« The Shocking Disaster of Capitalism | Main | Animal Rights or Human Responsibilities? »

November 04, 2007


Sarah Edwards

Excellent blog.
I was searching for points I especially wanted to applaud but I couldn't agree more with each one.

K E Heartsong

Dear Ms. Rosenthal,

I very much enjoyed reading your essay and taking in its insightful arguments. Thank you.

That the stylus continues to ride, again and again, over the 'capitalism scratch' has always troubled me. Today it troubles me even more as technology in its many forms has shown a light on the workings of capitalism in places like Iraq, Lebanon, Darfur, Somalia, New Orleans, America (U.S.)...and countless other places on the globe. It is time for a new, more civilized, more human socio-economic paradigm to replace this 'capitalism.'

There are, no doubt a wealth of articles and essays to read on the web these days, but few as straight forward, as insightful as I've read on your site.

K Heartsong

Adam Engel


But what about Lewis Mumford's Stanley Diamond's, Barbara Mor's and more recently, Derrick Jensen's assertions that civilization itself, which "begins with conquest abroad and repression at home," according to Diamond, is the real problem?

As you point out, Civilization is but a brief period, a 6-8000 year "illness" in the 100,000-plus years of human cultural development. All Civilizations have been hierarchical, patriarchal, ethnocentric, classist, violent, etc., and all have fallen to ruin ("look on my works, ye mighty, and despair").

The "natural," sustainable order of humanity, as evidenced by the "American" Indians – who lived and prospered for at least 20,000 years, developing complex cultures, fully integrated with their natural environs, along the way – seems to be small, tribal, "socialist" communities. Capitalism is but the latest, though certainly most deadly, "virus" in the relatively short history of the Civilization Disease.

Adam Engel

Author responds,

I respectfully disagree.

The root cause of our problems today is not civilization, but class divisions. And while I agree that we must return to a classless society, it is neither necessary nor desirable to jettison 10,000 years of human development.

We have the opportunity to live in a globally-integrated society, much richer in opportunities for sharing than would be possible in small, tribal communities.

Humanity has discovered and invented much over the past 10,000 years. We can keep what is valuable and discard what hinders our ability to create a healthy world for all.

James Collier

As I mentioned to you before Susan, it's all about happiness.

You are correct about the captivity and capacity of the human spirit.

We are the victims of a cruel trick. We've been fooled into thinking that toys are a reflection of progress: what kind of car you drive, the house you own, the clothes you wear, the house you live in, the money you have in your bank account, etc.

Frank Capra said in the film "Meet John Doe" that the things you own, own you.

It is a self-perpetuating trap. Working to acquire all of these toys, living to maintain them, as well playing with these toys distracts a person from the most important questions: "Who am I? Why am I here? What does it all mean?"

In my opinion they are the only questions worth asking. And it is interesting how few people can actually answer those questions.

You could get a more detailed answer about why a person bought a particular car than the particulars about their very existence.

The irony is, if people asked the the hard questions, they would realize that this reality is intolerable. And that they would have to do something about it.

In the short-term, it is easier to supress those nagging questions with distractions. It's like taking prescription drugs. They mask they symptoms; they do not treat the underlying cause.

Most people use work to acquire things. But imagine a world where people use work as a tool to find out who they really are.

In my world people don't work only for basic necessities like food, shelter, clothing and medical care. And they don't slave away for toys.

That does not mean that my world is no fun. There is plenty of time for fun in my world. There is plenty of time for family in my world. And there is plenty of time for asking and acting on important questions.

You see I agree with the commercials-- life is short. And I believe that the only true currency that we possess is time. And it should be used to its fullest effect.

The comments to this entry are closed.