications are now fed through a central server at Microsoft and monitored. This got me thinking.
I have long since foregone any expectation of privacy in communications. Unless and until there is a major restructuring, our freedoms will continue to be curtailed. I don’t even expect privacy in my own home. The other day I was talking with some folks about the potential for putting a water feature in my garden. Shortly thereafter I picked up my phone, went to Instagram, and the first thing I saw was a promoted post for a solar water fountain device that can turn a bucket of water into a water feature. SERIOUSLY! Could the phone mic be always on? Could tech be that sophisticated?
So, what needs to be restructured? Almost everything! Ever since the liability of business owners was limited under the legal form of corporations, and multiple shareholders replaced responsible owners in companies that are often also treated as ‘legal persons’ – a trend that began some centuries ago – we’ve seen the rise of corporations controlling government to the detriment of people and planet. Yes, corporations are run by people, but they exist for a single solitary purpose — money. And as people we’ve been socialized into believing that if we only follow the rules, graduate from school, get a job and keep our noses to the grindstone we’ll somehow be happy. We’ve been socialized to think that if we work more, earn more (or borrow more) so that we can buy more, we’ll somehow be happy. Who benefits more from us getting a job, following orders, getting loans and buying more – us or the companies who we work for, take loans from, and buy stuff from?
Then there’s the issue of corporate interests such as Big Pharma, Big Agro, Big Oil, etc…
Bowing to the interests of Big Pharma, Spain is about to ban some natural remedies. Yet nature provides everything we need for good health, and many pharmaceutical products are derived from natural remedies. Big Agro has been allowed to patent seeds and put small farmers out of business when their seeds cross pollinate with neighboring fields, not to mention the detrimental effects of the fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, etc. they produce and apply with impunity. Big Oil continues to use more and more destructive means of extraction despite there being multiple renewable resources that can be used instead for many of the end products for which petroleum is used, and they get government subsidies for doing so.
Steel and textile moguls in the US created the campaign against marijuana – not because of the supposed adverse effects of marijuana, which has been used for millennia as a natural remedy – but because of HEMP. In banning marijuana, they banned hemp. Hemp can be used for textiles and for building materials. It is an excellent source of protein. It can also be used to build automobiles and I’m sure I’ve missed out some of its uses here.
And Big Tech, something we thought was going to bring more freedom of information is now convincing governments it’s in their best interest to control information. And the information they’re controlling is not just ‘public domain’ but also our private communications.
The point is – corporate interests run government. But we have to go further back than that to start setting things right.
I admire people who choose to stand and fight within the system, who think it can be changed from within. That’s not a battle I’m willing to join. I admit the system isn’t working and realize that while it’s around I’ll have to work within it to a certain extent. At the same time, I know that it’s going to collapse. I’ve known this ever since the 2nd or 3rd grade when we learned about the collapse of Rome. At that age, without all the baggage that the education system and society heaped on me that I’m still wriggling my way out from under, I could clearly see that the USA was following the same path of decadent collapse as every other previously “grand civilization”. Now I know it’s not just the USA but the entire western “civilized world”. Would that there were more uncontacted tribes to learn from.
On the bright side, it’s not too late. We haven’t yet damaged our planet beyond its ability to sustain human life. And although as human beings in the western “civilized world” we’ve all been damaged by this socialization we’ve received, we can heal. The solution lies in recognizing where we took a wrong turn as human beings and using that information and the best and most appropriate of technologies, to create a new way of being which will, I’m sure, resemble some very old ways. This is so because in my opinion (and that of others in the permaculture movement) the wrong turn happened many thousands of years ago when human beings put ourselves above the laws of nature.
Working with nature, not against her, seeking fertile edges and working together in cooperation instead of constant competition, we can create a new society where people are truly free to live on-purpose. I envision a network of intentional communities and Eco-villages each unique yet all working towards a singular goal: a sustainable human culture that supports all life on earth.