As The World Turns: Eschatological Capitalism

 The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism.
(Gore Vidal, Selected Essays 410)

As the world turns, and we continue our free-fall into a surreal concoction of self-induced all-consuming avarice, the politics of business and the business of politics march on, unfazed and undeterred.  However, Gore Vidal’s above charge is a frank but sobering reminder of the metaphysical underbelly and transcendental justification for this beast we have created.

While not the obvious heir to our modern rapine agenda, monotheism was clearly an early and important player in the game of civilization, a principal driver of this parade obsessed with governance and control, and ultimately, with acquisitiveness.  Indeed, for the early Israelites that was the primary motivation in petitioning Yahweh — for his supreme hegemonic dominion — revealing the divine power in a purely political act, liberating his chosen people from Egypt and overseeing their safe passage into Canaan. However, post-Enlightenment, the unholy alliance of science and politics largely took upon its own shoulders this mantle of domination and expansion. Yet, the three horsemen of our unfolding postmodern apocalypse – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – have all belligerently reasserted their claims to a place at the head of the table. Just look to America, Israel, or the Islamic world today for verification.  In fact, I just note one concluding comment from United States Army Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley’s Joint Staff Forces College presentation on “A Counter-Jihad Op Design Model” 

It is therefore time for the United States to make our true intentions clear. This barbaric ideology will no longer be tolerated. Islam must change or we will facilitate its self-destruction.*

Gee! Do you think the early Spanish Catholic explorers might have sounded a bit like that when they first encountered those “barbaric” native Americans in the New World?

The rigidly legalistic institutions and highly prosecutorial character of the Abrahamic faiths — each supporting their own semblance of lawfulness in society and in nature — march loudly but blindly toward the approaching apocalypse in lockstep with the politics of progress and/or perfectability. Meanwhile, countless signs indicate that the desired Eschaton, this glorious advance to perfection, may be drawing to a rather inglorious conclusion.  In truth, it looks to be neither the kingdom of god on earth nor a paradise overflowing with virgins. The politicians and policy wonks, corporate elite and entrepreneurs, together with imams, priests, and rabbis are all stumbling over one another in a largely chaotic cacophony, hearkening only to private songs of salvation played by their chosen pied pipers, as the great majority of the world’s population follows mindlessly along while very few try hopelessly to resist.

I think Kenneth Rexroth’s assertion is not far off the mark when he writes:

[T]he entire Judeo-Christian-Muslim period in human history has been an episode of unparalleled perceived and social psychosis and international barbarity.” (Bird in the Bush, 20)

Or, as David Miller has concluded, “socially monotheism becomes fascism, imperialism, or capitalism.” (Shepard, Madness59)  Well now, I think that about sums up our current situation here in the West; America appears to have all three “isms” working quite effectively together — a totalitarian capitalist empire whose internal security apparatus seeks to silence all opposing viewpoints. I might be tempted to call it transcendent, or better yet, eschatological capitalism; after all our currency says “In God We Trust.”  So let us take a brief pause that refreshes, and review some of this week’s findings.

We read that our dear friends at Monsanto – the home of Frankenstein foods and other toxic monsters – have recently been accused of making death threats to a young activist mother in Argentina who had been organizing opposition to the use of agrochemicals in her local homeland. 1

Less perplexing perhaps, we were notified as well that suicide rates among crisis-stricken business owners in the wealthy Veneto area of Italy are rising significantly.  God, even those serving the wealthy can no longer survive the fall. 2

Meanwhile, small Greek entrepreneurs, not to be drowned out by the static from their suicidal Italian neighbors, are abandoning old family businesses at a harsh pace.  It seems the financial crisis refuses to provide them any breathing room while the Greek government continues to shrink their vanishing social safety net.

And wouldn’t you know it, just as things were beginning to heat-up for the summer (no pun intended), the Japanese turned off the last spigot on their nuclear power plants; but the question is, for how long will they go without electricity on demand 24/7? 3

On a more proleptic note, extreme weather events continue to dot the globe in bunches now, not simply one catastrophe after another, but all at once; and BIG! The magnitude of these events strongly suggests the influence of human-induced climate change backed up by Gaia’s overall weariness with how we’ve been treating her here in the Anthropocene.  From fracking for natural gas, to an oil volcano in the Gulf of Mexico, to mountain-top removal mining, bio-engineering of franken-foods, and unbridled damming/pollution of the waterways, not to mention the callous and indiscriminate destruction of the rain forests, I imagine Gaia has had enough of our rapine patriarchal domination and scatological theology

As Gore Vidal wrote back in 1992:

We are now, slowly, becoming alarmed at the state of the planet.  For a century, we have been breeding like a virus under optimum conditions, and now the virus has begun to attack its host, the earth.  The lower atmosphere is filled with dust, we have been told from our satellites in space. Climate changes; earth and water poisoned.  Sensible people grow alarmed; sky-godders are serene, even smug.  The planet is just a staging area for heaven.  Why bother to clean it up?  Did not the sky-god tell his slaves to “be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it, and have dominion… over every living thing that moveth upon the earth”?  Well, we did just like you told us, massa.  We’ve used everything up.  We’re ready for heaven now. Or maybe Mars will do. (Vidal 413)

Lest we forget the American-financed Arab Spring or the homegrown OWS movement, the leaders of at least eleven major European states, including France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, England, Ireland, Denmark and Finland, have all been thrown out of office recently for their complicity in global financial failure, sovereign economic meltdown, and heartless austerity measures that further enslave their citizens. In fact, given the vociferous austerity-enabled outcome of the elections this week in both France and Greece, the woman now wearing the pants in Germany seems to be in a rather tight spot.

‘The hour of the extremists,’ warned Handelsblatt, Germany’s financial newspaper, predicting that the defeat of pro-EU austerity parties in Greek elections will bring ‘an unparalleled political upheaval’. 4

Meanwhile, as global social unrest continues to mount, the self-anointed Masters of the Universe back in America seem determined to triangulate the most direct route to oblivion, marching into untold wars around the globe (both overt and covert), destroying lives at will, depleting or poisoning planetary essentials, and continuing to build-out the mechanisms of their internal police state, including a “$2 billion data center in the Utah desert to spy on American citizens’ online communications.” 5  Talk about supreme dominion and hegemonic expansion.

While Vidal suggets that our national security state got its real start with the National Security Act of 1947, its roots seem to be more ancient, as I have suggested. In any event, the wheels of this security machinery have been grinding painfully and stealthily forward for quite a while.  We, the people, can no longer turn a blind eye to the surveillance cameras on virtually every street corner.  We cannot continue to ignore the eternally expanding authority given to the Departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security, CIA, FBI, the National Guard, as well as the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. This country, as Chris Hedges is fond of pointing out, has exposed the inherently totalitarian nerve lying within the skein of empire.  And as Vidal has suggested, this sky-god-directed hegemony self-righteously proclaims its own superiority and manifest destiny, a proclamation hearkening back to the chosen people of the monotheistic Word, refined through the ages in the hands of philosophers like Aristotle, scientists like Francis Bacon, princes like Machiavelli, and those who followed their example.

As Ernest Callenbach, author of Ecotopia, wrote shortly before his death earlier this year:

Humans tend to try to manage things: land, structures, even rivers. We spend enormous amounts of time, energy, and treasure in imposing our will on nature, on preexisting or inherited structures, dreaming of permanent solutions, monuments to our ambitions and dreams. But in periods of slack, decline, or collapse, our abilities no longer suffice for all this management. We have to let things go.6

So, how do we do this folks?  How do we just let things go? Or, as Lao Tzu suggested, how do we act by not acting (wei wu wei)… as the world turns?

56 Responses to As The World Turns: Eschatological Capitalism

  1. cpopblog says:

    I have always believed contemporary music has the ability to fill a void, to aid in social cohesion, and provide a mode of awareness toward relevant values. I am biased as a composer, but as a composer I also have a stake in providing evidence of this theory. Many other artists and acousticians, and composers are exploring the same, often employing regional sources of creativity with a freshness and purpose that nourishes the part of us that cannot be rationalized and is confused and bereaved by our situation. The ‘eschatological’ element admits that many current aspects of “culture” will be let go, I believe to positive effect, allowing a regeneration of imagination. I think the opportunity is at hand to create new forms of communal expression and experience. And, as John Muir made clear, we are always amidst creation. The one resource that doesn’t have to be scare is creativity. When the masses have spread out into the desert abandoning their monotheistic religion of oil and consumption maybe then with a little luck the long crumbling tabernacle, the antiquated worship house, will have a new future as a place to break bread and ponder in the center of a symbiotic acoustic.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Cpop = Here is my choice of the music that fills the void. It is Grigori Leps singing Cupola written by Vladimir Vytsosky. It is in Russian, but I think you will understand. sandy

      • cpopblog says:

        Thanks for sharing the link and for the ever engaging discourse here. Your sincere curiosity and openness is very refreshing. Sorry for the late response.

    • relentless says:

      “We are always amidst creation,” from your Muir quote. As one of those composers who lives and breathes amidst creation i can only for the moment say: “Amen!” One other thing, pertaining to my mentioning last blog of Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue: the analyzing types are still attempting to figure it out 187 linear years later with oscilloscopes and other scientific ‘perfections’ (MAJOR Bb sic here!). Perhaps because their ears are tuned to the civilized cacophonies of a disconnected drummer. Let the creative resonances commence. Thanks CPOP. {And Vidal is one cool dude, cantankerous & curmudgeonly Sandy!}

      • cpopblog says:

        I have a small bust of Beethoven on my piano, staring and inspiring as I compose. Grosse Fugue, along with perhaps his Ninth Symphony fully embodies the consummate genius of Beethoven to deny the dogmas of his time, favoring an enlightened connection, complexity, and musical stewardship. As for analysis, as goes for music same as politics and economics for me…forget the theory, put the booklet down and listen.

  2. “So, how do we do this folks? How do we just let things go? Or, as Lao Tzu suggested, how do we act by not acting (wei wu wei)… as the world turns?”

    Buy a bathing suit, hey at least we can get a swim out of our newly formed irradiated-coastal-waters to-be as a result of climate chaos, just remember to bring a geiger counter as the nuclear plant meltdowns will have already permanently rendered the sea unsafe.

    Or maybe just take the same SSRIs that are so in vogue in ‘Merka these days.

  3. bmiller says:

    Sandy,
    Thanks for the quotes from Vidal. I’ll have to now hunt up his collection of essays. Good stuff!

    How do we let things go, is it even possible? We, all on this planet, are so intertwined with the results of the past 150 years of fossil fueled expansion, the past 3000 years of monotheistic “certainties” that to let go or step back seems like an impossibility.
    I personally feel that on a larger cultural, political level there is indeed nothing that can be done. As a species we are locusts in an orchard; we will devour it all before moving on to the next grove. On a personal level we learn the skills needed to live in balance. Place our faith in the at hand and practical.
    Perhaps it is as simple as “Leavergirl’s” latest post on building soil. Or, perhaps, “we put our faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years” as Wendell Berry put in in his wonderful poem The Mad Farmer’s Liberation Front Manifesto.
    We learn to walk. We watch the sky, look at the ground and slow down. The intertwined part of ourselves watches with sadness the great unraveling. The part not attached is open to what comes.
    Thanks as always for the weekly posts.
    Brian

  4. derekthered says:

    “The wall on which the prophets wrote
    Is cracking at the seams.
    Upon the instruments of death
    The sunlight brightly gleams.”
    King Crimson – Epitaph
    http://www.elyrics.net/read/k/king-crimson-lyrics/epitaph-lyrics.html

    man, taking down some sacred cows today aren’t we? yes indeed, it is past time to call out all of these snake oil salesmen for what they are, a bunch of flim-flam men, and women, now that the more forward thinking denominations have lady preachers. praise god and pass the ammunition.

    in today’s pc environment it is dangerous to speak what you feel about the abrahamic faiths, and i wouldn’t let the hindus off the hook either, it all comes down to power. in my 58 years i have seen no evidence for any sort of supernatural being or beings, why does mankind cling to this? why? and god forbid you do something to offend any of these people, and be sure to kow-tow to whatever god your electorate subscribes to. meanwhile back at the ranch, the rich get richer, and the poor stay poor.

    personally? i accept the marxist critique, the solutions? we need to be inventive. now, we have some competing imperatives here, a species with the urge to reproduce coupled with a finite planet, the exponential thing, but everyone wishes to maintain the illusion we are all in this together, when just the opposite may be true.

    what to do? what to do? i don’t know. will we see the rise of some new sort of religion? a humanist creed? do no harm, consume as little as possible? how does this square with our natural proclivities? in the meantime, beans and rice have a really long shelf life, but they are kind of like gunpowder, you have to keep them dry.

    • kulturcritic says:

      An incredible album, Red!! thanks for the reminder. Yes, we have submitted to the various dealers of death for too long, whether they wear robes or suits. I think we re-look at the animistic sentiment of our preliterate forebears for a way forward. That may provide us with an acceptable starting point to recover our animal humanity and the intricacy of our bonds with the non-human world. There are no longer any sacred cows… the Hindus not withstanding. sandy

  5. Malthus says:

    Well you are just a bundle of fun today Sandy.

    Of course I like the Gore Vidal quote; “For a century, we have been breeding like a virus under optimum conditions, and now the virus has begun to attack its host, the earth.” We have always been parasites on this planet and now the numbers are not adding up. I think I am going to busy my self figuring out how to get the Trimaran I am building on to a big rock wall. Good one again, Sandy.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Yes, on a big rock; I’d like to see that! Vidal is priceless. I don’t know that I would slam humanity in toto on this deal. It was a certain variant in our cultural direction that may be more directly responsible for the disease. Anyway, I thought you would like this one, Malthus. sandy

      • Malthus says:

        Not sure what you are meaning when you say “It was a certain variant in cultural direction that may be more directly responsible for the disease.” I would say the variant would be agriculture which led to the chance to overproduce ourselves, and yet I have the feeling you are looking at something else. Perhaps more in the direction that Marlena has suggested “the desert monotheisms,” and I would agree totally with that assessment. Good term also. Consciousness and reality can be quite subjective and open to interpretation. I would say more of a life in harmony with the natural (nature) world as we did for millions of years. Also an interesting statement that everyone seems to agree with about not going back. Maybe its back to where?

        • kulturcritic says:

          Malthus – Certainly I see agriculture as a turning point, and the changes that resulted (objectification of the earth, the other, surplus, hierarchy, specialization, kingship, monotheism, cities, armies, literacy, mathematics, modern science…) you get my drift.

          • Malthus says:

            Yes I do.

          • relentless says:

            Yeah, and the evil incarnate himself: Francis “Place Nature on the Rack” Bacon. Modern science, as far removed from the World as possible when their goal proceeds by their tortured mentor. Have you read Paul Feyerabend’s ‘Against Method’? Flirting with anarchist thought in a mostly defense of life, stating there’s more than one method of understanding and undertaking scientific ‘research.’

            • kulturcritic says:

              Sure did read Against Method, about 25 years ago. You may want to look at his posthumous work, The Conquest of Abundance: A Tale of Abstraction versus the Richness of Being. Tough sledding through Greek myth and philosophy, but some great nuggets from an incredible mind. Thanks Relentless

              • relentless says:

                Thanks Sandy. Read it also. Yes, an incredible mind. i still find ‘Against Method’ more to my contemplation style…seems nearly every other sentence i’ve highlighted or commented upon every few years or so (highlighter colors change as have my comments, go McFigure!), first read it too nearly 25 Earth revolutions past.

  6. marlena13 says:

    Today brings more news of the collapse, JPM/Chase losing 2 billion in gambling with other peoples money, and banks getting ready to begin taking Greek drachmas, again.
    I have always been amazed and often appalled that so many people run their lives by a wholly fabricated, with not a shred of evidence bronze age myth. Though most would rather accept simple lies that deal with complex truths. To me the desert monotheisms are the real plague upon the earth. They have brought nothing but destruction, hatred, burnings, mutilations and death.
    What we can each do, is to begin living a conscious life, a life in harmony with reality. If we wait for someone else to come along and hand us “the new way” are we not still blind to reality adn willing to accept the same old snake oil in a new container? Personally, I feel that we humans are not a part from nature, reality, but a part of nature, reality. The bronze age myths which enslave so many billions of us are what convinces us that humans are some how different and apart from.
    As you choose, walk your own path. We cannot go back, only branch out in different directions that the one the masses of us are on now.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Ahhh Marlena!! Great to see you here, and that you reposted the today’s piece on FB. Many thanks. And you are right on about the desert monotheists; something in the water there (pun intended) that made them crazy. There truly are individuals who want us to believe not merely that the system is salvageable and sustainable, but that we have a right and an obligation to maintain it… the rest of the world (people, creatures, nature…) be damned. It is a solipsistic and maniacal perspective, born of desertification of the mind. How to become conscious again is the problem; right now we are walking talking zombies. love your input, Marlena, as always. sandy

  7. javacat says:

    Growing up Catholic, wearing the doily on my head to church, I can recall child-like comfort in ritual: stand up, sit down, genuflect, cross yourself, and be done. The confessional? A dark musty place for sharing whatever scraps of sin an 8-year-old could collect. As an adult, looking across different flavors of belief, I’m struck by two things: an abdication of responsibility (The “it’s God’s will” mantra) and the distancing of self from other.

    I agree with all you say, Sandy, about the hierarchy and control presented by monotheism through fear and the promise of reward, bestowed by the Deity or his appointed crew. If one questions the party line or acts in ways contrary–even when the actions are true to the precepts of the religion, punishment is strong and swift. Witness the chastising of American nuns for, gasp! ministering to the poor and hungry: “Pope Says American Nuns Too Focused On Poor, Not Enough On Gay Bashing” (http://www.care2.com/causes/pope-says-american-nuns-too-focused-on-poor-not-enough-on-gay-bashing.html). One could also mention here the strictly man-dominated hierarchy and the overall subjugation of women in monotheistic religions. What’s up with that, guys?

    Following a personal belief about how one moves in the world is one thing. Turning over all decision-making to a questionable unseen being is quite another. Attributing all kinds of nonsense to him, is well, the stuff of which comedy is made (when it’s not pathetic): “God wanted me to go into debt to buy a whackin’ big house. ” This willingness to yield is a form of immaturity that one sees in toddlers and teens–developmental appropriate for those years, but not as full adults. To allow an external precept to rule, unexamined, unchallenged and untested, is submission and capitulation.

    In the current religious hierarchies, such giving up to the structure directs all the attention in one direction, both symbolically and temporally. We are driven to prepare for the afterlife, the straight highway of linear time, making up for the past to qualify for the future, always falling short of perfection. Our collective gaze is direction to the being in the sky (troposphere? mesosphere?), to the inanimate statues in churches, and away from the Earth and each other. By so directing our focus on a single goal, the collectiveness of our being is lost. By putting our belief in the benediction of sublime Other, we reject our self knowledge and disconnect from our perceptions of real experience.

    Sandy, you wrote about this a while back, discussing whether the shaman was the beginning of the end, so to speak. That once people had an intermediary, they lost their connection with the Universe. They could no longer speak directly. They gave away their power to be one.

    As always, thanks for your thoughtful and insightful writing, and for letting us share our thoughts.

    • kulturcritic says:

      The pleasure is mine JC. So what do you think… was the shaman the beginning of the end, or rather the tail-end of the beginning. Or does it not matter? I would venture to guess that in more primitive social groupings, the shaman was just the wildest among the group or tribe. And so naturally, the tribe, community looked to him when things got… well, a little to wild (out of hand). They might have figured… Gee! Maybe this wild person can help us out here. On the other hand, given the hierarchy that blossomed with the emergence of priest and king (sometimes in one and the same ‘office’), things began to go downhill rather rapidly. Of course, the role of religion in the emergent polytheistic and then monotheistic faiths of civilization was to deal with the sense of the loss of intimacy with the power of nature and the loss of the experience of alterity with which individuals could fuse routinely within an anamistic-totemic surround. Obviously, looking up to the (transcendent) SKY as sole benefactor was not the best of choices. But, neither was looking up to the KING, PRINCE, PRESIDENT or PREMIER. Boy, are we fucked, or what? Thank you, Michele, for sharing your thoughts today, as always. sandy

      • javacat says:

        A good teacher always asks a question. 😉

        From where I am right now, the shamans look pretty damn good. The one shaman I’ve met, and the healers I’ve known are all attuned to other energies that most of us block out, disregard, or aren’t even aware exist. They see differently and perceive in ways that transcend the single-track hype-rational mode so extolled today.

        My sense is that shamans today are among the few who can still fuse within the animistic-totemic surround you describe. Their roles may be more important now than they were originally because the wildness has become chaotic and the changes so rapid and unfathomable.

        As to your question…based on what I’ve read, shamans were recognized by the group to have skills and abilities beyond those of the rest of the tribe. Shamans fused more easily, more completely, more intensely with the non-human landscape, truly entered into another realm, and could perceive meanings differently because of those skills. The role of the shaman was not passed down from generation to generation. The shaman wasn’t also the chief elder. In those H/G societies, most if not all of the members would still be vibrantly connected to the natural world because they were living as part of their landscape. So, I’m not sure how directly the shamanic led to the later religious strictures of later priest/prince/emperor. Perhaps those are a separate branch resulting from the agrarian transition.

        I’m not feeling very left-brain in writing these days, often because the topics don’t seem to reside well there.

        Thanks for reading and for feedback. All the best, JC.

  8. john patrick says:

    The baby and its dirty diaper. How do you separate the two? Fortunately, grace–allows growth and movement in the soil.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Hello JP. And thank you for that fine (extended) haiku!! I love going to sleep at night with your literary configurations rambling through my synapses!! sandy

      • john patrick says:

        Life is change. Try to observe or gain experience without it. If one is unable to create, then all that is left is copy/paste or destruction. The former provides more of the same. The latter produces change by annihilation. Both are observable, but neither produces fruit that the blind can see. The eye within only sees that which is created. Something real from this moment to the next.

        When observing the wonders of hell (or the first-realm), ones first response is to find the door out. But, without a key, happiness can only be found in drinking dirty water. Where/what is the key. That is the question… the images on the wall do not have it. And the mirror does not work without light.

        Is it time for vino and crackers, yet?

  9. Martin says:

    “wei wu wei” – exactly! There is nothing to be done save to enjoy the moment…

    And, I suppose, to be truly who you are without copping to anyone else’s trip.

    • kulturcritic says:

      But how to enjoy? That is still up for discussion. Don’t you think?

      • Martin says:

        Yes it is. I was merely proposing that which to me is the obvious.

        “How” is yet another matter altogether – didn’t say I knew the way, but I’m beginning (after lo these many years) to settle into it.

  10. John Bollig says:

    One of the problems is with the idea of my religion is better or greater or my god is more powerful than yours. My personal opinion is that this was largely solved by the nasty 30 years war in europe. You might not like your neighbor, you might not like his faith, but killing him is still killing and is not kosher. Sort of a peaceful coexistence that was in vogue during the cold war. My faith is mine and mine only. It does not extend beyound my own self. I do agree that faith has been prostituted by the powers that be to gain wealth, power or favors from a population wanting security and a way to make sense of the nonsense of the chaos. We have no right to judge our ancestors desire for safety, security in a chaotic world. The major issue is that of the idea of what happens when cultures conflict and how to manage that conflict in a world bent on self destruction.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Actually, John, there was a much longer period in human pre-history without major wars as well. Of course, there were alot fewer of us on the planet; but, also, our tendency towards cooperation was much greater as well then.

  11. troutsky says:

    With reference to the Callenbach quote,I’m going to have to agree with Zizek : “We are told to ‘renounce the very endeavor to retain control over what goes on, rejecting it as the expression of the modern logic of domination- one should instead ‘let oneself go’, drift along, while retaining an inner indifference toward the mad dance and frantic pace of market competition..” This is a dangerous anti-politics and functions as the perfect ideological supplement to the stressful tension of capitalist dynamics. We need the anger of Fannon, not inner peace for Gods sake !(pun intended) Anyway, I like to mix things up and will go down swinging (vodka in the other hand). And I am old enough to remember watching Vidal wipe the smirk off W.F.Buckley’s face on national television. It was an early inspiration indeed.
    Made your Montana plans yet?

    • kulturcritic says:

      Hey Trout… Perfect foil to capitalism or not, I still feel that fighting the system further empowers it. I don’t want to be a Don Quixote or a martyr, when the train is going to hit a wall sooner or later in any event. But, withdrawing from the system, en masse, may be a more effective strategy. After all the system needs consumers or the gears jam quickly.

      No; have not made my USA travel plans yet. But, I will come to Montana in June or July for a week. Once I sort things out in the next week or so I will let you know. Do I have your cell number?

  12. Kenuck says:

    My advice to you all….start drinking heavily!

  13. derekthered says:

    Hubris, meet Nemesis
    UNCIVILISATION
    http://dark-mountain.net/about/manifesto/

  14. Matt Holbert says:

    I just happened to pick up Krishnamurti’s “Freedom From the Known” this morning and the contents of the first page seemed an appropriate accompaniment to the above piece:

    “Man has throughout the ages been seeking something beyond himself, beyond material welfare — something we call truth or God or reality, a timeless state — something that cannot be disturbed by circumstances, by thought or by human corruption.

    Man has always asked the question: what is it all about? Has life any meaning at all? He sees the enormous confusion of life, the brutalities, the revolts, the wars, the endless divisions of religion, ideology and nationality, and with a sense of deep abiding frustration he asks, what is one to do, what is this thing we call living, is there anything beyond it?

    And not finding this nameless thing of a thousand names which he has always sought, he has cultivated faith — faith in a saviour or an ideal — and faith invariably breeds violence. [p.9]”

  15. john patrick says:

    For me, the future can be summed up in two words:

    broken promises.

    Anything tied to monetization will be modified, diminished, and/or broken. Jobs, healthcare, housing, lifestyle, energy, pensions, etc.. Because more was promised (via the promissory note) than can be delivered.

    And so I wonder about the ancient past (@Sandy), did natural limits on our ability to promise an outcome/things keep promises within their attainable reach? Did we only promise what we really had? Did we only promise that which was good for the clan. Instead of claiming westward expansion on the future.

    On a positive note, the intangible that we promise to others (friendship, care, interest, conversation), things that can’t be bought/sold with a future-speak token, should weather the storm just well…

    • kulturcritic says:

      JP – I am not sure what a promise would look like in a world focused predominantly on the present. Promise-keeping as a habit implies not only an orientation to future action, but also the susceptibility to not mean what one says, which would necessitate the promise.

  16. Tom says:

    The Buddhist approach is my choice, but i’m not ‘there’ yet
    (well, of course i am, how can i “not be”?:
    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Buddhists-948/koan.htm – see “answer”)
    and am subject to the same outcome as everyone else in every way since i too went along for the ride.

    There’s no “getting out of” our predicament, since it was designed to fail by our arrogance and misuse of all the knowledge we came to discover as a species. We’re no more intelligent than yeast when it comes to overpopulation (even though we “know how it works” WE DID IT TOO)
    and severely lack the “sapience” in our self-named homo-sapiens. Do what you can to help and try to enjoy the moments we have remaining.

    • john patrick says:

      Nicely said, Tom. Each of us will be challenged to take the high road. And often, “do no harm” may be the only choice.

      I still think what we are experiencing right now, is the “solution.” How can one fix that?

      We will have to bear it up. Some who previously rowed, will now have to act as captain. And many that had exagerated power, will learn they only shared the ground connector.

    • kulturcritic says:

      I am laughing with you Tom. You have grasped the true essence of zen mind! sandy

  17. My mother told me a story years ago about a couple she heard of where the husband was abusive towards the wife. One day while the husband was sitting on a front stoop, the wife got a pot and boiled up some lye (and God knows what else) and dumped it right on him! Of course hubby decided to report this to the cops, who told him that he had it coming and if he didn’t get lost they’d toss him in jail. Later on in time, the husband predeceased his wife and left her a much liberated widow.

    In the bigger picture, we’re the abusive husband. The wife, Earth. The cops, God. The lye, whatever natural punishment Mother Earth inflicts upon us. One day, Mother Earth will get tired of our abusing her and get her revenge. Then of course we (especially the Monotheists) will whine to God about it. And like the cops in the above story, God will tell us that we had it coming to us; that He/She didn’t tell us to “subdue” the planet; and, to get lost before God puts us in the jail called extinction.

    Call me a heretic, but that was a great post my friend. Peace!

    • kulturcritic says:

      Thank you dangerouschristian. I am glad you liked it. Your parable of the abusive husband raises some intriguing issues about the illusion of divine providence, the mad chase after free will (its relation to capitalism), and related questions of stewardship, management, and ownership (all part of our accepted vocabulary). I am not a believer in the Abrahamic sense of divinity, yet I have a healthy sense of the ‘pouvoir’ that infuses every piece of this globe we call home. I do think we make our own decisions, although tempered by the many inputs that constantly intertwine with our “own” intentions. We are process and product of the place we occupy and constantly recreate, and nothing more. (Of course, I always stand ready to revise my thinking)

  18. Frank Kling says:

    “The good Earth- we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy.”
    ~~~~~Kurt Vonnegut~~~~~~~

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