“There is NO HONOR in this shit!” . . .

“Let Your Life Be a Friction to Stop the Machine”:

A very worthwhile video I recommend to all, most especially my fellow Americans.

A comment was left on the video’s comment section if anyone cares for my elaboration on the topic.

Thanks to Janet (known on YT as Janet OntheSpot) for bringing this channel to my attention through her feed.

“Four Horsemen” film

Today’s documentary offering, “Four Horsemen”:

I do have several quibbles with the content of this film, but I listened to it and offer it up as food for thought for others. Plenty of parts I appreciated, but we each have to approach this kind of information critically. Often I find myself in agreement with the portrayal of problems but take issue with the proposed solutions (same held true with the last “Zeitgeist” film).

David Rothkopf on “The Superclass”

Came back across a video I first watched back in 2008 and am re-watching this evening:

Tell me again about my supposed privilege for being born female (personal story-sharing)

Had another rough thought on my mind, but first a song, this one by Simon and Garfunkel titled “The Sound of Silence” (not because it’s associated with these thoughts, was just playing earlier in my car and is a song I love):

While I recognize there are laws on the books I could exploit, I preferred not to do so for various reasons. One being that I wish to believe in the power of love and therefore have no interest in marrying (and divorcing) for money. Furthermore, I don’t see it as the State’s place to approve our unions and so see no reason in going forward to bow to social custom and agree to pay a fine to marry and an even bigger fine to divorce if it doesn’t work out. I paid for my last divorce and do not wish to pony up like that again. And as for using children to extort money from their father, I will not have children (a long-standing decision) and take serious issue with anyone who uses and abuses children in that manner, because it only messes people up and creates needless pain that is completely unfair and immoral. That is my stance on marriage and children and has been for a very long time, as it will remain.

But people like to bark these days about the imbalance of power between the sexes, especially when it comes to those two areas, and now that I am a grown woman I tend to be blamed preemptively for my potential to change my mind and abuse the system to serve my own ends. Well, people can bark all they want — my own views there are set in stone and were brought into being by my own life experiences, which no outside argument can sway. No one needs to believe me, and it shouldn’t matter since I’m not even in the dating game anymore. I have my people and stick with them, and that’s all there is to it. But I share my views because they exist and I see no reason to remain silent.

The thing is that legality isn’t the only area where imbalances can and do occur. We can (and plenty do) experience unfair partiality within our own families. Continue reading

“Where is the world heading?”

Food for thought:

“Mass culture is enlightenment in reverse gear.”

“Rick Roderick on Philosophy and Postmodern Culture,” this video being the 8th in the 8-part lecture series Philosophy and Human Values (1990).

I’ve come to adore listening to Rick Roderick’s explanations and speculations.

Getting rid of government will not make us free

This video irritates me. Already commented a bunch on its comment thread, but will post the rest of my thoughts here in my own sandbox.

Now 23 minutes in, and I gotta say, while I do appreciate Stefan’s critique of the State, his love of capitalism is blinding him to the truth about corporate power. Politicians are heavily influenced by big industries, especially those companies that financially contribute to their campaigns or who employ them once their terms end. To state that it is politicians responsible for what’s going on and though plenty of businesses benefit and deliberately influence politicians to sway them more in their favor, corporations deserve no real blame because they are only behaving as any of us would — that logic is fucking me up. Politicians are behaving in their own greedy interests and corporate swindlers behave in the financial interests of themselves and the corporations they belong to, yet one is a travesty and the other is deemed perfectly rational and to be expected. Huh.

Well, here on the ground it looks an awful lot like the same damn thing. That’s how it winds up affecting people anyway. Are we then to assume if no corporations were there to buy politicians’ favors that politicians would then behave more cooperatively and cater more to their constituents’ interests? What has history shown us? The answer is “not likely” or at least not for long.  The problem here ultimately doesn’t boil down to the government or corporations but rather to power. POWER. It corrupts, and it’s centralizing all over the place. Meaning average people are losing it and those already claiming a great deal of power are consolidating it and grabbing for more. It doesn’t make much of a difference whether those individuals are directly paid by the government or some mammoth organization hobnobbing with major players within the government — the results wind up sucking.

What gets me about Stefan’s argument is that he seems to think corporations will play by some fairer guidelines if the government were removed from the equation. I’ve listened to him talk in other videos about how instead of courts, people and corporations they do business with could settle disputes through some sort of arbiter or mediator. Okay, now tell me how that differs tremendously from what law enforcement and the courts are supposed to be responsible for already, then explain how we think:

  1. the people will be able to maintain equal power in such an arbitration scenario, especially if the people lack money and arbitration services are provided by the very corporation involved in the dispute (because otherwise it would have to come from some outside entity with binding power to enforce the ruling, which again sounds an awful lot like government — if it were perhaps some sort of non-profit or committee what would keep it too from being influenced and swayed by corporations just as they currently are manipulating politicians?);
  2. any rulings against the corporation in question might be enforced if sanctions are no longer possible (thanks to doing away with the State) and forceful rebuts are disallowed;
  3. people will be able to stop corporations from purchasing up countless other companies and forming oligopolies that undermine and destroy free market values;
  4. people will be able to stop corporations from forming alliances and purchasing what essentially amounts to private security forces that may prove violent in protecting and upholding the interests of major corporations (presumably only a small faction of the general population would be able to buy in for such protection themselves, leaving many without protection—that’s what privatizing these services will amount to—and who or what could stop them?).

If corporations wind up being the only game in town, I imagine the situation will remain just as corrupt as it is already, if not more so. To admit that big-dog businessmen tend to be scoundrels and to acknowledge they are employed within amoral organizations driven mostly by relatively short-term profit motives, and to ALSO note that some of these corporations have grown to mammoth scale and gone global to where they no longer are shackled to what any one populace wants or needs (nor do they have an incentive to provide real value or quality, only what will sell), how the hell do we think that setup by itself will amount to anything better than our defunct government has managed?

Why would we choose to put on blinders when it comes to corporations and the active rise of the Corporate State? If government was out of the picture that would mean complete deregulation for them and virtually no protections in place for the rest of us. I just don’t see how that isn’t the 2.0 version of what’s wrong already. We’ll be at their mercy even more than we are already, especially in a society where ALL forms of violence is disallowed (however that would be enforced). Do people really think they wouldn’t hire out security to protect their businesses from protestors? And do you really think those people will follow the non-aggression principle in doing so? Yeah right. That doesn’t sound like any human society we’ve ever witnessed. Ever.

And yet this scheme will all somehow magically be maintained by the very people who’ve dropped the ball at this sort of shit all up through history: us. Ha!  Yeah, right. Most people today don’t even care to vote, yet we think we’ll all come around and take our responsibilities seriously and carry out our civic duties and become wiser consumers and work with banks and corporations to create a truly equitable situation? Sounds like a pipe dream to me. Rather, as keeps happening, people will get lazy and will seek out shortcuts and conveniences, and corporations will offer them, and we’ll collectively wind up sucked into something stupid to the point of being tragic in short order.

First off, what ground do we common people think we have to stand on? We don’t produce nearly anything for ourselves anymore. We’re completely dependent on corporate goods and services, without which our lives would look very different and most would scream in horror and beg for a return to comfortable living. That genie’s out of the bottle, folks. And even if we wished to return to more productive lifestyles where we grow much of our own food and utilize the land to provide for our own needs as individuals, families, and small communities, how would people go about it when most of the land is owned by banks or corporations? We average people don’t own much, not outright, no we don’t.

So it looks like we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Dissolve the government and this will likely only yield a longer leash to major corporations. Try placing corporations back under charters and they’ll likely high-tail it overseas, leaving millions job-less. People won’t settle for that. The truth is we depend an incredible amount of these major corporations, whether we want to or not, yet it’s been proving nearly impossible to restrict them through the use of government regulations since corporate cronies have infiltrated the government. Take away the government and you’ve just made it easier on major corporations (probably a mixed blessing for smaller corporations though). We haven’t exercised our power as consumers so far in a way that’s reined in corporate power and bent it to our will, and that trend doesn’t appear to be changing much. They provide and we buy what’s available. To live in modern times, we must. Look at our lifestyles, look around our own homes and take note of the countless corporations involved in creating our environments. It’s what we’ve grown up with and it’s all we know. We have become domesticated, spoiled on air-conditioning, fast food, and any number of conveniences.

This is where we stand, whether we like it or not. Call me a pessimist, but I’m not convinced anything short of a return to smaller communities that largely provide for themselves and are able to claim ownership of their land and property and defend it as they need to will result in real progress. All else appears to be an avenue to bullshit 2.0. And yet I acknowledge my own dream remains a pipe dream too.

But positions like that taken by Stefan are what has turned me off to what’s calling itself libertarianism these days. They might not realize it, but they’re catering to neoconservative ideology, because that’s who they’re plowing the way for primarily. They’re following nearly the same gameplan: to deregulate corporations, to privatize everything under the sun, and to paint for the public this illusion that such actions will open us up to some capitalistic, “free market” paradise.

Don’t buy into illusions, examine the realities. Read back on capitalism in its earliest stages and observe how incredibly human-unfriendly the system was. Improvements came about through what? That’s right, government intervention. To learn more about the enormous power corporations can and do wield in our nation and most especially in less powerful nations, read Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. It’s a very informative book that’s very carefully sourced (further info available on her website) for those interested in doing further research.

I’m not here to defend our government, ’cause lord knows it’s become a giant mess that needs to be overhauled in a serious way (beginning with impeaching at least 75% of Congress, IMHO), but I’m also not here to pretend corporations offer a better way, certainly not as they stand now. No, I’m critical of both ends in this equation and can’t bring myself to feel chummy with either one. Because both are about centralizing power, concentrated in their hands and not ours. The truth seems to be that neither give much of a damn about most of us — the government is supposed to give a shit and oftentimes doesn’t, but corporations are expressly in the business of giving a shit only when and where they stand to profit, period. Giving either side full rein is a mistake, and letting them fuse together to reign in an increasingly fascistic manner is a bad idea too. Looks like we’re faced with two crappy scenarios, and one is pretty much guaranteed to win out.

And perhaps after people are crushed under this next phase in the history of civilization we’ll snap out of it and realize where our docility and love of comfortable living is allowing us to be led once again. Or maybe not. My gut says probably not.

[Edited for typos 11/10/2013]

Best conversation in cinema!

That was a clip from the movie “My Dinner With Andre,” which I haven’t watched in a few years. Very interesting yet simple film, this point in the dinner conversation between these two men being the best part.

It is available on Netflix.

Couldn’t express how much I understand where the character of Andre is coming from here.

We humans have embarked on a new era. I really like how Andre ponders whether the 1960s was likely the last major display of natural humanness, all decades since pushing toward a weird, robotic, and what I consider highly domesticated, all-new way of life, worldwide. With everything in me, I too wanted to run, but where to? There turned out to be nowhere to go.

We can’t hide from the future. We can only engage it in one way, shape, or form. Actively or passively. We might escape through death, but even that isn’t guaranteed. Might be reincarnated. Might find out that life truly is eternal in that sense. *shrugs* Who knows? The thought unsettles me too, as I’ve grown quite fond of the idea of someday winding up as inert worm food. There’s peace in the belief that one’s life cannot go on indefinitely. Bullshit for all eternity sounds tiring and pathetic. And perhaps if we don’t shape up our acts that’s what we wind up with.

But jokes aside, the “pantheistic” expression of consciousness that the Andre character discusses here is age-old wisdom that we humans seem to have a hard time grasping. And even when we comprehend it on some intellectual level, that says nothing about our individual ability to walk down that path.

Sunday night ponderings in May on human domestication, estrogen, and the future

Domestication. It’s a topic I like talking about because it’s difficult to not see it unfolding around us. We’re becoming domesticated on a whole new level. Was just thinking about birthcontrolbirth control pills and the convenience in using them to regulate your cycle, plus certain brands reduce breakouts. Plenty of side effects accompany hormonal birth control options, and I would absolutely never recommend the progestogen-only varieties (like Depo Provera — yikes!), so it’s a trade-off. But for a lot of years birth control pills felt like a risk worth taking for the peace of mind they offered in avoiding unwanted pregnancy.

But when you really think about the concept of taking hormones to control fertility, improve the complexion, and regulate the cycle to become more predictable and convenient — that’s pure science. The latest in technology. Convenient, but with notable drawbacks, to our own bodies but also to our environments. Think of what happens to all those hormones regularly flushed down toilets, whether they are even capable of being properly filtered out in treatment plants. Some evidence suggests problems loom there. Think of how that might wind up affecting men in a round-about way. But then again, we’re exposed to so much estrogen in our environment already, as we’ve discovered with plastics and also soy (which is now in damn near everything on the super market shelves, including our pets’ foods). Estrogen everywhere. Due to this consideration alone I expect people of tomorrow to turn out a bit different than all who’ve come before. Hormones are powerfully influential on our development.

drugs_glassofwater

Just makes me wonder what tomorrow could bring. Suppose it’ll be interesting to see what this lifetime might unfold, much as I doubt it will remotely resemble what I’d like to see for us. My spirit is paleolithic, I think, having always felt obsolete. lol

We like to say that people direct their own lives, that we can take the reins for ourselves, do something different, try another way. But how? We’re deep in this labyrinth already, and it would take such radical action to retreat and head in different directions. But then again, it would be much easier for smaller groups to break away somehow if there were enough to do so around the same time. But that’s a pipe dream, right? People want this, on some level, because we can’t imagine anything different, and if we can it still doesn’t appear feasible. The floor has fallen out from underneath us and we’re clinging to the walls, trying to keep up with what appears to be the only game in town. It’s a stupid game with so many unfortunate consequences that will likely culminate in disastrous effect. But how does ONE, just one person, go against the grain? Without winding up much poorer, much unhappier, less understood by others? That’s the thing — those are the consequences. Might wind up treated as a leper. Probably will lose friends. Definitely will be criticized. How many people would willingly sign up for that? It looks like social suicide to someone who cares about that sort of thing.

Had a couple drinks and felt like pondering out loud. Reflecting on conversations with people, wondering if indeed there is anything of major impact one can do. And honestly, a part of me says it doesn’t matter. It’s not just about influencing others the way we’d like to. If the many are going to collectively steer this ship into a glacier, either through stupidity or genuine but misguided intentions, what can be done about it? Doesn’t mean we have to conform entirely and go along with their program. No. Because life itself is the journey, and living itself is the source of redemption. When I think deeply on these sort of topics where the individual is being pulled along by the collective-run-amok, I gain an appreciation for the stories that point toward a higher purpose than simply following the herd. And by higher purpose, I’m just saying having respect for something bigger and beyond our human experience. All of life is paradoxical and filled with mystery, and there’s more to it than just our drama. We humans may indeed fail in this experiment in living, who can say? But we as individuals don’t necessarily have to. We are our own persons underneath it all, and we possess enough will to buck back when it feels right. If nothing else, we’re driven by orneriness. LoL

So who can say what the future may hold? And who can say that the most important emphasis should be placed on trying to change the hearts and minds of others? Seems to me if we really want to impact others, we’d work on our own selves. I’m trying to, much as I fail and stumble. Can’t seem to knock off getting irritated while driving. Haven’t taken time to get to know the new neighbors. Too often grumbling, complaining. Because I worry so much. But at the end of the day, what am I so worried about? That people might suffer. But perhaps that’s what’s needed to turn our lives around. Life’s tough love is letting us see how we can create hell on earth if we aren’t mindful of what we’re doing.

By John Conway

“Future Humans” by John Conway

It’s a cruel lesson that breaks my heart to witness, but I suppose such is the way of nature, and divorced as our habitats may seem, the natural world remains the ultimate game-changer.

If we choose to go along with living as domesticated pets, though in less luxury and expected to work, we will suffer what that fate entails. Perhaps there can be no other way, not until our infrastructure crumbles due to a lack of resources, or until political and economic conditions deteriorate to the point where that dream gets snuffed. I don’t know.

Maybe people will find ways to pacify themselves going into this New Age, and perhaps people of tomorrow will figure out a way to strike a new balance that my feeble brain is unable to conceive of. But it won’t be my world by then, so that is for them to create. In my lifetime I’d like to imagine how we might live smarter, more in line with what’s natural to us as people who need one another, who value relationships and reciprocity, who want to care, who aren’t content in slavery, who aren’t content being taken advantage of by the few whose only work is to manipulate and exploit the rest.

Then I wonder how it’s possible to not feel disgruntled in the face of so much disillusionment.

Late-night doodling and thinking

Never know what I’m going to come up with…

left_right_rippling

Just playing around with the GIMP program while listening to this speech on Karl Marx’s economic views:

[Dammit, the video was removed from YT and I can’t recall the name of the lecturer to replace it.]

Since being referred to as a “Cultural Marxist” by a stranger the other day, figured I ought to brush back up on what he put forth. I get how Karl Marx’s ideas might could translate in smaller communities where people grew and raised their own foods and largely provided for their own needs. But once we expand out into an industrial or, in today’s case, a largely post-industrial setup, many jobs created are tailored to providing for a major population, which entails breaking labor down into assembly lines for greater efficiency. And those kinds of jobs tend to be monotonous and unfulfilling, hence why they’re typically relegated to lower-class workers (and often for crappy pay). Indeed even Marx agrees, as I interpret what he’s primarily referring to as the sort of worthwhile labor that directly contributes value to our lives involves those tasks required to nurture our bodies. The forms of labor people find themselves trapped in today oftentimes are positions that wouldn’t exist if not for the economic machine of such tremendous scale that currently exists.

That consideration ties in with my own view that the work we do must correspond with creating value for ourselves and others, this being one necessary component if we endeavor to live truly productive lives capable of experiencing freedom. So long as we remain dependent on major corporations to provide us with everything we need to survive, we will always be expected to play this economy’s game, from start to finish (employee to consumer); it is those possessing power within that setup who decide pricing, not what’s posing as a supposed “free market” today. They possess the drive and apparently the ability (thanks to a lack of regulations enforcement) to monopolize and oligopolize and thereby set their own rules since real competition is actively stifled. Small businesses demolished in this process was no accident — it was necessary to forge the kind of society we have now, and we’d be fools to believe its growth will halt anytime soon.

The truth about capitalism is that it is a beast that will run and run and run so long as it can. The regulators of it were supposed to be us and our government, yet unfortunately our government was formed at the same time modern corporations got their start, so there was little wisdom at that time to draw up in the Constitution on how we might best manage what turned out to be a new economic and technological age, unprecedented and unpredictable 250 years ago.

Through the immediate colluding between monied interests and those working within government, fascism began to take shape in the 19th century. It had been coming long before the two world wars, and it’s here now, and it will be closer still tomorrow.

Citizens, in such a short span of time, have grown dependent on this way of life and many can imagine it no other way. We are locked into its narrative, chasing its fantasies, dodging its pitfalls where able, and worshiping its gods of money and usury and superficiality. Money is not the root of all evil, per se. The evil here appears to be in the conformist vision that aims to bend humans to fit the machine, even if it breaks us and destroys our quality of life and disrupts the social relations that make our lives worth living. And all for what? For power. For greed. For control. To suit the ambitions of a few who aspire to god-like status above all other human beings,  and to serve whatever lunatic ideologies they operate with. But it is not they who concern me most. It is us who allow this to be.

That all said, there are plenty of spots where Marx and I diverge and head off in our own directions, as to be expected. But the lecturer is correct that Karl Marx posed questions that won’t easily go away or find resolution.