"We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market."
- Pope Francis
Just think about that for a second.
The Pope is blasting the idolatry of money like it's the new golden calf and criticizing the tyranny of capitalism - putting in to sharp words concepts we've heard from every level.
When you put money first, you put people second, which is what we have done. There is more focus placed on the strength of "the economy" and more faith placed in those who generate wealth for themselves than there is in that nebulous concept of the people the system is meant to serve in both sickness and health, in good times and bad.
Individuals are being told they need to be more aggressive, more sales-oriented, more driven and work longer hours to make more money. Only by dedicating their entire existence to the pursuit of wealth and the propping up of the economy can they be deemed successful.
Those who can't are discriminated against, no matter what barriers of geography or caste, body or mind may impede them. Those who are competitors are equally discriminated against. Those who seem to play by different rules are deemed threats to the established order.
It's survival of the fittest, except wealth has become the new metric for fitness.
Except far too many of those wealthy, successful people are being exposed as charlatans, rule-breakers who made money by bucking the system at the expense of others.
There should be no surprise in this. Survival of the fittest isn't about pushing everyone to excel; it's about eliminating the weak so only the strongest pass on their genes. Only we aren't eliminating the weak, are we? Everything from eyeglasses to antibiotics gives us unnatural advantage. Across the board, acceptance of inherited wealth as a legitimate benchmark for success is being being rejected, just as the divine right of kings was before it.
There are those who stand against public services and public healthcare and believe in tough justice measures. These are forces looking to identify and target "the other" as threats to stability. Rob Ford is defiantly one of these, despite his come-to-Jesus moment. He, like many angry people out there, just wants undesirables to disappear.
Until these folk get called out sinners themselves, that is - then they beg for forgiveness or reject justice entirely.
Either we all deserve empathy or we don't. Each person for themselves has been demonstrated not to work - not in a social context. We can live together, or die alone.
We may be strangers to each other - we come from different places, different cultures and different languages, we see the world through different lenses. But we're all here now, not cast upon separate islands but standing on common ground.
And to an increasing degree we're all feeling like outcasts in our own land.
At all levels, we recognize the burning platform closing in around us.
Yet, everyone is talking about how the system is broken like it's someone else's problem, like someone else is supposed to come and fix it for us. The implication in this is that we don't need to change what we're doing; after all, we're only human. There's someone inhuman who is at fault for our troubles - they just need to be identified and punished and what's ours needs to be restored. Which brings us back to discrimination.
What does this remind me of?
It's been six days and we're all still waiting. Waiting for someone to come. But what if they don't? We have to stop waiting. We need to start figuring things out.
We're not lost; we've simply forgotten to look around. The world hasn't closed off to us, it's been laid bare in increasing detail. What we seek will not come down from on high; it will emerge from within.