People seem to know about as much of sharing as they do of the planet we will one day inhabit. In particular, sharing seems to become exceedingly difficult on rainy days such as today. Drawing an image in stark contrast to the fires around which civilization revolved long ago; places where people gathered to share in community, food and speech – ideals humorously thrown out the window when the weather gets wet. Days in which adopted comes the mentality of ‘every man for himself’. Or should I say every person – wouldn’t want to exclude anyone from criticism now.
It’s an important shame to identify as we will need this skill of sharing when we come to that next planet, if there is such a thing, lest it fall to the same selfish and destructive rule that so plagues the planet we know today. Perhaps it is necessary to slow down our advancing minds aimed toward space travel and return to a consideration and mastery of the fundamentals, not just individually but as a collective. If people like Elon Musk are on whom we rely to take us to a new earth, and thus with whom we bank our hopes of species survival, their values should be under as much scrutiny as their science. This is the guy that sent a Tesla into space for the fuck of it. So many ways that resource, the resources that go into such a thing, could have been shared.
Is there such a threshold as giving back enough? I would argue not.
If you have what you need, why not invest in the novelty of giving away what you don’t?
A podcast, Under the Skin #46, I was listening to came to bare an idea of the Kwakwaka’wakw Tribe, brought forth by Jordan Peterson. In this tribe, the social problem of the inevitable concentration of resources, of excess, was managed in a most curious way, one worthy of our capitalist consideration. When a member of the tribe found themselves in this position of privilege, (the privilege to draw suffering from members of their community?), they would throw a ‘potlatch’. Described as a giant party, the ceremony functioned as a giving back and a dispensation of wealth across the community. It was not a painful or resented type of tax orchestrated by a distant and impersonal power structure, one designed to force the successful into supporting another group’s goals, but an internal opportunity presented to wealthy members the allowed them to garner social favour and demonstrate their commitment to the continued success of their people. It was a commitment to sharing, sprouted from the understanding that sharing is quintessential to longevity.
Although I know in no specifics the workings of such ritual, or even that it properly exists for that matter, the concept is certainly worthy of attention. Say a new, life-sustaining, planet IS found tomorrow, and Mr Musk has all the spaceships lined up, and he’s ready to take his billionaire buddies and a few of us nobodies to this sci-fi world. What will our role be? We didn’t contribute anything to the arrival at this possibility.
From my perspective, it seems foolish to assume this world will be the saving hope so many wantingly believe in. My sister, an engineering student who praises Elon Musk for all his futuristic pursuits, exemplifies this belief; my friend Haeleigh, a server who touts him as the hero of tomorrow based on the scientific news available through Instagram, serves as lulu to my hypothetical. They both celebrate the man without considering his character. If this is where our hopes lie, in Mr pour out a Tesla for the dead planets, then don’t be surprised when on the next planet you are slave. More slave than on commercial Earth. For all the next planet will hold is the same power structures, the same people with the same greedy values, but without laws to protect the powerless. If society does not realign with community, with values like sharing and mutual benefit, then the only reason to bring a nobody along is to do the work Elon doesn’t want to. Bleh. Why waste hope on the chance to build the same, when there is currently available the possibility to build anew?
In conclusion, the next time you have a spare Tesla around, send it to me. (DM for info)
Or, if not that, don’t buy it to begin with! Realize your excess and redistribute your resources. This principle stands on all levels. It will be better for all of us and there can’t be that many suitable next planets to find before we end up encountering brain-eating aliens. However, not one of us – certainly not me – will follow this advice, so all hail Elon, King of planet Greed Before Need!
**written on my MacBook whilst sitting in front of the idle family iMac**