We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Alan Watts: What Is Wrong With Our Culture?

Click here if you wish to access this 5:06m video directly from its posting on Raging Bull-Shit.

What Watts portrays in this video is the culture of capitalism. The fact that he hadn't realized that this social-economic system lay behind this culture, leads him into a kind of magical thinking expressed toward the end of the film: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." 

Although magic is a delightful pastime that children often enjoy, we as adults must use our brains and our accumulated knowledge to understand that culture is to a considerable extent shaped by fundamental societal arrangements necessary to satisfy our material needs. Thus, if we don't like the culture, we must not engage in such magical thinking; instead we must change the system, capitalism, which is shaping the culture. Once we understand that the single driving force behind this system is to accumulate wealth and power for those that are clever at the game of capitalism, and that the game inevitably results in fewer and fewer people holding more and more wealth/power, poverty for the vast majority, wars, catastrophic climate destabilization, etc, then we will understand what really needs to be done to insure our happiness and security.