“Here’s my take on it. Equality does not exist – because the universe has no need for it. The only thing that we all have in equal measure and of equal value is our state of aliveness. That aliveness brings a unique opening for growth as spirit descends temporarily into matter. On this expedition, the depth and quality of our being, through growth and purity of presence, is the only measure of value that is worth a damn. That is our equal opportunity. What we do with it is up to us. We generate our own value and it cannot be known by another. Everyone is at a different level of inner attainment and becoming. The animal, the soul, and the divine seek union in their own time, in their own way.”
– Neil Kramer, British philosopher and esotericist from his essay, ‘Cult of the God Men’
Many within the entertainment industry have been crying foul due to perceived “inequalities” within show business. Towards the end of last year we had female celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Patricia Arquette voicing complaints about the supposed income disparity between male and female actors. Now more recently we have the whole #OscarsSoWhite business, with many being upset over the lack of African-Americans receiving nominations at the Academy Awards for the second year in a row. In both cases, media outlets and political leaders took hold of the stories and promoted the “problem of inequality” to the general public, who tend to be easily swayed by the thoughts and opinions of their favorite celebrities.
So what of the inequalities of Hollywood? While those of us in the faceless general populace who work for an hourly wage may balk at the notion of Hollywood celebrities complaining about not getting enough recognition or not getting paid enough, we should nevertheless see if there is indeed a valid argument here- especially since this debate is being foisted on the public by our favorite celebrities and causing further division among us along the lines of race and gender.
First let’s take the complaints of Jennifer Lawrence, which sparked the most recent round of the male-female income inequality debate. In an interview, Lawrence complained about getting paid less for her role in the film, “American Hustle” than did her male co-stars. The basic complaint here is that there was not “equal pay for equal work”. Sounds legitimate, right? However, the way pay for actors works generally has to do with things like proven box-office drawing power, not “hours on the clock”. Jennifer Lawrence is undeniably hot right now, and has become an undeniable box office draw for a few years now, owing much to the recent success of the Hunger Games franchise.
But “American Hustle” was produced when Lawrence (as well as co-star Amy Adams) was still relatively new in the public eye. In contrast, Lawrence’s male co-stars Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper were considerably more tenured as well as more established as box-office draws at the time, and were compensated accordingly. Bradley Cooper was the hot “new” male lead in Hollywood and Christian Bale, of course, was the tenured star of Christopher Nolan’s phenomenally successful “Batman” film franchise. Given this information, it is more than likely that the reason Jennifer Lawrence didn’t get paid as much as Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper is because she was not a fully established box-office draw, not because she was a woman.
Ironically, another one of the actresses leading the charge of raising awareness of income inequality for female actresses is Patricia Arquette, who has not really been what you would consider a “box-office draw” for the majority of her acting career. But the biggest irony of all is that while Jennifer Lawrence is chanting for “equal pay” at the Oscars, Forbes reported back in August that Lawrence is the “world’s highest paid actress“. So does that also mean she wants to make the same as all the other actresses now?
But the real issue here is that the spotlight on this Hollywood “drama” reignited a larger discussion around wage disparities between men and women in the general populace, stating that men statistically earn more in wages than women. This is an issue that has been around since women have been in the labor force, and at first glance one may think there is some “injustice” going on here. Unfortunately, the data around this issue is notoriously selective and skewed. Certain determining factors are more often than not omitted. One of these omitted factors has to do with certain types of jobs that men are doing that women typically are not. These are jobs with considerable occupational hazards such as working on oil rigs, fishing vessels, waste disposal facilities, construction and the like. These are high-paying jobs due in large part to the danger involved. These are also jobs that women don’t naturally tend to gravitate towards (of course there are always exception, but we’re talking about majority averages).
So when the wages from these male-dominated high-risk jobs are compared to the sorts of fields women more naturally tend to gravitate towards, the result will be the appearance of a wage discrepancy across the board, when that isn’t necessarily the case. The truth is that in the day to day world of the average American worker, the wage discrepancies between men and women are typically related to tenure and position, not gender. I have a female supervisor. She gets paid more than me. There are many female supervisors in my company as I work in care giving, which has always been a female-dominant profession as it plays to feminine strengths (again, always exceptions). I also have a female co-worker. She gets paid less than me as she has considerably less time in the company than I do, not because she’s a woman. That’s how it typically tends to work in the real world of the modern labor force.
In the corporate world, executive positions requiring long hours and a great deal of time away from home tend to be more appealing to and suited for men than women (of course, again, there are always exceptions). The modern corporation as an entity is in and of itself primarily “masculine” in its basic form and function of ever-continuing expansion of its market and profits (similar to the traveling man who sets up “franchises” with different women in different towns). Everyone knows that corporate CEOs tend to make a ridiculously large amount of money, which is another issue outside of this one. Factor this in with the fact that the majority of corporate CEOs naturally tend to be men, and again, it appears that there is an “income inequality” where there is not.
Now are there perhaps some companies that intentionally don’t promote women and pay them less based solely on gender, and not because they cannot perform the job functions to the same capability of a man? Perhaps these places exist, just as nepotism still exists in some work places, but by and large with current labor and discrimination laws, the potentiality of law suits, and the general tide of public opinion, most places of business are terrified of being associated with anything that remotely smells like “discrimination”. Bad public image is bad business. At the end of the day, the story of gender-related income disparity in the U.S. is little more than an ugly fairy tale.
However, things like facts aren’t really all that important when you’re dealing with identity politics, which is about playing to emotional reasoning, dividing the general public along the lines of race, gender, and ethnicity through envy, resentment and promotion of a victim mentality. In this case, the objective is to pit women against men- white men in particular. This manufactured “problem” has garnered the attention of President Obama who recently stated that “Women are not getting the fair shot that we believe every single American deserves…”
And as the public/media “reaction” to this “problem” demands a “solution” (i.e. Hegelian dialectic), the Obama Administration has taken executive action which now requires companies to report to the federal government what they pay employees by race, gender and ethnicity. This would mandate that companies with 100 employees or more include salary information on a form they already submit annually that reports employees’ sex, age and job groups. The result is more unnecessary government data collection and control and more administrative work for many already over burdened employers, who will no doubt face fines and penalties for insufficient compliance.
So now that we have addressed the issue of gender inequality, what about race inequality? Are the claims of Will Smith, Al Sharpton and Chris Rock about the Oscars being “racist” ” (just in time for Black History Month) legitimate? Is there a racist conspiracy against Black actors in Hollywood? Of course if we are going to talk about race and Hollywood, it should probably be noted that the majority of top executives in the Hollywood power structure are Jewish and that Jews don’t identify as “White” and that there is very real genetic evidence for this claim. A funny little anecdote about Jewish influence in Hollywood came about at this year’s Oscars, when every attendee at the ceremony was given a 10-day first-class trip to Israel valued at $55,000.
Perhaps the reason it was all White actors nominated at the Academy Awards was because the White actors, who are the majority in Hollywood anyhow, turned out better performances in better films than did Will Smith in the unfortunately titled film “Concussion” or the other minority of African-American actors these past couple years. Perhaps it’s because the majority-Jewish executives in Hollywood don’t really like Black people. Or perhaps it was because this is all for show- actors being actors and playing a role for the general public to buy into. You can make anything seem like a problem if you yell loud enough.
But regardless of whether or not this is all B.S., it’s important we deconstruct this narrative anyhow. When was the last time you saw a White or Asian nominee at the BET Awards? Probably never. When was the last time you saw a White or Asian person in JET Magazine? Probably never. Would this not be considered racial inequality by these metrics? It appears to be a double-standard approach of “we need to have our own thing that you all can’t be a part of, but we also be guaranteed a part in your thing, and if you guys try to have your own thing without us- you’re racist.” This is the mindset of perpetual victimhood and the culture of resentment.
The conversation around racial inequality is inevitably contradictory. Let’s look at the NBA, for example. If I was to complain of a lack of representation of Asians in the ranks of the NBA, I would probably get laughed at. Men of African genetics dominate the NBA because men of African genetics are better adapted to excel in the game of basketball. Black men on average tend to be taller, faster, etc. There is also a certain cultural component to it as well. Are there exceptions? Of course, but we are dealing in generalities that can most certainly be made and are in large part, general knowledge. There seems to be no real issue for people in dealing with the notion of inequality when it comes to performance in sports and athletic competition. Most people on some level accept that various races and ethnic groups will tend to gravitate towards and excel at certain forms of physical competition while not doing so well in others, and not be offended by that.
But now, when we take this concept of inequality outside the realm of purely physical competition, now all of a sudden everyone becomes incredibly sensitive and uncomfortable. When we go from looking at basketball scores and begin looking at IQ scores, and we see White students statistically scoring higher than Blacks and Latinos on average, and then Asians scoring higher than everyone (notice no one really includes Asians in the “race debate”), there are a multitude of justifications and outright excuses made as to why this is. People blame “White privilege”, lack of economic “opportunity”, the education system, etc. Nobody wants to believe that on average, (again there are ALWAYS exceptions and every statistic has a “bell curve”) that a majority of African-Americans and Latinos have a harder time thinking and processing information in the same manner that Whites and Asians do. Does this mean that African-Americans and Latinos are “inferior” to Whites and Asians? No. It just means that on average they tend to process information about the world around them in a different manner. This means that racial characteristics may not just be physical, but also mental and psychological. It means that perhaps the educational model we have is not “universal” after all, and that such a thing may not exist no matter how bad we want it to.
What is being argued for in Hollywood is reflected in the aspirations and desires of many in the Millennial generation (as well as their college professors): a society where there is no individual reward based on merit and work, only an across the board “fairness”. No striving to be the best at something, because that will make someone else feel bad and insecure about their own shortcomings and weaknesses. It is a world that no longer gives elaborate trophies to “champions” who put the most forth the most effort, but rather hands out miniature “participant” trophies to everyone that say “everyone’s a winner”. These are our future leaders that are openly in favor of restricting free speech so that no one’s feelings get hurt and hiding in “Safe Spaces” when someone says something that makes them uncomfortable. We should all be quite concerned with this.
Something else to consider here as I eluded to earlier, is that Hollywood and celebrities are used to sell ideas, beliefs and behaviors to the general public, and have been used in such a manner for the better part of a century. In truth, we really have no way of knowing if the Jennifer Lawrence or the Will Smith/Chris Rock “episodes” aren’t scripted in some way to stoke the feelings of inequality and division among various sectors of the public. These are actors after all, and when you have entertainment companies owning news media and all of the major T.V. networks, who’s to say any of this is any more than a stage production like everything else out of Hollywood? We are in the age of “reality television” after all.
Personally, I don’t care about Hollywood gossip and I have a difficult time feeling sorry for celebrities. But what I do care about is that celebrities have become the cultural leaders for the general population, and the narratives they engage in shape public beliefs and perceptions- often in quite detrimental ways, which in turn shapes society and culture in often detrimental and unproductive ways. This constant focus on the “inequality” of men vs. women and black vs. white is a tried-and-true tactic of “divide and rule”; intentionally stirring up resentments to get a population to fight amongst itself, keeping the people from uniting under common interests and aspirations. It keeps us from building a society where we strive for greatness, but rather we spend our energy making sure no one can be better than us or have more than us. A society where special privileges are demanded for those who see themselves as victims. How is calling for special rights and privileges for one group of people reminiscent of Martin Luther King’s “dream” of people being judged “not by the color of their skin, but on the content of their character”? This is a weak and disempowered world we are building for ourselves.
This modern notion of equality is held up as a Utopian ideal, but what does it really mean? In math terms, when something is “equal”, it essentially means it is the same. For all humans to be equal, all humans must be exactly the same. Is there any way anyone can possibly believe that all humans are exactly the same in every manner, as a state of true equality would necessitate? On a functional level, if you believe that any one person or a group of persons can on any day be stronger, smarter, faster, funnier, or more creative than another, then you don’t really believe in equality. If you believe anyone can “earn” anything based on work or merit or the like, then you don’t really believe in equality.
Unlike biologically determinable things like gender and race, this modern notion of “equality” is a social construct in the truest sense. This quality of inherent “sameness” does not exist in nature- “no two snowflakes are alike”. There are always going to be those who have “more” of some trait, capability or resource than another. The attempt to build a society based on this notion is a kin to building a castle on sand. I find it funny that so often the words “diversity” and “equality” are used in conjunction with one another when the two concepts are not really compatible, as to be diverse, means to have variation, and to be equal is to be without variation.
In our efforts for equality amongst genders, races, ethnicities, sexual preferences, etc., we are doing little more than attempting to build structures that hide our own insecurities about how we see ourselves next to others. We are either pointing our finger in accusatory resentment towards our alleged oppressors, stating that it is their fault that we feel weak and inadequate in some way; or we are allowing ourselves to feel guilty for being smart, or strong, or beautiful, or talented, and allowing that guilt to trick us into hiding and suppressing these things so we don’t shine too much and make someone else feel bad. Why would anyone want that? Sadly, what is being done in promoting this “equality” is not attempt to elevate everyone to excel and rise to his or her full potential, but rather bring everyone down to the level of the lowest common denominator. This is evidenced by the slow degeneration of both academia and culture. This is what is known as “the race to the bottom”.
Equality as it is understood in modern socio-political jargon is a belief system and nothing more. An attempt to build a society based on this sort of equality is to once again attempt to stand in opposition to the Laws of Nature and Creation. How many times are we going to do this before we realize this doesn’t really help us in the long run. I particularly encourage folks with spiritual leanings in the esoteric and mystic traditions to contemplate and meditate on this concept of equality, particularly if you believe in and understand the reality of Karma and the Principle of Cause and Effect (i.e. the Law of Attraction). How is it that one can hold an understanding of the truth of Karma and Cause and Effect; which essentially states that there is a Divine Justice at work in reality and that everyone “reaps what they sow”; while simultaneously holding onto the belief that everyone is “equal” and therefore entitled to the same life and opportunities as everyone else? These two concepts are incompatible with one-another and cannot co-exist as “truths”. Either we reap what we sow, or we are entitled to the same things as everyone else. We can’t have it both ways. One statement is true and the other is false. Which is it?
We are all equal in the eyes of God and our bond to the Laws of Nature and Creation. After that however, any of these sort of “humanist” notions of equal intellect or equal creative potential, or equal anything else on the level of individuals or collective groups is purely an illusion. This “equality” we are sold is no more than a promotion of “sameness” to essentially get us to buy into the notion that humans are interchangeable and replaceable like nameless, faceless automatons. Contrary the sort of uplifting and “feel good” façade, equality is in fact a way of saying there is nothing special or remarkable about anyone- WE ARE ALL THE SAME. This is a perfect belief system for a global corporate government.
On the ultimate, base level of the Divine Self that makes up the core of every human being, we do have a sort of basic “equality” of being made of the same “stuff”. However, we are individuated expressions of this Divine “Stuff” as it manifests through Heaven and Earth. It is this process of the ONE God incarnating and becoming many different perspectives and personalities that negates equality. Equality exists at the Source, not in the avenues of Creation.
While we all have groups and “tribes” that we are a part of and have physical as well as spiritual responsibilities and ties to, we are still ultimately here to bring our own individual selves into a place of Internal Sovereignty or “Mastery”. We cannot move towards Mastery if we reside in a place of helplessness and maintain some form of victim mentality. Even when we are aware that there are individuals and groups that maintain systems of control to keep us at a low level of conscious awareness, it is we who can choose to complain about oppression or we can make the choice to take back our power and “throw off” the chains made for us. We choose in our own minds whether we will be masters of our destiny or victims of our circumstance. We choose if we are going to conduct ourselves from a place of empowerment or from a place of weakness. Which is it for you?
Those who have ears to hear should hear. Namaste and God Bless.