Opinion (Bruce E. Levine, a clinical psychologist, author of Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite): “A preoccupation with money is nothing new in our culture, but have Americans become even more ‘money-centric,’ and does this deaden us, making us incapable of resisting injustices?
“A money-centric society is one in which money is at the center of virtually all thoughts, decisions and activities. …Such a society coerces even the non-greedy to focus on money at the expense of damn near everything else in order to survive.
“Both greed and fear make one more money-centric, and in recent years, it has become more socially acceptable to be greedy and increasingly commonplace to be financially insecure.
“Nowadays, nearly everybody, even teachers and postal workers, lacks job security. Today, I see money worries, more than anything else, triggering panic attacks, depression, and alcohol abuse. Money discussions have even come to dominate family counseling sessions, where high school students increasingly talk about their fear of becoming financial losers, and parents fear their children will ruin their lives by accumulating student-loan debt while pursuing fields where there are few decent-paying jobs.
“As late as 1936, a sitting president of the United States running for reelection knew that that it was quite popular to blast the greedy, selfish elite: ‘We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.’
“That was Franklin D. Roosevelt on Oct. 31, 1936. Contrast FDR’s speech with President Barack Obama’s response in an interview excerpted by Bloomberg Businessweek and the Wall Street Journal in February 2010: ‘First of all, I know both those guys. They’re very savvy businessmen. And I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That’s part of the free market system….’
“So, it should surprise no one that the Rolling Stones do corporate gigs, including one a decade ago in which they took in $2 million to entertain Pepsi bottlers in Hawaii.
“Equally widespread and probably even more responsible for dissipating rebellious energy is when songs of perceived rebellious artists are used as background music in commercials used to propagandize listeners into associating their rebellious urges with consumer products.
“Spirituality, music, theater, cinema, and other arts can be revolutionary forces, but the gross commercialization of these has deadened their capacity to energize rebellion. So now damn near everything—not just organized religion—has become an ‘opiate of the masses.'”
My Comment: Egoism directs our entire life, and there is nothing but personal gain behind our actions, even the most “unselfish” ones. We can rise above our nature into the property of bestowal only under the influence of the force of the “Light.”