Sunday, July 6, 2014

Root Of Evil

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (I Timothy 6:10, NIV)." Indeed. How I abhor the fact that our culture forces upon me the need to be so mindful of mammon.

I have savings accounts that I have been socking money into because I have to be prepared for emergencies, and because I don't want to face old age practically resourceless. It's not as much as it could have been had I ignored people needing help or family members who have no one else to help them. But I suppose that if society were a kinder place, where human need was not in constant play against human greed, the ranks of the needy would be greatly reduced.

I'm just saying that it bothers me that every time I consider helping others I have to consider how it will impact my own life. It's not purely selfish motives at play here. If we can avoid being a burden to others it will help those others
I'm shocked to find that today there are still between 20 and 30 million people (I've seen various estimates) who are still in slavery. Wikipedia states that most of these slaves are in South Asia, where debt bondage flourishes. Could anything other than viral greed be back of this?

My own country, the United States, has a very ugly history with slavery. That because the wealthy wanted to retain their wealth and gain ever greater wealth from the labor of others. We may have ridded our economic system of that "peculiar institution," but it has been replaced now by wage slavery - a system whereby the common laborer must lose more and more freedom, face greater health and safety risks, work harder than ever for less pay, as their "masters," the greedy CEOs, makes over three hundred times their wages.

Not to get all political here, but has anyone else noticed how dutifully the media reports on our legislators who fear increasing the minimum wage will put a strain on companies and result in lower levels of employment, while ignoring the fact that reining in CEO perks and pay would allow a fairer, healthier system overall? A company could remain profitable, probably more so, if better wages were paid the workers from the overabundance of the CEOs.

I ranted last time about the medical establishment. Again, I see the love of money as the taproot of the problem. The healing arts once was a ministry for the good of humankind. Now it has become another vehicle for financiers to gain wealth off the suffering of others.

When I was a baby President Eisenhower left office and in his farewell address warned us to beware what he called the military-industrial complex. We obviously didn't listen, because war is big business now and our leaders seem ever desirous to keep us at war, thus feeding the machine.

Hey yeah, politics. It has been said that we in the US have the best democracy money can buy. Follow the money. See how many big corporations and lobbies contribute to candidates from both parties (and why must we saddled with this two-party system anyway?) so that whoever wins will be beholden to them. In our democratic aristocracy we find that for the first time in history the majority of our Congress is made up of millionaires. Can that be a good thing?

In this day and age might makes right. Might being mammon, there. Our media are controlled by the wealthy corporations. Can we get the straight dope on anything anymore? Investigative reporting has taken a back seat to fluff reporting that keeps the ratings high and cash flowing in. Too much commentary and not enough straight reporting, because the sheeple must trained, not educated and informed.

I could go on and on. But what to do besides bitch and moan? Well, I try as much as possible to live life on my own terms. As for my own wage slavery, my savings allows me to opt out of some forms (but not all!) of overtime I might otherwise feel obliged to accept. It shields me from many abuses. I have the option of taking a lesser paying, lesser nerve-rattling position. That l have not considered yet because I still have my elderly mother to look out for, but one day....

I am now proudly debt-free and hope to stay that way barring any health crisis. My savings should take care of most other emergencies. For years now I have lived a life of voluntary simplicity and have become quite the critic of consumerism. The Joneses can kiss my ass and so can anyone else who looks down on my frugality. As much as I try to help others I can't help chiding them if I perceive they are putting their own necks in the noose. I don't give anyone the shirt off my back without first inquiring how they came to have no shirt. Sadly, most of those in need just haven't cultivated the fortitude to make the hard choices necessary to gain more freedom. And yes, I realize this is easier to do for a bachelor such as me than for a married person with kids. But everyone can simplify and avoid the keep-up-with trap.

Lastly, I think knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have the more tools you have. The problem is getting good, unbiased information. That is very, very difficult. Everyone has an angle and a vested interest. But it helps to keep an open mind and not be troubled about going against the "common knowledge" and accepted wisdom. Experts are often wrong. Still, we would be fools to ignore what they say. I just think we would be fools to place authorities on pedestals and not question anything. Anyone who has studied the history of any body of knowledge cannot help but see that time brings more light and revises old theories.

I often marvel how money has no value besides that placed upon it by the human imagination. The lower animals get along well without because they operate under another system. (A mouse would shred hidden paper money because it desires a comfy bed over a savings account.) I think the less we can worship money, the less we are forced to depend on it, the more we can eliminate our lust for it, the happier overall we will be. Kinder, too. As I said, I hate being forced to hoard what money I do, because, speaking frankly, it is almost impossible to get along without it in our system of doing things. I know I can't change the system but can only adjust myself to make the best of it.


  1. Great post Doug. So, so true.

    1. Thanks, Sylvia. Something else I might have added is a curious aspect of the Great Depression days - at least as I've gathered from reading about it and listened to my parents and others talk about it - is the way it brought out a spirit of cooperation among people, of looking out for one another. That seems to be so missing from our modern "I've got mine, now you get yours if you can" society..

  2. Compassion for others less fortunate than us is surely missing. The society we are becoming saddens me.