There are many other things that a human being must do in order to survive and they will be discussed in later chapters. Essentially, I accept Maslow's model. It does not require elaboration.
We are all a part of a system now. Several systems in fact. We are a part of an Eco system, whether we choose to believe it or not, everything we do affects everything around us in some way. The typical focus of a belief such as this is on the negative effects of our behavior and industry on the environment, and that we are behaving in a destructive manner towards it. I do not entirely disagree with this view, but I'd like to offer an alteration. Our current social system, however you choose to perceive it, was built to be deliberately self destructive. Why do the rich and powerful barricade themselves away from the masses? Why do we never see the people who we have elected to be our leaders? Why are the police the only face to face interaction we seem to have with authority? Why is it wrong to disobey a police officer?
Inside the ecosystem we have created for ourselves another kind of system, a socioeconomic political system (SEPS) which has rules that are arbitrary and do not correspond directly with our most basic rules as provided by natural law. The SEPS is a kind of voluntary system. It requires willful participation and it is punitive towards those who are non participatory. If you are unable to participate due to an illness or handicap, then your chances of survival are greatly diminished. Your likelihood of prosperity is almost non existent. If you willfully opt for a non participatory status you may go completely unnoticed, but if you declare that the whole system is flawed and that it is not fair, or that the rules are arbitrary and can be changed according to the interests of those who established the system to begin with...You might be declared a criminal or a terrorist.
Civility and (un) Civil disobedience:
What does it mean for a person to be civilized? What must a person do so that others will recognize them as human? It has been argued that the system as we now perceive it has been designed to make us appear as less human to one another, that our identities and personalities are really meaningless and that our accomplishments are what should define us. It is not impossible that this is so. I grew up thinking that I was born human and that I was entitled to something in this world. When I grew up I found out the opposite. You are born in an arbitrary place. Your consciousness, pure and infantile, is molded by the people around you and by the pressures that they undergo in feeding you and teaching you and keeping you relatively safe from harm. Most of us who have made it past the age of 18 did so with considerable effort given on the part of our parents. It is not difficult to imagine exceptions to this, but the question is about what it take to be a civilized human being, not how much time and effort it takes to raise a child to the age of 18.
Is it possible for a human being who is considered to be civilized to be a willful participant?
Civilization exists as long as rules are followed. If we change the rules, we change civilization.
How do we get to change the rules?
There are many people whom we could pose that question to. We could ask our congressmen and senators. We could ask lobbyists, bankers and high ranking military officers. We could ask the CEOs and board members of international banks and corporations. We could ask our parents, but what do they know about changing the rules?
There will come a time when authority is recognized only as an illusion and a part of our past. A system of willful participation that is non exploitative will exist on this planet some day. Our technological and scientific accomplishments will someday free us from oppressing ourselves. It may be that one day, the rule of profit no longer matters because there is an abundance of everything.
If we no longer work to feed ourselves, but only work to feed others, then perhaps we will have developed a purpose.
If we continue to focus on ourselves the system continues to self perpetuate. It will grow larger, and it will eventually collapse. But not in the way some people would have you imagine. What would have happened if the 2008 bailout wasn't passed? Would the world economy have crumbled? Would people no longer eat, because banks couldn't collect on their loans? Would the soil have stopped producing grain?
A new civilization of abundance must be sought. We must find a way to feed our great grandchildren that doesn't involve the self destructive behavior of entire populations in order for a few to prosper. There could be magnificent cities, as they are, they are but grids, filled with cages. There is nothing to fear. We can do better than we have.
Peaceful demonstration vs Violence.
Violence is a part of life in as much as you are prepared to use it or have it used against you. If you are prepared to experience violence from others, then you are probably more likely to inflict violence on others. Those who are unprepared or unwilling to experience violence themselves might be far more likely to inflict violence upon others in order to protect themselves from it. Self Defense is the only truly justifiable use of violence. A demonstration is a confrontation. A confrontation does not have to end in violence, but they often do. Discussion, while preferable to violence is not what goes on instead. What usually happens is that each side declares themselves immovable and the more powerful side uses violence to enforce its viewpoint. This can be seen in the discipline used on children by institutions and parents. What is the best way to get your point across? Must the threat of violence always remain? What could an open dialogue do to improve the functioning of the system? If we could question all the rules openly would we change anything? What would you change if you could?