Archive for July 2006
The other day, I was discussing the topics of this blog and podcast with my neighbor. After a couple of hours, he asked me to flat out name one American institution that I liked. I corrected him that it’s not a matter of liking or disliking. Such strong emotions are not part of my approach. Rather, I reformulated his question as: What American insitutions do I find to be more useful than not?
After crossing off the industries of health, food, sports, finance, entertainment, media, and more, and eliminating government functions like eduction, health, military, communications, and so on, I confessed I was stumped. I could not think of an American institution that did not seem to be doing more harm than good.
Later that night, I thought of one. I emailed him that I found to be useful the American system of government — ie. separation of legislative, executive, and judicial functions, all governed by a reasonably enlightened Constitution. Of course, concerning the current members of those institutions (e.g. Congressmen, Supreme Court justices, President and his administration, etc.), I think we people should “throw the bums out”. But I think the institution is as good as we can do.
So there you have it. I am a man living in a country the vast majority of institutions of which I find to be more or less useless. What next for me? Should I go out and buy some extra bags of fertilizer and blow up these institutions? How about stopping short of that, and instead getting a job as an AM radio host, and simply rant about those insitutions and thereby incite the feeble-minded among us to go out and buy the fertilizer and do the blowing up? Or how about take a more academic approach, and publish papers and books showing these institutions to be more harmful than good? Or how about starting an “anti-Corporate” cult, and holing out with my flock in a remote compound?
For me, I say: “None of the above.” I’m non violent. Heck, I’m not even angry. And I’m far too anti-social to lead other people anywhere.
Instead, what I have is an understanding of human dynamics that explains how America has ended up in its current dire state. I’ve set forth this understanding in this blog and related podcast. This understanding takes away any anger I might have.
Here’s the “Cliff’s Notes” version of this understanding: The last great American crisis started around 1930. The institutions which I mentioned above — ie. health, food, military, finance, communications, etc. — all evolved in the 1930s or shortly thereafter. When they first evolved, they addressed a current problem. Probably, they did a decent job of addressing that problem. But 70-some years later, these institutions no longer provide the utility they once did, and now, even go so far as to generate more harm than good. How did that happen?
My best guess is that the worship of money by us People enabled the money-addicted Corporations to rise up and take control of most all American institutions, including these. So now, in 2006, we People are sucking from the tits of the Corporations for most everything we see, feel, and hear. And this Corporate milk is poisoning us.
How could I be mad? How could anyone be mad? We People did it to ourselves. Me, you, your family, my family, and everybody else too.
So if I’m not getting mad or violent about these understandings, what am I doing? In the words of a famous drug pusher, what I’m doing is “tuning in, turning on, and checking out”.
Of course, my approach involves neither drugs nor intoxicants. Instead, it involves the quest toward self reliance. For example, I’ve spent the past couple of months building my own system of raised bed gardens. I want to feed myself (ie. suck from the tit of Mother Earth, rather than from that of the Corporations). For another example, I’ve also checked out of the American health system. That is, my health insurance is of the “catastrophic” sort (ie. I won’t be seeing any doctors until my leg has been cut off). And so on.
The point here is that, instead of spouting anger, we People can simply acquire an understanding of how we got ourselves into this mess. And then we People can take action to improve our own self reliance. In doing, we get “turned on”. Try building your own (organic) garden, and feeding yourself from it, and you’ll see what I mean.
Back in January, I more or less gave a “shout out” to bloggers Rich Zubaty (“The Rude Guy”) and Jim Kunstler, Mr. “Clusterfuck Nation.” Heck, in March I frothed that I should stop blogging and just link to Mr. Kunstler already.
Well, there’s a reason I didn’t include those two sites in my “Links I Like” sidebar. That reason is that, sooner or later, I figured that guys like that would be saying things I pretty much entirely disagree with. For Mr. Zubaty, such subjects include his strident anti-women bashing. I don’t subscribe to those kinds of sentiments. Still, he sure does seem to “get” much of the “people vs. corporations” stuff.
Concerning Mr. Kunstler, his recent treatment of the current Israeli war in Lebanon is one place where my own opinions diverge significantly from his. That is, while I think Mr. Kunstler “gets” the issue of peak oil as well as anyone, his comments on Israel and its neighbors strike me as deeply misguided.
This is the problem with this “people vs. corporations” mindset. It is a mindset that is so far out of the public mainstream that perhaps “angry” sorts like Messrs. Zubaty and Kunstler over-represent the class. And as I have said in my podcasts, strong emotions like anger (or sadness or fright or mania, etc.) tend to narrow our focus and thereby render us misguided. Conversely, so does the absence of any emotion.
Anyway, the long and short of it is that I’ll stop looking for kindred voices for now. I’m not sure I’ll find any.