Transform the System Dialog
Wade Lee Hudson:
What is “the system”?
Our institutions, our culture, and ourselves as individuals are woven together into a self-perpetuating social system, “the System,” which pressures and teaches everyone to climb social ladders, look down on and dominate those below, and envy or resent those above. Ordinary people, in their daily lives, buy into and reinforce this domination-based system. Most people want to get rich, exercise power over others, and pass on their advantages to their children. They dominate if they can and submit if they cannot. The result is increasing hyper-competition, status anxiety, cheating and bribery, social and economic inequality, denial of equal opportunity, and less fairness in the distribution of rewards (regardless of how hard people work). No one group controls the System, but elites with great wealth and power exercise disproportionate influence over the government and the economy for their own short-term interests.
How can we transform it?
In a transformed society, fair competition, freedom, economic security, basic morality, equal opportunity, and proper rewards for work performed will enable individuals to advance, improve their skills, increase their income, and thrive as they choose. Our society will honor our highest ideals. We’ll assure living-wage job opportunities, meet basic needs, and treat everyone with dignity. Cutthroat competition will fade. Partnerships and teamwork will expand. Ego and community will be balanced. Healthy individualism will replace rugged individualism. We’ll seek “win-win” solutions that benefit everyone in the long run (even if short-sighted people don’t realize it). We’ll love ourselves and others. Neither selfishness nor self-sacrifice will prevail. We’ll help each other minimize our materialism and nurture our spirituality. Unified, massive, grassroots movements that provide mutual support for self-improvement will persuade elected leaders to establish compassionate policies supported by strong majorities. With evolutionary, systemic transformation, we’ll establish a new central purpose for our society---to serve humanity, the environment, and life itself.
Why should we transform it?
By aiming to transform the System, a broad range of individuals who are concerned about a wide variety of specific issues will see their common enemy: a self-perpetuating social system that promotes selfishness, division, and conflict. This awareness will nurture solidarity, cooperation, and partnerships. Acknowledging shared responsibility for the System’s continuation and refusing to scapegoat opponents will reduce strident, demonizing rhetoric that drives away potential supporters and makes it more difficult to sustain humane movements. Righteous, nonviolent anger will replace self-righteous hate. Small, face-to-face communities whose members help one another become better human beings will serve as models for transformative change. A focus on winnable, compassionate improvements in national policy will steadily advance systemic change and appeal to both idealists and pragmatists. Evolutionary, systemic transformation will support everyone to be all they can be within caring, respectful communities.
What I am doing to help transform it?
I seek to better understand myself and the world by talking with others, reading, reflecting, listening to podcasts, and watching some TV news, thought-provoking movies, and occasional YouTube videos. I meet monthly with three friends who take turns presenting a reading or song to focus discussion about spirituality. I promote fairness in our society by emailing action alerts on timely issues and participating in occasional rallies. By communing with Mother Nature, listening to music, meditating, and taking care of my body, I seek joy, unity with the Ground of Being, and wonder at the Universe. I try to be available for mutual, soulful exchange of compassion by listening closely and being curious. In short, I pursue truth, justice, and beauty. And as its editor, I’m developing TransformTheSystem.org as a clearinghouse of information and ideas for how to advance evolutionary, systemic transformation by integrating personal, social, cultural, and political reform.
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