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Daniel Pinchbeck - 03 Oct 2018
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I hate Capitalism because it elevates people who are good at the amoral activity of acquiring wealth above other people with different interests and talents, such as teaching children or gardening.

I hate capitalism.

Capitalism is a system that elevates psychologically crippled monstrosities like Trump and Kavanaugh to positions of power. Capitalism is based on the detached exploitation of natural resources and human beings. Capitalism directly causes our alienation from the Earth and one another, as we are forced to compete against each other in a “zero sum” neo-Darwinian game.

Capitalism creates an incessant need and desire for money. The need for money turns everyone into slaves. Capitalism distorts the human personality and individual psychology around the slavish worship and devotion to money.

Capitalism creates a false system of beliefs. It forces people to develop a false identity which they present to the world. Eventually, people forget this false identity was based on bargains and compromises they made with themselves to survive in a fucked up system. Once they acquiesce to the capitalist game, they inexorably lose their soul and their independence. They start to sound like marketing copy. They basically become living marketing brochures for whatever tedious products or initiatives they feel might help them get rich.

I hate marketing also. Marketing is an intrinsic part of our contemporary Capitalist monocultural nightmare. The 20th Century thinker Lewis Mumford noted that capitalism forces each of us to wake up each morning, look in the mirror, and ask ourselves, “What part of our personality can I sell today?” He was right. One thing that is difficult to sell is the truth, since few want it and it resists being commodified.

Capitalism makes people incredibly stupid. Karl Marx understood that. He noted we end up confusing “the sense of having” with something real, like our other senses or our authentic relationships. People are now so stupid that they continue to pursue short-term goals oriented around money-making while the entire planet is burning down around us.

Marx was a great thinker in many respects. One major reason he continues to be ridiculed and suppressed is that people don’t want to confront the truths he exposed. Marx theorized that Communism could only succeed in an advanced industrialized country like the US or England. He would have expected it to fail in Russia, China, and elsewhere. I appreciate Marx, but I am not a Communist or a Marxist.

I hate Capitalism because it elevates people who are good at the amoral activity of acquiring wealth above other people with different interests and talents, such as teaching children or gardening. Capitalism turns wealthy people into unfeeling ego-trippers and makes other people feel less important by comparison. Our society now treats wealthy CEOs and entrepreneurs as if they are saints, even when their actions have far-reaching negative consequences.

Steve Jobs gets canonized by the mainstream culture, despite Apple’s socially and environmentally destructive policies. Now we are supposed to applaud because Jeff Bezos has raised the minimum wage at Amazon to $15 an hour, when he is worth over $130 billion. This situation is still disgusting. We should be shaming and castigating such men, not worshipping them.

I hate Capitalism most of all because it is killing the Earth, our home. Some people argue that the negative environmental impacts are not a result of “pure Capitalism” (whatever that is), but that is wrong. Capitalism is a debt-based system that requires endless growth and development to sustain itself. Endless growth is clearly impossible on a finite planet with limited resources. Capitalism has put all of our children’s lives into extreme jeopardy. This is not okay. It is terrible.

I hate Capitalism because it has distorted the authentic goal of the psychedelic revolution. The point of psychedelic revelation is not to heal the individual’s neurosis by giving them some vague, ineffable sense of the “universal one-ness.” The utility of the psychedelic experience is to deprogram and decondition the individual from the distortions caused by this Capitalist system, so they can become mystical revolutionaries seeking to emancipate our human family as a whole and holistically reconnect us with the natural world. The psychedelic movement should be a rebellion against Capitalism and exploitation - not a new gimmick for “conscious capitalists” to use for their “neo-green” or “mindful” entrepreneurialism.

I would love to see some kind of global revolution turned against this destructive Capitalist system which reduces people to servile idiots while it annihilates the biosphere upon which we depend for nourishment, beauty, and oxygen. However, considering the fragility of our planet’s health, such a revolution would have to happen seamlessly, with the alternative system ready to implement instantly.

Capitalism has created a system of mutual exploitation and victimization. Men have often exploited women for sex. Women have often exploited men for money and security. To perpetuate this system, we have socialized men to be warriors, killers, and aggressors. Now women are furious because men have been shaped by this thorough cultural conditioning and programming. That is a good step, but it is not the last step.

When we realize we are all victims of a Capitalist system based on mutual exploitation and victimhood and the exploiting of the Earth’s resources for gadgets and creature comforts that are inherently unsatisfying, we can make a shift from #metoo to #wetoo: We can recognize that we have all been unconsciously complicit in a system that is universally destructive. Then we can get to work in the courageous and dangerous art form of building the alternative. And we better move fast.

These days, there is a lot of ideology and corporate propaganda that tries to make us believe that some kind of reformed Capitalism can be okay, even awesome: We can have a green Capitalism, a “conscious Capitalism.” We can have Capitalism with mindfulness meditation, sound baths, and San Pedro ceremonies. We can have Capitalism where one percent of profits goes to orphans or refugees. Etc. I think we have to realize all of this is an attempt to dodge the issue. It is in fact wrong.

Capitalism cannot be reformed. Capitalism is demonic and it needs to be destroyed.

The social ecologist Murray Bookchin wrote: “The private ownership of the planet by elite strata must be brought to an end if we are to survive the afflictions it has imposed on the biotic world, particularly as a result of a society structured around limitless growth. Free nature, in my view, can only begin to emerge when we live in a fully participatory society literally free of privilege and domination. Only then will we be able to rid ourselves of the idea of dominating nature and fulfill our promise for acting as a moral, rational, and creative force in natural as well social evolution.” I agree with him.

I know that some people, reading this, will leap to make the counter-argument. They will want to list all of the positives that Capitalism has brought: A globally integrated market, the ability to go into a store and buy some obscure fruit from Brazil or spices from India, a better lifestyle for multitudes, longer lifespans for some, and a modicum of security, plus travel opportunities (the wealthy elite are addicted to exotic travel which is the new colonialism). However it now seems these were short-term delusions based on our exploitation of the Earth over a limited period. Many of these specifics can be refuted - but the arguments are complex and laborious.

I am not as interested in the past as much as I am concerned with the present and the future. To any thinking person, it should be obvious that if we continue with this Capitalist model of excessive development and resource exploitation, human beings will not continue on this Earth. We are rapidly driving ourselves toward extinction. A planet that is 4 degrees Celsius or 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer (as Trump’s science advisers now predict for 2100) will be one without Oxygen for us to breathe, or food that we can grow.

If we could stop the bullshit we would admit what we all know: We need to stop this system now.

The only way to do this is to design and launch a rapid, peaceful revolution to supersede this system. The wealthy will have to give up a lot of their excess capital to even out the distribution of resources. That can’t be helped. If they won’t, the guillotine is always an option.



 

7 Comments

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Jeremy Pearce

In a nut shell yes nice piece .Bang on the money literally 😀

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Kimm Fearnley

How Soon Is Now is an excellent book that reflects a growing mindset. I fear it will take many centuries, a visit from another planet with greater power than our elite (no I am not nuts!), or a natural disaster so severe that it hits the richest countries rather than the poorest before anything will change. That said, extinction of the human race is probably going to be the only way our beautiful planet and the peace-loving animals that are hunted down and murdered everyday, will live in harmony again.

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Alastair McGowan

Money always has been a divisive medium for various combinations of material labour services and now intellectual 'property'. Money is debt, debt is power, and so the system ratchets forward creating ever more divisions of power between people at oh-so-many levels. This creates an arms race in every sense of the term, magnifying the distractions away from solving the core problems that we face collectively. If we disconnect from the process we disempower ourselves in conventional ways of being and functioning. Developing alternative modes seems to be key.

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Katherine Lucy Sang

Fantastic Piece. You can see an evolving Framework within Campfire, common themes and threads that are found within the pages of your book.

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Nadia Chambers

Today I saw an entire magazine devoted to ‘how to have a mindful christmas’ - the headline nestled amongst homespun gifts and decorations and homebaked goodies. Hmmm. I’m not convinced that anyone needs to buy a magazine that details how to stop pursuing more stuff they don’t need.
You want a mindful Christmas? Then take your vegan sandwiches and a flask of something drinkable to the beach. Look at the sky. Inhale. Spread the love to your family and friends and ask yourselves what more you need. It won’t be much- if anything.
And yet there are dilemmas all around us- I don’t see myself as one of the wealthy elite ( others may?!) and my son and his wife live in Australia. Their first baby is due in November and on Xmas day I’ll be singing my way across the world to see them. Should I stay at home and accept a relationship only via Skype? I’d happily pay more for the airfare if it will make a difference. It’s certainly too far for even me to swim!

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Kimm Fearnley

Vegan sandwiches and a picnic on the beach. . .love this. X
I can’t think of any better way to spend Christmas or any other day with your son and grandchild. Fly away @Nadia Chambers - being withthise you love is all you need. X

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Chris Duffill

This is very well written and makes the important points really clearly.
Banksy makes similar points about marketing https://genius.com/Banksy-letter-on-advertising-annotated
The question is how to deal with the threat capitalism faces us with. It seems so huge and most people are very unaware of how much our lives are influenced and manipulated by advertising. I keep hearing things recently that cause me alarm - for example a company that has a contract with some NHS authorities and targets mums with new-born babies in maternity wards, offering them a welcome pack or some such with some free nappies and other baby related stuff... how many boundaries are being broken here? Some mums had spoken out about this company otherwise we would never had known. Such an intrusion at a time that is deeply personal, special, possibly joyous or possibly difficult. It struck me that there is no respite from advertising if this space can be invaded.

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