The Lie We Live
By Spencer Cathcart
At this moment you could be anywhere, doing anything. Instead you sit alone before a screen. So what’s stopping us from doing what we want? Being where we want to be?
Each day we wake up in the same room and follow the same path, to live the same day as yesterday. Yet at one time each day was a new adventure. Along the way something changed. Before our days were timeless, now our days are scheduled.
Is this what it means to be grown up? To be free? But are we really free?
Food, water, land.
The very elements we need to survive are owned by corporations. There’s no food for us on trees, no freshwater in streams, no land to build a home. If you try and take what the Earth provides you’ll be locked away. So we obey their rules.
We discover the world through a textbook. For years we sit and regurgitate what we’re told. Tested and graded like subjects in a lab. Raised not to make a difference in this world, raised to be no different. Smart enough to do our job but not to question why we do it. So we work and work, left with no time to live the life we work for. Until a day comes when we are too old to do our job. It is here we are left to die. Our children take our place in the game.
To us our path is unique, but together we are nothing more than fuel. The fuel that powers the elite. The elite who hide behind the logos of corporations. This is their world. And their most valuable resource is not in the ground. It is us.
We build their cities, we run their machines, we fight their wars. After all, money isn’t what drives them. It’s power. Money is simply the tool they use to control us. Worthless pieces of paper we depend on to feed us, move us, entertain us.
We are like a plague sweeping the earth, tearing apart the very environment that allows us to live. We see everything as something to be sold, as an object to be owned. But what happens when we have polluted the last river? Poisoned the last breath of air? Have no oil for the trucks that bring us our food? When will we realize money can’t be eaten, that it has no value?
We aren’t destroying the planet. We are destroying all life on it. Every year thousands of species go extinct. And time is running out before we’re next. If you live in America there’s a 41% chance you’ll get cancer. Heart disease will kill one out of three Americans. We take prescription drugs to deal with these problems, but medical care is the third leading cause of death behind cancer and heart disease. We’re told everything can be solved by throwing money at scientists so they can discover a pill to make our problems go away. But the drug companies and cancer societies rely on our suffering to make a profit. We think we’re running for a cure, but really we’re running away from the cause. Our body is a product of what we consume and the food we eat is designed purely for profit. We fill ourselves with toxic chemicals. The bodies of animals infested with drugs and diseases. But we don’t see this. The small group of corporations that own the media don’t want us to. Surrounding us with a fantasy we’re told is reality.
It’s funny to think humans once thought the earth was the center of the universe. But then again, now we see ourselves as the center of the planet. We point to our technology and say we’re the smartest. But do computers, cars, and factories really illustrate how intelligent we are? Or do they show how lazy we’ve become. We put this “civilized” mask on. But when you strip that away what are we?
How quickly we forget only within the past hundred years did we allow women to vote; allow blacks to live as equals. We act as if we are all-knowing beings, yet there is much we fail to see. We walk down the street ignoring all the little things. The eyes who stare. The stories they share. Seeing everything as a background to ‘me’.
Perhaps we fear we’re not alone. That we are a part of a much bigger picture. But we fail to make the connection. We’re okay killing pigs, cows, chickens, strangers from foreign lands. But not our neighbours, not our dogs, our cats, those we have come to love and understand. We call other creatures stupid yet we point to them to justify our actions. But does killing simply because we can, because we always have, make it right? Or does it show how little we’ve learned. That we continue to act out of primal aggression rather than thought and compassion.
One day, this sensation we call life will leave us. Our bodies will rot, our valuables recollected. Yesterday’s actions all that remain. Death constantly surrounds us, still it seems so distant from our everyday reality. We live in a world on the verge of collapse. The wars of tomorrow will have no winners. For violence will never be the answer; it will destroy every possible solution.
If we all look at our innermost desire, we will see our dreams are not so different. We share a common goal. Happiness. We tear the world apart looking for joy, without ever looking within ourselves. Many of the happiest people are those who own the least. But are we really so happy with our iPhones, our big houses, our fancy cars?
We’ve become disconnected. Idolizing people we’ve never met. We witness the extraordinary on screens but ordinary everywhere else. We wait for someone to bring change without ever thinking of changing ourselves.
Presidential elections might as well be a coin toss. It’s two sides of the same coin. We choose which face we want and the illusion of choice, of change is created. But the world remains the same. We fail to realize the politicians don’t serve us; they serve those who fund them into power.
We need leaders, not politicians. But in this world of followers, we have forgotten to lead ourselves. Stop waiting for change and be the change you want to see. We didn’t get to this point by sitting on our asses. The human race survived not because we are fastest or the strongest, but because we worked together.
We have mastered the act of killing. Now let’s master the joy of living.
This isn’t about saving the planet. The planet will be here whether we are or not. Earth has been around for billions of years, each of us will be lucky to last eighty. We are a flash in time, but our impact is forever.
I often wished I lived in an age before computers, when we didn’t have screens to distract us.
But I realize there’s one reason why this is the only time I want to be alive. Because here today, we have an opportunity we never had before. The internet gives us the power to share a message and unite millions around the world. While we still can we must use our screens to bring us closer together, rather than farther apart.
For better or worse, our generation will determine the future of life on this planet. We can either continue to serve this system of destruction until no memory of our existence remains. Or we can wake up. Realize we aren’t evolving upwards, but rather falling down…we just have screens in our faces so we don’t see where we’re heading.
This present moment is what every step, every breath and every death has led to. We are the faces of all who came before us. And now it is our turn. You can choose to carve your own path or follow the road countless others have already taken.
Life is not a movie. The script isn’t already written. We are the writers.
This is Your Story, Their Story, Our Story.