Ready. Set. Conquer.

These three words etched on a single poster hanging in the car as I ride the New York subway R train uptown from a brief shopping tour of SoHo.  (That’s right, I have a wife and child, both expecting gifts from America.)  The next poster on the car wall reads – Luxury Is A Way Of Life; then follows the final invocation – Live In The Moment.  So goes the new marketing campaign of Caesars’ Casino and Resort Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, loudly proclaiming the philosophy of our self-indulgent and aggressive Western hegemony as it spreads its greedy tentacles across the globe. Imagine, a casino enjoining us to a mission of conquest with the reminder that whatever money can buy is our proper goal; and finally, exhorting us to this life of luxury is the promoter’s idea of being in the moment.  How ironic, no?

Yet, this call to conquest has been with us well before casino capitalism, even before the original Caesars ruled over the Roman Imperium in fact – escalating exponentially ever since.  With respect to the Americas, the insatiable need for conquest began as a natural extension of the Enlightenment and the European power drive. As Howard Zinn has well documented in his work, A People’s History of the United States:

…the Europe of the Renaissance, dominated as it was by the religion of popes, the government of kings, the frenzy for money… marked Western civilization and its first messenger to the Americas, Christorpher Columbus. Columbus wrote: ‘As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.’ (1-2)

Of course, the Italian-born sailor was looking for gold and rare spices to satisfy his hungry sponsors and paymasters back in Spain.  As Zinn concludes:

Thus began the history, five hundred years ago, of the European invasion of the Indian settlements in the Americas… [characterized by] conquest, slavery and death. (7)

I imagine that many of us have by now been stripped of our illusions concerning the fair-mindedness of political systems here as elsewhere in the “civilized” West.  We have labored under the comforting, but mistaken impression that States can be democratic, and that democracy works – that voting means something, and that presidents, unlike princes, monarchs, kings, or popes, are driven by a selfless desire to maximize individual freedom and listen to the voice of the body politic.  All of this has become so much hollow chatter now, echoed relentlessly by countless believers as well as the high priests of our diverse institutional hierarchies.

We, the people, are worn-out.  Like that proverbial “old grey mare,” we’ve been rode hard and put away wet. (God, that week in Montana certainly has affected me!)  “Hope” has become just another four-letter word hidden in the folds of the saddlebags of those rustlers looking to separate us from that which we hold dearest – our soul, our feral core. Branded as citizens of the State, we have been well trained in the domesticating arenas of our corporate and authoritarian sponsors.  We have learned to respond to their commands without flinching or even thinking.  We are well domesticated, like our horses, cattle, and dogs.

What statement remains for us to make, politically?  What new avenues for rectification are available?  Or, are such statements any longer relevant?  Are the proposed roads out of here simply more evidence of magical thinking?  These questions haunt us as we, here in the States, observe the latest spectacle – like Festus v. Little Joe – unfolding before a vacant electorate.  We have heard fellow travelers here in America suggest that the vote means nothing, given that the two parties are really both beholden to one and the same oligarchic authorities. So, why vote?  I assume many of you no longer support the likes of Monsanto or Big Pharma, for example.  Perhaps you are even living partially off-grid, no longer contributing to the utility companies profits.  Then why cast a vote and support the sham that this electoral process represents?  Why not sit it out; take your horse and go for a ride up canyon. Take your boots off and rest a spell under a nice shade tree.  What if three-quarters of the enfranchised populace of this country decided to do just that?  What statement would it make?  Perhaps, our handlers (those fine folks from Homeland Security) would feel compelled to compel us to go to the polls, round us up with the help of the armed forces, and attempt to force some semblance of legitimacy onto the charade.

As the artfully constructed foundation of our apparent social contract continues to erode and deteriorate before our eyes, on a globe that continues to burn itself out nation-by-nation, state-by-state, and city-by-city, we grasp hopelessly for something to ground us.  But, all we feel are the flames and the heat of an exhausted planet, witnessing frustrated populations, tired of being ridden, and wildly bucking against the bit in their mouths.

But, wait! Yet again, we hear the song of that mythical bird of hope, Gamajun, beckoning us; now promising us the magic of an unnaturally immaculate technological future – virtual fulfillment, delivering that eschatological promise of the American dream – a dream born of the conquest of the New World.  Therein lies our apparent salvation; a vision of the lord – whichever one you subscribe to – riding in on a high-speed Internet connection to deliver us from the evil empire, and save those of us who are strong enough to remain dedicated to the campaign.  It is just as religiously driven as was Columbus in his earliest conquests.  Again from Zinn:

He [Columbus]was full of religious talk: ‘Thus the eternal God, our Lord, gives victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities.’ (4)

So, there you have it, salvation through conquest.  But our salvation appears to be a virtual future lived in virtual freedom, anonymity, and solipsism.  This is what we have been led to crave, and to purchase at a price.  We enslave others and ourselves in the conquest. And, we rob the earth and the cultures of the world in the process.

Indeed, as I glance around the subway car I am now riding in, deep under the streets of Manhattan, I understand the nature of this emergent salvific future of our conquest-and-consumer-driven culture. Brightly colored ear-buds and headphones light up the subway car, busily pumping digital music into the brains of those surrounding me.  Smart phones, as well, are busied by peoples of all ages, from eight to eighty years, texting messages, viewing photos, reading emails, or just listening to their tunes in solipsistic silence.  I am now beginning to understand our modern concept of freedom; it is the freedom of absolute privacy; it is the solipsistic anonymity of the fully individuated, subjective self, set apart from an objectified world within a little compartment of the mind.  I text, therefore, I am!

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89 Responses to Ready. Set. Conquer.

  1. Murph says:

    Yup, “salvation through conquest:. It’s that old harp song titled Manifest Destiny that under a more politically correct title keeps us enslaved.

    Empires do fall eventually. Meanwhile the harm they do carries far into the future. Is this time different? Maybe, maybe not. Throwing off yolks take muscle and determination. If the throwing off is successful, what comes after? History says more of the same after a brief cosmic time of relief.

    • marlena13 says:

      Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Maybe way past time to toss all bosses, yes?

      • kulturcritic says:

        But then what happens, Marlena?

      • Ivy Mike says:

        “And call no man your [Boss/Patron] upon the earth.” ~long-haired Greek Cynic mystery person, verse 9, chapter 13, The Jefferson Bible
        Unfortunately, humans have been bred for thousands of years now for docility and stupidity, the same as other domesticated animals, like sheep. [See The Domestication of the Human Species, by Peter J. Wilson, Yale University Press]
        No wonder people use “sheeple” to describe the behavior of other humans.
        “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they were distressed, and downcast, as sheep having no shepherd.” ~verse 21, chapter 6, The Jefferson Bible
        Here we have the human paradox: we evolved to be “autonomous and sovereign” (Service 1975, Boehm 1999) but it has been bred out of most of the Hairless Great Apes.

        • Nichole says:

          “we evolved to be “autonomous and sovereign” (Service 1975, Boehm 1999) but it has been bred out of most of the Hairless Great Apes.”

          Your cites were incorrect with their ideas, Ivy. Ayn Rand must have infected them.

          Humans are social creatures, as are primates in general. Self-made people are difficult to find (although much hyped) because there are no such creatures. They, like unicorns, are a tall tale.

          You’d have survived for approximately 24 hours of so on that mythic journey to autonomy and sovereignty without some other human feeding and caring for your hairless behind. And after that, even now, there is little you can do outside of the society of other humans, and that for not very long.

          You’ve certainly given us a great example of the problem.

          • leavergirl says:

            Huh? He is referring to Boehm’s Hierarchy in the Forest, an excellent book by a well-thought of elder anthropologist. You can dismiss him but not without reading and considering. Nothing to do with Ayn Rand, I assure you (who seems of late to be the whipping boy of every mean-spirited Jack and Jill).

            Of course we are social creatures. But we evolved, as Boehm argues so persuasively, past the stage where alphas bullied the troop, and created societies where “vigilant sharing” was the norm. The norm, that is, for the vast majority of our time as a species (200,000 years, at least). I recommend checking it out.

            P.S. If ants can be sovereign and autonomous, surely so can humans. Think… there is no overseer ant that lords it over other ants… 🙂

            • Ivy Mike says:

              Indeed, I’m quoting Christopher Boehm’s recent book on hierarchy and an older Elman Service book on Civilization, both using precisely the same term in their books to describe primitive Non-State lifeways as “autonomous and sovereign.”

              Ayn Rand would have shit bricks if she had “checked her premises” against anthropology, as both she and Marx assumed band/tribal life was “communistic.” Wrong! (sorry, that view is as silly as young-earth creationism)

              Interestingly, the “Left” is as myopic and codependent as the “Right.” Both sides are very frightened of being a big dog looking out for yourself (personal responsibility) and cooperating as a band animal (community-humans are best adapted as Pleistocene band animals.) Our ancestors excelled at both, simultaneously.

              I think such “fear of wildness” is a matter of docility and stupidity, which has been bred into human animals just as surely as other animals have been domesticated* by the grandest coercive system of all, the agricultural city-State, or civilization, or State society (take your pick.)

              Humans are very afraid of leaving the barn. They talk of sustainable barns.

              I’m tired of barns, House-bondage (Hus-bands and Hus-bandry), codependent leftist labour fetishists, and the codependent owner class.

              I’m ready for a holiday. “The life of an Indian is a continual holiday.” ~Thomas Paine
              ___________
              * The Domestication of the Human Species, by Peter J. Wilson, Yale University Press

              • derekthered says:

                “codependent leftist labour fetishists” excuse me, i resemble that remark! nah, the marxist critique is correct, as if it matters. let me see if i can get this out correctly. what is upsetting is the devaluation of labor. we know that land properly cared for can be more productive, that is with mulch, compost, working with the soil rather than just using it up, but hey, try getting a job doing that!

                now the skills that are valued are organizational, lawyers, accountants, computer experts good at refining methods of control. when i tell the reds i am a libertarian socialist they just look kind of puzzled, same from the libertarians, they tell me, you can’t do that! that’s contradictory! being one scant generation away from the plow, i ain’t skeered of no hard work, probably people who have lived for generations in the concrete jungle, they may see things different.

                but back to this labor fetish thing, now, if there was some way to get people back onto the land growing their own food, 40 acres and a mule, why then we could start the whole pyramid all over again. just a thought, a way to ameliorate the coming crash.

                • Ivy Mike says:

                  The agricultural city-State (civilization) puts productive land under guard and the food under lock and key. Thus people are denied Non-State societal hunting and gathering of the proverbial free lunch off the land, and are starved into work-work-working in factories, offices, fields, and armies.

                  Officer, am I free to gambol about plain and forest to hunt and gather a free lunch and live life like a “continual holiday” (Paine, 1797)?

                  The answer is the same whether in a socialist system with collective agriculture, or with privation property in capitalist systems. No!—with an added:
                  • Get back to work!
                  • Arbeit macht frei!
                  • Idle hands are the devil’s workshop!
                  • Full employment!
                  • Socialist Workers Unite!
                  • Jobs!

                  Did I say work was a CULTural fetish?

                  “Why should we plant, when there are so many mongomongo nuts m the world?”

                  ~Lee, Richard. 1968. “What Hunters Do for a Living, or, How to Make Out on Scarce Resources”, in R. Lee and I. DeVore (eds.), Man the Hunter. Chicago: Aldine.
                  As quoted in: THE ORIGINAL AFFLUENT SOCIETY by Marshall Sahlins

              • leavergirl says:

                “Humans are very afraid of leaving the barn. They talk of sustainable barns.”

                Ha! 🙂 And in their barns, they plot and plan, writing endless reports on what it may be like, to leave the barn.

                • Ivy Mike says:

                  Yep. I’m weary of the word “sustainable.” Sustainable civilization is an oxymoron.

                  All this talk of “Sustainability” is really just the “bargaining stage” of The Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle. Please, please, we’ll live simpler, gentler….if only we can keep some of the comforts of the barn.

                  It’s not going to happen. Really, it’s not.

                  What is going to happen is something that hardly anybody ever talks about, and even then, they think we can dodge the inevitable. Resource wars are coming up, and it’s only going to get hotter.

                  “Every ‘small’ war pulls the trigger in nuclear roulette. Each of these probabilities, by itself, is small. But taken together over a year’s time, they add up to a cumulative probability which is no longer small. Taken together over a century, they make nuclear war virtually INEVITABLE.” ~Dr. Martin E. Hellman, Stanford University

                  About the only human genetics that have a chance to break on through to the other side are those in the southern hemisphere and a few who survive the gamma radiation under 36″ of dirt and the nuclear winter.

                  It’s going to be as cold as the Mt. Toba Eruption 74,000 years ago, when 30 or so human females survived.

                  Yet with civilization as destructive as it is, nuclear war will be the salvation of the world, radiating the cancer of agricultural civilization. Radiation therapy, if you will.

                  ~Ivy Mike (the 1st fussion, or thermonuclear, device)

          • Ivy Mike says:

            Nichole, my cites{*}{ *} are precise and correct. I have both books, hardcover, in my personal library. Want to take another swing? I challenge you to read the books, not assume what is in the books. Like the ingredients of Ragu, “It’s In There.”
            __________
            * Boehm, Christopher. (2001) Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

            ** Service, Elman. (1975) Origins of the State and Civilization: The Process of Cultural Evolution. New York, NY: Norton.

    • kulturcritic says:

      We all seem to have the same frustrations, don’t we, my friends.

      • marlena13 says:

        Looks like John Del signore provides a good starting place to replacements of bossism…”there did exist in old Europe advanced cultures that were not patriarchal and were not overly materialistic and they thrived of thousands of years. “

  2. “I am now beginning to understand our modern concept of freedom; it is the freedom of absolute privacy; it is the solipsistic anonymity of the fully individuated, subjective self, set apart from an objectified world within a little compartment of the mind.”

    Meanwhile, our overlords have been taking from us to the tune of trillions, above and beyond what they demanded outright, like thief’s in the night. And how has America reacted to the news? The same as they have to the hegemon declaring Absolute Power, preparing in the full light of day for the federal takeover of America by way of Martial Law: Yawn.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Your clarity is killing me, WHD!!

    • Disaffected says:

      It really is amazing, ain’t it? We have the lesson of Nazi Germany still etched within our recent living collective memories, and yet everyone still imagines that “it could never happen here,” even as we’re smack dab in the middle of that very process! Fucking surreal! What we have here is a failure of imagination. We still imagine that Fascism will look exactly like it did last time when it returns, when in fact it evolves and transforms with time, just like all living organisms (and thus, human ideas) do (Hitler was a mere piker compared to today’s practitioners of the art!). And the biggie, we STILL imagine that the US and the western European powers it represents are somehow manifestly superior to the rest of the world, and that it’s our “divine right” to do with it as we please. To impose our divine imperial will on all that we see. Manifest destiny and all that delusional shit. Oh well, the illusions will indeed go hard before the fall. And yet another imperial power will go the way of all the rest before it, done in by the weight of its own delusional internal contradictions.

      • Disaffected,

        I don’t think people even go so far as to think it could never happen here. I don’t think they really think at all, a great many Americans. What often passes for thinking in this country is merely cycling through one’s mind, whatever one has heard from the MSM, which makes a caricature of history at best. Most people couldn’t tell you what was on the “news” last month, let alone what the last thirty years have REALLY looked like, and beyond.

        So what are all those folks going to do if TSHTF? I shudder to think.

        Though maybe things like the Texas legislature attempting to outlaw critical thinking in the public schools, and North (or was it South) Carolina’s legislature outlawing talk of rising sea levels in climate reports, are reactionary signs that people are waking up. I sure hope.

      • kulturcritic says:

        Very perceptive on the fascist state of our regime, DA. I am so glad you are back!!

        • Disaffected says:

          Thanks Sandy. I’m newly dry, trimmer, and fitter, and feeling good again (just got back from a 6 hour hike in the mountains with a fetching young vixen). And William, it was North Carolina. Too funny! I hear the flat earth theory is back on the table as well, and – get this! – there’s even talk of a movement to repeal the law of gravity itself, in the hopes that the stock market and profits can be permanently untethered and let to float off into the stratosphere of infinite returns. Who could make this stuff up?

  3. If we look farther back in history about 7000 years ago, we know that the Kurgans infiltrated the peaceful advanced agrarian cultures of Eastern Europe and through conquest, decimated most of their populations and converted them to patriarchy. That patriarchal shift became the impetus for the male dominator societies we know as the modern western world today. The story of the Kurgan conquests is quite interesting in the fact that it began with environmental influences (their environment became harsher and they became angry with their habitat) and resulted in the development of aggression and intolerance of other cultures and the demotion of women and nature. Weapons were revered and they created a sky God that sanctioned conquest. To take from others was considered an important positive value and receiving was considered a sign of weakness. This sounds all too familiar doesn’t it? The only positive side of the story is that there did exist in old Europe advanced cultures that were not patriarchal and were not overly materialistic and they thrived of thousands of years. Thus culture seems to be the deciding factor in the values that evolve in society as opposed to some inherent deficit in human behavior.

    • John Del signore,

      It has only been the last 5000 year appx, that patriarchal command and control dominance has been the defining paradigm. Prior to that, more people lived in peace on this beautiful earth, often personifying the divine in the feminine, than not. By my reckoning, that’s about 195,000 years of the story of Homo sapien that was characterized by connection, and communion with the rhythms of nature, of the wild. Any human might call that up, in themselves – it is our birthright, and I think, as close to salvation as we can get.

      • “Connection and communion with the rhythms of nature” yes, but not without blood sacrifice. Horticulture, the laying waste of the biodiversity of an ecosystem to grow human’s favourite food was experienced as a wrong that required making amends. “Sacri- fice”, to make sacred was unheard of in foraging cultures that lived in a sacred world. Christianity’s historical role was to end the practice.

  4. Malthus says:

    Me I just want to wear a loin cloth paint my body, grasp a spear and a sword, and hunt the rat bastards down one at a time. Then when they finally get me give me a flaming viking burial at sea. And they will get me. There are way to many goose steppers between me and them.

  5. Brutus says:

    Sandy sez: I am now beginning to understand our modern concept of freedom; it is the freedom of absolute privacy; it is the solipsistic anonymity of the fully individuated, subjective self, set apart from an objectified world within a little compartment of the mind.

    Now beginning? The flight from the sensorium has been underway for a long time; it’s part of our ontology now. It’s also a cruel irony, how we manage the tensions between the individual self, larger societies around us, and the even larger natural world in which we live. We once were embedded and relational — truly social creatures — but then became self-absorbed, conquering, triumphalist, Type A, world-beating personalities, at least enough of us to set the tone for the rest. There are still plenty of those types around, but the paradox is that they are retreating into private worlds to contemplate their fixations (mostly money, and after than power and influence), and the masses are also retreating but by abandoning themselves to nothingness, to oblivion, to a state of nonbeing enabled by 24/7/365 connectivity with virtual environments.

    It’s a subtle and complicated argument, though, and if it only alights fleetingly upon the brows of even our best thinkers and utterly fails the penetrate the awareness of pedestrian minds, I suppose that’s only to be expected.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Brutus, you fully understand my rhetorical flourishes, of course.

      • derekthered says:

        “the masses are also retreating but by abandoning themselves to nothingness, to oblivion, to a state of nonbeing enabled by 24/7/365 connectivity with virtual environments.”
        stated another way,
        “the masses themselves form a clone-like apparatus that functions without the mediation of the other. in the last analysis the masses are simply the sum of all the systems terminals- a network travelled by digital impulses (this is what forms a mass). oblivious to to external injunctions, they constitute themselves into integrated circuits given over to manipulation” – credit to my fave cultural theorist – jean baudrillard – rip

          • derekthered says:

            naaah! are not. i think you get it, we’re all stars now, in the dope show.
            as the architect sayeth “Your life is the sum of a remainder of an unbalanced equation inherent to the programming of the matrix. You are the eventuality of an anomaly, which despite my sincerest efforts I have been unable to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision. ” – from the movie
            we get our culture from the movies now, don’tcha know? they spend enough coupons making them, the entire point is to grab peoples attention, or else they won’t want to go. intellectual content? dunno. what do i think? i think mr. jean got it, resistance is futile, prepare to be assimilated. flesh for fantasy as billy idol put it, only human.
            “fully individuated” indeed, objectified, commodified, shake and bake. a mind is a terrible thing.

        • kulturcritic says:

          This is over my head. LOL

  6. aka_ces says:

    True story, JP Morgan manages my employer’s 401K, and assigned me a default account id of CASINO123. In the belly of the beast…

  7. derekthered says:

    All simple monkeys with alien babies
    Amphetamines for boys
    Crucifixes for ladies
    Sampled and soulless
    Worldwide and real webbed
    You sell all the living
    For more safer dead
    Anything to belong
    Rock is deader than dead
    Shock is all in your head
    Your sex and your dope is all that were fed
    So fuck all your protests and put them to bed
    God is in the T.V.
    – Marilyn Manson

    such language. yes, yes, “fully individuated”, take our current philosophy to its logical extreme and we shall achieve the destiny of a protozoa, as per “The Political Destiny of Seduction” from the book “Seduction” by you know who, old what’s his name.

  8. John Bollig says:

    Huum, So Sandy has finally broken into the ravings of a madman ? But, like the old testament prophets, he is to be revered. How mad is he ? mad enough to be like Lewis Black, Carlos Mencia and the blue collar comedy crew. The sheer insanity of the times demands an insane solution. Dropping out of society is perhaps the most desireable option, but some of us have this tether to the society called a medical need. Perhaps the only solution is to watch the festivities while we still can. Enjoy what you can while you can because once it is over, it is truly over…..

    • Disaffected says:

      John,
      I’m hoping you follow The Archdruid as well? His last several posts have been on that very topic, weighing the options of dropping out vs playing it out as is. No definitive answers or anything like that, and a lot of very practical options exist between those two extremes, but a lot of thought provoking ideas to ponder along those lines. He is absolutely one of the few in the world who truly “gets it,” while at the same time not expounding on the necessity of adopting of any particular agenda. A lot of us, whether we now realize it or not, due to personal preference or circumstance, will end up playing out our current lifetimes “in place” whether we like it or not. Not all of us are equipped after a life of relative luxury and ease in the first world west to reinvent ourselves in our 40s, 50s, or 60s to go “wander in the woods” again, and there’s certainly not enough woods remaining to support us all anyway. There’s no shame in that whatsoever, and we can all do any number of things “in place” to minimize our environmental impact and our economic dependence on the current global fascist kleptocracy. And quite frankly, many of us don’t have all that long to live anyway, once again, whether we know it or not (I like to ponder that very thought every day when I wake up now – will THIS be the last day I see life through these eyes?). As to what comes next and what it all means, that’s the REAL question that we all have to ponder for ourselves, isn’t it? No spiritual guides allowed for that one.

  9. robindatta says:

    Freedom is an illusion. Our great (x100,000,000) grandparents had aquatic respiration through gills and at some point were barely able to get around on land on stubby pectoral and pelvic fins breathing air through primitive lungs. Although we no longer have the freedom of aquatic respiration, we do not consider it a loss of freedom. Nor do we consider our shrunken upper limbs a loss that precludes the freedom of an arboreal lifestyle of our primate cousins.

    Freedom to a lab rat is adequate and timely rations of food a water, comfortable ambient temperature and a clean cage.

    One’s concept of freedom is shaped by one’s history, not just of recent societal forces, but also by social, environmental and biological influences that extend back into deep time beyond any perceptive capacity of humans. 

    Voting is the attempt to use the machinery of the state to compel others to conform to one’s wishes. Implicit in the act of voting is one’s moral sanction for such coercion by force.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Interesting assessment, Robindatta

    • marlena13 says:

      I have been saying that to not vote is a revolutionary act of defiance…

    • Malthus says:

      “Voting is the attempt to use the machinery of the state to compel others to conform to one’s wishes. Implicit in the act of voting is one’s moral sanction for such coercion by force.” Wow, what a well constructed sentence and so true.

    • Ivy Mike says:

      “voting is an attempt to use the machinery of the state compel others…”

      Such is a standard anarcho-capitalist / Libertarian talking point, so let’s get to the root of big-government coercion: PRIVation property. Anybody who stands on a piece of land, fences it in, and claims to “own” Mother Earth’s surface must use the machinery of the state to compel others to not cross artificial borders around their enTITLEment.

      “Agriculture creates government.” ~Richard Manning, Against the Grain, p. 73

      Agriculture is nothing more than hierarchical coercion of other species and humans themselves:
      • Other animals submit to man = HusBand-ry = House Bondage
      • Other sex submits to man = HusBand = House Bondage

      Suffrage, giving women the vote, didn’t double the coercion in this nation, it allowed women to participate in a coercive Agricultural City-State Society (Civilization) already built on the coercive characteristics of Hus-Bondage. But suffrage still rankles the PRIVileged, bossy, patriarchal, hierarchical Libertarian Hus-Bonds. Don’t let ’em fool ya.

      • Malthus says:

        And underneath that lies agreement.

        • Malthus says:

          And my way of thinking is agriculture was the biggest mistake we humans have ever made. Again with agreement and of course the constant seeking of an easier way of life trap.

          • leavergirl says:

            Nah. The biggest mistake was getting perpetually hoodwinked by the aggrandizers into ratcheting intensification in the first place. Ag followed.

            • Ivy Mike says:

              Correct. The “Big Men,” increasing hierarchy, and domestication (hus-bandry, or house bondage) preceded agriculture. Agriculture combined them into an intensive system that has raped mother earth to death.

              I don’t use lightly the word rape. Even the ancient Greeks recognized the nature of agricultural civilization in their mythology of the Rape of Demeter (the goddess of grain and agriculture.)

              • leavergirl says:

                Yup. Also keep in mind that cultivation is probably as old as sapiens. Some modest cultivation. So that when the aggrandizer push came, those basic skills were already there.

  10. Disaffected says:

    One certainly senses that the 2012 Pageant / 2013 Coronation will mark a significant turning point in world history. Choices will be made (or not, and even no choice is a choice), wheels set in motion, unanticipated alternative realities brought to life. Rejoice dear friends! The beginning of the end of the current round is nigh! We have nothing to lose but our illusions and our lives. And I’ve heard that’s the reason we’re all here in the first place.

  11. John Bollig says:

    DA,

    You got that right on target and from a contrarian perspective, yes it is a coronation of King Obama. Massive fraud and smoke and mirrors are the standard. The secret is out, however. Peak oil is real and it is causing chaos with the markets. The economy is contracting, not expanding and the real unemployment rate is much higher than the false low rate. The latest report from scope details the massive program cuts that the UK has pushed thru since 2010 and it is going to push thousands of people into the streets. Destination Unknown was a scathing attack on the conservative UK policies. It is going to get worse and worse and worse. The european union and the euro itself is a disaster and should be scrapped.

    • Disaffected says:

      John,

      Won’t it be fun watching the both of em tell us all how it’s all gonna get better again if we’ll just vote for them? Personally, I hope Romney wins (I’m not gonna even bother voting ever again) just so we can all watch the Repubes squirm once they have the levers of power all to themselves again and have to take responsibility for the shit storm that’s about to ensue. It’s not like O.Co is gonna do anything different anyway, so he and they got their one and only chance in 2008 as far as I’m concerned. Every coronation since 2000 has been increasingly pivotal. In 2000 we reversed course (seemingly, although with what we now know about Clinton, maybe not so much) and actively embraced no holds barred imperialist fascism. Then, to the rest of the world’s utter “shock and awe,” in 2004 we doubled down! on that bet. In 2008 we crashed and burned the entire world economy and proclaimed our utter dismay by electing a “hope and change” agent who turned out to be anything but. And 2012 appears to be shaping up as the consolidation and confirmation round, where we have two identical candidates, both kindly described as used car salesmen or game show hosts, whose only interests and capabilities are as serving as corporate mouthpieces for the real power brokers, who all work behind the scenes now. Corporate proxies installed to fulfill the letter of the law, while the law itself is busily being subverted out of the glare of the pubic spotlight. Welcome to the Fascist States of Corporate America. Brought to you by Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, and a litany of other corporate “persons.” Oh, and remember: Walmart! Always low prices! Always!

      The looming powder keg appears to be Afghanistan/Pakistan/Iran, where we’ve finally overstepped our very tenuous welcome in the region. Iran is simply not buying our line of shit altogether (God Bless ‘Em!!!), while Pakistan, like a jilted lover, is biding their time telling us one thing and doing the exact opposite, and Afghanistan is worn out and exhausted by 10 years of our “friendly occupation.” All of which is taking place in the new players on the block’s backyard – Russia and China – who now need that region’s resources every bit as bad as we do and have the new found capability and resolve to actually do something about it. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this is almost certainly going to end very messily and badly for someone. Any bets out there on how this is gonna play out? Popcorn for EVERYONE! The show is about to begin, and it’s gonna be an epic!

  12. Nichole says:

    “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this is almost certainly going to end very messily and badly for someone. Any bets out there on how this is gonna play out? Popcorn for EVERYONE! The show is about to begin, and it’s gonna be an epic!”

    Really? I wonder if any of this could even stand the scrutiny of some Sumerian, Harappan, Egyptian, or even Old Europan observer of imperial decline and cultural sea-change.

    It’s not that we cannot imagine. Our minds are full of images, always. It’s a matter of how the images in our minds mesh with whatever material reality arrives. I suspect that most of us miss-the-mark with our imaginary arrows.

    Even our souls have been captured in matter, bronzed baby shoes preserved in a state long past. That, seems to me, is the value of Sandy’s short essay. He, ironically, discovers the bronzed baby shoes, the pixilated corrals we seldom recognize.

    Easier for me to see the shadow through the mist than to clearly sketch the visage of the thing that’s slouching toward Bethlehem to be born.

    I can simply guess that since we’ve passed through stages of merely spiritualism and merely materialism and have found both wanting, that perhaps, if we find salvation at all, that it will be in the form of a temporary dialectical process where spirit and body join with consciousness to bring an existence where greed of all three varieties finds a sort of Epicurean moderation.

    Or, I reckon, maybe whatever remains after burning heat nd rampant fear washes ashore like salt-washed flotsam on various seas’ shores.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Salvation (another unfortunate term), perhaps recovery is better… may be found as you say in the reunification of the rationally bifurcated elements of our reality, eg., body-subject, world-as-lived, self-as-other, for example.

      • Nichole says:

        One speaks, or writes, what she knows or has experienced. To write a new experience seems impossible to me. The scarlet paint on my nails was “salvation,” Sandy. To the girl who was raised in a southern evangelizing church where modesty and keeping one’s female mouth shut tight lest one violate the prescriptive St. Paul, “let your women keep silent in the church,” using my own voice and words feels very much like freedom.

        The word isn’t unfortunate to me, simply always somewhere close to hand. Think “salvage” for a connection. The fashion one salvages herself after a brutal rape or after being shut-down for no better reason than her sex and the night-terrors of men who dream vaginas with teeth and tongues of fire. (That’s a hard image, but one that seems alive to me. You are allowed “recovery” if it appeals more to you. I’ll keep salvation and all its inherent, for me, power.)

        But, yes, my point was that a unification of our various parts and particulars seems to be something that’s required at this point. I have a difficult time finding a way to that unification (I suspect that other than in respect to a few rare individuals through human existence, “reunification” doesn’t apply) given our over-mechanized, over technologized and over-publicized kulchur.

        I’ve found that I cannot simply pack and leave for as a part of this relational journey I find myself having to consider my partner and our child as well. Can two women farm well enough to feed ourselves in the mountains of northern Vermont? What food crops are viable and after the food is in what else can we do to make a living? How effective will solar be there? Can the taiga be a place for farm girls? The answers seem rather more complex than I would have imagined two decades ago in a southern state. One learns to be watchful before she steps, although she came to that the hard way. Yep, Ima gonna stick with “salvation.” 🙂

    • Disaffected says:

      I’m not sure what you said, but you certainly said it well. And I think I agree with most of it, although I will take issue with the imagination part. Images and imagination are inversely related. The image culture we live in is nothing less than an effort to prepackage reality visually and stifle the imagination (and the intelligence) of its audience. That’s one reason why the music video concept never really caught on. Good music invariably draws the listener into an imaginary world of their own creation, just as the composer was likewise when he conceived the work. The video process flew directly in the face of that concept, trying as it did to impose a single particular imaginary construct on its audience. Now, quite predictably, they’re a relic used mostly for promotional purposes. And I think the culture we live in now is for the most part totally bankrupt in the imagination and idea departments. Totally!
      And just so you know, sarcasm and cynicism are my primary rhetorical flourishes and habits of mind (I am without a doubt the most cynical person that I know), so if you ever catch yourself taking me too literally on anything, you might want to read again. I’m aware. It’s a character flaw.

      • kulturcritic says:

        DA = don’t be so hard on yourself. Your tone was fine. And your substance quite valid.

      • Nichole says:

        Not being part of the “image-industry” I find myself meaning something quite different when I write about images. Haven’t participated in television since 2002 and am rather particular about cinema as well. IOW, Dis, your apology wasn’t at all necessary, but I’ll thank you for it.

        The images I was thinking of are the images those of us who may well be over-educated and overly-intellectual kulchur critics chose to create in our reactions to the world-as-individually-lived-experience. I suppose the wonder is that we understand one another in the least.

        My being a new commenter prolly doesn’t assist any of you in placing me inside of your own pixillated corrals, anymore than I pretend to fathom what your “real” ideas are. I just know that I enjoy reading them. (However, it’s rather too easy to criticize you in my own ignorance.) So, my direction was meant to be a furtherance in my own thoughts of what your sentences asked me to ponder, Dis. Those words were a springboard for my own thoughts about mostly me, not a launcher for a critical comment on the text itself.

        I imagine that I can more than match any character flaws you can find in yourself with those I’ve long ago found in myself. 🙂

        I prefer the discussion.

    • Disaffected says:

      Nichole,
      I’ve re-read your post and concluded that my response might have been a bit harsh in tone, if not in content. I’m not always the quickest on the uptake, and my mouth, or in this case my fingers, often precedes my mind. Once again, I’m aware, it’s a character flaw. I’m working on it.
      DA

      • marlena13 says:

        So the more they advertise the less I want to buy is a good thing, yes ? Which seems to be happening a lot more, so they advertise with more shrilling, making more people not wanting to buy…which causes them ..

        • Martin says:

          Yeah – that’s how it works for me, especially with things I don’t want or need, like politicians….

          Eventually, if we-all all last that long, they’ll figure it out and stfu – maybe.

      • Nichole says:

        Thank you for the writing compliment above. Sorry that I have managed to mash together a reply to your above post and to the one above it as well. Sometimes I lose my bearings. Old women were meant to be explorers, but without the experience I sometimes get lost. 🙂

        I’ve seen harsh, but your post wasn’t one of the places I noticed it. Maybe being a socialist female commenter at RedState has inured me to nastiness. LOL! Ts’allright.

  13. leavergirl says:

    “What if three-quarters of the enfranchised populace of this country decided to do just that?”
    That’s the only interesting question left, now that the whole voting charade is too vapid and ugly to participate in.

    Robin Datta said: “Freedom to a lab rat is adequate and timely rations of food a water, comfortable ambient temperature and a clean cage.”

    I doubt it. How do you know that? Sounds like a mean speciesist thought.

    Two more women in Sandy’s salon! Awesome. 🙂

    Yeah, right about the bosses. Except we have to learn to do stuff without them. That’s the hard part.

    Thanks for all the cheery gloom, guys! Wish it would just keel over. No such luck, though… there is enough to keep it limping for a long time, I think Greer is right about that…

  14. leavergirl says:

    Hey, Sandy, could you give us more than 5 “recent comments”? I am having a hell of a time fishing for the latest additions, with them being scattered throughout. Thanks!

  15. javacat says:

    It’s the ‘freedom’ of absolute isolation. What we ‘share’ is seperate experiences with digital devices that demote the value of actual interaction and promote the illusion of individuation. All the programmed programs deliver pre-formed experience which eventually conditions our responses. A rather ingenious ‘divide and conquer’ approach to subduing the masses, no?

    [This comment is, I know. Catching up with what I missed. 😉 ]

  16. Lilmory says:

    Wow. your insights into the modern condition is amazing. We are constantly fed false and distorted information by the mass media; the majority of us are deep asleep and allow our perception of reality be shaped by these sinister forces. Its great t know that there are people out there who also see through the lies and grand deception which is our whole modern civilization. I wish i could live a life more spiritually connected to mother nature, but alas, I’m a prisoner to this system.

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