Learning Lessons From Life
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" Mark 12:31
"We are here to awaken from the illusion of separation" Thich Nhat Hanh.
Bio-mimicry is the design and production of
materials and systems, inspired by observing living beings. Life
has existed on the planet far longer than humans have been here,
so there is wisdom to be gained from examining what has already
Each of us inhabits a large, cooperative, collection
of cells: our body. There is a holism to the organization, which
maintains the health of every one of the trillions of member cells.
If one part of the body is diseased or injured, the entire body
is at risk. It is a long term benefit to the whole that each
part be nourished and kept healthy and resources are committed
to this end. As a society, we can choose to do the same thing.
There is currently a debate about health care
going on in the U.S. Most developed societies have legislated
what our bodies know naturally, that maintaining the health of
everyone is essential to a healthy society. The American system
is rooted in the illusion of separation and treats citizens as
expendable individuals, rather than integral parts of a healthy
nation. This is an illusion. A sick population hurts our economy.
Per capita, we pay more, and receive less from this system than
countries with universal health care, because it is inefficient
and diverts health care dollars to the insurance companies, which
provide no actual care. The current debate in Congress is really
about tax cuts and the power of insurance companies.
When the New Deal was established, after flawed
capitalist practices had crashed the American economy, there was
discussion about establishing a single payer health plan. The
compromise decision was to provide people with health insurance
through their employers. However, as corporations abandoned social
responsibility for maximum short term shareholder profits, health
plans were viewed as a luxury expense to be eliminated.
Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, was
a considered attempt to offer more Americans health insurance
coverage. Since the basic premise was flawed (insurance rather
than actual care), the result was flawed, despite providing millions
of Americans with health coverage. Republicans have spent years
complaining about Obamacare, claiming they had a better system.
Now, after several weeks of secret deliberation, a dozen old
white men have delivered their plan. It gives massive tax breaks
to the very wealthiest, and abandons up to 32 million poor Americans
to their own fate. This is the illusion of separation at the
most lethal and callous.
In addition to the rage this has generated
(less than 17% approval), it has mobilized another push for a
single payer plan, which is the solution in most developed nations.
This eliminates the profit of insurance companies and allows
for serious collective bargaining with the predatory drug industry.
It also removes the tremendous stress associated with the threat
of personal bankruptcy our current health system generates. Insurance
companies, drug companies, and the banking industry don't want
things to change, and we should expect massive pushback. They
seem unable to value the lives of fellow citizens over their own
profits. Corporate capitalism has become a lethal economic model,
focused only on short term profits for a very few.
Are we willing to die, or condemn our friends
and neighbors to die, to perpetuate this economic model, which
makes the entire society sick, and leaves us at an economic disadvantage
in the global marketplace? It is ridiculous to believe that the
largest economy on the planet can't afford to provide quality
health care, not insurance, to our citizens, while we fund endless
wars and military bases all over the planet. If we are to transition
from humans to humanity, this is something we not only can do,
but must do, for the sustainability of our society.