Just read that the average Hollywood movie costs approximately 75 million dollars to make. Some like Titanic have made as much as 1.3 billion dollars or the Star Wars Phantom Menace film that grossed 930 million. It occurred to me how much that money could help our species in other ways besides just sitting in the banks of super rich movie studios of Hollywood. Even if they gave say a third of the money away that they made, say three hundred million, it could take a huge chunk out of the homeless situation here in the States or really help with the AIDS crisis in Africa or so many other dire needs we have as a people.
I spent most of the day thinking about this, really moved at the thought of shifting us in the direction of helping humanity get to a new level of civilization. It is always beyond me when I encounter individuals who make ungodly amounts of money and who don’t give a large portion of it away to causes that will help the greater good of humanity. I am certainly not a socialist and would never propose that anything like this should be government mandated. And I’m the last person who would sacrifice my own personal comfort and the luxuries of life for anything; regrettably but still resolutely this is just the way I am, but I do believe that once we get to a certain level, say where many film stars and sports figures are, where you’re making twenty million a film or ten million a year, then yea, we should really start giving in a big way, say you get to the point where you’ve got ten to twenty million in the bank, start giving away a few million.
So these are the thoughts that occupied most of my day. And then I get this little post card about how for 26 dollars a month we can sponsor a child in an impoverished country. So I called up and started talking to the lady about it. It turns out that it’s true. You get updates about your child and their picture and you really become their sponsor. I’m on the phone with this lady out in Washington state and I’m listening to her talk about how far that 26 dollars can go and I tell her that I feel like crying because last night I spent 40 dollars on my dinner and I feel like such a schmuck. And she says to me, “listen, you are having the same reaction a lot of people do when they first start to discover this. Don’t worry about it,” she tells me, “the important thing is that now you are going to do something about it.” And I’m thinking of the irony of it, me in my Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited which is costing me almost six-hundred dollars a month (that’s a lot of children you can feed) driving down the highway in Miami, Florida talking on my cell phone to this lady sitting in a little booth in Washington State trying to help me feel better about not giving enough. You could taste the irony. It was right out of a Hollywood movie.
So it gave me hope. There is plenty to be done to rise up the whole of our species to a new level, a greater good for the whole of humanity level that we have never achieved as of yet. Half the reason why the rich are so reluctant to give is because they are so afraid of being like the poor. I understand this fear having grown up poor. But if the top half of us started giving to the bottom half we would meet somewhere in the middle and there wouldn’t be so much poverty to be frightened of. We would all be much happier and healthier.
I mentioned this to a friend of mine tonight at dinner and she said that I was crazy. That the world doesn’t want to help each other. That people are basically selfish and the world is getting worse. I was intrigued by her pessimism and cynicism and how it has blinded her from seeing all the positive change going on in the world today. People like Oprah Winfrey with how she has revolutionized television and turned it into one big self improvement love fest and Bono and his using his public influence to help fight disease and famine in Africa and Mother Theresa and Anthony Robbins and even Bill Gates and his 20 million dollar donation to education and health care charities. (When you think about it, Bill Gates who it is estimated is worth some forty billion dollars could give away a lot more than twenty million.) My idea is that we as a people should demand it. Not just from him but from everyone of us. Again, the idea is to make it very cool and trendy to give away money time and resources. And those that don’t give, just totally ignore them. Make them feel like losers. We need to break the mold of what is a celebrity in our society.
“Things are changing,” I told her, “You can feel it. Don’t let the few old timers blind you from seeing all the new revolutionaries that are working among us everyday. You can always find something wrong in the world. Try to focus on all the good things happening. And when you do happen to notice something wrong, do something to right it.”
Today it came upon me as an epiphany. The single most important thing we can all do with our short lives here on earth is to help each other. It is the key to the next step for the evolution of mankind. If you make 20 million on your next picture give five million of it away. Just go for it. Be a man. Be a warrior. Be brave. Be a soldier. Be a revolutionary. Fight for the evolution of man. Demand that the world become a better place. Demand that every man woman and child in the world is healthy happy and secure. And don’t stop till this mission is accomplished. This should be the motto of all living humans on the planet.
When we interview famous people on TV, that should be the first question we asked them. So how much did you give last month? And to what charities? If someone shows up like Britney Spears or whoever and just wants to talk about themselves or their last album, kick them off the show unless they gave big. Turn it into a worldwide mission. Make it grossly objectionable not to give away some of your money to help out your fellow man. We need to turn charity into celebrity. Make it the “in-thing”. Make it a contest. Who can give the most? Who helps out the most? The average salary for a CEO in America is 4 million per year. And that figure is understated due to some CEOs who don’t take home that much. Some make as much as 40 million per year. Imagine the possibilities. Imagine the world after forty years of substantial giving by the top earners. That’s the dream.
Larry Ellison, the mega-tycoon of the Oracle company decided he was going to do something about aging. So far he has given away 17 million dollars of his own money to start funding anti-aging research. Impressive. Imagine a celebrity coming on TV like Elton John or Michael Jackson or even Madonna or Elizabeth Taylor have done but even to a greater degree, saying, “today I have decided to donate twenty million dollars to end domestic violence in America.” Or “today I have decided to donate 100 million dollars to end child poverty in America.” This kind of stuff is already happening here. We just need to kick it into overdrive. We need to make a radical and conscious decision as a people to end suffering and bring about a new world of enlightenment and joyful living for all men and women around the globe. This is our future. We can sit around and dream about it and talk about it, or we can start right now, today, to do something about it.
Ted Turner announced plans to donate $1 billion to the United Nations for humanitarian (i.e., not administrative) programs in a move he hoped would encourage philanthropy in other wealthy individuals. This went down in 1997, but I just read about it today again. Now this is a New-Transcendentalist move. If every one with a little money did this, we would well be on our way to curing the pains that are ailing us.
Peace, Love, Freedom, Justice, Equality & Opportunity for all,
Current Read: “Power versus Force.” Study of muscle testing—kinesiology—if you’re interested it is fascinating.
Current Spin: amnesiac by Radiohead—one day this will be looked as their most underrated masterpiece. I can’t get enough of it.