This past long weekend Easter Eggs, Bunnies, chocolates and hot cross buns abounded, and for the savvy sweet toothed ones, now is the time to develop bargain Diabetes as the excess sells at a fraction of the price. Yet what do eggs and bunnies have to do with the Bible’s Messiah?
Nothing at all!
The Sumerian goddess Inanna, or Ishtar, (Goddess of Fertility) was hung naked on a stake, and was subsequently resurrected and ascended from the underworld. This festival coincided with the Spring (Northern Hemisphere) Equinox and was a general symbolic story of the death of the son (sun) on a cross (the constellation of the Southern Cross) and his rebirth, overcoming the powers of darkness. Eggs and Rabbits are common symbols of fertility. Yet the faithful blissfully follow this tradition re-branding it as the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This little observation is symptomatic of the endemic docility of humankind. Like sheep, we follow one another, never thinking, never questioning, and like sheep, often this leads to the slaughterhouse.
Yet it is CONDITIONING that makes the most intelligent species on the planet act this way, and this conditioning is institutionalized into our society, woven, as it were, into the very fabric of our existence. I would like to share a few examples I have observed over the past few months to illustrate this reality.
We, the Uber Haus staff, were involved in a medium-size project this first quarter of 2016, not particularly complex, a kitchen, a media unit, a desk, 2 bathroom vanities and a few floating shelves. There was a new head designer, with very little practical experience in what is essentially a very complex trade, and like all of us, he made mistakes; of course being inexperienced, there were a LOT of mistakes.
A carpentry project is akin to a jigsaw puzzle, there are literally thousands of pieces and dozens of processes, different materials have different properties and different finishing processes, and very often, a miscalculation on one seemingly minor component has a domino-effect.
This project also had a very finite deadline, it was a unit in a retirement complex, and the new homeowner was to move in before the end of January, or she would very literally have had nowhere to live.
I manufactured elements of the project, and led the installation. Durban in January is not a pleasant climate with the temperature hovering around the mid to high 30degrees Celsius range and humidity usually about 100%. Furthermore the site had no toilet facilities since both the bathrooms were being renovated.
Under these conditions we worked a miracle, we made adjustments, we thought on our feet, we re-scheduled and prioritized. I personally worked many late nights, but the home was livable by the end of January.
Later I saw a facebook post by the Interior Designer congratulating everyone by name for the efforts to get this done. Well, almost everyone, the owner of Uber Haus, the Production Manager of Uber Haus, and the Interior Design team members were each acknowledged by name, yet not ONE of the actual craftsmen or installers were even mentioned. Ironic, since ALL of the mistakes on this job were the fault of members thanked (with the exception of the Production Manager).
I took exception of course, because I know that those of us who did the work were the ones who performed this miracle, yet, after the dust settled, I remembered that in this society of ours, respect is apportioned to those who sit in air-conditioned offices, who wear smart, stylish clothes! Those who choose to work manually are considered “lesser”!
Being an upmarket supplier, Uber Haus catered mainly to the wealthy, and I got to spend many days in these mansions. And mansions they were indeed, but I was struck by another incongruity, 5,6 or 7 bedrooms, multiple lounges, a multitude of bathrooms and acres of grounds inhabited by childless couples who spend most of their time working. High performance sports cars driven by people who seldom get the chance to reach 100km/h on the congested city highways! The cabinetry that we installed was not appreciated as an example of superior craftsmanship, but rather as a fashion statement, a means of “keeping up with the Jones’s”. People consume to be noticed, to feel better about themselves and more often than not to feel superior to others
The “War on Terror”; is it just me, or has anyone else (who is old enough) noticed that for many years the media bombarded us with fear-inspiring reports of the cold-war, and just as suddenly as the Iron Curtain fell, just as suddenly Radical Islam became the new global threat? The was scarcely a break, and hardly an overlap, one day the East was the foe the next it was Islamism! Of course for most of us, this became part of mass-consciousness on September 11,2001.
As a child, I had a dream of being a commercial pilot, and that, combined with a rather nerdish teen phase had me devouring every bit of information regarding the piloting of large aircraft. Did you know that the pilot hardly controls these machines? Take-off is described as “brute force over physics”, once the right velocity is attained, they lift, and the pilot merely controls the rate of that lift and the direction. Most level flying is controlled by the “auto-pilot” which is a bank of computers which together monitor heading, altitude and mechanical systems. Landing is assisted by a series of “waypoints” which align the aircraft with the direction of the runway and a series of instruments, visual aids and radio beacons that establish the correct rate of descent to ensure a safe landing.
These machines travel at close to supersonic speeds, and mid air collisions occur when flight paths are incorrectly assigned because, by the time the pilot sees the other aircraft, there is just not enough time to get these behemoths of the skies to take sufficient evasive action.
I mention this background because the story we are expected to believe is that inexperienced student pilots took control of 4 such airliners (using boxcutters as weapons), overpowered military-trained pilots and flew 3 of them with pinpoint accuracy into their designated targets.
Then there are the other stories we are required to believe, that jet-fuel (kerosene) burned hot enough to melt structural steel, that a 3 skyscrapers (one of which was not even hit, nor ablaze) imploded perfectly on their own footprint, at freefall speed. No wreckage was seen, nor displayed afterwards.
And immediately a worldwide “war on terror” was begun, it gave the Western Powers, with the good ol’ gun-toting USofA in the lead, the excuse to invade, and decimate dozens of foreign sovereign states, each of which surreptitiously benefited US businesses and strategy.
But the sheep refuse to see this, maybe they don’t WANT to see this, but more likely, they have been conditioned to believe that this is the way things happen, after-all their screen heroes fly airliners like fighter planes, and every collision results in a spectacular fireball explosion!
MONEY MONEY MONEY!
People in general will sell their very souls for money! My late Uncle used to tease my fundamentalist Christian Mother by saying “if the Devil gave me a Million Rand’s, I’d give him my heart and soul”, well, a million Rand was worth more back then 🙂
We are conditioned by moral, religious and legal codes into believing that certain manners of accumulating wealth are “wrong”, after all we wouldn’t steal, or rob a bank would we?
But we will take advantage of the misfortunes of others in order to amass wealth and this is considered to be astute business practice, how?
Let’s take the example of a young couple who embark on life together, they save and buy a house, bonding this house to a mortgage loan. The economy is a fickle creature and the interest rates fluctuate wildly, maybe one of them loses his/her employment due to an economic downturn. Maybe they’ve been paying their installments regularly for fifteen of the twenty year term, but the bank doesn’t care about them, they foreclose and take possession of the property. The bank has received more in repayments by this stage than the initial principle debt, so they put it up for auction and the highest bidder wins. More often than not, the amount payed at the auction does not even cover what is “owed” on the property, and, the already impoverished (now ex)homeowners are left with the balance plus the costs of this whole process as debt.
The auction winner more than likely is using this as an investment opportunity and so they use the misfortune of another as a tool for enriching themselves. When I pointed out that this form of “investment” is exploitation to a friend who wishes to engage in this, she objected saying she sees it as “HELPING” those who lose their homes
“Playing the stock market” this is incredibly complex and I don’t want to spend too much time explaining the whole process, but, essentially here, the values of shares in companies are traded, and the values manipulated. The players risk money against these commodities and while each person involved in the trading of shares is aware of the risks involved, the manipulations of the share values has an impact on the companies themselves, and as a consequence, on the employees.
How fair is it that one works hard for a company only to lose ones job and benefits due to unscrupulous trading by “investors” in the stocks of that company? Yet, trading shares is profitable only due to fluctuations in value, therefore profiting from the misfortune of the company involved. It goes even further, the mantra of stock traders is “Buy low, sell high”, yet the mass selling of shares causes a market panic and a resultant plummeting of the values of these shares. So maybe even a case of profiting by CAUSING the misfortune of others.
Yet, people do not see this, they are so blinded by lustful greed after money that they spend the vast majority of their time in pursuit of money, leaving little or no time to think, let alone educate themselves.
We are taught that the only way to achieve true prosperity is by “ADDING VALUE”, there are many ways of achieving abundance that do not depend on parasitic practices, believing that there are not is the very cancer of fear that creates all of the ills of modern society.
I observed other examples these past few months; my friend Warwick realized before I did that no amount of money is worth selling ones soul. He had the wisdom and insight to look his fears dead in the eyes and turn his back on the offer of financial security and walk away to preserve his integrity, and this had me come to my senses and realize that no matter what financial compensation is offered, nothing is worth giving up ones own happiness and autonomy. My friend Dave, who compensates for the menial path he feels obliged to follow for the next two years with doing what he loves doing, he’s not “brand conscious, not even brand new conscious” is our shared joke. Robin who has grown so much in the year I have known him, Bryann who epitomizes Zen by doing what he does well, and valuing himself for the excellence of his work, not his perceived standing in society, Kyle who followed his dream and is doing so well for himself and his family These people, the rebels, the artists, the visionaries, those who walk against the flow of corrupt society, these are my heroes.
Go Forth and be Awesome
All my Love