In Our Best Interest

I just finished one of those eye-opening books, Neil Evernden’s The Natural Alien, whose review you can find in Stewardship-of Earth and Home. Similar to the reading of The Myth of Human Supremacy, by Derrick Jensen, the information stirred up some strong emotions. Both books were startling reminders that the human experience, as we know it and have lived it for thousands of years, must come to an end. These books also inspired me to slow down, elaborate and reflect on some of my ideas about advocating for a shift from the systems that manage our lives. Naturally the cultural institution of the workplace, and the belief in working hard and earning a living is what this dialogue is all about.

What I often discuss in calling for a transformation in how we live life on this planet is the cause, itself, for the transformation, the belief in separation.

Bottom line, a transformation is the culmination of a plethora of shifts. A shift is the result of consciously directing the energy of new thoughts. Energy follows thought. That’s one of those universal laws that’s left out of most educational curriculums and family dinner table discussions. But when this universal law is brought to our conscious awareness, as it has for me and many others, making those small shifts becomes less of a daunting task.

A thought shift introduced into a belief system that has been accepted, written in stone and practiced for hundreds, if not thousands, of years is threatening. From the perspective of the belief system, it is an all-out attack. And while beliefs in and of themselves mean nothing, a shift in belief can mean the end of the world to those of us who live our lives by them; and most of us, to some extent, live by a set of beliefs.

There are any number of examples that I could cite as evidence of the power of beliefs and how as practitioners of those beliefs we do not take kindly to having them questioned. But I have chosen one that is familiar to most of us. 911.

Most U.S. citizens were shocked, outraged and angry that such an attack could take place on U.S. soil. Within hours of the attack, before the dust had settled on Manhattan’s Wall Street, popular opinion quickly emerged that a counterattack, even a nuclear one, was the next logical step. Any view that suggested or referred to evidence of the U.S. government’s complicity, even to this day, was greeted with the threat of upside down “crucifixion,” a term coined by the comedian George Carlin. The views that pointed out that U.S. citizens had only experienced what many “others” have experienced at the hands of the U.S. military industrial complex, with their history of invasions and bombings, were squashed and shunned.

Some who promulgated these alternative views were ostracized, marginalized, even punished. Ward Churchill, who advanced in his book, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, that 911 was merely a response to years of unlawful U.S. foreign policy, was dismissed from his position at the University of Colorado, at Boulder. Although a Denver jury concluded that Churchill was unlawfully fired, awarding him 1 million in damages, every higher court agreed with UCB in their dismissal of Churchill. And the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his case.

Now one could say that the environment produced from advocating for a shift from working and earning to a gifting and sharing economy cannot be compared to the environment produced by conflicting aftermath-views of 911. But I guarantee that to the belief that manages the economy which working and earning are members of, any suggestion or remarks to its unsustainability is an all-out call to war. That the needs and well-being of all life on the planet would best be served by a gifting and sharing economy is an attack on the separation, far more insidious and deadly than on those “outside the box” justifications for the bombing of the World Trade Center.

Working hard and earning a living has deep roots in the psyches of human beings. These are beliefs passed on generationally, regardless of class, culture, language or geographical location. We can tolerate any number of reconfigurations of these cherished beliefs, teleworking, employee-owned businesses, independent contracting and such. But suggesting that working and earning is unsustainable produces outrage and anger in those of us who live our lives by them, and all the other beliefs that are being “called out.”

It is perfectly acceptable to fund HBS millions for studies that explore innovative ways to reduce the global disengagement rate that now stands at 87%. People who work hard and are engaged, 13% globally, need to know that something is terribly amiss with 87% of their colleagues, who are disengaged, disillusioned and unmotivated. Punishing businesses that put U.S. workers in the unemployment line as a result of moving operations overseas assures U.S. workers that the belief in working and earning is safe and well-protected. It is simply prudent business practice for U.S. businesses to downplay and disguise the $600B, and rising, lost annually in production due to workplace misery and disengagement, and to find ever clever ways of passing that loss on to consumers.

However, it is not acceptable and in the best interest of the growing despotic reign of the belief in separation, of the chaos, discord and suffering that passes for life on earth, to initiate those small shifts in thought that would redirect energy to transform how we, as a species, live life on this planet. And that’s the whole point: when we interrogate all of the beliefs that we’ve accepted on face value simply because they originate from our parents, our educators, our religious and political leaders, we begin the shift that will inevitably lead to a transformation in our relationship with life and “being” on this planet.

No. A shift in consciousness is not in the best interest of the belief in separation, which includes working hard and earning a living. But it is in our best interest and our last viable option for getting this job done, and getting it done on time.


Here are some articles about the American and global workplace that may be of interest:

Whole Foods under Amazon management: Hell?

As a former adjunct, overworked and underpaid, I found this story interesting

Discussion about the global workplace- Gallup