Tag: capitalism

Is Manifesting a Capitalist Act?

capitalism, know, society, thinkpiece January 27, 2021

Part of my anti-capitalist journey involves questioning everything I believe and everything I do.

I routinely ask myself, “is there a genuine wanting behind that thing, going to that place, or forming that relationship? …Or, has our capitalist culture ascribed a value to that person, place, or thing that makes me feel a need to associate myself with it?

As of late, that line of questioning has involved my use of manifestation, (or, my connection to my intuition), a means to create the life I want. Mind you, I have manifested everything I’ve truly wanted in this life, and at a baseline, I feel that that ability is a privilege in itself…

But, does that make manifestation a capitalist act?

First, we need to understand capitalism, which the International Monetary Fund defines as, “an economic system in which private actors own and control property in accord with their interests, and demand and supply freely set prices in markets in a way that can serve the best interests of society.”

“As Adam Smith, the 18th century philosopher and father of modern economics, said: it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” Both parties to a voluntary exchange transaction have their own interest in the outcome, but neither can obtain what he or she wants without addressing what the other wants. It is this rational self-interest that can lead to economic prosperity.” Which, sounds good and well until we consider that the IMF’s definition recognizes that capitalism, by definition, ascribes higher value to profit than it does social good.

Their definition also completely fails to explore the ills of capitalism, including, but not limited to: economic instability, due to “financial markets’ tendency to cause booms and busts; wealth disparity, thanks to “inherited wealth, interest from assets, and [the fact that] wealth grows faster than economic output,” which was explored by Thomas Piketty, an economist, and author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century; environmental damage, due to “overproduction and overconsumption, causing pollution, global warming, acid rain, loss of rare species, and other external costs that damage future generations”; immobilities of the free market, including limitations due to geographical location, a lack of education, and/or access to training in order to perform certain jobs; monopolies, or, “market dominance in an industry, allowing companies to charge higher prices to consumers,” which can lead to consumers being priced out by no fault of their own, other than not being able to afford the only product on the market; monopsony, or “market power in employing factors of production, enabling firms to be more profitable while most workers don’t share from the same level of proceeds as the owners of capital”; and, most importantly, greed, as “the capitalist system can create incentives for managers to pursue profit over decisions which would maximize social welfare.”

From these definitions and considerations, manifestation is 1000% a capitalist act.

But, when we consider if everyone who has the privilege to manifest actually uses that privilege, things start to get really muddy. In conversation with one of my dearest friends about the state of my love life, they said to me: “you’ve been so lucky to find your passion in life and to live your dreams that if you found the love of your life now too, it would just be be too much. It might be greedy to want all of that at once.”

I didn’t pushback immediately because it always takes three to five business days for me to fully process these kinds of conversations, but after some reflection, I let them know that I disagreed with them on this–with every fiber of my being. I also know her well enough to know that she didn’t say those things because she doesn’t believe in me, or my support my desires (quite the contrary, actually), but, because she feels that she cannot have those things concurrently–and she’s not alone in that.

Even in the presence of financial stability, people can operate from a lack mindset (the antithesis of manifestation). This often looks like: pursuing a career in a field that you’re not truly passionate about, but feel sure you can easily get a job in–which is such an illusion given capitalism’s instability; being in a romantic relationship for any reason other than a deep love and wanting for that person; and, especially, maintaining a connection (business, platonic, familial etc.) for the sake of its ROI, instead of a genuine desire to maintain the connection. At different times in my life, I have ascribed to any of those–sometimes all at once, but as I started to break that mold more and more, I found myself connecting with the people and opportunities that actually make me feel good.

This is what I know to be true: the universe is so abundant, and has shown me that when I truly believe I can have whatever I desire, I attain them–as long as I know why I’d like to. As a person who believes in doing as little harm as possible in making my dreams a reality, I have an obligation to constantly question what’s at the root of those dreams. I often ask myself: “why do I want to make a living through storytelling that centers and uplifts marginalized identities? Or, always be provided for by the universe? Or, [redacted]? Or, live on a farm with the loml and our (currently unborn) children?! Only through questioning why do I arrive at the root of my desires, the things that determine is my manifestations are capitalist or not. And, I often take it one step further by asking, “what effect does this manifestation have on my ecosystem? And, on the state of the world, in general?”

Thankfully, unlike a trip to Tulum (especially during a pandemic), a car that emits a ridiculous amount of energy, or purse made of an exotic animal’s skin–possessions and experiences that further destroy our planet, love is not something we (should) consume, so it is always safe to manifest; however, even in our love connections we can ask ourselves, “does the relationship I desire maintain patriarchy or white supremacy?” Perhaps on date five that person told you they ‘don’t see color,’ or ‘wouldn’t want a daughter, because, to them, that comes with a need to monitor and police their romantic connections’; anything than swiftly bidding them goodbye, or setting them straight, and then bidding them goodbye, upholds both of those systems.

Essentially, like anything else, manifestation comes with a lot of questioning–not in the universe’s ability to deliver because it always does, depending on what you focus on–but, of yourself. Only through questioning can we fully appreciate the immense privilege we have in being able to manifest, understand wherein our desire stems from, and, finally, determine if those desires are rooted in capitalism, a system that relies on privilege. Only then can we truly manifest our version of happily ever after.

The Eternal Optimist + The Capitalist

america, life, thinkpiece August 23, 2020

Once upon a time, a Black man lived in America.

Originally from a ‘small island’ in the Caribbean, he was in awe at the wealth of opportunities up for grabs in the new country he made his home.

He found himself in the concrete jungle of New York City, which excited him to no end; the idea of working on Wall Street put more life in him than God ever could, but he settled for medicine. He enrolled in a two-year Physician’s Assistant program at Touro College in New York, and worked as a security guard and taxi driver to put himself through school. He had guns held in his face on more than one occasion, but he never folded.

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Sans sufficient emotional support, he tried to be everything he could be, for himself. He seldom made it to class, but in the end, he got his degree, and immediately got to work, as he always had; Touro College, on the other hand, changed its rules on attendance requirements immediately following his graduation. He worked hard, so much so, it left him with little time to think about anything else in his life, but he always made it to the gym, and on Sundays, to the parkway with his little girl.

He breathed life into his community by seeing anywhere from 40 to 80 patients a day,  six times a week, until recently, when he scaled back his schedule to five days a week. He worries when the government cuts Medicare and Medicaid because he knows it means life or death for some of his patients. He has cared for the ill, trans, and the deserving from Rikers Island, New York, down to Albemarle, North Carolina. He truly cares about people’s wellbeing, whether they’re his patients, or someone he’s just crossing paths with; I had seen him do this throughout my life, but his latest, un-billed diagnosis happened at the gym, pre-COVID, when he urged a man working out next to him to get checked for sleep apnea, which he did, and confirmed for him that he had it. Currently, he weans addicts off of opiates, among other things; all in all, his life revolves around saving lives. Every. Single. Day.

The man I speak of is my dad: the eternal optimist, and the capitalist.

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…And, perhaps, the person I am most similar to–sometimes, to both of our detriment. Fortunately, he was the first person to teach me about mindfulness, the value of energy, and the freedom that can come with detachment. He was the first person to sit down with me, an 8 year old, at the time, and openly contemplate God’s womanhood; in fact, he’s the only man who has ever posed the question to me. He was the first person to teach me about the erasure of ancient African deities and belief systems. He was the first person to encourage me to question ‘what if?’ again and again, and yet, he is unable to believe in anything other than the system that wears him down, keeps his beloved patients sick, and begs his children to sell their souls.

I’m asking him, ‘why?’ very often, pointing to the system’s brutality, its intrinsic racism, and its false promises. But, my father’s opinion won’t budge, and luckily, neither will mine: this system is killing us, and only we can save ourselves. Reform is a bandaid that we can only wear for so long, and even then, we are lacking enough public servants in positions of power to make the kind of reforms that we so desperately need.

The writing is on the wall: capitalism is failing us; only our imaginativeness and resilience can save us. I mean, seriously, if we can ask, ‘what if?’ in regard to nearly everything else in this life, why is it so hard for us to begin to ask ourselves,

“Is Capitalism the Best Option for All?”

Creating Your Universal Balance

business, entrepreneur, lifestyle, mindfulness, purpose, society, thinkpiece, youtube August 19, 2019

Ahhh, balance…the thing we yearn for more and more as the years pass. But how do we create this elusive thing?

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The best advice I received lately was from the consummate badass herself: Mona Zak, a successful businesswoman constantly inspiring others with her 7 C’s to Ultimate Transformation, how she runs her real estate brokerage, or how she started her fitness line, just because.

…Monday’s are made for big starts, big transformations and taking big chances, after all. And there’s no one better to help you de-program than Zak.