A spiritual revolution - a manifesto
A critical look at the failures of the left, the right, capitalism, incremental reform, and religion, and a proposal for a way forward.
A spiritual revolution - a manifesto
Stories of impending disaster, while (hopefully) they might scare the hell out of people, might also depress people, and leave them feeling hopeless. Direct action is a struggle, and one way to make progress is through a process of elimination that discards strategies which history has proved to be useless. Solutions can then be sought in what remains standing at the end of it all...A critical look at the failures of the left, the right, capitalism, incremental reform, and religion, and a proposal for a way forward...
Recently I have posted stories on the emerging dangers of Global Warming, climate change on the Sahara, a potential water crisis, and the recklessly irresponsible "Mad Cow Policy" of our society, which, it turns out, consists of just not having a policy, and thus leaving a kind of wild west mentality to prevail in the interests of protecting the profits of big argibusiness (the 'Mad Cow Policy' as its currently exists can be described as follows : shoot, bury, and shut up). It has occurred to me that such stories, while (hopefully) they might scare the hell out of people, and thus motivate action, might also depress people, and leave them feeling hopeless.INDEX
Apathy only leads to destructive consequences. At the same time there is much confusion and indecision concerning what should be done. With the stakes as high as they are, it is important that we learn from history, and not waste precious time repeating the mistakes of our ancestors, especially since they have already traveled down the well worn path, making repetition unnecessary. Direct action is a struggle, and one way to make progress is through a process of elimination that discards strategies which history has proved to be useless. Solutions can then be sought in what remains standing at the end of it all...
Trotsky and the failure of 20th century militaristic communism
General Trotsky reviews the troops
Throughout the previous century and up to the present time, there has been an ongoing debate concerning tactics, and whether or not militarism and violence are justified as tools for social change. Does the end justify the means?
There are those who resemble Leon Trotsky, for as their frustration and their anger increases as the world moves inexorably towards the abyss, they pour scorn and derision upon 'pacifists' and while doing so point out the utter failure of all methods of peaceful change, and this they insists is the justification for violence. Trotsky wrote,
The problems connected with the creation of the armed forces of the revolution are of immense importance for the Communist Parties of all countries. Disregard of these problems, or, even worse, a negative attitude towards them, hidden behind humanitarian pacifist phraseology, is really criminal. Arguments to the effect that all violence, including revolutionary violence, is evil and that Communists therefore ought not to engage in 'glorification' of armed struggle and the revolutionary army, amount to a philosophy worthy of Quakers, Dukhobors and the old maids of the Salvation Army ...The means for emancipating the working people is revolutionary violence ... The heroism of the young worker who dies on the first barricade of the revolution when this is beginning differs in no way from the heroism of the Red soldier who dies on one of the fronts of the revolution after state power has been taken.
Trotsky advocated the position that the violence of the capitalists must be countered with violence from the left. One must fire with fire, and the ends justify the means.
"If terrorism is understood as any action inspiring fear in, or doing harm to, the enemy, then of course, the entire class struggle is nothing but terrorism. And the only question remaining is whether the bourgeois politicians have the right to pour out their flood of moral indignation about proletarian terrorism when their entire state apparatus with its laws, police and army is nothing but an apparatus for capitalist terror!"
He accurately pointed out the hypocrisy of those people who damn 'terrorism' while at the same time they support 'the war on terrorism'. With this hypocrisy in mind, Trotsky wrote that the left must have,
"nothing in common with those bought-and-paid-for moralists who, in response to any terrorist act, make solemn declarations about the 'absolute value' of human life. These are the same people who, on other occasions ... are ready to shove millions of people into the hell of war ... when the desperate hand of the unemployed workers is clenched into a fist or picks up a weapon, they will start in with all sorts of nonsense about the inadmissibility of violence in any form."
In response to those who would argue that the end and the means must be synch, Trotsky said,
"In the old days there were certain generals - and there probably are now - who considered that the most harmful thing for an army was war. In the same class are those revolutionaries who claim that their doctrine is destroyed by revolution."
It has been said that hindsight is perfect foresight, and now that we have had a century of Trotsky, and almost one hundred years of the dismal failure of communist revolution, we are in the perfect place to look back over the conditions and the circumstances of the past century and begin to evaluate the lessons it has to teach us today.
It is one thing to judge 'revolutionary communism' as a theory, and quite another thing to live in a 'revolutionary communist state' and there is one thing that the 20th century has taught us, and that is that the people were just consumed with a hatred for that revolutionary 'worker's paradise'. People danced on the Berlin wall when it fell, and everywhere that revolutionary communism collapsed there was relief and celebration, and the people, vulnerable as they were, turned to robber baron capitalism, which, as in the case of Russia, has resulted in a standard of living not even half what it was under the communist system they so passionately detested.
Now the argument of Trotsky would be that the workers did not reject the 'worker's state' but rather they rejected 'Stalinism'. Now it is interesting to note how every communist revolution results in the formation of a Stalinist state. This has happened almost without exception throughout the 20th century (Nicaragua was one notable exception, as the peaceful transition of power, rather than a Stalinist dictatorship, was what ensued).
The evil nature of the results of the communist revolution led to much justification and theorizing on the part of Trotsky, who formulated the argument that Stalinism was not the end result of Bolshevism but rather a betrayal of Bolshevism.
"The October Revolution has led to the present stage of the triumph of the bureaucracy, with its system of repression, plunder and falsification - the 'dictatorship of the lie', to use Schlamm's happy expression - many formalistic and superficial minds jump to a summary conclusion: one cannot struggle against Stalinism without renouncing Bolshevism ... Schlamm, as we already know, goes further: Bolshevism, which degenerated into Stalinism, itself grew out of Marxism; consequently one cannot fight Stalinism while remaining on the foundation of Marxism."
Trotsky then advanced the theory that the problem was found in the lack of consciousness on the part of the proletariat, and in the underlying problem of an 'undeveloped culture.'
The state built up by the Bolsheviks reflects not only the thought and will of Bolshevism but also the cultural level of the country, the social composition of the population, the pressure of a barbaric past and no less barbaric world imperialism ... To represent the process of degeneration of the Soviet state as the evolution of pure Bolshevism is to ignore social reality in the name of only one of its elements, isolated by pure logic.
He also developed the theory that communist revolution must be permanent and must be international, otherwise an isolated Bolshevist state would 'deteriorate' and this would result in the rise of Stalinism.
Without a more or less rapid victory of the proletariat in the advanced countries the workers' government in Russia will not survive. Left to itself the Soviet regime must either fall or degenerate ... More exactly: it will first degenerate and then fall. I myself have written about this more than once, beginning in 1905 ... The "vast masses" which, according to Lenin, decide the outcome of the struggle, became tired of internal privations and of waiting too long for the world revolution. The mood of the masses declined. The bureaucracy won the upper hand. It cowed the revolutionary vanguard, trampled upon Marxism, prostituted the Bolshevik Party. Stalinism conquered ... Consequently, it can be said that Stalinism is a product of a condition of society in which society was still unable to tear itself out of the straitjacket of the state. But this situation, containing nothing for the evaluation of Bolshevism or Marxism, characterizes only the general cultural level of mankind ... The first workers' state - on a lower economic basis and surrounded by imperialism -was transformed into the gendarmerie of Stalinism.
These two arguments (the low 'cultural level' of the proletariat and the lack of 'internationalism') form the basis of Trotsky's analysis of the ruinous failure of 20th century communism.
However one area that he never questioned, being after all a military general, was the effect of violent bloodshed upon the trajectory of future developments. What one can say here is that he never questioned his doctrine of fighting evil with evil, fighting fire with fire, and never questioned the doctrine of terrorism and violence, but rather sought ways to shift the blame to 'a culturally inferior worker' and 'a lack of internationalism.'
Now one key question that must be asked here, before we decide to become as violent and terrorizing as the capitalists, is this : what results can we anticipate from revolutionary violence? We know that to this very day, the Americans have Vietnam veterans in for treatment for recurring nightmares and the persistent long lasting effects of shell shock and post traumatic stress disorder. Such brutalizing violence and horror as that experienced by soldiers at war has devastating effects on human beings.
It turns out that it has devastating effects on human societies, as well. Now perhaps in some perfect fantasy world, that does not exist, it might be the case that human beings came equipped with an off switch. When it came time to engage in 'revolutionary terrorism and violence' a switch could be thrown, and then, with victory complete, that switch could be turned off, and our brutalized, traumatized, disordered, shell shocked militia could return home and just be normal like they were before we sent them out to do evil so that good might result (the end justifying the means). Trotsky, much like his right wing counterpart, General Douglas Macarthor, will glorify the dead, idealize those who became corpses for the cause, and write poems about heroic death and sacrifice, both of them being generals after all. Afflictions only destroy the lives of soldiers for capitalism, and not the revolutionary army, since they happily came with an off switch.
Now this is the real world, and in the real world the simple truth of the matter is that Stalinism is the bastard child of Trotskyism. This painful truth is not something that Trotsky could ever acknowledge in his lifetime, preferring to theorize about low level peasants and political internationalism and so on, as he watched the perpetual corruption of revolutionary violence playing out before his eyes again and again and again throughout the 20th century.
Stalinism is the end product of Trotskyism. You see, when you look back over it all, what you wind up with after the 'worker's revolution' is that a large group of dangerously shell shocked, mentally disturbed, battle hardened, brutalized, scarred war vets take over the country, and immediately they set about running the place like a military boot camp. They set up a police state, and the entire country is forced to obey orders. You know, like in the military. They have learned that the way to deal with people who are giving you a problem is to hunt them down and kill them, and so naturally those famous communist purges begin, as Stalin, as just one example, a former military man and violent revolutionary himself, by the way, starts killing people left right and center. You know, like the revolutionary people's army did during the repeated waves of millions of murders in those purges in China.
Naturally, everyone in the country just hates those 'communists' and are damned glad to get rid of them. In the example of Nicaragua, the majority peasant population is so afraid of those revolutionary communists that they have only maintain 40 per cent support, and the only reason they have managed to hold onto that much support is that they didn't set up a full scale Stalinist 'worker's dictatorship', or the would have lost that 40 per cent as well. The reason why they can't get up over 40 per cent is that the people are scared of them, so scared they might even take their chances on a Right Wing Authoritarian.
Look, if I was living in some country and Trotsky's communist terrorism and bloody revolution was raging around me, and then I heard the news that all those shell shocked and dangerously unstable vets were now taking over the country, I would be damned scared myself. What's a few more killings, you know, for the good of the revolution. While I am frightened and being ruled over by Stalinism, naturally it would be the case that some communist theorists from some far away country would begin to analyze the low level of my cultural development, and my lack of 'international perspective', because, after all, I was being ruled by Stalinism, and therefore it must be my own fault.
Actually, I protest, and the fault lies with Trotsky, the true father of Stalinism, and his violent impatience which led directly to the corrupted doctrine of doing evil so that good can result.
There is a notable inconsistency in Trotsky's thinking, in that there is no such thing as 'capitalist violence'. There are just young kids, some of whom have been deceived into fighting in capitalist wars. Capitalists don't fight wars, kids do, and Trotsky's solution is to kill them all, but then he was military general, so that isn't to surprising.
He also had no sense of the historical process, in that capitalism carries within it the forces that result in its own destructive collapse, given time, something that was not clear enough to him at that time, although currently it is becoming crystal clear in our time (as we are now teetering on the edge of an awesome devastation). One should also remember that fighting for capitalists requires the manufacture of consent, and a more patient man might have directed revolutionary action at the clear target that this phony propaganda presents, rather than at the body of young boys, but then Trotsky must have been a man in a hurry.
Yes, he was a man in a hurry, but a much more sensible approach would have been to leave capitalists to practice terrorism and violence by themselves, for by taking up the practice himself, and encouraging others to do the same, Trotsky muddied the waters, and left the way open for capitalists to do violence to the planet in ways not otherwise possible while muddling the heads of those kids they were sending to slaughter by telling them they were 'fighting communist dictators' or 'fighting the war on terrorism.' And so Trotskyism not only enables capitalist violence, it provides the justification for capitalist violence, which depends on consent, and it is this consent that the terrorism and violence advocated by Trotsky provided over the course of the 20th century. This prevented any rise in consciousness, which would have occurred, if capitalists had been left to do all the violence in the world by themselves, an idea which Trotsky rejected with contempt.
The judgment of history is clear. Evil is as evil does, and it is a notable inconsistency of the thought of Leon Trotsky that he claims to be a liberator of humanity while at the same time denigrating the doctrine of the value of human life. The point to be made here is that revolutionary violence is the root cause of 'Stalinism', because it just logically follows that it would be. It is hard to imagine how things could have turned out any differently than they did, given the fact that sensitive human beings don't come with an off switch.
The extreme dangers of Right Wing AuthoritarianismThere is another great movement of the twentieth century that proved to be a dismal failure, and that is RWA (Right Wing Authoritarianism). This tendency is still powerfully expressed in societies today (one good example is the powerful religious right movement in the United States, and there are also completely secular representations of this tendency).
RWA is an ideology driven by fear, and this fear is caused by injustice, violence, and inequality in the world. The world is perceived as a frightening, threatening place by RWA personality types, for this very reason, and they carry within themselves the conviction that the brutal nature of the world is the best evidence for the doctrine that teaches that human nature is basically evil. This doctrine is encapsulated in the classic Christian dogma of 'original sin' which is an attempt to justify this deeply held fear by dressing it up in the form of theological myth. The establishment of a Right Wing Authoritarian dictatorship (or a punitive theocracy) is then believed to be the only solution. This punitive government will establish rules and regulations and normative codes of conduct which it will then ruthlessly enforce. The rights of the individual must be sacrificed in favor of the power surrendered to a punitive state, since this is the only way to prevent the deterioration and destruction of society which would be the end result of the loss of moral authority, because human nature is naturally evil.
There is a notable inconsistency in RWA thought which led directly to the ruinous destruction and mass murders which have been perpetrated by RWA states throughout the 20th century (the Nazis and those despotic Central and South American RWA dictatorships, those in Africa, and around the third world being responsible for many millions of murders over the course of the last century). You see, RWA personality types strongly believe that human nature is evil, basing this doctrine on their own personal experience of being violently abused and brutalized by the system that currently runs the world. Rather than questioning the system which abuses them, they question individual human beings, but they make an exception for authority figures. They resist all social change, which means that they perpetuate the injustice and inequality which is the brutalizing force which first caused them to believe that human nature was evil. Society they hold to be normative and good, and the problem is always supposed to be 'sinful rebellion' and thus they emphasis autocratic control of individuals. They also venerate and idealize authority figures, and generally believe that the best interests of society are served when no dissent is tolerated and people learn instead to 'obey the authorities'.
It is these two inconsistencies that lead RWA personality types to their ruinous destruction again and again. First by justifying society and perpetuating inequality and injustice by preserving the status quo they bring down upon their own heads all the evils in the world which they fear. Second by making exceptions for authority figures, idealizing them and venerating authorities (instead of being suspicious of their evil human nature) they set themselves up again and again to blindly follow their seducers (such as Hitler) and they do this over and over again.
The one thing that RWA personality types fear the most is the 'collapse of all society'. This is what makes them so stubbornly resistant to reform or change in the status quo. If we study the example of Hitler and the authoritarian submissive embrace in which he was locked with the RWA types of Germany, we can see that they embraced Hitler because he was that idealized and glorified 'strong man' who would keep 'good law and order' and thus preserve society even if he had to use that famous iron fist to do so. When it came time to follow Hitler into those ruinously destructive right wing wars, they were ready to do that, once again to 'save Germany' (according to Nazi propaganda they could never be safe until they had once and for all destroyed the threatening menace of 'communist terrorism', just as American RWA types will never be safe until they start a world wide 'jihad' against 'Muslim terrorists'. As Hitler told the RWA types of Germany at the time, "Communist terrorist acts are to be proceeded against with all severity and weapons must be used ruthlessly when necessary..." Hitler, Feb 4th, 1933.)
At the end of it all the RWA types brought down upon their heads the very thing they dreaded the most - a catastrophic collapse of all society and the ruin of everything. Similar processes are at work today, where RWA types are in the process of destroying the environment, which has the same potential to rain ruinous destruction down on their own heads, a process they encourage by stubbornly refusing to change society in such a way as to prevent this from happening, while at the same time they venerate the very authority figures that feed them bogus information, which keeps them trapped in that destructive authoritarian submissive embrace that eventually brings them to the very ruin they imagine they are avoiding. Similarly they encourage more terrorists to attack them, by perpetuating violence and injustice, thus leading them to more aggressive acts of terrorism and violence themselves, leading into that spiral of destruction so characteristic of RWA movements in the 20th century.
SuperstitionAnother extremely harmful practice is the descent into superstition, and there is an already evident tendency among certain religious populations to respond to fearful emerging crises by descending into superstition. The net effect of these superstitions is to forestall any constructive action, and this, in the end, only allows a disastrous situation to intensify, so, once again, we see that people wind up putting off a day of trouble and bringing near that reign of terror. The reign of terror would be exactly what they had hoped to avoid, but nevertheless brought on, through their faulty choices and the inertia that develops when people opt for unworkable solutions.
As one example of this thing, the religious right in the United States is beginning to become conscious of the threat posed by climate change, but this evolution in their consciousness is being expressed using the language of superstition. This emerging consciousness within the religious right is remarkable in that is an indication of a marked shift from their long standing tradition of equating 'environmentalism' with 'satanic paganism' and 'worship of mother goddesses' and various other similar positions they have advocated in the past (these positions being loaded with superstition as well).
According to this new awareness of climate change as its articulated by prominent spokespersons for the religious right, the bad weather is God's judgment against the nation for adopting the road map for peace in Israel. God is also judging the country for gay marriage, gay rights, abortion, and various other issues the religious right opposes.
On the CBN site they have posted an article condemning the Road Map to Peace in Israel, under the title, "Consequences of Dividing the Holy Land".
(Colin Powell) encouraged Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government to refrain from causing obstacles in the Road Map process, asking officials to set aside their objections to the Palestinian "right of return" issue. He also asked both Israel and the Palestinians to offer confidence-building measures towards the beginning of a new dialogue, and he said he expected Israeli settlement activity to end. This is the first in a two-part series that deals with the subject of how nations pushing for a diplomatic solution in the Middle East must also deal with the consequences of their actions ... Recently, U.S. meteorologists reported that in a wave of bad weather there were 325 tornadoes, 535 major windstorms, and 1,350 hailstorms. It was the most active seven-day period of tornadoes in U.S. history. At least 44 people died in America's Midwest, along with injuries, and damage to homes and buildings reported in Kansas, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Illinois and Tennessee. There were also torrential downpours in Indiana, Kentucky, and Iowa.
Bill Koenig ... keeps a watchful eye on the pledges of the Bush Administration concerning Israel, as well as weather patterns in America. "There have been four different tornado incidents when we have been directly involved with the covenant land. It is a repercussion. When the covenant land of Israel is at risk, or her property, the land of the United States and its property is at risk, as well." Koenig explained that this is a warning to America. "We have another wave coming in soon. And, at the same time, Israel has never been at greater risk."
This is followed by a completely biased presentation of the justice issues surrounding the Middle East conflict (Israel, the pure, the innocent, surrounded by vicious Muslim terrorists...as is typical, there is no mention of the injustices involved in kicking people off of their property and then without compensation, taking their land...For some choice quotes from the leaders of Israel on this subject of crushing the Palestinians through acts of theft and violent injustice, see the page Guns and Moses : Zionists, in their own words )
Superstitions of this sort are harmful in two ways. First, they increase the level of violence, since they perpetuate violent injustice and cruel oppression. They justify these acts of cruelty by the powerful which target the powerless, and they demonize the reactions of the powerless when they lash out the powerful forces of the state, while mythologizing the vicious retaliatory acts of the powerful forces of the State. And so the cycle of violence and injustice continues. Second, they bring on the disaster of climate change in the United States. The methodology is similar in both cases. In the latter case all meaningful action on global warming and the resultant climate change is forestalled and instead people are misled to target their actions on useless acts, which while they allow people to deny today's troubles, bring ever closer a terrifying tomorrow. In the former case people are encouraged to direct their actions towards global war fare against 'terrorists' and thus they encourage the spread of the very kind of militant violence that the policies of Israel have inspired in the Middle East, and bring these actions home to American soil, thus leading to further superstition, and further violence. So not only do those who are misled by such superstitions find themselves engulfed in ever increasing levels of violence, while they are doing all this the foundations of the world are being destroyed as they, following superstitions after all, walk around in darkness while the destruction continues unabated.
Another form of superstition involves 'the saying of prayers'. Now some people meditate, and some people pray, and I am not interested here in condemning those who recharge their batteries using their own chosen spiritual practices. However, 'let us pray' is NOT a form of 'direct action.'
The following example illustrates the point. Now everyone is familiar with 'El Nino'. When there is a warming of a degree or so in the Pacific ocean, referred to as 'El Nino' the result is devastating droughts over the Western Half of the North American continent. The human race has increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere by a whopping one third, and the result has been a rise in the global temperature by one degree Fahrenheit. If you do an experiment, and turn on the burner on a stove, you will notice that the air above the burner heats instantly. However, if you set a pot of water on the stove it takes time to boil. There is more thermal inertia in water, than air, and so even after the global temperature rises, it takes time to heat the oceans. Once the oceans heat, due to thermal inertia, they also stay warmer longer than air.
Now in my previous articles I referenced scientific literature that indicated that the oceans are warming and beginning to catch up with the land, and the result of this process is both the devastating drought in the Western North American continent, and the increasing Monsoons over the Saharan region of North Africa, with both of these processes beginning concurrently in the late nineties and growing in intensity since then (and in both cases, the phenomena are directly related to the heating of the oceans, which after a long period of lag time, are beginning to catch up with the heating of the land and atmosphere). The oceans are the most important modifiers of global climate, and thus this climate change is now really beginning to become noticeable, both in the retreating Sahara in North Africa, and the deteriorating Western Mountain ranges in America. Global warming also enhances the hydrological cycle, through increased evaporation, and this has resulted in a rise in global humidity levels by 10 per cent over the last decade, and it is this enhancement of the hydrological cycle and the resultant rise in humidity levels that is responsible for these increasingly severe tornadoes and storms.
Here in Canada, the drought in the Rockies is creating a dangerous water shortage problem, since the Rocky Mountain ecosystem feeds rivers and lakes across the continent. In British Columbia the reservoirs are now at 30 per cent. So once again we see the religious right in Canada becoming conscious of the effects of climate change, but once again we see this growing awareness being expressed in the form of superstition. Just recently the call has been going out 'to pray for rain and snow in British Columbia'. Now I can understand that the growing fear that is motivating this response, since southern British Columbia ia heavily populated and such places as Vancouver and Richmond are major modern day metropolitan super cities, with populations of many millions.
Now the question we have to ask is when does this anxiety over the dropping water levels turn to wide spread fear and panic, which grips a large modern day metropolis. When the water reaches 25 per cent? When it reaches 10 per cent? 'Let us pray' is NOT a form of 'direct action'. 'Praying' and persisting in such conduct only forestalls genuine consciousness, which only forestalls genuine direct action, and so praying puts off a day of trouble and social disturbance today, and brings near a day of social disintegration, terror, and collapse later. These are the very things that those who gravitate towards the right wing fear the most, and once again their behavior actually brings near the very terror they were hoping to avoid in the first place.
Disaster is what is being brought nearer each and every day that action is forestalled, each and every day that 'global cooling' propaganda is tolerated, each and every day that superstition is tolerated and allowed to substitute for genuine knowledge, and each and every day that direct action is forestalled by diversionary tactics designed only to stubbornly preserve the status quo, which, as you can tell by the changes taking place, is doomed in any case.
Such conduct should not even be tolerated and those who are guilty of the abuse of their own powerful and privileged position in society and who use this strategic advantage, this high and lofty pulpit, as a manipulative tool employed to misguide people by spreading such nonsense should be rebuked sharply by those religious people who have the sense to know when the time has come for such stern correction. This is one form of 'direct action' that is long overdue, and it should be taken up vigorously in the hopes that perhaps they might be brought into some kind of sound faith, instead of paying attention to superstitious myths and unjust, irrational human religious doctrines, which are the stock in trade of those who persistently turn their backs on the truth, and thus become corrupted both in reason and in conscience.
The failure of capitalismNow that the current system is bankrupt should be obvious to any thinking person. The prevailing fantasy of 'unlimited growth' and constantly expanding levels of consumption is an impossibility. Simple mathematics tells us that when you have finite resources on a planet of finite size you will never achieve 'infinite growth' and given how addicted this current system is to 'endless growth' there will come a day when it reaches the end of the road.
When we look at the flaws of current system which holds dominion over life on this planet we can see an interconnecting web of issues, and there does not seem to be one of these concerns that can be addressed in isolation. The risks involved in Global Warming and the gamble we are taking with climate change are related to life style choices, and these choices are the direct result of an economic system predicated on ever increasing levels of mass consumption and the doctrine of 'endless growth'. So fragile and illogical is this system that a halt to growth brings the whole shaky structure crumbling to the ground, and should the day come when people stop consuming products truly the end of the world has arrived. In this way the world is trapped inside one of those revolving hamster wheels, producing and consuming products as a way of life.
And this is a way of life that has been sapped of all spirituality. The marrow sucked out of their bones, most people live lives of quiet desperation, and their longing for an escape from the unsatisfactory quality of life they experience as worker drones on the production line is best expressed by the obsession with gambling, with so many people purchasing lottery tickets in the vain hope that perhaps they will be the lucky one who wins a jackpot so they can finally escape the clutches of a life they truly detest.
Any sense of spiritual connection with others or with the world around them has been replaced by service to an ideology that could be summed up in the nursery rhyme : "To market to market to buy a fat pig, home again, home again jiggety jig." The jiggety jig dance is celebrated endlessly on television sets, where the joyous modern family dances a jig and finds true joy and satisfaction when they finally purchase the ideal product. The Madison avenue role model of the perfect production drone, who happily fattens pigs for the market, and who joyously visits markets and jiggety jigs home with joy after purchasing that fat pig, well this endlessly repeated theme is completely divorced from the real life experience of most people, who long for any opportunity, no matter how illusory, to escape the monotony of human life under capitalism.
Inside of so many people in this culture is one deeply felt yearning, a deep longing of the heart, and that is a yearning to live. MY PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE, but life remains forever beyond their grasp, as they surrender their lives to the machine. Yet, in spite of the fact that there is this deep spiritual malaise and a profound unhappiness with modern day capitalism, most people have never heard a message that promises deliverance or freedom that resonates with them. They remain resigned, and even though this resignation means the sacrifice of their very life, the very essence of their being, together they march in lock step as though truly no other world was possible.
It is life itself which has been plundered by the capitalist system, since it is impossible to get real rich without picking everyone's pocket (no one has ever figured out a way to earn one thousand times as much money as everyone else by putting in one thousand times as many hours, so picking pockets is the only way to the top). People remain trapped in lives of enslavement, robbed of any chance to genuinely experience life.
The 'liberalization' of capital resulted in a punitive system of capital control, whereby any government which attempted to put in place policies that were not in the interests of global capital, found that their country was ruinously punished by capital flight, and in the end the freedom of capital meant the end of democracy. A perfect example of this principle is found in the case of Brazil, where a 'leftist coalition' was elected by frustrated masses of poverty stricken Brazilians, and this 'leftist' government was given warm reviews and glowing welcomes by the Bush White House and by international capital, since it really is not a 'leftist' government. There is no longer any such thing as options or democratic choice.
The freedom of capital and the 'Free Slave Trade' have imprisoned every nation on earth in a race to the bottom. Sweat shop nations have found their position undermined, as dollar an hour nations are now threatened by China's 45 cent an hour slave rental rates, and even the high wage jobs of such places as Silicon valley are now being exported to low wage India. As the base of the economy is destroyed by capitalists and their entirely self serving drive for quarterly profits, the risk of an economic collapse becomes ever more real, and anyone who knows anything about the history of the economy will recall that repeatedly throughout the 1800s the base of the economy was destroyed and the nation driven into one Great Depression after another by the reckless policies of capitalists. When Reagan unleashed this destructive force once again on the world, a reporter once asked him who was now to protect the earth from the ravages of capitalists, and Reagan responded that we could all trust 'in the goodness of their hearts.' And a slim hope it is, too..
The failure of incremental status quo reformThe stories I posted recently describe a reckless society, engaged in high risk behavior the consequences of which could be ruinously destructive. Even so, there is tremendous inertia in society, and a resistance to social change which can sap a person's energy and leave one feeling hopeless. This can lead to inaction, which is precisely what we don't need, unless we wish to throw in the towel and commit mass suicide.
One good example illustrates a coming downfall, and also demonstrates how difficult social change can be in the current stubborn monetary system (driven by selfish interests and a singular concern for money as it is). Consider the 'Mad Cow' problem. Now revelations are coming out that ranchers are dealing with the mad cow problem themselves, by shooting and burying mad cows on the ranch. This allows the propaganda line to be put out that 'there has never been a mad cow in the United States.' This is helped greatly by the fact that the American government refuses to test for mad cow disease, does not require the reporting of mad cows, making shooting them on the ranch and hiding them perfectly legal, and also refuses to ban the feeding of livestock carcasses to cattle, while persistently spreading the propaganda line which states that this has been banned. Blood waste from slaughter houses is fed back to weaned calves, even though, inconsistently, blood suspected of coming from mad cow infected humans is banned for transfusions. Dead cow waste and ground up road killed deer, elk, or bison are fed to various livestock such as pigs and chickens which can then be ground up and fed back to cattle, as well as being used in feeding programs for wild deer, elk, and bison.
Currently there is a continent wide epidemic of mad cow disease infecting the deer, elk, and bison. As well, research has shown that the prions that cause this disease persist in the environment. For example, in one famous study, sterilizing a stall once inhabited by a ruminant with mad cow disease, and then leaving the stall empty for several years, was followed by placing a test animal in the stall, and the animal then developed mad cow infection. What this suggests is that shooting mad cow infected deer, or shooting and burying mad cows on the ranch is no solution since the prions have been demonstrated to persist in the environment, and this helps to explain the persistence of the infection in deer, elk and bison. No evidence for the persistence of the infection is cattle is available since the American government has seen fit to legalize hiding mad cow disease, and through its non-reporting policy has given tacit approval to the practice of shooting those cows and secretly burying them on the ranch, a practice which just now is being revealed, although we really should have guessed as much.
It is unreasonable to assume that one can have raging cases of mad deer, elk, and bison all over the continent but somehow the sacred cow has demonstrated an truly miraculous immunity. Research also indicates that anywhere from five to ten per cent of Alzheimer's disease are actually misdiagnosed cases of CJD (the current policy of the Alzheimer's Association is to encourage relatives to have an autopsy performed so the true rates can be discovered).
As an aside, I should take pre-emptive action here and just mention that there are three types of CJD. There is classic CJD, which has been around for a long time, and there is sporadic CJD, which is extremely rare, and then there is variant CJD (known by the acronym vCJD) and it this last version which is associated with Mad Cow Disease. I thought I would mention this in an effort to avoid spam concerning how 'CJD has been around a long time'. This propaganda line being fed to people by big agriculture is true, but also a piece of misinformation, since what we are concerned about here is vCJD.
Now consider the fact that we live in a brutal society, where the policy is that dog eats dog. If you fall, you fall a hell of long way, and you can wind up living in cardboard boxes under some bridge. Now given this fact, that our culture is designed to be viciously competitive, which facilitates great concentrations of wealth (the ultimate expression of dog eat dog), you can understand why ranchers would be shooting and hiding mad cows. Our society destroys people for doing what is right, and then leaves them to rot. The same thing happens when people want to save the spotted owl, and this means the utter destruction of some logging family, people who will, after all, be viciously thrown to the wolves and left to fend for themselves when their whole lives are destroyed and as is the custom, it turns out that no one gives a damn.
So then, we can see how it is impossible to change society as long as this ruthless and immoral dog eat dog competitive ideology reigns supreme, and this creates the very social immobility that prevents all change, which then enables the status quo and concentrations of great power, which then brings about ruinous catastrophes which are now coming nearer, and which nevertheless cannot be prevented, because people will resist, for obvious reasons. So then if you lose the spotted owl, but don't work to reform the whole rotten system, you have only yourself to blame, and similarly if your mom gets 'Alzheimers' and then you have an autopsy performed and find out she actually ate a mad cow, well once again you can't just rage at those ranchers hiding that mad cow, since the only option you left society, being after all not committed to fundamental and deep changes, was no option. The rancher can just suffer and the logging family, well they can just fend for themselves and go straight to hell. Later on you can then bemoan how stubborn people are and how hard it is to change the world, even when the world is on the brink of emerging disasters.
A spiritual revolutionThe deep unhappiness and the malaise which is so commonly felt by human beings in modern consumer societies is a deep spiritual sickness. A culture based on something as base as the endless consumption of products, on ever increasing consumption and exploitation of nature, turns out to be a life devoid of fulfillment. It is a life which is no life, and when we consider the great expanse of time, our ancestors who lived in simple hunter-gather societies had one distinct advantage over those of us in modern society - they actually had a life, and with us, that is no longer true. We have things, but a life we no longer have, since our souls have proved to be the price of our things.
Now it is possible to conceive of many worlds, and it is possible to conceive of a world with many things, but it is not possible to conceive of a world driven by covetous greed for money and privilege and wealth which at the same time is a world where people do more than simply exist (giving most of their lives to generating profits, after all). Since the problem with modern society is a type of spiritual malaise, and since what makes people so desperately unhappy is their dissatisfaction with modern life, if solutions are to be found they must be solutions which bring healing to the spirit and this involves providing people with a LIFE, which is what everyone longs so desperately for in modern societies.
When we begin to examine the problems of the planet from the 'spiritual perspective' it becomes apparent that even the most gloomy news can actually been seen as good news. Now we know that the powerful are not actually powerful, that it is all a delusion, and that power consists of nothing more than consent, or, if consent is not forthcoming, then power depends on resignation, or such crudities as pitting environmentalists and an owl against loggers, or ranchers against the rest of society (divide and conquer). As well, we know that drop by drop pollution poisons the waters. When we keep these simple principles in mind a spiritual perspective is revealed that leaves much room for optimism and great hope for the future, even in the midst of the most pessimistic news. Indeed, the more pessimistic the news, ironically, the greater the hope, and thus the greater the spiritual energy that should result, provided that we nurture a deep spiritual connection with the universe.
It turns out that we reap what we sow, and this could be called a great principle of natural law. When the base of the economy is eroded, and spending power is eroded, and wealth is transferred to the top, the result is depression in the economy. When the interests of corporations takes precedence over what is morally correct, the result is ranchers shooting and burying mad cows, with a wink and a nod from the government, and the result of this recklessly immoral concern for profits over humanity is a vicious snare, and as time goes by and the situation worsens, only repression and further acts of wrong doing provide any hope. The path to ruinous destruction is marked by wrong doing, and those who practice these things, while they are powerful and great, undermine themselves again and again. Because the powerful are so corrupted, there has never been a single example of a great power which ever escaped ruinous collapse. The powerful do the really heavy lifting, and after wrong doing, comes stalling and delay which only makes the coming catastrophe that much worse, ensuring their downfall, since all power is illusory. This is a great principle of natural law, and this sort of spiritual insight can be very empowering especially during dangerous and threatening times, such as those we face now.
There are dangers, but the dangers are always found to result from wrong doing and moral corruption. For example, we can do wrong, we can compromise, and we can justify our compromises by insisting that we need to 'be pragmatic', we need to 'be realistic'. Such moral compromises lead to inertia which leads to horrible crises, which were not prevented, but only delayed, and then crisis leads to terror and fear, and in the end winds up opening the door to the Right Wing Authoritarian solution, which will mean massive destruction of the planet and result in catastrophic loss of human life when it works its way through to its logical conclusion. This is the dangerous consequence of meek status quo reform movements.
I speak here of natural law, and this is a 'spiritual' concept, and my purpose in speaking of 'spirituality' is to empower and strengthen. It turns out that we are not alone, but rather even the universe struggles and suffers with those who struggle and suffer, and this is marvelous natural law at work in our lives, and this understanding is wonderfully empowering. As I look out over the world, I can see marvelous things, in that even the very forces of nature are on the side of those who forsake the wrong, and even the very forces of nature work in opposition to those who do what is morally corrupt.
The present time is the most opportune moment in all of history, and here I am referring to what I like to call EDEN. I am referring here to those wonderful emerging signs of Eden on the Sahara. No single event in modern times will so shake up the world, no single event will result in a rise of consciousness around the world than this singular event which is a direct consequence of global warming and climate change. We have emerging before our very eyes a tremendous gift, a wonderful tool, a remarkable opportunity.
However, we have been handed over to NATURE, we are in her hands now, and the way this works is that you have to listen to what Nature is telling you, because she is both generous and punitive. If you don't start listening to her, then she can be very vengeful and the end result is that she will start killing people and doing severe damage. The message being delivered here is simply this - the status quo is doomed. Get used to it. The arrogance of humanity will be humbled before this mighty force which has been unleashed, and before which every one is helpless and no one is powerful or great. Nature is the great leveler.
A moral revolutionWe can see before us a future where today's actions bring potentially ruinous consequences, and here we can see that all that has happened is a leveling of the playing field, since these processes which are at work that threaten us with ruin tomorrow are the very same processes that have ruined and are continuing to destroy the lives of many hundreds of millions of people on the planet. Ruinous destruction is an ongoing part of this ongoing process of devastation, and all that remains is for the destruction to come to those who, up to this time, have enjoyed the short term benefits of this suicidal system.
Nature is the great leveler, and the doctrine to be learned here is that we are all one, and the sufferings of the least are also our sufferings, the only difference being that for some suffering is only stored up to be endured all at once at some time in the future. Delayed suffering then is in some ways even worse than daily suffering, which is the fate assigned to great masses of humanity at the current time and under the current status quo (all those children who die of malnutrition before the age of five, all those billion who struggle to survive on less than a dollar a day, in the midst of a world of plenty.) The fate of one is the eventual fate of all, and privilege only means resistance to change and this has proved to lead to only disaster delayed. Oppression or reaction have not proven to offer the desired protection of privilege, nor have they provided a means of escape. Moral corruption and the pursuit of selfish interest have only brought near a day of punishment. When all is said and done, we are facing danger today, and the world continues its unstoppable march towards the abyss.
When we look at the problems and dangers we face today, we can clearly see that these emerging disasters are the result of the breach of natural law, the arrogant disregard for simple moral principles, and this immorality is rooted in the greedy self serving nature of modern society. A dog eat dog social order breeds covetousness, rivalrous special interests, and in the end causes self serving acts of immorality. As a consequence the world becomes like a lake into which everyone has flushed their pollutants. The karma of the world has become evil, and having sown moral rottenness, and broken natural law, we find ourselves on the receiving end of natural justice. Can anyone really complain when a day of judgment arrives?
When I contemplate that wonderful spiritual symbol, the signs of an emerging Garden of Eden on the Sahara, it occurs to me that the day of judgment is at hand, and following this the day of punishment arrives, and let everyone know it. This is marvelous natural justice, and as terrible as it can threaten to be, it is still a lovely and awesome thing to behold. There is no injustice in natural law, and if the punishment seems ruthlessly punitive, this is only in keeping with the ruthless immorality of the modern world.
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