I wrote this story about brokenness and economic systems as I was thinking about the Great Reset and the strange luck of living through a massive, global religious and economic reform, something I’ve never thought I would have to deal with in my lifetime.
I often get into conversations about isms. Some people believe that all evils come from capitalism. Some people believe that the Great Reset is evil because it’s communist.
My feeling is that the problem is much deeper. I have observed and experienced seemingly opposing systems that none the less maimed the spirit, and it seems like broken behaviors come from broken hearts—and that people tend to use any available ism or system to justify whatever they want to do. (Not to mention that “communism for broken people” is really just a super monopolistic “capitalism for broken people,” with more convoluted distribution models and clever marketing campaigns).
For instance, there are people who pursue science for the sake of knowledge—and there are people who pursue #science for the sake of less noble things. There are people whose religious feeling compels them to be brave in the face of bullying and to seek the truth—and there are people whose religious principle compel them to do harm onto others. And yes, broken collective habits can thoroughly maim a child—but not by isms but by disrespecting the sanctity of a child’s soul and making the child feel like a cog in the machine and not an important living being with a gift.
I have been thinking a lot about brokenness.
If we look at history, at one point, one of the two things happened in most known cultures of today. Either a local ruler, who was seeking personal prestige and approval by more influential leaders of the time—much like the leaders of today are going for the “Great Reset” to elevate or at least to preserve themselves—forced the people to abandon their traditional way of life and to become “civilized”—again, much like the leaders of today are pushing us toward transhumanism—or foreign invaders came along and did the same.
So what we are dealing with today is not particularly new, it’s just strange to belong to a generation on the receiving end of a religious reform. I am thinking every day, wow, I have never thought I would be living through a thing like this!
A tangent: There is a story of ideological musical chairs that often comes to my mind. In Moscow, where I am from, there is a famous Orthodox church. Centuries ago, in that location, there was a pagan sacred place. When pagan beliefs were declared sinful, the sacred place was destroyed, and they built a church. Then when communists came, they declared religion to be “opium for the people,” destroyed the church, and built a swimming pool. Then when the Soviet Union fell, a lot of people who were fanatical atheists became fanatical Christians, and Christianity became very institutional, like a symbol of the state. Thus, they destroyed the swimming pool and built a luxurious Orthodox church.
And at every turn, people brought their emotions and ideas to the table, insisting that the latest change was the perfect one.
Isms changed, brokenness remained. So I think it isn’t really about isms. Systems are merely extensions of the dominant feeling in society. And as long as the dominant feeling comes from brokenness, we are going to be replacing one bad system with another, infinitely.
As somebody who has lived under different systems (and who, among other things, has caught a glimpse of a “march toward communism”), I have learned to see the human thing underneath the crazy and destructive state-imposed ideas. I just can’t help it because I keep thinking about the dogmatic, hardened Soviet adults of my childhood who would none the less share their modest meal with you.
As a child, I just accepted any system that was handed to me. As a teen, I observed great unhappiness in adults and resented them for being so close-minded. As an adult, I went through a grinder and learned to understand and love. And now, strangely, I am seeing the very beginning of the movie that ended in my early childhood—ended by laughing the propagandists out of the room and elevating the dissidents and the underground thinkers. And as I am seeing it, I feel like I am finally starting to understand why the adults of my childhood were so messed up. They had met a bulldozer along the way! And I feel them now, because even though their ideas were ridiculous and their fight with my happiness was painful, their lives were hard, and their love was real. I don’t even know what to do with this feeling, I just feel like love is the force that will guide us through darkness.
It seems like today, history is repeating itself.
For example, the victory march of “science as religion” that is happening today—very much in the name billionaire profits and asset management (i.e. capitalism)—is nearly identical to the march that was happening in the Soviet Union in the name of “socialism” when my grandparents were young. Just like the proverbial “scientists” of today are denouncing peasants’ self-preservation instincts (so that certain pharmaceutical companies can make a fortune on certain therapies, which are wrongfully labeled as certain must-worship medical products), back then, city-educated folks would come to the village and yell at peasants for their backward ways, force them to use toxic fertilizers, and teach them to not breastfeed their babies (see an ironic throwback from 2016).
Similarly, in the West, we all know about Big Tobacco (“a pack a day keeps lung cancer away”), asbestos, glyphosate, DDT, etc. Well, not just in the West, my mom told me stories about how they had fought insects by coating everything in their house with DDT. In the Western context, sometimes things like that result in successful lawsuits (go to this recent article about the pandemic for an extensive list of links to stories about corporations knowingly doing harm). But still. Lawsuits or not, the harm is done!
As far as “capitalism” vs “communism,” I have an experiential theory about competition. By living under different systems, I have observed that when broken people can’t compete financially, they start competing for moral superiority, and that’s worse. And I think that this is what’s happening today in developed countries. Due to billionaire fear of losing control, they are tightening the peasants’ belts—and as they are doing it, the economy is being restructured toward poverty and rewarding compliant dependency on the state, and the peasants are now encouraged to compete in the realm of moral superiority instead of financial superiority, at the expense of other peasants (and sadly, it’s not the kind of well-intended morals, either, but the kind designed in corporate marketing rooms with the purpose of selling products and ideas).
See, healthy competition is a part of nature and human experience. When competition is balanced with respect for life and existential truths, one competes within the bounds of spiritual respect. It doesn’t mean anything idyllic or free from violence, it just means adhering to fundamental respect for other people’s right to being existentially important. It’s like, yes, people do play and sometimes create a mess, but they don’t go too far.
However, when competition grows out of the feelings of brokenness and insatiable hunger, it ends up being ugly. The competition then becomes about compensating for the lack of love by designing and implementing systems of mechanical control (with any ism du jour attached to it)—and that kind of existence becomes a vortex that requires more and more fuel. Which explains the infinite greed of our aspiring feudal masters like Gates etc.
So I think that the solution is not in arguing about mechanical isms but in realizing that we exist for a reason, that the craziness of today is an opportunity for healing, and that if we figure out why we are here and how we are connected to our ancestors and human history, we’ll know better what to do. That’s the hope.
A personal note.
From my heart, thank you all who donated! I deleted the original note about my circumstance but my heart is filled with warmth and gratitude to all who reached out. You made me stronger. Thank you.