The Brothers Karamazov

"Actually, people sometimes talk about man's 'bestial' cruelty, but that is being terribly unjust and offensive to the beasts..."
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Friday, September 30, 2011

Farewell Noble Spirit of the Enlightenment

Approaching the End of Patriarchy?

Have we, in the final analysis, simply cloaked prior eons of chaos, darkness and base instinct with a veneer of sophistication? Have a few bold, courageous new ideas about reality a few centuries back, augmented with enormous natural resource and energy sources, blinded us to those lurking reactive forces?

If again back in thrall to those lesser impulses, are we, at best then, a clumsy work in progress? A dubious link between the human and the truly humane and a messy bit of unfinished celestial business pretending all is well with us.

Dorinda Outram:

"Enlightenment was a desire for human affairs to be guided by rationality rather than by faith, superstition, or revelation; a belief in the power of human reason to change society and liberate the individual from the restraints of custom or arbitrary authority; all backed up by a world view increasingly validated by science rather than by religion or tradition."

In ever increasing areas of the world are not critical signs pointing to a rapid reversion to a earlier mode of existence? For a few centuries now, easing of daily existence, along with greater material resources, has been followed by vastly greater fecundity that permeates even remote areas. But lately the very planet seems to be complaining that for centuries we, it's self-proclaimed stewards, have not acted wisely. As the privileged species, it seems to say, our housekeeping is atrocious; the place is a mess. Clean it up!

We have degraded, polluted, over-populated and taken up vastly more than our share of all that exists here. It has never been worse and that is because never before have we been able to take so much, so quickly, for use in the present; denying it to the future. Our legacy to the heirs, writ clearly and proudly, is, "You shall have nothing if we can help it. We are spending your Planet; go somewhere else. Maybe we'll overlook and leave behind something useful, something that doesn't take powerful machines to bring forth; that's doubtful. You will, future persons, if you are lucky, become scavengers, salvagers and junkmen, because we will leave plenty of that."

Apparently it will not be outer space to which we will then go, as many have dreamed. Like moths to a bulb we have risen grandly to the heights but also like the moth we grow exhausted (and broke) and succumb to gravity. ( America has difficulty even delivering the daily mail lately.)

On some level, mostly subconscious at this point in time, Westerners know the game is up. That the powers that be are not leveling with us. The information sneaks in stealthily that everything is different from what we are told. That things will not be returning to what we've known in the past... ever.

All sorts are wild and bizarre statements and actions will be the new norm for the nonce. Without information free from spin and slant people will thrash around for guidance and direction. A lot of this will be frightening for many, certainly unpleasant, but not unexpected after several generations of disinformation serving as truth. Anything we are told these days, particularly on the very best authority, best forget it and keep digging around. Somewhere beyond the noise is the truth.

Carl Jung cautioned that if we did not soon find a universal understanding of what makes us human the future looked dim. That perhaps we will see a gradual collapse of our material way of life and enter into a time comparable to the Dark Ages. The failure to examine in depth the actual nature of reality as opposed to the arbitrary hunches and dogmas currently in vogue fail to ground mankind within nature and the scheme of things. In no regard are we meeting the future united, prepared and in agreement on what we really are and what we really need. If we couldn't fix things during good times, how on Earth will we do it now?

Part of our own dilemma stems from devotion to a aggressive, militant fundamentalism. For decades our principal activity has been the outfitting of legions of missionaries (armed to the teeth of course) setting out bravely to convert the unwashed, the unbelieving and the disrespectful, hopefully at a profit. With missions in hundreds of bases everywhere our brand of Americanism and Christian fundamentalism has alarmed the world. But as Professor Chomsky reminds us, it did all begin here. We do own it.

Noam Chomsky:" We must bear in mind that the US is a very fundamentalist society, perhaps more than any other society in the world - even more fundamentalist than Saudi Arabia or the Taliban. That's very surprising."

"Until 1950, there was no entry for fundamentalism in the Oxford English Dictionary; the derivative fundamentalist was added only in its second 1989 edition." Wikipedia

We also learn these inventions, spawned early in the Twentieth Century by fledgling Divines and Dons, at Princeton Theological Seminary, were social skirmishes whose time had come. The creators were ambitious and zealous: to defend orthodox Protestant Christianity against the perceived threat of Darwinism and liberal theology. Sound familiar?

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
John F. Kennedy

Naturally our militaristic minions around the world have not gone unnoticed by the locals. Religious zealotry begets more of the same and lately half the globe is seething with it. Thus far, the second - stringers, the so-called BRICs, have not caught the plague. Not yet. But then it's the fifties in China and we all know where that era led elsewhere. The Middle Kingdom version is sort of the equivalent of hundreds of Levittowns being thrown up against a background of Berlin in the nineties replete with construction cranes to the horizon. And, oh yes, a political regime resembling the hairy hand of McCarthyism we all enjoyed so much.

A Beijing Scenario:

It's the fifties in the Middle Kingdom and the cruisin' has begun. Picture this scene out of "Chinese Graffiti" where forty million single dudes in spanking new SUVs cruise endlessly trying to pick-up, get this, NO chicks! Now that they produce more cars than the US the bumper stickers could shout, "What's Good for Great Wall Motors is Good for China!" Fifty years of 'one childness' has produced a bumper crop of ...testosterone.

Good luck with that!

All in all, the old guys who run things in Beijing should look around the world, especially in the West, to see where all this 'progress' might lead. Instead of benefiting from seeing where we stumbled they seem determined to end up the same way, broke, confused and angry. Nobody ever learns, it's our charm as a species and may bury us yet.

Now males, and especially older males, have much to offer but they really should be regarded as useful idiots. Aside from certain mental qualities that enable them to stand slightly aside from life's realities and do interesting things abstractedly, like build stuff and blow up stuff, they should never, ever, be allowed near the sources of power.

Two things, and only two, are commanded by nature: reproduction of species and death. All else is option. Males are largely indifferent to the former but appear much devoted to the latter.Too often the violent demise of some other male is a consuming focus of male effort. Now males are all right as far as we go but we have gone way too far for way too long. A thousand generations is quite enough as we, all of us, are now quite noticeably...stuck. We are stuck in the here and now; stuck in today.

The Earth has endured a thousand generations of male domination. Human life may one day soon be forfeit as a result. An innate lack of future orientation sufficient to overcome exploitation of the planet for temporal gain suggests males are unfit for continued leadership. Recorded history and mythology are testimony to the propensity of the gender to build, destroy, and kill with blatant disregard for future aspect. The male mindset that has been governing the globe lacks a clear future inclination and could lead the species to extinction if allowed to continue unabated

What to do? Well, the distaff, on the other hand, at least live from month to future month much of their lives; a big improvement over the male day- to- day plodding vision. And on occasion the femmes live several months out ahead; nine months out to be exact. In this way the future can be somewhat sensed as existing beyond now and beyond a single generation.

Is this then, a different way of viewing existence, of living along a different time line, what the human race sorely lacks as a lodestar? Orientation and planning with emphasis on the future rather than the temporal. Something that many females possess but which has been trivialized and disregarded in favor of what could be interpreted as male theft of the future for a specious patriarchy today.

There is likely no community on the planet where reversal or even lessening of current gender domination could take place in any meaningful way. In fact billions of people are expressly forbidden by theology to even contemplate such a transition. An advocacy of this notion might lead to excommunication, stoning, beheading or at least a banishment to the nearest desert for the audacity. Most theologies consist of many small truths cobbled together as one big lie; male supremacy.

So an arrangement that could possibly save the species from itself will have to await a post apocalyptic time. Not an ounce of power will be willingly ceded until civilization crashes around us. Why then is the example of a society which managed to exist far longer than any other known, and with near equal female participation; the three thousand year track record of Ancient and Pharaonic Egypt ignored as pagan and effeminate? Because it's better to risk total cataclysm and perish than to have them running the show!

Perhaps It all started after the last ice age. The hunters hunted and the gatherers gathered. Then the gatherers became diggers and, eureka!, agriculture. Thank's ladies! This was the real deal: civilization. Not the hobby-shop, toy and gadget world the now underemployed hunter bunch dreamed up. No this was what made it all happen. Full bellies and some leisure time courtesy of the femmes. But the gals let their lead slip away and the hobby-shop became the world.

What kind of a future will they make for us if women regain the leadership? What it won't be is the hobby-shop, gadget and garage-band world;that city center/phallic oases guy's world, repete with extraordinary violence, it has been for generations. It will, early on, necessarily revert to the most basic of basics, growing stuff to eat, full tilt.

Restaurateur and Chef Jose Andreas of 'Julio' in Bethesda, Maryland was interviewed recently on NPR radio and made the most profound energy statement I have heard in years.

"But I think the most important is to remind everyone that the most important source of energy is not gas. The most important source of energy is food, because food is what keeps us - the humans - with energy. So we need to start thinking about food as the most important source of energy, because it's the energy that keeps moving us, the people - the people of America, the people of world.

... I hope that we're going to start taking seriously where our food comes from. Because right now I don't think we do. And we need to start making sure that our politicians understand that the most important thing is our food, period. And food should be un-negotiable..."

We may become a tribe of earnest junkmen recycling gadgets and gee-gaws; eternally recycling for employment. The ladies just trying their best to keep the babies warm and healthy. All the while finding and setting priorities, including the amatory arrangements. If it doesn't appear to make sense unto the seventh generation it don't git done! And that's not negotiable, pal

The Roman Empire slid into the backwater of history without a whimper. Will we, the 'can do' people, the inventors of damn near everything, the flyers to the moon; will we do the same thing? Very likely. Unless things change in a big hurry, an historical backwater is our likely destination,too.

With even a tiny clear glimpse of our future prospects America could wake out of it's trance and begin to prepare. Slowly, very slowly, in all probability. Committees, of course, endless committees, but that's okay. As long as they are realistic and not simply bent on returning to what cannot be sustained any longer. Hopefully the message that emerges from all this collective wisdom will be...

Stop! Stop everything!

We're broke. We're losing irreplaceable energy supplies rapidly. We're despised globally for bringing it all down on everybody's head by sheer hubris, endless war, and willful interference on a massive, Crusader like, scale for a century or so. It's up to us, alone, if we intend to survive as a viable entity.

Where to start? Sensible priorities might help. The time has come for National Triage. It can't all be saved. So what's important? Food, clothing, shelter, fuel and transportation. What? That old stuff? Yep, exactly. That's were it's at.

Well, we can handle all that, we already do. Sure, but on credit, yours, mine and the government's; at the sufferance of others. Those days are ending rapidly. As a debtor nation and debtor society the barbarians can arrive at the gates any day in the form of creditors demanding payback. On that day it's all over. Backwater time for sure.

How do we keep the wolf at bay? Maybe by living for the future for a change. The future to a farmer means planting now for harvest later. It doesn't mean waiting by the dock for dinner to arrive from farmers thousands of miles away. It also means less crop planting dedicated to cow and hog (and automobile) gullets and more stuff that goes straight to human nourishment.

The future also would appreciate us saving a little something prior to its arrival. Like fossil fuel? If we made our own jeans, bath towels, footwear, etc.etc. ourselves (we did once, remember?) we could save a little petrol for the future. Might come in handy, who knows? We could use what we manage to save now to keep the lights on, the food cold and the house warm, down the road. And put a little aside to carry us comfortably around instead of needing to walk everywhere.

As we rapidly edge toward the end of a surfeit of cheap and plentiful energy based on the consumption of irreplaceable fossil fuel, a bitter ' historical' reality begins to present itself for our consideration.

For three centuries we have developed a growing dependence on highly concentrated forms of what is basically solar energy, sunlight, to ease our burdens and grow our societies. Before the general use of coal and later, petroleum, we were limited to hydro, wind, firewood and, if the hunting was good, whale oil, to help us. But what formed the basis of our walking around energy usage was horse,and human, muscle power.

Human power, beyond the personal and familial, was augmented by hired help and/or owned help. History is rife with doleful accounts of the later. In fact it was only in the 20th century that chattel slavery was finally abolished worldwide. Legal human slavery existed in the lifetime of a few elderly people still alive today.

How fantastic is a scenario predicated on the gradual lead-up to a condition of want and coercion that would lead one or more societies to consider reverting to that 'peculiar institution'? And if conditions had so deteriorated as to make the unthinkable attractive who would take the first step?

David Suzuki said "We must reinvent a future free of blinders so that we can choose from real options."

A resilient globe, Earth, having managed to absorb constant assaults on its integrity for eons is now beginning to show vulnerability. Human populations were not sufficiently numerous nor technologically advanced enough in the past to cause grievous planetary harm. This is no longer true. Every day we come closer to the point of no return and nowhere is seen the remedy for reversing possible terminal decline.

We are not unique, never were. We are not all good and wise and noble. Too many pictures, too many reports have surfaced of too many nasty deeds done in our name all over the place for too, damn long. Too much money sticking to the hands of too few of us and too many lies about why that is. Folks are not as ready as they once were to drink the cool-aid or believe the half-truths and absolute fictions ever so slyly promulgated; about why things need to be this way.

"Nothing will see us through the age we're entering but high consciousness, and that comes hard. We don't have a good, modern myth yet, and we need one."

Robert Johnson

None among us living or dead is really fit to be called humane. The best and noblest among us is but a passive enabler of a species given to denial of future entitlement in favor of present utility. Notice the ones in those pictures with swollen bellies and flies on their eyes are never the mothers. We husband the breeders; forfeit the young...the future.

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Quoth the Raving



Julius Caesar

Veni,Vedi,Vici...Sidi ( I stuck around )

Uncle Sam


....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving

All I know, all any of us know, is what we're told.

...Zero Gravitas


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If it walks like a depression, talks like a depression, and looks like a depression; it's a recovery.

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Nice paint job

Nice paint job
Watch your step!

Quoth the Raving

Full scale War in Korea; we called it a Police Action
Police Action in Iraq; we call it a War.

...Zero Gravitas


Gene Pool?

Gene Pool?

Quoth the Raving

Ecology is an impending Black Swan quagmire therefore incorporation is anathema to Economists.

...Zero Gravitas


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An incoming US President who does not immediately resign his office after having received eyes-only briefings of what's really going on is hopelessly co-opted or delusional.
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We are now a nation of middlemen. What becomes of us if the center cannot hold?

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Quoth the Raving


Why not use some of the red ink to make things Green?

....Zero Gravitas

"Ashes to Ashes"

"Ashes to Ashes"