I don’t understand how humans can be such complex creatures with the ability to distinguish and perceive multifaceted scenarios and inquiries, yet we allow ourselves to be caged in single-dimensional social constructs. The human eye is able to capture light through the cornea and refract it onto its lens where it is sent to the retina. At the retina, light rays get absorbed by a multitude of photoreceptors where the light is converted into electrical signals and delivered via the optic nerve to the brain’s occipital lobe – the part of the brain that is responsible for interpreting two different sources of light images and uniting them in order to create a stereoscopic vision. Human beings are equipped with the proper hardware to identify, analyze, decipher and solve even the most complex of problems, yet we remain blind and confine ourselves to non-variant, manmade social constructs.
Most of the time, we are living in the “grey” area of life. It is this way because life is not so black or white. Perhaps, a better way of viewing it is to say we are living in the “rainbow” of life. Life itself is too complex to define all its wonderful and mysterious aspects, but luckily we can use an array of shades from its color spectrum to help us navigate through it. For this reason, I am perplexed when people willingly subject themselves to the restraints of social constructs. Whether it be Democrat or Republican, black or white, religious or nonbeliever, intelligent or stupid, capitalist, socialist or communist, we label ourselves in order to identify and assimilate into our society
This thought process came about as I was debating with an individual over gun control. In the heat of the moment, this “gentleman” was quick to educate me on America and its foundation of capitalism…
First of all, capitalism is not a form of government, so in my opinion, his comment falls short of being credible or respectable. Furthermore, not being a capitalist does not inadvertently make me a socialist, communist and definitely not a fascist. I am an individual with unique ideas and don’t need to fit the social norm in order to create self-value. Like water, I tend to go with the flow and self-labeling only hinders my fluidity.
Moreover, article four; section four of the U.S. Constitution declares the United States to use a Republican form of government. After meticulously scrutinizing the U.S. Constitution, I could not find any mention of the word “Democracy” or “Capitalism”. I bring this up because I don’t believe in the values of capitalism, and I feel a sense of relief to know that our founding fathers did not endorse its values in our constitution. I do acknowledge there are definite benefits to a free market, but the inherent consequences of capitalism outweigh the benefits in modern society. Although this article is not about capitalism, I do briefly want to state some of the obvious contradictions that capitalism makes to the welfare of the people, before I continue on the unnecessary implementations of social constructs.
In 1944, Eric Williams, in his book: Capitalism and Slavery, made the argument that capitalism was dependent on slavery. He, of course, was not the only to make such argument. Greg Grandin in his book, The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World, clearly states:
“… Capitalism is, among other things, a massive process of ego formation, the creation of modern selves, the illusion of individual autonomy, the cultivation of distinction and preference, the idea that individuals had their own moral conscience, based on individual reason and virtue. The wealth created by slavery generalized these ideals of self-creation, allowing more and more people, mostly men, to imagine themselves as autonomous and integral beings, with inherent rights and self-interests not subject to the jurisdiction of others.”- Greg Grandin
In other words, in the U.S., capitalism was engineered as a justification for slavery. How else would anyone vindicate the cruel actions of slavery without the selfishness and egotistical principals that capitalism validates? These are the same virtues and characteristics needed to dominate and win the game of Monopoly – the epitome of a capitalist board game. In addition, not all industries are designed to thrive in capitalism and none is more apparent than the healthcare system where curing patients of what ails them does not generate repeat consumers, thus not correspond with the capitalist principle of profit.
Ending my digression, I would like to remind everyone of the detrimental effects of hastily confining one’s self to social constructs. In Dr. Kwame Nantambu’s essay, Decoding European plantation system of governance, Dr. Nantambu explains how the United States, by creating a two-party system, implements the same techniques that plantation and slave owners used to divide and rule. Malcolm X was also aware of these practices. In his 1963 speech at Michigan State University, Malcolm X explained how plantation owners reassured their dominance by creating two types of slaves, the house negro and the field negro. This divide and conquer, plantation policy was one of the factors that permitted the European enslavement of African people to last for so long, and the same analogy can be made in reference to the United States and its Democratic and Republican, two party system.
To reiterate, we do not need to subject ourselves to the restraints of social constructs. Sure, I denounce the use of capitalism, but this does not make me a socialist, communist or a fascist. I believe we are progressive enough of a society to create another economic system – one which promotes a free market without having the adverse effects of capitalism. As well, we do not need to be a Democrat or Republican, black or white, religious or nonbeliever, intelligent or stupid, capitalist, socialist or communist, gay or straight. We can choose to be something else. We can choose to think outside the box. We can choose to be individuals.