Thinking about personal histories and childhood bonding (a personal post)

Normally I’d prefer to use this blog to point to writings, films, and other sources of what I consider interesting information and ideas. When I started this project, it was my intention to remain relatively private with my personal business, seeing as how my face is now attached to my words online. And everything written on this Internet feasibly becomes permanently part of the public record.

But I was just struck with some thoughts again tonight that tie into the ongoing talk on “evil” and the sickness of our society. Not ashamed of who I am or most of what I’ve done, so I might as well share a little about who I am so as hopefully to make more clear my perspective.

Earlier a couple of commenters on my “Why I’m No Longer a Feminist” video comment section brought up Dr. Faye Snyder, someone I’d never heard of before. Searched for her on YT and listened to the first few minutes of a man reading her piece titled “I Am Adam Lanza’s Therapist.” Then my own thoughts crashed in, because while the RAD acronym is new to me, thoughts on this topic are not. How you are brought up and how well you bond with others is so supremely important. I do know this, to where it’s easy to take as granted that others, on some level, acknowledge this as a truth as well. People who are deeply traumatized as children grow into broken-spirited adults. We Americans live in a society that has grown socially toxic over time, and it’s because we the people are broken, coming from broken homes and broken communities. All that leads to broken dreams, broken spirits, broken hearts, and, in some cases, broken minds. This I do believe to be true.

“Reactive Detachment Disorder” — guess that’s one way to label the symptoms of broken lives. Where do we think all this depression is stemming from? All this anxiety and self-destructiveness? This cowardice? I get it. Personally refuse to speak in DSM lingo, but I do comprehend some of this heart-breaking problem we have today. It’s everywhere and we’re all observers and participants. So too do we all play the roles of victimizers and victims.

It deserves to be stated that social complexities are mind-blowing because unlike with physical and chemical sciences, there’s really no math to explain it or experiments that can control for all possible variables. And the social and psychological sphere is constantly in motion, never at rest, always moving on through time and Ages. We tend to think of the bulk of human history simply as “progressive” (but it depends on one’s definition there). When you add in ponderings on physics and imagine how that all might tie in, life becomes so big, so amazing, so wondrous and beyond comprehension that to me it justifies being referred to as “God.” It’s not merely chemical and physical and biological processes — life is bigger than that, especially for us humans in our ongoing struggle to make sense out of a life as beings separated from the jungle and tribal conditions that marked much of our evolutionary history. So many metaphors exist pointing to this space in time when humans became more than animals, which is to say more complex, more consciously aware, cast out of the animal kingdom to proactively determining our own destinies. Thinking in this way, the social realm becomes no trivial matter, nor can it be easily explained and put into neat language for others to digest on-the-go. But I’ll try my best at breaking things down as I see them, from my own perspective, as this blogging project unfolds.

Returning to the topic of Dr. Snyder and talk of the Sandy Hook massacre while reflecting on so many that came before. The Columbine massacre occurred when I was 17, and youths of my age group were caught up in the goth fetish and/or violent rap music and/or heavy metal (as was I, to an extent). Thinking back, we were an angry lot, teens of the ’90s. And I can’t speak for where others lived or who they hung around, but I bounced from state to state as a teen and wound up dropping out of high school to start working. The people I befriended included some very angry people, very pained and training in how to pay it forward. Tried to avoid those characters, but they’re out there.

One boy I dated when I was 15 and he was 17 had been sexually molested by his father, as had been his sister and he suspected his younger brothers were enduring it in his absence. He was one messed up individual. The abuse had required a surgery when he was very young, under 6, and left him wetting the bed from there on. This is just a boy I met and wound up dating for a few months who unraveled these details over time. We parted ways and 5 years later he called my stepdad, asking for him to give me his number. Talked to the boy two times on the phone, and in the second conversation he told me he was being accused in the courts of sexually molesting his very young daughter. I walked away and want to hear no more, because after briefly knowing him I’m sad to say that he maybe could’ve done such a thing. He was a broken individual on such a serious level that his life will forever be fucked up. That is such a sad truth, seeing how serious dysfunction breeds dysfunction for the young going forward and their young too, somehow, some way.

Met a lot of people over the years, most of whom I don’t keep in contact with. Met plenty at schools and at coffee shops and, later, at bars. All kinds of people. But the people who particularly interested me were those closest to me, members of my own family. I grew up watching my Papa (grandpa) suffer inside, knowing he’d suffered his whole life, abandoned and abused. I related to his pain and he to mine, much as our circumstances differed. He was a long-time alcoholic, and it hurt his kids. One of his kids was my mother. I do not know of my biological father, nor he of my existence. I was born out of wedlock to a 19-year-old single woman who lived with her parents in a trailer in a small town in Mississippi. My mother is not right in the head for reasons I’ve never been able to understand completely, but talk with my Grandma over time leads us to believe she may be this way because of head injuries sustained as a baby in a bad car accident.

Let me say right now that my Papa is one of the most important people in my life, and I love him and his memory forever. He was not what I would call a fully good or fully bad man. He was a complex man with pain in his heart and wounds that would not entirely heal, so he lived as an alcoholic until he was 50 (and I was 9). It’s been said that he could be physically abusive and I’m well-aware of how he could run his mouth. But he’s the closest to a father-figure in my life, and we shared a strong bond. He has certain qualities of character that I look up to and respect immensely. For example, through him I learned someone can be afraid, truly afraid, and still summon the strength and guile to stand up and confront people when needed. He had pride and a heart. He didn’t believe in kicking an underdog when they’re down, unlike lots of other people in our town. He wasn’t afraid to stand up to authority and tell it like he saw it.

But underneath all of that, I occasionally glimpsed that little boy in him that was injured by the people he was raised by. In whispered conversations in the kitchen in the early morning hours, my Grandma used to tell me stories about Papa’s past, about how his mother left him with his grandfather when he was 6, screaming “You can keep the little bastard!” I cry just thinking about that, about how it must feel carrying that around in one’s heart for 65 years (he died at age 71 in 2011 — may he be resting in peace now). She told me of how his father and stepmother yanked him from his loving grandfather and essentially made my Papa their slave, working him hard at physical labor, pulling him out of school after the 8th grade and regularly severely beating him until the age of 17 when he escaped by lying about his age to join the National Guard. He met my Grandma a year or so later and they immediately began creating a family of their own.

My Papa was an alcoholic throughout all three of his kids’ upbringings, and he was an angry man who saw injustice everywhere. In a number of ways my and his personalities are a lot alike.

I spent half of my upbringing with my Grandparents, and my infancy was probably redeemed thanks to them and their care and support for me, particularly up to age 4 (which is when I was moved away with my mother and stepfather). I bonded with my Grandma especially as a baby because she was the one who tended to me the most, and she’s very loving toward babies which is a blessing. Papa too, at least by the time I came around — he just lit up and we bonded. Some of my favorite memories are of riding around in the little pickup truck right beside my Papa, him prompting me to chat on the CB radio to his trucker friends, feeling like such a big girl going with Papa to do his day’s business. He’d show me off to his friends like I was really something. I would’ve followed that man anywhere. To some he might’ve looked like a worn-out man in a cap, spitting chew and talking shit (lol), but he was the biggest man in my universe. None have yet to compare with his originality.

But unfortunately the pain and suffering he endured isn’t some anomaly. So many people running around deeply hurt by their pasts; plenty hurt bad enough that they got problems, emotional, psychological, social. One could argue that in today’s society we’re all touched by the pain, somehow, some way, directly or indirectly through our media and our shared culture. We’re touched by one another, figuratively speaking (or literally, as is sometimes the case). I see as I look out on people I love and also on strangers that early childhood trauma, abandonment, and abuse leaves a hole in people’s hearts. It can’t be helped and it may never be completely restored. I don’t know and won’t make definitive claims, but this is how I see it. And that pain tends to pay itself forward, somehow, some way.

This is another reason why I decided many years ago to not birth children of my own. I wish for the cycle to discontinue so far as I’m concerned. People can tell you all the self-help info they’d like, but there comes a point when the risk isn’t worth it, that it’s better to acknowledge that more nurturing and attentive people are better suited for parenthood. And that’s fine by me. There’s plenty else to do besides breed — one of the great joys of living as a woman in this moment in history when I have the option to make this choice thanks to technology and cultural transformation.

I’ve tired of typing about this right now, so let’s just leave it there. Part of me cringes revealing such personal information about myself and my family, but it represents part of who I am as one individual out here, one drop in the collective bucket.

An excerpt from Thomas More’s book “Utopia”

Here are selected excerpts from Thomas More’s book Utopia, written in the early 16th Century and later translated to English by H.V.S. Ogden, pages 80-82 in Book II:

Is not a government unjust and ungrateful that squanders rich rewards on noblemen (as they are called), goldsmiths, and others that do not work but live only by flattery or by catering to useless pleasures? And is it just for a government to ignore the welfare of farmers, charcoal burners, servants, drivers, and blacksmiths, without whom the commonwealth could not exist at all? After their best years have been consumed by labor and they are worn out by age and sickness, they are still penniless, and the thankless state, unmindful of their many great services, rewards them with nothing but a miserable death. Furthermore the rich constantly try to whittle away something from the pitiful wages of the poor by private fraud and even by public laws. To pay so little to men who deserve the best from the state is in itself unjust, yet it is made “just” legally by passing a law.

So when I weigh in mind all the other states which flourish today, so help me God, I can discover nothing but a conspiracy of the rich, who pursue their own aggrandizement under the name and title of the Commonwealth. They devise ways and means to keep safely what they have unjustly acquired, and to buy up the toil and labor of the poor as cheaply as possible and oppress them. When these schemes of the rich become established by the government, which is meant to protect the poor as well as the rich, then they are law. With insatiable greed these wicked men divide among themselves the goods which would have been enough for all.

[…]

If that one monster pride, the first and foremost of all evils, did not forbid it, the whole world would doubtless have adopted the laws of the Utopians long before this […]. Pride measures her prosperity not by her own goods but by others’ wants. Pride would not deign to be a goddess, if there were no inferiors she could rule and triumph over. Her happiness shines brightly only in comparison to others’ misery, and their poverty binds them and hurts them the more as her wealth is displayed. Pride is the infernal serpent that steals into the hearts of men, thwarting and holding them back from choosing the better way of life.

Pride is far too deeply rooted in men’s hearts to be easily torn out. […]

 

It’s a very short read, and while the “utopia” described doesn’t resonate with my heart’s fantasies, nor was it necessarily More’s ideal but instead a useful alternative with which to compare and contrast his own society (under King Henry VIII). It’s eye-opening to learn that credit, gambling, and greedy, self-serving leadership was in high fashion in the 1500s just as it remains today.  Kinda depressing actually that we the masses haven’t wised up much, if any.

An excerpt from the book “The Cunning of History: The Holocaust and the American Future”

From the book The Cunning of History: The Holocaust and the American Future (1975) by Richard L. Rubenstein, below is a piece I transcribed in 2008 for safe-keeping.

This excerpt is taken from chapter 1, Mass Death and Contemporary Civilization:

The passing of time has made it increasingly evident that a hitherto unbreachable moral and political barrier in the history of Western civilization was successfully overcome by the Nazis in the World War II and that henceforth the systematic, bureaucratically administered extermination of millions of citizens or subject peoples will forever be one of the capacities and temptations of government. Whether or not such a temptation is ever again exercised, the mere fact that every modern government possesses such power cannot but alter the relations between those who govern those who are governed. The power must also alter the texture of foreign relations. According to Max Weber, “The state is a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a given territory.” Auschwitz has enlarged our conception of the state’s capacity to do violence. A barrier has been overcome in what for millennia had been regarded as the permissible limits of political action. The Nazi period serves as a warning of what we can all too easily become were we faced with a political or economic crisis of overwhelming proportions. The public may be fascinated by the Nazis; hopefully, it is also warned by them.

In studying the Holocaust, the extermination of Europe’s Jews, it is necessary to recognize that our feelings may be strongly roused. Both the Nazis and their victims elicit some very complicated emotional responses from most people. These feelings are important but they can add to our difficulties in arriving at an understanding of what took place. In order to understand the Holocaust, it is necessary to adopt a mental attitude that excludes all feelings of sympathy or hostility towards both the victims and the perpetrators. This is a methodological procedure and, admittedly, an extremely difficult one. Nevertheless, this bracketing is necessary, not only because of the emotions aroused by the Nazis, but also because of the ambivalent reactions Jews inevitably arouse in Western culture. In view of the fact that (a) most Europeans and Americans are the spiritual and cultural heirs of a religious tradition in which both the incarnate deity and his betrayer are Jewish and that (b) the fate of the Jews has been a primary datum used to prove the truth of Christianity from its inception, it is difficult for even the most secularized non-Jew to be without a complex mixture of feelings when confronted with Jewish disaster. The feelings are likely to include both guilt and gratification.

Nor are Jews normally capable of greater objectivity in dealing with the Holocaust. The event has challenged the very foundation of Jewish religious faith. It has reinforced all of the millennial distrust on the part of Jews for the non-Jewish world. It has also raised the exceedingly painful issue of the role of the Judenräte, the Jewish community councils which everywhere controlled the Jewish communities and which were used by the Germans as a principal instrument to facilitate the process of extermination.

Both Jews and non-Jews have good reasons for responding with emotion to the Holocaust. […]

[…] It is, of course, somewhat easier to assess the meaning of the Holocaust today than it was a generation ago. During and immediately after World War II, the shock of the experience was too great. As the camps were liberated, brutal media images of survivors who seemed hardly more than walking skeletons were mixed with images of mounds of unburied corpses. The pictures hinted at the frightfulness of what had taken place, but their very horror also tended to obscure comprehension. The moral and psychological categories under which such scenes could be comprehended were hatred, cruelty, and sadism. The past was searched to find parallels with which the event could be understood. Human history is filled with incidents of rapine, robbery, and massacre. It was to such categories that the mind was initially drawn. In addition, the Jews had been the victims of degrading assault so often that there was an understandable tendency to regard the Holocaust as the contemporary manifestation of the anti-Jewish violence that had so often exploded during the two-thousand-year sojourn of the Jews in Europe.

There was also the paucity of facts. It was known that millions had been killed, but, until the German archives and the survivors’ memoirs became available, it was not possible to get an accurate picture of the destruction process as a whole. Because of the total collapse of the German state in 1945, its archives became available soon after the events had taken place. Under normal conditions, many of the most important documents would never have become available. Even after having been made available, the archival material, the transcripts of the war crimes trials and the avalanche of memoirs all had to be digested. To some extent, that process is still going on. Unfortunately, whenever scholars have attempted to comprehend the Holocaust in terms of pre-twentieth-century experience, they have invariably failed to recognize the phenomenon for what it was, a thoroughly modern exercise in total domination that could only have been carried out by an advanced political community with a highly trained, tightly disciplined police and civil service bureaucracy.

As reflection replaced shock, attention shifted from a description of the mobile killing units and the death camps to the analysis of the process by which extermination was carried out. The process was a highly complex series of acts which started simply with the bureaucratic definition of who was a Jew. Once defined as a Jew, by the German state bureaucracy, a person was progressively deprived of all personal property and citizenship rights. The final step in the process required the cooperation of every sector of German society. The bureaucrats drew up the definitions and decrees; the churches gave evidence of Aryan descent; the postal authorities carried the messages of definition, expropriation, denaturalization, and deportation; business corporations dismissed their Jewish employees and took over “Aryanized” properties; the railroads carried the victims to their place of execution, a place made available to the Gestapo and the SS by the Wehrmacht. To repeat, the operation required and received the participation of every major social, political, and religious institution of the German Reich.

The essential steps in the process of annihilation have been outlined by the historian and political scientist, Raul Hilberg, in his comprehensive and indispensable study, The Destruction of the European Jews. According to Hilberg, since the fourth Christian century, there have been three fundamental anti-Jewish policies, conversion, expulsion, and annihilation. Until the twentieth century, only two of the policies were attempted in a systematic way, conversion and expulsion. Throughout the history of Christianity, there have been countless attempts to inflict violence upon Jews. These assaults were often encouraged by religious and secular authorities. Nevertheless, such outbursts, no matter how extensive, were never transformed into systematic, bureaucratically administered policies of outright extermination until World War II. According to Hilberg, the Nazis were both “innovators” and “improvisors” in their elimination of the Jews.

Before the twentieth century, the Christian religious tradition was both the source of much traditional anti-Jewish hostility and an effective barrier against the final murderous step. Something changed in the twentieth century. As always, there were men who sought to rid their communities of Jews and Jewish influence, but the methods proposed were no longer limited by traditional religious or moral restraints. The rationalizations with which a massacre of the Jews could be justified were at least as old as Christendom. […] For our purposes, it is sufficient to note that those stereotypical images did not lead to systematic extermination until the twentieth century. There was little that the Nazis had to add to the negative image of the Jew they had inherited from Martin Luther or from the Pan-German anti-Semites of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In every instance, the Jew was depicted as an enemy within the gates, a criminal and a kind of plague or species of vermin. Gil Eliot has observed that such images ascribe to an adversary or a potential victim a paranthropoid identity. As Eliot has asserted, once a human being has been stripped of his human and given a paranthropoid identity, the normal moral impediments cease to operate.

To repeat, something happened in the twentieth century that made it morally and psychologically possible to realize dreams of destructiveness that had previously been confined to fantasy. Part of the reason for the radicalization of the destructive tendencies can, of course, be found in such specific events as the defeat of Germany in World War I after four years of fighting of unprecedented violence. An element of even greater importance was the fact that the secularized culture which substituted calculating rationality for the older traditional norms in personal and group relations did not mature fully until the twentieth century. Yet another factor was the conjunction of the charismatic leadership of Adolf Hitler, the bureaucratic competence of the German police and civil service, and the mood of the German people at a particular moment in history. Himmler and Goebbels, for example, were convinced that Hitler’s leadership gave the Germans a unique opportunity to eliminate the Jews that might never be repeated.

All of the elements cited played their part, but more was involved. The Holocaust was an expression of some of the most significant political, moral, religious and demographic tendencies of Western civilization in the twentieth century. The Holocaust cannot be divorced from the very same culture of modernity that produced the two world wars and Hitler.

[Emphases his. Links obviously mine.]

The gist of “paranthropoid identity,” as I understand, is it represents assigning someone sub-human status where they are considered primitive by comparison.

Monday comic relief

Some humor is in order tonight.  chillpill

Russell Peters cracks me up:

On to the priceless observations of George Carlin:

Gotta love the humor of Chris Rock:

Needed a night to just chill and listen to some comedy. From time to time gotta shake off taking everything so seriously and just step back and look at it for the tragicomedy that it all is.  drinking

Navigating in the New Economy — an excerpt from the book “Dark Ages America”

Today I’m looking at the book Dark Ages America by Morris Berman (2006). Let’s begin on page 15:

Liquid Modernity is the title of a book by the Polish-British sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, who defines it as the condition of a society that lacks a clear sense of orientation, or the kind of stability that derives from a long-standing tradition or set of norms. In Will Hutton’s version of it, it is a situation in which all of life is lived in “a permanent state of contingency.” It is the social and cultural face of globalization, the ideational and emotional counterpart of the New Economy. America has been the cutting edge of this way of life, a society characterized by speed, fluidity, and transience—obsessive change, in short. Being modern in this context means having an identity that is always shifting, always “under construction.” In effect, says Bauman, it is like living a life of musical chairs. The problem is this fluidity is not a choice we are free to make. Despite the unifying patriotic rhetoric that permeates the United States, on some level Americans are not really fooled: at bottom, each person knows he or she must continually “reinvent themselves,” which is to say, go it alone. America is the ultimate anticommunity.

Of course, we didn’t get to this peculiar state of affairs overnight. The notion that each person is free to choose his or her own destiny was the ideal of a New World that was rejecting the social chains of the old one. As the British writer Ian Buruma puts it, “the promise of freedom in America is precisely to be liberated from the past.” Not for Americans the suffocating restrictions of class, history, religion, and tradition, but rather the absolute weightlessness of choice. This remains the lure of America for many traditional cultures, or at least for many individuals in those cultures: the world of limitless possibilities. The irony for Americans, however, is that in the fullness of time, the limitless possibilities and the absolute weightlessness of choice became as suffocating as the social restrictions of the Old World. American citizens cannot choose not to participate in the utterly fluid, high-pressure society that the United States has become. Liquid modernity, is, in short, quite rigid: a world of compulsive self-determination. But since it is norms that make life possible, when normlessness becomes the norm, the social order turns into a hall of mirrors. The way of life, says Bauman, may prove to be the greatest discontinuity in human history.

Work

The consequences of liquid modernity show up in many areas of American life, including, notably, the realm of work. It is, after all, the arena in which most of us spend most of our waking hours, and the impact of globalization here is going to be especially telling. What do we find? Within a single generation, almost everything has changed. A young American with moderate education, says Bauman, can expect to change jobs at least eleven times during his or her lifetime. The modern place of employment, he adds, typically feels like a “camping site.” Fleeting forms of association are more useful than long-term connections. The main source of profits are ideas, not material objects, and so everything seems ephemeral. Workers know they are disposable, so see no point in developing any commitment to jobs, workmates, or even to the tasks they perform. Everything seems to be ever new, endlessly produced, consumed, and discarded. Globalization means greater competition, intercommunal (and, often, intracommunal) enmity. The most functional work attitude in such a context is one of cynicism. 

[…] Similar descriptions (sans sociological analysis, for the most part) can be found, among other places, in the Wall Street Journal. Thus reporter Clare Ansberry describes the “just in time” labor force that has to make it “in an ever-more-fluid economy.” In Cleveland, for example, the Lincoln Electric Company shifted salaried workers to hourly clerical jobs. A & R Welding of Atlanta maintains a cluster of welders to work out of state, when needed. In South Carolina, the Nestle Corporation has created an in-house roster of part-time workers “who stick by the telephone to hear if they should report on a given day to assemble frozen chicken dinners.” Flexibility, writes Ansberry, can be a euphemism for less pay (and fewer benefits) and largely random work arrangements, but workers really have no choice: it’s that or nothing. The New Economy takes no prisoners.

A dramatic case study of the new work ethic is provided by computer programmer Ellen Ullman in her memoir, Close to the Machine. This new ethic, she says, is one in which all of life is about “positioning.” Projects and human connections bubble up and collapse with dizzying speed; everyone is running his or her own little virtual company in which skills aren’t cumulative and everyone is disposable. There is constant talk of “teamwork,” but it is a phony courtesy, part of the workplace “process.” In reality, says Ullman, we are all “creatures swimming alone in the puddles of time.” Her description of the people she met along the way is that of nonpersons, people who say and do all the right things but who seem to be completely empty. And all of this, she concludes, is very likely everyone’s future:

We wander from job to job, and now it’s hard for anyone to stay put anymore. Our job commitments are contractual, contingent, impermanent, and this model of insecure life is spreading outward from us. . . . We programmers are the world’s canaries. We spend our time in front of monitors; now look up at any office building, look into living-room windows at night: so many people sitting alone in front of monitors. We lead machine-centered lives; now everyone’s life is full of automated tellers, portable phones, pagers, keyboards, mice. We live in a contest of the fittest, where the most knowledgeable and skilled win and the rest are discarded; and this is the working life that waits for everybody. . . . Where we go the world is following.

An equally disturbing portrait is provided by the American sociologist Richard Sennett in The Corrosion of Character. What is now absent from our lives, he writes, is a sense of narrative coherence. The way we have to live in order to survive in the New Economy has set our inner lives adrift. One can no longer deploy a single set of skills through the course of a working life; in fact, the fastest-growing sector of the American labor force is that of temporary job agencies. The domination of consumer demand has now created a “strategy of permanent innovation.” Skill, craftsmanship, and commitment are dysfunctional in a world in which, according to Bill Gates, one should “position oneself in a network of possibilities.” Such a world, however, might well be regarded as a form of dementia.

[Emphasis his.]

Let’s leave off there on page 17.

Blue Gold: World Water Wars

This is one of my favorite documentaries to share with others, titled “Blue Gold: World Water Wars”:

Anyone know what time it is?  Better start wondering.

And all for what?  For power. Simple as that. For power, greed, money-lust…a desire to achieve ‘god-like’ status among humans.  For what?  You’d have to ask them. Probably because they have a vision of it working out in their favor, perhaps believing their ideologies (if they indeed embrace any) are the cure to what ails humanity. Or perhaps it grows out of contempt for fellow humans. I don’t know. But it is real and serves to teach us the deeper meaning of that which we term “evil.” From what I can tell, it appears evil is frequently born of sheltered, willful ignorance and a sense of special, selective entitlement.

This documentary is also available for viewing on Netflix. To learn more about this documentary, check out the official site here. Quoting from that site:

In every corner of the globe, we are polluting, diverting, pumping, and wasting our limited supply of fresh water at an expediential level as population and technology grows. The rampant overdevelopment of agriculture, housing and industry increase the demands for fresh water well beyond the finite supply, resulting in the desertification of the earth.

Corporate giants force developing countries to privatize their water supply for profit. Wall Street investors target desalination and mass bulk water export schemes. Corrupt governments use water for economic and political gain. Military control of water emerges and a new geo-political map and power structure forms, setting the stage for world water wars.

We follow numerous worldwide examples of people fighting for their basic right to water, from court cases to violent revolutions to U.N. conventions to revised constitutions to local protests at grade schools. As Maude Barlow proclaims, “This is our revolution, this is our war”. A line is crossed as water becomes a commodity. Will we survive?

“Gonna wreck this fucker’s ride” and more

Been a long week. Just gonna stick to music right now.

On the menu this evening is “Bad Habit” by The Offspring:

Just because I love that song.

Moving along to Nine Inch Nails:

True that.

And in case further evidence was needed to prove our military is out of control and off its rocker, see this:

Sick and disappointing that is.

Second Skin — the gaming documentary

For all ye Gamers out there (and those curious about your hobby), I offer up the documentary “Second Skin”:

Yes, the audio is slightly out of sync. Darn. But this viewing is free. FYI, it’s also available for instant viewing on Netflix. To learn more about the documentary, check out their official website.

I’m not a gamer, unless playing on Pogo counts.  Ha  That’s a strange world that doesn’t make much sense to me. “Second Skin,” viewed a couple times since 2010, provides illumination into a popular sub-culture I otherwise have little exposure to. It prompts us to ponder how we’re using new technology and also how gaming is succeeding at occupying the attention of an increasing portion of the population, males and females alike. Gaming is one way to experience a virtual reality, the internet having opened up a whole new playground, but what stands out to me is what seems like fear of vulnerability in face-to-face relations. There’s a strong society-wide drive toward escapism these days, this being one way it manifests itself. But this film tells a variety of people’s stories, including those where virtual reality provides a sense of belonging to a community to people who otherwise don’t experience such.

It’s a complex topic, a brand-new concern. Welcome to the 21st century. Amazing not only how this trend has gone global but also how Chinese workers still manage to wind up exploited by American gaming culture (go figure — When are Chinese workers not exploited? Further evidence of how the value placed on individuals goes down as the population increases, but that’s a separate topic for another night). How might we reverse this trend of focusing more attention on virtual reality than on actual physical and social reality? Because fantasies can’t provide sustenance.

Gaming isn’t my poison of choice, but I’m no stranger to spending extraordinary amounts of time sitting in front of the computer. So many excuses to procrastinate on the internet, not the least of which is unprecedented access to a plethora of information on innumerable topics. Not enough hours in a day to deal with modern times.