Transcending capitalism

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“When science and technology is unleashed into the social system directly to improve peoples lives without restrictions of money, the marketplace or patents, we could then begin to know what it really means to be human.”
~ Roxanne Meadows

The problem with capitalism is that it creates an artificial scarcity, causing everyone to be bound by these limitations, when in reality, we all have equal rights to have access to the resources we need. The monetary system is fundamentally flawed as a tool to facilitate transaction of goods and services because it results in inequality among us human beings as well as causes us to be alienated from the natural sources where we get our supply of resources.

Capitalism strips us of our humanity, our human dignity, and our capacity to connect with one another and with the environment. It also imposes the illusion of separateness and superiority. Moreover, it fuels competition and violence towards ourselves and others, when a better way of cooperation and peace is possible and available. ​

“What is clear is that man-made globally systemic poverty is the result of competing for resources, regardless of what economic flag you wave…. In my opinion, a gift economy is truly the only universal economy that serves humanity and the planet…. To move humanity to the next stage of our evolution, we must learn how to tap into our individual creative genius and collaborate.”

(From “New Economy 2015: Trickle-Up Economics” by Christine Horner)

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Touching deeply the wonders of Nature brings healing, nourishment, joy and happiness

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“It is clear that in this age of globalisation, what happens to one of us, happens to us all. We are all interconnected, and we are all co-responsible. But even with the greatest good will, if we are swept away by our daily concerns for material needs or emotional comforts, we will be too busy to realise our common aspiration.

“Contemplation must go together with action. Without a spiritual practice we will abandon our dream very soon.

Each of us, according to the teaching of our own tradition, should practice to touch deeply the wonders of Nature, the wonders of life in each of us, the Kingdom of God in each of us, the Pure Land, Nirvana in each of us, so we can get the healing and nourishment, the joy and happiness born from the insight that the Kingdom of God is already available in the here and now. The feeling of love and admiration for nature, that we all share, has the power to nourish us, unite us, and remove all separation and discrimination.

“By being in touch with everything that is refreshing and healing, we can free ourselves from our daily concerns for material comforts, and will have a lot more time and energy to realise our ideal of bringing freedom and compassion to all living beings. As it says in the Gospel, “Do not worry about what you will eat or drink or wear. Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be given to you. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself.”

(From “Thich Nhat Hanh’s Speech at the Vatican, December 2, 2014“)

Thoughts on Pulau Ubin, Singapore

I came across the above video recently in my Facebook newsfeed. Thoughts went through my mind, and I have long wanted to address the issue of the natural beauty of Pulau Ubin being spoilt by human intervention. Finally, I decided to post my comment in response to the video, as follows:

“Thank you for the video. Pulau Ubin is what Singapore mainland used to be more than a century ago, mainly forested with some self-sufficient farms, few buildings and roads. Many people today are calling for the rustic, natural environment of Ubin to be preserved because capitalism, materialism and consumerism have caused the mainland to lose its soul and character and become disconnected with Nature in the name of material progress.

IMG_0331Littering and improper waste disposal are still a perennial problem, especially along the southern and eastern coasts of Pulau Ubin, where rubbish entangled among the mangrove roots and/or washed ashore the sandy beaches is both an eyesore and a grim reminder of the far-reaching effects of a consumerist and materialistic culture in our urbanised society.

As long as we aren’t dealing with the root of this problem, anything we do to help protect and preserve Ubin will only be like applying band-aid to a deep wound, which may provide temporary relief at best. Unless we drastically change our mindset and ditch the capitalistic, monetary system that breeds inequality and results in unsustainable growth and environmental degradation, Ubin will die a slow death in following the footsteps of the mainland.

History has proven time and again that once prosperous cities such as Rome and Babylon would suffer decline and become no more than relics, and Singapore is no different if we don’t embrace a resource-based system and egalitarianism, as proposed by the Venus Project. It remains to be seen how each of us chooses to do our part for the environment as global citizens and children of the Earth, for every one of us matters and we are all one and interconnected.”

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