Steven Covey, in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, hypothesized that if you want to accomplish something, you need to “begin with the end in mind”. In other words, before you set off on your journey, figure out where you want to go and then plot your course accordingly. When beginning this way, you are much more likely to end up where you envisioned than if you chose a more random approach.
The ‘end’, or goal, we need to achieve is a culture that supports a balanced healthy planet and fosters happiness for all.
To commence our journey toward the goal, we should first take a ‘nutshell’ look at where we are at present and what forces are at play that thwart its realization.
In the United States, as well as in many other nations, society is entrenched in the age old tradition of domination, prejudice, and exploitation. It is evident in our economy, national and foreign politics, religious organizations, educational systems, and family structures. In other words, it is the basis of our culture. To be clear, it is not completely ingrained; there are more peaceful, tolerant, and nurturing influences present as well; it’s just that the power behind them is substantially less than the power behind the drivers and mechanisms of domination, prejudice, and exploitation.
By taking a look at how each of these methods are enacted and sustained, we can more easily identify their manifestation in our own daily lives and those of others.
Domination: The exercise of power or influence over someone or something.
- Enacted and sustained through brute force, infliction of scarcity, psychological manipulation, and oppressive laws.
- Manifests in war, violence, abuse, reduced freedoms, decreased access to education, increased poverty, defeatism, restriction of movement, rule over the many by the few, and fear.
Prejudice: Preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
- Enacted and sustained through propaganda
- Manifests in intolerance, divisiveness, superiority and inferiority, shunning, inequality, status quo.
Exploitation: The fact of making use of a situation to gain unfair advantage for oneself.
- Enacted and sustained through the taking of natural resources without regard to their replenishment, colonialism, underpaying for services received, deceit, and outright lies.
- Manifests in depletion of natural resources to endangered and extinction levels, the widening of the crevasse between those that have too much and those that don’t have enough, pollution, increased crime, inequity, distrust, resentment, anger, and hatred.
Deep-seated as these methods are, they are not irreversible. It should however be noted that, the longer they are enabled to persist, the more energy and time it will take to subdue them; and, the greater the harm caused in the interim.
To obtain a firmer grasp of where on the spectrum of opposing ideals the components of our society should be situated for highest functionality, we turn to comparative illustrations. In the below illustrations, the opposites are shown at either end, and the United States and Nordic States are plotted in-between according to their current reality. We use the assemblage of Nordic States as the comparative as they presently reflect our goal the closest out of all other nations. The final point on the spectrum is the approximate location of where we think we need to be when our goal is realized.
Socialism G NS USA Capitalism
Democracy G NS USA Dictatorship
Undogmatic G NS USA Dogmatic
Full Access G NS USA Limited Access
Broad Support G NS USA Limited Support
Each of these illustrations will be discussed in greater detail in future posts with regard to their meaning, historical and present pattern of movement, and some underlying theory to create a breadth of context for discussion and collaboration.
This site is one that is dedicated to thought provocation and participation. The intent here is not to sell you on a specific ideology but to engage you in the process of creating something new.
Eli Goldratt once wrote, “If you are like nearly everyone else in this world, you have accepted so many things without question that you’re not thinking at all.“
Here, we challenge you to open your mind and exercise it rigorously. We encourage you to research for yourself what is discussed here, question what doesn’t make sense or isn’t clear, dispute concepts you disagree with, express your insights and opinions, and most of all – we invite you to think for yourself.