Listen to a reading of this article: Western civilization is a story of full bellies and starving hearts. Of a feast of information and a famine of truth. Of conveyor belts churning out processed food, conformity-enforcing media and power-serving culture. Enough food to stay alive but not enough sustenance to live.
I'm wondering what will change when our bellies match our hearts in starving. Maybe that will wake us up?
I feel the same.
My only hedge is in limiting this to 'Western' civilization. Living 40 years in Japan now, it is the same ... as I suspect with China, Korea, India, and so on. This may be a consequence, unintended or not, of any populations of scale larger than communities of Dunbar's number or less. There are limits to empathy driven behavior, and the rule-driven behavior that necessarily comes with scale is one of them.
Other limits might be hinted at in the 'Trolley Car' problem, or in the conformity-authority behaviorist experiments of Solomon Asch, Stanley Milgram, and Philip Zimbardo.
I am not optimistic for those of us not among the privileged few, those within the steep walls of those Bill 'Gated' communities.
Your title reminds me that in my senior year of public High School (1974-75), I took exactly one class: English.
The course was titled "Alienated Man - Technological Man".
We read many classics, including: Hiroshima; Slaughterhouse 5; Fahrenheit 451; Fail Safe; Clockwork Orange; One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest; 1984; Vonnegut's Player Piano; Mark Twain essays; (Kubrick movies); Down These Mean Streets; Dutchman and The Slave; The Autobiography of Malcolm X; Black Like Me; Manchild In The Promised Land; Ralph Ellison Invisible Man; James Baldwin (essays); Langston Hughes poetry; and more.
That single class did more to educate me than anything else.
"Welcome my son - welcome to the machine" ~~~ Pink Floyd
Empires have dominated our known history
Some wake up
Some live fulfilled lives
Some find real love
Some create inspired art and music
Some commit random acts of kindness
Some learn, grow, change
Some know themselves, are themselves, and trust and love themselves
Some work for peace and justice both locally and globally
Some live lives of quiet hope
Right, they keep us alive to milk us dry - and then they send us to "care homes" where we are anesthetized and imprisoned in beds, lest we move around and break a leg - which cuts back on the bottom line of maximum profit. Government pensions and other funds are heavily invested in such enterprises. I would hazard the opinion that the "vulnerability to Covid of the aged" is a myth: the environment killed /is killing them, not Covid. And that is true of many other age cohorts. But life in retirement is supposed to be the best time of your life, a reward of leisure and freedom of life-style choices after a lifetime of sacrifice working your ass off in a boring job, or raising the next generation.
And the lie saturates everything in this neoliberal system about money, and money procreating more money, unrelated to human needs. It's about monopolies and hostile takeovers and OK, You win - I'm screwed. Even the family home concept is being taken over by real estate cartels that buy off homes, upgrade them and monopolize the market, one area at a time. People living in many cities can no longer afford to live in the goddam city. What is that? Mass insanity?
It is way past time to say no, you can't screw me and then expect me to keep smiling while you're about it.
No more rentier economy, monopoly, exorbitant private profit at public expense, and it always is.
We are the majority: let's have no more of it, especially the smiling cooperative part: denunciation, loud and clear is the order of the day.
Jay Gould, it's been claimed, captured the zeitgeist: "I can hire one half of the (American) working class to kill the other half." What the author left out was it could have done over and over again, until a circular firing squad could be affected.
Too bad Einstein let the steroid loaded chimpanzees have a nuclear bomb, but what I really find amazing is how they not only outlawed the teaching of Darwin's theory of evolution, but they've even buggered the idea of survival of the fittest... so far.
I'm a strong advocate for psychedelics. They're the most direct way to help people realise they've been living in a controlled hallucination their entire life. Even if you consider yourself "red pilled" and thus aware of the pernicious system we're forced to live in, without psychedelics you're still only barely scratching the surface on the discovery to greater truth
As the song goes, "I never promised you a rose garden", if you don't like that then you kill yourself and take as many other lives along with you as you can, and that is America in a nutshell.
ah yes, the Machine.
it becomes more and more obvious now that those in power no longer bother to pretend they aren't tyrants who are not beholden to any citizens.
Socialism is the future of humanity
Caitlin, when you write, "They give us enough carbohydrate to turn the gears of industry, but they keep us too busy, poor, propagandized, confused and crazy to actually drink from the waters of life," I fear you're being too optimistic. It should be obvious by now that the "power elite" are actually trying to create famine to cull the herd. Or haven't you seen what's happening in Holland and Sri Lanka?
If the capitalists slaughter all us "cattle" in their slaughterhouse of world conquest, then what will they have to eat? Better for us cattle to eat the rich first and save the planet!
I appreciate your writing, Caitlin, and this article is powerful. At the same time, I would interrogate this line:
"We could crush them like an insect the moment we decided to."
First of all: who is we, and who is them? Be specific. If you are going to set up an us vs. them narrative, we need to know who to crush.
My contention would be that statements like these only fuel the machine because they further separation. They set up an enemy class that, once crushed, humanity is then free from. This is a false salvation and history has born this out time and time again.
As you've written before, we need people to expand their consciousness. Part of that expansion comes from letting in an unconditional love that embraces all, even our shadows and enemies. If we are to band together to confront the powers that be (a worthy goal), we must keep the focus on crushing systems, not people. We must hold out the possibility for forgiveness and transformation for the managers of that system, to see them clearly as also being in the thrall of inhuman patterns and structures. It's the only way we'll succeed.
I remember you accused JBP of being "miserable" at some point.
Get him to read this article, it would surely cheer him up (!) :-)
Brilliantly said. Thank you. TPTB actually appear to be embarked on the "population reduction" scheme at the moment, as life spans are dropping like a rock in the West (especially the US).
WE, THEY, US, THEM
THESE ARE EXPRESSIONS OF AN EQUALLY BLINDED HUMAN MIND LOOKING FOR SALVATION IN THE IMAGE INSTEAD IN THE SOURCE OF ALL EXISTENCE.
BEING EMERSED IN THE HELL OF "SOYLENT GREEN" ONE CANNOT SEE THE WOODS FOR THE TREES ANYMORE.
10Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
(John 4, 10)
34Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. 35You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripee for harvest. 36The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! 37You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. 38I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”
(John 4, 34-38)
23But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
(John 4, 23-24)