By Gary Z McGee
Source: Waking Times
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” ~Jiddu Krishnamurti
What makes our society so sick? How do we know for sure that our society is unhealthy? Is there a way to reason our way into a clear explanation for why our society is unfit for healthy human beings attempting to evolve in a healthier way?
It really comes down to answering one critical question: Do you want to live, or do you want to die? As Albert Camus famously stated, “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.” It seems extreme, but in order to get down to the crux of the issue, we need to ask extreme questions.
If your answer is ‘life,’ then it stands to reason that you want that life to be as healthy as possible. If your answer is suicide, then obviously all other questions of survival are irrelevant, and you fall under the null hypothesis.
Let’s assume that your answer is ‘life.’ What is the next logical question? It stands to reason that all subsequent questions would be: What do I need to do in order to continue my survival? The first answer to that question must be: I need to breathe clean air. After that? I need to drink clean water. Then, I need to eat healthy food. And then, I need to find healthy human relations. So on, and so forth.
This gives us a four-fold foundation to begin to see why the system is so unhealthy, while possibly shedding some light on how we can heal our profoundly sick society. Let’s break it down…
1. Our Society Pollutes the Air
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” ~Aldo Leopold
So, you want to live? Well you’ve got to breathe air. And if you want to live healthy, you must breathe clean air. The first fundamental reason how we know we live in a profoundly sick society is when it becomes evident that our society is directly affecting the quality of the air in a negative and unhealthy way.
Forget the ongoing debate about climate change and global warming. Some people’s cognitive dissonance is so powerful that no amount of arguing will convince them. It will only solidify their hardheaded stance.
Focus instead on the real problem; something we can all agree on: pollution. There is no denying that our society’s excessive use of fossil fuels is a dangerous air pollutant. Just look at the horizon in almost every single major city on the planet. If it’s harming the air quality there, then it’s harming the air quality everywhere. The planet is an interconnected system. Everything is connected to everything else. Especially when it comes to the flow of air.
It’s simple: when our waste output exceeds the planet’s ability to absorb it in a healthy way –that is to say, in a way that preserves the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community– then we know, without a doubt, that it’s unhealthy and that we must scale back. Otherwise, our health and the planet’s health, is compromised.
A society that continues to output more waste into the air than the atmosphere can absorb in a healthy way is a profoundly sick society.
2. Our Society Pollutes the Water
“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” ~Jacques Yves Cousteau
So, you’ve decided you want to live and you’ve taken care of breathing air. The next step, if you wish to continue your survival, is to find clean water. This is no easy task in a sick society.
As predicted, the Keystone Pipeline has leaked. Twice! Once on May 4, 2017 (84,000 gallons of oil) and on November 16, 2017 (210,000 gallons). Then there was the Iowa Pipeline (140,000 gallons) on January 31, 2017, the Rover Pipeline in Ohio on May 10, 2017, and the Texas Pipeline (over 50,000 gallons of crude oil) on July 13, 2017. Then there was the Gulf of Mexico oil spill (400,000 gallons of oil). And these were just a few of the larger spills in 2017 alone.
The real war being fought on this planet is between water protectors (healthy people) and oil mongers (unhealthy people). Water represents life, and oil represents entropy. But, it’s not quite so simple. There is a kind of yin-yang dynamic going on here. The white dot on the oil side of the yin-yang represents energy and progress. The black dot on the water side of the yin-yang represents pollution. We use oil for energy to propel our civilizations progressively forward but at a great cost –rampant, poisonous pollution.
The problem is that the black dot on the water side is getting out of control, leading to environmental collapse at best and ecocide at worst. If we’re not careful, the yin-yang of our world is going to be a black mass of oily entropy spinning through space –a burnt-out husk of a planet. Something’s got to give.
Oil has been an industrious boon for our species. No doubt. It helped us achieve many technological marvels. But we were naïve to its pollutant power. At this point, the pollution is so bad that it supersedes the gain. Burning oil, coal, and gas is simply too toxic for us and our environment. We cannot, in good conscience, continue to burn through this now outdated mode of energy use. If we would be a healthy society, we must switch to solar, wind, electric, tide, and especially hemp, or we will burn ourselves out.
A society that continues to use outdated energy-producing methods which cannot be absorbed by their environment in a healthy way, is a profoundly sick society.
3. Our Society Pollutes Our Food
“I screamed at god for the starving child, until I realized that God was the child screaming at me.” ~Unknown
So, you still want to live, and you’ve managed to breathe air and drink water. The next step is to consume clean and healthy food. Again, this is no easy task in a sick society.
From Agent Orange to Roundup, from Nestle to Monsanto, from DDT to GMO, from Fukushima to overfished waters, from hoarding to unnecessary starvation, and everything in between, the range of ways our society has managed to destroy our food supply is laughable.
Do you know why so many fish products are mislabeled? Because corporations don’t have the guts to tell you that the fish you like are practically gone. Yes, 70%of the world’s fisheries are either completely exploited, overexploited or collapsed as a result of overfishing and warmer waters. This should come as a wake-up call of the highest order.
Again, human pollution is the biggest part of the problem. Especially plastic pollution. But another big part of the problem is how we farm, how we distribute (or lack thereof), and how we waste our food. The utter failure of our distribution system undermines the health of our species. It prevents people from thriving because they are expending all their vital energy on merely surviving.
On one end of the spectrum, we have wealthy people hoarding and/or wasting enough food to feed an entire third-world country; on the other end, we have the poor pinching pennies to eat the unhealthiest (but cheapest) “food” ever created: fast food.
One way to fix at least part of this daunting problem is through polyculture farming. Where monoculture is about industry, polyculture is about diversity. Monoculture suffers from a lack of biodiversity and nutrients in soil. Polyculture thrives with biodiversity and replenishes soil. Monoculture requires pesticides. Polyculture is a function of biological pest control. Monoculture is unnatural. Polyculture is natural. Monoculture leads to disease and famine. Polyculture leads to abundance and permaculture. Monoculture is about money over people. Polyculture is about people and healthy food over money.
A society that continues to pollute, mismanage, hoard, poison, and poorly distribute its own food supply is a profoundly sick society.
4. Our Society Creates Unhealthy Individuals
“The system cannot be fixed by the system.” ~Tom Morello
So, you’ve managed to breathe air, drink water, and eat food. But is it healthy? The question ‘do we live in a profoundly sick society’ comes down to this critical question: is the air, the water, and the food we are consuming healthy? If not, is it because of something our society is doing to the air, the water, and the food that is causing it to be unhealthy? If so, what are you, as a member of society, going to do about it?
Are you just going to ignore it and hope it works itself out? Are you going to wait for technology to bail us out somehow? Are you waiting for a hero to save the day?
The main reason we live in a profoundly sick society is because most people do nothing about the unhealthy system that props it up. As a result, we live in a sick society that creates unhealthy individuals which creates more unhealthy individuals. The unhealthy cycle will continue to repeat itself until healthy-minded individuals rise-up to change it. This is an arduously Herculean task, but no task is more important. The very health, indeed the very evolution, of our species is at stake.
When it comes down to it, a society that breathes dirty air, drinks polluted water, eats poisoned food and then continues to do all the things that cause dirty air, polluted water and poisoned food is a profoundly sick society.