Noam Chomsky, celebrated linguist and tireless defender of democracy and the freedom of information, tells us that we can find the truth in the press…but we will have to patiently seek it out, make an effort to look for it.
Awareness and becoming aware is a process. When, for example, I started becoming interested in health and our food systems three or four years ago, it was only progressively that I came to realize that our doctors, medical, health care, pharmaceutical, and food producing industries do not hold the best interests of the American people at heart. I came to realize over time that in this corporate dominated world with global markets, I cannot truly know where my food comes from and what is really in it. Many labels and wording on ingredient lists are intentionally deceptive. Over a period of two or three years, I became interested in alternative medicine, the powers of plants, and the ability of the body to heal itself, given the chance. I also became aware of the countless environmental toxins and food additives which make us sick. I widened my searches and came to realize that there are many sources of alternative information available. It took some effort, but I wanted to learn. As my awareness grew, my thinking about food and my own health shifted, which also changed the way I think about the society in which I live and how my own values differ from those of the establishment and dominant economic systems.
We live in a world in which there is an abundance of information and misinformation. Everyone is trying to know our tastes, values, consumer patterns, trying to put each of us in a box and manipulate us…all in the goal of extracting the little wealth we may possess. Truth, integrity, character…values of the past by which we might judge another person to determine whether we should engage in a relationship with that person, on a personal, professional, or societal level (such as when choosing an elected official) are no longer valid.
Today, the world is run by the shifting waters of desire and by the manipulation of desire. The rocks and foundations of love, character, honesty, integrity have fallen by the wayside.
But just as our economic system of capitalism, the ratification of greed over compassion, is unsustainable, so are the social and cultural patterns of the manipulation of our constantly shifting wants and desires.
Most of us are aware that the corporate world, that our potential dating partners, our employers, the people we hire to work for us, are very likely to be using us, trying to suck data, information, energy from us to meet their own desires. We sense that we are not building something together. We sense the lack of community in our neighborhoods. The lack of knowing and caring for one another hurts the invisible skin, the emotional body that we all possess but of which most of us are unaware.
The abundance of information available today and easy access to the voices of others through the Internet and social media is a double-edged sword. It makes our lives both easier and more complicated. We know both more and less people at the same time as our relationships become more superficial. In times of hardship, I know there are very few people I can ask for help, and this makes me feel lonely. I rely on my connections to the spiritual, to the invisible arms of Nature and invisible realms to maintain my strong connection to the life force and to reinforce my own sense of purpose. To the human community, I am only connected by a fine thread.
Trust and distrust, doubt and curiosity are all tools by which we navigate our contemporary world. Our leaders exploit us for their own personal gain, and most of us are aware of this fact. It is challenging to hold cynicism at an arm’s length. Capitalism is the mother of cynicism, as the broken bodies, minds, and hearts of humans and animals are strewn over our lands around the world. Our societies serve a machine, and our cultures are no longer construed to create stability, cohesion, and protection.
In order to pursue freedom, creativity, love, and hope today, we have to be mindful of the war machine that governs the world, that exploits the world. Awareness has taught me that there are many, many people such as myself who do care, and who do want to work together to create a better, people-centric, more loving world. There are countless people working to protect our environment, people who know there is another way to live together. We don’t all want to dominate the world economy or politics. We don’t all want endless wars and to manipulate regime changes around the world. Most of us don’t support funding and arming rebel groups which end up becoming terrorist groups.
Some of us suddenly woke up and realized we live under an oligarchy, a plutocracy, where money and power govern every aspect of our lives, and where our lives have no intrinsic value. (Thank you, Bernie Sanders!) We woke up, and we suddenly realized that our leaders, our media constantly lie to us and manipulate us. We also have been delighted to discover that there are millions of other people who share our values. Other people who want to work together to heal our relationship with Nature, to change the way we grow our food and build our communities.
As Noam Chomsky says, again and again: the information is out there. The people who care are out there. You just have to do a little more work than turning on your TV, or turning to mainstream media outlets. Dig and search through the internet. The voices are there, and they are speaking to you, to me. We don’t have to submit to the dissimulation, the lies of our mainstream political parties. We do have power, and we do have a voice. Love, empathy, compassion for others are values that are still alive, albeit hidden from view.
Sometimes it takes more courage to love than to go to war. We all recognize the voice of truth, and the qualities of integrity. That is why so many people love Bernie Sanders. And if more people knew about Bernie, they would love him and the values he represents too. This is why awareness is so important and why it is key to know that we have to be critical consumers of our media and social media. I had to do some digging to find out about the amazing work of Green Party candidate, Jill Stein. She is not allowed to participate in presidential debates, yet she and many other independents are running for president. She and many other strong voices are not heard because they are intentionally ignored by mainstream media, whose interest is to promote establishment candidates and to keep things as they are.
Hillary Clinton is leading in the Democratic race due to illegal practices such as voter suppression, limited and negative media exposure about Bernie Sander’s campaign as well as promotion of untruths about the campaign and outright lies about his supporters. A great deal of money and effort goes into the Democratic Party’s fight to promote the continuation of the status quo: the ongoing enrichment of its members, support for the war machine and for Wall Street, and intentional suppression of the voices of independent voters (closed primaries).
Critical thinking and consumption of the media is key if we want to truly live in a democracy. Right now, we don’t have a democracy. If we want to build one, we can. By taking back our power and expressing our individual voices. By expressing our values. By protecting our environment and the futures of our children. Stop sweating bullets. Stop supporting candidates who don’t support you or a better quality of life for you and your family. Don’t believe everything that you hear. Listen to your own heart and mind. Find the voices that are authentic, and share with others who are like-minded.