Each morning we awaken to our longest running dream, the world we live in. So compelling and consistent is this dream that we call it reality. In our reality dream, reason has come to be the guiding force, with magic and spirit really believed to exist only in other dreams.
Despite the limitations of reason, it has generated a dream we can count on, a safety net of order and continuity for us to build and maintain our lives on. Currently, our world of reason is under siege by a wily trickster who presents under the pseudonym of economics.
“It’s jobs, stupid; it’s the economy.” And with those words the world goes silent and is brought to its knees in servitude.
This past week I heard a music reviewer, on the eve of the American Idol finale, state that the show had become so formulaic and, despite some strong voices, that formula choked out new music. She herself felt the need to attend a rock concert that night, rather than be bored once again. The economic coup, the other “idol” of our times, has become equally formulaic and boring.
In our own American dream, currently dominating the world stage, a new economic American Idol was anointed this week, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. At age 28, he is now one of the twenty wealthiest people on earth. How did he get there? Well, his greed and speed launched Facebook initially. Despite dirty tricks at Harvard, he pulled it off. The recent Facebook IPO launch was filled, once again, with dirty tricks, with JP Morgan implicated once again, but Zuckerberg still landed at the top, and truly, that’s all that matters. Right?
Reason and fairness are no match for the “economic need” of the few. And, in the end, all dirty deeds are truly forgiven because, secretly, all is fair in the accumulation of wealth. What matters is getting there—at any cost. That’s the real dream of the economic dream.
We have to frack, to poison the water supply. Why? It’s jobs, stupid! We have to drill in the Arctic. We need more oil. Why? Homeland security and the economy, stupid! We simply cannot limit carbon emissions to forestall global warming, at least not now. Why? It just doesn’t make economic sense. How could we possibly shut down a nuclear industry in these times of economic need?
Ironically, such drastic economic delusions were created by the Zuckerbergs of the world, the Wall Street tricksters, the champions of finance and industry who continuously fool the world to their own wealth advantage. But truthfully, their power remains unchecked because, secretly, we’re all upholding the notion that the accumulation of wealth, through any means, is of the highest value and at the basis of our survival. That American dream, like American Idol, simply chokes out the possibility of other dreams, even one so simple as fairness, sharing, and taking only what you truly need. Or a dream that acknowledges interdependence, a dream that says, “no being left behind.” It takes all of us to uphold the dream.
Our reality dream is breaking apart now because even rationality cannot uphold the logic of the economic trickster. Science, a most rational process, is severely checked under its influence. According to the economic trickster, science exists only for its money making potential and should only be funded to serve the market. Education is all wrong. Schools are markets now too; markets for iPads, markets for loans, for online degrees. It’s all about the economy—we need more to survive. Like cancer, that dream can only survive on the unchecked accumulation of more.
The good news is that new dreams are incubating to dream our world forward, as we begin to awaken from our current economic nightmare. Just watch Greece. They’re doing it. They’ll be damned, but that cradle of democracy is learning to just say no, as the trickster—the European/World economy—shakes in its boots. True reality is that there is no debt crisis, there is no economic crisis, there is more than enough to sustain all in this world.
The trickster’s crisis is the crisis of greed, with its insatiable need to have it all—that’s the true crisis of which we’re all deluded. The trickster’s dream insists that we dream its dream and pay homage to survival being based on feeding the insatiable need of its greed. That dream requires all of us, in consensus, to agree to it, to uphold that world. That’s why the markets are terrified at the implications in Greece and France. If Greece leaves the Euro, they break from that dream, and that dream begins a free fall into a nightmare that even the trickster can’t dream himself out of.
The other good news is that we are all dreamers capable of awakening from this dream that’s held us in its grip for so long. In our daily dreams, we can incorporate mindfulness practices to achieve a calm that allows us to dislodge from the frantic fears generated by the suggestions of the trickster hypnotist, found within us, as well as without.
We can dream our lives forward, beyond the constraints of the economic formula into new possibility. We can even dream a world of magic and fulfillment, freed of the delusion that we need to accumulate more. Come on, dreamers, let’s dream it forward!
Note: A good follow up to Chuck’s blog and the economic dream we are caught in is to watch the movie I AM by Tom Shadyac. If you haven’t seen it, it offers a romp through where greed has taken us and specifically the director himself. In the end, he allows simplicity to take it’s modest yet most appropriate place. Available in our Store, under the movies category.