Dudes and dudettes, it's the Matrix. It's a pyramid scheme of the old variety, the kind that involves people wasting their lives stacking up stories of rocks based on stories. But don't despair, unlike the drama of the movie escape is easy--and once you leave the city, you just don't go back. You pursue your happiness. The escape involves discovering your happiness and living your own life and recovering lost power and freedom.
Thankfully, the centralization, corruption, and poverty of mass society makes it extraordinarily fragile and weak. It requires the consent of the people it defrauds and disenfranchises. It requires the work of decent and intelligent people to build systems of control, and systems of commerce that impoverish their friends and neighbors. Those are things good people, the vast majority of people, don't want to do.
The things that keep them on this path are insubstantial and imaginary.