Tend Your Garden!

Obama wins… Our enemies are dancing in the streets.  Our economy will spudder and die.  The time of America as a leader is over.  Get used to Chinese food.  Not the good stuff either.  The stuff they feed the slaves at the Apple factories, the same slaves that our children will report to. (Anonymous Friend)

Some folks are upset at the outcome of the well-financed electoral dance.  Of course, the writer in the case above just happens to be among the one-percent.  So, his remarks are no surprise, and our hearts won’t bleed in sympathy with him.  And I for one think it’s high-time America’s self-proclaimed global leadership comes to its inglorious end.  Yet, at least we saw that good ole’ boy Mitt can sing.  Swan song’s are always so painful to watch, but perhaps not in this case.

So, what do we do now that the dust has settled from our multi-billion dollar sell-off?  It is strange and unsettling how they can incarcerate a single man for attempting to sell the Senate seat in Illinois, but corporate bosses can buy the presidency with the blessings of the people and the Supremes.  Ah!  Life in America!  Certainly one cannot argue with the appearance of free choice, as long as we spell freedom – ‘m-o-n-e-y’!  Buying and selling is the hallmark of a free society, so it seems: the more consumer choice the greater the illusion of freedom.  Yet, in that light we should look at our freedom as rather marginal; after all, we really have no consumer choice when it comes to politics, even politics in America.

Of course, no one would argue with the presumption that Mitt would have fast tracked the end of history, as we know it, with capital leading the charge over a cliff built of Little Debbie cakes and silicon chips. But, O-drama will not do much, if anything, to stop the hemorrhaging either.  In fact, he also has made the case for accelerated resource depletion and increasing social management, using any and all means available.  But where does this leave us now?  Well, maybe we should learn to “like” FOX News on Facebook; that would be an interesting twist on reality.  Or, perhaps our commenter above is correct; maybe we need to get accustomed to eating Chinese food.  Alternatively, maybe we should follow the new voices sounding now in Buenos Aires… and don’t cry for Argentina or for ourselves.

Of course, we all know that political solutions are too little, too late; and that the wheels of our globalized consumer culture have taken control of all resources and all the alternatives.  The race to the bottom has begun, and it is now like a runaway train.  Of course we may adjust the speed around the edges, but the trajectory has been set.  Capital calls the shots… in war, in peace, in healthcare, insurance, and in finance.  Perhaps Voltaire had the right idea centuries ago when he implored us at the end of Candide to “tend your garden.”  Perhaps this is the best advice, and if that is the case, then we should certainly find the time now to locate a place for our perfect garden.  That is the real story behind this election cycle and its result.  We can count on no one, as if we did have such trust prior to Tuesday.  Whatever will come of this drive towards catastrophe, one thing is certain; life as we know it will more than likely make an abrupt  about-face.  Are you ready, people?  It has been a long week, and I am getting tired; are you also tired my friends?  Then please, go ahead and cultivate that garden!

47 Responses to Tend Your Garden!

  1. Boris Gelfand says:

    Thanks for the wonderful picture. Your son?

  2. bmiller says:

    Indeed! Of course, like our protagonist in Candide, one has to travel the world and be taken in by cons and dupes across the globe, before one sees the wisdom of tending that garden… which, I guess, is exactly your point. Speaking of gardens, I need to go mulch the garlic and onions this morning, down to 30 degrees. Glad to see in the picture you are using hoops to extend the season. What a simple but effective way to eat fresh veggies.
    The NYT had an article Thursday on a high school in Vermont that focuses on a slightly Luddite curriculum. A quote from a teacher closed the article: “the idea is not to be going back to a time where things were better, but where the richness of each day is defined by the food you eat, the company you keep, the work you do.” Amen.

    • Disaffected says:

      Let me raise that quote a notch. The idea is to raise the idea of “doing better” to mean increasing the richness (naturalness and TRUE quality) of the food you eat, the quality of company (as opposed to quantity) you keep, and the quality (once again, as opposed to the quantity) of work that you do.


  3. Brutus says:

    Sandy sez: Certainly one cannot argue with the appearance of free choice, as long as we spell freedom – ‘m-o-n-e-y’! Buying and selling is the hallmark of a free society, so it seems: the more consumer choice the greater the illusion of freedom. Yet, in that light we should look at our freedom as rather marginal; after all, we really have no consumer choice when it comes to politics, even politics in America.

    That’s a cruel irony: the cornucopia of largely meaningless choices among flavors/brands of soda, vehicles, toothpaste, etc. contrasted with the narrow but equally meaningless choices coughed up by the two-party system. But we can’t fix it until it breaks, right? It’s teetering on the brink of destruction, as renewed reports about the “fiscal cliff” remind us. (Was the media inside the cone of silence of silence during election season?) In that respect, I can understand why some vote for destructive candidates. Yes, let’s get on with it. But don’t fool yourself that we’ll make it through to the other side anytime withn a couple generations at least. History may move quickly these days, but the correction most certainly won’t.

    • Disaffected says:

      Actually, I doubt we’ll fix it even after it breaks. Some future generation (4 or 5 down the road is my wild-assed guess) will be tasked with picking up the pieces and starting something brand new (if, indeed, there’s anything left to pick up in an environment that may no longer be hospitable in the least). Nonetheless, you’re entirely right. We in the here and now will just have to suffer all of this gladly for our lifetimes at least, and somehow find a way to take comfort in our current existence. Maybe all this will spark a renewed genuine interest in philosophy and meaning (as opposed to mere religion) and maybe there’s hope for the human race yet. Or maybe not. Personally, I think the thing that will send us to the bottom quickest (and is, in fact, already partially doing so), is the final realization that anthropomorphic climate change is indeed a fact and also already irreversible. When “we the people” finally wake up to the fact that we’ve already irrevocably shit the terrestrial bed, the TRUE panic will begin. Interesting times? Yep! We’ve got ’em!

  4. namfos says:

    You’re such a joyful pessimist, Sandy.

  5. “Buying and selling is the hallmark of a free society, so it seems: the more consumer choice the greater the illusion of freedom.  Yet, in that light we should look at our freedom as rather marginal; after all, we really have no consumer choice when it comes to politics, even politics in America.”
    “Capital calls the shots… in war, in peace, in healthcare, insurance, and in finance.”

    If humanity were to share the bounty of this world as a group of loving friends or a caring family, we would suddenly recognize our capacity to make one another happy and thus enjoy peace and plenty, contentment and tranquility no matter the circumstances we may be facing in the present moment. We could begin to grow up and disentangle ourselves from the age-old struggle to control and conquer the world. Self-sacrificing love and self-effacement could then take the place in our hearts that had been a hangout for self-interested clinging to short-lived comforts, conveniences, certainties, and cynicism.

    When enough of us realize how damned stupid it had been to treat each other as strangers with hatred, fear and enmity, we can relax our clinging grip on our own self-interest (Let go), concentrate on what we can individually offer and learn for the sake of the “team” (embracing our roles without judging their place in the illusory hierarchy), and we can refocus our creativity on how best to solve problems and face predicaments in the NOW.

    We may not be far away from collectively making the transition from playing with illusions of the ephemeral world to facing up to ourselves in order to see the false from the true. It may turn out what we may have attempted to escape from was not reality but our own ignorance of it.

    • “Capital calls the shots… in war, in peace, in healthcare, insurance, and in finance.”

    • Disaffected says:

      There you go getting all mystical Ron! Excellent stuff! Although I fear it may all be too late.

      I think we in the US (which is to say the world, political-economically speaking) made our choice in 1980, and then doubled down on that choice in 2000, and doubled down further on a non-choice in 2012.

      The rest, as they say, is, or soon will be history.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Ron – what is the “ephemeral world” you are talking about?

      • A world/collective consciousness that values what is short-lived. All seek happiness, some seek it in short-lived experiences (comforts, convenience, assumptions of certainty, wishful thinking), while others eventually discover through the medium of disappointments and other sufferings that their exist lasting values. Then one will long for and aspire to know that which lasts. Generally, it is a matter of selfishness versus selflessness.

  6. derekthered says:

    s’not easy to swallow our peace prize president going on with his qualified promises, with his level playing field and all, when the dynamic of domination and destruction which has marked this epoch of “civilization” continues to rage unabated. sure, it’ll be fine for them that “plays by the rules”, but who makes the rules? well, the supreme court does, supposedly and one of their rulings was this.
    because you see, i’m one of those heretics who thinks that citizens united was decided correctly according to precedent, it’s the precedent that’s the travesty. but then, wandering in the wilderness is nothing new for yours truly, it’s lonely on point.
    funny how the supposed left was all atwitter about the horrible citizen united ruling, how those mean old supremes were a bunch of neo-friggin-nazi’s on that one, but they were down with the obviously unconstitutional ACA decision. hardly the only contradiction in what passes for “progressive” thought. enemy of my enemy, wot?

    domination, destruction, and democracy, righty right then. nothings changed, the poor will stay poor, the rich stay rich, the hidden hand will stay hidden, doing it’s dirty work.

    the freaks were right, the hippies, if a person can essentially drop out, probably a good idea.
    people are getting the message, look out for number one, it’s this countries creed.

    • Disaffected says:

      Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…

      • Disaffected says:

        I might add, the irony of now comfortably ensconced corporate rock stars of the 60’s and 70’s continuing to perpetuate the meme of youthful disaffection is not lost on me. I view it all as part of the “Grand Illusion,” which even rock stars are susceptible to as well. In that vein…

        • derekthered says:

          the issues are so simple, outsourcing, synthetic financial instruments, corporate profit margins, production of value-added products; the solutions are not much more complex, outlaw derivatives, cap corporate profits, etc. etc. methinks the political class knows these things but actually want things to stay the same, the better to score a high paying gig with their fancy college degree. yes, i know, hating on the “educated”, how rural of me……….
          but look, we know the solutions, but they don’t fit the big bloated capitalist model, the other thing is i think these “progressives” are fine with the corporate beast, gives them an easy target and a cash cow.
          i am perfectly serious here, societies have always valued the intelligentsia, it is when the apparatus and apparatchiks get out of step with reality that cultures collapse, i believe we are reaching that point.
          ritt momney, bronco bama, clintonista’s , or the party du jour, we have heard this societal reform clap-trap for a long, long time, i’m not holding my breath.


          “President Obama has named Jeffrey Immelt as the chair of The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Immelt is the ninth chairman of GE, a post he has held since September 7, 2001.”

          find a GE product, any product, except maybe locomotives, pick a consumer or small electronic product, look where it was made………………..

          • Disaffected says:

            But remember, the status quo is always by definition self-perpetuating. It’s always the best – and in the modern case, very often only – paying gig in town, and even if you enter the system intent on changing it, it will either gradually round off your corners and rough edges or spit you by the side of the road. BELIEVE ME, somewhere along the line, EVERYONE involved in corporate America comes to that crossroad, whether they realize it at the time or not. For most, the process is long and gradual, just like the natural aging process that occurs simultaneously [Cue: Pink Floyd, Welcome to the Machine].

            Think that is all circumstance? Of course not! All by design.

            The capitalist model has succeeded thus far simply because it’s the best method yet devised to implement and legalize organized theft. Communism/authoritarianism is so old school and trite! Why “take” from others what is rightfully theirs by force, when with just a little more effort, you can actually get them to pay you for the privilege of giving it to you anyway? It’s all good in modern America! Land of the Plutocrat Free and the home of the Debt Slaves.

            • javacat says:

              So capitalism is a kind of economic Darwinism? a socio-political system that belies an efficient gathering of resources? This is a new ecology! I’m kind of liking the path. Not arguing, but ‘all by design’ sounds conspiratory to me.I have a hard time believing that it’s all the organizing. I can more easily go with multiple individual interests intersecting to create at least temporary common interests; i.e. the preservation of the system.

  7. feelitoff says:

    i’ve got some message for you. come and see )

  8. Ivy Mike says:

    Buying and selling is the hallmark of….

    …humans being coerced by “property rights” from gamboling about plain and forest, hunting and gathering a free lunch.

    Sweet Jesus, how the owner class hates the concept of a free lunch.

  9. javacat says:

    Well, post-election Maine is a pretty happy place. Gay marriage passed, at last, after again revealing the deep-seated fear and hate among opponents and the efforts of the Catholic Church to strong-arm its sheep–I mean, flock. Our legislature went strongly Democrat in both houses, putting a serious crimp in the style of our Tea Party governor-buffoon. State employees, muzzled and censored over the last year, are thrilled by the hope of overturning some really bad laws.

    On the national scene, the Dems have better music than the Repubs…Although did anyone else catch the irony of playing Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” just before Obama’s acceptance speech?

    Since you asked, Sandy: Yes, I’m tired. Tired of all the flash and buzz of politics that fill my head with static. I’m tired of school administration getting in the way of education and not trusting me to teach. I’m tired of the corporate way as it empties our pockets, pillages the land, and deadens our spirits. I’m tired of headlines like this: “Sea Floor Mining: The Debate Deepens” (http://tinyurl.com/deepseamine). How can anyone think this is a good idea?

    So I plan to take your advice and tend my gardens. Put the raised beds to rest. Turn the body over. Let the mind settle as well. Return to creating that which nourishes and sustains, including moments of connection, for that, in the end, may be the most important aspect of all.

    Thanks for this week’s offering. Maybe with our collective harvest, we can all share a whacking big pot-luck supper. 😉

    • “Return to creating that which nourishes and sustains, including moments of connection, for that, in the end, may be the most important aspect of all.”


      “If you would be happy for a week take a wife; if you would be happy for a month kill a pig; but if you would be happy all your life plant a garden.”
      Another version: “If you want to be happy for a short time, get drunk; happy for a long time, fall in love; happy forever take up gardening.”

    • Disaffected says:

      Deep sea mining is just another symptom of a resource exploiting capitalist economy in its death throws. Of course it’s always sold as just another example of “technological progress,” even as it’s conveniently omitted that said “progress” was only driven and enabled by the need for ever and ever scarcer resources in the first place. In short, our rapacious capitalist engine is rapidly running out of gas, and with it, the opulence and arrogance (not to mention population levels) that it spawned in the first place. The bill’s coming due this century for sure. Unfortunately, our plastic’s no good anymore to cover it.

      • javacat says:

        I agree with you, DA…that despite all the signs, all the warnings, we are still pushing even farther and deeper and more destructively into the planet. To me, such actions and attitudes represent a deep detachment and disconnect. The opulence, arrogance, and just plain indifference rests now on an ever more fragile shell, soon to crumble.

        This week’s The Spiral Staircase discusses our “taste for destruction.” The Australian philosopher, Glenn Albrecht, who coined the term ‘solastalgia’, spoke in an Orion webinar of the human tendency to ‘revel in the negative.’ Focusing on a more predatory angle, Naomi Klein in The Nation discusses how large corporations profit from natural disasters–another way of focusing reveling in the negative, this time for personal gain . Our actions seem compulsive and irrational.

        If you have a little time, the Orion piece is worth the listen. I was skeptical at first, but the more I listened, that more I heard.

      • javacat says:

        And most of us are complicit in the destruction. I get up in the morning, push the buttons on the thermostat, jump into the new car, grab unsustainably made products from the market, etc. Disentanglement is hard.

  10. Angie says:

    And the best bit is when the little ones graze their way through freshly plucked peas, strawberries, carrots, asparagus – and pull back the husk to sink their little teeth into juicy sweet corn. As kids grow, they experiment proudly with cooking and preserving produce. Our experience, in tending a garden, has been the cultivation of shared meaning and hope.

  11. robindatta says:

    Politics is the machination that controls the direction in which the gun of hierarchy points. That machination can be concealed, with a charade played out for public display. A vote is sanction approving the option of initiating coercive violence to enforce the compliance of non-violent dissenters, an option that is the very puissance of hierarchy.

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