Demons of Folk Friday Tune of the Week: Moral Panic!

 

moral panic

 

 

Security. Give me some security! 

There is something about the God concept that is relentless. Unfeeling. Brutal. Hidden from plain sight yet manifest as systems, desires, entertainment, war, money. It is a monstrosity.Basically this: from all the evidence we can verify in physical, practical terms, “God” could not give a rat’s ass about us. “God” is not Life, but a consuming thought experiment that shuts down any discourse about human affairs. Yet, people will submit to maintaining the illusion  of an omnipotent, Invisible Father. People will trade security and comfort for themselves first before working out the problems that besets humanity as a whole. “God” is dangerous idea because “God” does not ever doubt.

If you are not in the presence of “God,” you have no value. And you will not supported and all your works will be as dust. And even if you play by the rules and succeed, years and years of toil, effort, blood, sweat and tears in creating a world for yourself  can all be taken away in a second. This is the story of Job.

As a system “God” exists to manifest self-defeat.

We accept our own enslavement and self-limitations as if it were a winning lotto ticket. We fight for the right to be slaves who will never stand for life but will accept the unacceptable: hell on Earth. This is bad news, because we cannot be more than what we are. Thus, “God” is that point where we give up on ourselves forever. The point of the ultimate self-doubt, self-loathing and self-dishonesty. Self-defeat.We call this, “security.”

 

Fear of Equality Part 8. Don’t Question the System

Frederick_Douglass_as_a_younger_man

 

Recently I have been engaged in yet another YouTube debate with someone who is not so readily convinced that the world is ready for equality. Predictably the excuses… err, reasons given were many, but they all boiled down to a singular point: this person assumes that in order for everybody to take part in an egalitarian world, he would have to be required to give up his money or worse, suffer the fate of having his money taken away from him. I reassured him angry mobs would not be lining the streets with their palms out wanting to whet their beaks on his bank account, and I asked what was it about Capitalism that he was so interested in defending. Instead of an answer, he played this card:

“Here’s the thing, WE DON’T WANT YOUR NEW WORLD ORDER. Nothing you can propose will change our feelings on this. We are far from perfect, but we do love our country. Make fun of it all you like with your tongue in cheek “Murike” remarks. There are millions upon millions of us here in the United States alone who are telling you to take your Utopia and stick it. Now, how are you going to “re-educate” the world into your point of view without committing to the “morality of abuse” you claim to oppose? How will you force us to assimilate? Is resistance futile?
Come get some.”

By the way, this person was going on and on about the elevated sanctity of the Individual and how maintaining that specific self-identity was very important – especially when its reality can be affected by the “evil Collective,” of which he holds a deep and abiding mistrust and sees as the enemy of the Individual’s “sovereignty.” And yet he appeals to the “millions upon millions” who he claims share in his position that they will be unwilling to grant economic equality (the term he used is “Utopia”) under any circumstances. What does this show us? It could be seen as a “double-standard” where his position in his argument need to be arrayed in such a fashion that the Individual must be ever vigilant to the sinister machinations of the “Collective,” and so the Individual is accorded nearly divine status that cannot be questioned. And of course, when the fear arose within him in imagining a world where economic justice and equality were indeed given to all equally, he psychically gathered within his consciousness the opinions of “millions upon millions here in the United States” who like him, he believes, opposes economic equality. He instinctively understands that there is strength in numbers, much more than could ever be found in a single Individual. This is instructive to see because you can see here how one fails to see how they are holding opposing or conflicting views within their minds. Actually, the conflict isn’t real – as the argument can only proceed upon a logical foundation, which will change in an instant when one has to defend something that can’t be defended on moral terms. It’s intellectually dishonest, but people love to have morality on their side. That’s how they can morally justify dishonesty. You don’t expect to hear the truth, do you?

Knowing this, I asked the gentleman once again; “what is it about the current state of capitalism that you find so worthy of defending?” He hasn’t answered yet. It’s a question I’ve found very few people are willing to answer honestly, because to do so (and make sense) one has to either give up the morality point (that is, capitalism is not a moral good for everybody equally) or admit that the system is more trouble than it’s worth (for countless reasons). And beyond that, I’ve found in discussing this point that many people who are so heavily invested in having their opinion, beliefs and projections validated by others, that they will very rarely come out of the block and plainly say, “Yeah, I know capitalism exploits and kills and destroys everything on this planet. But as long as I don’t have to change or suffer, I couldn’t give a crap.” Most people will dissemble and lie and start talking gibberish, but they will never give up morality. It would be too embarrassing. They would rather hide behind the lies. They consider themselves as civilized, you see.

Fear of Equality is rooted in FEAR. I have a hard time accessing what that would feel like since I don’t have fear of equality, but I reckon on of the main sources of that fear is having one’s ideas, beliefs or self-definition invalidated through morality, reason, logic, what have you. It’s too much trouble to rebuild all that within one’s self, hell, it may be impossible. Yet, it is a fear that has resonated within the minds of those who sought to control and dominate the lives of others ever since the time of the first Master and Slave.

I was reading an account about the life of the former slave and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass. Douglass was taught the alphabet by the wife of his owner, but was soon discovered by her husband, who disapproved. Mainly, it was against the law for slaves to read. But beyond that, the husband explained to the wife that if a slave learned to read, he would soon question himself and become dissatisfied with his station in life and desire freedom. Imagine that! Here was an honest expression defending a system of exploitation on moral grounds! So much for morality, then. “Look, in order for this system to work, we need to subjugate this person, rob him of his liberty, his labor, his time and ultimately his life. Plus, he has to remain in this ignorant state unless he awakens to a possibility where he can express himself as something greater!”

Sounds familiar? It is the same argument used today to keep people in poverty and alienation. “Don’t give everybody a living income – they will question themselves, question the system and their station in life and desire freedom!”

To think that there exists a type of person who would purposely continue to exploit or to benefit from the exploitation of others is a notion that is despicable to me. Investigate the Living Income Guarantee and expand your definition in what is possible.

 

Next: Fear of Equality Part 9. Escape from the Collective

 

NOTE

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4ZLe7CcMUA&list=LL5rA6LDTwLoA1g8RePrLTJA

Demons of Folk Friday’s Tune of the Week: Gold Mine

enki

 

“Everybody says that we’re working in a Gold MIne.”

The earliest recorded notions about the existence of demons is found within the belief systems of the ancient Mesopotamian culture of Sumer (3400 B.C.). Through their myths and religious systems,  the Sumerians believed that Mankind was created to be slaves for the Gods; the Annunaki and the Igigi, the minor gods.

According to the Atra-Hasis version of the older Sumerian story, the Igigi were orignally pressed into manual labor cultivating the canals, mining for gold (the reason the gods needed gold isn’t mentioned, curiously enough) and farming. After 40 years, the Igigi grew tired of their toil and complain bitterly to the elder Gods. Enki proposes the creation of human beings (Primitive Worker) to be relieved the workload of the younger gods. After the creation of humans is accomplished, their task is set:  mining the Earth for gold. [1]

They (the Anunnaki) summoned and asked the goddess, the midwife of the gods, the wise birth giver, [saying:]
“To a creature give life, create workers!
Create a Primitive Worker,
that he may bear the yoke!
Let him bear the yoke assigned by Enlil,
Let The Worker carry the toil of the gods!” [2]

So it was written. Mankind created as a species predestined, preprogrammed and preordained as an instrument for enslavement. Looking at the world today, not much has changed. We are all born to toil, work and in exchange our labor, blood and life essence – according to one’s ability and station in life – until that life essence is extinguished forever. The toil, blood, sweat and tears has given us what? Nothing in terms of an equitable return of the effort expended. After tens of thousands of year, isn’t about time we smash this abusive template? Investigate the Living Income Guarantee proposal.

Gold Mine is this week’s Demon of Folks Friday Tune of the week. You can stream and/or download

Notes:

[1] http://www.jcu.edu/bible/200/Readings/Atrahasis.htm

[2] The Gods of Sumer were vain, petty and unpredictable. Therefore, great pains were taken to make sure that the Gods were worshipped properly with prayers and sacrifices. The life of a typical Sumerian peasant, slave or merchant could be pretty rough with crop failure, disease and natural disasters to contend with, and to make matters worse, the prospects for the afterlife were potentially more dire. According to the Sumerians, the dead descended through seven gates into the Netherworld, an infernal place of demons and monsters ruled by the Goddess of the dead, Ereshkigal, sister of Ishtar. The demons regularly pass to and fro between the upper world of the humans and the netherworld, and were colorfully described as “bitter venom from the Gods.” They were “gloomy, their shadow dark, no light is in their bodies, ever they slink along covertly, not walk upright, from their claws drips bitter gall, their footprints are evil venom.”

Fear of Equal Money, Part 1. 03/22/2013

Would the Equal Money System confiscate personal wealth?

If history shows anything, it is that there’s no better way to justify relations founded on violence, to make such relations seem moral, than by reframing them in the language of debt – above all, because it immediately makes it seem that it’s the victim who’s doing something wrong.

-David Graeber

This question appeared on the Quora board and I was asked to answer it.  It was asked by “anon user,” the now – infamous paid internet troll who suffered a massive literary beatdown at the hands of Sunette Spies (see previous post). I wasn’t going to answer it at first, but upon reflection, why the hell not? Others (without an axe to grind or a paycheck to collect) probably ask the same question. So I won’t acknowledge the p.i.t. on Quora, but I will answer it here (and dare anon user to play his game in my back yard).

Pretending that this question comes from genuine curiosity, I will say that I do not know everything that will happen with the installation of an Equal Money System. I do foresee it being installed in successive stages, over a period of many years, maybe decades, I don’t know. The current system would not accept such a shock if EMS were to be delivered all at once. But I want to discuss the overarching concern embedded within the question: “what will happen to my personal wealth?”

 This is part and parcel of the fear of loss attached to a change from the current economic system. A system where the winner takes all, and is perfectly represented in the image below:

580896_228245620652039_1605345544_n

Within this equation the question must be asked, what if your personal wealth directly contributed to the suffering of countless others? I won’t even apply any rationality or morality to the question, because it’s been exploited to death. And the cheap trick about morality and rationality is that one can set up a premise based on any foundation along a causal chain of events and attach any moral or rational “cover” or significance that can prove or justify anything, no matter cruel or unjust. MY personal wealth is to be considered the most important thing in my life because I have given it so much value that it justifies everything I had to do to get it and keep it. I’ve given so much to this that I have identified this value as myself. So the fear of my wealth being “confiscated” is really the existential fear of having my valued personality taken away from me.”

Has our questioner ever considered to what extent the personal wealth of those who have to be stripped of all worth, economic or otherwise, to line the pockets of those in command of the system? [1] I really doubt anyone has. Because if one had even first considered the inner dimensions of such a question, it would have failed to leap from one’s mind. Then again, it could be the rank ignorance of an appalling nature. In America we have wealth “confiscated” by others every day in the form of banking fees, interest and other charges and subsidies commonly known as “corporate welfare.” That last item “confiscated” the wealth of US Citizens to the tune of $100 billion dollars in 2012. [2] The questioner may not be aware of such confiscations of wealth currently at work in Capitalism, but more likely, the question was merely a cynical trap to engage in pointless troll dickholery, which I mean to say, it may be a good question, but considering the source, it is only a question presented with a dubious malice submerged within a veneer of civility.

Critics uniformly draw lazy comparisons between Equal Money  and Communism, and often with a weak command of either subject. Of course, we have already diagramed that fear of Equality will cause one to succumb to unreasonableness – and even hostility – when presented with the notion of economic egalitarianism, and at the same time, fall into silent denial over the fact that the current system has taken so much more than Equality ever could.

Fear of Equal Money is a fear that radiates from a center of unenlightened self-interest, a sense of entitlement and a perverse need to justify the unjustifiable. Remember, it was less than a century and a half ago that human slavery  – the legal, religious and economic confiscation of a colonized people’s treasure of blood, labor and tears was abolished. And it took a bloody civil war and a 150 years of lynchings and disenfranchisement since then to nearly settle the question. Nor does the question even begin to explain,  acknowledge or bemoan the attempted extermination and confiscation of land of the Indigenous Peoples in the United States. Yet, any talk of “reparations” sends these Randian Individualists into paroxysms of rage. They will archly reply that they shouldn’t be held accountable for the sins committed in past centuries, yet they will be slow – or unwilling – to forswear any wealth or advantage gained by those same sins. This is what I meant by the “cheap trick of rationality.”

So, back to the question – I simply do not know the answer, because that chapter in human affairs is still to be written. Whatever happens will be agreed upon democratically, which would be the best method to set up the EMS. There will undoubtedly be a transition phase – and many people will be surprised how relatively easy it all could be done. But any discussion about the redistribution of wealth should not be made within cynical, jaded and lazy comparisons of what has happened in the past, but with due consideration of what is best for all. Which leaves me with a question for the critics of Equal Money: What would be better for everyone than having everyone’s basic needs in the world taken care of?

NOTES

[1]  For some perspective how the US government has colluded with the US banking system in taking public money to give to the banks, please read Ellen Brown’s excellent Internet article for Global Research, “Financial Meltdown: The Greatest Transfer of Wealth in History; How to Reverse the Tide and Democratize the US Monetary System.

[2] From the Libertarian Cato Institute report, a think tank as neoliberal as they come; Corporate Welfare in the Federal Budget .

Fear of Equality, Part 7

Rich_poor

The Value of Inequality

Equality is not truly understood because its significance is caught up within  destructive definitions which renders the definition of Equality incoherent. When people see the word, “Equality” – pictures of being corralled into internment camps, loss of individuality and having their money taken away and given to the homeless arise like hideous black goblins within their minds.

This is a fantastic example how effective of producing a mind-controlling narrative built upon the crippling definition of commonly – held beliefs leads to ignorance, resistance, self-deception and fear.

This is a curious psychological reaction based on the deep dilemmas, conflicts and contradictions that is inherent within what we call the “Human Condition.”

There have been many differing views of what the Human Condition consists of; the worldwide systems of the Social, political, economic, environmental… these are outward and external factors that help shape our identities, while the internal factors are psychological, suffused with emotions, feelings, thoughts about self and the external world – and the values we place upon these things.

When it comes to a subject like Equality, it appears that the principle is undervalued, especially within the paradigm of Capitalism. This is because Equality is seen as antithetical to Capitalism (and its perceived qualities of Liberty, Freedom and Individuality), the value of Capitalism is based on certain assumptions – and since people have become the essence of Capitalism within their minds, they are willing to defend that position no matter what.

These assumptions are based on culturally – transmitted ideas of high – minded principles that look good on paper and appear grandiose in the mind, and we have gone through many of them in this series already. But it must be understood that these ideas are but a front that stands as a buttress against these existential fears of Equality.

Nestled within the mind is the impulse that self-preservation must always come first, whether it is the identity or the body. There exists a psychological resistance to change, to question, to investigate, to excavate or examine the layers of being – and it doesn’t matter if something, like Capitalism, actually compromises the self or doesn’t ultimately makes sense. What is important and valued above everything is validating the point one has become.

So the calculus, the equation is that we have all become the fear of Equality and the value of Capitalism. To exist as Equality then one must become Equality which would cause a partial deletion of one’s accepted identity, which is terrifying to the mind, which we have also become. The fear is that in the best case scenario, Equality will fail, and in the worst case the world (and the self) would effectively cease to exist.

It appears to be a vicious circle, where one is forced to accept what one has always known, until one chooses to step outside the circle, which takes a great amount of self – belief that there exists an identity outside that circle.

A helpful analogy… Take the laptop that I am banging these messages out on. It consists of hardware and software. Used together – very effective means of communication and purpose. But without the software, without the programs – the laptop is just a hunk of metal, circuits, glass and plastic. When I’m using this word processor, I can communicate and become the program – using the computer as an interface to the outside world. But without the hardware, there is nothing to give shape and form to the medium, and I end up in the same position of uselessness.

Point: people become the programs that they have invested in and have been broadcasted to – and do not see any other way of existing. Not only that, we value what we become, and because the key programs we value are: self-preservation (hardware) and identity (software). And even if we hate ourselves (and others) and wish to destroy ourselves (or others), we still act in a way that values the negation of life and the self-consuming drive to erase our being (and others) from existence. There must be another way.

This reveals the pathological nature of the human mind – that it can place so much value, significance and  importance in a world system that is purportedly a means to ensure our survival – but in reality is actively working towards the ends of our destruction. It is like we are sailing and steering our planet into the jaws of a nightmare without any consideration or consciousness of the consequences. Not only that, but be careful if you point out these murderous, suicidal tendencies of human consciousness to others; you will be called “suicidal cult member.” And yet, we are all one collective suicidal cult members of the Church of Conscious Consumer Capitalism that is busily destroying our people, animals, plants, air and water. But if one brings that up, you’ll be labeled a “communist.” We don’t need Equality because we have the Next Big Thing that we value even more; another bright, shiny product that promises to make our lives even better! The media completely understands how to program and brainwash the human mind into accepting a cheap imitation of life while promulgating “liberty,” “lifestyles” and “freedom.”

Of course, the critics of Equality fear Equality and do not give a shit about anything else but what they can get out of their lives, which is money and the things money can buy. Oh, and making sure to defend this murderous, suicidal system against any criticism because they do not want to hear criticism of what they have in fact become. Everybody and everything else can go screw. Multiply that mindset several billion times and you should be able to see why the world is in the state it is today.

To them I say, take a breath and consider what Equal Money  and an Equal Money System offers. A way out of the box.

Next: Fear of Equality, Part 8. Don’t Question the System

05/28/2012: The Role of Religion as Existential Security

Unfortunate, ain’t it?

In Nietzsche’s, The Gay Science we are met with this famous trope:

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

Nietzsche’s pronouncement seemed prophetic at the time when belief in European rationalism was at its zenith, but belief in God is still very much here with us.  However the fact remains that Religion, despite being the “opiate of the people” as Marx put it, still serves a crucial function: as a protector and a firewall against uncertainty and existential insecurity.

Not surprisingly, studies have found that atheism is more likely to appear within the industrial and post-industrial countries. In impoverished, less educated countries, belief in God predominates.

Religion of course not only provides relief from existential stress by supplying existential security, it also moderates human behavior within the socio-economic insecurity of the times. Religion thus helps keep failed states somewhat stable. It might seem obvious that there are no atheists in foxholes, or in the impoverished cities of India or in sub-Sahara Africa while there are plenty of atheists in post-industrial  countries that feature high education along with strong social safety nets (Yes, Virginia, Socialism indeed breeds atheists!). One country seems to invalidate this formula. The United States is the wealthiest of all industrial nations and yet the most religious – due to extensive income disparity.

This all but guarantees that religious fundamentalism is still going to be around for a very long time (especially in the impoverished Muslim and Asian countries where existential security is nonexistent. And here is where the behavioral moderation properties of religion come into play and will grant a longer life to belief in God. Atheists make a terrible mistake in their belief that the application of applied reason and positivism alone will change the world for the better without any kind of action plan. The stealth religion that is atheism is useless as a force of reason unless those proponents can put their logical prowess into practice and help produce existential security for all. But atheists don’t seem to be interested in doing anything for all of us. The Equal Money system is such a proposal that will give all more security through social and economic programs that will ultimately give everyone that existential security only those privileged few now enjoy. We need all people to buy into economic equality and security or else we will have to endure the consequence of allowing  the grizzled, intolerant specter of religious fundamentalism to destroy what’s left of the world for centuries to come. Such a fate is only as inevitable as our avoidance to the necessity of change.

Notes:

[1] Pippa Norris, Ronald Inglehart, Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics), Cambridge University Press, 2004. The authors claim that their research shows that the world’s industrial nations are more secular while the third world remains religious due to economic insecurity. The birth rate in these impoverished countries have grown to numbers where there are far more people who hold religious views than ever before, while the birth rate among secular nations are dropping.  Implication: unless economic equality is installed to remove existential uncertainty, religious fundamentalism may never leave us, threatening to collapse civilization into the Dark Ages 2.0.