Our current worldwide population is estimated at around 7 billion. Of that 7 billion, 85 of them possess a share equivalent to 3.5 billion of us. In total, less than 1,000 people control the means by which the other 6,999,999,000 are expected to survive.
Greed is when less than a thousand people control the survival of the other 7 billion.
In the 1940’s a study was conducted as to the effects of food insecurity on the brain. Self harm, self destructive behaviors, and violence were the observed reactions to poverty/starvation. My, admittedly biased, observation of my own family supports their findings.
We move from one financial stress to another with no end in sight, and no means to change what is happening. We never stop running from the predator.
Poverty/starvation cause stress. Stress is processed in the human brain as being chased by a predator. However, our brains and bodies are not designed to withstand a constant predatory threat. The human brain is not cut out to function under our current social and cultural structures because there is no break in the chasing. No break in the chasing means that we feel trapped; you know, because we are. Violence is one result of this.
For the past few months I have been starving myself. I’ve learned how to survive on as little as a few strips of bacon and a couple of refrigerated biscuits a day. Last night, dinner was one four inch pancake. My total food intake yesterday was a few handfuls of dry cereal, a snack cake, a leftover biscuit, and a pancake. (And there are people in this world that eat even less than that a day) We can only afford a limited amount of food per week. Sufficient food exists, but few have the means to access it.
My brain doesn’t understand what’s happening to it. It can only continue to react. It has no understanding of the physical representation of the thing causing stress; it simply reacts to the stress itself. The brain will react to each threat the same way, no matter what that threat is. It doesn’t differentiate between an eviction notice and a tiger chasing me, it reacts to the stresses, not the stressors. And it isn’t designed to do this constantly.
Stress is what initiates the fight-or-flight response. But the purpose of this response is to stop or otherwise remedy what is causing the stress reaction. It is meant as a short burst, not a sustained reaction.
For example, at the time I am writing this sentence, I have been without food for approximately 20 hours. During those 20 hours, I spent 15 hours struggling to figure out how I am going to handle dozens of different financial stresses, including trying to figure out how to purchase enough food.
My brain is interpreting this as my being chased by a large ball of fur and teeth that is trying to eat me. Since the means to remedy these stresses (financial stability) are beyond my control, my brain never stops reacting to the stress/threat.
But it gets even worse.
Because my brain is using the largest part of its processes to control the physiological changes needed to sustain the means to act upon/escape a threat (without also receiving the additional fuel needed to support the process) my other mental abilities have been reduced. The combination of the constant threat response and my attempting to articulate complex human brain functions has caused an even greater amount of stress on my system.
Right now, I am struggling to write because my brain is hyper aware of its surroundings. I hear every sound in my nerves. My brain is telling my body to flee. I am feeling an increased physical need to escape; a compulsive need to move my body away from this place. My heart rate has noticeably increased. I am beginning to tremble and no longer want to sit still. This is why we see higher levels of hyperactivity in children living in financially insecure households. One part of their brain is telling them to ignore the flee signals being sent from another part.
Making things even worse is that my brain needs a huge amount of energy to be able to keep this up. Energy that I am unable to resupply. Very soon I will be forced to stop writing because I will no longer be able to concentrate on the threat response and the additional burden of abstract thought. As an escape, I will likely resort to distracting my brain functions into thinking I have evaded the threat by watching tv.
I just defined escapism.
I delve into information as a way to hide. I’m more flight than fight. Most people aren’t like me. Humans are still animals. But most annoyingly, we’re stupid animals. We ignore our instincts. We create ways to trick our brain into thinking it has temporarily avoided/remedied the threat/stress. But we can’t trick it for long and soon it picks the stress/threat reaction back up again. Eventually, it will become apparent that the means of true escape (again, financial stability) are far beyond your control.
Your brain processes this as being trapped; caged. Anyone who has watched a nature show knows how violently animals react to being trapped. Being trapped is the prelude to being eaten. And no one wants to be eaten. Survival means not being trapped. Not being trapped means fighting. At this point, the brain puts as much energy as it can into fighting to escape; significantly reducing reasoning functions.
We often mistakenly attribute this reduction in reasoning with a lack of overall intelligence. This is not the case since the theory does not take into account the physiological changes that occur within the stressed brain. It’s not a lack of intelligence; it is a lack of means to sufficiently support the mechanisms which allow for the higher levels of reasoning which we choose to call intelligence.
Escape from this stress is required for a properly functioning brain. Escapism is a way of distracting the brain into thinking it has escaped, even though it hasn’t. True escape, in the form of financial stability, does not exist so we use escapism in its place. But this only keeps the trapped feelings at bay. It does not end them.
Since the entrapment is still there, we will eventually react violently because our brains cannot stop processing our entrapment no matter how hard we try to distract them. On the small scale, this entrapment makes us lash out at those closest to us; domestic violence, neighborhood violence, etc. On a larger scale, it makes us lash out at entire races, countries, social classes, genders, religions, cultures, etc.
Our world is like this because the means to control enough resources to sustain the entire population are in the hands of very few. A handful of people have decided that they are somehow more deserving of survival than the other 7 billion of us. All of our conflicts are essentially fights over who is going to control resources that should otherwise be shared with everyone.
There are enough worldwide resources for everyone to get a comfortable share of everything. There is enough for everyone to be able to experience every human innovation and every comfort. More than that, we have the intelligence and innovative thinking to be able to do this with very little human effort.
We have the ability to allow every human on this planet live a completely comfortable and worry free life, with very minimal effort.
Instead, we allow less than 1,000 people to control the means to support the entire world population. We lash out at each other for being greedy, while ignoring how far we outnumber the ones who are behind the root cause of every human conflict on the planet due to their greed.
Bill Gates, for example, at $79.2 billion, owns nearly 12 times more billions of dollars than there are people on this planet. Less than half of his money would end end world hunger and he’d still have enough left over to end homelessness in the United States. There is no reason to allow one person to hold 79.2 billion of something; while the rest of the population fights over scraps or gets nothing at all.
There are approximately 7 billion of us occupying this planet. We outnumber them by billions; but have chosen to allow them to hold the results of our labors for themselves.
Humans are stupid animals because we have chosen to settle for this way of life. Currently, there are less than a thousand people in control of the means to comfortably support the entire human population of this planet.
Instead of demanding the return of our share of the results of our labor, which created that wealth, we choose to fight over what scraps they allow to trickle down to us.
But I’m tried of being used.
Greed causes violence.
And there are 7 billion of us, against 1,000 of them.
Do you think they really stand a chance?