Is our collective human condition in a state of advanced alcoholism/addiction? #alcoholism #addition #mentalillness #mentalhealh

October 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

I have been thinking a lot about the relationship between social conditions and the expression of sociality (beliefs, values, interests, emotion, behaviour). I might be wrong, but it appears to me that our collective human psychology is entering a dark age, an age marked by individualism, inequality, and a callous disregard for the suffering of others. I have been asking myself what the driving forces for this unsustainable condition might be. I observe that these qualities and characteristics are the hallmarks of alcoholism and addiction.

At present, our human systems of organization are rigged so that those in power stay in power. I see this is a systematized institutional condition when I consider tax laws, financial lending policy, access to government decision makers, vote manipulation by gerrymandering electoral laws and boundaries, and economic policy. This system could actually be sustainable, if those in power were ethical, moral, empathetic individuals who perceived their position of privilege as also a position of responsibility to ensure every citizen had an opportunity to provide for their families and live a life with dignity, security, and enough comfort and leisure to sustain their work lives in a healthy manner. However, that is not the case. Our human systems of organization are fuelling qualities and characteristics that are based on an unsustainable idea that if we can ever own enough or consume enough we will finally feel secure, sated, comforted and important. The acquisition of power does nothing to alleviate the drive to acquire power. It is the drive to acquire power that signifies an internal state of ill-health.

The problem we are facing is that those who are groomed for power, through birth or happenstance, do not appear to have the necessary qualities and characteristics to ensure the societies over which they wield power are well provisioned. They do not appear to display beliefs and values that are laudable and worthy of emulating. They do not demonstrate pursuit of the necessary intellectual vigour to grasp the complexity of human society and the need for compassionate, evolving leadership. They do not seem to appreciate the relationship between ensuring the means of production to sustain a productive society. They do not show normal human empathy or sympathy for other human beings, let alone other living creatures. They consistently reveal shameful or fearful emotional states that lead to self-interested or self-centred decisions that do not contribute to the common good. Their behaviour reflects these shame-based and fearful emotional states and leads to unnecessary suffering for others. This would make sense, because they are conditioned by the environments of their emergence. When we are born into shame-based and fear-based families it takes a huge effort to break patterns of systemic inter-generational abuse, neglect, emotional deprival, abandonment and betrayal. Being born into privilege does not ensure mental and emotional well-being.

I have been re-reading a Penguin classic paperback on Ancient Greece. I am struck by the ebb and flow of wellness and ill-health in the human condition. I do see a correlation between social policy that favours the wealthy and powerful, and the development of social ill-health in the general population. This makes sense, in that the resources are concentrated on too few, and the majority are left in unsustainable life circumstances. For some reason, having the ability to concentrate wealth and power does not equate to sound, sustainable political or fiscal policy.

I wonder, if I was in a position of wealth and power, would I put my efforts into concentrating resources to my own kind or would I ensure an equitable distribution of resources and opportunity for the good of all concerned?

I can’t help but muse on these questions as I see violence, inequality, corruption, government oppression of free speech and unfair electoral legislation to disenfranchise voters. They do appear related, and they appear to be increasing, although I have no empirical evidence to back up these impressions.

Perhaps this is the legacy of neo-liberal and neo-conservative values in late capitalism. I have no doubt that our human society, on a global level, is suffering from a collective form of mental ill-health. How else can we rationalize the human to human cruelty and violence being reported everyday in the media. These are not the deeds of a healthy society on a global scale. Is it possible that our collective human condition is one of advanced alcoholism/addiction and that we are going to hit a bottom at some point and then things will change?

My response to these conditions are to affirm my work to recover from the conditions that bred my own ill-health. Through my small contribution, I believe I make a difference for the possibility of a healthier human condition. I know there are others who join me in this effort, and it is in these collective endeavours that I have hope for the future of humanity.


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