Recently a couple of persons close to me, a man and a woman, confided how overworked and stressed they are. Both are full-time employees with six-figure jobs, highly educated and intelligent, with excellent family support, and loving children and spouses. How lucky they are compared to most of us. If anyone should be able to cope, they should.
I have no doubt this reflects a society gone mad. It reflects the lack of a social safety net in modern America, the transfer of wealth from working people—even six figure income people—to corporations and shareholders, a materialistic society obsessed with GDP, the residue of the Protestant work ethic, the devaluing of time spent doing anything but producing, the greed of many of the super-rich, and who knows what else. But when the most talented persons in society are not flourishing, something is wrong with society. (And how to even imagine the stress of parents working at minimum wage jobs—essentially indentured servitude.)
The basic solution has to do with a new social and economic system. It is simply indecent that the 85 richest people control as much wealth as the poorest half of the world, more than 3,500,000,000 people! Imagine if aliens landed on the planet and observed this level of inequality. What would they conclude except that they have discovered one of the most unjust social and economic systems in the universe?
But how do we change the world? Unfortunately, I don’t know, and I fear we must wait for human consciousness to expand beyond the bounds of conventional thought for this to occur. This has happened to a certain degree in some parts of the world. Scandinavia and much of Western Europe have much stronger social safety nets and more laid back lifestyles than say the USA. No doubt there are Caribbean or Greek Isles that are more laid back, perhaps some communes too. Nevertheless changing the economic system of the world in a single lifetime is a tall order.
The other thing we can do is try to change ourselves. Meditation, exercise, adequate sleep, and a good diet may provide some help. But in the end, these are just coping mechanisms designed to deal with an out-of-control society. I simply don’t know the answer except to say that one should try, if economically feasible, to change their environment either by moving to another society or changing their lifestyle within the country in which they live.
However, as I write this a feeling of impotence overwhelms. With workers working longer hours for less pay and the wealth of society redistributed to the very wealthy, solutions are hard to find. Much suffering will continue, it is ubiquitous, and humanity hasn’t even begun to live until it creates a better world.
The pain of all this is overwhelming. To cope we must remember there are mountains and oceans to look at, love to be given and received and, hopefully, some inner peace to be found. Someday humans will grow up and realize that toys and trinkets and big houses and cars pale in comparison to the wealth of health and inner peace. In the meantime, we should do all we can to find the real wealth of human life.
With my most fervent wishes for my reader’s future health and happiness, I remain, as ever, a devoted blogger.