Sunday, April 05, 2009

Inter-Generational Interim

(Note: Before beginning, it should be noted that while the questions referenced below were asked most recently by EasyCure, but are not at all unusual. They're same ones I'm hearing with increasing frequency from a very wide variety of people, which is why I'm trying to tackle them. The responses are in general and not specifically directed.)

Two questions were asked in the comments of the previous post:

Is there anything that can be done while working within the system, or does the system need to be dismantled?

"The System" is an all-encompassing term which will naturally mean different things to different people, based on their individual knowledge and experience. So, while it's difficult to narrow down an answer that retains some semblance of reasonable simplicity and accuracy while not encompassing several volumes when speaking of The System, it's worth a shot nonetheless.

Two definitions of the word system jump out from Merriam-Webster:

f: a form of social, economic, or political organization or practice <the capitalist system>

5: an organized society or social situation regarded as stultifying or oppressive : establishment 2 —usually used with the

I think that both of the above will do well for our purposes, with one caveat. In regard to the first definition, I would assert that it is economic organization and practice that is the main driver of the social and political spheres (for at least the last couple of centuries). Placing them in a hierarchy, to my mind, would look thus: The Economic drives The Political, both working in tandem (through setup and institutional control of political parties, agencies, mulit-nationals, think-tanks, endowments, trusts, etc.--all functioning together as extensions of the economic arm ) to drive The Social. Of course, one could argue exceptions to this generalization, but that's why they're referred to as exceptions.

But no doubt about it, that motherfucker is oppressive.

Now, to draw nearer to an answer the first thrust of the question having to do with "working within the system", we must first address the latter portion asking if it needs to be dismantled.

The system does not "need to be dismantled". It is currently in the process of being dismantled, by design, right before our very eyes. This takedown has been in process for quite some time. If you disagree with this statement, then what, pray tell, do you think the controlling elements of this system are doing with their constant talk and promotion of New World Orders (which, by the way, I noticed yesterday in glancing at the teevee at work, that CNN has already in some spots, and in great Orwellian fashion, changed over to "New World Promise"), international currencies, global frameworks, rejecting "protectionism" in favor of the Free Trade rubric, the necessities of "regional governance" and other supra-national/international economic/political entities? Do you really think that it's simple stupidity/ignorance/naivete/greed that leads these power blocs to uniformly persist in their increasingly draconian restrictions of individual freedom, centralization of power, and their general "we need a bigger hammer" approach in all spheres of our existence? And lastly, throughout all of this, how can anyone say with a straight face at this point that the Mass of Proles (to say nothing of the individual) has influence of any consequence on any of these things whatsoever?

You are working within The System now, at this very moment, whether you like it or not. You were captured by it the moment you were born into this world. Your very survival depends on it (The Economic, remember?). The System as it has been, your shaped belief in it, your very reality, is being dismantled one piece at a time. The real question is, "Will you, as an individual*, continue to stand by and watch in a state of learned helplessness as a more restrictive and pervasive 2.0 version of The System (the blending of the communist and capitalist--privatized profits and socialized losses being one small but manifestly rampant and obvious example--with the technological/scientific control overlay) is constructed on the rubble of the old?"

*the many references to "the individual" above should not be taken in any way as some sort of evangelism toward the recently popularized Rand-ian narrative of "Going Galt". The cold hyper-individualism of the Rand philosophy is every bit as dangerous and counter-productive as any collectivist system, as both of these lure the individual (as well as the mass) to rigid and ultimately harmful extremes.

And so we go into the next question....

Is it enough to vote out every incumbent for the foreseeable future, or is full on revolution the only thing that will save us?

The first portion of this question is framed as though voting out every incumbent were a realistic possibility, and also seems to be based on the assumption that if indeed such a thing were possible, that the replacement would be better by default. (If it were possible to replace all incumbents with non-acting ham sandwiches I might be inclined to agree, but unfortunately for all of us, this is not the case.)

What is the biggest "factor" in modern electoral politics? What is the one commonality of every "election"? What is the one thing that is endlessly hyped; that crucial thing that makes candidates "electable"?

You know the answer to this as well as I do, and thus we find ourselves face to face once again with The Economic driving all things in The System, which compels me not to even get into discussions revolving around "Electing More and Better X".

As far as the last portion of the question, let's touch on the use of the words "full on revolution." It's another one of those statements that is very common, but is bound to mean many different things to many people. Also, in an effort to not drag out what has become a lengthy post, the reader might refer back to the above diatribe addressing the dismantling issue--the idea is the same. There is already a "full on revolution" happening, and it has been at work for some time. That fact that it has been working through very slow and consistent incremental methods (up to 2001, when it began speeding up noticeably and continues like a snowball rushing downhill) does not make it any less a "full on revolution."

I think the best way to finish these thoughts is to hit up Jaques Ellul once again. From (1964) The Technological Society, Chapter 6: A Look at the Future:

"A question no one ever asks when being confronted with the wonders of the future concerns the interim period.


When we reflect on the serious although relatively minor problems that were invoked by the industrial exploitation of coal and electricity, when we reflect that after 150 years these problems are still not satisfactorily resolved, we are entitled to ask whether there are any solutions to the infinitely more complex "hows" of the next forty years. In fact, there is one and only one means to their solution, a worldwide totalitarian dictatorship which will allow technique in its full scope and at the same time resolve the concomitant difficulties. It is not difficult to understand why the scientists and worshipers of technology prefer not to dwell on this solution, but rather to leap nimbly across the dull and uninteresting intermediary period and land squarely in the golden age. We might indeed ask ourselves if we will succeed in getting through the transition period at all, or if the blood and the suffering required are not perhaps too high a price to pay for the golden age." [take special note here, and think anew on the constant calls for "necessary sacrifice" that emanate from the "elected" godheads--HH]


These two questions serve as brief illustrations of how we've been systematically taught to think in specific directions. However, it has become exceedingly apparent that the answers and directions we're given in our thought rituals are essentially horseshit. What will we do? Furthermore, what will YOU do?

This will become more clear when I/you/we begin asking better questions, the one's that we're taught/herded into avoiding, about both ourselves and the world around us. The countless victims of the Interim Periods require it.