A Brief History of Saving Lives against U.S. Capitalism: From the Great Depression to Coronavirus

This article felt relevant, particularly after writing the most recent JRWI issue.


Reply →

The Virus Exposes The Dream's Grim Choice

The current global crisis and the historical relentless pursuit of "The Dream" leaves humanity with a grim decision...


I hope each of you is well and safe in these uncertain times.

Keeping the economy closed will continue killing the economy, opening the economy will continue killing people.

Which do we choose?

This is the grim choice the virus is exposing. It is the one humanity is left with after our relentless pursuit of The Dream for such a long, long time.

All but “essential” businesses are shut down today.

(What is deemed essential? Well, that will be up to the government to decide, and another topic in and of itself.)

The shutdown is wreaking havoc on the ability of vast swaths of humanity to earn a living. I’m not talking about thriving here, I’m talking about “earning a living” - being able to simply live on what you earn.

Yet, the bills keep coming. People need money to pay rent and buy food.

So many people were unable to do this before the shutdown. So many more people are unable to do this now.

There’s no social safety net in the United States, the majority of the population holds debt and no savings.

So, the dialogue turns to how long the shutdown should last.

Easing the shutdown and allowing businesses to reopen would allow people to begin “earning a living” again. Yet, it would also increase the number of people who die in this crisis.

So, do we continue letting people die slowly, as their means to provide for themselves continue to dry up? Or do we allow people to go back to “earning a living”, as the number increases of people who die from the virus.

This is the choice humanity faces right now.

In reading Marx: A Very Short Introduction in recent times, I’ve learned that The Dream and capitalism are closely related to each other. I’m starting to wonder if I can use the two references interchangeably.

Pursuing The Dream has embedded capitalism into society’s framework, or maybe capitalism has caused us to pursue The Dream. Regardless, taken together, they’ve created a self-reinforcing cycle.

It’s that cycle that’s left us with this grim choice.

How does this choice get made and who gets to make it?

I imagine there are teams of still-employed and highly-paid consultants working with the government to dehumanize the choice. Numbers and formulas in Powerpoint presentations remove the decision makers from the true human impact of this choice. Thinking about those who will actually make this decision feels somewhat terrifying to me.

And then what?
After the decision gets made and when this is all over, what then?

Do we use this as an opportunity to implement real change in society, to prevent us from heading down the same path again?

Or do we regress back to where we started; the unconscious dream-chasing process that left us with this grim decision in the first place?

I’d like to believe real change will happen. I’m feeling doubtful it will, since the government is already printing money to push us back into dream chasing mode.

I’m struggling to find a clean way to wrap this up. I guess I hope that, by me writing and you reading this, we can think about ways to do things differently, before hopping right back onto the merry-go-round that is chasing The Dream.

But most importantly: Please, stay well, take care of your body and mind, and continue making the right choices for you and those around you.

Take good care, talk to you soon…


P.S. - I’ve started compiling a list of resources I’m using to work through these difficult times. You can find that list at my new Joyful Humans newsletter here.

Photo of the Week

See all my photography on VSCO.

Current Reading List

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

My Seditious Heart by Arundhati Roy

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Marx: A Very Short Introduction by Peter Singer

Current Playlist

Check out my Soundcloud profile for more music.

The Dream Crushes Creativity

Pursuing Our Dreams, Not The Dream


One of The Dream's power sources is crushing creativity. Creativity is one of The Dream's enemies. The Dream thrives on us following The Dream Pushers' messaging. There's no room for creative expression in that following.

Sure, The Dream Pushers may trick us into believing we're being creative. We can customize our prefabricated house, based on a set of predetermined options. We can choose option packages for our car and even choose its color. We can even customize our sneakers. We pay extra for all this, of course.

Yet this isn't the creativity I'm talking about. I'm talking about the creative expression that's necessary for us to exist as complete human beings. It's the type of expression we need to fulfill our humanity.

Instead, we suppress this creative need. We push it away. We see it as an unaffordable luxury. And we're probably too tired or exhausted from chasing The Dream to manifest the creative side of us anyway.

The Dream keeps us trapped in jobs that grind us down. They exhaust us at the micro level. At the macro level, chasing the next badge of Dream success sucks us dry.

Our minds are locked into the chase. We're "too busy" for anything that doesn't involve it. We tell ourselves that time not spent chasing is wasted time.

I'm aware that I'm framing this issue from my own frustration. As a reformed Dream Chaser, I suppressed any and all creative expression for a long, long time. It's a battle I still struggle with to this day.

When I do allow myself time to create, I feel like a completely different human. I feel lighter and looser. I feel happier and unstuck. It's these feelings that elude us when we suppress our creative instincts. In doing so, we rob ourselves of the joy the expression of the instincts can bring to us and those around us.

Then The Dream Pushers step in again. They trick us into believing that consuming The Dream's rewards will bring us this joy. Then we start chasing all over again, around and around in the vortex that sucks us deeper into it, while pushing creativity further out.

Catch you next week,


P.S. - If you haven't noticed, I'm experimenting with new ways to build a stronger community around JRWI. This is taking the form of audio versions of this newsletter and posting discussion topics. My hope is these activities help us establish stronger connection among not only me and you but also you and other readers. If something I try connects with you and you'd like to see more of it, please let me know. Conversely, if something I try annoys you, please let me know that too. It's through your feedback that we'll figure out how to build the JRWI community in a way that inspires, serves and supports each of us in pursuing our dreams, not The Dream.

Photo of the Week

See all my photography on VSCO.

Current Reading List

My Seditious Heart, Arundhati Roy

Dare to Lead, Brene Brown

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton Abrams

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Marx: A Very Short Introduction, by Peter Singer

Current Playlist

Check out my Soundcloud profile for more music.

Loading more posts…