2018 in Perspective

Divide & Conquer
12" x 12" mixed media on canvas
Our society is currently telling us on any given day that we are in danger. The covers of our magazines blare that we are getting older and losing our sex appeal. Headlines scream that menaces threaten our livelihood and borders. Pundits shout over one another over which party will dismantle our nation once and for all. 

So we agonize over losing all of our material possessions through tax hikes and rising interest rates. We are concerned that our partners will seek out others because we are not enough. We cling to celebrities as beacons, windows into lives we are too afraid to lead ourselves. And we thrive on the modern gladiator battles on social media to distract us. 

At a time when abundance seems so readily available, every want can be satisfied by a mere dollar amount, and technology can do all we ever imagined, our people have never been more miserable.

Perhaps its because the underlying message in all of this is that we must have iron gates around ourselves to keep what is ours. We must always look over our shoulders to elbow others out of the way who would seek to claim the possessions we’ve attained. For our trouble, we have a populace riddled with anxiety, paranoia, depression, and an overall sense of loneliness. So let me state the lie that has caused so much of this stress:

                                                                         Survival of the fittest.

Who exactly are we in competition with, I ask you? 

We are a far cry from having to survive on only our two hands in the wilderness. Yet the idea persists that in order to be truly happy and content we have to be the craftiest, wiliest, and most cutthroat. Competition, we are told, brings out the best in ourselves. It pushes us to our limits. These same enlightened demigods are ever ready to supply us with caffeine, antidepressants and other additives to override even those. Our society doesn’t prepare us for inevitable crash that comes from living life on the razor’s edge. Instead, it tells us that something is wrong with you if you even consider the possibility that living this way is wrong.

To me, 2018 hasn't been about identity politics or racial identity. It's not even about the "Blue Wave" in a system we all know is outrageously corrupt from the inside out. That's all smoke and mirrors. 2018 has been the year when the hierarchy blatantly declared our future will remain in the hands of a subset of humanity with the most money and connections by any means necessary. The atrocities around the globe, including an alarming number of high profile female assassinations, are testament to this fact.

In truth, the only color any of Earth's nations truly recognize is green. Greed is so thoroughly integrated within our global infrastructure that we turn actual good people away from leadership roles for being "bleeding hearts" or "naive." We actually expect and demand our leaders to be a little bit corrupt to get things done.

We also believe sacrificing the least of us is necessary for our overall survival. How else can any populace justify railroading millions out of voting rights, healthcare and social services if there wasn't already an inherent belief that those people should die off any way? Would any nation on this planet turn a blind eye to the collateral damage in every conflict if the leaders believed those deaths really mattered? The answer is no. I can also assure you that if the world's exclusive gated communities had to live on Flint, Michigan's water for a week, the situation would have been fixed a long time ago. In fact, it never would have happened.

If you study any of the conflicts for the last twenty years, they ALL began with resource shortages from natural disasters and detrimental environmental practices resulting in a global ecosystem on the brink of collapse. Nationalism, race, gender, religion, the markets - these are all excuses, not the cause. 

So where does that leave us? I'll tell you: awake.

This is one humanity on one planet. We're in this together, regardless of our continual focus our differences. When I saw David Attenborough pleading before the U.N. last week, I couldn't help but think of Jor-El in Superman trying to convince a disbelieving populace Krypton was in danger. But that's a work of fiction. It's far more horrifying when it's actually real. So in 2019, get active, be involved and know what's happening in the world around you beyond the screen. And remember:

Our planet is not partisan. Our existence is not political. And our collective survival is in peril. 
Light & Love on your paths.

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