THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Fighting the Big Lie of Mass Consumption

In Mein Kampf, Hitler coined the term "the big lie," referring to a form of propaganda that pivots on telling a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe anyone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously." Of course, he himself went on to employ this very technique toward the most monstrous ends.

But don't think for a moment that any of us are safe from the machinery of "the big lie" today. This insidious force is very much alive, woven into the very roots of our society. Governments and corporations still heavily employ "the big lie" psychology with enormous success. In fact, just about all the foundational aspects of our culture can be traced back to one of their big lies regarding:

  • What to consume
  • What to expect of our health
  • What to expect out of life

The biggest lie is that our culture of mass consumption is acceptable -- that these conditions were created for our highest good; that this is the best way of life imaginable thus far, and if we just keep following this trajectory, things will get even better.

Meanwhile, the big truth is that we are consuming the life of our planet at warp speed. While everyone now agrees that change is necessary, few of us seem to grasp just how dire the situation is, certainly not enough to reject the entrenched norms.

No healthy, sane organism devastates the host that feeds and supports it. That's what cancer and autoimmune diseases do: attack the healthy cells and tissue of the body. Just as we are undermining the health of our bodies with mainstream consumption, we are perpetuating the cancer of society that is killing our planet.

We have bought the diversion that merely recycling and buying more environmentally conscious products will offset this devastation. Yes, we should reduce, recycle, and reuse, but there's really only one way to halt the deadly march of big food corporations that are wreaking destruction on us all while reaping the riches of the big lie: stop consuming their products, especially those made of commonly raised animals and sea life.

Yes, if we consumers put the big food industry out of business, many jobs would be lost initially, but the beauty of creative destruction is that something better can spring up in place of the old system. Keeping people employed is not a good enough reason to perpetuate the plunder of our precious resources. Convenience is not a good enough reason. Fear of change is not a good enough reason. I cannot think of one good enough reason -- can you? Yet I can think of countless reasons for change!

We have been brainwashed into wanting and craving -- and thinking we need -- all sorts of rubbish as we suffocate ourselves and continually fatten the corporations that are killing off the life of our planet. Frankly, there's no point in being polite about it anymore. Polite to whom, at whose expense? What about being polite to the ecosystems, to the animals being pushed out of their habitats, to our own sick bodies and spirits?

What do you say to a world that:

  • Would rather eat cheap chicken grown at 400 times the normal rate and pumped with antibiotics and hormones than consider the alternatives;
  • Thinks nothing of killing off 200 species a day in order to sustain the mass production of processed meats and toxic substances;
  • Is too busy shopping and worrying about health insurance to connect the dots between consumer choices and physical ailments;
  • Thinks a vaccine will one day cure cancer, or that diseases are simply a question of genetics?

What you say to such a world is, WAKE UP!

We are not islands. We are one organism intermingling on the same planet. We should do all we can to live cleanly as individuals, but we still have to reside among the combined emissions of the entire population and the biochemistry of the Earth. If we really want to keep life on this planet a healthy option, we have to stop consuming what we've been programmed to consume. We must stop destroying the fabric of our world.

As I face the New Year, I am determined to help conceive and execute a new vision. I will never again ask myself, How can I fit in or be accepted in this social structure? I will ask, How can I transform it into something that is universally life-supporting?

We can start by determining what's worth keeping and what clearly isn't. From there we can model a new social structure and lifestyle that reflect this vision, even if it means losing some conveniences--like always eating exactly what we want when we want, or using cheap plastic to manufacture all manner of products and packaging, or owning huge homes and driving multiple cars.

It's time we start seeing things as they are, not as we are told to see them. Increased perception is power. We don't need to accept the expectations and limitations imposed upon us by the big lie. To start with, we must recognize that:

  • Our way of life does not work for humans, or for any life forms at all.
  • The origins of our suffering come from our way of life.
  • We don't need to return to cave life; we can move forward, taking the good things with us.
  • We are social beings in a culture that undervalues community.
  • We are innovative enough to create a new vision for our society.

Let's dare to challenge the status quo. Remember what happens in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy melts the witch? Her monkey soldiers, who seemed so loyal to her before, break out in celebration upon her assassination! People are walking around defending a way of life that doesn't work because they don't know what the alternatives might be.

Let's pull together to create something extraordinary, for we human beings, like the planet we live on, are far more beautiful and extraordinary than the big lie that society keeps feeding us.

Onward, brave friends, into the New Year!