At the risk of stating the obvious, it is worth repeating and discussing at length: if enough people work together on a consistent enough basis, there is no limit to what we, collectively, can accomplish.
There are simply too many of us compared to the handful of powerful people who make all the rules of our society for this not to be true. Roughly 330 million people live in the United States, while the number of people who occupy a seat in either the House of Representatives or U.S. Senate is just 535. If I have done the math correctly, that means all laws at the federal level are passed by 0.00016 percent of the population, while the remaining 99.999 percent of us just have to live with those laws.
The average number of residents who live in a single congressional district is more than 700,000. That’s one congressional representative per 700,000 people.
How is it that given such overwhelming odds in our favor, we continue to allow our representatives to foist unfavorable, corporate-authored legislation upon us year after year after year?
The answer is social conditioning and propaganda. We are taught beginning at a young age, that this is how democracy is supposed to work. Our schools teach us the basic structure and function of our government. Sure, it may have been conceived by a group of property- and slave-owning white men from the 1700s, but they devised a system of checks and balances, which makes them timeless geniuses.
The system they created was so brilliant, we are told, that up to now we been able to solve all of society’s problems by simply passing new laws or amending the constitution.
We even have a permanent, unelected body of appointed judges whose job it is to evaluate the legitimacy of existing laws through their own personal interpretations of the 233-year-old document. So you see, it’s a perfect system.
Sarcasm aside, the system certainly was an improvement over the monarchy that these particular white men had known. While it technically was more democratic, power was still concentrated in very few hands from the get-go.
When considering the massive amount of power that a relatively few number of humans have over our lives, and the myriad ways they consistently make decisions that inflict harm on the whole of society, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless.
That emotion, along with a lifetime of social conditioning and propaganda, keeps us paralyzed and prevents us from using the power of our numbers to achieve truly democratic outcomes.
We absolutely could create a much healthier society in which popular opinion shapes public policy and everyone’s basic needs are met, but only if enough people see what is possible and stay committed to that vision over a long enough time.
Our state and federal governments may be rife with corruption and beholden to corporate interests, but that is not the main obstacle holding us back.
The foundation for making any systemic or structural change is consciousness.
What we believe to be true, the thoughts we think about ourselves and about our world, hold the key to transformation at a system level.
In the old world, information and channels of communication were owned and controlled by a small number of people, which made it easy to propagandize the masses into compliance with agendas that benefit society’s elite ruling class.
As technology advances in the digital age, that world slips further and further away. This is why you hear so much about disinformation in the news, and stories of people getting censored or de-platformed online are becoming more common.
Disinformation is not a new phenomenon, but the increased fragmentation of information channels and proliferation of independent media pose a great threat to the control over major narratives the ruling elite are accustomed to, so naturally, it is their mainstream corporate media who are sounding the alarm about it. There was even a short-lived effort by the U.S. government earlier this year to create a so-called “Disinformation Governance Board” which was quickly shut down after a backlash. This likely will not be the last time we see such an effort.
We are not yet that far into the digital age, even though many of us have lived in it most of our lives. For the first time in history, anyone with Internet access has the ability to communicate with people around the world, share information at an exponentially accelerated rate, and create our own channels to keep ourselves informed.
When you take into account the enormity of our numbers, the declining ratings of mainstream corporate news, and the growing trend of independent media channels that do not exist solely to make a profit, a window of great opportunity comes into focus.
We have so much power in our numbers, if we could only realize this truth and act upon it. We could see a very different world if enough people wake up and start collaborating with one another.
No great changes ever take place without sacrifice. There will have to be people who step up to lead the way forward. There will have to be people willing to deviate from the path charted for them by society to instead dedicate their lives to the cause of change.
As social animals, human beings tend to behave only as they see others behaving. The only way our culture will head in the collaborate direction it needs to take is if people who share this vision of the future — people who may have never wanted to be leaders — are willing to step out of their comfort zones in order to set an example for others.