Are We Free? The Lie We Live.

A powerful short documentary film created by Spencer Cathcart and published in January this year has almost immediately become viral, spread worldwide and is subtitled to many languages already. It exposes, in a witty and critical way, the truth about our corrupt world, and raises some important questions as well.

“At this moment you could be anywhere doing anything. Instead you sit alone before a screen.

So what’s stopping us from doing what we want, being where we want to be?

Each day we wake up in the same room and follow the same path to live the same day as yesterday. Yet at one time each day was a new adventure. Along the way something changed. Before days were timeless, now our days are scheduled. Is this what it means to be grown up? To be free?

But are we really free?”

In a way, this depends on our definition of freedom, on what freedom means to us. There might be different answers, but in their core one thing is supposed to be present: the ability to become who we truly are, to fully develop our potential and by doing so, better the world we live in.

But, what is the reality we are forced into?

“We discover the world through a textbook. For years we sit and regurgitate what we’re told. Tested and graded like subjects in a lab. Raised not to make a difference in this world. Raised to be no different. Smart enough to do our job but not to question why we do it. So we work and work, left with no time to live the life we work for. Until a day comes when we are too old to do our job. It is here we’re left to die.”

Critical thinking has left our education system some time ago, and while we, as humans, claim to be superior, one has to wonder – how is this superiority manifested?

“They <corporations> gave us money, and in return we gave them the world.

We are like a plague sweeping the Earth. Tearing apart the very environment that allows us to live. We see everything as something to be sold. As an object to be owned. 

But what happens when we have polluted the last river? Poisoned the last breath of air? Have no oil for the trucks that bring us our food? When will we realize money can’t be eaten, that is has no value? 

We aren’t destroying the planet. We’re destroying all life on it. Every year thousands of species go extinct. And time is running out before we’re next.”

… and the consideration goes even further, raising some important questions…

“It’s funny to think humans once thought the Earth was the center of the universe but then again now we see ourselves as
the center of the planet. We point to our technology and say we’re the smartest. But do our computers, cars, and factories really illustrate how intelligent we are? Or do they show how lazy we’ve become?

We put this civilized mask on. 

But when you strip that away, what are we?”

Indeed, what are we?

Consumers of earthly goods? And if so, is this exceeding consumption making us happier and more satisfied? Or is it just widening the gap between who we are, and who we are meant to become?

“One day this sensation we call life will leave us. Our bodies will rot, our valuables recollected. Yesterday’s actions’s all that remain. Death constantly surrounds us. Still it seems so distant from our everyday reality.

If we all look at our innermost desire, we will see our dreams are not so different. We share a common goal. Happiness. 

We tear the world apart looking for joy, without ever looking within ourselves. 

Many of the happiest people are those who own the least. 

But are we really so happy with our iPhones, our big houses, our fancy cars? We’ve become disconnected. Idolizing people we’ve never met. We witness the extraordinary on screens, but ordinary everywhere else. We wait for someone to bring change, without ever thinking of changing ourselves.”

Nothing happens unless we make it happen.

Nothing changes unless we ignite the change.

And if we begin now, with all our efforts, maybe, just maybe, this world will become a better place.

And bear in mind, it is not for the sake of our Mother Earth – she is stronger than we might think. It is for the sake of mankind, more fragile than we dare to think.

“Stop waiting for change and be the change you want to see. 

We didn’t get to this point by sitting on our asses. The human race survived not because we are the fastest or the strongest but because we worked together. We have mastered the act of killing. Now let’s master the joy of living. This isn’t about saving the planet. The planet will be here whether we are or not. Earth has been around for billions of years. Each of us will be lucky to last eighty. We are a flash in time, but our impact is forever.

While we still can we must use our screens to bring us closer together rather than farther apart. For better or worse our generation will determine the future life on this planet.

We can either continue to serve this system of destruction until no memory of our existence remains. 

Or we can wake up. Realize we aren’t evolving upwards but rather falling down.

We just have screens in our faces so we don’t see where we’re heading. This present moment is what every step, every breath and every death has led to. 

We are the faces of all who came before us. And now it is our turn.

You can choose to carve your own path, or follow the road countless others have already taken. Life is not a movie. The script isn’t already written. 

We are the writers.

This is your story.

Their story.

Our story.”

 

Powerful in its entirety, ‘The Lie We Live‘ will open your eyes and inspire you to reconsider yourself, your life and your impact on this world.

Enjoy the full documentary, and remember to share.

 

 

Because Life.

Because Love.

Love Gina Wings

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How Mr. Selfridge Reinvented Shopping

What London needs is a good shaking up.” – was Andrew Carnegie‘s observation that distant 1900 as he found himself appalled by the simple fact that the shop people had been considerably better at driving away customers than at attracting them.

Back then, shopping was not necessarily an entertaining activity, but merely a rather difficult and time consuming chore: a woman, since it was prevalently women’s duty, was supposed to go to the store searching for specific, desirably not out of the ordinary, things, carefully order them and wait for the delivery.

Highly likely, if you were upper class, shopping was the main – if not the only – duty you had. Being it in time before the radio, TV, mass media, internet, and the only entertainment available, at least for women, being Sunday church, no wonder the same women, in search of their share of life pleasures, did something about it – with a little help from their male counterparts who understood this quite well.

The nineteenth-century passion for fashion, rise of buying in bulk on credit, and general lack of entertainment had provided the perfect conditions to develop department stores as we know them today.

Harry Gordon Selfridge opened his first department store in then unfashionable London Oxford Street on 15 March 1909. 400,000 Pounds Sterling, equivalent of one billion today’s US dollars, were invested into this grand and revolutionary project.

This border-ludicrous, amazing venue has inspired Lindy Woodhead, more than a century later, to write the words in her ‘Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge‘:

A man light years ahead of his time, a true accelerator of change, he deserves to be remembered as the man who put fun on the shop floor and sex appeal into shopping.

Indulge in this great read, and next time you visit London, make sure to visit Selfridges. It is still there, in the same place.

Love Gina Wings

 

Planned Obsolescence

 

A light bulb in Livermore, CA, has been on since 1901. The inventor is no longer among us, and the secret of the Centennial Light Bulb remains undiscovered. Is there an interest in revealing a secret of such a significant patent – a product that does not fail?

Planned obsolescence is the secret mechanism at the heart of our consumer society.

Although some may argue how this theory is dangerously approaching conspiracy, we have to admit there is, as Brooks Stevens clearly puts,

“… the desire on the part of the consumer to own something a little newer, a little sooner than is necessary.”

The idea to create the desire in the consumer, to seduce the client, was adopted in the fifties and has become the basis of marketing which was almost non-existent before that time. The consumer society created has become the foundation for growth, the Holy Grail of our economy.

Defenders of planned obsolescence argue how

Without planned obsolescence these places (malls; a.c.) wouldn’t exist. There wouldn’t be any products; there wouldn’t be any industry; there wouldn’t be any designers, architects; there wouldn’t be any salespeople, cleaners; there wouldn’t be any security guards. All the jobs would go.

While this might be true, I cannot help but wonder how do engineers feel about designing products to fail?

There is a further argument whether it is possible to imagine viable economy without planned obsolescence, and without its impact on the environment.

There is an interesting notion of the long life light bulb produced in the East Berlin and introduced in the 1981 International Fair. With fright for the future of economy, no one from the West was interested in purchasing the patent. And, as we know, the Berlin Wall fell, the East German factory was closed down, and the long life bulb can be seen in the museum, as a relic of days that seem further than they really are.

When the overall impact of the planned obsolescence is considered, one has to wonder whether it is really necessary. Yet, we are still reluctant to change it.

How is it possible that, with all the wisdom and wit, all the advances and progress, we are still unable to create the system that will be prosperous, yet will not be determined with growth?

I feel that the most appropriate closing of this meditation is citing John Thackara:

Our role in life seems to be just to consume things with credit, to borrow money to buy things we don’t need. 

That makes no real sense to me.

 

For all of you questioning everything, this is a great documentary.

 

 

May it inspire you.

 

Love Gina Wings