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  • Writer's pictureNate Crew

Greed + Freedom = Loneliness

The American experiment continues to teach humanity many potential lessons. Some of them are exhilarating and empowering, others more difficult to grapple with. One of the difficult ones can be (over)simplified in these terms: Greed + Freedom = Loneliness.

Not to be confused with a rich personal solitude, loneliness is a devastating departure from fundamental realities of life and a suppression of the well-known needs of the human soul. Even if you're a really tough guy, as a human you're no exception. Alienation wreaks havoc. So, the above equation deserves to be dismantled in practice, at scale.

By all means, freedom must stay, so greed probably ought to go. Easier said than done, as this brings us to an obvious weakness within the much-loved "capitalist system" as we know it today. It's a system which has been a massive step forward in the advance of human culture and in freeing the human mind, but which inevitably reaches a limit (as every evolutionary phase has and always will). Surprise, surprise, evolution hasn't stopped.

A lot of unspoken angst and open disagreement these days likely stems from the conundrum of people's trying to envision what might replace the current greed-based system around which much of our lives are organized. Uprooting and the loss of valuable tradition is something many of us (myself included) hope to avoid. So, what a less alienated American culture might look like decades from now, I have no idea. A general, practical answer just isn't there to point to, at least not that I'm aware of yet.

What I can say from narrow personal experience is that, for years, I used to feel alone in life, but no longer. I don't fully understand the dynamics of this change or its ultimate source, but on many levels, I find that greed in many of its obvious and more sneaky forms is being increasingly removed from my mind. The space that it vacates apparently gets occupied by more life, more connection, more internal unity. (Which all paves the way for peace, which in turn paves the way, I think, for joy.)

How or if my own particular experience may apply or be replicated on any broader social scale, again, I have no idea. I do know others share this experience to varying degrees. It seems reasonable to think that the more people that experience it, whatever their source(s), the more society might begin to shift in a healthier, more sustainable, less loneliness-ridden direction.

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