Wrestling With A Great American Truth: Our Poor People

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Many people who hear about Copiosis think we are trying to create “utopia“. The outcome most people imagine when using that word is extremely hard to create as it goes against basic tenets physical reality depends on.

People make creating an actual utopia difficult, if not impossible. That’s because diversity or variety is a key component of physical reality. Variety of opinion especially. Everyone has different ideas about what they like, don’t like, what they want and don’t want, and how things should be or should not be.

Utopia would require everyone thinking the same, or at least being accepting of people thinking differently. But it also would be boring if things were “perfect” that way.

Utopia: A state of reality that can never be because all things constantly become more than what they are at any given moment.

But people come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, not only physically, but mentally too. We’re all different and that difference is a strength. Copiosis relies on people’s differences. And it encourages those differences by eliminating socio-economic features which some use to squelch that diverse milieu.

Instead of trying to create the impossible, we create the possible. But creating the possible must acknowledge that we cannot create around human beliefs and behaviors.

Proof Copiosis is possible today

This is why many in our ecosystem, including us, believe that creating the new future must include a two-pronged strategy.

On the one hand, a new economic framework, a tangible, clearly defined way of managing and distributing resources to satisfy wants and needs, must exist.

On the other hand, that framework must also allow and inspire people to transition out of disempowering beliefs formed from past experience.

Copiosis offers this two-pronged strategy. But we also acknowledge implementing this strategy and producing results from it will happen gradually. It won’t create utopia.

For example, our resource management framework stipulates certain goods and services provided to all at no cost. Offering these goods and services at no cost we know will trigger tremendous relief and therefore improvement in people’s conditions.

We know this because evidence abounds proving this already. Recent UBI tests, as well as results produced from federal stimulus checks distributed during the COVID-19 pandemic show that when necessities get provided, people experience less stress, anxiety and such. In that relaxation they discover things about living they hadn’t thought of before. Their priorities change. Jobs become less relevant to living.

So we know we can change attitudes. We also know our distribution framework can work. That’s because evidence exists today proving it.

Copiosis offers something better than utopia

While those improvements happen for some, others, in various stages of improving their lives, may experience opposite reactions. They may believe giving people necessities without them working for them will make those people lazy, dependent and good-for-nothing. Even though, again, ample evidence proves this unfounded.

Still, such people may react angrily for quite a while in the beginning. They may try to sabotage our efforts, or point to isolated cases as though they prove the rule, not the exception. Others may try to game the system. They might feel unworthy of better lives. So they might sow destruction or mayhem as a way to improve their reputation in others’ eyes.

Those angry ones, who think the status quo is the only thing possible, decry any ideal threatening the status quo as “utopian”. Their calling it that though doesn’t make it that.

Not everyone will magically turn into wonderful people overnight. And this is why we can never produce the utopia people talk about. Actually those using the word “utopia” to negatively describe Copiosis know this. That’s why they make claims such as “Copiosis is a utopian vision”. They think Copiosis is as impossible as “utopia”.

But we’re not so idealistic to think we can create such a thing as utopia.

Which is why we’re not trying to.

But we can produce a world where life is extremely better for everyone. Even those suffering from disempowering beliefs. That’s what Copiosis offers.

The poor are sitting ducks

On a bike ride this past weekend, I saw a lot of current era “shantytowns“. Remember shantytowns of the depression era? Back then, people gathered together in “villages” – makeshift settlements for people who lost their homes. Today’s shantytowns comprise tents and broken down cars and RVs, often surrounded by a mess of…mess. Many of these people, I assume, lost their income sources then faced eviction.

Tent encampments inhabited by all kinds of people, including those evicted during the COVID pandemic, or who lost their homes after the 2008 recession.

I also rode by what could be described as “low income apartment complexes”. Broken down cars and vandalism, litter, graffiti, and other indications of desperation, despair and anger surround these complexes too.

One day, walking through a neighborhood, I passed a house where a man and woman got into a fight. They hurled insults and explicatives at each other, at full volume, letting their neighbors and god-knows-who-else in on the show. I felt sorry for them. For they were clearly at their wits ends with each other.

Their house was broken down, in need of great repair. Many windows had no glass and the screen door hung by one hinge. The house exterior had seen better days too and the yard was an unkempt mess.

To me, these examples show that one’s surroundings usually reflect the state of being of people’s –– for lack of a better word –– spiritual state. Some people just getting by, in my observation, tend to be angry, bitter, resentful, desperate, stressed and frustrated. And for good reason.

The problem is, they’re sitting ducks waiting for someone to tell them their problems stem from this group or that group. They’re easy pickings for exploitation, in other words.

Poor as paradox

Exploiting the poor dates back to America’s founding. The Colonial American rich created the US Constitution with no real recognition or involvement of people who weren’t white, land-owning men. In fact, white, land-owning men exploited white, indentured and poor men and women to enrich themselves.

How?

By convincing them they had less in common with black people, than they actually did. Then convincing them into labor contracts not unlike slavery.

Poor non-land-owning white people were sitting ducks in Colonial America. Landed rich white men duped them into turning against poor blacks. Back then, poor blacks and poor whites had formed diverse, bicultural communities. But rich white men knew that spelled trouble for them. So they sowed distrust among the poor. David Graeber’s “A People’s History of the United States” explains it all. So does Mary Anne Franks’ book “Cult of the Constitution”.

This document, so venerated in the U.S. represents the basis of inequality we see today. “We The People” meant rich, landed, white men. No one else.

Today’s poor, black and white still largely are exploited to rich people’s advantage.

Being fair, not all low income people express rage and desperation. Some with less are the happiest and friendliest people. But what explains the seeming correlation between unkempt places and the kinds of people who inhabit them? I don’t know.

I do know it’s difficult to change that internal state of being – poverty consciousness – without direct and significant intervention. Examples exist, for example, where low-income people, placed to live among more affluent people, tend to “rise to the occasion”. Experiments near where I live called “mixed income housing“ projects tend to remain in good shape visually.

Finding and solving problems

My question then is this. We can create luxury-style necessity housing communities. Can people with poverty consciousness occupy them without the homes and common areas turning to ruin as a result of such people’s consciousness manifesting in the physical?

I guess we’re going to find out.

Perhaps we can combine the affluent and poor, like Portland seems to have successfully done. That may avoid what appears as a natural conclusion of one’s environment matching its occupants’ inner consciousness.

Affluent people often oppose such projects. That’s understandable, even if prejudicial. When property values represent significant portions of people’s wealth, property owners want that wealth preserved.

But what happens when one’s property isn’t the only measure of wealth?

Keeping everything looking the same is a great way today to preserve wealth as property. But what happens when your wealth, or what it means to be wealthy or prosperous has nothing to do with where you live? (Photo by Blake Wheeler on Unsplash)

We must consider many things as we implement our strategy. The more I think about it, the more issues I uncover. So far, none of them stump us. I don’t expect any will. Copiosis is an idea whose time has come.

Still, it will be interesting seeing how Copiosis works in our demonstration projects. We’ll need selectivity as we choose who lives in them at first. Eventually we can design projects which allow anyone in, but we want to make sure most conditions are controlled initially so data we collect allows methodical improvement in our approach.

In the meantime, I’m still thinking about our two-pronged approach, how it’s going to work – or not – and what we’re going to do about it. But that approach has nothing to do with creating utopia. Utopia is not what we’re building.

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