Part of the series Much of Our Lives is Built on Bad Assumptions.
We buy groceries with money. We pay rent with money. We do business in money. We have all generally accepted the common currency of our land to use as an exchange for goods and services.
As technology proliferates into all the nooks and crannies of our lives and souls, we are staring at a reality where more and more of our day-to-day human interactions are being monetized and placed on the balance sheet of monetary exchange.
One of the later Black Mirror episodes depicted the dystopian reality where each ordinary daily human interaction was rated by the parties involved on how much they felt they achieved a satisfactory result. Similar to the fears people have of China’s Social Credit Score, these satisfaction ratings were tied into people’s ability to land a job or buy an apartment.
Once we have reframed our definition of life’s value to one of personal enjoyment or satisfaction, we enter a slippery slope to comparing the relative value of various human experiences. Money is many things, but above all, it rates perceived value.
The ego mind wants everything on its own terms. In their efforts to create more sales and open more markets, marketing practices increasingly exploit and enforce this view since it is good for sales. The result is that we enter a dark realm where this infant tyrant of wanting our own way is placed in charge of the subtle energies of life itself.
With this bratty mind in charge, we no longer learn life lessons that involve acceptance and discovery, since the only lesson to learn is to try to manipulate our experience so we experience only comfort and good things. Bad things are suppressed, or worse, are projected onto the other, fueling hatred, war and all manor of human atrocity. Instead of wisening with age, we turn disappointed and bitter, desperately clinging to the shallow outlook of an adolescent as the youthful vigor leaves our body.
With the steady creep of technology into our inner and secret realms, the very real possibility arises that someone will have the bright idea that subtle human experience should be exploited for personal gain.
The more we appreciate equally the value of all human experience—to view every experience as the miraculous display that it is, including the ups and downs—the less we fall prey to picking and choosing some experiences over others.
We can start by quieting our minds and opening ourselves to the preciousness of each emotion. This small act is a big step in cultivating our inner wisdom.
Some buddhists know this as the wisdom of equality. To see the world this way is to live in an enchanted world, leaving behind the poverty of the sales mentality altogether.