Another ‘fun-blog’ conceptual stretch……..
……..we have created a monster. Worse, we created one from bits and pieces. We have patched, altered, legislated, regulated and otherwise tampered with society for a long time trying to make it work better….and we have been somewhat successful in some areas (IT’S ALIVE!) but, overall, we have failed – just like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster.
Income inequality, chronic ills from lifestyle and pollution, environmental degradation, failed states and all the other ills and evils that one might use to measure real success indicate that we could have done better. A lot better. Maybe it is time to recognize that and acknowledge that the ‘system’, as it is, is broken. The global culture, as it is, isn’t working. Capitalism kinda works but not for all and it is killing the planet in the process. We need to change.
The real ‘revelation’ here for me is that the question of change will never be answered by the sick system perpetuating it. Even the greenest of Greens won’t turn anything around. The corporations won’t. The institutions are in the very business of maintaining the status quo. The police enforce it. There is simply no force out there that would change the basic system and it is the basic system that is causing the problem.
Think about this (fantasy scenario#1): China and Russia declare WAR on the USA (or vice versa) and all hell breaks loose. Eventually some radioactive winners crawl out from their blackened bunkers, rally the remnants of their armies and RULE THE WORLD. Oh, goody. What is the first thing they will do? Extort from other survivors and maybe, eventually, start up a new ‘way of life’ that is polluting, craven, greedy and elitist. And chapter ten in the never-ending human story begins……
We have to change this trajectory. And it seems we have to start pretty soon….if the climate is a factor – which it is….
Here are a few sacred cows that may have to be slaughtered before BIG change can happen. Peaceful protest doesn’t work. We may have to employ strategic violence. Big government doesn’t work for the people. We may have to start smaller societies and organize only locally. Money kinda works but any entity controlling money undermines it’s neutrality as a simple medium of exchange. We may have to revert to a simpler money/barter system where the financial institutions are no more. And on and on and on….
“Hah! Dave! You must be mad. Keep adding to that list and you will be carted away and I will help them tie you up, you poor, demented fool.”
I understand. I will shut up. I was just having a mental stretch. Don’t pay me any attention. I am sure we will fix what ails us by doing more of the same stuff, keeping the same values, following the same leadership models and ignoring the planet on which it all takes place. I mean, maybe the banks and governments are just not trying hard enough….? Maybe the corporations will start working for all the people instead of just their shareholders? Maybe the politicians are honest and the second Coming of Christ will soon fix it all……
In the meantime, just for fun (conceptually) think about how you could extricate yourself from your own ‘grid’ and rebuild a lifestyle around something more healthy for you, your family and your neighbours. Just have a fun little mental exercise while you are commuting to work, paying taxes and buying crap at Walmart….you know…..in your ‘downtime’?
“Oh, Man! Is this your idea of a sales pitch? You still marketing living OTG?”
No, actually. This blog comes at that issue entirely from a different perspective. I occasionally read other writers and I am about to embark on another Mark Boyle book (Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi). The first chapter prompted this blog. Stephen Hren reviewed the book:
Mark Boyle has penned an incendiary fulmination against the aggression of consumer capitalism. In this provocative polemic, he calls us all to account for our lack of violent resistance to the ravages occurring on every corner of the globe to feed our most trifling wants. Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi is solidly written in easygoing prose, and on a fundamental level forces the reader to dig deep into the bowels of their consciousness to question how we can let such slaughter occur in our name.
His main point of contention is what he perceives as a commitment to nonviolence by the vast majority who espouse preserving the environment. Boyle finds this nonviolence to actually play into the hands of those who are the most rapine, as its toothlessness provides almost no brake to the incessant wanton destruction, while allowing cover in the form of greenwashing to carry on business as usual. If for nothing else, the book is worth reading to force us to confront a most profound philosophical question: At what point does stopping the destruction of the earth, upon which all life depends, become self-defense and hence justify violent resistance against the forces that are destroying it?
It is an interesting opening to how power is exercised in society. First is the type of power exerted though rule of law or the exercising of authority by officials of various types sanctioned by society. Second is the exercise of influence. It is this type of power that resides in relationships. Generally thought to be desirable by society. But People with authority are often suspected of being influenced to do favours. But society could not operate without benign forms influence. Love of family and such relationships. The third type of power is coercision. The use of force of arms so common in the twentieth century with millions dead and its continued use is sheer madness. Coercion has been tried in schools with corporal punishment but abandoned, the long terms of solitary punishment in prisons now seen as deeply cruel , and on an escalating scale given the bigger goal and desire for hegemony over others, including the eradication of entire races. Coercion is grotesque and it is in the long term ineffective. Hence the calls for peace and reconciliation. Sadly proponents of violence are invested in its efficacy.
Well, yes and maybe no…..everything we deplore in ‘violence’ we are actually condoning in our blind support of the system. In other words, if we do NOT fight against the machine, we are morally complicit in what it does. And, if you look at the evolution of the policeman from a nice big guy who walks the neighbourhood with a baton to the now almost-always-lethal SWAT teams that storm some place guns a-blazing, you have to wonder….
That is what Boyle is partly saying. But he is also saying, “Hey! These dickheads are polluting the oceans and rivers, poisoning the soil, raping the land and killing nature at every turn all in the name of making a buck – don’t we have to defend ourselves?”
In effect he is also saying, “Nothing short of a complete renewal is called for. Fuggedabout the elections of clones, the obedience to the social norms, the marching and bleating in unison! Find a new way!”
I am too old to put a bandanna around my neck, call myself Che’ and hang out in tents. I am not so sure that is the right way, anyway. But I do agree that slight, subtle, measured and polite-nice change isn’t gonna do it. I think we have to stop focusing on the minutiae of political correctness and ‘newspeak’ and turn our energies to the REAL enemy.
Is it so broken that the only path is that it must be taken back to ground zero? We are in the top ten of all democratic nations in the world and Findland is first in democracic practices but it is socialist.(A major defect to some) If there is a better democratic model than that on display in Finland which Canada can emulate, let’s hear it. So many of the political isms are available or how about corporate totalitarianism with everyone getting a living wage and the elderly being euthanized. Have you read “Travels in Nilon” a nilist world where the elderly are sent in to battle to die and the youth are forced to party all the time.
Short answer: Yes. It is THAT broken. It is totally broke in every %^%$#! sense of the word. Even the questions are broke….what system do we employ? What ism? I do not know that a new ism is the answer. For me, anyway, I have chosen WITHDRAWLism. That might generously be viewed as ‘downsizing’ and less consumerism but I am not kidding myself. It is, essentially, retreat. I know that. To be fair, I tilted at windmills until my mid 30’s. I gave. I bled. But then I had kids and went ‘Free Enterprise’ for awhile. Finally settled out half-way. Mediation. It was ‘good work’ that paid the bills. But I was way too immersed in the system to see the trees or the forest. So, I left for the forest to see the trees close up. So far, that feels the best. This is NOT reasoned. This is visceral.
Mark Boyle is suggesting more. But I am not signing on for that. I will sign on for village-building in the forest but that is as far as this old geek can reach.
You might find that your ‘going to the country’ meme catches on and the next thing you know a private car ferry is running twice a day, hydro arrives, youth on mountain bikes are living off the land and your foreshore become subject to land claims leases and regulations. In the Pender Harbour area foreshore leases are getting harder and harder to renew. The back to the land movement of the early 1970s is a ‘thing’ again and is on the list of many aspirants seeking a location.
I know. Its a concern. One of the locals said to me years ago, “Write whatever you want but never tell them where we are!” I honoured that but the CBC ‘outed us’…still…we are good for now. We have enough room to welcome at least 50 more people before there might be a problem with tying up at the community dock and that sort of thing. No one wants heavy ‘development’ and we all want ‘just the right size’ (like Goldilocks) and that, of course is subjective…but..what can I say? I see the system of slavery that is so destructive to the individual, society and the planet and I found a better way. Am I suppose to perpetuate the greed and NOT tell people that they have a choice? I did NOT really know I had a choice until we leaped and landed here. Seriously.
Don’t forget: the proposal for the village does not offer $1M varnished log cabins. It offers a deck and a shipping container. That filters out most people right there.
But you are right…..it might ‘explode’ and we are all over-run. I do not expect that will be the case but ………
THe Brazilian are burning their forests, the Indonesian are killing sharks because the Chinese want sharks fin soup, the Canadian drink bottled water, use tons of plastic bags at Walmart, there are so much BS going on and people are generally oblivious. Where do you start, and more importantly, how you go about it? Unless one day a large portion of the population get poisoned, no action will ever be taken by anybody.
“Unless one day a large portion of the population get poisoned, ….”
Judging by the exploding cancer rates and levels of obesity ….. I think we’re already there.
We’re just too stupid to realize it…. Canaries….coalmine.
I really have no good answers. But forest dwelling is about the best I have experienced so far. That’s where I start….
When you have this much “bug out” food stock piled…..
Then you’re ready to declare “OTG forever”
20 years of “rice and beans”…. Ugh!
Should be able to trade some of it for gas and toilet paper………
Soap, toilet paper and bullets…..best currency post apocalyptic. …..
I think that Canadians should be plural. The fallacy of the absolutes.’no action will be taken by anybody’ no action means zero, nothing, none, that is on its face false. You might say not enough action but that states the obvious in this crisis. Perhaps you might lay out what you do to solve our crisis. Actions not words count.
That is fair. I get it. I’ll think on it…but don’t hold your breath. My character is to basically walk the walk. Eventually. It often takes a year or two but, after talking something up, I usually go do it. NOT overly well but good enough. I can walk. But this is different. This, as you know, is so much bigger. So, for me, all I could do was walk the walk and get off the grid. NOT a big step. There has to be more ‘action’ as you say. I’ll think. But don’t hold your breath on that….
Saving the ocean one plastic bag at a time. I get the cynicism of what is the point of virtue signalling. Where I live about forty years ago a non-profit society started a free district wide blue box recycling programme. At that time the direct competition to the blue boxes was a free landfill. The landfill took everything including paints, oils and other pollutants. But the blue box society persisted. Eventually the dump closed and a transfer station shipped garbage to the interior for a fee. This transfer Station fee encouraged more folks to sort, clean and recycle household waste. At the recycling depot many people are employed sorting the stuff by type to be sold. Not only is this programme green it employs more people than a dump ever did. This direct citizen action. Sadly form many years some people did not get the concept. Raise the consciousness.