Surviving Progress:  September 24, 2012   by   Garry Greenwood


Did you see the doco-movie, Surviving Progress, the other night on Australian ABC2 – TV? It’s a movie co-produced by Martin Scorsese. It’s a must-see movie. Basically we get to see and hear the insights of some of the world’s top scientists and thinkers regarding the future of humankind. In short it seems that humankind is set to become yet another failed species here on planet Earth. Seems we only have a few more hundred years left at best. They say that the root cause of this impending annihilation is our dogged resistance or unwillingness to change our destructive thought patterns with the main offender being our collective over-consumerism. It appears that collectively we prefer to ignore all the danger signs, global warning, etc, and instead destroy our ability to live on planet Earth rather than live with less even though living with less still means we could have a comfortable and fulfilling life. It seems that the top few percent of us are simply too addicted to greed and power whist the rest of us are simply too addicted to the pursuit of consumerism at any cost.


Of course there are other factors at play here and, in my opinion some of those factors would include mind control, behavioral conditioning, manipulation and just plain lies on the part of the top few percent who reign over us in their various ways. These factors also lead to the creation of various voids or unfilled needs that gnaw away constantly at everyone.


Everyone, including those at the top of the pile, it seems, are in need of something to fill that void and historically it appears that we all too often fill our personal voids with our isms. You could say we are too attached to or in love with our isms. A quick dictionary search of the meaning of an ism states that an ism is a distinctive practice, doctrine, belief system, ideology or a school of thought. It seems we just can’t give up our addiction to our isms and most of us are addicted to more than one. Some of these isms, for example are: consumerism, capitalism, Catholicism, atheism, Judaism, Mohamedism, sexism, racism, communism, Nazism, egotism, narcissism, alcoholism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, nihilism, modernism… One website I visited has listed around 230 isms and is still counting. Which ones are you addicted to?


Whatever they are we must come to realize that our isms have historically been, and still are, the effective tools of those who would control us. A clear example of this could be Nazism. Of course some isms are more damaging than others, but to any reasonable person the dangers of over consumption by way of the consumerism and capitalism isms should now be apparent.


Paradoxically, underpinning some of these consumption isms are the religious isms all of which are competing vigorously for supremacy with some outwardly advertising their special ness or superiority: Judaism, Catholicism, Mormonism and Mohamedism being a few obvious examples.


Just the two competing isms of communism and capitalism once brought about immense global friction to the point where both isms took us all to the very brink of nuclear self annihilation, e.g. the Cuban missile crisis. This example serves to remind us just how far followers of an ism are prepared to go to further or install their favorite ism. Now it’s religion isms that are taking us in a similar direction with nuclear ready Judaism and Mohamedism competing for survival in the Middle East, and similarly so too are nuclear ready Hinduism and Mohamedism. These isms and others all have well equipped nuclear arsenals. I am referring here firstly to Israel versus Iran and Pakistan versus India. These religion-in-origin isms are sworn opponents.


Again, historically, it is well known, and your own personal experience will no doubt confirm this, that once in an ism, either by default (birth) or by choice you stay bound by that ism. Try reforming an alcoholic, try converting a capitalist to communism, what about a Muslim becoming a Jew? Have any atheists turned to Hinduism I wonder? The point I’m trying to make with this short essay is that many isms are control mechanisms which can eventually lead to great damage for everyone. And some are more damaging than others.


I know. I know, no one wants to give up their cozy void-filling and belief centered ism that they have grown up with. It might be filling your particular void, but think of the cost to you and others. Nowadays, I am wondering do we really need our isms anymore. What would life be like without them? What would we fill our voids, our emptiness or addictions with? Would we simply create other more dangerous or useless addictions or isms?


Could it be that our isms create our voids in the first place? Wouldn’t you agree that they can confine us to a particular pigeon hole or box? I can see how they hold us to a particular time and place and suck away at our creativity and inquisitiveness. They then create friction, egotism, arrogance and intolerance. Just examine the ism that you are most bound to. As an example; if it happens to be Catholicism wouldn’t you agree (with yourself) that it’s the most superior ism? If you don’t think so why then didn’t you join another?


How can we be intolerant to others if there were no isms? The racism ism simply wouldn’t exist. If there weren’t any self-proclaiming masters or chosen races justifying themselves behind an ism banner then there would be no murderous humanity-threatening supremacy struggles.


I hear you calling out, “I’m too simplistic in my views,” but I don’t agree. If we were to gradually start abandoning our isms then all that energy spent in confinement, competitiveness and conflict would simply seek expression elsewhere and contribute greatly in diffusing global, regional, sectarian and local tensions that are about to overwhelm us. We shouldn’t be so hard-headed or bound to some of our beliefs and ways, most of which we probably learnt in one of our isms. It’s okay – brave even but certainly worthy of merit to change ones viewpoint or beliefs. It’s human to be wrong sometimes and to adopt a new standpoint. It’s called evolution.


If we were all brave enough to step outside the ‘safe’ confines of our little belief boxes we would have to think and take responsibility for ourselves – to become true humans, not the unfulfilled slaves of those who proclaim ownership of those boxes or isms.


Graffiti scribbled somewhere upon that shameful Jew-built wall that separates the Jews from the Palestinians reads “What are you: a Catholic, a Jew, a Muslim or a Human?