I’ll admit it. All my life I’ve been for the little guy, the poor, the innocent, the minorities, the outcasts of all nations and times. I’ve always hated the Plutocrats and Oligarchs who use their riches through foundations to sway politicians and politics, to use corporate fascist tyrannies to impose sweat shops and horrendous forms of capitalism across the Third World.
I actually affirmed the Communist Idea in principle at one time, but no more. I’ve tended toward anarchic non-statist forms of thought, but that too gets us nowhere.
I’ve listened to the likes of Nick Land, whose techno-commercial optimization of capital intelligence and pushing it to its limits, etc. would destroy not only the human species but likely the earth itself. That gets us nowhere.
Climate types like the Greens are closer to some religious vision, which would lead us into strange places. We cannot go the way of such as Derrick Jensen and the bashers of civilization, either. Such would be to doom us to the eventual decay and decadence of resource depletion with no way forward. There can be no return to Nature, no Rousseauist return to the pre-industrial wild. That would spell death within the organic tomb of night.
Yet, we can see that democracy in the global sense has failed us. Our leaders have failed us. Our politics has failed us. With climate change and a Sixth Extinction Event ongoing we turn a blind eye, we worry more about our immediate survival needs of day to day living. Which is understandable for most of us at the street level. Yet, our supposed leaders should no better, but instead we’ve allowed a fantasy world of conservatives to take power because we could not vote for real change (and, Hilary was not real change, just like the false promises of Obama and this past 8 years did very little for the little guy or working class).
The recent invasion of Native Lands by Oil Corporations, and the bald face blackout of mainstream media of this event is telling. Mainstream media is controlled by Corporate interests, and it should now be our motive to change mediatainment and return it to the people. Mainstream media is and has become the Enemy of the People. There should now be a class war against this…
And it is about the working classes and their survival, not the middle-class drift of neo-technologists and information citizens. We’ve lost sight of class warfare. We’ve lost sight of democracy. We have no vision, no plan, nothing but rage and bitterness. Will we turn this rage and bitterness to good effect, dig deep back into our past and reformulate a world view worth fighting for, or will we just piss away our time attacking the Republicans? Time to reschool ourselves in what it meant at one time to be a Democrat, to let the Corporate Democratic Establishment die its death and rebuild the Democratic Party with actual people of the Class of Democracy.
Hope is not in my vocabulary. As a full blow pessimist I’m neither of the depressive realist kind, nor some moody curmudgeon in the total misanthropic sense, but rather a comic pessimist who looks with a scribblers eye upon the world. If pride comes before a fall, we’ve allowed our human pride to overreach its limits. The eldest of Greek poems The Iliad had at its core the notion of hamartia and hubris: the fatal flaw and the sin of excessive pride or self-confidence. We’ve seen the global corporate nations build their empires of war, death, and destruction across our planet. We’ve allowed it without saying or doing much of anything. We’ve allowed the economic system that was meant to work for the people to enslave the world in its network of global surveillance, criminality, and darkness. We already live in a dystopian society the likes of which the planet has never seen, and yet we speak of it with the tongues of media pundits paid by the very Corporate powers that control it.
I’m an old man, so many don’t give a shit what I think or say. But say it I will. I’m tired of the lies of Left and Right, tired of propaganda systems that have fictionalized reality to the point that people have no clear vision of life anymore. There is no meaning left… we are a completed nihilism saturated by false images and meanings. As my friend R. Scott Bakker would have it we’ve already entered the ‘Crash Space’ of history where meaning is without even its valueless appendages. We have only one thing left… Zero. The turnstile of time. We are at that point that it could go either way for the planet and the human species. I want be here to see it. But those born in this generation will meet it head on. What shall we do? Will we allow this farce to go on? Are will we no longer except the antics and farce of politics as usual, listen to the corrupt and corrupting media, live our lives in lies? Isn’t it time to speak out, to take up one’s own life and do something, anything? Shall we sit back forever an allow the species to go out as Eliot once said with a “whimper”?
With all the greatness I’ve seen in humans in my time and in art, literature, philosophy, poetry, etc. do we want it to end? Will we allow hate and bigotry, malfeasance and corruption, the power and enslavement in invisible walls of data and surveillance, corporate greed and social orders build on lies and fabrications of mediatainment to continue? Is this our future, to lay down and let the profiteers walk over us? I dare say not. It’s time to get up off our butts and do something about this, we cannot afford to continue down this path.
As I’ve been rereading the old tales from ancient to modern cultures I see a certain resilience, a humility and courage that prevails in the harshest of times, a people of rugged yet sensual appeal that knows how terrible the elements can be, yet also knows that people must forge alliances, have the courage of their convictions, build order out of chaos and survive against all odds not against each other, but against those who would enslave their minds or bodies. We must be against all forms of tyranny everywhere, and no longer allow even our own minds to be tempted by fascistic forms of thought and feeling. Time to change.
In the back of my mind is the term ‘duopoly’ – the notion in Modern American politics, in particular the electoral college system has been described as duopolistic since the Republican and Democratic parties have dominated and framed policy debate as well as the public discourse on matters of national concern for about a century and a half. Third Parties have encountered various blocks in getting onto ballots at different levels of government as well as other electoral obstacles, such as denial of access to general election debates.
In books like Mike Lofgren’s The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government, Peter Scott Dale’s The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy, Tom Engelhart’s Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World, and James Risen’s recent Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War. In these and so many other books we learn that our democracy is no run by Corporatocracy on both sides of the fence, whether Democratic Corporatists or Republican Oil and Beltway. It no longer makes much difference who we put in office. Trump is a billionaire who already belongs to that Club.
Even Thomas Frank in his recent Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? tells us of the demise of traditional democratic party which has become a form of corporate and cultural elitism that has largely eclipsed the party’s old working-class commitment, he finds. For certain favored groups, this has meant prosperity. But for the nation as a whole, it is a one-way ticket into the abyss of inequality. In this critical election year, Frank recalls the Democrats to their historic goals-the only way to reverse the ever-deepening rift between the rich and the poor in America.
Robert B. Reich is another outcast scholar who has addressed the working people. In Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few Reich exposes the falsehoods that have been bolstered by the corruption of our democracy by huge corporations and the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street: that all workers are paid what they’re “worth,” that a higher minimum wage equals fewer jobs, and that corporations must serve shareholders before employees. He shows that the critical choices ahead are not about the size of government but about who government is for: that we must choose not between a free market and “big” government but between a market organized for broadly based prosperity and one designed to deliver the most gains to the top. Ever the pragmatist, ever the optimist, Reich sees hope for reversing our slide toward inequality and diminished opportunity when we shore up the countervailing power of everyone else.
I’m not as hopeful, nor an optimist at all. But one should read and glen information of these topics where one can. To me that’s the point, we need to move beyond ideological blinkers and discover information that will help real people, not further some false political goal, but rather one that actually works in our day to day struggles to attain a richer more embracing vision of existence. Even if we’re entering an age that many believe will prove a vast ruination and struggle for the very survival of our species and the planetary civilization ahead of us, we should no put on ideological blinkers of either party, but remain true to the core democratic principles of civilization itself and create a viable sustainable world for the living. Hope or Despair have nothing to do with such things… only the stark truth of our situation in the world.
Naomi Klein’s book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate is another solid critical work of facticity and factuality that glens the underpinnings of our challenges, makes us become participants from whatever affiliation you want to perceive yourself. As she argues climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism.
Is it too little, too late? The point is that if we do nothing, we assure our demise at some future point. So to sit back apathetically is to doom your children or your children’s children to the nth point along the line. As she argues such that the changes to our relationship with nature and one another that are required to respond to the climate crisis humanely should not be viewed as grim penance, but rather as a kind of gift—a catalyst to transform broken economic and cultural priorities and to heal long-festering historical wounds. And she documents the inspiring movements that have already begun this process: communities that are not just refusing to be sites of further fossil fuel extraction but are building the next, regeneration-based economies right now.
We see in in the Native American Pipeline protest movement that has been left out of the current political cycle by both parties and mainstream media. A fight over the route of a new pipeline is gaining momentum while it plays out in court. Hundreds of Native Americans from tribes across the United States are protesting in North Dakota. They’re setting up camp at the site where the pipeline is slated to cross under the Missouri River. Reporter Amy Sisk of the public radio collaboration Inside Energy says the group is finding an eager ally in environmental groups. As Amy Sisk for NPR states: “This pipeline is their latest target. It’s here in this remote part of North Dakota where hundreds of people are now camped out in the grassy prairie close to the construction. That site is near but not on the reservation. Further north in Bismarck, trains carrying oil safely cross Missouri River bridges every day. Jon Eagle Sr. is Standing Rock’s historic preservation officer. Today he’s rallying the protesters with his microphone.” BBC reports the life in the camps.
Our immediate problems are economic rather than all the other pressures facing us in the world. How we face rebuilding a nation’s infrastructure, jobs, small towns (that have fallen by the wayside into drugs, alcohol, and erasure?), overcome urban racism, sexism, gender issues, etc. will come to the fore in the years ahead? We live in stubborn and aggravating times, but we should seek out that within us that has made the human species both a strange and wondrous natural phenomenon in a universe that for the most part sees us as mere accident. Whatever we are we can overcome our stupidity and work together to overcome our problems, but only if the ideological blinkers of both parties can compromise and cooperate in the name and for the people they serve. It’s not about politicians, it’s about the people of the earth now. As it has been all along. We must begin in our backyards, our towns, our cities, our actual not fantasy lives to enact the truth from within ourselves that we are. We must begin…
Addendum: One commenter thought I left everything vague and incomplete. Isn’t realty incomplete? So am I…
Why should everything have to be spelled out? Reality is not clear and reasonable, why should everything be expected to be clear and reasonable? It isn’t. No. I’m not a reader of Krishnamurti… but other more contemporary neuroscientists and philosophers who no longer affirm a fixed Self or Subject, but rather an incomplete ongoing project of making and creation… I’m not Eastern, but Western… why should I use those categories or appropriate them for discussion when their not on my radar? I leave that for others… Comic pessimism faces the world with neither a blunt, cold eye; nor, with an optimistic hopefulness, but rather sees within reality and incompleteness and indifference to the human to which our own response should be one of comic absurdity, because reality isn’t human we no longer need to reduce it to our human categories. As Nietzsche affirmed and Bataille after him, laughter is the proper response. If I did (which I want) offer a figure from Eastern thought it would be the Laughing Buddha.
Legend has it that the Laughing Buddha is based on the life of a Buddhist monk who lived in the 10th century China. He was a bit too eccentric for a monk, but his loving ways and jovial countenance soon earned him many followers. He is considered a reincarnation of Gautama Buddha and is most welcome and loved everywhere he goes as he brings the energy of light heartedness, joy and laughter.
“And let that day be lost to us on which we did not dance once! And let that wisdom be false to us that brought no laughter with it!” – Nietzsche
Dionysian Pessimism rather than the staid cold grey world of depressive pessimism…
In some ways the notion of magnanimity sums up my stance toward world and others. The notion of great-heartedness and generosity of being. Why should we join Heraclitus the tearful? Why not rather the equanimity of Lucretius who taught us to fear not the truth of life? For the Greeks arête or excellence in Mind and Life was the pinnacle of being human. Who am I to disagree with such things? Aristotle in the Nimomachaen Ethics would speak of the great-souled man, whose disposition toward life and others was base on this sense of magnanimity. One who could overlook the slights of others, one who lived above the riff-raff of the panderers and mean-spirited, etc. Who am I to say this is not the just (good) life? One finds within oneself certain dispositions toward existence that come with the brain’s own driveness. We have spun millions of words to try to understand all these things about the human and the universe for thousands of years. And still we are in the dark, as children. Who are we to stop this process… there is no end to questioning life.
I would affirm with Socrates only ignorance. Who am I to put and end to people’s questions? With every generation new questions arise, new children are born who will seek new answers. We are all in the dark now, and yet we fill the void, the gap, with our thoughts, our meanings the best we can. This is to be human… I am but one among a myriad of those who know they do not know, and yet we persist in asking the old questions.
Philosophia (the pursuit of Wisdom) is not wisdom itself. We seek it in ourselves and in the world, but find mere fragments strewn upon the shore of being like sands on a seashore. No one holds firm substance, rather we are all in the dark night of the world peering at the decay of man. What will remain of this moment of our humanity?
I’m just one more voice in the insanity… hopefully kinder and more gentle even in my own raging … Something funny, I lost 26 followers from this one post… I’ll assume I struck some kind of nerve?
( Probably a loan-translation of Greek megalopsykhos “high-souled, generous” (Aristotle) or megathymus “great-hearted.”)