I don’t know about you but I’m sick of the shouting matches and factionalism occurring in politics and in social media. I'm over everyone taking sides so they can then fight the ‘good fight’ and shout their opponents down. I’m tired of being pigeonholed into a faction when, like many of us, all we want is to live more satisfying lives.
There has to be a better way.
Perhaps there is.
What if there is a new paradigm that gives us the opportunity to put aside old factional ways?
Consider if it is friendship, seen in a new and practical way.
Friendship seen in terms of satisfying just ten basic human desires - drives nature had to put inside us so we do what is needed so we survive as a species - offers a paradigm-shifting approach. Firstly, it reminds us we are tribal, and that’s ok - we survive better in tribes and we feel more comfortable among others like us. But it also reminds us we are also all of the one tribe - human beings.
Search these ten desires and we learn all human beings like to feel valued, appreciated, and respected. Whether we are a conservative, liberal, or libertarian,every one of us wants to feel respected and treated as being of value - important and matter. We also want to feel cared for when we are ill, and protected from harm. This isn’t determined by whether we are conservative or socialist, no matter what our political leanings we want to know we can get help when we are sick and our family will be safe. And we all want to be heard, to have someone listen to and take us seriously. It doesn’t matter what faction or beliefs we ultimately have we all desire that others get where we are coming from, truly hear us, and, ideally, validate and agree. The more people agree with us the more safe and secure we feel - friends are more likely to be similar than very different.
Friendship, and the desires that define them, are universal among ALL of us.
We can use this.
Capitalism and socialism are an example of two opposing (political) factions we often see. Friendship can help us step beyond how they are currently seen.
Let's start with capitalism. Is it useful? Yes. Market forces of supply and demand able to regulate itself is a great way of making sure we get what we need when we need it. It is certainly better than a central control of resources - what to grow or make determined by a central government of organisation such as the five year plans of communism. The latter failed miserably.
Is socialism useful? Yes. When greed dominates our society, and the elite simply compete with each other rather than caring for the less well off, they will exploit the weakest to get to the top. Much easier to take wealth from those least able to protect themselves. Greed, left of its own devices, will create great extremes of privilege and deprivation - a small number of elite and a majority with much less. Socialism, a practical application of a social conscience, trying to share the resources and wealth more evenly, becomes the necessary foil to the destructive greed.
But of course neither socialism - esp in the form of communism - or capitalism in the form of a greed-driven unregulated market economy, are a solution. They are simply opposing ideals up for the inevitable fight. After all, the ten desires teach us we all seek to be respected, valued, appreciated etc. as mentioned above. You don’t treat us well and we are likely to revolt. They also teach us the less well off will inevitably try to seek more of what the wealthy and powerful have - we seek to be similar and treated with equal respect. To hoard and not share doesn’t do that.
Friendship can help us bypass all this.
Imagine friendly capitalism.
Consider a free market system where desires of friendship ruled. Trade would almost automatically be fairer - we aren’t going to rob our friends. We would treat all employees with respect and give them good conditions and spread the profits more evenly. We would ensure we all had access to quality health services, no matter our income, job, or station in life.
Why would we do this? Because being friends - satisfying the 10 desires of friendship -, as just alluded to, dictate respect, valuing each other, caring for each other, protecting each other from harm - even from those who would try to use us.
Friendly capitalism would mean we could free up the markets and reduce the rules because we don’t have to worry about people being exploited. We wouldn’t need unions to try to bargain for better conditions or higher wages because they would already exist. We would need less government regulation and social payments since friendship driven communities we would be more likely to look after our own. And because the wealthy are sharing more of their wealth - friends share and don't hoard to compete with others for weatlh -
there will be more money circulating to drive the economy, stimulating more jobs of higher quality for all.
So next time you see people arguing about whether they are left or right, conservative or socialist, libertarian or communist, why not step back and not be sucked into any of them? Why not consider something simple and powerful that can stop all this silly fighting once and for all: friendship
Do you put friendship first in your life? Or are you primarily driven by desires for more wealth, status, or power?
Every choice we make changes the world.