12 May 2012

Che Casino Capitalism!

picture by John Wardell

At Stake?


T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” has to be one of the starkest reminders of the terminal spiritual alienation afflicting the contemporary individual’s condition... For over five centuries, the Western capitalist machinery has been colonising, raping and pillaging under the pretense of “civilising” other much older civilisations…

The implosion of the “Shylockian” economics' paradigm and the hollowness of this commercialised era of hyper-inflated exchange value may be the soundest reasons for my calling it The Age of Ghost-Modernism.

The boom-bust-ic credit and interest Ponzi schemes of unsustainable growth - turning humans into human resources, consumeristic clones or mere canon-fodder for the Military-Industrial Complex’s Permanent War Economy - have finally reached their Marxian prediction.

Whilst doing their utmost to delay the sistem's inevitable denouement, capitalism’s shareholding agents are simultaneously employing distracting new media outlets while codifying the human species’ most primary instincts (such as greed, violence and other sociopathic traits) to mask the propensity to use all available means in this most selfish and pointless quest for ever larger profits.

The current economic crisis is slowly revealing how its corporate profit-seeking perpetrators (whom I've described before as “utopian liberal agents”) have unleashed a barrage jamming of morally and ethically bankrupt signifiers (reducing critical thinking to its lowest common denominator) whilst promoting an ecocidal cult of “free” marketeering economics (which disfigures the environment while fragmenting society) as the ultimate meta-narrative to be had.

Among sunch weapons of mass distraction employed to jam people’s critical thinking abilities, the new media “social” platforms, such as Twitter (reducing people’s argumentative abilities to 140 characters-long slogans!) or Facebook (aka Fakebook or, better still, Faecesbook) are some of the most effective.

Unwilling to succumb to the perversity of the Faecesbook machinery, drowning-out critical thinking in a sea of gormless, mostly private (at best, local) concerns, in a tabloid rendition of the Babel Tower cacophony through the use of its "news" feed gimmick, I couldn't help but release a virtual salvoe against its virtual yet no less perverse bows, shot in a wishful-thinking attempt to Occupy this commercial platform and turn it into a real Agora for social change…

Despite being painfully aware of its uselessness, it still wanted this protest to be a reality-check for those Romanians identifying themselves as "monarchists", an antidote to their raucous clamour for their idols: blue-blooded (err, rather funny blood type, init?), tax-avoiding, hereditary "civil servants"...

via Occupy Corporate Capitalism/ Ocupaţi Capitalismul de Cumetrie... Fairy tales (poveşti nemuritoare) or furry tales, tall tales, what have you... religioase, ideologice, prozelitizatoare sau născătoare de spaime existenţiale, poveşti care ne transformă din fiinţe raţionale, în sclavii propriilor minciuni!... Domnul-Zeu, "creatorul" Pământului, acum... 6000 de ani (muaha-ha-ha!), într-un moment de cruntă plictiseala (deh, angoasele eternităţii!)......

Alte detalii, cusute cu aţă albă: Adam şi "coasta" sa fracturată, Eva, umblând sexy-dezbrăcată prin "Raiul" situat în stratosfera cu ozonul subţiat dintr-atâta poluare; Extraterestrul sfânt şi "Fecioara" hymenală; căsătorii aranjate (că doar nu întâmplător spun unii australieni, "Jesus was a hard act to follow"!...), patimi moderne şi chinuri medievale, urmate de levitaţii private (Beam me up, Scotty!) şi alte demonstraţii "ştiinţifice" ale efectului de turmă...

Apoi, urmează colonialismul Occidental "civilizator" şi monarhiile constituţional-neplătitoare de taxe - că, deh, "aleşii" Domnului-Zeu (regii, reginele şi odraslele lor princiare nu trebuie să-şi tulbure seninătatea de "funcţionari publici ereditari" cu problemele electorale cu care se confruntă puţin... Putin, securistul patriot al 'mamei Rusii'!) au grupa de sânge "Albastru +"... către violet!

Violetul "slujitorilor" (pedofili ai...) Domnului-Zeu, ceilalţi scutiţi de plata taxelor care susţin existenţa statului, a educaţiei, sănătăţii, reţelelor de transport şi restul bunurilor publice în baza cărora putem pretinde că suntem fiinţe sociale...

Şi uite aşa ajungem la "sfârşitul istoriei", propovăduit de ideologii capitalismului corporatist/ de cumetrie, a exploatării omului prin cămătăria creditului şi dobânzii, a transformării sale în resursă (dezumanizată), credincioasă şi ascultătoare, o simplă piesă de schimb peste care se va pogorâ "duşul de aur" şi "blenoragia bunăstării" (aşa-numitul trickle-down effect)...

Fericiţi cei săraci cu duhul... şi cu acces la internet! V-a plăcut "povestea"?

"Before you can break out of prison, you must first realize you're locked up."

1 May 2012

Welcome to the Asylum

Posted on Apr 30, 2012
By Chris Hedges

AP/Mahesh Kumar A.
People scavenging in a rubbish tip, in Hyderabad, India.

When civilizations start to die they go insane. Let the ice sheets in the Arctic melt. Let the temperatures rise. Let the air, soil and water be poisoned. Let the forests die. Let the seas be emptied of life. Let one useless war after another be waged. Let the masses be thrust into extreme poverty and left without jobs while the elites, drunk on hedonism, accumulate vast fortunes through exploitation, speculation, fraud and theft. Reality, at the end, gets unplugged. We live in an age when news consists of Snooki’s pregnancy, Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and Kim Kardashian’s denial that she is the naked woman cooking eggs in a photo circulating on the Internet. Politicians, including presidents, appear on late night comedy shows to do gags and they campaign on issues such as creating a moon colony. “At times when the page is turning,” Louis-Ferdinand Celine wrote in “Castle to Castle,” “when History brings all the nuts together, opens its Epic Dance Halls! hats and heads in the whirlwind! Panties overboard!”

The quest by a bankrupt elite in the final days of empire to accumulate greater and greater wealth, as Karl Marx observed, is modern society’s version of primitive fetishism. This quest, as there is less and less to exploit, leads to mounting repression, increased human suffering, a collapse of infrastructure and, finally, collective death. It is the self-deluded, those on Wall Street or among the political elite, those who entertain and inform us, those who lack the capacity to question the lusts that will ensure our self-annihilation, who are held up as exemplars of intelligence, success and progress. The World Health Organization calculates that one in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder or depression—which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the asylum.

When the most basic elements that sustain life are reduced to a cash product, life has no intrinsic value. The extinguishing of “primitive” societies, those that were defined by animism and mysticism, those that celebrated ambiguity and mystery, those that respected the centrality of the human imagination, removed the only ideological counterweight to a self-devouring capitalist ideology. Those who held on to pre-modern beliefs, such as Native Americans, who structured themselves around a communal life and self-sacrifice rather than hoarding and wage exploitation, could not be accommodated within the ethic of capitalist exploitation, the cult of the self and the lust for imperial expansion. The prosaic was pitted against the allegorical. And as we race toward the collapse of the planet’s ecosystem we must restore this older vision of life if we are to survive.

The war on the Native Americans, like the wars waged by colonialists around the globe, was waged to eradicate not only a people but a competing ethic. The older form of human community was antithetical and hostile to capitalism, the primacy of the technological state and the demands of empire. This struggle between belief systems was not lost on Marx. “The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx” is a series of observations derived from Marx’s reading of works by historians and anthropologists. He took notes about the traditions, practices, social structure, economic systems and beliefs of numerous indigenous cultures targeted for destruction. Marx noted arcane details about the formation of Native American society, but also that “lands [were] owned by the tribes in common, while tenement-houses [were] owned jointly by their occupants.” He wrote of the Aztecs, “Commune tenure of lands; Life in large households composed of a number of related families.” He went on, “… reasons for believing they practiced communism in living in the household.” Native Americans, especially the Iroquois, provided the governing model for the union of the American colonies, and also proved vital to Marx and Engel’s vision of communism.

Marx, though he placed a naive faith in the power of the state to create his workers’ utopia and discounted important social and cultural forces outside of economics, was acutely aware that something essential to human dignity and independence had been lost with the destruction of pre-modern societies. The Iroquois Council of the Gens, where Indians came together to be heard as ancient Athenians did, was, Marx noted, a “democratic assembly where every adult male and female member had a voice upon all questions brought before it.” Marx lauded the active participation of women in tribal affairs, writing, “The women [were] allowed to express their wishes and opinions through an orator of their own election. Decision given by the Council. Unanimity was a fundamental law of its action among the Iroquois.” European women on the Continent and in the colonies had no equivalent power.

Rebuilding this older vision of community, one based on cooperation rather than exploitation, will be as important to our survival as changing our patterns of consumption, growing food locally and ending our dependence on fossil fuels. The pre-modern societies of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse—although they were not always idyllic and performed acts of cruelty including the mutilation, torture and execution of captives—did not subordinate the sacred to the technical. The deities they worshipped were not outside of or separate from nature.
Seventeenth century European philosophy and the Enlightenment, meanwhile, exalted the separation of human beings from the natural world, a belief also embraced by the Bible. The natural world, along with those pre-modern cultures that lived in harmony with it, was seen by the industrial society of the Enlightenment as worthy only of exploitation. Descartes argued, for example, that the fullest exploitation of matter to any use was the duty of humankind. The wilderness became, in the religious language of the Puritans, satanic. It had to be Christianized and subdued. The implantation of the technical order resulted, as Richard Slotkin writes in “Regeneration Through Violence,” in the primacy of “the western man-on-the-make, the speculator, and the wildcat banker.” Davy Crockett and, later, George Armstrong Custer, Slotkin notes, became “national heroes by defining national aspiration in terms of so many bears destroyed, so much land preempted, so many trees hacked down, so many Indians and Mexicans dead in the dust.”
The demented project of endless capitalist expansion, profligate consumption, senseless exploitation and industrial growth is now imploding. Corporate hustlers are as blind to the ramifications of their self-destructive fury as were Custer, the gold speculators and the railroad magnates. They seized Indian land, killed off its inhabitants, slaughtered the buffalo herds and cut down the forests. Their heirs wage war throughout the Middle East, pollute the seas and water systems, foul the air and soil and gamble with commodities as half the globe sinks into abject poverty and misery. The Book of Revelation defines this single-minded drive for profit as handing over authority to the “beast.”

The conflation of technological advancement with human progress leads to self-worship. Reason makes possible the calculations, science and technological advances of industrial civilization, but reason does not connect us with the forces of life. A society that loses the capacity for the sacred, that lacks the power of human imagination, that cannot practice empathy, ultimately ensures its own destruction. The Native Americans understood there are powers and forces we can never control and must honor. They knew, as did the ancient Greeks, that hubris is the deadliest curse of the human race. This is a lesson that we will probably have to learn for ourselves at the cost of tremendous suffering.

In William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” Prospero is stranded on an island where he becomes the undisputed lord and master. He enslaves the primitive “monster” Caliban. He employs the magical sources of power embodied in the spirit Ariel, who is of fire and air. The forces unleashed in the island’s wilderness, Shakespeare knew, could prompt us to good if we had the capacity for self-control and reverence. But it also could push us toward monstrous evil since there are few constraints to thwart plunder, rape, murder, greed and power. Later, Joseph Conrad, in his portraits of the outposts of empire, also would expose the same intoxication with barbarity.

The anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan, who in 1846 was “adopted” by the Seneca, one of the tribes belonging to the Iroquois confederation, wrote in “Ancient Society” about social evolution among American Indians. Marx noted approvingly, in his “Ethnological Notebooks,” Morgan’s insistence on the historical and social importance of “imagination, that great faculty so largely contributing to the elevation of mankind.” Imagination, as the Shakespearean scholar Harold C. Goddard pointed out, “is neither the language of nature nor the language of man, but both at once, the medium of communion between the two. ... Imagination is the elemental speech in all senses, the first and the last, of primitive man and of the poets.”
All that concerns itself with beauty and truth, with those forces that have the power to transform us, is being steadily extinguished by our corporate state. Art. Education. Literature. Music. Theater. Dance. Poetry. Philosophy. Religion. Journalism. None of these disciplines are worthy in the corporate state of support or compensation. These are pursuits that, even in our universities, are condemned as impractical. But it is only through the impractical, through that which can empower our imagination, that we will be rescued as a species. The prosaic world of news events, the collection of scientific and factual data, stock market statistics and the sterile recording of deeds as history do not permit us to understand the elemental speech of imagination. We will never penetrate the mystery of creation, or the meaning of existence, if we do not recover this older language. Poetry shows a man his soul, Goddard wrote, “as a looking glass does his face.” And it is our souls that the culture of imperialism, business and technology seeks to crush.

Walter Benjamin argued that capitalism is not only a formation “conditioned by religion,” but is an “essentially religious phenomenon,” albeit one that no longer seeks to connect humans with the mysterious forces of life. Capitalism, as Benjamin observed, called on human societies to embark on a ceaseless and futile quest for money and goods. This quest, he warned, perpetuates a culture dominated by guilt, a sense of inadequacy and self-loathing. It enslaves nearly all its adherents through wages, subservience to the commodity culture and debt peonage. The suffering visited on Native Americans, once Western expansion was complete, was soon endured by others, in Cuba, the Philippines, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. The final chapter of this sad experiment in human history will see us sacrificed as those on the outer reaches of empire were sacrificed. There is a kind of justice to this. We profited as a nation from this demented vision, we remained passive and silent when we should have denounced the crimes committed in our name, and now that the game is up we all go down together.

Mâna de lucru...

... dacă sintagma alienanta a "resursei dez-umanizate" a înlocuit, în corporatismul neocon post-industrial în care ne-a fost ipotecat viitorul, sintagma "mâinii de lucru", astăzi, pseudo-ştiinţele "free marketingului" (sic!), ale managementului şi restului reinvenţiilor eufemistice ale roţii au aceeaşi menire: să ascundă realitatea exploatării omului de către elitele corporatiste, prin intermediul creditului şi dobânzii!... Dar, Nu! Nu ascultaţi aceste îndemnuri de trezire la realitate... Oh, Nu! Trăiţi-vă clipa, cheltuiţi azi şi gândiţi-vă mâine (... de unde veţi da banii înapoi!)... Fiţi mobili social şi poluaţi natura şi mediul înconjurător, în numele "creşterii economice" producătoare de profit pentru elitele parvenite şi de inechităţi sociale marcante, că "mâine va fi şi mai rău"... Zâmbiţi tâmp şi credeţi-vă propriile minciuni în coconul de căcat (de unde şi Faeces-book!) în care aţi fost prozelitizati să proslăviţi capitalismul privatizărilor abuzive ale cumetrilor conectaţi la pârghiile de putere şi... Asistaţi pasiv (aspiraţional!) la devalizarea activelor sociale care ne dau calitatea de cetăţeni... Creaţi-vă stilul "propriu" ascultând muzakul pop pentru mase... Distraţi-vă în mall-uri cumpărând lucruri de care nu aveţi altă "nevoie" în afara eliberării de anxietăţile existenţelor depersonalizate, şablonate să creadă în Noroc, în Domnul-Zeu, în clerul neplătitor de taxe, în reţelele sociale ale celui mai primar numitor comun, în manele şi telenovele şi în câte şi mai câte modalităţi în care Complexul Militar-Industrial al corporatismului Occidental vă dirijează şi vă distruge vieţile...