A previous series on The Middle Class Forum was titled “Are We Naturally Bad?” In that series and others I present evidence that we are not inherently bad, rather, we are inherently an altruistic species operating in systems that make us bad. This does not mean we were all born angels. We were all born different, and even within us there is a mixture of “good and bad.” However, functioning in small, intimate groups, such as occurred with prehistoric cultures, selects for the altruistic impulses and ostracizes greed, vanity, cowardice, etc., etc.
Civilization brought different cultures the opportunity to learn from each other, and to enhance diversity and progress along the way. Yet civilization also brought paternal structures that sought to concentrate wealth, power and dogma. Civilizations have sought to promote nationalism, materialism, individualism and a variety of other cultural “isms” at the expense of our natural altruism. Since the paternal agents of civilization tend to control the flow of information they have succeeded at misinforming us as to who we really are. Unfortunately, people tend to become what they are perceived to be.
Restoring cultural balance boils down to knowing and having faith in who we really are apart from the influence of political parties, corporations and interest groups. In this regards we should be paying more attention to cultural anthropologists, and to the experiences of well-functioning local communities, than to Enlightenment scholars, dogmatic think tanks or corporate media.
This concludes the series on my recommendations for restoring balance. My plans for The Middle Class Forum this year, my New Years Resolution, include the following:
Continue with a “Sense of Place” feature on Sundays.
Continue with “Pop’s Letters” on Tuesdays.
Provide economic indicators occasionally that corporate media or think tanks will never report.
Provide reports/reviews on grassroots and nomadic experiences
Submit draft essays for your feedback on a future book to be called Restoring Balance