• making sense or making money

“The dark ages still reign over all humanity, and the depth and persistence of this domination are only now becoming clear. This Dark Ages prison has no steel bars, chains, or locks. Instead, it is locked by misorientation and built of misinformation. We are powerfully imprisoned in these Dark Ages simply by the terms in which we have been conditioned to think.” “Neither the great political or financial powers of the world nor the population in general realize that the engineering-chemical-electronic revolution now makes it possible to produce many more technical devices with ever less material. We can now take care of everybody at a higher standard of living than anybody has ever known. It does not have to be “you or me,” so selfishness is unnecessary and war is obsolete.” – – R. Buckminster Fuller

Since time immemorial mankind has operated on a scarcity model, on the belief there is not enough wealth ((Matter + Energy) X Human Knowledge) for everyone, so someone must suffer and die. However, the efforts of millions of humans over thousands of years have raised the “Knowledge” component of the above wealth equation to a level which makes a scarcity model obsolete. But due to our “misoriented,” “misinformed” reflexive thinking, we fail to realize our vast wealth and we risk the planet and the future as a result.

The threats of nuclear war and global warming grow every day. Mankind’s most exquisite scientific and engineering endeavors – the breathtaking knowledge that can free us – continue to be used in “defense” to develop ever more effective ways of killing one another. The elegant and fully developed alternative energies, begging us to put them to work, are largely ignored as we “frack” our way to mutually assured fossil fuel destruction.

It doesn’t have to be this way and we can change how we think. But the guidance, the “force,” will never come from political and financial “leaders.” It will never come from ideological “beliefs” or economic “doctrines.” Guidance will come from us. It will come from the integrity of thinking, caring individuals in pursuit of truth, in pursuit of universal human success. Another thought from Buckminster Fuller may help lead the way:

“You have to decide whether you want to make money or make sense, because the two are mutually exclusive.”

Recalling that money is not wealth but the often selfishly manipulated claim to wealth, let us compare “making money” to “making sense” Doing so presents dramatically different goals and shifts human perspectives.

“Money making” corporations have understood the world is a closed, interdependent system since the time of the British and Dutch East India Companies in the 1600’s. They realize resources and knowledge are distributed globally and have ignored national boundaries for centuries. However, the sole question asked by corporations is “how do we make the most money” and their singular goal is to exploit populations and resources everywhere to make a profit. People are kept mentally locked in their nation prisons to facilitate “divide and conquer,” and cultural and racial diversity are used as tools to spread fear and hatred. “Making money,” “you or me” thinking justifies everything from sweatshops to war.

Asking “how do we make the most sense” is also (inherently) global in perspective, but understands that long term success for any requires long term success for all. “Making sense” views nations as complimentary – not competing – organizational elements of the total human fabric. It applauds cultural and racial differences as rich and necessary components of a healthy, functioning community. Rather than dividing, diversity is cherished as the collective human intellect. “Making sense” treasures “we” thinking and deplores sweatshops and wars.

“Making money” hoards knowledge and disseminates misinformation to gain advantage in the game of “you or me.” By destroying synergetic advantages it guarantees inadequacies and manufactures scarcity as a tool for profit making.

“Making sense” readily disseminates knowledge, understanding the sharing of information as critical to gaining synergetic advantage. It cherishes truth as the path to a successful “we.” It recognizes scarcity as a problem to be solved for the common good.

“Making money” promotes manipulation of financial systems for selfish gain. “Exotic financial instruments” and financial speculation are accepted as legitimate tools for tricking one’s fellow man out of a decent life in the game of “you or me.” Advantaging one’s self at the expense of others is “normal,” and ethical behavior is for suckers and fools. It is the discipline of failure for millions.

“Making sense” recognizes financial manipulation as parasitic and destructive. It realizes true wealth is the combination of resources and intellect in ever more effective ways to improve the human condition. Money is understood as a means of exchanging wealth, but an absolute commitment to ethical behavior prevents the piracy of financial systems for selfish gain. “Making sense” refuses to play games with human life. It is the discipline of hope for humanity.

“Making money” opposes investment in the general welfare. Public education, universal healthcare, guaranteed retirement income, and investment in clean energy or infrastructure are all “impossibly” expensive. But when “money making” feels threatened vast public funds are always mysteriously available for war or to bail out collapsing banks.

“Making sense” recognizes we can afford to do anything the laws of physics will allow. In fact we cannot afford not to do that which “makes sense” for all humanity. Investing in the public – in the success of “we” – is critical to any sustainable economic system.

“Making money” sees the Earth and its people as objects to exploit. Harmful side effects and environmental degradation are of no concern. Short term profits and selfish gains are all that matter. Earth as our spaceship is never conceptualized.

“Making sense” recognizes Earth as the spaceship it factually is, and understands that protecting its functioning integrity is paramount. If the ship is lost, little else matters. Conceptualizing Earth as our spaceship and the success of all of its passengers as critical to human success in the universe becomes the overarching guidance system for all of our actions. “Making sense” becomes the heart and soul of visionary thinking and human wellbeing.

Part XVIII will discuss: The Power behind the “Power”