We’re Pointing Fingers in the Wrong Direction

Among all the things that we humans do on earth, there are some habits that have been observed over and over again across the centuries. Some of them have proven to be extremely useful, like procreation and spreading of our species – helping neighboring species go extinct in the meantime, while other habits not even nearly as useful.

Pointing fingers is one of the latter. A very humane activity nonetheless, it’s something that goes beyond race and skin color, nationality or social status. No matter the century, the place we lived in or where we were born, we have been pointing fingers throughout all of our history.

From the dawn of mankind to the modern times, finger pointing has been one of our most prevalent habits. We were pointing fingers at one another, at monkeys and bananas and lions, at mammoths and birds on the sky, at Gods and the very sky itself. We kept pointing our fingers until we either reached the sky or until the lion ate our finger, but no matter what happened, we never quit this habit. When mammoths suddenly disappeared – not that we had something to do with it, we simply found something else to point our fingers at.

Prehistoric men hunting mammoths – Artwork by Bernard Long, 1980

Nowadays we’re pointing our fingers at politicians and corporations, at greedy businessmen and BMW drivers, at our neighbor who just built himself a bigger mansion or those huge companies who cut forests to manufacture all the things we crave for but never really need. We’re pointing fingers at everybody and everything that makes us feel inadequate and uncomfortable, at everything and everybody who makes us unhappy.

Deforestation

Unhappy employees point fingers at their bosses, bosses at their employees, kids at their parents and so on and so forth.

Everybody, quit your jobs now

Take those employees as an example.

Imagine for a moment that all those unhappy employees all over the world, with unfair wages and unpaid work hours, exhausting night shifts, improper work conditions and soul crushing routine would instantly stop pointing their fingers and start acting, saying no to their unfair and abusive employers and quitting their jobs right now, in this very instant.

What would the outcome be?

All those awful job positions that most people have to accept to pay their bills and daily bread, those would be left without anyone to cover. Unfair businesses would crumble, selfish employers who never got their hands dirty for mediocre wages would be left alone to do by themselves what they never wanted but forced others to do. “We’re creating jobs”, they said.

They’d have to sell all their shiny Mercedeses and BMWs and fancy SUVs, mansions and pools and spas and get down to work like most of the Earth’s population.

All those pretty profits made on the overburdened backs of those struggling to make ends meet, with no other option but to accept whatever they can find to work, all those profits would vanish.

The whole system would crash. Consumerism would be gone, overpriced low quality products would cease existing, and people would finally start to focus on quality rather than quantity. As quality would come first, businesses would have to change their unfair ways or succumb to their own unfairness.

One for all and all for (n)one

If only one person in a factory of thousands thinks like that and stops accepting all those unfair conditions and decides to risk it all and quit his or her job, guess who’s going to suffer. It’s that one person, a collateral victim in a system that doesn’t care about us or about the greater good of mankind. No job, no money, no security of tomorrow and nobody to care.

But let’s imagine the opposite situation, the one in which the thousands of unhappy workers would think like that. There would only be the employers, the managers, the ones who ripped off all the nice benefits for so long who’d now be left to do the work all by themselves. And you bet they wouldn’t. They need people to work for them, so they’d have to change the wages, the work conditions, the schedule, they’d have to make things right to have the thousands work for them again.

people in the streets
Photo by sasan rashtipour on Unsplash

They would be forced to change.

They would be forced to change by the thousands of unhappy workers. Sure, they’d ask for the thousands to be punished, but who would be there to punish those workers for not respecting the rules? Who would make them pay if nobody would be there to enforce the unfair laws and rules created for the benefit of a crooked few? Who would be there to make them pay, if they’d all be on the other side?

On the side where people no longer bow their heads and accept whatever comes their way. A side where people think for themselves, for the others, and act together to change tomorrow. On the side where people stop pointing fingers and start doing something for that change to happen.

If only we would have the courage to do that.

So, all that we’re complaining about, that the government is bad, the executive too demanding or that the company doesn’t pay fair wages, that this product is of low quality and the other is overpriced, this and that and all, it’s not about them. It’s about us. Pointing fingers at them and demanding things to change doesn’t work. It never did.

We’re just pointing fingers in the wrong direction. Because it’s not about them, it’s about us.

We’re the ones meekly accepting all this unfairness. We’re the ones still going to that job day after day with our heads bowed and full of complaints. We’re the ones still buying those low quality and overpriced products anyways. We’re the ones paying for their Mercedeses and BMWs and gargantuan mansions.

It’s about us. All of us.

And all that we do is to point fingers.

This is why the world feels so fucked up today, because we’re gracefully accepting all the shit that’s being thrown at us without doing anything to change it.

Our acceptance translates into power for the top tier. But they wouldn’t have that power if we wouldn’t accept their ways. It’s that simple. It’s not them who’s guilty, it’s us.

We can’t do anything about it. It’s in our fate…

Trading places

Let’s make a little thought exercise. Let’s imagine all the politicians and CEO’s and billionaires in the world trading places with all those unhappy employees of earlier. Do you think that the world would be any different? Do you think that replacing the leaders would change anything for the good?

With a few exceptions here and there – which by the way, happen even today, we would do the same things, maybe even worse. We would love our luxury cars and ostentatious mansions and we would pay low wages because other people would accept them. The world would not be any different. And that’s because the leaders don’t matter. It’s all about the people they lead. Us. All of us. And we’re not any different.

Replacing the leaders with anyone of us won’t make any difference.

The problem here lies not in the fact that the leaders despise the people but in the fact that people despise themselves in the first place. And when people despise themselves, the leaders take advantage of that.

Because it’s profitable.

Because we accept it.

Take your chances

Take the courage and quit your job if that is what you need to be doing. Quit making them big bucks for hours and hours on end every day while you barely make ends meet. Quit buying those overpriced low quality products you don’t need. Quit using their shitty services. Quit buying the crap they’re advertising.

It may be frightening at first but it’s not the end of the world. There are alternatives. Open your eyes and your mind. Get out of your comfort zone and look for them.

Outsourcing companies paying other people less because they are willing to accept that? To accept doing the nasty work for less money? Thanks, but no thanks.

Shiny new cars that break after only one year of use, making you pay thousands and thousands of dollars for repairs? Why not stick with your good old car? The one from the times when cars were made to last. The one that still runs fine even today.

Want less junk in the world? Stop buying it. It’s that simple. After all, it only comes down to offer and demand. Want clean waters and tidy streets and less pollution? Stop throwing your garbage in the middle of the street like the world was your trash bin.

It’s that simple.

But it has to start with us.

And that makes everything a lot more complicated.

Pointing fingers in the wrong direction

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

Change doesn’t happen with the others. Change happens with us. With me. With you. With each of us. If no one wants to be the first to change, there won’t be any change happening anytime soon.

We keep pointing fingers to others, for others to change. But change doesn’t happen like that and it doesn’t start from the tip of our forefinger towards the others.

Change happens in front of the mirror, from the tip of our forefinger towards ourselves.

Will we ever understand that?

That it’s about us. And not just me or you or that friend of your friend of your friend. It’s us, all of us. The majority.

That if the majority can be bothered to think for themselves. I have my doubts on this one, but maybe there’s hope left.

Hope…

Sure, this is utopian thinking.

It ain’t going to happen. It’s just me. And you. And a few more. Alone. Nobody would care. We would be replaced by others coming from behind, willing to accept the same shit as before, ready to put up with a miserable life because they don’t know better is possible.

This is me – and you – dreaming with open eyes.

If all that were to happen, there would be nothing left to point our fingers at. We would be responsible for our own lives and everything would be as good as we make it. But we don’t want that, do we? This scenario scares the shit out of us. We need our bubble. We need our old habit. We need to keep pointing fingers. It’s easy. It’s comfortable. It gives us a feeling of rightfulness. It’s the very thing that makes us human after all. Right? Right?

Now let’s get back to work, shall we?

We deserve it.

Like the mammoths who believed that we could do no harm to them, we deserve it.

We’re probably going to follow them soon anyway. Wherever they may be right now.

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