There is something so wrong with the world today. The heart of our society has blackened and is beginning to decay. So is it beyond repair? Can we do something to set things right for our children and our grandchildren? Is it even feasible? Could we turn this around before one of the criminal masterminds that we have allowed to come to power gets us blown to kingdom come? I only know that it is better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all. If you were to list your priorities, what would they be? Would your family or friends be number one? Would God? Buddha? Your Higher Power? Or would your stuff be at the top of the list.
The greatest curse we have invoked upon ourselves is materialism. Corporate greed manifested in us. The powers that be, since the dawn of the industrial age, have been tirelessly researching, plotting, and scheming to create a sense of need in the consumer. And we have gladly become their puppets. How can you compete with decades of accumulated advertising prowess, mass media, and the advent of multi corporation marketing schemes? That is how they would have you think. Every one of us in the age of technology is their dream consumer. We believe we need whatever they tell us we need. We run out, buy it, and dump money into the corporate machine. We feed their greed. And we become poor. Poor in spirit.
What if we just stopped? Stopped buying into their material world. What if we told our kids that there was more fun to be had outside, in nature, than there is in the next Barbie or Transfrormer action figure? What if we decided that there something more interesting than what's on the tube tonight? What if we realized that we are only slaves to a time card if we choose to make MONEY god ?! Could you decide that being there for your kid is more important to you than being able to afford your monthly payment on the Hummer?
This beautifully coiffed nation of ours is in debt up to its eyeballs. Our excuse is that we, or our children, deserve to have the very best. The latest trends, the best toys, the best that money can buy. What if the only thing that really truly matters cannot be bought? What if the greatest evil we face in the world today is the that which enslaves us, the almighty dollar.
We could be a successful, sustainable world, we could capitalize on knowledge and shared skills, we could win by saying "no more" to the corporate machines and to the political war mongers who can only win if we lose.
My solution is called La Pura Vida, or The Pure Life. It is more an ideology than three little words. In Costa Rica, it is said that la pura vida represents "living in peace in a calm, unclustered manner, appreciating a life surrounded by nature and family and friends". For me it is a dream, a lifelong goal. It is the very essence of what I believe that life should be, yet the exact opposite from what I find life to be. I see chaos, and utter unhappiness. Many of the people I interact with on a daily basis tell me that they feel unfulfilled, rushed towards a goal that they have not yet identified. Young people who are hard working, "productive" and essentialy disconnected from the world around them. Through my encounters with these folks, it becomes entirely clear to me how so many horrible things can take place in this broken world of ours, while so many people remain blissfully ignorant of the carnage, the genocide, the pain and neglect that are the earmarks of the 21st century. We are distracted by what is percieved as the complexity of our own existence, our own purpose. We allow the world around us to fall to pieces. I do not presume to try to make anyone think that what I believe to be paradise is paradise for them. I only wonder if there is anyone else who believes in getting back to basics. We could embrace community as opposed to industry and live a simple life as opposed to struggling at the grind and allowing the rat race to consume us. Perhaps that is the key to a peaceful existence. If we took away some of the chaos and complexity and selfishness of our own lives, perhaps we could then find the time and energy to help better the lives and communities of those around us.