Image: “Big Fish Eat Little Fish” by Peter Bruegel
Most of the great problems of the world are due to the systems we create. Whenever we face their inevitable fallout, we tend to deflect the blame towards the fates, the powers that be, or some other party. We seem to be unable to face the possibility that this is our doing because that involves taking responsibility of our accumulative actions. The first step to change this is to realize that we ourselves are an evolving biological system going on a billion years and that we are all in this together. It’s either everybody or nobody. Second, we accept that our creative capacity as a species is how we have lasted this long but could very well be our undoing.
Let’s consider the economy.
We conjured the early economic systems when we started attributing value to goods and services. Supply and demand. Along with currencies came pricing mechanisms. Political powers began to leverage the systems, strange gears locking into place in spooky machinery. German philosopher Max Stirner used the term “spooks” to describe the abstractions that exert continuous pressure on us, directing and influencing our lives, whether we acknowledge them or not. That would make the economy with its markets, supposedly guided by an “invisible hand,” one of great haunts of the 21st century.
This particular system is a magnificent mess because it works in conjunction with other systems that are a mess in their own right, notably politics, technology, and ourselves. We have this machinery running in the background of our societies and occasionally it tears us to pieces.
We need to remove this schism between ourselves and what we bring into the world and hold ourselves accountable for our creations. We can either be mindful of them or remain haunted by them.
We need to look unflinchingly at our reality (if we can even agree on what that is) and remind ourselves that this is our design. More importantly, this understanding must result in action.
It doesn’t have our best interests at heart.
And it’s not going to fix itself.
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
— Buckminster Fuller
In order to not lose our heads in this time of cultural acceleration, we need to remind ourselves that this is our design and work towards a better future.
Published previously on Medium