When we hear that a company donates a portion of their profits to charity we feel impressed, gratified, and perhaps, altruistic to a degree. And it makes sense – we are helping someone less fortunate. Who are we helping? It doesn’t matter, does it? What matters is the good deed. Right?
But what if we use some philosophic technology, and examine the “system” of big charity that has grown to be a nearly half trillion-dollar industry in our great nation?
As a nation, the citizens of the United States donate roughly $450 Billion a year to charities. That is $4,500 per US Household, in addition to the government social programs. This figure includes religious donations, which are the largest category of donations at about 30% of all donations. But that “round up” at my retailer is going to kids with cancer, not a church, right? Maybe.
Using the alien perspective and going back to 1980, when the population was roughly 230,000,000, we see charitable giving at about $200 Billion. So now at about 330,000,000 population, we have a 50% increase in population and a 100% increase in charitable giving. Consider this with a stagnant median household income, debilitating healthcare and college costs, and we are essentially serving a greater number of people in need.
But is it working? The Coalition for the Homeless reported that in 1980, according to the NYC Department of Homeless Services, the number of occupants in homeless shelters each night was about 20,000 in 1980 and by 2016 had grown to almost 63,000. So, we see more money going to charity and triple the homeless, at least in our largest city … and many would argue homelessness is a persistent and consistent problem from city to city.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse shows data from 1999 of under 10,000 deaths by overdose compared to 70,000 in 2017, a 450% increase. These are some of our results while charity pours into our institutions whose missions are to feed the hungry and heal the sick.
So, can we say, at the very least, the system could use improvement?
The philosophic system of The Citizen Body, OptEvo, has 7 Obstacles to True Center – that optimal balance of homeostasis for the citizen body, a state in which, every individual has their work rewarded enough to meet basic living needs, and power is naturally distributed in proportion to work performed and production for the whole. The 2nd Obstacle is convenience. Convenience has a cost. It is low energy and time expenditure for us, but the return on investment (ROI) in spiritual and societal terms is low, perhaps even negative; a liability as it were. Because if conveniently donating to charities were effective, we would see less homeless, less drug overdoses, incarcerations and suicides, right? All of the incidents of the preceding are up significantly and uncannily beginning right around 1980. We see a similar lack of return in the convenience of shopping big – local, small businesses are harmed.
It’s important to note that we are not saying all charities are bad or ineffective, but we are saying that the system needs improvement, and a flaw in the system is the self-perpetuation of the problems upon which you grow your enterprise and career. Anti-poverty executive directors get rewarded for growing their enterprises, not for ELIMINATING poverty.
The OptEvo Philosophic System and The Citizen Body (TCB) were founded in large part due to the example of Angela Curry, our Inspirational Collaborator. Through her childhood in the housing projects of Philadelphia, to her career in the US Air Force she consistently gave time and energy, and later, money, directly to her neighbors and people she knew personally. At present she has helped several homeless individuals independently, including one who went on graduate from culinary school and move into his own apartment. She also helped dozens in other ways throughout her life, including myself, with the launch of The Citizen Body. Angela loves small, and gives small, and doesn’t do it the convenient way. She has no career to maintain in doing so … if she runs out of people to help, she is glad, not out of work.
Then we test this with our Principle of Iteration – what if everyone did this? What if all of us help those closest to us with the resources we had available to us? How would it affect our community and the world?
The concept of TCB is an analogy to the human body and how trillions of cells maintain an inter-cooperative state of homeostasis and health without external control. Each cell does its work to contribute to the whole. There is a process called “cell adhesion” in which cells bind together to benefit each other and strengthen communication and functions.
We are like these cells, who are in a position to help most immediately those around us. This is the process we are taking inspiration from in the human body and applying to the citizen body. We see it working fantastically in Angela Curry, and we are in the business of providing education, resources and assistance in helping us help ourselves. The powerful part is, this concept works in many arenas – shop small, vote small, news small and art small. And this is why we founded TCB. We can use our power – our money, our votes, our attention and our admiration, more effectively. And if we do it en masse, as the citizen body, we minimize polarization, maximize unity, and diffuse power more uniformly among 330,000,000, rather than create a large gap between a ruling class of egregiously disproportionate wealth and power, and an underclass of working poor. There is no such analog to “class” in the human body, this is a flawed creation of evolving human beings who are discovering how to achieve homeostasis as one body, the citizen body, at True Center. So, the next time we see a convenient and impulsive opportunity to donate, perhaps an experiment – forgo, and look for a more personal and local way to use your power to heal the body of us, and experience the difference.