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-Alan Watts with The Real You

-Establishment Lap Dog Mark Zuckerberg

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-Rethinking your life with Joe Rogan

-Oculus Rift & Virtual Reality

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Commerce and the Cannibalism of Modern Conquest

united states currency seal - IMG_7366_web

united states currency seal – IMG_7366_web (Photo credit: kevindean)

We have become cannibals and the catalyst is commerce, just like the fruits of  the conquest of Columbus we adorn our bodies with jewels pulled from the Earth with blood stained hands.  The spoils of our conquest come to us in the form of gadgets and gifts, the sacrifice of human life laid upon the alter of consumerism.  Much like the communion of Christians we too, the consumers of the Earth, consume of the body and blood of those sacrificed, which lay before us as pre-packaged and high priced goods.  We give offerings of our labor in the form of currency in return for the spoils of unseen atrocities.  We in the first world, enjoy consuming those luxuries which have been brought to us by the lives of those in the neighboring third world.   We even go as far as to presumptuously relabel them as developing nations, because to assume some sort of rank troubles our hearts and we rather see them as having a chance of reaching our first world status instead of being condemned to poverty.  But the Truth is much darker than that, because as we consume the products of their lives and labor, so too, do we consume their futures and dreams. We assume here in the west that since we have overcome one form of slavery, that there is not another waiting there in its place to tempt our hearts.  Unfortunately, our story has not changed much over the course of time, only the scene and it’s characters.

Just as in the times that precede our own, rare goods and new technologies lie at the helm of our modern conquest.  While we enjoy our diamonds, iphones and androids we forget or choose to be ignorant of the fact that those goods come to us upon the backs of human lives.  Diamonds, one of our many spoils, are brought to us by royals and dynasties who employ the most unsavory of characters to force poor and downtrodden souls to slave at the cost of their lives in some cases, in order for us to adorn our bodies with the shine of their hard labor.  Iphones and Androids like many of the toys of our time rely upon battery power that needs certain minerals, these minerals just so happen to come to us from poor countries and warzones the world over, including Afghanistan which is near and dear to our hearts here in the United States.  How much of U.S. wars are a product of corporate conquest for cheaper prices of new technologies?  We have become cannibals consuming the lives and dreams of the weak to further empower our own lives and dreams via rare goods and new technologies.

If we are to change the world, it will be to work towards a future that does not depend upon slavery and the greed of capitalistic conquest.  If we are to overcome barbarism and truly become civilized creatures then we must lay to waste our hunger for more no matter the cost and consequence.  We must work towards a future that is selfless and mindful of all involved, instead of being selfish and mindless consumers, that rather not be involved.  The future is ours to shape but it is up to each of us to choose a path which protects as much as it produces.  We must change the future of human history by being mindful of the people and practices we support and not merely succumbing to greed and selfish gain.  We are the future, and those generations that follow us depend upon us to make a future that is greater than our own.    So make a future you can be proud of and make choices that shine brighter than the spoils of modern conquest.  Change the world…

Just. B.

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Gods, Morals & Money: The Crumbling Walls of a Dying Enlightenment

Lady Justice

Lady Justice (Photo credit: Scott*)

We have a moral responsibility to the rest of the world as a technologically advanced society to look inward and reflect upon the moral grounding of our culture and recognize how much of what we do, and who we are drives the future of our global society.  As a leading nation of the global community we must impress upon the world more than our defense contracts, endless wars, police state politics and the perpetuation of archaic “peasant to prince” wealth consolidation tactics.  It is morally reprehensible that we as the so called leaders of the free world and breeders of scientific discovery have our resources so narrowly focused on a path so destructive. While humans are facing famine, human trafficking, genocide, etc. we are currently spending according to some estimates over 100 billion dollars per year on Afghanistan alone. That roughly equates to 190,000 dollars per minute,  exceeding the average American annual income by almost 170,000 dollars and exceeding the global citizen’s average annual income by 183,000 dollars, in a single minute.  This of course is all under the guise of our protection from “evil terrorists.”  If our government is so preoccupied with our safety and well being that they see it fit to spend a million dollars every five minutes to continue such a campaign, why does it continue to allow mutagenic and carcinogenic food additives to be heavily placed in our food supply, or poisonous Chinese consumer goods to fill our department stores, and brain disorder causing fluoridated water systems to fill our empty cups.  Concealed handguns seem to be perfectly fine to sell to anyone over the age of eighteen, and alcohol consumption soon there after to better our judgements, but medical marijuana is a national threat which requires the dedication of federal agencies to raid and destroy state legal businesses.  The privatization of prisons across the country is a sign of the fruits of  a free market, meanwhile those institutions are more beginning to resemble that of forced labor camps for maximizing corporate profits, than they are reflecting institutions dedicated to the rehabilitation of a misguided citizenry.  We have become a violent schizophrenic, feeding off of our own mad ravings and ramblings about the fruits of modern capitalism and corporatism.  We have sold our morals for money and traded our heroes for gold, meanwhile hiding our eyes from the crumbling walls of our empire, once interested in the freedom of the individual and the enlightenment and empowerment of it’s people.

Much of the world’s greatest contemporary minds are currently focused upon our incoming Godhood as they have termed it, but my question is whether we have the moral chops to handle the responsibilities of Gods?  Are our intentions rooted in the well being and freedom of the people of the world, and if so what steps are we taking to ensure a safe and healthy society?  It would seem, on the contrary that we as a technologically advanced society on the cusp of so-called Godhood are more preoccupied with the imprisoning and killing of human beings, more than we are focused on the betterment of human existence.  The only betterment of human society I see in the intentions of our leaders, is that of the betterment of corporate profits and the filling of crony pockets.  A society once concerned with the enlightenment of it’s empire has sipped one too many times from the chalice of it’s own hubris.  Now drunk with greed and selfish endeavors it will soon be hung out to dry.  I remain hopeful that a hangover will ensue and the truth of our misguidings will become abundantly clear.  Only then can we rise from the rubble and reclaim our pursuits of truth, justice and freedom.

Just. B.

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The 99% – A Voice of Change in a World of Inequality

Social change label

Social change label (Photo credit: Aleksi Aaltonen)

I have spent the past few years focusing much of my energy on trying to understand who is at fault for the economic oppression that is perpetrated on the impoverished in this country and the world. The economic crash has only fueled the fire, and although many times I have felt hopeless in my attempts at finding an answer I have continued. I have pointed fingers at many global leaders, politicians, corporations, and others, but still feel as though in my heart I have not resolved anything. I feel like many people feel, as if somehow I have been swindled but can’t quite figure out by who or how, as if arriving home we are met with the harsh reality of being robbed. The Occupy movement has catapulted the notion of the 99% into the global consciousness. The idea is that 1% of the population controls the majority of the worlds wealth, while the other 99% of us are left fighting for their scraps. This of course is not a new idea, Karl Marx dealt with this in his communist manifesto, but it is still an idea which is attempting to place focus upon an economic imbalance amongst the global population that has far reaching effects. The problem I see with the approach of Marx is that the only way out of our economic dilemma is for the proletariat to overcome their servitude to the bourgeoisie by uprising against the controllers. The problem that comes from this idea, is that it only gives responsibility to the proletariat to right the wrong while simultaneously objectifying the bourgeoisie. So with this approach, the bourgeoisie become a faceless catalyst for change a sort of anti-hero for the proletariat. Unfortunately the world is multi-faceted and not two dimensional and this requires the action of all players to help make a change.

Corporations, governments, etc. are not merely automatons following a specified program, but rather are a social network of moral individuals cohesively working towards a projected goal. This means that each individual plays an integral role in the moral choices of that entity. The problem with labeling these dominant groups i.e. bourgeoisie, the man, the 1%, etc. is that we remove the guilt from the actions of each individual involved. It becomes a mask which hides the identities of those that are perpetuating the problem. The problem truly lies in the makeup of the system which has been devised by greedy individuals, and once the system is in motion it takes those within as well as outside the system to make a conscious effort to change it for the better. Power unchecked whether it be political or economic leads to despotism, and whether it is a economic or political despotism the outcome is still the same- Social inequality, cronyism, injustice, etc.

We can see economic oppression all over the world, and much of what we see stems from first world nations oppressing third world nations and draining them of natural resources while demanding cheap labor and a tight lip. To explain in simple terms how this relationship works, the first world executes a sort of financial takeover of a country rich in natural resources through numerous efforts. One of the ways is through lending financial resources to the neighboring country on interest. The interest rate of course is such, that the borrowing nation will be reduced to a state of perpetual debt. In return for first world kindness the newly third world nation becomes an indentured servant to the dominant nation. The first world nation then utilizes the countries resources for the consumption of luxury goods; coffee, sugar, tobacco, diamonds, ipads, televisions, and the list goes on and on. The first world then sells back these goods to the third world at an inflated price. So the goods that they produce, they are forced to purchase at a higher price then what is given to their overlords while simultaneously earning substandard wages. With this sort of system in place, we can see how it is nearly impossible for the third world nations to rise above the status quo. This economic warfare model is not isolated to first and third world nations, but also permeates every facet of the world economy. This is why Foxconn workers spend all of their daylight hours slaving over iPads much like the one I am typing this post on, to be made as an inexpensive luxury item for us to enjoy and for them to never see and experience. But it is also arrogant for us to believe that somehow we are not caught in the same rat race here as well. All of us are fighting for scraps, and the wealthy continue to consolidate their wealth, while we pay the bill.

All of us have a role to play in the beautification of our society; some of us are protesters, some are spectators, some fight, while some are meant to stand witness. All of us now have the ability to witness injustice as it is happening in real time and we also have a voice, this voice carries a lot of weight, more than it ever has in history. With this voice, comes a responsibility to our fellow men and women. If there is injustice we must bear witness and use our voice to spread the word and in turn shine a light on the cockroaches that are perpetuating the injustices. All of us deserve the chance to have a better life. Our voice must be the catalyst for social change and that better life and those in power become merely our tools for that change. We the 99% become the writers of the program and the 1% become our tools to execute that which we have written. The change must come from all of us, not just one side, but both. We can no longer be non-active participants in the global society. Instead of being merely consumers we must also be producers of positive social change. We must all hold each other accountable for how we treat one another and not hide behind the mask of a corporation, government, etc. In a world that is increasingly less and less private, we must require the same transparency that the controllers ask of us. Raise our voice and shine our light for social justice and equality. Let us become the change that we long for, let reality be an unfolding of our greatest hopes and ideas, and let us become our greater self.
Just. B.

Follow Justin on twitter @justin_blush & @waxpod