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 evolved.

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.