WHAT makes it highly difficult for us to shift to equitable social structures is the greed not only of controllers but also of the controlled.
The latter, seeing that political, economic and even religious leaders get their power over others from money, get the idea that material wealth is the way to success. They soon begin to sing the same tune as their leaders: no change is needed; people just need to work harder for the money.
Thus, today’s unwritten definition of success is the acquisition of material wealth and power titles. All social institutions gear up for it. Parents worry about their children’s grades as schools prioritize knowledge and skills necessary to land a high-salaried job.
Even the Catholic Church falls for it. The successful parish priest is one who builds an imposing Church even if many parishioners live in shanties nearby.
Still, in terms of greed, our political leaders take the cake. It is hard to find one who is not there for the money. And because the system gives them an unfair advantage they are the most reluctant to change it.
Greed for material wealth has estranged us from our spiritual roots that should have united us as a human family that takes care of its members, not wild animals looking only to fight and kill for their next meal.
Hence, we cannot change systems unless we neutralize greed. This in effect means digging for our spiritual roots and that is a daunting long-term proposition.
Two sub-systems, namely education and religion, play crucial roles in our search for spiritual roots. These two must shift paradigms drastically if a just and equitable society is to be attained. They must re-define success as a meaningful and productive life for all and not the acquisition of wealth at the expense of others or of human decency.
Elements of our educational system, namely homes, schools and churches, need to focus on imparting values and wisdom and not just knowledge and skills to use to earn money. Values of patriotism, integrity, and justice must form the substratum on which knowledge and skills are built.
The Catholic Church should shift from devotional practices to works of mercy. The clergy should be in the front lines of the poor’s fight for their rights to a living wage or share of harvest.
Because another pandemic cannot be ruled out, our health system must focus more on prevention for all than cure for some. Serious urban planning is also indicated for local government units.
Life in today’s world is fragile as a bomb, a virus, or a natural disaster can wipe us out anytime. If you look closely they are all products of man’s greed. We, therefore, have to moderate our greed or perish from the face of the earth.