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Year 2018: Are We Reaching Our Potential?

It was Christmas Eve 2017. It’s 8:00 AM and the gym is packed with weight lifters, spinners, treadmillers, and every other type of exercisers you can imagine trying to get that early morning workout in before the family holiday events begin.

As people are scrambling to finish their workouts early amidst the crowd, there’s one guy claiming the magical feat of using two weight machines at the opposite end of the weight lifting room at the same time.

Numerous people begin to encroach on one of the machines the guy’s claiming are his, yet he’s not by the machine. He then continuously walks over to the individuals saying he’s on that machine for just “one more set”. It’s at this point I realize this little incident playing out in a weight room is a microcosm for what’s happening in our society.

People rushing through their lives focusing only on their individual needs, while neglecting the needs of those around them. People taking more than they need to satisfy their desires while neglecting to sacrifice their abundance of goods for those that are in dire straits (humans and nonhumans). This is what this capitalist system of individualized specialization programs us to do masterfully.

Christmas Eve marks a little over a week until the year 2018 begins. At the forefront of many people’s thoughts… what is my New Years resolution for 2018 is going to be?

Now is when we reflect on our lives and take inventory of them. We think about our dreams and goals. Which ones have been achieved and which ones have not been achieved.

Let 2018 be the time as my friend and mentor Mike Sliwa suggests we stop thinking about our personal dreams. It’s our personal dreams that give way to more environmental degradation, injustice, and oppression. Mike has been my real life Luke Skywalker when it comes to mentorships. For years he has taught me to use the force within myself to understand the balance of life outside of myself. If we use this force we will realize Mike is right about pursuing our dreams and how it’s leading to our society’s ruin of the planet.

We are making our dreams and desires all about “me”. These are solo life long missions that ignores the life around us. But in survival of the fittest capitalism this is what “we the people” are programmed and conditioned to think about.

Here’s a list of top New Years Resolutions for 2018. This list includes: lose weight, set aside an hour a day to achieve your dreams, be kinder to yourself, increase your charisma, and earn more money. Notice this list is really all about the individual and nothing else. It’s helping us implement steps to achieve our dreams, but what about creating a better world for everyone not just us personally?

The dreams many aspire for is fame, fortune, and extravagant possessions. What many people do not think about is these dreams conjure up greed. To achieve these personal dreams one must be willing to lie, cheat, and steal.

Deep down we know this is true and many of us have accepted it’s truth. It’s why Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street strikes a cord with this culture when he says:

“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.”

These oligarchs take these words by Gekko as a creed and a license to lie, cheat, and steal all the way to the top. All in the name of fulfilling their dreams.

The horrific thing is all the destroyed lives from this lying, cheating, and stealing. Just take it from the modern day Gordon Gekkos of our era.

Mark Zuckerberg paid up to 65 million dollars and 1.25 million Facebook shares to settle a lawsuit filed by his former classmates at Harvard alleging Zuckerberg stole the idea of Facebook from them.

Then there’s the Steve Jobs raid on Xerox. In the late 1970s Apple was one hottest tech firms in the country. Everyone wanted in on Apple’s upcoming IPO, including Xerox. So Jobs made a proposal to Xerox… he would let Xerox buy one hundred thousand shares of Apple stock if he could visit Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) to see what their computer programmers and engineers were developing.

As a result of the visit to PARC, Apple released their first computer called the Lisa. The Lisa was equipped with many of the innovations already developed at Xerox’s PARC including the graphical user interface, a mouse, and documented-centric computing.

Of course the banking heads have no qualms over lying and cheating the system by putting “we the people” into subprime mortgages and then bundling up these toxic mortgages into securities under the guise of AAA credit ratings to perspective investors. And what happened to these banks when the jig was up? They got to steal more money from “we the people” as we bailed them out.

And if that round of thievery wasn’t enough for these vultures the next time there’s a financial crisis we won’t be bailing out the banks, the depositors will be bailing them in with their money they have tied up in these institutions.

It was all of these thoughts racing through my head on Christmas Eve at the overcrowded gym. I started thinking to myself what should be in our thoughts at the turn of the new year? The answer like all of my answers would come to me when I hit the StairMaster. Climbing stairs on the StairMaster is where all my deepest thinking occurs. It’s where I tune out the outside world and my inner world becomes filled with music and lyrics as they zap through my headphones, rattling between my ear drums, and then entering my thoughts. It’s why so many of my writings are centered around song lyrics.

I am halfway through my stair climb and song after song comes on but my thoughts remain blurred. And then finally 10 minutes later the lyrics hit me and it feels as if I am floating above the climbing stairs coming at me. The song, Reaching the Potential, by A Silent Film comes on and the floating lyrics:

Animals in cages
Actors on a payroll
Maybe in our lifetime
Are we reaching our potential?

These set of lyrics may end with a question but in that question lies our answer. So I will ask you all to forget the selfish New Years Resolutions. Turn that “me” resolution into a “we” revolution. When you start to think about “we” you will realize we aren’t reaching our potential.

When a plutocratic tax bill passes and no one is protesting in the streets over this bill of death let it serve as a reminder that we aren’t reaching our potential.

When you pass a homeless encampment or see a homeless person asking for money let it serve as a reminder that we aren’t reaching our potential.

Climate change is still a debate in this country, and that we cannot even get away from burning fossil fuels. Earth will turn into hothouse 2018, the hotter sequel to hothouse 2017. Let this serve as a reminder we aren’t reaching our potential.

Next time you read about an injustice, see an injustice, or see our government try to justify our continued bombing of the Middle East let it serve as a reminder we aren’t reaching our potential.

Reaching our potential can serve as a way to achieve dreams but not down the conventional path of lying, cheating, and stealing our way to them. These dreams instead will be based on community. They must be to actually reach our potential as a species otherwise the only potential we will see down the road is the potential extinction of our species, in a frightful way none of us can begin to fathom; sooner rather than later.

Reaching our potential is a lifelong journey that will never end. It’s about trying to leave something in a better situation because of your actions. Reaching our potential will include using our inner force to understand the balance of life, its inner connections, and synchronicities. Reaching our potential may not in the end include us in the equation, but it’s not about that. It’s really about continuing the equation we have gotten away from.

Right now we are playing by the rules of the corporate state. Those rules of the game were made for a certain set of individuals. They weren’t made for “we the people”. We must create our own game with our own rules. We must stop playing their insanity laden, psychopathic based game. We must extend the phrase “we the people” to include “we the living planet”.

We must do this because right now the only people reaching their potential is the upper crust of society.

In 2018, let’s take A Silent Film’s lyrics from Reaching the Potential to heart. Only this time let these newly edited lyrics zap between your ear drums and into your thoughts:

Animal extinctions
Politicians on a corporate payroll
Maybe in our lifetime
Are we reaching our potential?

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