The Civilization of Our Discontent…

and the Winter of Our Revolution

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There is a point in every political rebellion, in every self-conscious effort to reign in hierarchy and rectify the wrongs of hegemony, when the forces of the State and the forces of the Revolution meet head to head on the battlefield of truth. That battlefield has become an increasingly public forum, where the greater body politic and even voyeuristic foreigners get to participate in a new spectator sport, virtually, if nothing else. This past two months on Wall Street has been one of those occasions.

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About kulturcritic

With a doctorate in religious studies from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, Sandy had a ten-year academic career, with appointments at University of Virginia and the Colorado School of Mines. He spent the next twenty years in executive ranks at several of America’s largest international firms, including Computer Sciences Corporation, Ernst & Young, and General Electric. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe and North America, as well as parts of Eurasia and Africa. For the past five years Sandy has been living in Western Siberia with his wife and young child, teaching at the Pedagogical University and the Altai Institute for Law and Economics in Barnaul, Russia. Published works include VERONIKA: The Siberian's Tale (a novel), (Islands Press 2011) Apocalypse Of The Barbarians: Inquisitions On Empire (Islands Press, 2010), The Recovery of Ecstasy: Notebooks From Siberia (Booksurge, 2009), Recollective Resolve: A Phenomenological Understanding of Time and Myth (Mercer University Press, 1987), Ethical Decisionmaking Styles (Addison-Wesley Press, 1986), and Gandhi in the Postmodern Age: Issues in War and Peace (CSM Press,1984).
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14 Responses to The Civilization of Our Discontent…

  1. Jack Waddington says:

    Why is it so difficult to see that revolution isn’t. We just get another leader doing the same as the last one. There is a simple solution, but few if any see it as a solution
    Abolish Money and then with it, Law will evaporate and government will become irrelevant. It is such a simple idea; and it’s not new. The deserters of Henley tried it only to be ripped apart by authority. The Catalans tried it during the Spanish civil war only to be smashed by General Franco.

    However, it does require a conceptual leap, which most people are unable to perform. However it is rapidly beginning to become obvious that it is the only route. When we do achieve it we’ll think “Why did we never think of this before?”

    Jack Waddington

    • kulturcritic says:

      Jack -repost your comment on the main page. No one will see it here. sandy

    • kulturcritic says:

      Jack – I have one major concern with this solution, which I have heard from a few others before you. What is there to stop the acquisitiveness, just taking property or acquiring it, and creating pretty much the same conditions as we have now with respect to hierarchy (non-egalitarian) social arrangements? Those who have it v. those who were “had.” Obviously, I have some other concerns with the idea of simply dispensing with money. sandy

      • Jack Waddington says:

        What’s the f@@@in point of having a big house if no-one is prepared to be your servant or having acquisitions if there is no means of protecting/coveting them. Take what you need at the time you need it and leave it as soon as you’re done with it. You ain’t thinking deep enough. It needs A CONCEPTUAL LEAP. If you aren’t capable of making that ‘conceptual leap’ of course you are going to have a problem with my idea (well actually it’s not TOTALLY my idea). It needs thinking through and that takes a bit of time and most of us can’t REALLY think … though we ‘think’ we can. Therein is your problem … and the conundrum.

        But if and when it occurs; you, like the rest, will say “ON YEAH …. NOW I SEE IT … AND IT’S SO F@@@IN SIMPLE”. Try again Sandy. You see, you are pre-supposing that, that was never stated or implied or set in stone.

        We assume without really thinking if our assumption is correct/valid; hence we stay with this notion of exchange. ‘Exchange’ is not intrinsic to our nature … ‘giving’ and ‘taking’ are very very separate entities. We are born taking and we die giving. Between times we sometimes give and sometimes take. Neurotic man buys and sells.

        Think it through … if you can really think.


        • kulturcritic says:

          Actually, Jack, sharing is intrinsic to the nature of human community. It is what distinguishes us from our primate cousins; and it is what helped us to overcome the need for hierarchical social arrangements that dominate the primate and animal world.

          Here is a statement from Morton Fried’s book. The evolution of Political Society.

          “The paramount invention that led to human society was sharing… Of almost equal importance was the concomitant reduction in the significance of individual dominance in a hierarchical arrangement within the community. In part the structural possibility for such a hierarchy was undermined by the demands of sharing.” (p.106, Random House, 1967, italics mine)

          That is about all I have to say on this issue. I am sure you would enjoy his book. sandy

  2. Jack Waddington says:

    Didn’t see a button so not sure how to contact you

  3. Yes, but will the Wall Street camps, sit-ins and demonstrations actually
    accomplish anything? I feel very cynical; not that people are finding their
    voices, but that they won’t actually be heard! The same in London at
    St. Paul’s Cathedral. Will the world remember in two-month’s time? It took
    many years, but patience is finally paying off for Aung San Suu Kyi, who
    had much harsher things to deal with. Does patience come into the
    equation at all where economic instability is rampant at the moment, but
    whose people are used to having far nicer things?

    • kulturcritic says:

      It’s a great question, Dina. I think patience is important for any resistance; but, so too, is action. And eventually, the State will push back, then the demonstrators must make a choice, to respond or just resist, or go home. I think that action is now beginning in USA. We shall see what happens.

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