New York City is a labyrinth — above and below ground — of wounded, jaded but surprisingly nice people. Like the tap water, which makes for surprisingly good drinking.
This country is full of contradictions like that. Recently I visited the Statue of Liberty, more out of a sense of obligation than anything else, I don’t know why. But while battling my way on and off boats, through security checks and around the island amidst hoards of tourists, it struck me that one of the greatest ironies of the United States of America is that the statue is an icon of liberty in a land which has been systematically and comprehensively enslaving its inhabitants, through the psycho-economic exploitation of corporate capitalism, pretty much since its inception.
The people used to be oblivious to their enslavement, and many still are. These days, however, I think a lot of them can see through the deception. But it’s like they don’t care any more. Or are too tired, too cynical, too jaded to care. Resigned to their fate, even if it is driving them into the ground.
I am talking about the 99% here, where every day their standard of living is eroded away by the ever-increasing wealth gap. But the disparity in wealth not only causes suffering for the vast majority. It also means the 1% suffer, because this kind of unbridled greed is a mental disease. These people are sick. When the owners of Walmart, the richest family in the world, do not pay their workers even a living wage, not to mention a decent one, that’s an illness that’s hurting them just as much as it’s hurting everyone else. Everything is connected in this world and everyone’s actions have karmic consequences. You reap what you sow. We will all experience the consequences of our actions, one day or another; this life or the next; it’s just a matter of time. Meanwhile, these people must in their heart of hearts suffer knowing they could be doing more for their fellow human beings.
What liberty in America has really come to mean is freedom for the rich to get richer while the poor get poorer, spelling out the suffering of all. On the other hand, the goal of Prout (Progressive Utilization Theory) is the happiness and wellbeing of all.