After 3,000 Americans were killed on 9/11, that painful memory was still fresh and the healing and reparations were still under way when then-President George W. Bush made his famous speech where he encouraged everyone "to go shopping more." In our profit-driven economy, the big corporations—owned by the 1%—want Americans and the so-called “free world” to be consumers, and the economies of the world are based upon excessive consumerism and materialism.
Children grow up with advertisement-infested television that actually “brainwashes” them to become consumers at an early age. By the time they are young adults—or even before in their pre-teen or teen years—they have been programmed through thousands of commercials by the puppet-masters of marketing to think that they need a great many things to be happy, successful, and even healthy. Of course, to get these things they need money; thus, the pursuit of money to get these things becomes the raison d’être for living. All too often, when young adults enter college, they pursue careers based upon making as much money as they can in order to buy all of the things they think they need.
One should awaken to the madness of this kind of thinking. Look at or even experience (by being there) “Black Friday” (or now Thanksgiving day), where thousands of people trample over each other trying to get into the store, to be the first to buy things they do not really need. In their “fight” to get into the store, people shove and cuss at each other, and fist fights even break out if a person gets in front of them or buys the last thing before they get a chance to buy it. They are like wild animals fighting over a carcass.
It is very strange to me that these ten of thousands of people who rush to Target and Wal-Mart and Best Buy and Sam’s Club and other big box stores do not seem to realize that there are millions of people suffering in this world—dying of starvation, lacking adequate water, not having a roof over their heads, or living in shacks. But all the suffering in this world does not seem to matter to those who have been diseased by consumerism madness. It is a modern disease, just like cancer. It eats up the soul, this consumerism madness.
Many a divorce occurs between young people because the husband is expected to supply the wife with all the things she really does not need, and when he cannot, his worth as a man is criticized by her, and possibly even by her family, because he cannot provide her the things her parents did. They bought the lie, so should the husband. “How dare he to just want to be able to meet the real needs of his family,” (which does not always include all of their selfish wants). “Well, doesn’t he know he is supposed to meet the wants of his wife and spoil his children, just like his wife was spoiled by her Baby Boomer parents?”
Plenty of young men are spoiled too. So in the worst of The Great American Dream, this materialistic burden falls on both males and females in their roles in the home and is not particular to any gender. Have you ever gone into an American home and seen people with buying madness? They have two or more couches; two or more refrigerators; two or more stoves; two, three, or four television sets; shoes for every day of the month, and some may have shoes for every day of the year. And these people are never happy. They never have enough.
It does not matter that most of the products that Americans buy fall apart now (by design) in a matter of a few years and that they have to rebuy them. Toasters do not work right anymore and only partially toast your bread. Coffeemakers do not make good coffee anymore, but they look good with all the buttons and electronic gadgets, yet do not make really good coffee.
I could understand progress if the modern items really worked better than in the “good ole days,” but it is seldom the case now. Quality is gone, and quantity is the name of the game, because Americans are willing to put up with the temporary crap and buy something again because their two-week warranty is gone! Many places still charge high prices for these “things,” fooling the American public that because they cost more, they are better. Pretty soon the music-playing devices will be so small you will need a magnifying glass and special tools to turn them on and off. They will no longer be called iPods but be called “micropods.”
Overlooking the tragedy in the world seems to be the way of the apathy-ites in America. The saying—when asked “How are you?”—“It’s all good!” is part of this “it’s all OK” philosophy. It is a pathology of looking the other way, not being honest about your own suffering (caused by yourself or somebody else), or not being compassionate enough about the sufferings in the world, or admitting to someone else that this suffering is even happening. And so your immediate response is, “It’s all good.” What’s all good?
Perhaps it would be better to say (when someone asks you how you are doing), “Oh, I am really upset that thousands of people died in the hurricane Katrina (or in disasters in Haiti or Japan).” You know, being honest with people? People today are afraid even to share their own disappointments in life because their religions tell them they are not successful if they have these disappointments and are upset, because if they were really “spiritual,” they would get that acting job (or any job they are applying for), or raise, or promotion, and be prosperous. So when they do not get it, they have a phony smile and way about them, and the attitude is “It doesn’t matter,” when all the time they are crying inside, and, to top it off, holding back feelings that are actually hurting systems of the body in some way, causing disease of the body, all because they think they cannot be honest with someone else because they will not look successful.
Our society teaches to clothe ourselves on the outside with fancy garb and to hide what is on the inside. We can look very happy but on the inside be very sad. We learn to pretend to be happy, and even when we find out that “things” do not buy our happiness, we never let that out. In your honesty about your own struggles, you can always add, “I am going to get it next time” (whatever it is).” Or, “I will try another way.” Bringing in the positive and hopeful part to the expression of your honest feelings is balanced and healthy.
We keep up the disguise and wear false faces all of our lives, so much so that we never really find out who we are—not inside, where it really counts. But for awhile we look good on the outside—our bodies, our homes, and our cars we drive. “It’s all good! It’s all OK.” “I’m OK, you’re OK”—a line coined by a psychologist years ago. But the truth is, usually we are not OK with ourselves, nor do we feel others are really OK.
In Western civilization, particularly America and now Bollywood (in India), movie stars are made out to be OK, more than OK, often demigods. What we are saying when we do this is, “It is OK that someone can make millions of dollars for a picture while most other people would have to work a whole lifetime to earn even a fraction of that kind of money, with many hardly able to support their family.” The same is done with rock stars and sports figures. They are more than OK too; they are our heroes—even though most of these heroes are not OK in their moral lives.
Today few actors can really act, few singers can really sing, but their good looks often make them stars and what they are willing to do to become Hollywood stars. Somehow we feel these famous people deserve to have what we can only dream about. Have we really thought this through? If we really did, we would not idolize them, patronize their movies, pay the high ticket prices in the sports arenas and at concerts.
Who is really OK? Let me tell you. It is the teachers who put up with 30 or 40 undisciplined and rowdy high school students every class, eight hours a day, often in ghetto areas where their lives are actually in danger. It is the social workers who work with the poor and struggling in society, trying to give opportunities for them to improve their lives and have some hope that they and their families can at least have their basic needs met. It is those in the healthcare system who genuinely care about the sick and suffering and work hard to lessen pain and promote healing. It is the firemen who put their lives on the line every time they go out to fight a fire and save lives and property. It is the honest policemen who are out on the streets every day trying to protect the innocent and promote safe neighborhoods. (Yes, there are bad apples in the basket, as there are in every basket, but I am talking about the good ones.) It is these servers of humankind who should get the big bucks.
The apathy-ite Americans have a way of believing or acting out the “I’m OK, you’re OK” mentality and not ever being “real” with one another or one’s self. They are willing to accept the status quo of the injustices of capitalism that have gone to extremes, border-lining on insanity. This creates in our society a nonreality, a lack of honor, a lack of commitment and loyalty, a lack of submission to elders, a lack of understanding of the faith walk in the Creator, because the diseased American has trusted only in the almighty dollar bill and not God Almighty.
So much today is lopsided. That which is good is called evil, and that which is evil is called good. Vanity is looked upon as good, when in the book of Proverbs (31:30) there is a line that says “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”
Today, unfortunately, many women use their beauty like the sirens of Greek mythology, to lure men into their trance of sexual gestures and looks. Marketers sell sex because sex sells to the mindset of American males who think “it’s all OK, it’s all good.” Male movie stars, strippers, and models of underwear—who wear straps called “underwear” by the product makers and marketers—do the same thing. They sell their bodies and then pretend to be actors.
As long as these things are OK in your life, then the society will continue to destroy the minds of your children and grandchildren to a distorted consciousness where they will no longer be able to distinguish between what is truly good and what is evil, between what is really OK and what is not OK.
The idea of community is gone in America. Living in suburbs has replaced many “neighborhoods,” and all too often neighbors no longer know each other. People get up, go to work, come home, and do the same thing the next day. There is little time for their neighbors. There is little time for their own children. Money has to be made to keep the mortgage payments up—often for a house they cannot afford, the expensive cars they cannot afford, and the name-brand clothes that they buy for their children that they cannot afford. The list goes on.
Many Americans have opted to create intentional communities or to join existing intentional communities. In this lifestyle most of the needs of life are met within the community concept of “having all things in common”—a concept taught by Jesus in the first century. I did not grow up in an intentional community, but I grew up in a real neighborhood in the inner city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where people really cared about one another, even if they were not related biologically. A lot of relatives did try to live in the same neighborhood, and so much was shared. If we needed our car fixed, a relative or a friend would do it. If we needed our house painted, a friend or relative would help us. And afterwards, there would be a party, and everyone would have fun, just enjoying each other.
We used to close our street off on Friday night to Sunday night, and anyone could play music, or sing, or go out on the street and have fun doing it! It is a lot more fun than going to a concert, because everybody is participating—Mom, Dad, kids, Grandpa, Grandma, uncles, aunts. Now, Uncle Tom lives in Minneapolis, and you live in Texas. Grandma and Grandpa live where you grew up, and you live thousands of miles away, trying to earn money.
A teaching in one of The Cosmic Family volumes is that in higher worlds of time and space, families stay together, and that the highest families of virtue run the government of that planet. The other families, less virtuous, also run governments within local sectors, like countries, states, and cities. In The URANTIA Book is found information about the first stage of light and life, which is soon to happen on this planet, regardless of the greed of the 1% who presently control the systems of this world. The New Age calls this period the Aquarian Age—the age of cooperation. Christians call this age The New Millennium.
So this is something that is OK, something we should have hope for, something that each and every one of us should try our best to become a better person so that we can become part of that Divine New Order (which is also the title of a book I wrote to express how the beginning of this new age is happening now, with many individuals changing the way they live and coming out of the system of the 1%, also called the third dimension). When you are actually living in one of these kinds of intentional communities, then when somebody asks you how are you doing, it is OK to say, “It’s all good.”