Tag Archives: Capitalism

Charity & Changing the World.

As I was driving home from work yesterday, I heard someone come on the radio and advertise a school supply drive where you could bring school supplies to this particular location and they would then be donated to people in need.  I sat there and began thinking: yes, donating school supplies to people in need might help a child a little bit in school, or at least help out the parents so they don’t have to spend the money, but to what end?   The people doing this don’t actually care about changing the systems that put people in need of school supplies in the first place.  All they’re doing is giving companies like Walmart and Crayola some extra money that they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten.

I don’t believe we should stop giving people things they need like food, clothes, medicine, and school supplies.  However, we should realize that if that is all we are going to do, all we’re doing is creating a situation where generations after us will still be giving school supplies to each other years down the road, with no actual problems being solved.  We’re just going to end up with more and more people who need school supplies, clothes, medicine, food, etc.

I think that our concept of “charity” here in America, however well-intentioned it may be, is not solution-oriented enough.  We think we can just throw people money every now and then and maybe it will fix the world’s problems.  NEWS FLASH! That isn’t going to work!  To solve the problems that we see in the world today, we need a lot less charity and a lot more working on innovative ideas that will really change things.  Does our economic system allow for people to make absurd profits off the proliferation of complex societal problems like mental disease, poverty, drug use and abuse, the cancer and obesity epidemics, and terrorism?  Absolutely.  Capitalism definitely has its pros, but it also has some major cons.  Does our current governmental system allow people with large amounts of money to have a much larger political influence than those without the same?  Yes.  We may have a “democracy,” but it is corrupt, and it is not serving the people.  It needs a renovation.

To reiterate, my point is that charity, however helpful it may be for some people at some times, will not change the world in any meaningful way.  We need to – and I say this all the time – think bigger.  As in we need to see a bigger picture.  When we see problems – for example, cancer – we need to focus not just on ways to “cure” them or to put a metaphorical band-aid on them, but on ways to prevent them from ever happening in the first place.

So, I say let’s get out there and do some real work to change the world.  Not just sit around throwing people a few things here and there while perpetuating the very system that got them there in the first place.  God* knows we need some new and fresh ideas for this crazy 21st-century world.

(;

—————————————
*or Allah, or Buddha, or Vishnu, or The Universe

Jesus wasn’t Christian.

In Jesus’ time, there was no such thing as “Christianity,” and after Jesus died, Christianity as we know it today took a very long time to develop into its current form. 

Around the time of Jesus’ death, different groups of “Christians” formed, but most of them did not call themselves that.  The first use of Christian (those referred to as Christians in Antioch in Acts) was actually a kind of nick-name formed in an almost derogatory way to refer to people who “associated with Christ and/or his teachings.”  Christians didn’t even come up with the name themselves – most Christians were originally referred to as Nazarenes. 

So, obviously, Jesus was not a Christian in terminology.  But that isn’t all – many things that I hear Christians define themselves by today, you never hear Jesus do the same in the Bible.  Jesus did not define himself by his being against abortion or against homosexuality, though both did exist in his time.  He wasn’t a hardcore capitalism advocate, and judging by the things he said and did – like tipping over money-changing tables in the temple and advocating that, in order to follow him, rich people sell all their possessions and give that money to the poor – he probably wouldn’t be too fond of it if he were alive today.

Jesus wasn’t generally one to go around advocating all kinds of strict rules or being what you would call legalistic – on more than one occasion he discusses how love should supersede such legalism and criticizes the Pharisees for their inability to see beyond “what the scriptures said.”  (Sound familiar?)  Also, in Jesus’ time there was not yet a gospel to preach, in the sense that the whole crucifixion-resurrection thing had not happened yet, and even though Jesus – according to Christians – knew what was going to happen to him, he didn’t go around telling people that “unless you believe that I’m going to die for your sins here in a couple of months, you are gonna go to Hell!”  No, that’s not very Jesus-like.

What does seem to be Jesus-like is Love.  When asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus dismissed all previous commandments that had ever been made and said love.  Not just of God, but of your neighbor (which I take to mean every human being on earth) and yourself.  That’s kind of a huge deal.  According to Jesus, it matters more that you live a life of love towards everyone than anything else God (supposedly) ever said to do!  Now, granted – I believe that the Bible has been altered in ways we have no clue about in order to suit much bigger powers’ interests, so I’m not trying to use it as an “absolute” in the same way so many Christians do.  However, I do think that in reading about the things Jesus said and did, you will see that he was constantly preaching love, love, and love

Imagine if Love were the Number One thing associated with Christians today.  Oh, what a World that would be.  (;

Much Love to you all,

Livable Wages

Whether or not you can afford a place to stay, clothes on your back, and food to eat should not have to depend on how much you make at work or how often your employer decides to schedule you.  If you are working and doing your best to make some kind of contribution to the world, I think you should be guaranteed shelter/food/water/the other basic necessities of life.  I don’t think it’s in any way fair that some people should work their butts off at a “minimum wage” job and hardly be able to afford rent.  How is it that we’ve decided that certain people’s work in one hour should be equivalent to other people’s work over an entire year?  It seems criminal to me.  I don’t see any reason why my boyfriend and I should work five days a week and still have to worry about how much gas to put in our cars or whether we can afford to go grocery shopping on a given day.

I don’t know about you, but I work so that I can pay my bills, as do many others.  But when the work doesn’t pay the bills… well, some conservative folk may say you should “just find another job” or go into debt to go to college so you can find a “real job.”  Well, let me tell you, college no longer guarantees a job.  And as far as just finding one that pays the bills… well, first tell me why in the world somebody who is NOT lazy, that actually works, should not be able to afford a place to live, good food to eat and gas in their car.  If you are willing to work, you should be able to live without worrying about basic necessities.  Minimum wage doesn’t really allow for this anymore. 

Do you know how much someone making minimum wage would get after a forty-hour work week?  Around two-hundred-and-fifty dollars, or about a thousand a month.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t even have very many bills, and yet the total comes out to more than a thousand a month. There’s some kind of disconnect here and it is really hurting people.  There are SO many people struggling to make ends meet with their minimum wage jobs who just can’t do it, while others have passive incomes of thousands of dollars an hour: more than they could ever possibly need (Walmart CEO, as one example).

It’s wrong.  It’s criminal.  It’s irrational.  I cannot support a society that has such disregard for its fellow human beings.  I feel extremely disconnected from the entire world lately, and I think it’s because I feel like so much of it is just completely wrong.  Something has to give.  I know we can do better than this.

Just what has been on my mind lately as I am struggling with some of these issues myself.

Love,

On Being Happy

Even though America has some of the best Standards of Living in the world, as a whole, we Americans are a pretty unhappy Bunch. Too many people in America today are far too unhappy with their lives, and it is generally for some of the most trivial of reasons.

I’m going to speculate that a lot of our unhappiness is due to the fact that, in order for the machine of American Capitalism (a blog post of it’s own) to keep on running, money has to keep on circulating in very large amounts.  Now, we all know that human beings have a rather small number of real needs – food, water, shelter, sleep, and air pretty much covers it.  However, these few needs, even when combined, don’t add up to a whole lot of money circulating in the economy; it’s hard to even make a profit off sleep, water or air!  Given this, the only logical way for that money to make its rounds is for people to buy things they don’t need. 

Now, in America we’ve learned that the Best way to sell people things they don’t need is to make them feel like there actually is a need, then proceed fill that need with your own product.  Basically, it is creating insecurities to ensure that people keep on buying Things. Now, if that were how a few companies wanted to sell their product and they managed to do it, y’know, Big Deal.  However, when the Entire Economy of a country is run on making people feeling Incomplete in some way – guess what?  You’re going to have a country that is, as a whole, unsatisfied with their lives to an unparalleled degree.

It’s been said a million times before, but we Seriously Need to realize that owning any amount of stuff, even owning the Entire World cannot and will not make us Happy.  What makes people happy is Experiences. Love.  Beauty.  Peace.  Community!  Not having to Stress.  Not having to fear for one’s life.  Not having to worry.

I find the best way to cultivate an attitude that brings joy to your entire life is to simply be Thankful.  Appreciate everything and Love everyone, because we aren’t here very long, and any day could well be your Last.  Tell everyone you love that you love them, and be sure do so often.  Think about things from the point of view of yourself on your deathbed.  Will this moment really matter to me then?  What will I wish I had done right now?  Then, do it. 

Take risks.  Push yourself.  Ask questions. 

Appreciate everything, and love Everyone.

Life is as beautiful as We Make it.
(;