I was watching a show today about the ancient Egyptians building the Great Pyramid, and the narrator explained that it was built by the greatest collaborative effort ever made by humans up to that point.
Got me to thinking…
That is what is missing in our country. We don’t teach our children or grown-up citizens how to collaborate and what great things can come of collaboration. We only teach them to compete. Is that not the very essence of “capitalism”?
Hell, even when we stress “teamwork” it is always in the greater context of sports competition where one team is trying to beat the other.
Perhaps that is why we can’t stand to see other people… we can’t stand to interact nicely with them. We avoid others (unless maybe when we are drunk or hoping to get laid). We isolate ourselves with our iPod headphones and video games. We hate public transportation, instead preferring to drive each of us in our own car (notice how empty the carpool lane is most of the time?)
Even when we are isolated in our own cars, we still compete with each other for who can get there fastest, who can turn their radios up the loudest, who has the most expensive or biggest car.
Goddam! Imagine what this great country with our 300 million citizens could accomplish if we decided to collaborate… on something other than a war (or the current illegal, immoral occupation of another country.) Imagine that.
We could build parks and promenades with fountains and statues that we could all enjoy. Instead, we mostly seem to have homeless people squating in parks (the homeless are the biggest losers in this ultra-competitive country are they not?). We have gangs killing each other over “territory” or drugs or some stupid insult. We have children neglected and left to fend for themselves in a harsh, unloving society… with no health insurance, no direction, no feeling of self-worth.
We could house and educate and feed every single person so that every American is a happy, productive, healthy member of society. We could have the modern equivalent of the Great Pyramid of Giza… what would that be?
Alternative energy that does not harm the environment? Some kind of Utopian society where there is no suffering, and everyone feels valued and cared for? World peace?
If you read this and find yourself thinking cynical thoughts about how this is pure fantasy… this could never happen… I, the author, must be some idealistic and naïve fool, then I would offer only this:
Maybe your cynicism is the proof of what I am writing about. You are, after all, the result of this competition-based culture in which we live. Take a step back. Think about what good could come of an entire society that decided to embrace the concept of collaboration and reduce competition to the fun of sport only.
Just think about it.