The Three Pollutions in the Global Mind. Part 1. Greed. A Critique
Knowledge, love and action serve to overcome the impossible
An Appeal for a Revolution
Part One: The Business of Greed
There are three primary pollutions of the global mind: greed, violence and delusion.
In the last century, Mahatma Gandhi inspired a revolution to get rid of the occupation of the British Raj in India.
We need a parallel psychological revolution to bring about an end to the occupation of pollution in the global mind.
Greed is an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what we need
Our world is vulnerable. We, the producers and consumers, have to change. We are witnessing the impact of our lifestyles on the Earth. We see more and more swings in climate and lasting for longer periods. Climate scientists tell us the Earth’s temperature is slowly rising with the potential to bring even greater swings in climate, unprecedented flooding and widespread loss of life.
In this critique, I will detail several of the psychological conditions that contribute to corporate greed. I will refer to some of the major corporations that must urgently change their treatment of their factory and farm workers and their exploitation of the Earth and its resources.
I will offer steps that we, the citizens, can take to free ourselves from the slavery of consumerism and, at the same time, demand change from corporate capitalism.
I will refer to the importance of whistleblowers as the new revolutionaries.
The necessity for international inspectors to protect, workers, farm animals and the environment.
And the total online financial transparency of the annual income of every citizen, rich or poor, employed or unemployed.
We need to examine our collective problematic attitudes in human behaviour. Our states of mind have become a dark shadow over the Earth. We must focus on our mind to address our global issues.
We must all work together for a revolution of the inner life. Previous revolutions have concentrated on changing external circumstances. The revolution for the 21st century requires both an internal and external revolution to transform these three inner pollutions.
Pollution sits in the mind not only of the individual, but also in the mind of the institution.
We know that there is greed, corruption and exploitation in our major corporations and banks. They need to inquire into their motivations and intentions. For example, corporate bosses like Apple, Amazon and Starbucks, appear to have worked with their accountants and lawyers to exploit every tax loophole possible to prevent paying taxes. Between them, they have kept billions of dollars from the public purse – money that could be used to support the needs of the poor, sick, elderly and the environment. They show a cynical disregard for the public good.
The US governments, the European Governments and elsewhere display a spineless irresponsibility with powerful corporations to recover the billions of dollars from years of financial abuse from these corporations.
Corporate greed, corruption and exploitation seem to be contemporary forms of mental illness, a serious psychological health issue that is not easily changed or transformed.
Institutional greed, corruption and exploitation are as difficult an addiction to change in the mind as heroin addiction. Profit junkies and heroin junkies have much in common except heroin addicts only harm themselves as well as bringing distress to their loved ones.
Corporate boardrooms, senior managers, corporate lawyers and accountants urgently need a commitment to ongoing inner work with wise counsel. They need help and support in terms of exploration of the depth of the shortcomings in their emotional life, mental states and attitudes. This would lead to a profound change of heart and mind. The transformation of these mental health problems would bring about a fundamental change in the very DNA of the policies of the corporation.
Some of the psychological conditions for corporate greed, corruption and exploitation include:
absence of an inner life
absence of emotional, spiritual and global intelligence
addiction to goals regardless of the cost
craving for security
cut off from an authentic vision
deep need to prove oneself
emotional estrangement from loved ones
fear of being a loser
flight from feelings
fear of death
grasping after pleasure, power and luxury goods for a sense of identity
lack of self worth
unresolved control issues
It is similar as well for citizens caught up in consumerism. Corporate capitalism and consumer capitalism share the same bed. We have to campaign to change the inner world of corporate producers. We, the consumers, have to change our inner life, too. This is inner and outer change working together. This is the revolution.
We see that corporate and consumer capitalism depends on nurturing a psychological climate of insecurity and greed. These are obviously unhealthy and unresolved states of mind deserving the deepest attention.
Influential people engaged in big business employ basic capitalist principles namely:
The mass production of goods and services for today’s profit in the shortest time at the cheapest rate. This methodology applies equally to the most superficial item found in a souvenir shop to the cost of a luxury airplane.
With the obsession for profit in the centre of the mind, greed blocks the corporations from seeing the consequences of their business model and the impact on our ecosystem including:
our atmosphere and climate change
our dwindling resources
our forests and land
our fresh water rivers, lakes and seas
our very survival as a species
We also must make dramatic changes in our inner life. All revolutions have depended upon cells of people working to implement radical change. It needs small groups of people in a locality meeting to create fundamental transitions in our own lives to dissolve the psychological grip of corporate/consumer capitalism.
These cells will work to change the inner life including our relationship to diet, skilful use of materials, application of sustainable energy and a meaningful lifestyle.
Local groups and various kinds of networks will also address daily issues ranging from debts, gambling, compulsive shopping onto right livelihood and wise use of income.
The meetings will become circles of friendship exploring a shared responsibility to end addiction to consumerism.
People need to work together as distinct from the isolated self-help approach.
The men, women and children in local groups will also co-operate together to campaign against the powerful forces of corporations, banks and governments who ignore the plight of much of humanity and our increasingly fragile eco system.
People need to empower each other. Children have an important voice in this revolution because they inherit the world that we, the adults, leave to them.
We need brave men and women also to act as whistleblowers. This requires call centres where employees of major corporations, banks and governments report
violations of ethics,
abuse of regulations,
mistreatment of workers,
use of dangerous chemicals
and environmental abuse.
The whistleblowers will risk loss of job, retaliation from bosses, peer pressure and prosecution. They are the new revolutionaries for change.
We need to campaign for policies so that corporations can no longer treat their destructive impact on our environment as “externals” to the priority of profit. A revolution will change that modus operandi. Humanity, present and future, pays the price in happiness and health for the excessive desires of corporate/consumer capitalism.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
It would be possible to seat the most powerful CEOs worldwide on three London double-decker buses. We, the citizens of the Earth, have the right to ask questions of powerful CEO’s. Are they suitable custodians of our vulnerable earth? Are they indifferent to the suffering of others and our eco-system? We must also ask ourselves and each other the same questions.
Who are some of these 150 greedy corporations that appear to exploit the vulnerability and health of humans, animals and our habitats in the aggressive pursuit of profit?
The alcohol industry, the computer industry like Apple and Microsoft, the drink industry like Coca-Cola, the chemical and seed industry like Monsanto, the energy and oil companies like BP, the armaments industry like Lockheed Martin, the food industry like McDonalds and Nestles, the clothing industry like Nike, the pharmaceutical industry like Pfzer, the cigarette industry, like Marlboro cigarettes, children’s items such as Walt Disney Corporation, World Bank, IMF and the financial markets like Wall Street.
We need an international team of independent inspectors to visit all major factories and factory farms worldwide to check and challenge the working conditions, health, environmental safety and the living conditions of the workers. Farm animals and birds need compassionate inspectors, too. These inspectors need the power to stop all the millions of gruesome scientific experiments on chimpanzees, monkeys, dogs, cats and other animals.
Do the workers and their families:
experience overcrowded housing conditions?
psychological and physical stress?
have to choose between food and heat for their families?
have unions to represent their human rights?
have a subsistence lifestyle on desperately poor wages?
Corporations do not allow the media into their foreign factories to see the conditions of their workers or only show factories useful for public relations. They do not permit the media into their farm factories to witness the plight of farm animals and birds. Why? The bosses know that any widespread exposure to life in these factories or farms could bring about worldwide revulsion and possible boycott of their products. We must demand transparency in all factories and farm factories.
Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, has erected huge nets on some of their factories in China to stop more of their depressed workers committing suicide by jumping off the roof of the factory. Remaining workers had to sign an agreement that they will not commit suicide. Foxconn makes makes equipment for Apple Inc. Microsoft and other global computer companies.
We also need to inquire into the relationship between the disproportionate wealth of the 1%, cheap consumer goods and the plight of low paid workers.
Tied to Consumerism
Another kind of slavery concerns consumers. We, the consumers, have got caught up in the greed for more, too. Millions worldwide are slaves to debt. Stress haunts the daily life of modern day consumer slaves.
We can also become transparent in our financial matters by sharing our financial status with others and learning together to live within our means. A revolution would include freedom of information to see the end of year financial statements of anybody in the country, as steps towards ending greed, corruption and tax evasion. In Norway, for example, the tax returns of every citizen are available online.
We learn to empower each other to develop a culture of moderation, a value for making things last and a prudent use of any kind of transport. In such a way of life, we turn our back on being slaves to consumerism, greed and ostentatious living. Consumers become conscious citizens instead.
We have a core question to ask ourselves and each other. “Do I really need this?” … whatever the item. We apply the same question to corporations. Do we really need this corporation in light of dwindling resources and climate change? The capacity frequently to say “no” confirms you belong to the revolution.
A 21st century revolution requires compassion and wisdom to create a new psychological and political climate. This is the spiritual aspect of the revolution.
We acknowledge the suffering this current system of thought causes to all of us, animals and our environment, near and far. We, the citizens, have the power to change the global mind, inwardly and outwardly, once and for all. This is the revolution.
May all beings live in peace
May all beings live in harmony
May all beings live in peace and harmony.
Script 1 of 3.
Filmed in Sarnath, India.
To be available on YouTube in March 2014