I’m a pretty optimistic and positive person. You wouldn’t know that from
reading some of my work but I really am. I really believe in the average person and I believe that most people are decent. I believe that most people are nice, they’re respectful and will even go somewhat out of their way to help someone else. 90% of my interactions with people are positive. And that's why I haven’t lost faith in people. I think that generally people possess a fundamental goodness. But it's like anything else. There’s extremities and mutations in every part of nature. There’s historically been people who have been extremely good. There’s been people like Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Prophet Muhammad, The Buddha and Jesus are all stories and historical figures who were revered during their lifespan and for millennia later for their fundamental goodness.
They were people who were known to not want to hurt a fly and they are revered for representing the goodness that is present in all humans. And we tell these stories and idealize these people because we see those ideals within ourselves and we want to live up to that goodness. That's the basis of most religions. Most religions want you to live as that ideal. To tell the truth, not to do to others what we wouldn't want done to ourselves and to love each other. But those religions always tell the story of another side that we also see very present in ourselves. There's the evil rival of goodness in every single religion. It's represented as the devil in Abrahamic religions. It's the ever present force hell bent on the elimination of goodness. And we’ve historically seen the existence and extremes of that type of energy in our real lives. There’s been people throughout history that have been evil.
There were people like Hitler, Ted Bundy, Joseph Stalin and many more psychopathic people who caused harm to people and enjoyed it. And we like to point to those people as extremities and try to disassociate from the idea that they’re people like we’re people and in the same way we can see that ideal virtue and goodness in Jesus and others like him, we should be able to see that evil present in ourselves. Every atrocity ever was committed by people just like us. And it's easy to write the extremities off as anomalies but we have to remember that the Nazis couldn't have existed without the people. It's not like Hitler wasn’t beloved by the people. Watch his speeches today and you’ll see those people in the crowd are losing their minds like he’s Michael Jackson. The crowds are packed with thousands of men, women and children. They’re going insane, people are fainting in the crowd. And that's not because all of them were evil people. They were just scared and hungry and he used that to his advantage by offering them evil disguised as a solution.
And that's where almost every single atrocity stems from. Regardless of how evolved we are, we’re still living beings on Earth. We’re prone to the same biological tendencies and instincts as the lion who takes a bite out of the gazelles flesh and blood. The lion has no personal vendetta against the gazelle, the lion is just hungry, vulnerable, alone and outside and it needs to feed its family. The lion would love a fridge full of steak but it doesn’t have the option and the gazelle is the only thing in the way of its survival, so it does what it feels like it has to do. Survival is the first rule of nature. Survival is the main thing that has kept us here. Its millenia of our ancestors escaping from much larger, faster and stronger predators. And even though we live in houses and rooms and have phones that will rub our balls and feed us pancakes, we forget how easy it is to activate our survival mode.When we’re scared we’ll take whatever measures we feel are necessary for our survival and that leads us to following whatever seems like the right way. And sometimes those measures are cruel and inhumane. And there’s people that live on the extreme of that instinct that are completely willing to be evil and cruel for the acquisition of power, the betterment of their lives and to feed their egos.
History is filled with psychopaths that led the world and oppressed people. And those leaders wouldn’t be able to oppress people without the people's consent. At the end of the day all those men and women led other men and women. It's always a couple of guys leading millions of people. They lead the men and women in the armies, the workforce and every aspect of society that are completely consenting. If majority of people honestly and actively protested against stuff like the holocaust and slavery, they would have been completely avoidable. But people were told they would be able to survive, their fears would be quelled and they’d have good lives at the expense of people they don’t know or love.
And they were scared so they accepted. And for a moment their fears were pacified. But generations later those same peoples kids look at how wrong that was retroactively. When we look at stuff like slavery or the holocaust we think of those peoples as a different species. But they weren’t, they were just people like everyone else. And we’re prone to everything they were prone to. We just have better phones. And that's the problem with the idea of the nice person. The nice person is the majority of us. Like I said earlier I think most people are nice. A nice person is pleasant, agreeable and satisfactory. We go about our day and don’t hurt anybody. We might even give some change to a homeless guy on our way to work and feel good about ourselves. But majority of people alive during slavery considered themselves nice people. They just did what was necessary for themselves and their families lives.
Philosopher Edmund Burke once said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” And that's why our system is able to openly operate in unethical means. Because we let it. We always complain about how sneakers like Nikes are made by children under slave labour or iPhones are made by millions of miners dying in Congo but I have an iPhone and Air Force 1s. I’m openly a hypocrite exactly like the society I live inside. Apple and Nike are the biggest companies in the world because we buy their products. We work in their companies and we fill out their paperwork. We live with this constant cognitive dissonance. But we don’t feel it cause we’re not purposefully hurting someone. We just feel vulnerable and scared on every level. Every person that creates or enters a corporation that exploits people and resources enters with positive intentions. The corporation's employees need to feed themselves and their families. But fear outweighs niceness. We’d rather survive than be agreeable and satisfactory. So we sacrifice people we don’t know or love. We just don’t wanna be vulnerable and scared so we’ll sacrifice our morals, integrity and everything in between.
Comedian Bo Burnham once said “ You can start a company that makes rape whistles, and even though you started the company with good intentions trying to reduce the rate of rape, now you don't want to reduce it at all cause if the rape rate declines, you'll see an equal decline in whistle sales, because without rapists who’s gonna buy your whistles?” The Me-Too movement is the perfect example of that. Majority of the actors in Hollywood are liberals. They publicly stand behind certain morals and ideals. They appear to be progressive, support minorities and are against the harm and exploitation of people. But those same people sat back and kept quiet while guys like Harvey Weinstein were very openly abusing their power and sexually assaulting people. It took for R Kelly to no longer be the hottest musical artist in the world for him to be convicted even though he was openly having sex with minors for years. And that's because he was making a lot of money for a lot of nice people. And those nice people had a vested interest in keeping his exploits quiet. Because that would hurt their pockets which would also hurt their families food supply and quality of life.
And that's why it's not good enough to just be nice. I’m learning that I’m nice but I’m not actively good. I’m satisfactory and agreeable, I help the people I love and might even go out of my way for a stranger I’ve just met. But I’m willing to look away from a lot of atrocities if they don’t directly affect me or anyone I know or love. Our world is in unprecedented times. We stopped the entire world because we’re scared. There’s germs in the air and they’re killing other people and so we’re worried about our own survival. And this is exactly the time when the guys on the evil extreme of human nature decide to take advantage of people's fear. This is exactly the part where someone comes with a magical radical solution to our fears that impede on our rights, beliefs, morals and integrity. And I’ve already seen it happening on every scale.
Opportunist entrepreneurs have already started selling bogus placebo cures for covid-19. And people are making millions because of our fear. Columbia University researchers project that poverty rates in the United States could soon reach their highest levels in half a century but yet, billionaires are getting even richer from the pandemic. We've seen this happen before, in the recovery from the 2008 economic meltdown. Only the top 20% of US households had fully recovered the wealth they had prior to the Great Recession. By contrast, the wealthiest 400 billionaires in the United States had fully recovered their wealth within three years. Within a decade, their wealth had increased over 80%. And the same thing is happening now. Already, the combined wealth of US billionaires is higher than a year ago, according to a recent study. At least eight of these billionaires have added another $1 billion to their wealth during the pandemic. Jeff Bezos of Amazon has seen his wealth skyrocket by $25 billion since January 1 as homebound customers lean heavily on online shopping, grocery delivery and streaming. This wealth surge for one individual, which is greater than the entire GDP of Honduras, is unprecedented in the history of modern markets.
A study was recently done in the UK that stated as reported by the Telegraph on April 4, “more than two thirds of the population would back the use of CCTV footage, mobile phone data and credit card records in a mass ‘contact tracing’ exercise to prevent a second wave of coronavirus infections.” A few days earlier, a similar survey found that 86% of the population would “sacrifice their human rights to help prevent the disease.” And I believe the subjects of that survey represent the masses of the world. In 2013 Edward Snowden was a CIA employee and subcontractor. He went on to become a United States whistleblower and fugitive because he revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA. He told us that the NSA was watching and listening to all of us all of the time and he’s still on the run because the US government wants to arrest or kill him. He told us this in 2013 and since then, no changes have been made to protect our privacy whatsoever. Because we really don’t care about losing a little bit more of our rights and freedoms for the sake of safety and comfort.
And now many countries and corporations are implementing surveillance programs on all of our devices and we’re all just kinda cool with it. It's the norm now. And as I type this on my laptop my excuse to myself is that I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m not hurting anyone, I’m just chilling on my living room couch typing a new article. I don’t care if I’m being surveilled because I’m boring and dull so I’ll look away from the surveillance of all of humanity by a small group of people, an act that will change the fundamental nature of humanity. The panopticon is a type of institutional building and a system of control designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow all prisoners of an institution to be observed by a single security guard, without the inmates being able to tell whether they are being watched. Although it is physically impossible for the single guard to observe all the inmates' cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that they are motivated to act as though they are being watched at all times. Thus, the inmates are effectively compelled to regulate their own behaviour. It changed the behaviour of the prisoners just like being watched all the time will change our behaviour and what it really means to be a human being.
These times need us to have a dialogue with ourselves about what side of this moment in history we want to be on. I do believe that there's a virus and I believe that we should follow the orders of scientists that are telling us to wash our hands and social distance. I believe that we should all quarantine inside our homes and not inconvenience healthcare workers. But we should also keep an eye on politicians and corporations with vested interests in stripping us of our rights, freedoms and integrity. We all have to do some individual soul searching and find out what it really is that we want to go back to normal. Is that really the world we want?