in a capitalist society, nobody listens to nobody...
Wars, misery, environmental destruction... that's capitalism.
Capitalism destroys everything and everyone on its path in pursuit of profitable happiness.
However, there is one more casualty of capitalism that is much less known and noticeable and that is the ability to listen.
From the living room through schools and hospitals to our democratic governments, in a capitalist society nobody listens to nobody.
And that's on top of the fact that ages ago we, in our Western capitalist gluttonous societies, stopped listening to nature, to Earth. To some extent, we have also stopped listening to love itself.
In 1992 a 12 year old girl, Severine Suzuki, gave a speech at the UN. She told a half empty room of grown ups to cut it out and stop destroying our world. Needless to say that her plea fell on deaf ears.
3 years after Severine's speech, in 1995, in the opening scene of the French film Hatred (La Haine) by Mathieu Kassovitz, we hear a story about a guy who jumps off a skyscraper and while he is falling to certain death, he keeps telling himself: "So far, so good... so far, so good... "
But so far... not so good.
2 years later, in 1997, while that guy is still falling, we find ourselves on The Titanic by James Cameron. Right now we are either at the moment when the sentries see that beautiful iceberg, and it's all but too late, or when the Titanic is being ripped through by the iceberg and it's beyond too late.
There is a scene in that film where a wealthy hot shot and managing director of the White Star Line, the company that had the ship built, is pressuring the captain to step on it and show off her speed in order to make the headlines. Although the captain tries to tell him that that is not a good idea, that it could be dangerous, he wouldn't listen to his advice and The Titanic did make the headlines.
3.12 (March 12).2011, all hell broke loose here in Japan. For decades a couple of small groups of dedicated anti-nuclear activists tried to tell whomever would listen that it is suicidal to have all those nuclear reactors in the most earthquake prone country in the world but nobody listened. Even in a country without earthquakes, nuclear power is dangerous. Japan is standing on a land mine, not only due to what has already happened but because of what is about to happen if the greatly damaged nuclear reactor number 4, which reminds me of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, were to collapse. A mere powerful typhoon could bring it down. And, according to an article in Le Nouvel Observateur, that could be the end of modern Japan. But so far so good.
I read somewhere that France is the world champion in anti-depressant consumption. It seems that in France a good doctor is one who gives his patient lots of drugs. There is some sort of sick deal between the patient and the doctor. They agreed not to listen to each other.
Back to Japan, the country of the dying sun, according to an article in Courrier International 27/1~2/2, 2011, taken from the daily Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo, there are listening clubs popping up all over the place. One of them is called Kiki Jozu Club, good listener club, and is run by a former hairdresser. Most of the callers are ordinary people, with families, friends, jobs... They call the club and tell the total stranger listener, who it seems doesn't talk at all, about what is eating them. 10 minutes cost 1000 yen, about 12 dollars or 10 euro. One of the callers interviewed for that piece, although he has friends, family and even a girlfriend, regularly calls the club because he doesn't want to burden his loved ones with his stories...
In our capitalist societies, it feels as if the person who is talking to us is not saying advertising catchy slogans, we are not listening. We hear mostly cacophonic bits of sounds but the melody is long gone. It is sad and frightening because the foundation of a harmonious humanity is made up of people who listen to each other.
Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity. - Simone Weil
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