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We aren’t helpless

Love is the only way out, I said.

Which sounds so wishy-washy and feelgood and motherhood that, unless you think about it, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

So here’s what it means.

We can take as a given that we live in a world ruled by greed. Greed has flowered into a vast monstrosity in our lifetimes. It has created a system in its own image – an empire of money and power that is so all-pervasive it seems as if it can’t be beaten. It is beyond huge. It appears to own everything. It appears to control everything. It purports to tell us what we can do, what we can think, where we can go, what we are worth, what we are.

The mask is off the monster. It is no longer even pretending to be our friend. It thinks it has already won. Because it controls governments and armies and – most of all – money, it thinks its long campaign to enslave us all is effectively over. Those who design its strategies naturally think they have won because they have taken over all the systems our ancestors created. Judged by that measure they are right. The systems can no longer be changed from within. All avenues for reform are effectively closed. Looking at this immense machinery of greed that exerts such control over our planet and our lives it is hardly surprising that we often simply sigh in despair and resign ourselves to the misery that we know it is bringing, sooner or later, to everybody and everything. Its endgame is desolation and it seems there is no way to escape.

But there is one way out. It’s the only way. There is a tool, a shield, a weapon even (though I hesitate to call it that) which is capable of bringing the colossal monster to its knees. And every single person alive has that tool available to them right now. All they have to do – all we have to do – is use it.

It’s called love. Which is misleading in some ways, since in most people’s minds that word means only romantic love. But love is much bigger than that.

The greed machine works its destruction by starting from individuals and working up, persuading everybody that they have compete with each other to win the rewards that are only the machine’s to bestow. That’s the fundamental lie that seeks to disarm us all from the start and which sets us on the path to be slaves.

The good news is that this hypnotic propaganda is a lie. We can choose a different path that doesn’t end in generations of slavery and doom. We can choose love.

Remember the Golden Rule

Remember the Golden Rule? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That’s the key to escaping the monster. The monster, greed, the empire of money, whatever we call it: it governs us as long as we agree to play by its rules, which are all about taking as much as we can from each other and ignoring each other’s needs. Break that circuit and the monster starts to die.

There are a million ways to start the process, but they all look much the same.

Feed the hungry. Shelter the homeless. Care for the sick and the old. Bypass the system that wants blood and sweat and tears in return for its callous mercy. Go around the gatekeepers of the empire of money. Turn your back on them and do what needs to be done, whatever it is and wherever you are.

Not in hope of recompense, here or hereafter. Only in the name of love. Wherever there is need, step up. Share. Care. If it’s hard to do it alone, get friends to join in and do it co-operatively.

Maybe you aren’t the soup-kitchen type. Maybe you don’t feel like you have much to give. But if you think about it you will see that you really do. Are you a doctor or dentist? Treat needy patients for free. Are you unemployed? Spend some time visiting old people or fixing somebody’s broken-down house. Are you an ideas person? Great! Come up with good ideas that help people and that bypass the greed machine. Design a decentralised neighbourhood energy network that bypasses power corporations. Plant community gardens that pass food to the poor and hungry.

Whatever you do, don’t let it be a token or a fig-leaf. Let it be a beginning. There’s a plan here that we all have to work on and keeping thinking about. It can’t end with a single action.

Back in the days of the Great Depression people invented ways to help each other get homes and food. Co-operatives. Building societies. Credit unions. We can do all that again.

Beat the machine. Reclaim the power in you that the empire of money can’t control.

Take that Golden Rule and make it a principle, a motto and a guiding light.

It’s the key to the door that leads away from hell.

It’s the only key, and its name is love.

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