On Capitalism: We don’t have to bite the hand that feeds us, but it is possible to eat elsewhere.

Original Artwork: John Kerry-Williams

In my last blog You Are Not Your Mind I touched upon the impact of capitalism and our subservient relationship with it. In this blog I want to reiterate the cruciality of re-shaping our consciousness in order to see through the sly and seductive capitalist structures, and strive for a more compassionate world.

With modern society seeking to make our lives easier with time-saving services such as online shopping and banking; emails, texts, contactless payments and so on – why do so many of us still claim to have such time-poor and discontented lives?

Naturally, certain aspects of the modern world can provide crucial lifelines to enable some to function more efficiently in society – for example, for those who may otherwise struggle to maintain a social life due to disability, social media can be the ideal platform. Likewise, online shopping can be a valuable aid. But for many, I suspect the so-called ‘improvements’ of modern living may still leave us somewhat frazzled and dissatisfied – perhaps lacking in contentment. It seems that despite the luxuries of the modern technological world, there is often an underlying unease. Could we simply be doing too much, now that the many aspects of our ‘doing’ have become more streamlined? Are we now taking too much on just because we can? And do we really need the endless amount of ‘services’ claiming to improve and enhance our lifestyle?

For the capitalist, the answer (at least to the latter question) is a resounding ‘yes!’ Capitalism is the dark underlying force of society, which by design, deliberately attempts to steer us away from contentment and lure us into dissatisfaction for the sole purpose of power and profitable gain.

…learning to transcend our egoic mind… is to discover wisdom and peace in a world obsessed with knowledge and power.

For many of us, as well as being time-poor, the general feeling of being dissatisfied with ourselves and our lives; craving for the best and latest this or that while continually crashing and burning, is exactly what the capitalist world wants us to feel and experience. It promises eternal happiness and convenience through materialism, and thrives on our gullibility to fall for this illusory and hollow claim. In turn, we experience short bursts of relative fulfilment before we inevitably become dissatisfied with our lot and seek the next best thing. With capitalism, contentment is simply not an option for us, as that would potentially kill the beast which feeds on our cyclical discontentment. When all is considered, it is easy to feel like a puppet trapped and controlled by the so-called ‘system.’

But we are not puppets of the system – we are in fact puppets of our mind, in particular our egoic mind. We don’t need to attempt to change The System (many have tried and failed over the years), we just need to change our state of mind, and realise our true selves by recognising and diminishing our ego and its conditioned mental circuitry. It may sound radical at first, but please stay with me. Only through changing from within can we strive for any hope of external change. This is not to say we should adopt a puritanical or polarised stance against The System – it simply means bringing in a level of awareness on an individual level, so as to illuminate the subliminal effects the capitalist structures have on our thoughts and behaviour. It is to switch off the autopilot we didn’t realise was on in the first place.

Have you ever noticed that it is usually the pursuit of the so-called, ‘next best thing’ that is the most thrilling part of the purchasing experience? The new kitchen, car, extension or fancy gadget are great for a while when you first get them, and when you show them off to your friends – but there inevitably comes a decline, and we soon come to miss the thrill of the chase. Have you ever stopped to acknowledge how short-lived the ‘high’ of getting your new ‘toy’ lasts before you begin to flick through new catalogues, or trawl online for the next new shiny item to pursue?

Can you see how unhealthy this cycle is? How detrimental to our state of mind and our level of contentedness it is? See how such a cycle plays right into the hands of capitalism? Moreover, can you now see that although it is the capitalist structures which enable such cycles to play out – ultimately it is our mind – our level of consciousness which is the true catalyst of our dissatisfaction? See how powerfully transformative a collective inner shift of consciousness could be – how potentially catastrophic to the cold and calculating capitalist structures such a shift could be? Potentially, if each individual transcended their egoic mind, the damage to the manipulative capitalist structures would be infinitely more impactful than an eternity of (albeit well-intended) activistic marches or protests.  

Inner transformation through spiritual re-connectedness may seem futile to the mind, but that is precisely the point, and the very reason we need to transcend mind in order to make a difference.

It is when faced with this need for an inner shift of consciousness that our egoic mind feels vulnerable and threatened, and so tries to reason against it by questioning the purpose, relevance and effectiveness of inner transformation. To the egoic mind, when it comes to capitalism there may well be some trace elements of awareness on a purely intellectual level, but it can’t truly realise or understand it, if it is conditioned. And so the typical response to any form of spirituality is usually sarcasm or mockery: ‘Piss off with your psycho-babble!’ or something similar. That is to be expected from a mind still conditioned by the system, and not ready for true change. It is the ego talking and so is not really personal. For many, the familiar drama attached to such conditioned reactionary thinking is simply too seductive and perversely comforting – and why shouldn’t it be, if that’s all they’ve ever known?

Ultimately, as already stated, true change can only happen within, and so it is simply down to each individual to enable this transformation. It is not wise to appeal for immediate change en masse, despite the necessity for it. To demand and expect The System to change simply by shouting at it, or by fighting it is delusional; of course that’s what the ego loves, which is why we see so much of it. But if that approach really worked, we would expect to have seen a reversal, as opposed to an accelerated increase in capitalist gain over the decades. Inner transformation through spiritual re-connectedness may seem futile to the mind, but that is precisely the point, and the very reason we need to transcend mind in order to make a difference.

As discussed in more detail in my previous blogs, our conditioned, insecure and dissatisfied sense of self is the fundamental nature of the human ego. Its default setting is dissatisfaction, and so it is this particular flaw which is continually exploited with devious tactics by the capitalist machine. Wherever we look, we are exposed to material designed to trap us in a state of dissatisfaction and discontent – leaving us always wanting more and not feeling good enough. When we grow up within a capitalist model, we become conditioned to the point that we cannot see anything other than the inherited materialistic version of reality of which we inhabit.

This blinkered view of life is not only superficial and limited, but it’s overarching effects cut deep into the functionality of the collective human psyche, and we begin to see widespread suffering in varying forms such as mental illness, addiction and general dysfunction; basically everything we see on a daily basis on the news, or in the newspapers.

By learning to transcend our egoic mind, we are suddenly faced with a beautiful clarity, and can begin to see the manipulative structures of capitalism for what they are. It is to discover wisdom and peace in a world obsessed with knowledge and power.

The current trajectory of humankind’s dysfunctional activity is clearly unsustainable on so many levels, as the climate and environment play second fiddle to the lust for economic growth and power.

If we are vigilant enough, we can see through the capitalist structures and begin to recognise the correlation between them, the decline of humanity and the planet. The current trajectory of humankind’s dysfunctional activity is clearly unsustainable on so many levels, as the climate and environment play second fiddle to the lust for economic growth and power. This outward wide-scale destruction is simply a manifestation of the collective inner consciousness of humanity. 

Collectively, we have become detached from the spiritual realm of acknowledging transience – the impermanence of all form, and have been hoodwinked into believing in the flawed capitalist ideology of infinite growth. Evidence suggests that the rapid demise of our planet has intensified in recent years, and humanity’s outlook is bleak unless we bring in a degree of spiritual awareness, and awaken from the capitalist induced coma.

We have become so disconnected from our spiritual core of compassion, that as a result, the giant capitalist hands are being rubbed together with glee more than ever before, as we subserviently line up to eat out of them. Over and over again we strive to climb the tiers of society in search of the promised land only to find ourselves back at rock bottom – right where capitalists want us. Is this really what we want from our one short life on this beautiful planet? We don’t have to bite the hand that feeds us, but it is possible to eat elsewhere.

Stop to reflect on the energy which flows through you at this present moment. Be aware that this is the very essence of who you are beyond name, form and all other mental concepts. Contemplate that this very essence is making possible your ability to reflect anything at all; nothing material can ever rival such majesty.

Never forget that the power to change the world lies within you. And it is available to you now.

For more on the ego and it’s causes of our suffering, please read my previous blog The Time is now. Much of the spiritual essence of this piece is also detailed in my blog On Spirituality.

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