Overcoming Systemic Issues of Alienation

MLK’s Lost Lectures on Technology, Alienation, Activism, and the Three Ways of Resisting the System
“There has always been a force struggling to respect higher values. None of the current evils rose without resistance, nor have they persisted without opposition.”

The largest group of young people is struggling to adapt itself to the prevailing values of society. Without much enthusiasm, they accept the system of government, the economic relations, the property system, and the social stratifications both engender. But even so, they are a profoundly troubled group, and are harsh critics of the status quo.

This pretty much described me in the 1980’s when I had my first professional job. Things about the way people worked seemed unnatural to me but I assumed this was the way work had always been done, so I just tried to accept it and adapt…albeit someone frustratingly. When the Dot-Com Bubble burst in 2001, I finally had enough with accepting the status quo though and realized the system needed to change.

In this largest group, social attitudes are not congealed or determined; they are fluid and searching.

This is a common theme for The Future of Work in that the work and people themselves will be more fluid, thus without clear cut boundaries like “jobs” previously provided. What I find fascinating about this is that it is now being applied today to gender as well (ie transgender, non-binary, etc). So the future will be one of living and working within the in-between spaces that previously divided or categorized us.

The radicals… range from moderate to extreme in the degree to which they want to alter the social system. All of them agree that only by structural change can current evils be eliminated, because the roots are in the system rather than in men or in faulty operation. These are a new breed of radicals.

This is why we are encountering wicked problems today because people don’t realize that the roots of these issues are caused by our outdated beliefs. And until we learn to outgrow our beliefs, seeing our world with a broader perception and mindset, these wicked problems won’t be solved. In effect, they are systemic in nature. So changing the leader won’t solve or change anything because it’s the system itself, with its outdated beliefs cultivated within it, that are the problem.

It is fair to say, though, that at present they know what they don’t want rather than what they do want.

Love this. All change doesn’t occur with a roadmap but rather with a initial period of getting lost before finding yourself. So you first have to question your existing reality and beliefs, stepping away from them, before you can open up a space of possibilities within yourself which newer, broader beliefs can emerge to replace them. As the Zen saying goes, “Empty your cup.”

When culture is degraded and vulgarity enthroned, when the social system does not build security but induces peril, inexorably the individual is impelled to pull away from a soulless society. This process produces alienation — perhaps the most pervasive and insidious development in contemporary society… Alienation should be foreign to the young. Growth requires connection and trust. Alienation is a form of living death. It is the acid of despair that dissolves society.

This is really the greatest plague we are encountering today, one of alienation due to disconnection and distrust. And not even with regards to each other but with our very sense of selves as well. How can we begin to trust others when we don’t even trust ourselves? Again the problem here originates from our existing beliefs and values which are dehumanizing us in the process (ie advertising, social media, culture, etc). We need a new way of seeing the world and ourselves. Only then will we begin to trust ourselves again, as well as each other.

The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.

Morpheus, The Matrix

By Nollind Whachell

Questing to translate Joseph Campbell's Hero’s Journey into The Player’s Handbook for the roleplaying game called Life, thus making vertical (leadership) development an accessible, epic framework for everyone.

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