The phrase “You either build or destroy” comes to us from philosopher/poet Jay Electronica. The reference comes from the Supreme Mathematics, or keys to understanding man’s relationship to the universe,
of The Five-Percent Nation, a movement that stems from The Nation Of Islam. As a non-Five-Percenter, I found the concept particularly fascinating since I heard philosopher/poet El-Producto say “Old folks say ‘time to build’ But demolition pays more loot”. The idea is always that building is a good thing. Indeed, in The Five-Percent Nation, it is. It’s about positivity, growth, and development.
Still, I wonder if ideas got conflated because they’re not explicitly stated as unrelated. Is it a big leap from building (positivity, growth) to buildings (developing physical structures where none existed before) to capitalism is great (infinite, unsustainable growth models that this planet cannot support while being hospitable to much of life on Earth)?
I’m not here arguing capitalism is not great. It has its pros and it certainly has its cons as any non-Marxist with an ounce of critical thought could tell you but that’s just it. In the U.S. capitalism is rarely questioned. Left unexamined its creep into other ideologies is almost inevitable. It’s easy to see unchecked growth and building in multiple senses of the word as good.
As a person who cares about the environment, I know destroy should be examined too…and sometimes celebrated. Recently, Business Insider published the article ‘Psychologically scarred’ Millennials are killing countless industries. So Millennials are destroying! Of course, they are. Millennials terrible, right?
Well, according to the article, Millennials have blood on their hands for not supporting the following:
- Casual Dining Chains Like Applebee’s
- Beer And Napkin Companies
- “Breastaurant” Chains Like Hooters
- Home Ownership
- Fabric Softener
- Department Stores Like Macy’s And Sears
- And More
So evil Millennials are guilty of:
- Wanting Cook Food At Home
- Favoring Wine And Spirits
- Using Reusable Cloths As Napkins Of For Cleanup Not Wanting Breasts With Food In Public
- Being Too Poor To Own Homes
- Understanding The Diamond Trade Is Bogus And Inhumane
- Not Having Time To Wait To Add Fabric Softener Cause They’re Too Busy Working Cause They’re Poor #NotAllMillennials
- Not Trusting Banks Cause They Helped Millennials Stay Poor
- Ordering Clothes Online Instead Of In A Department Store Where Their Peers Are Forced To Work For Low Wages
- Understanding That Fossil Fuels Are Destroying The Environment
- And More
If you care about the environment where you see words like build, growth, destroy, or killing in reference to a non-living thing just look at how ideas are framed for you. Build what’s positive and don’t hesitate to destroy what’s not.