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One morning before Christmas I drove through our neighbourhood when a long queue caught my attention. “What a rigmarole!” I was astonished.
I knew there is a place in the shopping center, where poor people can get foodstuff and I had often sawn people line up there, but those lines I saw before were nothing compared with that what I saw now.
Of course we can be grateful that there is places, where people can line up to get food aid. As I was a child, the poorest people competed for best pieces with rats on a dump. I was among them. In the West this is impossible now, because the dumps are closed, but this practice is still in use in many developing countries. In the West many people practice dumpster diving before the waste ends up to a closed waste disposal site.
Some people think that Finns do not have the faintest idea of real poverty. But I don’t believe that poor people have vanished in our country, although people do not need to compete with rats on a dump, but they can stand in neat line in order to get food aid.
When I was watching the breadline I saw in my minds eye each individual with his/hers fellowmen on a tight bureaucratic leash. How can a society afford this kind of waste of energy and resources? How is it possible that people who are thinking in terms of efficiency and freedom consider it more profitable that most of the population is enslaved to maintain the economic system? Instead of that decision makers could offer people real alternatives to carry out their best goals. This paradox has been haunting me during the turn of the year.
Before Christmas a study was published according to which 25 % of the wealthiest people in our country think that poverty is self-inflicted and it is an indication of spiritual poverty. In my ears this sounds that it is my own laziness and carelessness that still after 37 years I have physical disability and sit in a wheelchair, although my disability is not a permanent condition, and it would have been possible to remarkably improve it.
Pondering over this issue has completely changed my own thinking. Last autumn I wrote in my eBook “From Crisis to Thriving”: “When each one of us take fate into our own hands, in other words listen to the voice within and let it guide oneself, we will all rise like a phoenix from the ashes and we can steer our course to new horizons.”
This is theory. In practice we live in a limited, material world. It does not matter how positive we see things or how conscientious we try to improve our own situation, if we do not have real opportunities to act according to our inner being, become free from the shackles of this material world, and steer our course to our best goals.
I have emphasised in my writings that since I became disabled I have considered spiritual growth more important than physical recovery. However, this is not the whole truth.
When I was in a rehabilitation centre after two years of my handicap, I did walking exercises with my physiotherapist. I was walking without any kind of support or aid. My physiotherapist was walking beside me and was helping me keep the pace: “One, two, one, two, one, two…” she was counting.
I had the feeling that my body was getting its former mobility and walking was more and more easy. Everybody, who followed me encouraged me to extend my three-week rehabilitation period as long as I could. I myself also thought that I should do all I can to continue with my exercises.
The doctors did not agree, though. According to mere hearsay they decided that my rehabilitation period will not be continued. They thought that my improvement was not so apparent that it had medical importance. They did not even discuss about my experience with me.
I felt as if I was wrongly convicted to prison. The whole concept of ‘constitutional democracy’ seemed mainly tragicomic to me.
As a consequence, I decided to concentrate in things that would improve my overall situation, although someone would pull the rug from under my feet. It meant focusing on spiritual growth that gave me total independence. With regard to my physical rehabilitation, it was as if I tried to cure a serious skin disease with alcohol. The rehabilitation has been only cosmetic, and in the best case I have been able to forget all about my handicap.
The main reason for the frustration that my physical disability has caused me during the past 37 years is simply that I have not had the money and the necessary resources to have efficient rehabilitation. Everything crystallizes in today’s situation: there is a new device on the market that would practically set me on my feet that would remarkably improve my situation. However, for the medical rehabilitation authorities it seems to be an insurmountable problem to make decisions in this matter. They think that because there is no importer for the device and it is easier to purchase wheelchairs, I should sit in a wheelchair also in the future.
I do not understand the logic of our leading elite that economic growth would be the source of wealth. Wealthy people are flattering themselves by thinking that they themselves have earned all their wealth, so it is self-evident that their income is hundreds or thousands of times bigger than that of an ordinary person. But the truth is that many people, who have been born with a silver spoon in their mouth, would be much wealthier today, if they had spent their life lying on a bed, spitting on the ceiling.
Because of the economic structures most of mankind is doomed to ceaseless struggle of Sisyphus. Only a handful of people are financially in a position that they are completely free to act according to their inner navigation.
Our leading elite is trying to achieve a 5 % productivity leap by cutting people’s income and reducing their resources even more, although they are hardly enough to cover their needs. In this way decision makers only reduce people’s freedom and their options to act.
It would be a huge productivity leap in itself, if the leading elite would recognize people’s needs, would increase people’s financial freedom and offer them real opportunities, so that people could make the best version of themselves. Investments in people would in practice give people the opportunity to act according their inner navigation that would raise us like a phoenix from the ashes and we would be able to steer our course to new horizons.
FlipSnack: From Crisis to Thriving
From Crisis to Thriving (PDF)
FlipSnack: من الأزمة إلى الإزدهار
من الدزمة إلى الدزدهار (PDF)