Hurtling wildly through space — a virtual hologram according to some new physicists — our vanishing earth continues to remind us about the limits to growth. While, at the same time, the inner-city youth in America (Baltimore, Ferguson, etc.) remind us about the limits on their growth. And, concurrently, Russia tries to remind our US hegemony on the limits to its growth. But, all seemingly to no avail; the words, falling on deaf ears.
Yes, we live in a shrinking world, but we do not yet have the shrunken-heads we desperately need. These egos of ours need to shrink, dramatically and now. The cumulative effects of the Curriculum of the West — a worldview well-grounded in objectivism, legalism, abstraction, anonymity and competition — are recognizable now on a daily, if not an hourly, basis: constant war, civil unrest, intolerance, greed, denuding the earth, and rampant climate change. These are some of the fruits of capital’s labor, its laborers and its lawyers. The fixed points on the compass have been well-embedded in the nervous systems of modern (civil-urban) humanity. And we are stuck with the consequences. There is no turning back the hands of time, because the clock is what we created to measure our progress; and we have no other way to understand the meaning of our lives. Therefore, progress is quintessential; we can never, at least not voluntarily, turn the hands back. That is forbidden.
This world we’ve engineered is now on autopilot; there are triggers that have been pulled, barriers breached — ecological, economic, social, political and psychological. Even deep in Siberia – “Coca Cola is the real thing.” I am a fatalist on this point. The human race was once flush with a certain comprehensive understanding (of the natural world, our origins, our place in the cosmos) and meanings that emerged with that understanding. These meanings were shared freely among the tribes, as was the food, and much else. We have lost a real sense of ourselves, caught within this gauntlet of urbanity. We have lost a vital connection to the earth and its real meaning. Everything is monetized, and then privatized, and then sold to those who can afford it. Monsanto tries to privatize food (through distribution of GMO seed, etc); Nestle seeks to privatize the waterways. What’s next? Air? Perhaps it already is. It is already too difficult for most inhabitants of this world to breathe easily. At least since the late part of the last century, lung disease, respiratory disease, chronic asthma, bronchial problems, and other pulmonary diseases have been on the rise.
But, in the meantime, we are executing war games and training exercises in Ukraine, trying to prove something to Russia, to Putin. Exactly what war are we practicing for? What are we looking to demonstrate there? Yet, let us look closer to home… at California, we’ve just completed a round of military riot control games in the streets of Los Angeles, if I am not mistaken. Again, what are we preparing for now here in the homeland? And what will be our full response to the rioting in Baltimore, not just in the poor neighborhoods, but at the Inner Harbor, that fashionable location near Orioles stadium?
The world today is no doubt a complex affair. We have helped make it that way. In fact, we are solely responsible for its current condition. But, we are not stupid, and we can learn not only from our mistakes, but from ourselves, from what we‘ve lost in the process of becoming civilized. The larger question however, might be, why did we become civilized? For, prior to that set of events there were no standing armies, no princes, kings or presidents, no abstract laws, no jails or jailers, no lawyers or legal institutions, no history and no propaganda. We spoke to one another and the earth spoke to all of us. Even the stones were not silent. But something tragic happened. We learned how to grow and harvest our own food; and suddenly slavery was born, alongside kingship and private property. We all remember what Rousseau said;
THE first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, “Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody. – Origins of Inequality
So much for Rousseau and the Enlightenment. But we are now living through the times of a rather strong and deep darkening. Societies have been cast in glaring opposition to one another, as they are merrily portrayed singing, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.” There is something desperately wrong with this picture folks, and it won’t be solved by killing the blacks or privatizing water rights, as the dimwit CEO of Nestle would do.