As the COP26 Summit takes place in Scotland where leaders, activists, and civil society members discuss climate change, there is perhaps something else that everyone should take into account which is perhaps far worse than climate change, and that is the zero-sum mentality that has shaped international relations and social interaction through the course of the modern period and now the postmodern period. This zero-sum mentality, where a person’s gain or a country’s gain is seen as a loss for someone else or for some other country, is more of a danger to humankind than climate change and weather patterns, which are largely outside of human control. During the nomadic and agricultural periods of human history, cooperation was the norm and the basic paradigm which shaped human interaction. But the norms and the paradigm shifted in the modern and postmodern periods for worse rather than for the better.
Thus, in addition to physical measures that can be taken to preserve the environment and to keep the earth habitable for future generations such as tamping down on pollution and cutting down carbon emissions, the zero-sum mentality which shapes social reality and thus inflicts more damage on human beings than nature ever could has to change. The zero-sum mentality, and thus our difficult social reality, is largely a byproduct of modernity as mentioned before. As opposed to an abundance mentality, where the world is seen as a place that provides for everyone, the scarcity mentality is what shapes social interaction on both an individual level and an inter-state level, and thus the angst and stress of dealing with other human beings arise.
But this mentality – namely, the zero-sum mentality and the scarcity mentality – is perhaps worse among government and media types than amongst regular people. When a crisis hits, it is the people who respond and take action. Elites in government and the media are largely complacent, and in most cases are the cause for global problems, as evinced by the neocons and the mainstream media who abetted them. It was government and media who conflagrated global wars and a global financial crisis, and are now blaming Trump for everything, when in reality, Trump was a byproduct of their nefarious actions. Some individuals in governments and media are thus the arsonists who want to take credit for putting out the fire. People are seen as pawns by many governments and media figures, rather than human beings with inherent value.
Thus, this zero-sum mentality – which is far worse than climate change in shaping our social reality – is much more prevalent among government and media types than among regular people. In many cases, regular people are willing to lend a helping hand and offer emotional support and friendship to others when called upon, whereas governments and media types foster the problems that affect regular people and play games with people’s emotions and lives. And when government and media types foster global problems, regular people have to react. Therefore, if governments and media types want to help regular people, they should first bring their heads down from the clouds and look at how basic human and social interaction can change for the better.