I watched In time recently – a film set in the dystopian future – where currency is time. I can’t say I enjoyed the film very much but the concept was an interesting one. The film touched on many themes – capitalism, greed, the idea of what living truly means. Now I can’t say that I understand capitalism well enough to give a coherent criticism and I do work in the corporate world so that would be somewhat hypocritical of me.
But one thing idea that did linger in my mind is the morality of killing a few to save the many. Immediately I am sure we would all say no, that is wrong. All lives matter.
Yet this is the reality of our peaceful survival. The only way we know how to continue being happy, continue pretending our lives are important. Believing in meritocracy.
We argue against refugees entering the borders that were drawn by men many years ago – even as we watch them drown and decide it was their fault anyway. We continue to buy clothes and eat food even though we know the people sourcing them are dying. But it’s ok because we can’t afford anything else on our salaries – we can’t afford to be conscious. We continue to drive our cars and chuck away resources when we know it is killing our world. We know we will displace and kill thousands upon thousands of people in the global south. The wretched of the earth. But what other solution is there? We let people vote to kill so we can save ourselves from the wars that might come here, and harm our children. They started it – not them, but the people who happen to be where they happen to be.
It is easy to ignore the other side as we wake up every morning in our beds, under the warmth of our duvet. Fill our stomach with fuel and travel into work. We work darn hard for our money. Darn hard. We type and think and problem solve. And then we get paid so we can buy the things we need and the other things. We deserve those other things. And we sleep again, surrounded by the beautiful things we bought ourselves. Happy with our livelihood.
We are the many, saved by the sacrifices of the few. Except, it seems to me like we are the few, willing to continue to sacrifice the many.
“The basic confrontation which seemed to be colonialism versus anti-colonialism, indeed capitalism versus socialism, is already losing its importance. What matters today, the issue which blocks the horizon, is the need for a redistribution of wealth. Humanity will have to address this question, no matter how devastating the consequences may be.”
― Frantz Fanon,