Subject: Letter to the Editor

Date: Sunday, March 25 2001


The following letter was sent to the Tulsa World, the NY Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times and USA Today on 3/25/01.


Shannon Thompson


To the Editor:


We wonder why children are killing each other at school, why drug abuse, violence and poverty persist. Is this a failing on the pan of the individual or is our social organization flawed? Are the basic tenets of our society aggravating and inciting the worst impulses in us?


We say that the economic rules that we operate under are 'fair' to all that participate, yet human rules have nothing to do with fairness. They are mechanisms whereby one is selected to win over another based on the differences between them. Just as the goal in basketball selects the taller player to win and the racing of horses selects the lighter rider to win, so too, do our economic rules select some to win and some to lose. Even more disturbing is that the very wealthy in society are selecting themselves to win in what is, essentially, a rigged competition.


Western culture has, through its economic, political and religious beliefs, established countless rules dividing winners from losers based on sex, race, age, appearance, intellect, heredity, affiliation and wealth itself. Yet we repeatedly fail to consider these inherently divisive and conflict-ridden mechanisms as the cause for the misery and suffering that we experience. We have become addicts of our own social devices and an addict never questions how the good stuff is gotten.


Human society can never adequately address the problems it faces without questioning the fundamental tenets that it is based upon. If we believe that these principles are 'correct' and without fault then the burden lies upon the individual to adapt to the system rather than changing the system to accommodate the individual. The individual is at fault, not the system, so the individual must be educated, contained and corrected. Instead of society serving humanity - humanity serves society.


It is time for us to consider that the basic mechanisms of society that our ancestors created thousands of years ago are the cause of the problems we experience. They may have appeared to be solutions at the dawn of civilization but our immaturity at that time must have surely distorted our thinking and prevented us from developing wise and responsible social understandings.


Humanity does not need more rules to 'solve' its problems. We need to consider what caused us to create rules in the first place.



Shannon Thompson


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