Disaffected!

Indian Summer in Siberia and an ‘Arab Spring’ in New York

"These Are Our Steps" - Yuri Ivanov

“There’s something happening here, but what it is ain’t exactly clear”

There is a strange irony in the representations and, perhaps, the self-perception of the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations now entering their fourth week, with perhaps 1,000 arrests already logged in New York City alone.  And the movement seems to be spreading like wild-fire, with sympathetic actions flaring nationwide, from California to Maine. Apparently, the organizers see their occupation in the image of those revolutionary movements that have taken place recently across MENA, the so-called the “Arab Spring” uprisings.  You know, like the one in Egypt, where the military has now taken control of the regime (only without Mubarak) and is savagely subduing any workers who protest.  You may recall the lovefest a few months back, when the Egyptian people and the army were one.  But, what did they expect?

However, according to reports from our own trenchant media and the less-than-transparent politicians of Empire, those Arab uprisings were born of a deep-seated desire of the second-worlders to have what we have here in the West, in America – on Wall Street, in Hollywood, New York, Miami and elsewhere; as we were told, they wanted our freedom, our capitalism, and our vaunted democracy.  So, what then does the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd really want.  I mean, we already are the proud owners of high-stakes casino capitalism, democracy managed by the likes of Koch BrothersMonsantoGeneral Electric, and Goldman Sachs, and the consumer freedom to buy any brand of underwear or toothpaste one could desire or imagine.

I understand that the OWS folks want change; that much is obvious.  Like others before them, they would like to take politics back from the control of big business and greedy bankers; but is that a realistic objective?  I ask, is it realistic to expect the owners to let the inmates run the asylum; no less, to run an industrialized economy dependent upon cheap oil and maintaining a lifestyle that long ago led us onto a oneway road to ecological disaster, a lifestyle inherently incompatible with planetary survival?  In any event, do the disaffected really think they can wrest control from the money-makers and the money-lenders, and their paid servants in DC?  And what good would it do if they could?  What did it do for the Egyptians?  How will it end for the Libyans?  But maybe, the American contingent does not want regime change; after all, we are already a democracy, right?

So what do the disaffected here really want?  Of course, they want a solution to their problems and to the gross economic inequalities they experience daily.  They want to fix what is broken with the system so they can once again claim their piece of the pie, find their place in the sun, and recover their share of the American dream.  Quite simply, they appear to want an economic fix.  And with the Unions now joining in the mix, that could be articulated rather quickly and clearly.  But an economic fix, even if it feels good now, is not what is needed, I’m afraid; at least not from where I’m standing. The only “solution” that gets to the heart of the matter (as I see it) is at least a partial dissolution of the architecture and associated scaffolding of industrial civilization; in other words, a dismantling of the very Curriculum that has brought us to the brink. Anything shy of that goal will only lead to further abuse of the remaining species, continued degradation of the biosphere, and almost certain global destruction, including elimination of the majority, if not all, of its human inhabitants.

But, I am afraid such deconstruction is not what the OWS crowd seeks.  It appears they have a more aligned, more modest, politically correct agenda.  In fact, they too have enjoyed the fruits of this system, when provided. They just want that the system works for them, rather than against them.  They want more time to pick those fruits in Big Daddy’s Orchard, and they want more revenue from sale of the fruits.  Yet, they fail to see the brick wall at the end of the tunnel; focusing instead on a more comfortable ride, in a nicer cabin, for the price they are paying.

But let’s get real, shall we? Wall Street and its multiple addictions is only the tip of the iceberg.  It is the financial engine of empire, and this American Empire is the apex of Western civilization – its hegemony spread far and wide over the globe.  And, therein lies the heart of our problem. The challenge facing us rests fundamentally with the logic of the system itself — with the science, math, law, politics, and, yes, the religion(s) of the Curriculum of the West.  But, for some reason, I don’t think that’s what the OWS folks are going for.

And we all know what this Curriculum is about. First and foremost, it demands the separation of subject and object – ontologically, epistemologically, psychologically, and physically. Then it requires a rigid objectification of nature, both human and non-human. Followed by the articulation of scientific laws within a very specific logistic format, by means of which nature, both human and non-human, can be manipulated, modified, and controlled. Then comes identification and extraction of those objectified resources, both human and non-human, to be used (up) in their application to the productive capacities of empire and its forward global march. Whatever it is that the OWS crowd thinks it wants, it is NOT the end of empire, not the collapse of Western civilization or its Curriculum.  At least not yet; and not consciously!

On the other hand, there could be more brewing here than currently meets the public eye or even the self-understanding of the OWS disaffected.  It seems as though a greater sense of ennui and despair is setting in across the Homeland.  Students around the USA have now joined in the demonstrations, confirming the wide-ranging experience of alienation presently haunting this country, coupled with a recognition of the charade that the system represents, and maybe, just maybe, disillusionment with the institutions that define modern reality.

Every student in school right now is looking at the prospect of zero employment, insane debts to go to school, and entering into a workforce with no jobs. These are kids from every walk of life who are doing exactly what they’ve been told to do in order to succeed and realizing that it’s all a bunch of bullshit.

And while the self-understanding of this collective anxiety still appears focused on pressing economic and financial issues, a pre-conscious undertone may be just coalescing around general disaffection with the entire agenda of the Western curriculum.

‘There’s this broad sense of alienation among this generation, both in terms of how they’re going to get jobs and where the direction of the nation is headed,’ said Khan. ‘There’s this generational collective anxiety of where they belong in the world and where the world is headed. They don’t feel secure in the world they’re about to inherit.’ (emphasis mine)

Listen, folks.  It is not a big leap of faith to go from despair over the direction of Empire, to disaffection with the system itself.  And, I would wager that, perhaps soon, people will realize that the agenda of our civilization, in all of its diverse incarnations – whether represented politically by autocratic rule in MENA, socialist democracies across Europe, or corporatism (a.k.a. democratic capitalism) in here in the Homeland – that it is all of a piece, cut from the same cloth, and that it all adds up to the same thing: control exercised by entrenched, institutional hierarchies.

And the further revelation, that industrial civilization is itself the problem, may not be far behind.  After all, the soulless objectification of nature, both human and non-human, and the wanton manipulation of those “natures” for the entertainment and benefit of a few, cannot stand for long. In addition to the convenient, but erroneous, objectification of what we call outward nature, the idea of a toxic human nature has been artfully crafted as well, by legislators, high priests, and other specialists over the millennia.  Such artifices create and maintain the illusion that rationalized, hierarchic institutions (and all they entail) are both necessary and sufficient to tame these twin beasts (natural and human).

I submit that one’s personal sense of alienation, and that of the disaffected around this nation and the world, is born of the emptiness resulting from these fallacious objectifications. Nature outside my flesh is not an alien object confronting me, nor is there some evil nature lurking within me, both awaiting proper manipulation and control by the authorities – our scientists, legislators, and priests.  Remember, the “war of all against all” that so worried Thomas Hobbes, never occurred in pre-civilized prehistory.  Nor was there an all-out war against the environment that those “primitives” inhabited. But wars on every front are here now; they are part of what we created in our systematic rush to progress and material comfort.  Of course, that still leaves unanswered the big question: what led pre-civilized humanity down this road in the first instance.  That question may be a bit more challenging to answer, I’m afraid.

At this juncture, I would simply note that as we continue to move through diverse shows of political theatre here in the Homeland, one thing is assured.  America will see more policing, more homeland security, more domestic military intervention, and covert surveillance; more disaffection and alienation; more terrorism, sanctioned torture, corporate corruption, and wars of resource acquisition; more media whitewashing and political propaganda to keep us well trained and under the thumb of those controlling the capital.  The fascism inherent in our system, in every political hierarchy, even those claiming to be democratic, eventually shows its teeth when the sledding gets rough.  Ours will be no different.  Just ask the disaffected in New York and elsewhere across the land.

89 Responses to Disaffected!

  1. Murph says:

    Sandy,

    Good analysis, sits well with me and what I think I know about this subject.

    You make the statement; “Remember, the “war of all against all” that so worried Thomas Hobbes, never occurred in pre-civilized prehistory. ” Interesting statement. If pre-civilization, how would one document this statement? It seems to me from studying the archeology finds that we are only guessing at how those people really lived. The amount of assumptions are enormous. I also see what appears to me as a large amount of modern-anthropomorphization of ancient cultures, which of course, assumes that there is a possibility that those ancient societies did not think like we do today. Maybe, maybe not.

    I guess I’m just going to have to sit down at the bench and figure out how to time travel so I can find out the real story for myself. I’ll let you know what I find out.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Thanks Murph

      Actually, studies on living hunter gatherers and early domesticators have told us much about pre-civilized humans. As well, much new work in paleontology, anthropology, ethnography, and history of religions has given us a much different picture of the ‘primitive mentality’ than we knew during Hobbes’ years 1588-1679. BTW – check out some of the books on my Bookshelf

  2. John T says:

    I suppose this outpouring of emotion by the OWS’ers was inevitable, and will continue until the movement or movements will be smashed by the state or co-opted as the Wisconsin crew happy to settle for a political solution, lost its kinetic energy.

    The level of brutality has and will create a stronger resistance. This will lead to adjustments to tactics. Possibly the resistance in the future will not take on such a peaceful form. The future does not look bright for nature in both the human and non-human form.

    Are we wise enough to avoid the cataclysm? Or will the resistance fade with a whimper as we watch the environmental destruction from the best seats in the house?

    Strange days indeed.

    • kulturcritic says:

      John T Strange indeed; but it was bound to get here, and bound to go further. The worst the State can do is react with more brutality, that will trigger more feral experiences of anomy and difference, which may lead to a strong realization that this world of theirs is not our world.

  3. Sandy, I have no doubt that among the OWSers are those who see a bunch of cheaters and stealers out for their own personal gain who are ruining life for others. They are through being ashamed of there gullibility or lack of success and are now expressing the pissed-off stage. Nothing wrong with that. But I also believe that among the demonstrators and their supporters are attitudes and perspectives that go deeper to the root cause(s).

    It is good for all to express themselves honestly, taking their stands on the Truth as they see it. This is especially good if one has the courage to detach from the results of the actions taken. The shifting of the paradigm of selfishness, separateness, competitiveness, and the got-to-get-me-higher-archy is, I think playing itself out. We are all players and spectators at particular and various levels of engagement. Every wholehearted effort (small or great) to move into the brotherly and sisterly love of all, in my opinion, is a help to all with whom one is connected. Even a conversation on a blog, a demonstration on a street, or a quiet heart-opening meditation during a walk in the woods is a blessing.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Yes Ron, I think you are right by and large… there is a lot of pent up aggravation and despair out there; and there is some deeper sources to it as well,just not everyone recognizes it. We shall see how far it goes.

  4. B Miller says:

    Nicely put. I’m glad to see that the OWS crowd are putting up a show of resistance. But, ultimately the sense is that the goals are strictly reformist. How far we as a society have slid when they are being labeled revolutionaries. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they are out there making noise before the whole pyramid collapses.

    I recently was musing over a slogan we used to use in my half remembered anarcho past: “we don’t want more cake, we want the whole fucking bakery”. I realize now that the staement and intent was on the wrong track. Instead, I submit, “We not only do not want more cake, we don’t even want your stinking bakery.” Until we dismiss these dreams that we can salvage one iota of the current consumer economy with it’s links to 90% of employment opportunities we are just whistling Dixie.

    Keep ’em coming, Sandy.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Thanks Miller –

      I try to keep it interesting and enlightening, but it is not always an easy task. I am glad the noise level is up as well; raise some hell, I say!! So, an anarcho past, hey? I would still want the bakery… after all is said and done, but fuck the rest of them. LOL You keep readin’ and I’ll keep on writin,’ my friend. sandy

  5. John Bollig says:

    Sandy,

    My perspective on the OWS crew is that they are correct, and yes they need to go further, much further in their agenda. As I write this to you, my girlfriend is using a nebulizer to help her breathe. She and I are struggling with the illnesses that we face. I dont think that we are going to beneft from the change in the way that things are here. We want to lve a decent life. We are dependent on those advances that the medical revolution has brought us. It is really a life or death issue for millions of people everywhere. If my girlfriend does not get her medications, she will die. I can’t make it any more blunt than it is right now. WESTERN CIVILIZATION works for her and I and millions of others. The challenge should be how can we ensure that millions of others who do not get decent healh care get they need, the food they need and the shelter they need.

    • kulturcritic says:

      John – I too am a beneficiary of modern medicine, and I do understand. And it seems to be that those of us who have struggled (and perhaps suffered) more concretely, see more clearly what the others have taken for granted more matter-of-factly. as always sandy

    • leavergirl says:

      John, the choice (imo) should not be between industrial civ that provides sophisticated medicine, and a crash that provides nothing. The positive choice is between ind-civ that has too many destructive elements and has come to a point where it does not know how to keep going, and another form of civilization that keeps some of the good stuff but jettisons a whole load of unsupportable, destructive crap. But we must make this choice. Else, it is between old civ and a collapse… and hanging onto the old civ guarantees a collapse, as history shows over and over.

  6. Patric Roberts says:

    Excellent blog Sandy. Thanks. Here is what I think. Buckle up, outrage is the beginning of an awakening, the rubber hits the road in eliminating poverty, injustice and consumptive ignorance in the web of life. Here is my political summation form March 2011 and I highly recommend “The End of Poverty” movie to understand the predicament of western civilization and the Washington Consensus operating Wall Street Banks.

    “WE have All the TIME in the WORLD and NOT a MOMENT to WASTE.”

    GET PREPARED for 2012! Emerge~N~SEE a Immanent Emerging WORLD~HOOD
    The BS is over and everyone is going to make a personal decision concerning the future “Household of OUR Humanity” in 2012! This is not a passive electoral cycle in “Global Politics” constructed by manufactured corporate media. This is masses of peoples worldwide claiming dignity, justice and full employment in bringing forth a future together. The next 18 months are the most important moments in the history of mankind. So wake up the from the hypnotic mesmeric BS you watch and read passively like a Jerry Springer Trailer Trash Nightmare, it is over. Get up off your ass and do something, say something, for Christsake “FART” and smell some of your own BS. The battle lines have been drawn between “Personhood ~ Social Ethical Relations” versus “Illuminati Ontology of Institutional Power.” This appreciative global civil conversation is a SERIOUS CONTACT SPORT ~ SOBER UP. This emotional contradiction is at the heart of conflicts in politics, religion, education, social culture and global commerce predatory chaos happening NOW.
    The decision YOU make is going to determine the FUTURE of OUR HUMANITY.

    The End of Poverty trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRZnEBFYNS0
    The End of Poverty movie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pktOXJr1vOQ

    • kulturcritic says:

      A great video, Patric… thank you. It is very difficult to watch this documentary sitting in a cafe sipping latte, watching wirelessly on my MacBook, and not become disgusted with myself for my own sick and selfish irony, as I realize how much of what Stephen Jobs gave to us spoiled and privileged, killed and debilitated so many who were forced to mine materials for our self-indulgence. And the same colonialization of the mind occurs each and every day in the Empire! sandy

      • Patric Roberts says:

        Sandy,
        I am on my Mac as well and do not share your exact sentiments of Steven Jobs contributions. (RIP Steven) He did what he could to be an innovative iconic entrepreneur in the chaotic predatory marketplace by loving what he does, facing failures with dignity and imagining an artistic sculpturing frequency of social interaction in relationship = I TUNES! Not bad for a beginner, high school graduate, and since getting a Mac in my hands six years ago, I love an operating system where you don’t have to worry about bugs, viruses and outside interference with people trying to mind my business. I assess that is where we are heading in an autopoietic sense “Minding Your Own Business.” Hank Williams Sr says it best for feral wildness most people are scared to death of: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSeuDDzjIB8
        Thanks

  7. Disaffected says:

    My personal perspective? Do you need to even ask?

    Oh FUCKING HELL YES kC! It’s ABOUT TIME you delivered a polemic! You KNOW you had it in you all along!

    Thanks from all of us.

    DA – in FUCKING DEED!

  8. Disaffected says:

    Sorry, back to the basics.

    RE the OWS’ers: No ANYTHING that comes down to an acronym will EVER amount to anything. Period. EVER. That’s a given.

    Not even the USA, which is no doubt the shining current example.

    What does that say about reducing ideas to acronyms? I dunno, but it certainly says SOMETHING, to my mind at least.

    DA

  9. The Wall Street protesters have been criticized because they don’t have a focused message. Who can blame them? There are so many failures, it’s hard to know where to start. But besides the economic component there is surely a moral one as well: unprovoked aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan for 10 years and counting, drone assassinations, even now of American citizens, illegal detentions, torture, and so on. The disconnect between our proclaimed moral superiority and our actions is an outrage palpable especially to the young. I’m even starting to see a few seasoned mainstream writers saying: maybe we don’t have the right to ravish another country and slaughter innocents, even if it were in our self interest. Something very few have said in the last 10 years, and it’s about time.
    Regarding police brutality: the more you can provoke a violent reaction form the police, without seeming provocative, the more successful you will be, media-wise.

  10. rg the lg says:

    The article is moving … moves me to say:
    The first response above, the author wrote: “If pre-civilization, how would one document this statement? It seems to me from studying the archeology finds that we are only guessing at how those people really lived. The amount of assumptions are enormous.” The blogist replied that … ‘much new work in paleontology, anthropology, ethnography, and history of religions has given us a much different picture of the ‘primitive mentality.’

    Both are correct. Archeology, anthropology have interpreted a lot … still, it is interpretation … and while done in the best scientific manner, requires continued reinterpretation and refinement. In much the same way that the original assumptions of Charles Darwin have been and continue to be reinterpreted and refined, it is a deep responsibility of ALL science to never assume truth, rather a proto-truth … the best we have at present. That is not to suggest that either the students of the pre-citied past, or the modern day biologists are wrong … only that as time goes on we will see, and should expect further refinement. Which brings me ’round to the current efforts by the OWS’ers …

    We know that their message, naive and hopeful, will be dumbed down to a numbing simplicity by the agents of empire … especially the sycophants called ‘media’ … and that the state will over react if the numbing process does not work as it has in the past. Part of that reaction will probably take the form of distraction … but in the event that does not work, the ultimate question is: what will the OWS’ers do in response to the response.

    The feral (which I object to not on the grounds that it is wrong … rather that it might better the called ‘the original’) is little more than the response of all life to a threat … whether within the species or from an external species. Even bacteria respond to threats from their own kind … and while they can collaborate, the fundamental drive of life is to continue and to replicate. The OWS’ers will do that … fight back against a threat. The question is to what extent will they change the underlying premise … and while I would like to believe that it would be for the better, the reality, I deem, is ultimately doom for the species … them / us, you / me , we / they. Concomitantly, the oppressors will attempt to defend themselves … again for the same reason as the oppressed … and for the same reason … life … the universe … everything.

    Cynically,
    rg the lg

    FYI: Cynicism is the hard shell an idealist grows to protect the idealism from reality …

  11. John Bollig says:

    So, i guess hope has truly died, rg.

    One old friend of mine has told me that the world sucks and then you die.

    We are entering into a dark age and god help us all if we ever come out on the other side.

  12. rg the lg says:

    Hope?
    Ah, yes, hope. You misunderstand me … life is persistent … even though we as a species may not last long … life will. Even if we collapse as the species we are … species change. If I am to be what you call hopeful, then it is this: that our species will change and become more in line with the needs of all species (as well as ourselves) to create a new synthesis …

    The great triadic dialectic: thesis … antithesis … synthesis (new thesis) … antithesis … synthesis … ad infinitum …

    The world may suck … yes, we die … but is there hope in that what comes after (not some sort of heaven bs) is not better? That the next generation(s) will be not like us … but rather an improvement, or at least not a continuation of what we fail to be?

    Is that not hope … ?

    rg the lg

  13. rg the lg says:

    Oh, yes, and the gods?
    Depending on gods may be part of what got us here … and that is why I opt for a humanist future … one that does not blame gods … rather one that recognizes that we are the cause and the solution to ourselves?

    Hm …

  14. kulturcritic says:

    WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN!!!!

    [Well folks, now we have a real, live Egyptian fresh from the fight in his homeland, to tell us why the second American revolution should begin, and where it should lead. It is interesting that he is able to hit on the deeper themes that his American OWS counterparts cannot even begin to identify through the smoke and mirrors of their own cultural ignorance. It should be interesting to watch the FBI and CIA’s response to this boy’s openness; and how the other protesters around him react. Vladimir Lenin move over, Mohammed Ezzeldin has arrived in Amerika!!]

    “I am coming from there… the Arab Spring to the fall of Wall Street,” Ezzeldin said, his voice echoed by the crowd of thousands. “From Liberation Square to Washington Square, to the fall of Wall Street and market domination, and capitalist domination.”

    His passionate speech, which even included a reference to Karl Marx, made a startling comparison between what happened in Egypt earlier this year and what is now happening in the United States…

    “There are some differences,” he said, but he believes “any success for the struggle in the United States is helpful for the rest of the world.”

    “There is an illusion about freedom — about freedom of speech and freedom of organization in this country,” he observed, pointing to New York’s laws against tents and megaphones. “What I thought the image exported to the rest of the world… Well, it’s not completely false but there are many obstacles.”

    [The HuffPo reference is below].

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/08/occupy-wall-street-washington-square_n_1001775.html?igoogle=1

  15. Brutus says:

    Interesting post. I wish there were a citation to learn where the two quoted paragraphs come from.

    I note that you use half the space to discuss the OWSers before moving on to your real theme: political then cultural awakening. I agree that at present, the movement afoot in NYC and elsewhere is pointed at reform, not revolution, and that agitators merely want to share in the spoils of empire, not dismantle it. Where I suppose I disagree is the presence of a quiet, percolating anomie and angst underlying the surface levels of betrayal, outrage, and disaffectation. Frankly, only a small segment within modern commodity culture have the depth of feeling and understanding for true alienation. For the masses, those feelings are too easily soothed and subdued with electronics.

    You (and I) were born prior to the latest communications revolution (Internet, cell and smart phones, e-readers, etc.), though still well within the era of mass media (newspapers, radio, TV, film). We can remember a world before 24/7 connectivity. Young people, not so much. And unlike you (or me), they probably don’t want to go from 0 to 60 in an instant, from occupying a park across the street from Wall Street to a precivilized, liminal awareness — a different sort of 24/7 connectivity. It’s not even on the map for them. It’s more likely we’re going to go from 60 to 0 in an instant by hitting the wall without slowing. Potential developments listed in your final paragraph may even represent acceleration.

    Lastly, I share a desire or curiosity to know how we got to this junction, but I do not delude myself that in so knowing I or anyone else can plot the next route through the maze of history. No one is driving the bus, and no one can; the complexities are too great.

    • javacat says:

      This post touches on lots of comments. It has no best spot, so I’ll put it here.

      Yesterday, I spent the day hiking along the Maine coast with my son. The day was sunny, in the 80s, a light breeze–a day easy to feel alive, especially as you’re scrabbling up lichen-covered granite and hugging branches of pitch pine.

      Part way up Norumbega Mountain, I noticed a bald eagle gliding high overhead. As I pointed it out to my son, we both noticed a large, faster eagle much closer to us, its striking white head clearly seen. We both scrambled for our cameras, then just watched, filled with a sense of awe and pleasure. I thought about this moment, and wondered how much of our reaction was natural connection and how much learned response. Would our ancestors have looked with a similar wonder? How would our feral selves view these same eagles?

      Throughout our posts, I sense some conflict or misunderstanding when discussing returning to our feral core, or just different envisionings of what such a return looks like, feels like, how it plays out in the day-to-day. From most discussions here, the return is an internal liberation from enculturated entrapment, fears and shoulds and oughts that box in our minds and hearts and spirits with fear and false limits, that demean us by telling us our many shames and failings, that deny full expression of our being by establishing limited models of acceptability, and rob us of our connections to others and ourselves, our very senses.

      The discussions about yoga, meditation, buddhism all fit into the path of enlightenment, of self–discovery through mindfulness, detachment from material wealth, and abandonment from striving. (There was a joke, more truth than humor, about how much better the world would be if we all meditated for 15 minutes a day–because that would be 15 fewer minutes of destruction. ). The united sense is releasing ourselves from a dualism of self and other (even within one being), of internal and external, of human and nature, and recognizing a unity, a Wholeness, a Oneness of the Universe. Such a return would allow us to revitalize and reanimate our sensual selves, chipping off the layers of choking muck and dense plaque that constrict our essential breath.

      Related to this individual change is a larger and more amorphous socio-economic-political re-imagining. This part seems to get trickier, especially when viewed through a lens of post-Empire collapse. Even when we discuss that the model is so broke, we can’t fix it, that the model needs to be blown up and something replace it…What does it mean? We’ve touched, lightly, on the notion that not all the creations of modern civ are evil: e.g., aspects of modern medicine, art and music. Would a post-collapse world mean no Internet? No air travel? No Starbucks?! The horror! But what does it mean? Is it the post-apocalyptic world of Postman or Plant of the Apes?

      How far do we return is relevant here, and how much we can influence that return is another. One author–I can’t recall whether it was Shepard or Abram or both–discusses how art is remove from direct experience: that framed and hung landscape is not the landscape itself; nor can we experience the actual landscape by viewing the painting. Ditto on photography. Words themselves fall into the distancing category: they get between us and the body-in-contact-with-the-world. They distract us from what matters. Even our naming and classification systems can take apart rather than unite: “You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing — that’s what counts.” ~ Richard Feynman

      Yet…yet we are creatures of language. The best of our writers can evoke emotions, compassion, and catharsis, created a universality within our deep understanding. Art–including photography–has the power to transform, to influence rebellion and revolution, to record and interpret human experience. The role of art most recently has been discussed in the OWS movement, Occupy Wall Street Gets Its Own Biennial . But do we need art? Is this kind of creation essential to our ‘human nature’? Looking at traditional cultures, indigenous cultures, one may answer, yes. Reading Wade Davis right now, One River, about journeys in the Amazon. Art, adornment, song are part of these cultures, for a connection to a larger world.

      Brutus, I know that you said that there’s no one driving the bus, there’s no way to plot the next route. Yet, I still wonder what people envision when they speak of returning to that feral core. What does it look like, feel like, taste like? Will it take us from a technopoly to a reconnected society?

    • kulturcritic says:

      Brutus:

      Sorry, here is the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/05/college-students-walk-out_n_996904.html I usually do link but forgot in this instance.

      Of course, you are correct about the culture and its tendency to ignore and let itself be appeased by the next toy (usually electronic at this juncture). But, as I visit different people in the USA, and get into some discussion on occasion (even with guys selling sneakers in a sports store in lower manhattan), there is in some quarters (and minds) a growing sense of anomy, and alienation from the culture of make-believe (Jensen) upon which they had previously depended. Now, I am not making the claim that there is some widespread recognition of industrial civilization’s tragic trajectory and imminent demise; but I think in some cases it can be a very short walk from disaffection with the direction of the system to a deeper recognition of the system’s misguided beginning and, thus, its unlikely continuance. I think one can reach an understanding of the need to dismantle the sucker in order to achieve survival. However, as you say the complexity is now such that overturning the beast is a highly unlikely and very risky feat.

      With respect to beginnings, there are several theories as to how we got started down this path. I am familiar with one or two, and perhaps I will venture a try at presenting it sometime in the near future.

      always, sandy

  16. leavergirl says:

    We all know, deep down, more than we think we know. 🙂

    Thanks, Sandy, another nice post.
    Re the OWSers, what is really getting me is the incessant harping on how they should have clear demands. Nuts. As soon as they articulate them, the cat fight starts over the “right ones.” Besides, demands make sense for a strike that has enough clout to bring the other side to the negotiating table. There is no chance for that when it comes to the banksters and financiers.

    Been following the blog of someone who is in DC. He says he thinks 95% of them are reformists. Understandable… I think most Americans are reformists. And as long as radicals keep talking up doom and gloom, radicalism will languish. Cheers!

    • kulturcritic says:

      Great to hear from you again, leavergirl. And you are right. As soon as demands are articulated, not only do the ‘negotiations’ begin, but, the potentially revolutionary stature of the protest is itself circumscribed within the existing paradigm… its dynamic energy transformed into another dimension of the system… just like the teabaggers.

    • Disaffected says:

      leavergirl,

      Excellent points, as far as you take them at least. “Most Americans” are OF COURSE reformists. What in the FUCK would you expect? Since “Most Americans” are nothing more than unrepentant born and bread capitalist indoctrinated monsters to the core?

      Radicalism and reformism? Indeed!

      As long as reformists keep talking up stupid “I’m OK, you’re OK” shit, I’m OK, with saying that YOU’RE full of shit. Agreed?

      DA

  17. rg the lg says:

    OWSers … the distraction machine was running … some BS about the recession being over. If there is no recession, then why are their protests? Don’t they remember the US History and Government classes they took? Good indoctrination … unless the teacher was using a text by the likes of Howard Zinn.

    I am watching … where will we invade next? Will our internal snoops pull another Haymarket? A bomb allegedly used by the protesters? That would blame the whole lot of insurrection … . The OldBumma wants people to play a lotto game to be able to tell him how they feel … . I think the OWSers are doing fine … not that he’ll listen.

    Ah, empire … ah imperial collapse … ah … bunk ? It’ll take more than this … and survival will be contingent in the short term on compliance with the system. Eventually, the system will collapse … but it’ll still take some time. Thank goodness I am old enough to not care … though watching would be, or at least could be, a hoot?

    As ever,

  18. Disaffected says:

    Picked this one up from a poster over at ClusterFuck. Yeah, I’ve seen this one many times, and have no doubt quoted it more than a few times as well. George Carlin. An uncommon genius in uncommon times. Thank GAWD a few of us contain enough backbone to stand up to the tides of our times. George Carlin is SURELY one of the few.

    DA

    George Carlin – The American Dream

    Watch this one over, and OVER, and OVER AGAIN! And then watch it once more, and send it to everyone you know.

    DA

  19. rg the lg says:

    Distractions …
    Maybe even another WAR!
    Didja hear? The evile Iranians (pronounced EYE-rain-yuns in these parts) and them EVILE Mexican drug lords have conspired to STOP the spread of the OWSers … erm, are now the great distraction so we can have a call for unity in the face of FEAR of the other …

    Oh my …

    This isn’t Kansas anymore Toto …

    • kulturcritic says:

      Rg/lg – can you believe it. This war mongering hegemony will do anything to 1) divert attention from troubles at home, 2) steal essential resources from anyone on the planet to feed its insatiable appetite. Of course, our CIA has never been involved in assassination and coup attempts abroad, have we. This is a farce.

    • Disaffected says:

      Alas,

      Even the “liberals” have succumbed to the call of war. “War” being an equal opportunity employer/killer, of course. FINALLY, something we can ALL agree on! I’m literally shitting myself in anticipation!

      DA

      • Disaffected says:

        SO MUCH shame attributable to such a relative few. “First world” Americans and Europeans, HOW do we explain ourselves to future generations, if INDEED there are any? HOW?

        And for what? The squandering of tens of generations’ resources (at today’s accelerated rates, at that) in a mere handful?

        Enjoy it while it lasts.

        DA

      • kulturcritic says:

        The military is the ONLY employer in Amerika right now… that was the corporatist plan all along. Fire folks and take away their homes so that the only thing left to do is go and fight in the military, securing more resources and markets, and slave labor for the corporatists!! And you thought I was a conspiracy theorist… HeHeHe!!

  20. John Bollig says:

    The problem with the OWSers is that they by and large are people with a stake in the existing system. Therefore, they have an interest in reform, not dismantleing the system. Our reformers will be drown out in a mis/disinformation campaign run out of KOCH industries and the OBAMA white house. First and formost is the fear of real change. Real change is change that the powers that be can’t channel, can’t distort and can’t lie about or spin. The OWSers have something to lose in this whole charade called a protest. The truly sad part of the movement being brought out is the peaceful nature of the owsers movement. What I see is a clever and disingenious cover for the powers that be to disapate resistance and discredit its source. Bogus change only leads to disappointment and despair. Real change is not coming unless we are truly invested in destroying the system and radical change from outside. I once attended a conference titled System Transformation : Changing From Within. This meeting was all about how to appear to change without changing anything and indeed asking for more money and services. Change is not coming, pesudo-change is what is really what the system is wanting and getting for very little payout.

  21. rg the lg (aka: R Gaylor, called Mr G) says:

    Whether the OWSers have a vested interest in reforming a shit system or not … the mere fact that the system is fighting back via the BS of an assassination allegedly by two outfits we chronically blame for being (in the words of THE Shrub,aka GW Bush, himself … erm, is that B Rack Old Bumma) evil.

    Stupidly, we believe the bs … mostly because the US is founded on fear … think about it:
    1. Ancestors of the system left Europe because they were afraid of the religious status quo …
    2. When they arrived they were afraid of anyone who didn’t believe like they did … and ran them out (Rhode Island, Maryland) … or killed them … witches …
    3. Began the long native american holocaust (I would suggest that is still going on)
    4. Decided England was threat and had a revolution … only to have the alien and sedition acts a few years later because we were afraid …
    .
    .
    .
    And on and on … we live by being afraid … and now we are afraid of whatever threatens the system … even when we hate the system for screwing us … .

    We are, fundamentally a society afraid of anything different. Think Arizona (and other places as bad, maybe not as honest) and immigration … think Homeland Security and the Canadian Border … .

    Even our alleged efforts at blaming each other is bogus … think about how the northerners blamed the south for being racist, but moved as fast as they could when those (black) others moved into town.

    And do I care … no longer.

    The end of empire is my solace … maybe even becoming (gasp) a religion.

    Distraction? Or, is it confirmation that the rest of the world is out to get us … because they hate us … not because we are culturally, socially, economically (resources) raping them …

    • kulturcritic says:

      A nation founded on FEAR!!! Gawd (they fear him as well), you nailed it Rg/lg. And the energy of the rant is superb. Yes, I would say you now have the RELIGION. Along with the rest of us. sandy

      • rg the lg (aka: R Gaylor, called Mr G) says:

        I have always had this ‘up yours’ attitude … probably why I changed jobs so often. Haven’t recently … but then retirement beckons and I’m having fun fighting the local yokels …

        Having the RELIGION?

        Not likely … I am only saying what I have always said … the system deserves a comeuppance … the wealthy deserve to die poor and hopefully in want … and that includes every damned one of US ‘murrikkkans … even the street people … simply because we are all complicit … we talk, we fear, we rant … but the closest we come is when the deluded pray … or march for peace … or financial security … or whatever the f— the ‘murriKKKan dream is this week. (geberally, it is wet, the dream … doncha know … as we fantasize about the next pl;ace to f …

        Rage? Rant?

        Sure, why not … it costs me little …

  22. leavergirl says:

    Hey guys, thanks for the welcome. Check out this great rant from the Reformed Broker.

    http://www.thereformedbroker.com/2011/10/09/this-is-why-they-hate-you-and-want-you-to-die/

    • rg the lg (aka: R Gaylor, called Mr G) says:

      Of course that is why the fat cats are asking to be hung out to dry … but our empire is doing the same damned thing every friggin place in the reachable universe … and while some of the western educated (indoctrinated?) types aspire to not only be like you, but to be you, the rest of the populations would just as soon have us all role over and die … preferably from starvation or worse.

      Call it self hate, if you’d like … my dad said something about not liking myself when I came home with a bullet hole in my leg while chucking spears for the empire more than 40 years ago … but it is more than that … maybe simple
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      shame
      .
      .
      .

      .
      red-faced, damn it all, why’d they lie to me, and why was I so gullible to believe the bastards …
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      shame.

    • Disaffected says:

      leavergirl,

      About the handle. Anything to do with Ishmael? We might have some common ground.

      DA

  23. javacat says:

    I was going to write about how the generation since 9/11 will grow up with fear being such a constant marker in their lives, and wondering how that shapes a world view. I even went to look up the color-coded threat-level system-which I’d forgotten had been replaced by the National Terrorism Advisory System (or, for those of you who like acronyms, NTAS).

    Then it hit me that the fear’s been there all along, perhaps more subtle, more subliminal, wrapped in more flags and lit candles, but it is a permeating theme. Who’s the enemy of the day? And if you don’t pull together, then you’re not one of us…Thought control and social placidity. And isn’t fear the mind-construct, anticipation of the pain, rather than the primal, fight-or-flight response?

    So the consensus seems to be that the OWS’s worldwide are part of the system. Fair enough. In some ways, those who rant against the system and the protesters are still caught in the system’s web. Who’s outside of the reach? The back-to-the-landers and off-the-gridders? If someone’s truly no longer a part of the what we perceive to be the established socio-econo-religious Western cult, would we even notice them?

    Rants can be cathartic, and clear the way for something more. But there needs to be something more.

    • kulturcritic says:

      JC I think the mantra of covert fear was… “better dead than red.” No?

      About that “something more..” Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to be completely off-grid anymore, simply because it is too difficult to find pristine land and water anywhere on earth. That makes it hard to find food, farm, hunt, or hydrate oneself. This system is now globalized, and they keep attacking more and more lands. Even the Amazon rain forests are not being spared. The only thing that will bring real change is a breakdown, collapse or implosion of the systems comprising this monster. And then, unfortunately, most of us will die. Why, because for hundreds of generations we have been reengineered to live in a way that is incompatible with… life.

    • Brutus says:

      Javacat wrote:

      I was going to write about how the generation since 9/11 will grow up with fear being such a constant marker in their lives, and wondering how that shapes a world view … Then it hit me that the fear’s been there all along, perhaps more subtle, more subliminal, wrapped in more flags and lit candles, but it is a permeating theme.

      This realization came to me a long time ago. Fear is a base human motivator, and it’s been used forever as a strategic ploy. Back in 1919-20, it was the Red Scare. After WWII, we also developed nuclear angst, which with the second Red Scare (1947-57, more familiar as McCarthyism) changed into the Cold War. The U.S. was for a time after the Soviet collapse without a clear enemy — until the so-called Axis of Evil was trotted out, which changed into Islamofascism and now terrorism.

      Orwell took note of this in his novel 1984 with the character of Goldberg and the Two-Minute Hate. Fear-mongering has probably gotten more refined over the decades (though no less obvious), just as with advertising, news spinning, and political talking points. Fear is in the air; we breathe it daily.

    • Disaffected says:

      javacat,

      Actually, NO ONE’S outside the system as currently designed. That’s the true beauty of it; which, if you’re going to give credit where credit is due – which, I think is also important – is the even TRUER beauty of it ALL! At some point – and rest assured we’ve long since passed it – “blame” becomes a merely academic point of interest, attributable to only a nameless and faceless academic entity known hereafter as “the system,” which we ALL know, is by definition ephemeral, nameless, non (or, in rare cases, only vaguely)-attributable, and thus BEYOND blame.

      OR, in the words of a common man: a pretty damn fine racket if you can find it.

      • javacat says:

        Well-said, DA. And I agree that ‘blame’ becomes a useless exercise that is besides the point, impotent, and makes not a damn bit of difference in the world. Thanks.

    • Disaffected says:

      OR, as sometimes can be the case, RANTS, can simply be RANTS. Pray that you don’t live in a time (which, unfortunately, you are about to, if you aren’t already), when that is so. When RANTS have no hope of redress, they begin to take other forms. Once again…

      The simplistic idea that we can continue to merely BITCH about the things that we continually bitch about on forums on like these is INDEED mistaken. Once again, nice connection of 1 + 1 = 2.

      The BETTER question is; oh, I dunno? What in the fuck IS IT?

      Sometimes I wonder (while continuing to allegedly engage in a “dialog” with the young about what they either do, do not, or don’t know what they believe), just WHAT IN THE FUCK AM I EVEN ARGUING FOR?

      I, for one, am tired of it all. I’m beginning to take the view – like my pitiful poor working class parents – that the rest of you poor bastards DO INDEED deserve your lot in life.

      Welcome to the western world lower class you poor bastards. And unlike the the rest of your peers, I won’t call you unaccomplished based merely on the judgement of your peers (whomever they might be), nor merely based on the amount of money you might make (although that’s a MAJOR FACTOR as well), or anything else, BUT MERELY on your arbitrarily assigned social status and the/your LIKEWISE assumed mentality alone. Read that one again. And again.

      Now then, how’s THAT for a rant?

      Blame the victim? NOT!

      DA

  24. kulturcritic says:

    Folks – Only 21 views of VERONIKA, Chapter One yesterday, and not even one single comment? I guess no one is interested in reading any more from the novel. Is that so?

  25. John Bollig says:

    sandy,

    Have not had a chance to look at it yet…

  26. javacat says:

    Patience, author, patience! Some of us scramble these days and nights with the demands we accept or that are laid upon us. It’s printed off so I may read it when I travel.

    What kind of feedback are you looking for? General reactions? Lit crit? Other?

    • kulturcritic says:

      JC – Any feedback is appreciated. I want to know if it grabs you…

      спасибо

      Сэнди

    • kulturcritic says:

      I guess, just tell me if you want to read more.

      • Hasdrubal Barca says:

        хотите больше
        Я куплю книгу !!

      • B Miller says:

        Sandy,
        I’ll try and get around to reading it. But, typically I avoid most fiction, except for a few cherished authors. I do look forward to your non-fiction writings and carve out a time on Sunday morning before chores to read the latest missive. Like one of your readers my “To Do” list is massive.
        Saturday:
        1. Feed pigs, chickens, lambs.
        2. Move cattle to new field
        3. Dig 12 post holes for new lamb paddock.
        4. Can sauerkraut (5 gallons)
        5. Prepare corned beef that has corned for the last 9 days.
        6. Conduct farm tour between 10:30-Noon.
        etc. etc. etc. (Read some of Veronica)
        7. Prepare bees for winter (final harvest last week yielded 25 pounds of honey)
        8. Make mead.
        And, on and on.

        • kulturcritic says:

          Miller – you may be surprised by the novel. Do you think I would write just anything. Believe me, if you like my missives, you will love the book. But it is your choice. Either way, I enjoy your presence here. sandy

        • javacat says:

          Remember, all the reading is optional here, offered to us, to read or not, when we can. We all have much to do in our lives, and must set our own priorities. I don’t think it’s necessary or useful to share those lists to let Sandy know where his offerings stand. He’s given us a preview of his novel because he has developed a rapport with us, those who respond to his posts, and thinks the writing is relevant. It’s a kind of privilege to be given the sneak peek. Accept the offer graciously.

  27. javacat says:

    Хорошо.
    🙂

  28. javacat says:

    Totally agree, Brutus. Awareness came slowly with adulthood and a little bit of distance and perception. Fear seems is the core control for many structures and organizations: government at all levels, religions (hell, sin, sex), social institutions, in which individuals or groups may be ‘shunned,’ ostracized, exiled or worse. Control, concentration of power, and maintenance of the status quo of those powers all supported by deliberately disseminated fear. One must not do anything wrong, step outside the lines, be different. You may be punished or judged (Something is wrong with you for your views & actions). Bad things will happen! And what is so scary is how much this acts in our sub-conscious, so we’re not even aware of what drives our actions and habits, and we’re not aware that there are other options.

  29. rg the lg says:

    RE: Veronica …

    I am about as busy as an old fart can get … so the plan is to accomplish the following this weekend …
    1. Tell KC what I think of Veronica
    2. Create some Algebra I lessons for my students
    3. Create some comparison and contrast essay questions dealing with FEAR as a motif
    in US history … .
    4. Clean out a storage room …
    5. Babysit my granddaughter …
    6. Straighten up the accumulated mess from the week since Sunday …

    And, not in that order. #5 above is REALLY #1 … and as time allows, #1 may actually be gotten to … three … four … what the hell we doing this for … ?

  30. rg the lg says:

    And, a quote: …

    ‘to recap, the life of a printed book goes something like this: bookstores, Amazon bargains, used bookstores, free bookshelves, landfills. And then, someday, we all die.’

  31. javacat says:

    What would I do without Google translate? 😉

  32. kulturcritic says:

    Maybe I am getting soft, or perhaps my cynicism is waning. But, if Zuccotti Park proves one thing, it may be that Americans are finally sick of getting butt-fucked!

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