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In a decaying society, Art, if it is truthful,
must also reflect decay.
And unless it wants to break faith with its social function,
Art must show the world as changeable.
And help to change it.
... deadly riots over the government's plan
to avoid defaulting on its loans ...
is that the unemployment keeps rising
and it has to keep rising
just because we have an excess supply of goods...
this is all borrowed money...
and that debt is owned by banks in other countries...
M-O-N-E-Y, in the form of a convenient personal loan...
... a filter cigarette that delivers the taste...
45 malt liquor... Are You Hot?!...
is the US planning to bomb Iran?...
...America is sponsoring terror attacks in Iran...
Now, my grandmother was a wonderful person.
She taught me how to play the game Monopoly.
She understood that the name of the game is to acquire.
She would accumulate everything she could
and eventually, she became the master of the board.
And then she would always say the same thing to me.
She would look at me and she would say:
“One day, you'll learn to play the game.”
One summer, I played Monopoly almost every day, all day long.
And that summer, I learned to play the game.
I came to understand the only way to win
is to make a total commitment to acquisition.
I came to understand that money and possessions-
that's the way that you keep score.
And by the end of that summer, I was more ruthless than my grandmother.
I was ready to bend the rules if I had to, to win that game.
And I sat down with her to play that fall.
I took everything she had.
I watched her give her last dollar and quit in utter defeat.
And then she had one more thing to teach me.
Then she said:
“Now it all goes back in the box.
All those houses and hotels.
All the railroads and utility companies...
All that property and all that wonderful money...
Now it all goes back in the box.
None of it was really yours.
You got all heated up about it for a while.
But it was around a long time before you sat down at the board
and it will be here after you're gone: players come, players go.
Houses and cars...
Titles and clothes...
Even your body.”
Because the fact is that everything I clutch and consume and hoard
is going to go back in the box and I'm going to lose it all.
So you have to ask yourself
when you finally get the ultimate promotion
when you have made the ultimate purchase
when you buy the ultimate home
when you have stored up financial security
and climbed the ladder of success
to the highest rung you can possibly climb it...
and the thrill wears off
- and it will wear off -
How far do you have to walk down that road
before you see where it leads?
Surely you understand
it will never be enough.
So you have to ask yourself the question:
And They're Spoiled!
America's #1 Show is Back!
Gentle Machine Productions Presents
A Peter Joseph Film
When I was a young man
growing up in New York City
I refused to pledge allegiance to the flag.
Of course I was sent to the principal's office.
And he asked me, 'Why don't you want to pledge allegiance?
I said, 'Everybody once believed the Earth was flat
but that doesn't make it so.'
I explained that America owed everything it has
to other cultures and other nations
and that I would rather pledge allegiance
to the Earth and everyone on it.
Needless to say it wasn't long before I left school entirely
...and I set up a lab in my bedroom.
There I began to learn about science and nature.
I realized then that the universe is governed by laws
and that the human being, along with society itself,
was not exempt from these laws.
Then came the crash of 1929
which began what we now call
“The Great Depression”.
I found it difficult to understand why millions
were out of work, homeless, starving,
while all the factories were sitting there;
the resources were unchanged.
It was then that I realized
that the rules of the economic game
were inherently invalid.
Shortly after, came World War II
where various nations took turns
systematically destroying each other.
I later calculated that all the destruction
and wasted resources spent on that war
could have easily provided for every
human need on the planet.
Since that time，I have watched humanity
set the stage for its own extinction.
I have watched as the precious finite resources
are perpetually wasted and destroyed
in the name of profit and free markets.
I have watched the social values of society
be reduced into a base artificiality of materialism
and mindless consumption.
And I have watched as the monetary powers
control the political structure
of supposedly free societies.
I'm 94 years old now.
And I'm afraid my disposition is the same as it was
75 years ago.
This shit's got to go.
[ ZEITGEIST ]
[ ZEITGEIST: MOVING FORWARD ]
[ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful
committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead ]
[ Part 1: Human Nature ]
So you're a scientist, and ...
somewhere along the way, hammered into your head
is the inevitable “nature versus nurture”
and that's at least up there with Coke versus Pepsi
or Greeks versus Trojans.
So, nature versus nurture: This, by now
utterly over-simplifying view of
where influences are-
influences on how a cell deals with
an energy crisis up to
what makes us who we are on the most individualistic
levels of personality.
And what you've got is this complete false dichotomy
built around nature as deterministic
at the very bottom of all the causality.
Of 'life is DNA' and the 'code of codes'
and the Holy Grail, and everything is driven by it.
At the other end is a much more social science perspective
which is: We are 'social organisms'
and biology is for slime molds;
humans are free of biology.
And obviously both views are nonsense.
What you see instead is that
it is virtually impossible to understand how biology works
outside of the context of environment.
[ It's Genetic ]
One of the most crazy making yet widespread
and potentially dangerous notions is:
“Oh, that behavior is genetic.”
Now what does that mean? It means all sorts of subtle stuff if you
know modern biology, but for most people out there
what it winds up meaning is:
a deterministic view of life,
one rooted in biology and genetics.
Genes equal things that can't be changed.
Genes equal things that are
inevitable and that you might as well
not waste resources trying to fix,
might as well not put societal energies into trying to improve
because it's inevitable and it's unchangeable.
And that is sheer nonsense.
[ Disease ]
It is widely thought that
conditions like ADHD are genetically programmed,
conditions like schizophrenia are genetically programmed.
The truth is the opposite. Nothing is genetically programmed.
There are very rare diseases, a small handful,
extremely sparsely represented in the population,
that are truly genetically determined.
Most complex conditions
might have a predisposition that has a genetic component,
but a predisposition is not the same as a predetermination.
The whole search for the source of diseases in the genome
was doomed to failure before anybody even thought of it,
because most diseases are not genetically predetermined.
Heart disease, cancer, strokes,
rheumatoid conditions, autoimmune conditions in general,
mental health conditions, addictions-
none of them are genetically determined.
Breast cancer, for example. Out of 100 women with breast cancer
only seven will carry the breast cancer genes.
93 do not.
And out of 100 women who do have the genes
not all of them will get cancer.
[ Behavior ]
Genes are not just things that make us behave in
a particular way regardless of our environment.
Genes give us different ways of responding to our environment.
And in fact it looks as if some of the early
childhood influences and the kind of child rearing,
affect gene expression:
actually turning on or off different genes
to put you on a different developmental track
which may suit the kind of world you've got to deal with.
So for example,
a study done in Montreal with suicide victims
looked at autopsies of the brains of these people.
And it turned out that if a suicide victim
(these are usually young adults)
had been abused as children, the abuse actually
caused a genetic change in the brain
that was absent in the brains of people who had not been abused.
That's an epigenetic effect.
“Epi” means on top of, so that
the epigenetic influence is what happens
environmentally to either activate or deactivate certain genes.
In New Zealand, there was a study
that was done in a town called Dunedin,
in which a few thousand individuals
were studied from birth into their 20s.
What they found was that they could identify
a genetic mutation- an abnormal gene-
which did have some relation to
the predisposition to commit violence,
but only if the individual had also
been subjected to severe child abuse.
In other words, children with this abnormal gene
would be no more likely to be violent than anybody else,
and in fact, they actually had a lower rate of violence
than people with normal genes
as long as they weren't abused as children.
Great additional example of the ways
in which genes are not “be all - end all.”
A fancy technique where you can
take a specific gene out of a mouse,
that mouse and its descendants will not have that gene.
You have ”knocked out” that gene.
So there's this one gene that encodes for a protein
that has something to do with learning and memory.
And with this fabulous demonstration you “knock out” that gene
and you have a mouse that doesn't learn as well.
“Ooh! A genetic basis for intelligence!”
What was much less appreciated in that landmark study
that got picked up by the media left and right,
is take those genetically impaired mice
and raise them in a much more enriched
stimulating environment than your normal mice in a lab cage,
and they completely overcame that deficit.
So, when one says in a contemporary sense that
“Oh, this behavior is genetic”
to the extent that that's even a valid sort of phrase to use,
what you're saying is: there is a
genetic contribution to how this organism responds to environment;
genes may influence the readiness with which
an organism will deal with a certain environmental challenge.
You know, that's not the version most people have in their minds.
And not to be too 'soap-boxing'
but run with the old version of “It's genetic!” and
it's not that far from the history of Eugenics and things of that sort.
It's a widespread misconception
and it's a potentially fairly dangerous one.
One reason that the
biological explanation for violence,
one reason that hypothesis is potentially dangerous-
it's not just misleading it can really do harm-
is because if you believe that, you could very easily say:
“Well, there's nothing we can do
to change the predisposition people have to becoming violent.
All we can do, if somebody becomes violent is
punish them- lock them up or execute them-
but we don't need to worry about changing the
social environment or the social preconditions
that may lead people to become violent
because that's irrelevant.”
The genetic argument allows us the luxury of ignoring
past and present historical and social factors.
And in the words of Louis Menand
who wrote in the New Yorker, very astutely he said:
“It's all in the genes, an explanation for the way things are
that does not threaten the way things are.
Why should someone feel unhappy or
engage in antisocial behavior when that person is living
in the freest and most prosperous nation on Earth?
It can't be the system.
There must be a flaw in the wiring somewhere.”
Which is a good way of putting it.
So, the genetic argument is simply a cop-out
which allows us to ignore
the social and economic and political factors
that, in fact, underlie many troublesome behaviors.
[ Case Study: Addiction ]
Addictions are usually considered to be a drug-related issue.
But looking at it more broadly, I define addiction as any behavior
that is associated with craving, with temporary relief
and with long-term negative consequences
along with an impairment of control over it, so that the person
wishes to give it up or promises to do so
but can't follow through.
And when you understand that, you see that
there are many more addictions than simply those related to drugs.
There's workaholism, addiction to shopping,
to the Internet; to video games.
There's the addiction to power. People that have power but
they want more and more; nothing is ever enough for them.
Acquisition - corporations that must own more and more.
The addiction to oil, or at least to the wealth
and to the products made accessible to us by oil.
Look at the negative consequences on the environment.
We are destroying the very earth that we inhabit
for the sake of that addiction. Now, these addictions
are far more devastating in their social consequences
than the cocaine or heroin habits of my downtown Eastside patients.
Yet, they are rewarded! And considered to be respectable.
The tobacco company executive that shows a higher profit
will get a much bigger reward.
He doesn't face any negative consequences legally or otherwise.
In fact he is a respected member
of the board of several other corporations.
But, tobacco smoke related diseases
kill 5 ½ million people around the world every year.
In the United States they kill 400,000 people a year.
And these people are addicted to what? To profit.
To such a degree that they are addicted
that they are actually in denial
about the impact of their activities
which is typical for addicts, is denial!
And that's a respectable one. It's respectable to be
addicted to profit, no matter what the cost.
So, what is acceptable and what is respectable
is a highly arbitrary phenomenon in our society.
And it seems like the greater the harm
the more respectable the addiction.
[ The Myth ]
There is a general myth that drugs, in themselves, are addictive.
In fact, the war on drugs is predicated on the idea
that if you interdict the source of drugs
you can deal with addiction that way.
Now, if you understand addiction in the broader sense
we see that nothing in itself is addictive.
No substance, no drug is by itself addictive
and no behavior is by itself addictive.
Many people can go shopping without becoming shopaholics.
Not everyone becomes a food addict.
Not everyone who drinks a glass of wine becomes an alcoholic.
So the real issue is: what makes people susceptible?
Because it's the combination of a susceptible individual
and the potentially addictive substance or behavior
that makes for the full flowering of addiction.
In short, it's not the drug that's addictive,
it's the question of the susceptibility of the individual
to being addicted to a particular substance or behavior.
[ Environment ]
If we wish to understand what then
makes some people susceptible
we actually have to look at the life experience.
The old idea- although it's old but it's still
broadly held- that addictions are due to some genetic cause
is simply scientifically untenable.
What the case is actually is that
certain life experiences make people susceptible.
Life experiences that not only shape the person's
personality and psychological needs
but also their very brains in certain ways.
And that process begins in utero.
[ Prenatal ]
It has been shown, for example,
that if you stress mothers during pregnancy
their children are more likely to have traits
that predispose them to addictions.
And that's because development is shaped
by the psychological and social environment.
So the biology of human beings is very much affected by
and programmed by the life experiences beginning in utero.
Environment does not begin at birth.
Environment begins as soon as you have an environment.
As soon as you are a fetus, you are subject to
whatever information is coming through mom's circulations.
Hormones, levels of nutrients...
A great landmark example of this is
something called the Dutch Hongerwinter.
In 1944, Nazis occupying Holland
for a bunch of reasons, they decide to take all the food
and divert it to Germany;
for three months everybody there was starving.
Tens of thousands of people starve to death.
What the Dutch hunger winter effect is:
if you were a second or third trimester fetus during the starvation
your body 'learned' something very unique during that time.
As it turns out, second and third trimester is when
your body is going about trying to learn about the environment:
How menacing of a place is it out there?
How plentiful? How much nutrients am I getting
by way of mom's circulation?
Be a fetus who was starving during that time and
your body programs forever after to be
really, really stingy with your sugar and fat
and what you do is you store every bit of it.
Be a Dutch Hunger Winter fetus and half a century later,
everything else being equal, you are more likely to have
high blood pressure, obesity or metabolic syndrome.
That is environment coming in a very unexpected place.
You can stress animals in the laboratory when they're pregnant
and their offspring will be more likely to use
cocaine and alcohol as adults.
You can stress human mothers. For example, in a British study
women who were abused in pregnancy
will have higher levels of the
stress hormone cortisol in their placenta at birth
and their children are more likely to have conditions
that predispose them to addictions by age 7 or 8.
So in utero stress already prepares the gun
for all kinds of mental health issues.
An Israeli study done on children
born to mothers who were pregnant
prior to the onset of the 1967 war...
These women, of course, were very stressed
and their offspring have a higher incidence of schizophrenia
than the average cohort.
So, there is plenty of evidence now that prenatal effects
have a huge impact on the developing human being.
[ Infancy ]
The point about human development and specifically
human brain development is that it occurs mostly
under the impact of the environment and mostly after birth.
Now, if you compare us to a horse
which can run on the first day of life
we see that we are very undeveloped.
We can't muster that much neurological coordination
balance, muscle strength, visual acuity
until a year and a half, two years of age.
That's because the brain development in the horse
happens in the safety of the womb
and in the human being, it has to happen after birth,
and that has to do with simple evolutionary logic.
As the head gets larger, which is what makes us into human beings-
the burgeoning of the forebrain
is what creates the human species, actually.
At the same time we walk on two legs, so our pelvis narrows
to accommodate that. So now we have a narrower pelvis, a larger head- ...
Bingo! We have to be born prematurely.
And that means the brain development that in other animals
occurs in utero, in us, occurs after birth
and much of that under the impact of the environment.
The concept of Neural Darwinism simply means
that the circuits that get the appropriate input from the environment
will develop optimally and the ones that don't
will either not develop optimally or perhaps not at all.
If you take a child with perfectly good eyes at birth
and you put him in a dark room for five years
he will be blind thereafter for the rest of his life
because the circuits of vision require light waves for their development,
and without that even the rudimentary circuits
present and active at birth
will atrophy and die and new ones will not develop.
[ Memory ]
There is a significant way in which
early experiences shape adult behavior,
and even and especially
early experiences for which there is no recall memory.
It turns out that there are two kinds of memory:
there is explicit memory which is recall;
this is when you can call back facts,
details, episodes, circumstances.
But the structure in the brain which is called the hippocampus
which encodes recall memory
doesn't even begin to develop fully until a year and a half
and it is not fully developed until much later.
Which is why hardly anybody has any recall memory
prior to 18 months.
But there is another kind of memory which is called implicit memory
which is in fact, an emotional memory
where the emotional impact and the interpretation the child makes
of those emotional experiences are ingrained in the brain
in the form of nerve circuits ready to fire without specific recall.
So to give you a clear example, people who are adopted
have a lifelong sense of rejection very often.
They can't recall the adoption.
They can't recall the separation of the birth mother
because there's nothing there to recall with.
But the emotional memory of separation and rejection
is deeply embedded in their brains.
Hence, they are much more likely to experience a sense of rejection
and a great emotional upset
when they perceive themselves as being rejected by other people.
That's not unique to people who are adopted
but it is particularly strong in them
because of this function of implicit memory.
People who are addicted, given ...
all the research literature and in my experience,
the hard-core addicts virtually were all
significantly abused as children
or suffered severe emotional loss.
Their emotional or implicit memories
are those of a world that's not safe
and not helpful, caregivers who were not to be trusted
and relationships that are not
safe enough to open up to vulnerably.
And hence their responses tend to be
to keep themselves separate from really intimate relationships;
not to trust caregivers, doctors
and other people who are trying to help them
and generally see the world as an unsafe place.
And that is strictly a function of implicit memory
which sometimes has to do with incidents they don't even recall.
[ Touch ]
Infants who are born premature are often in incubators
and various types of gadgetry and machinery
for weeks and perhaps months.
It's now known that if these children
are touched and stroked on the back for just 10 minutes a day,
that promotes their brain development.
So, human touch is essential for development
and in fact, infants who are never picked up will actually die.
That is how much of a fundamental need
being held is to human beings.
In our society, there is an unfortunate tendency
to tell parents not to pick up their kids, not to hold them,
not to pick up babies who are crying for fear of spoiling them or
to encourage them to sleep through the night- you don't pick them up-
which is just the opposite of what the child needs.
And these children might go back to sleep because they give up
and their brains just shut down as a way of
defending against the vulnerability
of being abandoned really by their parents.
But their implicit memories will be
that of the world that doesn't give a damn.
[ Childhood ]
A lot of these differences are structured very early in life.
In a way, the parental experience of adversity-
how tough life is or how easy it is- is passed on to children
whether through maternal depression
or parents being bad tempered with their kids because they have
had a hard day or just being too tired at the end of the day.
And these have very powerful effects
programming children's development, which we know a lot about now.
But that early sensitivity isn't just an evolutionary mistake.
It exists again in many different species.
Even in seedlings, there's an early adaptive process
to the kind of environment they are growing up in.
But for humans, the adaptation is to the quality of social relations.
And so, early life:
how nurturing, how much conflict, how much attention you get-
is a taster of the kind of world you may be growing up in.
Are you growing up in a world where you have to
fight for what you can get, watch your back,
fend for yourself, learn not to trust others?
Or are you growing up in a society where you depend on
reciprocity, mutuality, cooperation, where empathy is important,
where your security depends on good relations with other people?
And that needs a very different emotional and cognitive development.
And that's what the early sensitivity is about.
And parenting is almost- quite unconsciously-
a system for passing on that experience to children,
of the kind of world they are in.
The great British child psychiatrist, D.W. Winnicott, said
that fundamentally, two things can go wrong in childhood.
One is when things happen that shouldn't happen
and then things that should happen but don't.
In the first category, is the traumatic and abusive
and abandonment experiences of my
downtown Eastside patients and of many addicts.
That's what shouldn't happen but did.
But then there is the non-stressed, attuned,
non-distracted attention of the parent that every child needs
that very often children don't get.
They're not abused. They are not neglected
and they're not traumatized.
But what should happen-
the presence of the emotionally available nurturing parent-
just is not available to them because
of the stresses in our society and the parenting environment.
The psychologist Allan Schore calls that "Proximal Abandonment"
when the parent is physically present but emotionally absent.
I have spent
roughly the last 40 years of my life
working with the most violent of people our society produces:
murderers, rapists and so on.
In an attempt to understand what causes this violence,
I discovered that the most violent of the criminals in our prisons
had themselves been victims
of a degree of child abuse that was beyond the scale
of what I ever thought of applying the term child abuse to.
I had no idea of the depth
of the depravity with which children in our society
are all too often treated.
The most violent people I saw were themselves the survivors
of their own attempted murder often at the hands of their
parents or other people in their social environment
or were the survivors of family members who had been killed-
their closest family members- by other people.
The Buddha argued that everything depends on everything else.
He says 'The one contains the many and the many contains the one.'
That you can't understand anything in isolation from its environment.
The leaf contains the sun, the sky and the earth, obviously.
This has now been shown to be true, of course all around
and specifically when it comes to human development.
The modern scientific term for it
is the "bio-psycho-social" nature of human development
which says that the biology of human beings
depends very much on their interaction with
the social and psychological environment.
And specifically, the psychiatrist and researcher
Daniel Siegel at the University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA
has coined a phrase “Interpersonal Neurobiology”
which means to say that the way that our nervous system functions
depends very much on our personal relationships:
in the first place with the parenting caregivers,
and in the second place with other important
attachment figures in our lives
and in the third place, with our entire culture.
So that you can't separate the
neurological functioning of a human being
from the environment in which he or she grew up in
and continues to exist in.
And this is true throughout the life cycle.
It's particularly true when you are
dependent and helpless when your brain is developing
but it's true even in adults and even at the end of life.
[ Culture ]
Human beings have lived in almost every kind of society,
from the most egalitarian-
hunting and gathering societies seem to have been very egalitarian-
for instance based on food sharing, gift exchange...
Small bands of people living
predominately off of foraging and a little bit of hunting,
predominantly among people you have
at the least, known your entire life
if not surrounded by third cousins or closer,
in a world in which there is a great deal
of fluidity between different groups,
in a world which there is not
a whole lot in terms of material culture...
this is how humans have spent most of their hominid history.
And, no surprise, that makes for a very different world.
One of the things you get as a result of that is far less violence.
Organized group violence is
not something that occurred at that time
of human history and that seems quite clear.
So where did we go wrong?
Violence is not universal. It is not symmetrically distributed
throughout the human race. There is a huge variation
in the amount of violence in different societies.
There are some societies that have virtually no violence.
There are others that destroy themselves!
Some of the Anabaptist religious groups
that are complete strict pacifists
like the Amish, the Mennonites, the Hutterites...
Among some of these groups, the Hutterites-
there are no recorded cases of homicide.
During our major wars, like World War II
where people were being drafted
they would refuse to serve in the military.
They would go to prison rather than serve in the military.
In the Kibbutzim in Israel
the level of violence is so low that the criminal courts there
will often send violent offenders
-people who have committed crimes-
to live on the Kibbutzim in order to
learn how to live a non-violent life.
Because that's the way people live there.
So, we are amply shaped by society.
Our societies, in the broader sense, including our theological,
our metaphysical, our linguistic influences, etc.,
our societies help shape us as to whether or not we think
life is basically about sin or about beauty;
whether the afterlife will carry a price
for how we live our lives or if it's irrelevant.
In a broad sort of way, different large societies
could be termed as individualistic or collectivist, and
you get very different people and different mindsets and
I suspect different brains coming along with that.
We, in America, are in one of the most individualistic of societies,
with capitalism being a system that allows you to go
higher and higher up a potential pyramid and
the deal is that it comes with fewer and fewer safety nets.
By definition, the more stratified a society is,
the fewer people you have as peers; the fewer people with whom
you have symmetrical, reciprocal relationships
and instead, all you have are differing spots and endless hierarchies.
A world in which you have few reciprocal partners
is a world with a lot less altruism.
So, this brings us to a total impossible juncture which is
to try to make sense in perspective science
as to what that nature is of human nature.
You know, on a certain level
the nature of our nature is not to be
particularly constrained by our nature.
We come up with more social
variability than any species out there.
More systems of belief, of styles, of family structures,
of ways of raising children. The capacity
for variety that we have is extraordinary.
In a society which is predicated on competition
and really, very often, the ruthless exploitation
of one human being by another-
the profiteering off of other people's problems
and very often the creation of problems
for the purpose of profiteering-
the ruling ideology will very often justify that behavior
by appeals to some fundamental and unalterable human nature.
So the myth in our society
is that people are competitive by nature
and that they are individualistic and that they're selfish.
The real reality is quite the opposite.
We have certain human needs.
The only way that you can talk about human nature concretely
is by recognizing that there are certain human needs.
We have a human need for companionship and for close contact,
to be loved, to be attached to, to be accepted,
to be seen, to be received for who we are.
If those needs are met, we develop
into people who are compassionate and cooperative and
who have empathy for other people.
the opposite, that we often see in our society,
is in fact, a distortion of human nature
precisely because so few people have their needs met.
So, yes you can talk about human nature
but only in the sense of basic human needs
that are instinctively evoked
or I should say, certain human needs
that lead to certain traits if they are met
and a different set of traits if they are denied.
when we recognize the fact that the human organism,
which has a great deal of adaptive flexibility
allowing us to survive in many different conditions,
is also rigidly programmed for certain environmental requirements
or human needs,
a social imperative begins to emerge.
Just as our bodies require physical nutrients,
the human brain demands positive forms of environmental stimulus
at all stages of development,
while also needing to be protected
from other negative forms of stimulus.
And if things that should happen, do not...
or if things that shouldn't happen, do...
it is now apparent that the door can be opened for not only
a cascade of mental and physical diseases
but many detrimental human behaviors as well.
So, as we turn our perspective now outward
and take account for the state of affairs today,
we must ask the question:
Is the condition we have created in the modern world
actually supporting our health?
Is the bedrock of our socioeconomic system
acting as a positive force
for human and social development and progress?
Or, is the foundational gravitation of our society
actually going against the core evolutionary requirements
needed to create and maintain
our personal and social well-being?
[Part II: Social Pathology]
So, one might ask where did this all begin?
what we have today... really a world in a state of
You get it started with John Locke.
And John Locke introduces property.
He has three provisos for just private right and property.
And the three provisos are:
There must be enough left over for others
and that you must not let it spoil
and that you, most of all, must mix your labor with it.
It seems justified- you mix your labor with the world
then you are entitled to the product.
And as long as there's enough left over for others
and as long as it doesn't spoil
and you don't allow anything to go to waste then that's okay.
He spends a long time on his famous Treatises of Government
and it's since been the canonical text
for economic and political and legal understanding.
It is still the classic text that's studied.
Well, ... after he gives the provisos
and you're almost thinking at the time
whether you are for private property or not-
he has given a very good and plausible and powerful defense
of private property here-
Well, he drops them!
He drops them like that. Right in one sentence.
He says, 'Well, once the introduction
of money came in by men's tacit consent..." then it became-
and he doesn't say all the provisos are canceled or erased-
but that's what happens.
So, now we have not
product and your property earned by your own labor-
oh no- money buys labor now.
There is no longer consideration
whether there is enough left over for others;
there is no longer consideration of whether it spoils-
because he says money is like silver and gold and gold can't spoil-
and therefore money can't be responsible for waste...
which is ridiculous. We are not talking about money and silver,
we are talking about what its effects are.
It's one non sequitur after another.
Just the most startling
logical legerdemain that he gets away with here.
But it fits the interests of capital owners.
Then Adam Smith comes along
and what he adds is the religion to this...
Locke started with 'God made it all this way- this is God's right...'
and now we get also with Smith saying 'it's not only God's...'
well, he's not actually saying this but this is
what's happening philosophically, in principle-
he's saying that 'it is not only a question of private property...'
That's all now 'presupposed'- It's Given!
And that there's 'money investors that buy labor' – Given!
There's no limit to how much they can buy of other men's labor,
how much they can accumulate, how much 'inequality'-
that's all given now.
And so he comes along and what his big idea is-
and again it's just introduced in parentheses, in passing...
You know, when people put out goods for sale- ... the supply-
and other people buy them- the demand and so forth,
how do we have supply equaling demand or demand equaling supply?
How can they come into equilibrium?
And that is one of the central notions of economics,
is how do they come into equilibrium.
And he says: it's the “Invisible Hand of the Market”
that brings them into equilibrium.
So, now we have "God is actually imminent”.
He just didn't give the rights to property
and all its wherewithal and its "natural rights"
regarding what Locke said...
now we have the system itself AS "God".
In fact, Smith says, when he talks
and you'll never find this quote, and you have to read the whole of
the Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations to find it.
He says: 'the scantiness of subsistence
sets limits to the reproduction of the poor
and that nature can deal with this in no other way
than elimination of their children.'
So he anticipated evolutionary theory in the worst sense...
this is well before Darwin.
And so he called them the 'Race of Laborers'.
So you can see: there was inherent racism built in here,
there was an inherent life blindness to kill innumerable children.
And he thought: 'That's the Invisible Hand making supply
meet demand and demand meet supply.'
So, see- how wise "God" is?
So you can see a lot of the really virulent
life destructive, eco-genocidal things
that are going on now have, in a way,
a 'thought gene' back in Smith too.
When we reflect on the original concept of
the so-called free market capitalist system
as initiated by early economic philosophers
such as Adam Smith