The luxuries we have not only provide our safety, protect our health, and allow us to do more than humans – or any other Earthen organism – have done before but they also condemn us to a lifetime of labor – a lifetime of servitude and slavery where, aside from insignificant breaks here and there, at most we will receive freedom just before our death when we are no longer able to work and no longer able to fully enjoy the benefits we produced during all of our years of work. Pointing this out – to complain as I do now – is deemed ridiculous because, after all, most of us here in America are better off than the poor around the world but what is too often left unmentioned is the fact that those poor are poor because of our demand for the very luxuries that enslave us. The poor of Earth farm, prepare, and serve the foods we devour, manufacture the clothes that humanity wears, and mine the rocks and minerals that make up our buildings and wire our devices. All of humanity depends on the cheap products of the poor’s labor and yet all of humanity – even those with plenty of food, nice clothes, safe homes, and modern devices – is trapped in the same cycle in which only a few thrive while the majority’s prosperity withers away.
This cycle is unsustainable.
As more become poor and fewer become rich, social unrest rises. This inequality plants seeds of discord – seeds of unrest as more and more humans live lives and die deaths that are unsatisfying. Prophets and philosophers have spoken of discord – of inequality and unrest – for centuries and have predicted miraculous revolutions that will bring about utopias – Heavens on Earth. Perfect, equal and just societies – but these perfect futures never come and seem to move further and further away, all the while, the inequality between those at the top and those at the bottom becomes more and more extreme. These prophets and philosophers claim that the growing unfairness – these seeds of inequality and unrest, seeds of discord – will climax, will reach a peak and tip over – these seeds will bear fruit – and revolutionaries will rise above the chaos to deliver humanity into paradise but, time and time again, revolutions rise and fall and their products bring progress but it slowly decays – thriving until the people become complacent, until the prophets and philosophers die and the revolution grows tired and passive, and the society begins to move backwards. The detour ends and humanity returns to the natural system of growing inequality.
This is how humanity has operated for centuries. Before humanity was interconnected, when societies were separate and distant and different, they still followed the same optimistic but ultimately unwinding timeline. While social progress continues to rise and fall within specific nations and states, scientific progress remains the one constant. Technology will advance with or without discord, inequality and unrest. Humans will continue to create more and more complex societies and more and more complex knowledge. And through these systems humanity has found a knew level of consciousness – a meta-level of consciousness – a level of awareness and connection with which we can collaborate and orchestrate ourselves – humanity as a whole, as a species – and our future like never before. We can recognize the trends of our pasts, the failures of our empires, and the necessary steps we must take to allow human civilization to thrive. Before this era, we were civilization’s primary obstacles. But, as humanity has finally come of age, we find ourselves in search of a future on a planet constrained not only by our own species’ flaws, but by the raw materials, nonhuman organisms, and the universe in which we live. The time for us to solve our own differences is running short, soon, we as a species, we as the most ambitious and successful form of life we have yet to encounter, must consider not only the conditions of the individuals within our civilization but also the condition of our species on planet Earth.
Prophets and philosophers spoke of revolutions and utopias that never came and we will soon run out of time to continue waiting. We as humans, as members of this vast, interconnected civilization must consciously come together. We must assess the inequalities within our own societies and the inequalities between our societies, the lingering discord in human civilization, and then assess the sustainability and revise the inefficiencies in our interactions with the raw materials and other life forms on our planet. Finally, we must devise a plan to move forward. A plan to not only continue the future of our species, of life as we know it, but also to modify the way in which we cooperate with our environment, those organisms we share this planet with and those resources we tread upon, in order to ultimately break the pattern of discord and expand equality, justice, and opportunity for our species as we seek to deliver humanity into not only the future but eternity.
We are humans. We are civilization. We are good. We are amazing.
We must win this game that is our existence and we can only win it together.