Opinion: A Word On Today's Society
Written by Kalrish Baakjen in Phoronix on 27 April 2014 at 11:09 AM EDT. 53 Comments
I recently read Michael Larabel's article concerning the Chernobyl disaster, as well as the comments that followed it, and, after writing the text I felt I wanted to write, I would like to share it - and to know your thoughts. It is inspired in the accident and its consequences, but covers a broader field: society and its individual dimension - which, in my opinion, being the first source of all the problems, is usually avoided, being the discussions and the treatments targeted instead to its symptoms. I would like to bring attention to it again.

The world is energy hungry, and its hunger increases exponentially, with a growing population and a growing power usage per capita. Most often, discussions concerning the solution to this problem involve energy sources, being provided arguments in favor and against ones and others. However, they are only superficial patches that may extend the matter, postponing its solution, without truly resolving it. It comes down to answering a badly-formed question; isn't it absurd, like spending time in trivial things, trying to refuse the truth?

In my environment, the same happens with almost everything - including politics. Many debates take place around them, discussing every small matter and forgetting the first cause of them -meanness-, often leading to absurd disputes. It is even badly considered not to discuss such topics.

Well, it is licit to discuss whether the baby will be named "Mary" or "Ayla", but only if it's known it will be a girl. If we lack that first level of certainty, we will only be speculating - and speculation is a venom, the venom that plagues today's democracies, making them inefficient and allowing for corruption and bribary to take place.

Returning to energy, I have a word on it: we indeed need power - but, do we need that much? If energy needs -false needs that are only pretended to spur on you!- have increased in such a way, it's not only because of the growing population, but also because of each one using more and more. And here comes the solution, the true solution, that seems to be avoided because of the implications it has (the guilt of everyone, the responsibility of everyone, the need that everyone becomes conscientious and behaves consequently): to be conscient, whenever you make use of energy, whenever you do anything, of what you are doing and what effects it may have.

Energy could seem like a branch of the tree - let's treat the corrupted trunk of it then. The root is economy, the engine that drives the world. It can be a good driver, with the right investments and money being spent consciously, stimulating the development of culture and, in general, welfare, but it can also smash us without mercy. Capitalism is not a bad thing by itself; it just gives more space to do bad things. (Unlike weapons, which are designed to kill; the use of capitalism can be good and bad.) We tend to rely on other things to take on our responsibility, to face our problems - Nietzsche focused in Christian-ism, although talking in way broader terms; I talk about politics today. No system, be it democracy, aristocracy, or communism, will solve society's problems if each individual does not put a personal effort. There's no other way than to confront your role!

The economic transformations that took place in the Industrial Revolution and after the Second World War, that spurred on globalization and international trade, turned economy into something highly dehumanized, virtual; when we buy an article, we cannot see how it has been produced. This has removed the guilt that one would feel if one saw women and children being exploited when buying clothes - and this is just an example. The conclusion is that it's much harder to be aware of the consequences - but, hey, let's do an exercise of self-control!

Energy "production" is another thing that we unknowingly spur on. That way, when you turn on the lights, you are demanding more energy - a demand that may be satisfied with unsafe procedures. Well, light bulbs at home usually don't draw much power. Think of a casino, then; when you enter it, you pay, thus supporting it, and, as long as it is functional, it will continue to require that huge quantity of electricity. But, we don't need to go to a casino. There are supermarkets and all kinds of locals abusing of energy - and they are alive because someone buys from them. Do you need a clue about who is guilty? I say: everyone! (Yes, me too, so don't accuse me of being pedantic; I'm just acting like a mirror here. You decide what to do after seeing yourselves.)

So, perhaps we should all stop for a moment. Perhaps we ought to look at ourselves, think at what we have bought today, at what we bought yesterday, and consider where and in which conditions. Maybe we should stop playing this absurd -and cruel- game, hit the table, and demand a change. Remember: they prosper because of our direct and indirect support. And, please, remember, for what it's worth, that demonstrations won't change anything unless they are backed by a true change in attitude. You know: you can shout as much as you want, but, if you enter a shop afterwards and buy something... well, I bet you got the point: hypocrisy.

You won't be able to elude the truth forever. Better stop playing the game of economy, and face your responsibility. Face that everyone using energy could've been considered guilty for the Chernobyl disaster, which undoubtedly killed many, because it was the increasing "needs" that motivated the building of that central, and its usage. It might be argued that there were also military interests... but then, who allows wars? Who fights in them? It was each individual that was convinced by Hitler. It is each individual that is absort in this game. But, hear me: this is not chess. We are the pawns. In the end, we will be those suffering the consequences.

Do you want a conclusion? Well, if you do, you'll be disappointed, because there's no conclusion. The truth is in you. In each of you. There are no magic words. There is no magic political system that will save you, that will get rid of all the problems. When you get over meanness, anarchy is feasible. And also democracy, whose use should be in the domain of managing the technical details of the nation. Now, do whatever - whatever you consider appropriate, or simply "whatever", if you live without thinking. But, if you seek to be true humans, beware of your actions. Be honest in every small sphere of your lives, and you'll be walking insignias of true freedom.

Editor's Note: This was a freelance article sent in this morning by a non-native English speaker that reads Phoronix... Freelance articles are welcome at Phoronix, even if they may fall slightly off-topic and views that many might not agree with, but pose for interesting discussions on an otherwise slow Linux/open-source news weekend. Anyhow, thanks to Kalrish Bäakjen for taking the time to write this article and share his views with Phoronix. You can share your feedback with Kalrish via the forum comments.

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