Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Beast is Us.

Gratuitous Horrors

Unlike most people, we never liked horror movies or, for that matter, roller coasters.  The notion of scaring your own pants off always struck us as a non-starter.  Fear, while a useful and at times life-saving emotion, is better left avoided.

Likewise, pictures of mutilated, decomposed, helpless or writhing bodies struck us as completely useless.  In real life, if the victim is alive, the feeling of horrified pity might at least induce us to do something to relieve the suffering.  But to be rendered horrified and helpless strikes us as a form of auto-torture; for horror is a species of vicariously induced agony.   

Such considerations naturally make one wonder if the Crucifix itself serves any purpose, since the image of a bloodied, agonized Christ is nothing we can do anything about and are left simply to feel bad about it.  That is an interesting question which, for the present, shall be avoided.

Certainly, however, if I were to post images of the Crucified Christ on my Facebook wall, people would probably think I had gone nuts and would, I suspect, rather rapidly tire of it.  “Gibson is a psychopath.”

But no one seems to think twice about pasting pictures of starving dogs, tortured pigs, mutilated elephants and other evidence of man’s appalling and revolting cruelty to fellow animals.  

What’s the point?  I wish people would not do this because there is nothing I can do about it.  Feelings of helpless horror don’t do much for me or for the poor creature.

It seems to me that the posting of such pictures is a form of reverse-voyeurism — a kind of “You-see, Me-see” thing.

It is likely the case that the picture of the starving dog, tortured pig or mutilated elephant first got published by way of some sort of cause-advertisement — “SAVE THE_______" and “STOP THE______”

The purpose of the horrible picture is to induce some sort of “political action” — usually in the form of a donation or petition signing.  The purpose of the person posting the picture on his or her Facebook wall is thus, to “spread the advertising.”  This gives the posting-act a patina of social or political usefulness.  But, on further consideration, this too is pointless.

 Gathering Signatures.  Getting Listed

We have written before about the flood of worthy causes which clog our “walls” and “email” boxes.  In any given day I must receive two or three exhortations to sign, subscribe or donate. 

If I take any action, I immediate get listed.  My name gets added to an automated cause-generator that floods my box (or wall) with updates, more petitions to sign and more requests for money.  One can very easily become embroiled in a hopeless a toil of causes, with no end

The tale of a hapless well-meaning man who became imprisoned in his own bottomless pit of email petitions and updates would make a nice Kafkaesque story.  

Seeing the negative potential for such a thing, I have established multiple “shell email” accounts that have nothing to do with me.  That way, I can send Senator So and So a simple supportive e-mail regarding a particular issue and not worry about the flood of messages from Senator SoSo that have nothing to do with me but which would invariably cascade, Niagra-like, into “my” email account.  Periodically, I go into the account and mass-delete the accumulated gunk.

That may serve as a practical solution to the issue of unwanted email, but it doesn’t do much to solve the problem of unwanted gruesome posters appearing on my “wall”.  Nor does it answer the question of why any of us sign any of these things in any case.  As we have written before, petitions are pointless.

Like legions of others, I want to feel that I can do a thing or two that is politically useful.  I sign my name to a petition in the hope that a “swelling chorus of voices” will become a “tidal wave of pressure” which will in turn induce those who are in power to... save the whale, stop the torture, protect the forest, rescue the bee, stop the poisoning... and so on.

But in actual fact, there is no “tidal wave” of anything.  Politicians (as well as the corporations they whore to) have systems for deflecting emails just as much as they have systems for generating updates.  The same computer which floods my box with Senator SoSo’s “news” also judo flips me away with pre-packaged responses,

Dear Mr. Hadley,

Thank you very much for writing to me with your concerns about the West Tennessee spotted owl.  The preservation of our natural resources for our children and grand-children is a priority for me as well, and I want you to know that.....
I must be a complete imbecile to think that anything I write to Senator SoSo gets more than a quick buzz-word once over from a summer intern clerk.

“Politics” — at least the politics the public is involved in — is disembodied, ethereal phenomenon of the sort Stanislaus Lem might have written about.  Politics is in fact, part of the atmospheric hallucinogens floated about to surround us with illusions of participation.

Let us approach the matter from a slightly different angle.

A person confronting the Medusa or in the toils of a giant squid will, quite naturally, hack away at the tentacle or face that most immediately confronts him.  That is, after all, the danger that actually grasps him. 

But of course, the whole point of Laocoon or Medusa, is that the tentacles or faces are but manifestations of a central core, the creature itself.  The entire message of the metaphor is that the appearances are not the underlying causes. 

It is pointless to hack away at the head or the tentacle because another one will just appear to do the job.  If one wants to free himself from the beast, he has to kill the beast.  Punto y final.  Point simple.

This is the problem I have had with petitions and causes.  Supposing everyone one of them to be worthy, none of them is the real issue.  The real issue is the system which generates each and everyone of those horrors.

Politicians and corporations are in fact manifestations of the problem, so addressing petitions to them is about as useful as begging your torturer not to tighten the rack.  Even supposing your torturer would listen, each “case” is only a chip in a vast mosaic of depredations.  It is the icon itself that must be blasted to smithereens.

It amazes me that people do not see this.  Was not human reason given to us so that we could detect underlying and unifying causes?  What makes anyone think that solving one, seven, or even twenty out of 10,000 injustices, outrages and problems is going to solve “anything”.  It won’t.

This, as we have expressed before, is the problem with what Americans call the “left”.  “Liberalism” so called is simply self-indulgence expressed in a political form.  My Issue, My Cause (saith I) for the Common Good.

Even such supposedly “radical” organs such as Socialist Worker, are filled with protest-articles about  Black Women hotel workers, Gay Marriage, Poultry Pollution in Arkansas, Football without FIFA, Deportation Detentions, "Socialist Feminism,”  Foetus Flushing Rights, “Support Ramsea Odeah” (who?) and Ebonics as Cultural Expression... whatever.   Quite marvelously, after slicing and dicing the core issue into a hundred manifestations, Socialist Worker then goes on to print an op ed entitled “Why Localism isn’t the Solution.”

To make matters worse, for every sub-issue the “left” manages to come up with to rally the faithful, that same issue manages to antagonize an equal number of non-faithful.  Such for example, is the “Left’s” ridiculous crusade of Fundamentalist Atheism, which only manages to gratuitously inflame the prejudices of the vast majority of people. 

Of course, the “right” is no better.  The only difference is that whereas the “left” does the dicing by way of un-focused incompetence, the “right” serves up multiple false issues for the very purpose of distracting people from fundamental causes. 

Either way, what passes for “politics” in most countries and certainly in the United States is analogous to a child sitting in its play pen and playing with different colored alpha-blocks.  Oh wonder of wonders!  The child might one day, accidentally, spell “C-A-T” and therefore (???) learn something.

The Heart of the Beast

All of which brings us at last to the Heart of the Beast. If anyone wants to do away with cornucopia of cruelties and depredations which afflict the world, he must destroy the mode of production which produces those cruelties and depredations.  Our present political economy must be completely extirpated and gutted out from top to bottom. It is as simple as that, and nothing else will work. 

Anyone who thinks that he or she can hold onto their car, their computer, their house, their favorite dentist and still produce the change required is living a liberal fantasy.

But beneath this bottom, there is yet another; one which we are convinced is even more ominous.

A political economy can only exist in accordance with the underlying material conditions which bring it forth.  To illustrate:  it would make no sense whatsoever to “impose” Germany’s political economy on Amazonian tribes.  Those tribes exist at a social and technological level which has literally no relation to “post-modern industrialism”.

In a word: our current global economy is an expression of the demographics which both necessitate it and off of which it feeds

Let us return to the matter of poor tortured pigs.  Bacon from pasture raised pigs costs about $10.00 a pound.  Such a cost is prohibitive to the vast majority of U.S. denizens.  But even if they could afford it, there is simply not enough land to produce pasture-raised bacon for a population of 300 million devouring egg’s n’bacon every morning.   Nor for that matter is there enough land for scratch raised eggs. 

It is perfectly true that the sacks-of-shit in human form that own and run our food factories are committing their depredations for the sake of profit.  But that is a separate issue.  It is equally true that the sheer masses of people who currently exist require factory food for their survival because no other mode of production can meet the demand.

Extrapolate the issue from eggs n’ bacon to every other commodity needed by people to survive from shoes to toothbrushes to vaccinations, and it can be seen that underlying the “cause” of a mode of production is the demographics which allows and requires that mode of production. 

In short, the Beast is Us.

Near twenty years ago we wrote the Examiner,

"From an ecological point of view, overpopulation is a disaster no matter where it occurs or spills over.  The frenzied effort to sustain a species which is proliferating out of control leads to deforestation, slash and burn agriculture, depletion of fisheries, extermination of wildlife and mammoth industrialization projects which blow up everything in sight and then fill the air toxic poisons.  It is utter nonsense to think of these ecological holocausts as somehow "local".   ....  How much more writing on the wall do we need?

"Regardless of whatever socio-economic system we choose to adopt, the plain fact is that the human race needs to be halved -- across the board.  Short of destroying the magnificence of God's creation and turning the earth into some hellish factory, the planet simply cannot sustain 6 billion of us.  The only equitable and humane solution I can think of is a global reproduction lottery designed to redress the imbalance in two generations.  It is a drastic and Malthusian remedy, but only then will future generations have the chance of a decent life in a planet worth living on."   (Letter to the Editor (Examiner) 1997 October 18.)

Needless to say, our epistle got tossed into the “crazies bin”.

Well... now we may have been “crazy” but look at who was STUPID.  STUPID, DENSE, THICK, OBTUSE as it is possible for a supposedly sentient creature to become.   An ox has more brains than a journalist.  It was this that led us to start this blog on the premise that it was better to shout into the wind than to shout into a trash can.

Now as then, is what is needed is a massive triage of the human race.  The alternative is a Factory Planet, producing ever more pathetic resemblances of pseudo food, and scarcities of everything else for a debased and near moronic mass of desperate, depraved, degenerate humans.

Now just as people don’t see the cause behind the unitary hyrdra head that confronts them, they also refuse to admit the consequences beyond the image of the little darling they spawned and cherish with all their hearts.

Every human being loves his and her child more than anything else and therefore cannot conceive of anything that would implicate an end to his own self-perpetuation.  “Reduce the population” is subliminally equated with “Slaugher of the Innocents.”  The person who advocates population reduction is lucky if he is merely laughed to scorn.

Of course, it will never happen.  Humans will never agree to impose a birth lottery which limits the total amount of babies which can be produced for the next century.  Nor, will they readjust the political economy so that it is centralized and planned to work on a basis that does not require exponential growth and consumption.

I am quite convinced that the will to put into effect the radical overhaul needed to save ourselves and the planet as we know it does not exist.  

Mother Nature may save us; but she will not be kind about it.

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