The current state of the world is one of vastly unequal power between the majority of the people and a handful of wealthy individuals who control many industries. To understand how we’ve gotten to this point, we need to look back to the rise of the powerful few through history.
Before we get into the story of how the powerful few rose to power, it’s important to remember the power of words and labels. Just because characters from a story look like you or identify with the same labels, does not mean you are directly part of their group. A few individuals of a group cannot define everyone who identifies with the same label.
Smart leaders are ones that take popular ideas and adapt them to fit their narrative. The Roman Empire was one of the greatest powers the world has ever seen. They achieved their power by conquering new lands but allowing the locals to keep their lifestyle if they paid taxes to the government. The Roman gods were basically adaptations of the Greek gods, the neighboring culture whose empire was overpowered and consumed by the Romans. The implementation of Christianity saw the use of religion and religious officials to govern the people.
Under Christian rule, leaders could command troops to kill nonbelievers in the name of the all-powerful god. With no separation between church and state, god became the authority to ensure human-made laws were followed. With this mentality, as well as the now commonplace concept of property, factions began to fight over resources within Europe. Those factions, due to the need for survival, developed new and more efficient technology to kill and conquer.
Strongholds were made as a way to protect the people from enemy raiders, although the close proximity of the population caused more problems. A growing population within a small area, especially without hygienic awareness, caused a massive sickness commonly called the Plague. Those who survived the sickness and their descendents now carried the antibodies giving them immunity.
By the time the European factions built boats to travel to new lands, they had armor and weapons beyond that of the rest of the world’s population as well as a hidden biological threat. When the white men landed on new shores, indigenous humans with darker skin saw the armored “white man” as different than them. This difference, coupled with the advanced weaponry and a religious sense of world ownership, caused the “white man” to discount the human qualities of the indigenous and treat them as animals.
In the Americas, the arrival of the “white man” coincided with a local revolution leaving a gutted military and government. Add in the spread of disease that the white men carried within them and it’s no wonder the Americas fell to the “white man’s” military might.
Colonies were established in these new places with the sole purpose of making money. Resources were harvested for sale back in Europe and the owners of the colonial farms made lots of money. Many farms were worked by the indigenous people or by slaves who were shipped away from their homelands and treated as tools.
With the rise of industrialization and the popularization of money, many feudal and tribal regions morphed into factories and farms to harvest or make resources to be shipped elsewhere. Electricity sped up the process of harvesting and making goods to be traded meaning more money could be made in less time. However, the workers would continue to work the same hours because there was no limit to how much money the owners could make.
Natural selection of businesses means the most powerful businesses today are the ones with dominant adaptations or simply the old ones who pass off power to the next generation instead of dying. Nature works because there is a limit to how much energy a top predator can consume. Money has no limit meaning businesses can always make more money and allow the next generation to continue where the last one left off. As far as businesses go, a change of management is the equivalent to a new generation.
A handful of corporations now have nearly total control of almost every industry. Their money represents power in our capitalist society and they have enough to buy themselves more power. The law has no power to stop these companies because the words of the law is what we follow instead of the intention. Lawyers are adept at finding loopholes in legislation while still following the exact words. For example, a monopoly is illegal but many companies have their toes in several interlinked industries. Just because a company owns most of an industry and not all doesn’t mean the intention of the law is being followed.
The powerful few have the money to hire their own lawyers to seek out loopholes to get them more money. They also have enough to donate to open funds used by politicians who support them, a type of corruption with an extra step. This means the powerful few have the power to subvert the law and even change it by controlling politicians. Many of our current laws have been created to protect the powerful few while harming the people they don’t like. The War on Drugs is a perfect example of this.
The abolition of slavery was intended to put everyone back on the same playing ground but forgot to take away the head start of white people. The land owning white men already had money and were raised to believe the “dark man” was lesser to them. Racism and sexism had already been institutionalized and the leaders wanted to keep it that way by allocating non-whites to specific neighborhoods called low-income. Within these neighborhoods, drugs and guns were introduced by the powerful few as a means to keep the people fighting and distracted.
Cannabis, a drug statistically common in non-white groups was marked illegal in the early 1900s. This directly led to the imprisonment of many dark skinned citizens. This isn’t to say white people didn’t use it, they just weren’t arrested for their use. Those “criminals” had to be held somewhere and the powerful few found a new type of industry to exploit: punishment.
Private prisons allow companies to make money from the government by holding prisoners. More prisoners mean more money so non-violent drug users are treated as resources. The environment within the prison is meant to bring convicts back instead of rehabilitate them because it means more money for the company.
Companies, whose power comes from money, are currently the most powerful entities on the planet because they have convinced the people that their money is powerful. We’ve developed a system that, while helpful for avoiding uneven trades, means an imaginary number gives you power if you have more of it than others.
Beyond corporation owners, think about the professions that make the most money: lawyers, doctors, bankers, businessmen, and entertainers. Lawyers and doctors can charge whatever they want because it’s your freedom or health at stake. Bankers hold onto other people’s money giving them the perfect opportunity to gamble with low stakes for themselves. Businesses are all about trading money between them, meaning the amounts traded can increase for no particular reason.
The most criminal industry, in my opinion, is insurance. Insurance companies work based on the premise that something bad might happen and they advertise by appealing to the uncertainties of customers. These companies give a money “safety net” to the people but can also charge whatever they want for that “safety.”
Entertainers are rich for an entirely different reason, which brings us to the other side of the inequality: the people. The Information Age has given us the tools to understand ourselves and our surroundings like never before. The most influential aspect of the Internet is social media, and it’s effects on us are a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand it gives us a means to communicate with more people than any point in history. On the other hand, it hijacks our attention and keeps us distracted.
Social media allows for socialization on the open and endless Internet which means niches will soon form. Social media is entertainment provided by you which means you only consume information that you already know and like. Seeing the opinions you already have displayed for you over and over solidifies those neural paths further, making them “more true.” This is a compounded mirroring effect that leads to extremes. You look for your opinions, you believe everyone has those opinions and then look for more extreme versions of those opinions.
Markets have formed from extremes that are catered to specific niches and completely ignore, or insult, others. The increasing extremes of online niches causes us to see each other as significantly more different than we are. We put up labels and fall back on the crowd that agrees with us for validation. At a time when humanity is more connected than ever, we are more separated than ever.
Think about a classic social environment: a high school. In a high school, there are individuals who are interested in their physical appearance, others who are interested in sports, some are members of political groups or debate clubs, and others just don’t want to talk to anyone at all.
With the compounded mirroring of social media, those characteristics become more extreme. Vanity, or love of physical self, is at an all-time high with selfies and filters. Famous athletes have become more influential than government officials. Political niches separate people because they identify as a certain label. Introverted culture has become widespread with more of us choosing to watch Netflix alone at home instead of going out and meeting a stranger.
Of course, high schoolers eventually grow up and forget their selfish traits. Unfortunately, the powerful few found that social media is a great way to make money. Advertisers can now track what you click and where you look as you scroll through your personalized news feed. They have bought the media companies intended to deliver truth to the people and have adapted them to give extreme perspectives designed to pull a specific audience.
Some of the powerful few own news networks with opposite political leaning to guarantee competition to work in their favor. They are trying, and succeeding, to keep us in our high school mentality fighting with each other over differences that they tell us exist. They are painting a narrative of the world using news companies to do it, and the worst part is that their narrative doesn’t include them at all. “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
If we boil down the world’s population into a kindergarten class, the powerful few is that kid who keeps taking all the markers and papers and scissors from everyone else, letting the rest of the class fight over the scraps. He spreads rumors through the morning announcements and points out differences between how the other students look to distract them. All the while, no teacher is present to step in and stop this.
According to religious beliefs, an omnipotent god would not allow such behavior, especially when it’s causing so much harm to so many others. It’s time for us to face the truth about god. If you would still like to personally believe in god, that’s fine but you must accept that s/he is not paying attention.
In a classroom, we expect the teacher to do what’s right but without a teacher, it’s up to us and only us. When we treat the world and our lives as simply a waiting room for a better existence beyond, we don’t particularly care about the state of the waiting room when we leave. It’s time to accept that there is no god so we can move forward and fix the problems at hand on our own.
The industries necessary to the future of a society, agriculture and education, do not make money and therefore are neglected by the people in charge. Teachers are responsible for raising the next generation but little aid, if any, is given to them. Farmers are the reason that you are alive today because they grow your food and yet they are some of the most poorly treated members of our society.
Beyond all our human squabbles, the single largest problem in the world today is the changing climate due to the overuse of fossil fuels and the global resource collection of the powerful few. These individuals have the means to kill thousands of organisms for the sake of increasing their profits. They have the means to start wars for resources and can even collect money from the weapons that arm the enemies. These people are responsible for the deaths of thousands of humans and millions of other organisms because the only resource that matters to them is an imaginary number. If god did exist, why would s/he care about a number that we made up?
The planet is changing faster than ever before and while Earth has gone through worse, the change has never occurred this quickly. The planet is already heating up at ten times the speed it would naturally and that rate is only increasing. It’s important to remember that we are not “killing our planet.” The planet will continue to exist but it will adapt to the changes we’ve made. Life will always persist, but at this rate we might not be a part of that persistent life.
We developed a means to trade goods and services to allow for progress through creativity and competition. Unfortunately, the resource used to buy everything is also needed to stay alive. You need money to buy food and shelter and there is an increasing population that is struggling to provide it for themselves and their families.
The vast majority of the money, 99% of it, is being held by a few powerful individuals. Their ownership of the industries of the world only means that our earned money goes back to them. If money is needed for food which is needed for life, by the transitive property a handful of billionaires are taking the lives of the people.
Social media has given us a platform to share our thoughts with others and learn from them. The personality of the people is coming out and people are feeling the confidence to be themselves. Through the lens of social media, the population is now more accepting of differences, more willing to help and spread love, and more open to new information than ever before.
While we are the most interconnected generation of humans in existence, we have become the most detached from previous generations. Our level of increasing technology and the improving standard of life allow us to forget the strifes of many other humans on the planet. We consume entertainment and our own lives on social media without remembering how good we have it. Do not forget that it is a miracle you are alive and your comfort is only possible because of an unbelievable series of events.
The powerful few are happy to give you as much comfort as you want and even more for you to raise your expectations. The ever increasing technology gives opportunities to normalize technological marvels like air-conditioning or tap water. People who are separated diversify and forget. Eventually they become different enough to forget what made them similar in the first place. When first-world luxuries become basic expectations of life, we separate from a majority of the rest of the human population.
Our love would never let such injustice happen to our own. It’s our recognized and established differences that allow us to look on and do nothing. Do not let your desire for a comfortable life let you forget the other members of your species. We are all one family: all of humanity, all of life.
Through the surge of information from the Internet, we are becoming aware of ourselves like never before, often using science. We are becoming aware of our bodies and the benefits of nutrition and working out. We are becoming aware of the uphill climb of the standard 9am-5pm job. We are becoming aware of the institutionalized racism and sexism throughout the world. We are becoming aware of the human suffering from wars, disease and hunger. We are aware that we are changing our planet faster than we could ever adapt to it, bringing to mind the possibility of extinction.
It’s time for us to enter the Enlightened Age and take control of the progress of our species. “There is a war going on for your mind,” an entity composed of a few people want control of the “hearts and minds of the people.” That entity has been known by many names like Illuminati, Templars, or billionaires. Your mind is yours and you always have final control over it. We have the numbers which means we have the true power. Let’s take back the world for us, the people. The time is now for us to change the world to what we want it to become.