The Whore of Babylon

My doctorate in New Testament theology forced this biblical hermeneutic upon me

And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters… With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. [Book of Revelation 17:1-2]

Hillary Clinton, speaking on behalf of the imperial hegemony for the most indispensable nation in the world, said: “We support the Syrian people, we stand with you.”

I ask you, what is this code for, what does it really say? Perhaps she means: Let us kill your citizens and plunder your land instead of letting your current regime do it – just as we did in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, and as we are prepared to do again in Iran and anyplace else on the globe that threatens the dreams of our elites.

My question is this: will the American empire – its corporate, financial, and other appropriately uniformed ambassadors – stand behind those folks the same way it has stood behind the American people?  If so, perhaps the people of Syria would be better off taking their chances at gunpoint against their own regime. Because, certainly the American people have long been hog-tied, enslaved, impoverished, and fucked quite regularly, as a matter of prudent institutional management and sound corporate planning.

Is Bashar al-Assad the real boogey man here, as was Osama bin Laden, Sadam Hussein, and Muammar Gaddafi?  Indeed, we did not just want to stop the killing of resistance fighters in Libya; we sought regime change.  We wanted to get Gaddafi; and we did.  And what of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, or the former strongman Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia? As you can well imagine, the list goes on.  Yet, at one time or another these men were all friends of the empire –“the most indispensable nation in the world.”  So what happened? And why do we never hear of the brutal crackdown on revolts in the kingdom of Bahrain, that small, oil-rich island in the Persian Gulf that has been rocked for nearly a year by anti-government protests in which dozens of civilians have died?  Perhaps because Bahrain is home to the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet and our interests there are too great to let the present regime collapse?  Hell, we even sent in our “designated hitter,” Saudi Arabia, to try to help quell the uprising there and support king Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. So why is Syria’s death dealing unacceptable, while Bahrin’s royal family is given a hall pass? Not to be misconstrued, I don’t defend any of these regimes, including empire. But, we delude ourselves thinking we occupy some moral high ground; no, instead, we are the whore of Babylon.

The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sat, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues…And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth [17:15 & 18]

As sociopath Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter and perennial barfly on the shoulders of puppet presidents, iconically expressed his disease – we must work the “Grand Chess Board” to insure our geostrategic advantage each and every time, laying out his psychophant strategy for the Peak Oil Wars as early as 1997. There is no moral high-ground here; there is only exploitation of the terrain to achieve competitive advantage and global domination.  We seem to keep our (would-be) enemies close, and kill our (former) friends.

Perhaps the bigger question is this: Who is getting “drunk on the wine” that Hillary and her crew keep serving up? And, what is the difference between Assad’s army killing rebels in Syria, or the USA piling-up collateral civilian casualties in neighboring countries? Again, we like to presume a position of moral superiority because our politicians do not yet kill our demonstrators. Not yet!  Yet, we feel no compunction about bombing the shit out of the citizens of another country to protect our pathological interests. Just ask the people of Iraq and Afghanistan; or listen to king Obama talk about the illegal drone attacks in Pakistan.  And if the situation weren’t so sad in that region, particularly in terms of loss of life from our weaponry, it would be laughable now to see that empire has achieved so little (the death of bin Laden perhaps) if anything in Afghanistan, recognizing that Pakistan has been and will continue to support the Taliban in retaking control of that country after US and NATO troops departure.

But wait a bit longer.  Things will become more violent even here in the homeland as we see a ratcheting up of police belligerence and brutality against US protestors, as we have witnessed in both Oakland and New York earlier this week.  And remember, king Obama just signed into law the right of the US military to deploy on homeland soil.

Why, even George Soros, the multi-billionaire investor who crashed the Bank of England in 1992, sees what is coming.

Europe is confronting a descent into chaos and conflict. In America [Soros] predicts riots in the streets that will lead to a brutal clampdown that will dramatically curtail civil liberties [emphases added]. (The Blaze)

Granted that perspectives on the coming apocalypse and its causes vary.  Some blame the global financial system, others blame corporate greed and unregulated capitalism, some blame the politicians, others see it as baked into the nature of civilized aggression and its companion vice, institutional alienation. There are even those who see it as a primal flaw in human nature.  But, if that is the case then I wish to know how Homo sapiens survived for 200,000 years and the Homo genus for 2,000,000 before the birth of kingdoms and city-states, legislators and standing armies.

As most of you know, I think the best way to understand it is to view this as a flaw in the constitution of modern civilized society.  We need not look very hard to realize that the trajectory and momentum of our current death spiral revolves around issues of domination, a problematic that has been wrought upon the globe primarily during the written history of the civilized world.  In fact, there are any number of researchers quick to point out the relatively egalitarian, non-combatant nature of pre-civilized humanity, despite the writings of Hobbes and others of the “life was short and brutish then” ilk.  But, even if I were to limit my cynicism to an indictment of capitalism and the corporatocracy, the question remains, how do we move through collapse to the other side.

While I do not yet have a conclusive answer to that question, I am convinced that neither the Book of Revelation nor any other text from the world religions has a legitimate answer either, inasmuch as I believe those religions are a foundational part of our historical trajectory and its basic problematic. Indeed, the Judeo-Christian tradition itself unequivocally exhorts us to exercise dominion over the entire earth, thereby providing some delusional, transcendental justification to our most aggressive and egregious excesses of power, manipulation, and rapine.  All, of course, in the name of progress and to the greater glory of God. (Boy, am I going to hear it from the evangelicals and other assorted religionists now!!)

One thing we can definitively say in terms of our current reading is that the Book of Revelation is, in its very apocalyptic eschatology, a true expression of the terror of history, or perhaps to misappropriate terminology from S. Kierkegaard — it articulates that sense of “fear and trembling,” the basic despair (“the sickness unto death”) that always accompanies and lays claim to historical consciousness.

Yet, in answer to our seemingly eternal question, I would just like to quote Paul Shepard as a teaser in ending this post.

It is time to abandon the fantasy that we are above the [primal] past and alienated from the rest of life on earth… We cannot run the life cycle backwards, but we cannot avoid the inherent and essential demands of an ancient and repetitive pattern as surely as human embryology follows a design derived from an ancestral fish… (Coming Home, 170, 173)

Someway we must learn to rid ourselves of this myth of the whore, stop letting our senses be seduced by the apparent sweetness of her “wine,” or allowing our social and cultural lives to be dictated by the demands of her consort — the controlling hegemony of Father Time.

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92 Responses to The Whore of Babylon

  1. xraymike79 says:

    Have you seen the documentary “The War You Don’t See.” It’s the most powerful documentary I’ve ever seen in my life. It was scheduled to make its debut in the US (Santa Fe,NM) last summer but was curiously cancelled at the last minute. In one part, Pilger interviews Julian Assange. What is said in the following passage is quite revealing about the kind of society America has become:

    Assange: Looking at the enormous quantity and diversity of these military and intelligence insider documents… what I see is a vast, sprawling estate — what we would traditionally call the military intelligence complex or military industrial complex. And that this sprawling industrial estate is growing, becoming more and more secretive, becoming more and more uncontrolled.

    This is not a sophisticated conspiracy controlled at the top. This is a vast movement of self-interests by thousands and thousand of players all working together and against each other to produce an end result which is Iraq and Afghanistan and Columbia… and keeping that going…

    We often deal with tax havens and people hiding assets and transferring money through off-shore tax havens. So I can see some really quite remarkable similarities. Guantanamo is used for laundering people to an off-shore haven, which doesn’t follow the rule of law. Similarly, Iraq and Afghanistan and Columbia are used to wash money out of the U.S. tax base and back in.

    Pilger: Arms Companies

    Assange: Arms Companies… yep.

    Pilger: What you’re saying is money and money-making is at the center of modern war, and it’s almost self-perpetuating.

    Assange: Yes, and it’s becoming worse.

    The war economy is woven into every congressional district of America. And it’s become a money-making system first and foremost, with the MIC’s tentacles spread far and wide.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Xray – no I did not see it. But the dialogue with Assange is not surprising. Not is the cancellation of the film debut in the USA.

    • from Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins p xii

      “Some would blame our current problems on an organized conspiracy. I wish it were so simple. Members of a conspiracy can be rooted out and brought to justice. This system, however, is fueled by something far more dangerous than conspiracy. It is driven not by a small band of men but by a concept that has become accepted as gospel: the idea that all economic growth benefits humankind and that the greater the growth, the more widespread the benefits. This belief also has a corollary: that those people who excel at stoking the fires of economic growth should be exalted and rewarded, while those born at the fringes are available for exploitation.

      “The concept is of course, erroneous. We know that in many countries economic growth benefits only a small potion of the population and may in fact result in increasingly desperate circumstances for the majority. This effect is reinforced by the corollary belief that the captains of industry who drive this system should enjoy a special status, a belief that is the root of many of our current problems and is perhaps also the reason why conspiracy theories abound. When men and women are rewarded for greed, greed becomes a corrupting motivator. When we equate the gluttonous consumption of the earth’s resources with a status approaching sainthood, when we teach our children to emulate people who live unbalanced lives, and when we define huge sections of the population as subservient to an elite minority, we ask for trouble. And we get it.”

      • xraymike79 says:

        Great quote! … and a sweeping video to accompany it:

        • kulturcritic says:

          Great video and song mike!

          • javacat says:

            The first film in a trilogy, with music by Philip Glass:

            The Qatsi trilogy is the informal name given to a series of three films produced by Godfrey Reggio and scored by Philip Glass:

            * Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of balance (1983)
            * Powaqqatsi: Life in transformation (1988)
            * Naqoyqatsi: Life as war (2002)

            The titles of all three films are words from the language of the Hopi people, in which the word “qatsi” means “life.

        • DrCiber says:

          The first in the trilogy is highly recommended. A friend invited my wife and me to see it when it first came out in the early ’80’s. All images and original music – no dialog – and I swear once it got going you could have heard a pin drop in that theatre all through the film. I don’t think anybody even left to go to the restrooms. It used to be available on DVD at Amazon, don’t know if they still have it.

  2. Pēteris says:

    There is a very interesting analysis of cultural origins and inheritance of war and mindless violence, including suicide. Two books by Lloyd deMouse, full text on-line at http://www.psychohistory.com
    The Emotional Life of Nations (this one is more about recent wars)
    The Origins of War in Child Abuse (about origins of war in general)
    He shows that also many religions of self-denial and sacrifice are embodiments of childhood fears and feelings of inferiority, replayed in adulthood. The genuine progress of humanity is measured as evolution of cooperation and mutually beneficial relationships. We have a long way to go, though.

    As for the current financial system, it can be seen as a tool of domination, not cooperation. Very consistent with the legacy of abuse, described by Lloyd deMouse.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Peteris – On the origins of violence I would prefer Morton Fried (Origins of Political Society) and Paul Shepard (Nature and Madness).

      I am not sure why people do not see the absurdity of violence toward whatever end.

    • Brutus says:

      I’m unfamiliar with deMouse, Fried, and Shepard, but I’m reminded of Derrick Jensen’s contention that abusive relationships in childhood via parent or playground bully provide the backdrop (or operating manual) for continued abuses in adulthood. His twenty premises in Endgame are as succinct a statement of power laws as one will find.

      • relentless says:

        Brutus–Jensen is at the top echelon of my list for living ‘near fearless’ individuals in his writings who actually gets published. Endgame is an uncivilized masterpiece, have read it many times. Almost as passionate live as in his books. A must read.

  3. Pēteris says:

    deMouse also shows that current USA wars, as wars have always been, are totally wasteful even for victors, even if somebody profits. In essence, wars are simply modern sacrificial rituals, where one entity sacrifices its own best (soldiers) and scapegoats – the children and women of “enemies”. The “logic” or reasoning is following:
    We as living a good life of plenty. Therefore we are sinful. We must feel pain to make us pure again. When we kill enemies and sacrifice ourselves, we will be freed of our sins. So, who is our enemy?

    Really, it is absurd to think that democracy and lawful order can be spread by violence and lawlessness. Why does only few notice this gap in logic? That is, if democracy as such is of some value 🙂

    • john patrick says:

      “So, who is our enemy?”

      Our ideology walks around with a mirror in front of its face. Look over there! The enemy! Because the speaker’s feet are pointed in that direction.

      We sleepwalk. Thinking we have feet to see.

  4. relentless says:

    As a hardcore ‘fan’ of Shepard, another of his lines, in response to the massminds who claim “We can’t go back” [to the Pleistocene], Shepard said: “We never left it,” meaning, among other things, that our genetic makeup and psychological essence, our maps, still reside within us all, albeit though domestication, indoctrination, and most critically civilization, have duly skewed that primality to the maximum allowable Earthly limits. Plus, in so many ways, a return to that primality will come about whether we choose that path voluntarily or not. i assume most will choose the latter, and instead of going most gently into the wilderness, they will go screaming into the wilderness.

    • kulturcritic says:

      So we both agree with Shepard!

      • relentless says:

        Affirmative, way ahead of the contemporary massminds, even now, but then one of Life’s little irritations that need to be dealth with. My wife often says of herself, me and a few other comrades in reality: “We were born in the wrong time.” My response: “Maybe that’s why we were born in these times.” Then again, linear time, that old delusion of the civilized mindsforeverset. btw: i’ve decided to once and for all overthrow Descartes. I think, therefore I exist.” NO! “i think therefore i’m part of the problem,” in my lowmood daze.

  5. “Granted that perspectives on the coming apocalypse and its causes vary.  Some blame the global financial system, others blame corporate greed and unregulated capitalism, some blame the politicians, others see it as baked into the nature of civilized aggression and its companion vice, institutional alienation. There are even those who see it as a primal flaw in human nature. ”

    Sandy, all of these ring true, and at the same time, likely have both separate and integral influences upon us. Each individual has so many inputs into what makes him/her tick–think, want, behave. One gravitates toward and buys into various collective attitudes, consciously or unconsciously, which add on to their past influences from parents, peers, teachers, media, etc. The cognitive dissonance, conflicting desires and beliefs, put us not only at odds with others but with ourselves.

    The story of John Perkins, The Economic Hitman is a fine example of the conflicts at work within a person. He would momentarily become aware that his actions, in his company role, were fostering things that would cause extreme hardships for the peoples in the various countries he was sent to. Mainly, it was by creating debilitating debt for these countries. He was able to ignore these moments of clarity in order to maintain his desire to be identified with his total bullshit prestigious economist persona, not to mention the money. He did this for twenty years! Finally, his conscience won out. He became so fed up himself, he quit because of it.

    I do not think he was a psychopath, but he certainly came under their influence to carry out their destructive course.

    • kulturcritic says:

      I don’t think its part of our nature. And I know exactly what Perkins went through. I was there as well.

    • john patrick says:

      Hey Ron. “…others see it as baked into the nature of civilized aggression…”

      It does seem to be baked in the cake using the heat of aggression. Lucky for us the universe is also the great Dissolver. Think water. And allows us to begin anew with fresh ingredients. I think we all like the idea of forever-growth. And I think it is true. But there is also the forever-dissolve.

      Like when I empty the wine glass.

  6. Malthus says:

    “We cannot run the life cycle backwards,” If we cannot then we have forgotten the why. We can turn the time line “around” because we have never forgotten it. It is within us. It is like remembering the future. On a dark starry night when every thing is silent you can hear the humm of the universe which is also the timeless past. It is always there Beckoning for us to let go of these false believes of growth and moving forward, the ideas of civilization that brings with it an uncomfortable feeling of loss that we cover up to our detriment. The themes of zombies seem to be appearing more and more. The walking dead is a metaphor for a life envisioned by civilization as we have created it.

    • kulturcritic says:

      I think Shepard means we cannot simply return ab initio; too much has occurred in the interim. But you are right. There is still that feral memory trace within each of us, which forever links us to our roots.

      • Malthus says:

        I have not read Shepard so I will need to do so before I really know what he is saying. I do feel the although there has been a lot of water under the bridge and yet I have a feeling we all would like to return especially as everyone is getting the feeling things are not really comfortable in the culture we have created. People buy into the “rat race,” and convince themselves that it is the thing to do to be considered smart and successful. Of course you can tell by the handle I use I feel if we can approach the reproduction problem we can start reversing concepts we now believe to be the correct and only approach to living.

        • kulturcritic says:

          Malthus – there are definitely too many people on this planet!! I too think there is a feral memory trace suggesting return to a more primal state, but like you said, there is too much water (and garbage) under the bridge.

  7. You said “How do we move through collapse to the other side?” As we say on our website, we’d only have to agree to a very few ethics to change everything. Primary among them is a refusal to create gain or money through any other means except personally and actively providing goods or services. The only trouble is to live this ethic we believe we would have to live communally in some way. I believe now if just two men and two women together could agree to live these ethics and create the kind of communal community/society we are talking about the world would change. But it’s that hard. We are, apparently, completely lost in our personal opportunism and our singular dependency on property and position. I say two men and two women because the couple thing, the family institution only reinforces the status quo. A man and a woman by themselves cannot break out of it. As Jiddu Krishnamurti said “if one doesn’t understand one’s own personal responsibility for the state of this world, one simply doesn’t understand”

    • kulturcritic says:

      Good point Christopher. But I just do not think it is a matter of only accepting gain through provision of real goods or services. I think the issues are more profound in a variety of ways. But, I appreciate your contribution. sandy

      • Sandy, please expound on the profundity of the difficulties. I am working full time on creating a model community from which to express my ideas so it would be nice to get your take on the barriers to achieving it.

        In anticipation, Chris

        • kulturcritic says:

          Chris – I leave you tonight with two quotes from Rousseau, then I will address your question before the morning.. sandy

          “The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said This is mine, and found people naive enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society..”

          “Let us unite them together in one supreme power which shall govern us all according to wise laws, protect us and defend all members of the association, repulse common enemies, and maintain us in everlasting concord… All ran towards their chains believing that they were securing their liberty, for although they had reason enough to discern the advantages of a civil order, they did not have the experience enough to foresee the dangers.”

        • kulturcritic says:

          Chris – I think what needs to happen is complex, even at the small community development level. First, I believe the people involved need to have a common sense of their relationships to non-human nature (including flora, fauna, earth, water, fire and air). Second, these people need to have a shared desire to disassociate themselves from the controlling hegemony of unidirectional time. In other words, the pull of the future needs to be dismantled. They need to reconstitute relationships based upon the naturally occurring and repetitive cycles of nature. That will require perceiving time and the temporality of one’s own experience differently. Third, they will need to live under the auspices of a gift economy, where one lives not by purchasing power, but by exchange and gifting. Fourth, egalitarian relations need to obtain as much as possible; their needs to be enough contributory roles for every person in the community to feel needed. Fifth, leadership in such a community needs to be occasional and provisional, provided only when needed for matters of great concern; otherwise those with age, experience or skill should offer advice and assistance to others, but not through compulsion or regulation. Guidance can be welcome when not fostering submissive relationships. Anyway, those are some initial thoughts. But, remember, I am a better critic than community builder. sandy

  8. James says:

    Humans have a bifurcated mind, a selfish and greedy Id that maintains the bodily requirements and a latter evolved Superego that ties man together into social groupings. He can never satisfy all of his longings, many of which are rather depraved, and can neither become an all giving social being. A battle always rages within, repressed desires versus social acceptance. The Id is still the strongest force, IMO, and you can see this in the way humans rationalize their selfish decisions. “We’re just bringing democracy to the Middle East.”, or “I’m a doctor because I love to help people.” “Cigarettes don’t hurt people, it’s the chemicals they put on them.” The Id decides what you want and the Ego or analog mind rationalizes it to accord with the moralizing Superego. The vicious Id loves the music, brutality and sex of the Superbowl and the rationalizing mind sees the other spectators and says, “Everybody loves it, it’s only a game.” The Wall St. con artist sells worthless bonds to a pension fund and says, “It doesn’t matter, it’s only a drop in their portfolio bucket.”

    We’re all depraved to some extent, incorrigible, and because we do not recognize, nor control our weaknesses, we will witness more heinous acts in the future, on a much grander scale. The Jews know about depravity. The expectation that the Iranians or Chinese can never attack anyone because they have not done so historically is assuming that they are somehow genetically different from other humans. I’m sure the Chinese also remember the depravity of the Japanese at Nanking. When the social control is lifted, and there is power over others, the Id is ready to satisfy its desires without restraint. Would the soldiers of Abu Ghraib hesitate in killing and incinerating their captives if the authorities had sanctioned it? Maybe a few.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Well now James, you’re just a breath of fresh air today, aren’t you. Your psychoanalytical approach certainly has many historical precedents, but that does not, of necessity, provide it with any more gravitas. I do not buy into your Id-killer thingy; and that without the social controls of the state we would be somebody else’s lunchmeat. I would not deny the humans are social creatures, but I would very much suggest you investigate some pre-literate examples of tribal community. As a social animal, I do not believe our primal impulse is to rape, pillage and kill, and then ask forgiveness later. That would seem inherently contradictory. sandy (just quick thought)

      • James says:

        Rape, pillage and kill only applies to those outside your tribe. You don’t see the Giants beating up on other Giants do you? No. They take special glee in delivering the hard hit to members of the Patriots. But Superbowl is just a ballgame, isn’t it? I expect that Homo sapiens ancestors have been killers for a very long time. Our brief foray into technology has not changed this aspect of our nature.

        We do not ask for forgiveness, we rationalize the actions delivered to us from a primitive part of the brain.

        • Malthus says:

          Newer scientific research does not suggest your take on humans killing other humans. Hunter gatherers lived in small units before the need for tribes and the need for a big man or leader and they simply walked away from confrontations.

          • James says:

            No, Homo sapiens bands and tribes probably interbred, but newer scientific evidence suggests that they did kill the Neanderthals with a bit of interbreeding here and there. Don’t misunderstand, there is a good side to human behavior, but Dr. Jekyll’s potent neurobrew often releases the Mr. Hyde within us. It’s important to understand the triggers and circumstances that result in these damaging behaviors. We may actually become more docile wihout religious or national affiliations, just be dumbed down consumers of corporate brands like the Giants and Patriots, and continue to titilate the Id with our coliseum spectacles. But somehow I don’t think that is where it will all end.

            • Malthus says:

              I’m not sure we will ever really know the Neanderthals plight fully. I suspect that it became a territorial thing when populations grew to certain numbers and crowding raised its head. Probably after small units turned into larger tribes. There is also the fact today that the brain itself is mutating at a faster rate than suspected and certain peoples and in general cultures have mutated in different ways using as an example the latest research out of London, and California the the conservative brain and their amygdala have larger areas in the emotional aspect of fear

            • john patrick says:

              James, and Malthus. I have to laugh, but not at you guys or what you say. When i look at what is going on around us I feel like I’m living with aliens from different dimensions. But the Neanderthal/HG (or noble savage) thing. I don’t think we can ever know unless we don a fur-towel and grab the hoe and wander around the neighborhood looking for something to eat. Don’t even think about your odds of finding a mate 😉 If you had a can-opener, you’d be King.

        • James, much of what you are saying here rings true in a limited picture of humanity. There are always people walking the Earth that are scoundrels living from their gut, from their cravings for selfish gains and pleasures, or, as you say, their Id. These folks tend to get into trouble with their fellow humans ending up dead or perhaps in prison. These difficulties are the driving force for them to change their behavior and thinking and their wanting. Awaiting them is fundamentalism, a sets of rules or guidelines to dictate how not to get into trouble. This can be found in various venues, such as a corporation, military/police, religion, organized crime, school, etc. Once they see the value of this and decide to take it up, they still must contend with the drives of the previous stage still seeking expression.

          M. Scott Peck goes into these stages (4) of spiritual maturity in his book, A Different Drum. It can be found on the internet, where you can read Peck’s take on all four stages. As a maturing soul moves through the stages the previous stages have a slightly less influence but must be dealt with in practical ways. So the big picture is that, although all pass through the various stages of maturity just as an individual person does in the physical sense, everyone is at some point in some stage. Understanding the world and humanity in the light of this has helped me tremendously in my responses to the whole array of behaviors, with which I come in contact, with greater tolerance and understanding.

          The world is like being in a huge one-room school house with pupils at all grade levels sharing the facility and resources. The schoolmaster is always so pleased if we get along with each other and help each other with the curriculum as is possible.

        • kulturcritic says:

          James – When you speak about “the primitive part of the brain” I am stumped. So you would have us believe that the killing instinct comes from some primitive urge in humankind; and that would explain why dictatorial states, standing armies, devastating wars, racial exterminations, ethic cleansing, wholesale destruction of the environment and species’ extinctions, as well as other atrocities are characteristic of the CIVILIZED world. This is all a primitive problematic, that civilization has controlled. Oh, yes, I see now. What great logic. I am sorry James but the theory you are proposing seems highly unlikely, ok, preposterous from my limited perspective. But, hey, keep talking and maybe I will get it.

          • James says:

            Humans are dissipative structures and require a steady flow of energy to remain intact. Those that live on land are also likely to require water. We are basically a sack of highly specialized and organized microbes on the move, looking for advantage in a difficult environment. We were and are animals. All animals eat other animals or plants and to do so they often kill them. Why are hunting and fishing so popular when food is available at the grocery store? Why is brutality and violence so popular in television programming? Why are cheating, lying, and stealing so common in our civilization? Why are athletes injecting steroid behind the scenes to enhance their ability to compete?

            Even as we cooperate overall, we still seek advantage in the establishment of a pecking order that determines resource allocation and mate selection, we often go to unethical and immoral extremes to achieve competitive advantage. The desire to “break the rules” is strong but is moderated by the Superego, our moralizing inner voice. The utilization of that self-control is often dependent upon whether someone else of the social group is watching. In other words, if someone thinks they can get away with an immoral act, they are much more likely to commit it. Religions deal with this tendency by instilling the idea that “God is watching” and promises the Id punishment in hell and reward in heaven. If you want some background on the Id and Superego, read “Civilization and It’s Discontents” by Sigmund Freud.

            A driver may be very personable in a social encounter, but let them escape into the anonymity and perceived protection of their car and they can become rather aggressive, rude and sometimes dangerous.

            Does a civilized country send its 18 year old children to go to war? I don’t think so. When does our civilized behavior become most pronounced? When we are threatened from the outside. We invoke God and flag, strive to buy war bonds, hold hands and sing kumbaya. But when the advantages of our civility and unity are not so clear, we devolve into corruption, greed and infighting. But don’t worry, I’m sure our handlers have a new war to wage that will hold “civilization” together for a few more years, as the arms manufacturers loot the treasury and the children of naïve “civilians” battle some distant tribe to bring God and democracy to one more unwitting population.

            • kulturcritic says:

              James, I do not have a problem with human animals needing a steady flow of energy – O2 and H20 are certainly required. Hunting, fishing, foraging … there is nothing objectionable about that either. Just because food is available at the store… WOW, do you think it was available 50,000 years ago at the local market as well? And what does brutality and violence have to do with hunting or fishing? Perhaps you should reading some authors who actually have knowledge on the subject. Try Ortega yGasset, On Hunting or Paul Shepard, Coming Home to the Pleistocene. These other “sins” you elaborate as well,belong to the civilized menagerie. Don’t presume them upon preliterate cultures. Perhaps you might try reading some ethnographies or ethnologies of pre-civilized or extant primitive tribes. Pecking order, or ranking in human social organization emerged quite late, actually fairly consistent with the move to urban life (ie., civilization). You might try reading Morton Fried, Evolution of Political Society, on this issue of hierarchy, aggression, etc. James, I am very familiar with Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents. I taught it to my university students for years. But thanks for the heads-up. But, I have no disagreements with you at all on the intentions of “civilized” nations to maintain their advantageous positions and protect their elite lifestyles at any cost. Standing armies, sent to wars of conquest and enrichment began with the establishment of private property and civilized life. And you are correct, State and Religion are married at the hip when it comes to keeping the narrative going in order to keep us in line. You should try reading a few of my books (or old blog posts) while you are at it. You might learn something… more about my thinking. sandy

              • James says:

                Why hunt and fish if all of your nutrition is available at a store? Because it is pleasurable, especially for the male contingent of our species. Many males evidently love to stalk and kill, and then they will rationalize it in polite company by saying they filled the freezer with prime cuts of flesh.

                I hope you don’t advocate returning to the past for some kind of idyllic existence. It was not idyllic by any means, but it was perhaps survivable in the long term. Our primitive minds have developed just enough technological rope with which to hang ourselves. Although we are capable of technology, we cannot control our impulses sufficiently. Every gradient of natural accumulated wealth is being converted into human utility and subsequent waste at the fastest rate possible with a resulting population bloom and environmental degradation. We can take one technological step forward but fail to see that we’ve actually taken two steps back.

                An ethical treatment of the environment is well beyond most of us. An ethical treatment of neighboring tribes is problematic. Winning and competition, in groups and alone, is the human credo and also prevails in the natural world. Unlike life powered by the sun, what humans fail to see is that their technological life has a lifespan, defined by net energy and poisoning despoilment of their surroundings. Eventually, improvements in technologies that create efficiencies and unlock new resources will be outpaced by depletion of available resources by interminable growth in population and consumption and deterioration of previous investment. At that point, the the highly complex and efficient system will wish it had a bit more resilience, as it will be susceptible to collapse(s). How much time do we have to escape our trajectory? Are we trying to escape our trajectory? Or are we confined by our seemingly unalterable neural wiring to simply pursue what feels good regardless of the long-term consequences which are real but beyond our sensory receptors.

                I just saw the link to you bookshelf and there seem to be many titles worth reading. I’ll feed them into the analog mind and let the intellect chew on them for while. Maybe I’ll develop a prettier picture of the world, but I doubt it. ; -)

                • kulturcritic says:

                  James – A wise man can learn from a fool; but a fool cannot learn from anyone. (an adaptation from Cato)

                  > “It was not idyllic by any means, but it was perhaps survivable in the long term.” – But, James, if we are “wired” for longterm survival, then your other argument about the “seemingly unalterable neural wiring to simply pursue what feels good regardless of the long-term consequences” — holds no water. You cannot have your cake and eat it too James. Also, regarding hunting; you don’t seem to read very carefully. I am not sure what you will glean from the works listed. But, good luck.

                  • Joe says:

                    Wow lady, James offers you a glimpse of reality and out pours the know-nothing condescension.

                    He’s apparently too nice to respond in kind to being called a fool, so Ill do it for him. Your noble savage fantasies are ridiculous.

                    When James speaks of “pursuing what feels good regardless of long term consequences” he is pointing out the fact that we’re not adapted to use our excess resources and the technologies that supply them in reasonable ways that are sustainable long-term.

                    His posts were very interesting and made many good points. He’s not living in lala hippy feminist fantasy land, and you will eventually discover most people aren’t either.

                  • john patrick says:

                    I would like to see Sandy in a Scottish skirt with ear-rings. He might even have man-boobs. Then I could pinch him in the rear for being persnickety.

                • john patrick says:

                  “An ethical treatment of the environment is well beyond most of us.” Thanks for your thoughts, James.

                  And I would add, “Ownership is not the same as stewardship.” Though, we are steeped in the former.

            • kulturcritic says:

              “Even as we cooperate overall, we still seek advantage in the establishment of a pecking order that determines resource allocation and mate selection, we often go to unethical and immoral extremes to achieve competitive advantage. The desire to “break the rules” is strong but is moderated by the Superego, our moralizing inner voice…If you want some background on the Id and Superego, read “Civilization and It’s Discontents” by Sigmund Freud.”

              Again, James, I am going to post here what I posted earlier on The End of History, in response to a similar line of reflection on your part.

              Actually James, you are not incorrect in asserting that in primitive, tribal cultures there was greater emphasis on cooperation, less emphasis on individual ego satisfaction. But, most likely, this was not some defensive reaction out of fear of not conforming to the “moral codes and taboos” of the tribe. The difference in experience and demeanor most probably lay in a certain relation to rituals of growth and maturation and their proximity to a living and natural environment. Your Freudian theories, based upon an alienated ontology and epistemology of the 19th-20th century, are already infected with the severe bifurcations characteristic of post-tribal, i.e., civilized, life – self-world, body-subject, self-other. So, any pronouncements we make based upon such theories are only applicable to modern man at best, and highly dubious in any event. I can very well argue that the ID is an epistemological fiction, a phantom product of civilized repression, a response mechanism to the loss of meaning, the loss of connectedness to a natural and nurturing place in the world (what we disparagingly call an ‘environment’). This would lead in Freud’s terms to sublimation of natural (not destructive) feral energy into civilized processes of economic and social value. But such repression might also cause deformed expressions of an otherwise neutral feral energy; the greater the sublimation and the intransigent cultural restraints, the greater the destructiveness of the expression, in acts of greed, acquisitiveness, jealousy, etc. This would also explain why the more “developed” we get, the more destructive are our negative reactions to the societal constraints.

              • James says:

                The fairness and egalitarianism that could possibly have been accomplished in a small tribal band or family has been eradicated in a society where empathy is most strongly directed towards one’s pet dogs and cats. There is little empathy or bonding in a society of strangers. The human is alone and bewildered. I don’t doubt that the Id’s vices, once saved for use on threatening and foreign tribes, has been unleashed in a society of individuals, societies where everyone is there own tribe and is free to use behaviors previously reserved for true competitors or enemies.

                My thinking is not as binary as it seems from my brief use of the Id and Superego symbols. Everything is the flow of energy through matter, and there are only a few rules found in chemistry and thermodynamics that define it. In short, dissipative structures must have energy and nutrition, and our ecosystems and variety of species is a reminder that there are millions of ways to exist and thrive on this planet and absolutely none of them pay any attention to our emotional preconceptions of what should be. As a consumer, humans are temporarily wildly successful, but as a species will likely be abject failures.

                Regarding accelerated human evolution, the prefrontal cortex has undergone accelerated folding, a much higher degree of folding than other brain locations, suggesting it is growing in evolutionary importance while cranium size is being limited by the size and elasticity of the birth canal. Two counteracting evolutionary forces, like the Id and Superego. Maybe the c-section will be the new technological birthing technique and our oversized craniums will soon rest upon technologically braced necks. But really, I don’t think we’re going to make it much further in this fantasy land.

  9. troutsky says:

    The focus on religion is needed. It’s obviously an “opiate” (which I do not begrudge) but also more than that, a transcendental glimpse. As it has throughout modern history, it is about to wreak more havoc, especially combined with the political Realism you rightly decry.

    My own inclination is to try to integrate Freud (right now I’m trying to wrap my head around Lacan) with the neuro-anthropological-biological to better understand behavior. So much of what I see is people reacting to powerful symbols without understanding why and reacting to underlying trauma (at both the personal and societal levels) .

    The question is can “civilization” still function even as it is in therapy? I know you reject this as a starting point, Sandy but I don’t know where else to go. Many individuals manage this feat, if they haven’t slipped into psychosis. On a rational plane we can only escape fundamentalism with a return to the political. It will take some luck.

    • Brutus says:

      trousky sez:

      My own inclination is to try to integrate Freud (right now I’m trying to wrap my head around Lacan) with the neuro-anthropological-biological to better understand behavior. So much of what I see is people reacting to powerful symbols without understanding why and reacting to underlying trauma (at both the personal and societal levels)

      I’m also on a mission to better understand human behavior, but there is little possibility that any explanation can provide means to correct or direct such behavior. Rather, it’s a personal interest that must be sated.

    • kulturcritic says:

      The political is fundamentalism without robes.

  10. Bret Simpson says:

    Why quote another persons thoughts?A broken clock tells the time twice a day…it’s over….money,religion,war,crapitalism,etc.Couple thousand years and you won’t even know that we where here.

  11. javacat says:

    Human Nature…by the very phrase sets up a divide, as has been discussed here before, of the separation of human (Homo sapiens sapiens, I imagine) and the natural. The phrase seems to desire, assume, that there are distinct features that set our species apart from other creatures (or, perhaps we’d be asking about mammalian nature instead). From its use here and elsewhere, it suggests a fixed, immutable quality to human nature, as well as an inevitability and sometimes even a fatalism about what is possible, what is to be expected, and what is likely to happen in the future.

    A question that arises, and certainly has been raised in this post, is when do we start counting as ‘human nature’? The advent of agriculture? The rise of the tribe? Where do we mark the line and how do we know the behaviors in those distant days? If we move forward, what then of the influence of society and culture–if we assume and agree that these factors somehow alter, constrain, or subvert human nature from its own nature?

    It amuses me to read the word feminism spit our as an insult, an attempted take-down. Feminism has many definitions, many interpretations, valid goals and true failings. But, here is its intent, in a cheap and easy citation from Wiki: “Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. In addition, feminism seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. “ Where this movement and perhaps where similar movements, including OWS, may err is to attempt to develop an egalitarian standard within the structure and strictures of an existing power structure.

    And hippies! Well, where do I begin? I live in a place populated by back-to-the-landers, ‘hippies’ who moved here in waves in the 70’s. Many have lived as they set out to do: small farmers, pursuing lives as natural and sustainable as they can, trying to eke out a living while living off the grid. Some are conservative. Some quite libertarian. Some are self-righteous as hell and irritating. Others, generous of spirit. I’m not sure where and why that term would come as a critique.

    There are many good ideas to be discussed here, including differing views on the where we’re heading, how and why. We look out at a landscape and a globe-scape that can inspire fear and despair, anger and dismay. We also see one that inspires compassion, empathy and creativity. Is reasoned talk unreasonable?

    • john patrick says:

      Hi JC. You said, “…when do we start counting as ‘human nature’?

      What comes to mind is, “when does a lizard count as lizard-nature? And even harder, how do you get a lizard to behave like a frog? Same with us… getting frogs to grow wings and become something better/higher or capable of doing greater things. I do think it is possible. But not without a very disturbing transformation. Speaking and thinking and working like a frog is unlikely to produce a new beginning.

      We are bound by the laws of human nature until we unbind them. It doesn’t help when we think we are the “highest” lifeform, having “authority” to rape/pillage every other creature on the planet. Except for the little pets. They are our slaves. And the atoms/molecules? They are electricity for the toaster.

      The entire mindset has to be laid down. Sacrificed for something higher. Because, quite simply, frogs can’t fly.

      • javacat says:

        Hi JP. I’m a little lost, so help me out, ok? Is lizard nature defined by the gestalt of lizardosity? Its physiology, anatomy, ontology, phylogeny, its habitat and habits? And what of lizard nature for that gecko brought home from the pet store? How is its essential lizard nature chanted by the glass-bound walls of the terrarium?

        We have most certainly domesticated and enslaved pets for our amusement, comfort and work. Having 2 cats, I’m guilty as charged, though I feel somewhat that since we’ve put the pets in this situation, the least I can do is take some responsibility for them–though I wonder as I keep them as ‘indoor cats’ rather then letting them roam according to their feline nature.

        So what and where do you see our human nature? Is anything humans make than absorbed into the essence? What do you think?

        • john patrick says:

          Hi JC. Eh, I have two cats. One from my daughter and another from my girlfriend. And guess who cleans the catbox more than anyone else. I do like them, but try not to think of it as “owning” them.

          On human nature, I think we have it ass-backwards. Our spirit defines who we are, and we are free to inhabit whatever form we like. Change ones spirit, and the clothing and realm change, as well. The “many rooms in the mansion” allegory, with each spirit capable of exploring the boundaries of each room. Or, building an entire new mansion.

          I do not think we should get caught up in being human. It is only one room. I do think we should be responsible, caring, and good stewards of what resides in the room. The problem is, as with “being” human, spend a few years living in a studio and we think we are a studio. We’re not.

          Your thoughts?

          • kulturcritic says:

            I am not a spirit, sorry. Must object to this, personally. I am flesh and blood and spit animal. I have some basic feral capacity to exist, and that includes thinking, imagining, dreaming, loving. As John Donne writes:

            To our bodies turn we then, that so
            Weak men on love reveal’d may look ;
            Love’s mysteries in souls do grow,
            But yet the body is his book.

            • john patrick says:

              Why do you turn to Donne. Tell me what you are from what you know. Still, one is free to be whatever they like. Spirit, feral, flesh and blood. Reading Veronika, is not the same as being Veronika. There is no end to quoting what others say. Baba does not quote. She knows… The book and quotes pass away. What is left? (a little pinch)

            • javacat says:

              We cannot deny the body, for the senses inform us. Our energy is from the earth and sun. What I want to cultivate are the senses and means of perception that have been buried, layered, disavowed, allowed to atrophy by the over-application of rationalist thought. But that’s just me. 😉

              • Javacat, a couple of thoughts on the theme of your recent comments:
                One is that the mind (rationalist thought) can be an excellent servant but makes a terrible master.
                A great Sufi poet said: Selfishness is the worst room in the house; I would like you to have much better accommodations.

                • javacat says:

                  Ron, Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with the quote on the rational mind–though as others here have pointed out, more and more of what we do is being driven by a hyper-rational approach: data and more data, numbers upon numbers. Websites value measured by the number of hits; Google analytics telling us time on page. Technology becomes the creep that retrains us to perform within the limits of its creation. To have the analytical/rational mind be the worker in this world becomes more and more of a challenge as the other modalities grow less valued. Something as simple as having a conversation is difficult as folks lose the ability to interact, to respect feelings, intuition, etc. as valid states of being.

                  I’m not sure what my themes have been, though I appreciate your reading and comments. Who is the Sufi poet whose thought you shared? I tried to Google the phrase and came up with very strange offerings [Try it and see! 🙂 ]. I may need to read more to understand the ‘selfishness’ aspect.

                  Rereading the posts here today, I first very much disagreed with James’ take on human nature. Then, his later example of Rwanda hit home. As I started to parse “was it human nature or was it culture and politics,” I realized the question was moot. If you’re on the wrong end of a machete, the reason doesn’t matter.

                  As I look around the relatively safe place where I live, I know there are elements of a mob mentality that would have no qualms about doing violence unto if the situation presented itself. I also know that there are places that would be protective. My gut feeling right now is that we can’t know where we might find ourselves, if the hand extended will pull us down or lift us up.

          • javacat says:

            Probably some sense to the idea of getting over ourselves and our egos to not focus on being human, or even focus on being. All set limits and boundaries on living and our ability to exchange with others. At the risk of criticism, I’ll quote. 😉

            If They Spoke
            by Mark Van Doren

            The animals will never know;

            Could not find out; would scarcely care

            That all their names are in our books,

            And all their images drawn bare.

            What names? They have not heard the sound,

            Nor in their silence thought the thing.

            They are not notified they live;

            Nor ask who set them wandering.

            Simply they are. And so with us;

            And they would say it if they spoke;

            And we might listen; and the world

            Be uncreated at one stroke.

        • john patrick says:

          Where’s Sandy? I’ll bet he’s dressing up as a wild Siberian woman. Probably using tundra mushrooms for ear rings. Sipping vodka in front of the mirror. Do you think he shaves his legs? If so, I’ll bet he uses an obsidian knife.

        • kulturcritic says:

          Essence – existence?? Plato all over again?

          • john patrick says:

            Do not quote Plato. He drank the cup. Or, was he stabbed? Must’ve been a slow mover. Plato was good with forms. But, where did these forms come from?

          • javacat says:

            Is that a bad thing? 😉

            If Plato, not intentionally.
            Because the earlier exchange had to do with the nature of human nature–a topic well discussed here several months ago–I was trying to get a sense of what folks believed constituted human nature: what is its essence? The cruel, blood-letting rapacious beast that James seemed to favor? The more balanced, egalitarian community of the H/G of others? If the discussion of human nature, civilized nature, etc. is to have any meaning, it seems we need to lay out key terms or else it’s just a waste of words. Though all of this may have wandered far from your blog topic.

      • kulturcritic says:

        Nature’s gauntlet awaits us!!

    • kulturcritic says:

      No, JC, its not unreasonable. And I will work to comply. sandy

  12. James says:

    Even industrial strength education, a temporary phenomenon, has failed to improve upon our awareness and self-knowledge. Our educations are defined by technology, for use by technology. We are to be put to work manipulating data and matter in a highly organized and specialized matrix where we resemble molecules more than humans. We perform our jobs, but long to sit around Facebook and Twitter campfires and chit-chat with brief forays into the digital pornographic wonderland. Meanwhile, the corporate overlords invent new Gestapo tactics to further dehumanize us and extract maximum returns and long for the day when the useless eaters can be replaced with a superior machined alternatives.

    In the meantime, the reduction of our wealth is in process. In order to compete with an authoritarian, Chinese slave state, we must be taken down and stripped of our rights and property. They like the Chinese model and the Occupiers are bewildered but know something is afoot. Few human rights for the slaves and only enough compensation to keep them alive , to work. Westerners must be impoverished for their own good, to survive,…….. or so the Orwellian doublespeak will have us believe.

    Government fears most the collapse of the petrodollar and must make sure dollars are required to buy and sell oil. Additionally, the authorities must contain inflation, or maintain the appearances of doing so while continuing to pay interest on dollar denominated debt obligations and prevent a deflation. A failure on either side of this equation means people dive out of the currency and into reality with the extinguishing of greater than 90% of all paper wealth and massive inflation.

    During the Rwandan genocide, (a instructive example of tribalism, the Id, and the Superego, among other things), the Tutsis took refuge in the churches, schools and government buildings, because they sought the safety of the authorities and were subsequently slaughtered in those “safe” places. This is why it is important to understand the human mind and never find yourself in a minority in a potentially malevolent society, which is just about all of them. It is understandable why the wealthy are most interested in dousing the Occupy fire. No one wants to be set up as the despised 1%. I’m sure a new scapegoat will soon be brought to the forefront as the machete wielding natives become restless and seek retribution for their impoverishment.

    Why bother with fairies in the woods? How about a 1% trap, oversized of course and placed on the streets of Manhattan, and on the end of it’s lever sits a lovely call girl holding one million dollars in cash. I’m sure we could clean the place up in no time.

  13. James says: There is little empathy or bonding in a society of strangers. The human is alone and bewildered. I don’t doubt that the Id’s vices, once saved for use on threatening and foreign tribes, has been unleashed in a society of individuals, societies where everyone is there own tribe and is free to use behaviors previously reserved for true competitors or enemies.
    I heartily agree with this observation. Humanity needs to recognize it connection, brotherhood, our essential Family. Actions proceeding from this greater connectiveness would strive to be of service not exploitation and greed.

    James, also, says: But really, I don’t think we’re going to make it much further in this fantasy land.

    I like the notion of three prevailing general attitudes: “realism” that is actually realisn’t , idealism which takes patience and unfailing faith, and romaticism that is idealism relying on fantasy.

    Humanity could wake up and do a lot better for one another. Personally, I am convinced that this will happen sooner than one might expect from looks of the world. Nothing lasts in this world–that is its nature. Happiness to misery and back again; healthy to sick…; success to failure…

    Years ago I came upon this quotation and years later read the fascinating book which is the source. Meditate on this:

    Quoted from a book, Finite and Infinite Games, A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility, by James P. Carse

    There are at least two kinds of games. One could be finite, the other infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.

    The rules of a finite game may not change; the rules of an infinite game must change.

    Finite players play within boundaries, infinite players play with boundaries.

    Finite players are serious, infinite players are playful.

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  15. the Heretick says:

    “All around the Mulberry Bush,
    The monkey chased the weasel.
    The monkey stopped to pull up his sock,
    Pop! goes the weasel.”

    it’s fun to go back and see what people comment upon, what draws their attention.
    of course the USA is the whore, Babylon by the Hudson, there’s even a movie by the name.
    my question is, when does Kant become cant?
    and who cares what Nietzsche said anyway?
    i’ve never read him, or Lacan, Rousseau, Descartes, any of these clowns, and that is exactly the response you would get from the guy who lives down the street.
    of course iv’e dabbled in a bit of Baudrillard, Virilio, Marx, and such; at what point does the writings of them who created this mess stop have relevance?
    hair of the dog anyone?

    we settled in cities because that’s where the grain was stored, the Old Testament was all about smiting and killing, getting onto the bed, slavery, starvation, and storing grain for when times were hard. it’s instructive that there was a commandment to let the fields lie fallow every seventh year, and a Jubilee every 50.
    and different proscriptions for those who lived in walled cities.

    how much you wanna bet anchor1 Googled “the Whore of Babylon”? and came upon this site?
    clever use of key words there.

    it’s said that all reforms and/or revolutions must have some portion of the intelligentsia to lead the rabble (and revolutions can be just in the mind, isn’t that where they all start?), perhaps this is true, but in our case the Juggernaut is in overdrive, and the revolution is not a class revolution, but a concern about the entire edifice of industrial society.

    i read every comment on this page, some very interesting perspectives, but here we are near a year later and Al Qaeda has retaken Fallujah a scant 24 hours after the pompous asses on PBS solemnly opined that the zealots had gone a bridge too far and overreached.
    i don’t wish to push any buttons, not worth it to me, but it does occur to me that there is much of the world that looks at life in the West (this includes Russia) and says, know what? we’re not interested, get the hell off our land.

    by the way, isn’t the use of zealot to describe Muslim fanatics a clever cross-cultural usage? or did that one slip by?

    the more energy we burn, the more people we produce, the more clever we become, the more problems we produce. perhaps the wish to return to the old days is just another rendering of the Eden narrative, hell if i know.

    i will say this, i have actually avoided reading anything too philosophical, and anything that was not contemporary, as an uneducated hick i have shared much of the disdain my peers have for those who have attained a degree of what passes for education. why are you proud of this Mr. Heretick? you may ask. well, just look around at the state of the world.

    look at the disdain shown to common people in books such as “What’s the matter with Kansas?” (which has some valid points), all the while the educated drift further and further away from the very common people they say they want to help. we get no progress because the elite have alienated their natural allies in the working class. perhaps this little diatribe has drifted beyond the subject of the original post, perhaps not.

    2014 and we still have our SecState trying to bully the Iranians, still have masses of troops overseas, all while the energy companies do their song and dance adverts on the Sunday shows.

    cheers.

    • Disaffected says:

      Good points HT. With regard to What’s the Matter with Kansas? (a book that I imagined to be profound when it first came out), I believe we have our answer with the Obama administration. Indeed, why does the working class consistently vote against its own interests? Trick question actually, since no one running for office actually represents their interests in the least. Given that, if forced to vote, they vote for the only political party that addresses them even semi-seriously at all, which is currently the Republican Party.
      2014 promises to be more of the same until things finally blow up due to one circumstance or another, probably complete unforeseen at this point in time. In any case, I’ll likely have outlived this current go around before it does, so time to get on with the monotonous task of just getting on with things until the end comes. Life for most of us will only get harder and harder, which, for most of the rest of the world, has already been the case for quite some time. We Americans are now getting a taste of our own medicine en masse, and it will indeed be a very bitter pill to swallow, nevermind assimilate.

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