id-iom, two twisted brothers, gonzo designers and graffiti artists based in Brixton – London, state in bright colors that “the crown that sits upon the soul is enough to ruin one and all.” Are they wrong? No, not at all! Indeed, when money, power, and control get to people, when they reach the depths of their soul, ruin follows as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
The doorways to self-destruction are so numerous that we can have our pick of them.
Great Wealth and Constant Worry: French playwright Edouard Bourdet once said that money and women have this one thing in common. To keep them by your side, you have to take care of them. If you don’t, they will go and make someone else happy. Do you really want to spend your life this way? Fearing for your fortune, working to the bone to gain more, yet losing a whole lot more!
Greed and Hunger: It’s nice to have ambitions and dreams, but what happens when nothing is good enough anymore? If what’s great doesn’t make the cut anymore, and if we’re never satisfied with anything anymore, a lot of magical things like achieving big goals, or living great adventures, or meeting special people, lose their spark, alas. We must revive life’s magic at all cost!
Excessiveness and Gluttony: One of the benefits of saturation is that it keeps us grounded; meaning grateful for not being hungry or needy, yet eager to work harder in order to be more successful or fulfilled. But when excess becomes a standard of living, when we feed it whether there’s a need to it or not, the situation becomes highly dangerous. Continuous excess is known to desensitize people.
Underestimating others: Just because we’ve been on top for some time doesn’t mean that we’ll stay on top forever. The world is a big place and there’s plenty of room for people who are as good and as driven as us. A good rule of thumb is that we must always be aware of our surroundings. Otherwise, we’ll find ourselves at the bottom of a manhole, waiting for help to come, while others reach their destination.
Kinks and Addictions: In investigative police work, the reasons behind any crime are either drugs, sex, or money. Anything else that impairs our better judgement is as bad. Here too I recommend that we stay aware of our surroundings, but before that, we need to check ourselves. What we call karma, fate, or one’s just reward stipulates that what comes out from within us returns to us like a boomerang.
As you can see, when sadism and narcissism find their sweet spot in us humans, it becomes hard to manage them. It’s hard but not impossible. We can always try to fight off the thrilling temptations that bring the excitement of a suicidal gunplay.
Now, about ruining others. Toying with living creatures because they are weaker or because they have no other place to go to is unethical as much as it is easy, especially for someone with an authoritarian position, or a totalitarian attitude or, God forbid, both.
Social stigma: A CEO breaks his subordinate. The subordinate breaks the native kitchen lady. The native kitchen lady breaks her foreign domestic worker. The CEO’s children break the less popular or less rich schoolmates. The foreign maid breaks men because they’re men and men rape women…. All this is the evil doing of toxic behavior, i.e. stereotyping and labeling, practicing discrimination and division, or any conduct that keeps us against them, that makes us feel or look less worthy. Even this CEO isn’t perfect, same as the foreign maid. They both have good qualities. They both have some serious flaws. And they are both going to turn to dust in the end.
Cult brands: I’m the matriarch. I’m a philosopher. I’m a count. I’m a capitalist. I’m a white-collar. I’m a blue-collar… today, we say, I’m an Instagram fashionista. I’m a StarbucksHolic. I have an iPhone. I drink Coca-Cola… see the difference?
There’s nothing wrong with having a favorite brand, but the problem lies in us being so overwhelmed by the goods flooding the market that we lose focus of what’s truly essential. Who knows what our inner self looks like if everywhere we go we’re blinded by neon lights and flickering logos? Who feels like reading decent content or looking up the right information if all we do is flip through selfies and tabloid? This is all a distraction, and we fall into the trap with every single invention.
Impossible beauty standards: Good-looking people have always had special social perks, mainly because we have always judged each other by unrealistic standards. Why do we please them? Why do we stay away from those who are not attractive but then seek them when we need something? Why do we fail to realize or remember that beautiful people on the outside can be ugly on the inside? Why do we fail to see or honor the beautiful soul behind an ugly face? Are we that blind? Are we slaves for perfection? I hope not, but this can be fixed by acquiring better habits.
Ignorance, Poverty, Injustice: This hound of Hades is a tool of mass destruction. It cannot be denied. Voltaire once said, “The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.” Indeed, ruling over the uneducated, the starving, and the neglected, as well as controlling their natural resources is a piece of cake. Divided, these are the easiest prey on earth.
Moreover, the deliberate destitution of people and denying equal life opportunities leaves the masses fighting for crumbs whereas the best things in life are handed to the privileged on a silver platter. Nations fall so that nations rise. That’s fine; birth and death are a part of the cycle of life. But should nations rise at the expense of those who cannot fight back? Is there a room for diplomacy when the giants fight for the same prize; when alpha countries cheat, lie, and steal? Is there a room for ethics when money talks and bullshit walks?
Rotten values: Ever since we’re born, we’re told what to say, what to think, what to drink, what to wear, where our loyalty should be, what job we should have, what partner we should love, etc. That’s strange because we’re all able to decide for ourselves what we want, who we want, what to believe in, who to believe in, what cause to defend, what hair color to have for summer, etc. Which makes me wonder, who sets the characteristics of a king or the attributes of a winner? Who allows a supposedly “superior” breed to rule over those who don’t belong to the same “rank”? Let’s take patriotism as an example. I’m certain that this virtuous value is deformed and used by politics to keep people in a state of conflict and war against each other.
As you can see, when sadistic and ego-centric people get comfortable with their killer instinct, it becomes hard to humanize them. Hard, but hopefully, possible.
I imagine that the best thing to do first is respect human life, animal life, and the environment in everything we do as much as we can, no matter where we are, what age we have, how our parents act, what job we have, etc.
When this philosophy takes roots in us, when our daily actions do not contradict it, it will expand to take root in future generations. I don’t know how much time it may take to sense real change worldwide, but it surely has to start from here.
Let’s end this with a flourish, shall we? As more of these vices drop and assemble, a small pond of parasites and plastic soldiers takes form. As everything multiplies, this harmless looking pond gradually becomes a stream. The fast-moving stream runs faster until it reaches bigger spaces where swims and swarms more kings.
Though the Earth is big, the world remains a small world and what happens in one country or continent will somehow affect another. That’s what we proudly call International Politics. Honestly I don’t see it this way. All I see is bullying, only on a large scale. Everything that happens next falls under collateral damage.
Because it’s hard to keep up with a planet, we keep losing the sight of a truth as ancient as time, a truth that has repeated itself ever since Cain and Abel. There’s no magical ending. We all reap what we sow. And no human is exempt from this law. This should make us all humble, but I’m afraid there may always be little skies and giant butterflies.
The predatory instinct in us is not an excuse because we’re conscious beings that are capable of kindness and possess reason. That’s why we should always remember that nothing good comes out of violence, and of course, always try to act accordingly until it becomes a habit.
There are all sorts of kings in this small world. Those who become kings because they seem most kingly. Those who become kings through hard work. Those who become kings through apple-polishing and kissing ass. Those who become kings through sensitization campaigns and empty promises. Those who become kings because of people’s trust or naivety. There’s also those who raise themselves by putting others down.
The closer these titans come next to each other, the fiercer they lock horns. Very often, even pacifists are thrown into the battle. (Can they succeed without staining their hands with blood? That’s another story.) The general vibe coming out of these clashes is a powerful thing, for it sets the collective mood between the countries’ inhabitants, albeit the distance, across the frontiers. Where does this leave us?
Crushed by kings who fight for territory, power, and control. Cornered. Defensive. At war. Hungry. Hateful. Jobless. Godless. Quick to judge and cold when it comes to how we treat our fellow humans. Disdained and untrusting when it comes to how we see our race. Disgusted by it all. Unaware of how many we are and how few they are.
This occurred to me when I imagined possible ways that promote social justice and concretize the desired change.
Get back to moderation by allowing all that exceeds our needs to leave us and make others happy. When we give, we tell ourselves, “I have a lot!”. Saying this, whether it’s true or not, makes us feel saturated, satisfied, and blessed. This should limit the greed that’s filling our bank account while feeding on our soul.
Vote for new blood. It’ll be more than hard for one reformative person to cure national corruption but it’s still better than having an entire swamp of piranhas. Having a goldfish in the parliament is a good thing. It’s definitely refreshing to us and the complete opposite to the giants. Let’s just hope they don’t eliminate our goldfish!
Fight ignorance and poverty with the means we have. They may be meager, but added to the efforts of each citizen wherever he is, they become big. We can always fund an initiative, save money for charity before the holidays, feed the needy instead of throwing food in the garbage. Do what we can to help people grow.
Perceive others for what they truly are. Treat the beautiful and the ugly with the same respect. Give the underdog a chance. Engage in a sexless and unbiased exchange with all genders; the ones you understand and the ones you don’t, the ones you approve of and the ones you don’t, the ones you’re familiar with and the ones you’re not.
Check how your decisions or actions will affect others and the environment before you do them. If evil is inevitable, limit the damages as much as you can.
Overthrow the monarchy of fakeness in your life; fake friends, fake leaders, fake happiness, fake beauty, fake religion, and above everything, a fake self.
Listen to your gut feeling. Turn off all the bad noise. Wash your brain from all the brainwashing carried by social stigmas and rotten values. The voice you’ll hear after that is the voice of the one god. A god who does not belong to human concepts or political parties, because he’s the origin of everything.
In sum, do whatever you see fit from where you stand. We all know what’s good and what’s bad. What we need to do is do good. It may be difficult, but what’s the use of living if we don’t leave a good mark. It doesn’t matter if it’s a smudge or a mural as long as you give it all you’ve got.
Now that I reread this post before publishing it, I find it a tad apocalyptical or melodramatic, though every bit of it is as real as you and I. But it’s important to remember that one must believe in miracles and new beginnings when times are dark, otherwise where’s the challenge?
The way life started, whether it is with the breath of God or with a Bing Bang, the way it evolves continuously, the way it keeps its balance… every bit of that is a miracle. So why would miracles stop now? Because we’ve lost steam or hope? No, life doesn’t work this way.
Same as the universe, we too are built to adapt and bloom. So, let’s nurture in us healthy desires like the desire to do the right thing or add depth to our existence. Let’s maintain the drive to create new possibilities and a better self. Most importantly, let’s stay positive.
I know how hard this can be. One day, I’ll be bringing little foxes to this world and I truly fear for their safety and wellbeing every once in a while. But I shall think of miracles, teach my kids about them, and focus on life’s many splendors. It’s going to be hard but not impossible. I never thought that parenting involves caring for the adult ones as much as caring for the little ones. Interesting!
In the very end, I hope that one day, all the kings fall and all the people unite under the same flag – the flag of humanity. All avowing this to one another. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until we return to dust and reunite in God’s presence.
Posted in: Social Progress