…ething less taxing on the body and soul. At least, that’s the narrative capitalism unspools for us. But when I see and experience the damage it does to millions of workers worldwide, whether they live in developed countries or not, I realize it was a trap all along. Not only does the system fail so many, but it breeds people like me who grow to despise those who don’t work as hard as I do. Capitalism doesn’t elevate us — it pits us against one another.
Spot on, Assad. Thanks for sharing your experience and POV.
The human responses to the inhumane demands of capitalism pit us against each other, yes: competitiveness is the relational orientation to other human beings that capitalism compels. That competitive orientation puts humans in a perpetually (and mostly mindless) adversarial posture, with one another, with other-than-human beings, with the planet.
When competitive humans move through their world and relate with other humans, they are always trying to gain the advantage, constantly attempting to steal some of their “competition’s” power. They frame human relations in adversarial terms, even with others who actively resist an adversarial orientation. (Your co-worker believes s/he’s “winning” by beating everyone else to the time clock on the way out, while the “losers” lag, working for free.) Right now, that adversarial frame is killing our relations with one another, as you write, and at a time when we most need those relations to be healthy and strong.
Destroying healthy relations between human beings is one of the most significant power-stealing (authoritarian) functions of capitalism. And that damage is the basis of the cultural disintegration of this democracy.
(Democratic practices at the state level require healthy social soil at the cultural level. Human practices that are open, transparent, and include accurate information create the healthiest enabling conditions for state-level democracies because they relationally share power. Capitalism relationally orients humans in the opposite direction, to steal power in order to gain a competitive advantage with closed, opaque, secretive, and inaccessible practices and inaccurate information. Those practices and that bad information steal power (forward momentum) from those who are subject to them: it trips them up, makes them blind, forces them to make decisions based on bad info. At the end of the day, those practices destroy trust, annihilate any room for vulnerability, and kill creativity.)
The relational damage between humans has been around as long as capitalism. We just need to look around and listen—be fully awake and paying attention—to observe that the damage between human beings has accelerated since 11.6.16. The good news is that this means every single one of us can make a difference. Each of us must commit to power-sharing (democratic) relational practices every single day. We must embody openness, transparency, and accuracy and challenge practices that are closed, secretive, opaque, inaccessible, and inaccurate because they destroy healthy human relations.
(The human relational damage also threatens the very relational complex of the earth. I know, that claim sounds like hyperbole. It sounds like all the other apocalyptic narratives currently being shared by scared humans. I'm not pointing “up,” to the state in my tale, though. I’m looking “down” to the living connections between entities in the universe--to human relations, in this case. Those relations are the basis of change in the universe and drive my work, if you’re interested.)
Thanks, again, for the opportunity to engage with your feelings and thoughts, Assad.