Wealth is a massive force in society, empowering and magnifying all aspects of human nature and human desire. It creates animal sanctuaries here, slaughterhouses there. It manifests tower cranes to build one city and cluster bombs to destroy another.
So, wealth is not the root of all evil, nor is it a cause of all good. It’s just a force that amplifies both the creative and destructive elements of human nature.
At its best, capitalism frees our human spirit to explore and innovate, showering society with material rewards. At its worst, it compels us to pursue wealth at any cost… sometimes to the detriment of those around us… including wildlife and the environment.
Capitalism can create ambrosia and venom and everything in between… depending mostly upon the motivations that drive us to create… or to destroy.
Fortunately, we humans are essentially a good lot. To say that we each have a decent streak is an understatement. Fact is, at our core we’re each a perfect, divine being with boundless love and wisdom.
Unfortunately, that perfect core, that spiritual self, is buried under a clutter of fear, mistrust, animosity, craving, and lust. Those savage impulses helped our ancestors survive in a somewhat rugged and ruthless physical world where life killed life to survive… and they make us, today, behave rather badly at times.
That noble-savage struggle has been raging within us humans down through the ages, and fortunately it’s our noble side that eventually wins out. Without exception, after all the drama, it’s our essence of love and good will, shining at the core of every human being, that finally prevails.
Knowing that, capitalism should, by and large, be a good thing for humanity. But somewhere along the line, something went wrong.
What went wrong? Corporations. Created as legal entities with limited liability, business corporations are essentially large, lumbering individuals without conscience… savage beings without a soul. And I mean that literally as well as figuratively. Corporations can compete (indeed, they’re mandated by law to maximize profits for shareholders) with little regard to their impact on the larger social systems and ecosystems around them. And as a result, things have been going seriously wrong. For example…
Healthcare in the States has become a profit-from-suffering business, where pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and health regulators (FDA, USDA, AHA…) all play a part in keeping the public unhealthy, treating patients with costly drugs and procedures that often do further damage… causing a downward spiral of worsening health and endless treatment. My mother-in-law, Reggie, had mild heart irregularities most of her life with no associated problems, but when doctors prescribed blood-thinning medications to “normalize” her heart, she had a series of mild strokes… causing dementia throughout her final years. It’s a familiar story for modern Americans—getting pulled into the downward medical spiral. It’s caused largely by ruthless competition among drug-makers, and it’s one example of noxious capitalism causing problems today.
Nicotine bees are another example… less familiar, perhaps, but far more ominous. Bees pollinate some 90 percent of the world’s crops, and without them, those crops wouldn’t reproduce. Lately there’s been an international plague of CCD (colony collapse disorder), in which entire hives suddenly die. Up to 97 percent of some bee species have already died off, most likely the result of neonicotinoid pesticides sprayed on crops. Nicotine makes bees crazy, so that when worker bees fly off to gather nectar and pollinate plants, they get intoxicated by nicotine and forget where the hive is. The queens and their broods are left alone, and they quickly die off. Meanwhile, the manufacturer (Bayer) has convinced the EPA to allow the on-going use of its neonicotinoid pesticide (clothianidin).
So, the swelling ranks of the sick, and the dwindling ranks of honeybees are just two of many serious symptoms of a sick world caused today by noxious capitalism, in which a desire for wealth for a few, outweigh the needs and well-being of all. Such problems are caused by a disconnection between our savage, material self (motivated largely by fear and raw desire) and our noble, spiritual self (motivated by love and good will). As long as corporations are allowed to run the show, the human spirit will be ignored to an ever greater extent, and disorders such as these will continue to grow in number and severity.
Other articles about science and the human spirit:
The material mind skews logic to explain consciousness — Science and NDEs — More modern-day epicycles — Foreign-accent syndrome — Measuring maya — Asteroids pummeled Earth for 2 billion years — Exoplanets and the prospect we’re not alone! — Combat killing and the human spirit — Noxious capitalism and the human spirit — Aurora theater tragedy — News in perspective — Pfrankenstein’s monster: big pharma — Preventing that pesky apocalyse — Updating the Therapists’ DSM Bible