It is 2120. The symboids discover the planet once known as earth. They are surprised – no, shocked.
The reason the civilization on this planet was destroyed is unbelievable. Particularly because the dominant species on this planet took pride in naming itself homo sapiens, the wise one.
What was it that destroyed the civilization of the wise one?
In 2017, 8 men owned as much wealth as 3.6 billion people who made up the poorest half of humanity. The 10 richest persons combined wealth was more than the combined GDP of 85 poorest nations in the world. Their combined wealth was also more than even the GDP of the leading oil producer, Saudi Arabia. In 2018, 82 percent of the income generated in the year went to the richest 1 percent of humanity.
This civilization had something called as the economy, a means to signal what activities may be promoted, how everything may be distributed, and measure the worth of anything.
The economy measured everything using something called as money units, one whose worth and distribution it could decide, independent of the purposes served by the activities or things it valued.
Unfortunately, on the planet once known as earth, there was not any of these essential systems that had survived an invasion by the economy. Every one of these systems had lost its purpose to the purpose of concentrating earnings and consequently the wealth to a few. To that goal, the economy had embedded itself into every essential system of their lives. It had corrupted every one of their systems from the purpose it served them to one which served the economy instead.
The economy, in this civilization, embedded itself into every system essential for their life. Their food systems, health systems, shelter systems, our learning systems, even their governance, information, and entertainment systems. These systems are driven by economic indicators of revenue, profit, and wealth generation. They are no longer driven by their missions to serve their needs towards living fulfilling lives.
Those who are systems literate are familiar with the saying that the purpose of a system is what it does, not what it says it does.
Every system essential for our lives has a purpose we would like to believe it has to support our life and make it worth living. Homo sapiens, on earth, shows little evidence of having understood this.
When a parasite attempts to force a relationship with our bodies, our immune system distinguishes the parasite as non-self from the self and ensures that we are freed from the exploitative system created by the parasite. When a parasite can hide itself in every part of our body and make itself indistinguishable from the body, we are unable to free ourselves from the exploitative system created by the parasite. When that happens, the parasite can then steal our nutrients and we continue to grow weaker, frail, and helpless.
Wisdom told us to starve the fever and feed the cold. By starving the fever, we expose the starved parasite allowing our immune system to deal with it. By feeding the cold, we strengthened our immune system to deal with the already visible parasite.
In 2020, the lockdown on planet earth starved their economy. Suddenly their food system was unable to provide them with the sustenance. Suddenly their health system was unable to provide them with assurance. Suddenly their shelter system was unable to provide them with cover.
When they could not feed the economy, it refused to allow them to feed themselves. Starving the economy exposed it as being the non-self from the systems that provided them with food, health, shelter.
Some people suddenly discovered the signals of their systems were broken. Broken by the economy that was driven by the market signals of demand and supply.
The signals that were essential for the economy to generate revenue, make profit and concentrate wealth. Not the signals to ensure they could live fulfilling lives.
The governments, on planet earth, responded to the failure of health, food, water, and shelter with packages to revive the economy. They were unable to recognize that in doing so they feed the parasite and reinforced the exploitative systems.
They failed to understand that had they responded instead by helping the systems to serve their true purpose, without the economy driving its interests, they would have protected the Short Now, the lifetime of a child born now. They would have demonstrated that they are not addicted to the short term, the hiding of symptoms and the protection of the exploitation by parasites.
Homo sapiens forgot that they do not live a life to be Adam Smith’s invisible hand that drives demand and supply in a market.
Nor did they remember that they do not live a life for the market to fulfil itself and ensure it grows larger and larger, every quarter. They forgot that like the proverbial frog, those driven by such goals only end up with the fate of the frog that wanted to grow larger than the bull. Even if they were the one percent earning 82 percent of the income generated each year. Especially if they were part of the one percent.
They forgot that societies and the civilization they make up would have continued to exist if the systems that they were made up of had continued to serve the needs of those who come together, symbiotically. If they had ensured that every one of their systems is free from colonization by parasites that transform the system to being exploitative.
In a society of enlightened beings, it is not the economy, but it is the purposes of living a life that drive decisions. Sadly, the homo sapiens could not recognize this in time. Can we save them?
But, then, we will have to travel through time, back to 2020, when a pandemic caused by a virus actually gave homo sapiens the opportunity to discover the economy was the parasite of the systems that served their life purposes and to chart a course to design symbiotic systems free from exploitation.
#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to the same.
He can be reached @AnupamSaraph