Honeysuckle tendrils reaching for sky

How would we like to live?

If we had the choice, how would we really “like” to live? Would it really be a case of, somehow, escaping society to live lives of luxury completely devoid of meaningful connections with our kind? This “winning the lottery” notion of rising above our peers to enjoy all life’s pleasures with none of the engagement. Attractive as that may sound, how fulfilling would such a life actually be?

Sometimes it seems we’ve just spun a life for ourselves that almost everyone’s striving to be free of – as if we’ve made everything such a struggle, needing to elbow others out the way in the hope of ensuring there’s enough for us (Notes One). A life where we’re mainly seeking peace from the conversations and interactions we’re obliged to have; where “the dream” is to detach and not need to deal with one another.

Isn’t the apex of it all the hope of being in the position to retreat and have others do your bidding? Everyone agreeing with you for fear of your displeasure and the power you might wield or withdraw. Money, of course, being the main means of control. As if we’re all fighting for control, for the capacity to be free of having to negotiate with this system and all those within it. Freedom to be ourselves.

What does it mean, though, if society’s filled with people hoping to be free of it? Like the crabs trying to claw their way out of the bucket. Why is social life something we might seek to escape? As if we created systems that motivate us by fear of our inadequacy or vulnerability; a place we need to perpetually watch out for the next challenge or trend to stay abreast of if we’re not to fall behind.

As if “society” is designed to work against us, capitalising on our humanity to drive us forward for its own ends. Each person striving to tread water within its rising, swirling tides. As if “that” spurs us on to give all we have to get ahead, make the most of things, and ultimately “survive” within it all. “Life” as this battle, this current we’re born into and must swim against to prove our worth (Notes Two).

Do we need fear in order to strive? Does it really bring out the best in people? Might there not be another vision that could motivate us more compassionately? Some constructive sense of how we might come together, offer all we have, and feel appreciated for our valuable contributions toward harmonious coexistence within a finite space. (Notes Three)

Just because we “are” motivated by insecurities, does that make it wise to structure society around them? Placing us all in this fight for the power to elbow “others” out of our way. It seems so limiting, this notion of scarcity and lack that drives us to compete. Fear may be our greatest motivator, useful for pushing “society” furthest ahead, but could we not, instead, work out of love for life?

Notes and References:

Note 1: Humans, tangled in these systems
Note 1: If life’s a sum, are our choices calculations?
Note 1: Where do ideas of evolution leave us?
Note 1: Created a system we seek to escape?
Note 1: What should be leading us?
Note 2: Value and meaning in our lives
Note 2: The battlegrounds of our minds
Note 2: Who gets to define us
Note 2: Valuing people more
Note 2: Does it all come down to money?
Note 3: Appealing to human nature or the human spirit
Note 3: Intrinsic values on the paths for change?
Note 3: This thing called love
Note 3: What inspires collective endeavours
Note 3: The self within society

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