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Some Awkward Questions

Let us begin with a few questions about the present that may be difficult, embarrassing or uncomfortable to answer.

We are the richest nation in the world. Where has all the money gone? Why don't we have money to fix roads, house the homeless, feed the hungry, take care of our health, support our parks and libraries? Where the hell has all the money gone?

Inhibited sexual desire, impotent men, non-orgasmic women, frustration, dissatisfaction. The estimate is that HALF of all relationships are sexually dysfunctional. What is wrong with our psychosexual development that this is true? What is wrong with our psychosexual development that some are sexually fixated on children?

You and I are supposed to. Does it seem that way to you? When was the last time you felt you had a significant impact on a political decision that affected your life?

They become perpetuators and supporters of The System par excellence, meanwhile they get their own cut. Like prison trustees, they work with a certain level of freedom within the prison, or they become a guard, or aspire to the warden's office. Oh how The System urges us to strive to be good little boys and girls.

People who can't or don't read and who can't figure with numbers? Who can't and mostly don't think clearly and independently? That's what an education system is supposed to do: produce people who can read and figure and think for themselves. But worse still, why does it produce people who do not know how to lead a rich and satisfying life, and apparently have no idea how to go about finding out how to lead a rich and satisfying life?

Is the world the way it is because of God? Did God create a world in which some thrive and others despair and that's the way it should be? Is the world the way it is because of Nature, and humankind are only doing what God and Nature dictate? Is the world that way it is because of people? Because of power, because of money, because of love, because of evil? Maybe the world is the way it is because of a complicated complex of forces that include beliefs about God, Nature, Humankind, human lust for power and money, some love, some evil.... But the answer we provide individually and collectively to this question determines the possibilities, results, and consequences.

"How is it that nearly two hundred years after the birth of the Industrial Revolution, which produced humanity's greatest period of economic expansion, the absolute number of those living in misery, both material and social, has grown exponentially (emphasis added)?

"How is it that the world's slum population has developed at a rate vastly greater than that of global population growth(1)? And how is it that despite incredible technological innovations the world now faces man-made threats of a quite different magnitude from the wars, famines, epidemics, and other upheavals of previous dark ages?

"Climate change threatens the stability of life; progressive destruction of the ozone layer could convert everyday sunlight into a mortal danger; both fresh and sea water are being poisoned; land and soil are being debased; the air in many areas is becoming dangerous to breathe, the food we eat is polluted by toxic chemicals; and as United Nations Environmental Minister Maurice Strong said, we are living with the threat of 'up to forty potential Chernobyls waiting to happen', and that in Eastern Europe and the ex-Soviet Union alone(2).

"How is it that humanity's greatest leap forward in material prosperity has resulted in extreme social breakdown, and that our greatest period of technological and scientific achievement as come to endanger the conditions which allow life on earth? That is the extraordinary enigma which we must seek to understand."
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(1) United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report, 1994, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994; World Bank: World Population Projections: 1994-95 Edition, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press for The World Bank, August, 1994; More, C., The Industrial Age: Economy and Society in Britain 1750-1985, London: Longman's, 1989.

(2) 'The Specter of 40 More Chernobyls', New York Times, 22 March 1994.

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--Sir James Goldsmith
The Trap
Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1994
pp. 167-8

 

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© 1997, C. Grigsby, All Rights Reserved. 2 Aug 1998

Comments? E-mail to: Channing