Monday, March 6, 2017

Don't Buy The Narratives

We like to think we are free. That we have free choice. That God granted us free will. I think we believe this because it makes us feel good. It makes us feel like that American dream is right there, ready for us to take. All we have to do is choose to take it.
But this is only part of the story. We are also subject to our environments. We see what we see, and maybe even more importantly, we don’t see what we don’t see.
Go to school, get a job, get married, buy a house, fill it with stuff, have a family. This is one of the narratives that I think many of us do see. We see it on TV.  We hear it from people who love us.  It is encoded into our society.   However, this narrative is itself wrapped inside other narratives. Its dependent on some things to be true.  It also causes some things to need to be true.  Here are few of those adjoining narratives:
  1. That inequality is virtuous. Winning all of something at the risk of winning all of nothing is inherently unavoidable, but it goes beyond unavoidable - its actually good.  Its good for us.
  2. That there are "haves" and "have-nots" is all part of the game - its unavoidable.
  3. Employment is the path to success and as a result, unemployment is also inherently unavoidable.
  4. That if you just have enough money you can eventually have anything you want.
  5. That wanting things is the first step on a pathway that results in actually having them: Wanting stuff is good.
  6. That competition is better than collaboration in all circumstances.
  7. That participating in the competition is a human right.
  8. The right to compete is inherent to liberty and freedom.
  9. We can't possibly be happy if we eliminate the potential for us each individually to be wealthy - a member of the 1%.
These are some of the narratives under which we are all operating.
Don’t buy them.

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