We live in the new age of addiction. Much like the opium dens of old, our  drugs are tranquilizing entertainment shows, films with alternate realities and twisted history, and tawdry technology gadgets that insulate us from the real world around us. A fabulous faustian utopia! Our brave leaders appreciate our hypnotic state whilst they merrily set up the parameters of the encirclement, our society is subject to. Our goebbelsian view is periodically sprinkled with magic pixie dust from our erudite ‘news sources’ to firmly keep the rabble in check.   If you need further proof, I would strongly recommend a careful perusal of our earlier articles. 

As usual: Vanakkam, Jai Hind and Vande Mataram

Murugax.

A Perilous Present, Signs of an Ominous Future

May 05, 2013

By Jonathan Gillis
“You get what you pay for.” What a loathsome cliché. What a loathsome culture it derives from. Whatever the professed motives for the alleged perpetrator(s) of the Boston Marathon bombings, a horrific act of terrorism which killed 3 people and maimed and wounded well over two hundred, and of the countless more victims of the terrorism committed by the United States on virtually a daily basis, such as drone, attack jet and helicopter strikes on civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and so forth–– from commercial media there is nothing remotely approaching the level of consideration given the Boston bombings. While despicable, this is unsurprising. “It’s rare for privileged Westerners to see, graphically, what many others experience daily – for example, in a remote village in Yemen, the same week as the marathon bombings.”[1]

Most of the killed and wounded of the Boston Marathon bombings were U.S. citizens, and incidentally so are/were the alleged perpetrator(s). That doesn’t particularly matter to the psychopaths that carpet the halls of the castles of power. What matters is the narrative, and consumption by the consumers thereof. The contingent militarized-police state locked down an entire city and the surrounding suburbs for two days, all in an effort to pacify two young men with a handgun, while the terrified residents obediently complied with and cheered the service of their overlords’ security class. This totalitarian lockdown might aptly be described as “…a suspension of the law to the benefit of martial law; no freedom of movement, no cell phone network, and if you go to the corner shop to buy a soft drink you may be shot. A whole city in the industrialized North turned into a high-tech concentration camp.”[2]

The irony that there were reportedly bomb squads at the bombing site(s) prior to the bombings and that there was some sort of drill or anticipation of danger beforehand by authorities[3], that purportedly one of the suspects, the older of the two brothers who was shot and killed by police a few days after the bombings, was thoroughly vetted by the FBI and was even on a terrorism watch list[4], that allegedly the Russian government[5] and regime of Saudi Arabia[6] warned the U.S. about the danger he posed, that planning for the Boston marathon, an extremely high-security event[7], included the possibility of a bombing scenario[8], raises a whole slew of questions which will never be asked or investigated within “respected” establishmentarian circles. More importantly and to the point, what of the far more consequential terrorism committed by the U.S., paid for and tolerated, if not outright celebrated, by the privileged classes of the U.S. citizenry? What of the terrorism directly or indirectly resultant from U.S. policies and actions abroad? The mainstream attitude seems to be: Meh. What’s the latest app I can download for my iPhone. What’s on TV? When’s the next episode of my favorite show?

A major explanation for mass apathy is that most people’s concerns are prioritized geographically. This also partially explains the significant decline in critical thinking and the serious problems attendant to ignorance; not withstanding the flood of information and ease of accessibility to disseminate with keen specificity, because of leaping advances in technology, if a particular subject is not of direct impact or influence, useful relevance, or interest, it would seem erroneous for us to pursue it. This localism “is not the only reason for widespread influence. The strong adherence to ideology and work within a bureaucratic setting can also greatly narrow one’s worldview and cripple one’s critical abilities.” As children, beginning at the age of 5, we are indoctrinated into the public school system. The bureaucracy of education has “always had two primary purposes and critical thinking is not one of them. The schools are designed to prepare students for the marketplace and to make them loyal citizens.” That the corporate-government system, essentially a single party without opposition, rules absolutely over political, economic, social, and cultural life, and that this factual reality is popularly ordinary, is a testament to the hyper-effectiveness of the propaganda system, particularly the moneyed marriage of elite ideology and advanced mass communications technologies. That we live under what might be termed totalitarian fascism, and that we, indeed, venerate the priests and priestesses, the kings and queens, princes and princesses, of mass-media, the face of imperial culture, speaks to the dimensions of and by which we are dominated and unaware. Truly, “if it is the case that most people don’t think of anything critically unless it falls into that local arena in which their lives are lived out, all the better. Under such conditions people can be relied upon to stay passive about events outside their local venue until the government decides it is time to rouse them up in some propagandistic manner.”[9]

It’s difficult to maintain the quintessence of presence when the TV runs in the background over a family member’s house. When the standard of entertainment has been set by non-reality TV, one is impressed to compete with corporate America following the same formulary. Shorter and fragmented attention spans and diminished imaginations are merely the appetizer. If one does not at least maintain the superficial appearance of being in pop-social-vogue, one runs the risk of being anti-social or worse, eccentric. Ironic, because generally mass culture is anti-social, and quite honestly, insane––several degrees of extremeness separated from mere eccentricity, which may even be artistic, or daresay, romantically so. Of course, it doesn’t matter at any rate, because most of us are too egocentric and techno-centered to care, or to even know how to care, about an antiquated thing as a genuine human connection or interaction. We are socially conditioned to espouse the belief that competition and individualism, (both in the putative sense, the former supplementing the latter) is good, and the natural way of things. Yet there is a complete absence of mention of the awareness that the moral worth of the individual is largely a product of the individual’s immediate (familial) and extended (societal) environment. The arrogance of ignorance is an ugliness which cannot be easily concealed. Attention can only be diverted from it for so long. It takes a real effort to not notice the pathology of the estranged individual in mass consumer society. The cult of self has emerged, dynamically altering––perhaps damaging would be the operant term––personal perspective and perceptions of relativity. The fast-processed-food, self-help-medicated, object-driven-mass-opinionated, techno-mania, the celebrity-glitz, the immiseration of reality and the commodification of the entire experience, the debauchery of the loveless, the elitism of the romantically loved, the carnage wrought by the rich, the desolation derivative of a culture of predators. All of it, is sickening as it is maddening to the humbled heart and the sensitive spirit.

One mass spectacle after another, the transition from one audience to another is seamless; the normality of being anonymous in a crowd reveals a triple entendre of sorts. Unknown, unwanted, and unneeded. Though nary we hesitate for a moment and inconvenience our busy selves with unsympathetic worry, rather, we charge forward, consuming and creating goals to reach, so that we might boast of our “progress” or “success.” The importation of meaning becomes somewhat of a freak show, no matter, we are either acts, or audiences in the Circus of nightmarish proportions and implications. Why else would we need to be so constantly distracted by so many spectacles of illusions? Not confident enough to live independently of the material things and cultural contrivances which possess and control us, let alone to live remotely close to the courage of our visceral convictions, we are un-alive. Our aliveness is experienced vicariously through various mediums of mass communion, with our anxious eyes ever darting toward the latest intrigue.

We watch TV, movies, and sporting events so as to turn our brains off. To be regaled to forget the stresses and stressors of our high-pressure, always on the go, lifestyle. Additionally, we never mind that “more than 85 percent of video games contain violence…” and that playing violent video games generally causes “…many negative effects, including aggressive behavior and desensitization to real-life violence…”,[10] especially so in young people.

“By losing regular contact with our underlying non-anxiety driven, non-neurotic, but intrinsically stable, calm, and reflective inner nature, we have ceased to function as, or find fulfillment in, the inherent human being that we are. Indeed, we are becoming increasingly like the programmed devices with which our technological society inundates us, giving the outer impression of vast and dynamic possibilities, but moreover removed from the human heart. Because we lack a true connection with our inner being, we are terrified of being alone or of being at rest; and, paradoxically, through our compulsive obsessions with the frenetic, technology-driven pace of life: we have alienated ourselves from ourselves.” It is doubtful whether we even realize the alienation from ourselves. It seems not to matter, in a perversion of logic; it almost seems preferable to us. “The more we aspire to be in touch with each other via technological devices such as the cell phone, internet, and webcam, the further we stray from the simple human capacity to share space: to talk in person face to face, to be silent, to listen, to breath the same air, to break bread, to live closely together, and to feel the true embodied companionship of those we love, of family, friends, and even strangers.” [11] Indeed, the more we aspire to be “in touch” via technological devices, the more out of touch we are with reality, ourselves, and each other.

In the modern imperial world, “powerful personalities are not usually measured…by their magnitude of loving-kindness or their propensity to inspire the imagination and the human spirit…but moreover by their capacity to control others, to manipulate the markets and accumulate wealth. In the world of capitalism, the way powerful people relate to things, such as time, or even other people, is not in any way contemplative, reflective or appreciative; it is almost completely manipulative, aimed at molding things to fit in with their goals of how they want the world to be.”[12] And so it is that we on the lower echelons of social caste mimic the powerful brand-personalities unquestioningly worshipped by millions; our capacity to control others, to manipulate situations and circumstances to our immediate or long-term advantage is characteristically ideal––this is partly what is deemed as “taking (individual) responsibility”.

“Many of us, especially powerful people, actually value our manipulations of machines over our human relationships, and over activities or engagements that do not involve machines, like reading a book, taking a walk, or watching a sunset. The living spirit inside us was not made by a machine, neither was the sun, nor the sky, nor the earth. But the way we live denotes that machines are more significant than any of these things, and such a way of life neglects our opportunities for truly being human.”[13] One cannot help but wonder if we aren’t fast approaching the junction whereby we will forget what it is to be fully human, that is to say, if not there already, if we will not soon be at a state of technological modification where we will not recognize non-machine interactions as anything more than post-modern nostalgia. Human qualities that have evolved since the origins of the species and endured for eons, become obsolete like outdated technology and the technological devices devised thereof.

“Why, in our modern world, is going valued so utterly and completely over being? Why, indeed, is being so profoundly devalued, held in high suspicion, and looked upon as idleness and laziness? Perhaps because if one is simply being, simply enjoying being alive, being human, being in time and space, being a human being; then one is not contributing to the slavish wheel of commerce, one is not feeding the grand capitalist system with one’s time and energy, with one’s blood, sweat, and tears, or with one’s very life.”[14] We are all prisoners to the Clock, and our frustration at this becomes manifest in a variety of ways. Being on time is expected, just being, implies liberation from corporate institutional life, and thus the highly regimented time it assigns. But then, that would be laziness and irresponsible, if not incompetence. However viewed, it would be an assured way to end up on the rolls of social ostracization. This is irony of a rather twisted sort. The leading behemoth corporations in any given industry––like all corporations, are legally obliged to maximize profits and minimize costs, i.e., it’s cheaper to exploit the worker maximally rather than minimally and to destroy the environment maximally rather than minimally––are paid countless billions by the federal government, which is to say by the governed populace, to conduct the Big Business of the Economy. Essentially, entire industries would be defunded of research and development, if not absolutely bankrupt without these subsidies. Furthermore, not only do these same corporations turn record profits and pay zero dollars in taxes, many actually receive a tax gift amounting to fortunes from the very same federal government that floats them. But when an individual for whatever reason cannot work for instance, and subsists on the meager allowance allotted from the rolls of the social safety net, that individual is deemed as being a lazy, irresponsible, leech. In other words, the victim is victimized further through cultural stigmatization, while the predator(s) is grossly rewarded for predation. What perverted logic, what a cruel joke of perspective, what a complete denial of humanity, and subservience if not outright worship of the corporation and the power(s) thereof.

“In the modern world, there is an unacknowledged social consensus that we should always be preoccupied with some form of outside stimulation, that we are forever in need of something we don’t have—we’ve become chronic ‘channel-surfers’ of life. That’s why we’re always going. We can’t relax. Most of us can’t just sit with ourselves for five seconds.”[15] We are the most stimulated, and stimulant induced, people to ever inherit the earth.

“In a state of being, however, we have the opportunity to notice what we are experiencing without reactively and automatically pursing our attachments, cravings, or desires. In a state of being, we are able to notice what our minds are thinking, and what our bodies are feeling. We are able to notice, or sense internally, the sensations inside our own skin and our perceptions of the world around us, as well as how it feels to simply be in the world. Attunement to your being is the same thing as becoming aware of your presence: the spirit, force, energy, or whatever you would call the essence of who and what you are as a living, sentient human being.”[16] Of course this implies adamantly refusing the “instant gratification” tick that has been socially conditioned into us. This requires us to make a concerted effort to be ourselves, in at least a partial sense of the natural selves we’ve inherited through a lineage dating back tens, hundreds of thousands of years. Or, alas, what’s left of them.

Spellbound by technology as it steadily advances, we surrender true human nature, just as we give up the real world, in place of Times Square, the Las Vegas strip, Disneyworld, shopping malls, and so forth. In a collective arrogance of ignorance, we tend to focus strictly on the superficial outer world imperial civilization has created, neglecting the inner worlds of ourselves that are inherent to our very composition as sentient beings, to the universal connectedness of all of life. Our way of life, is predicated on the domination and manipulation of all of the earth, so quite simply, being subjects of control and management is not particularly conducive to critical introspection. If anything, we become personally cynical (which is to say distrustful or contemptuous of the motives, goodness, or sincerity of others), which is very dangerous, given the entire industry waiting with open arms to squeeze us in its clinching embrace.

“Our current thrust of technology and perpetual states of rapid social activity—in the name of progress—has a two-fold effect: the first is the internal eclipsing of our capacity for being, the second is the external eradication of nature—the native environment in which we are most truly human. Through social engineering—gradually eliminating both our internal and external reference points for who we instinctually are as human beings—society remakes us into creatures who think, feel, and behave in the ways they want us to.”[17] Without thinking anything of it, we simply shrug and conclude that we have no instincts. We are habitually interfaced with machines now. All hail technology, all the while we worship at the machines’ base (pedestal). Nature is a tourist destination or something we pass on the highway to and from work and school, hardly worth meriting our attention. Incidentally, a universal commonality is that we’re connected by what we’ve lost; whether we realize what exactly we’ve lost or not, we are connected by the loss. We’re all denied influence over the real world around us, though we are highly encouraged, and thus susceptible to turn ourselves and others into merchandise or objects, into stimulations and opportunities to be gainfully exploited. We’re all subjects of and to rules and regulations most of us had no say in devising and have no say in enforcing. We are the most administrated people, the most rule and regulation restricted people to ever inherit the earth. Just as representational government lives in the shadow of Big Business, we live in the shadow of superstars, who in turn, live in the shadows of their own images, or brands. Reality is subordinate to representation; representation becomes the new reality, codified so as to envelop existence. The totality of our experience is eclipsed by the cultural fragmentation we endure. We are gauged according to the criterions of the economy and the cultural edifices therein, our dispossession, be it social, emotional, physical, material, whatever, is resultant from a common willingness to tolerate a conglomerate of impersonal municipalities, to accept the absence of, and be disinterested in creating an authentic community of reciprocity. As it stands, the current social order is imposed largely through administered and managed perceptions and interactions of the general populace (most of the global human population being redundant or superfluous to production). Advents of technology keep millions distracted and multitudes competing for attention, inside the very framework which includes a multi-billion dollar attention garnering industry. Meanwhile, we receive sparse attention; we’re strangers to even the closest to us, while we know more about celebrities we’ll never meet than we do about the interests and dislikes of our family and friends. To put it another way, many people spend more time with Facebook, a billion-dollar internet corporation, more time in front of a screen, than they do with each other. What we can imagine is dictated by the processes of the system which dominates our lives. The failure of our imagination says more about the level of our repression than it does of any personal intellectual or other mental faculty failings. Incidentally, “the attempted injection of human emotion into what is ultimately a dehumanizing experience is symbolic of a general estrangement from reality in which Facebook culture is both a cause and a symptom.”[18]

“For most of us, it is nearly impossible [if not completely undesirable] to conceive of another perspective or way of living that does not entail the continual subjugation of nature, alongside the never-ending build-up and harnessing of technological forms of human preoccupation that guide us away from our inner selves. How can we live simultaneously in a machine-based world and on a nature-based planet? Isn’t such a way of life an inherent contradiction forecasting an imminent demise?”[19] Perhaps, but in our rush for simplicity, in our brash response to real or imagined complexity, such an implicative question is hardly gravitational. “Willful misinterpreters of contemporary history continue to argue that globalization constitutes the solution to the very global ills it creates. In vaguely similar fashion…” many cultural managers, and literati generally, portray “Facebook as a potentially useful aid in the quest to promote mental health when the two concepts appear to be inherently at odds.” Indeed, the internet itself compounds “the schizophrenic nature of US society…”[20]

“Currently our machines, our industry, and our technology are not only eclipsing our souls, they are killing nature. Because we are not machines, because we are of the earth, and because we are also nature, our machine-based way of life is also killing us.”[21] To wither in such agony, to be kept captive by the catatonic state induced by our personal remorse, is to be nonplussed, without the aptitude for the soul to sustain. The soul longs to share meaning with someone other than a stranger; virtually without exception, the soul is disappointed. Alas, expectations are lowered, until one day, to regard something with expectation is merely a behavior trait observed in others, if noticed at all––like an old, yet familiar habit, long since abandoned. This is evocative of “learned helplessness”, the psychological conditioning of an organism that occurs from being “forced to bear aversive stimuli, or stimuli that are painful or otherwise unpleasant,” causing the organism to be “unable or unwilling to avoid subsequent encounters with those stimuli, even if they are ‘escapable,’ presumably because it has learned that it cannot control [or merely willfully adapt to] the situation.”[22] The theory, or phenomenon, of “learned helplessness”, attributed to Dr. Martin Seligman, might be described as follows. The prior exposure to inescapable shock of an organism, such as a dog, hinders the ability to learn in a condition where evasion of being shocked, or escape from the environment in which the shocks occurred, is possible. In other words, if a dog was trapped in an enclosed space, and repeatedly shocked, eventually, the dog would not only passively endure the shock whenever it occurred, but would cease effort in finding a way out, even if a way out was made accessible to them; a dog without prior exposure to inescapable shock, trapped in the enclosed space, would quickly venture through the accessible way out. Across the spectrum of organisms, from the micro to the macro, “learned helplessness”, arguably a byproduct of modernity––which is to further say, a systemic modification of organic evolution––envelops us.

“If we are to find solutions other than an unconscious global suicide and apocalypse, we will find them not through a crescendo of our current maniacal mode of reactive action, but through a more reflective attuning of our human being to the being of the world. Perhaps in tending to the world—through our own conscious beings…we can effect a healing in which we will discover the reality of the anima mundi, the soul of the world that, like us, is also alive. Through this deeper connection based on spiritual recognition, we can initiate more sensitive, aware, and unifying interactions within ourselves, with one another, and with the planet whose being is also essentially part of ours.”[23] I am regrettably unable to muster the optimism and share the conviction of confidence which Folisi expresses. I fear imperial humanity, in its comatose stupor, will usher in the ongoing global suicide and apocalypse, manically reacting to the Machine’s ever invasive, destructive and permanently altering actions.

The dominant way of life is not favorable to sensitivity, awareness, or unifying interactions outside of a major crisis or particular environmental emergency; or outside of narrowly defined patterns which serve the dominant way of life itself––any remedial tendencies of the like would of course be benign to the centers of highly concentrated power, lest they should not be tolerated. How ironic, that the very technologized system the internet derives from––which theoretically has the potential to organize a mass resistance to hegemonic authority, and thus embrace humanness and cultivate a reciprocal relationship with nonhuman life––has been cleverly orchestrated and conducted, by the very hegemonic authority which is manically reactive to its own actions, to such a severe degree as to push humanity, as well as countless species of nonhuman life, to the brink of extinction, all the while, the masses are dependent on and obedient to the very technology, and overlords thereof, which invites certain demise. “War and technology are Siamese twins; virtually all technology gets going as military technology.”[24]

I read, somewhere or other, that is has been scientifically proven that when two people are engaged in conversation in the presence of a third person whom is not participating in said conversation, the same part of the brain responsible for processing the sensation of physical pain is activated in the person left out of the exchange. I wonder if the same is true if the dynamic were, say, two people face to face, while one constantly texts to a third unbeknownst, non-present person.

It would appear that the mantra for an entire generation might be, “It is good to come together physically, but it is more important to stay tethered to our devices.” Technology makes it easy to communicate, albeit simply, in a reified form, when we wish and to disengage on command; our devices are very conducive to multi-tasking as well, so we might engage face to face, disengage to text someone, then reengage, and so forth, all the while anticipating our next important daily task in the manufactured reality we live in. Evermore increasingly, technology is engineering, and is the impetus of, our social world, and whatever real meaning is salvageable from remnants becomes increasingly factorized into the processes of the technological systems which make up our reality. Idle chatter, inane banter, farcical conversation is both acceptable and normalized, even the preferred method of discourse, without any genuine interest beyond micro-managed moments of real-life interfacing. One must become unassuming to the extreme, so as to adopt the almost certain absence of reciprocity in a kindred experience shared both spatially and in the geometry of time. This seems rather tragic, for particularity, or uniqueness, is standardized like so many objects––perhaps accented like the anticipation of hearing a familiar voice is via a ringtone––and narrowed to the point of rote. Merely a matter of procedure, merely a technicality. Merely another moment eviscerated of meaning, let alone profundity. Merely a minor if at all noticeable footnote along the journey to any given number of destinations, both familiar and exotic, both on and offline. Merely a shame. Merely ashamed.

The dependency on new technologies forces us to decrease human contact, and whatever human contact remains is noticeably diminished. For many, “texting puts people not too close, not too far, but at just the right distance.” Which is to say, texting puts people separately alone. “Life in a media bubble has come to seem natural. So has the end of a certain public etiquette: on the street, we speak into the invisible microphones on our mobile phones and appear to be talking to ourselves. We share intimacies with the air as though unconcerned about who can hear us or the details of our physical surroundings.” Furthermore, because we have lowered our standards of association and emotional life generally, “the simplification of relationship is no longer a source of complaint. It becomes what we want.” What’s more, “when technology engineers intimacy, relationships can be reduced to mere connections. And then, easy connection becomes redefined as intimacy. Put otherwise, cyber-intimacies slide into cyber-solitudes.” Technology has redesigned the natural “landscape of our emotional lives” to such a degree that many of us are socially or emotionally disabled, incapable of developing let alone sustaining, rudimentary relationships.[25]

In other words, incapable of meeting crucial fundamental needs which are essential to overall health and wellbeing. In point of fact, for many of us, the journeying effort to have certain crucial needs met, is in and of itself, detrimental, in extreme instances, to the point of suicide. “Statistics on depression and suicide demonstrate that meeting our own needs is an insufficient and tragedy-inducing agenda for a significant portion of all of us––over one million people commit suicide around the world every year. One million.”[26] Many more millions make suicide attempts, many of whom are permanently, bodily injured and scarred thereafter.

It is striking that in this increasingly technologized global culture, humans are becoming ever-increasingly noisier while arguably saying decreasingly very little of actual distinction. There is virtually no escape, or freedom from, man-made noise. How has, how does, and how will the noise created by the business of civilization threaten what remains of the natural world? One thing seems certain, all this noise is not normal, albeit it has been normalized. Nor is it natural, which essentially means, the noise pollution caused by the business of civilization will be a force, one of many, acting upon the trajectory of future human evolution. The same might be true of many, if not all non-human species of life; they will survive, or perish, evolving under the weight of human noise, among other anthropocentric factors. One over-flight jet is enough to disturb an entire forest temporarily; with a permanent flight path of high volume traffic, the particular habitat and the biodiversity that comprises it is altogether detrimentally altered. Marine life is routinely devastated by military sonar, apparently this is an acceptable cost, one of countless, of conducting the business of civilization, and the total spectrum “security” thereof.

“In humans, noise pollution damages hearing, disturbs communication, disrupts sleep, affects heart function, intrudes on cognition in children, reduces productivity, provokes unwanted behaviors, and increases accidents.” Furthermore, according to Dr. Arline Bronzaft, “noise pollution has as much to do with persistent low frequency sounds and vibrations – such as those emitted by wind turbines, ventilation systems, or electronic devices – as loud and jarring sounds.” Because the various fragile biospheres, the oceans, forests and so on, contain their own internal harmonies, the damage caused by human noise is nothing short of devastating. “’In a natural environment, animal voices are created in such a way that each group of critters can hear each other,’ says musician and naturalist Bernie Krause, who has spent four decades recording sounds of the biological world, which he calls ‘biophony.’ Krause found that animals divide up the acoustic spectrum so that ‘birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals all find their own niches, their own bandwidths to vocalize in’ so that when they issue mating calls or cry out warnings, their voices aren’t masked by the sounds being made by other animals. Human noise, which Krause calls ‘anthrophony,’ disrupts this natural symphony. ‘The critters have to find new bandwidths they can vocalize in,’ he says, ‘and when they do that it becomes very chaotic and has a great impact on them and causes great stress.”’[27]

“Civilization is a conspiracy of noise, designed to cover up the uncomfortable silences…The unsilent present is a time of evaporating attention spans, erosion of critical thinking, and a lessened capacity for deeply felt experiences. Silence, like darkness, is hard to come by; but mind and spirit need its sustenance.” The irony of the various ideologies preached, most especially with concern to origins, and coincidentally the overemphasis placed on the hereafter, is striking, considering that silence has naturally always existed before noise. “Silence is primary, summoning presence to itself; so it’s a connection to the realm of origin.” Moreover, “Too often we disrupt silence, only to voice some detail that misses an overall sense of what we are part of, and how many ways there are to destroy it.” Indeed, what we are a part of retains far greater significance than whatever path we decide to blaze. Inherently, the meaning of existence, and therefore by extension, the meaning derived from existence, insofar as they are compatible, or companionable, is perhaps incommunicable in the manner of language. For to speak, or to write, on a particular experience, of a particular life form, for instance, is intrinsically, merely a symbolic representation of that particular experience, of that particular life form. Thus, a “…growing comprehension that language must always admit its origin in loss.”[28]

In our mass produced lifestyles, there is the constant pursuit for, and spectating of, a champion. Sensationalism ensures mass audiences, which in turn are sold to advertisers of products. A perusal of the covers of several magazines reveals that one will certainly not encounter such digitally airbrushed images in their daily reality. Representation has replaced existence. Beauty is something to be covered by makeup, the made up face is now the true, defining beauty. The myth of governance authored, or plagiarized, by rich white men over 200 years ago is exactly that, a myth. Turtle Island was violently rested from the original inhabitants. The indigenous peoples of the lands comprising Canada, the U.S., and Mexico for instance were destroyed, decimated, and the surviving remnants acculturated into the victor culture in the same way that original old-growth forests or the magnificent herds of buffalo were destroyed and replaced by the conquest culture. The “civilized” or “civilizing” processes of destroying indigenous human communities––those closest to natural humanness (and thus to nature), nonhumans and the natural world generally––and replacing all with the culture that is predicated on the mountains of death of the aforementioned, continues apace, at an unprecedented rate and on an unimaginable scale, with a degree of efficiency befitting the digital age. “The countries with large and influential indigenous populations are well in the lead in seeking to preserve the planet. The countries that have driven indigenous populations to extinction or extreme marginalization are racing towards destruction.”[29]

“The yearning for freedom, attachment to nature, courage, honor, honesty, morality, friendship, love and all of the other social instincts…even free will itself: all of these human qualities, valued in the highest degree from the dawn of the human race, evolved through the millennia because they were appropriate and useful in the primitive circumstances in which people lived. But today, so-called ‘progress’ is changing the circumstances of human life to such an extent that these formerly advantageous qualities are becoming obsolete and useless. Consequently, they will disappear or will be transformed into something totally different and to us alien.”[30] As our brains are rewired, as our chemistry is epigenetically rewritten, as our bodies are bio-accumulatively transformed by modern culture, instinctual psychosocial human qualities of morality, compassion, and love, become archaic, objects to be ridiculed, and are replaced with psychosocial standards more compliant to the demands and pressures of modern culture. The popularization of immorality, coldness, and dislike, occurs practically unchallenged; the veneer normatively to the contrary is extreme sarcasm to the heart and soul of humanity.

“Indeed, the tribe––an interconnected group of related individuals aspiring towards the mutual well-being of one another––has now become the mob–– a collective of individuals who are, for the most part, unrelated and uninterested in one another, unless such interactions empower the individual to obtain their own financial, sexual, or social status-based objectives.”[31] The harmful effects of living in a culture of strangers cannot be underestimated. One needs to healthily socialize regularly; if one is alienated from and deprived of others long enough, eventually one gives up, whereby a permanent wounding has taken place. Confidence stagnates. One’s manipulation of and interaction with machines replaces the unfulfilled need(s), further wounding and deteriorating the spirit––a vicious cycle hardly even noticeable, let alone noticed. Perhaps one of a glut of examples of the occurrence of “learned helplessness”.

Why is it acceptable for anyone to represent anyone else? Such symbolization assures destroyed and restricted inalienable liberties and slavery to varying extents. Cultural illusions are so enveloping as to inculcate us into believing that we perpetually need new sensations and possibilities in order to labor towards personal fulfillment. Taking without giving is the mantra we live by.

“The consumer is groomed for the ceaseless search for new sensations and new possibilities. Capitalism looks forward.” Incidentally, the Brand slogan choice of Obama II, after certainly much public polling study, was Forward. “It revels in future visions rather than reflection. As industrialization brings the demands of endless work, capitalism has to stimulate the desire for pleasure and consumption. The Puritan ethic of delayed gratification, based on the idea of scarcity, is pushed aside. Capitalism offers us the fantasy of abundance, where restraint is unnecessary.”[32] The debauchery of consumption has reached an unprecedented scale; it seems “infinite growth” on a finite planet knows no bounds, not even the clear and present feedbacks from Nature and the state thereof. “From at least the mid-20th century, Americans have been told that they are what they buy, that they can refashion themselves in any image they desire as many times as they want.”[33]

What of love? To offer a quote attributed to Patrick Henry. “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.” To invert the quote: I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me love, or give me death. If one were to strictly and principally adhere to this professed testament, the possibility of death might be far greater than the reception of love. I digress on this point by offering a few words ascribed to W.H. Auden: “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” Lasting love, which is to say, the authentic love, or personal attachment or deep affection shared between partners, between companions, in this viral society, is “constricting and banal.” The union between a gratified couple who celebrate 50 years of companionship “looks drab and uninspiring.” Much in the way that sex is not predicated on love, “Romantic love is not based on companionship, but on the feeling of being desired. This kind of love appears to give us the opportunity, just as money does, to constantly remake ourselves, to project new versions of our lives. It’s about longing, fleeting highs, the same stimulation we feel in buying a new car, a new wardrobe. As the married couple’s romantic attraction wanes, the need for stimulation is transferred to the next big purchase, the washing machine, the wide-screen TV. Capitalism goes humming along…The inequality it breeds results in the restriction of choices in so many areas of our lives – our work, our health, our retirement, even our love lives. We begin to see that capitalism gave our fantasy a blank check but it stole our reality.” Fantasies beget more fantasies. Capitalism, the System, the Empire, the Machine, whatever name we assign the dominating supremacy over our lives, “must offer more intense fantasies of romance to counterbalance the reality of those restrictions. As we become more insecure and uncertain, we reach more desperately to proof of the meaning of our existence. We want things we can touch and feel.” The fantasy of our own personal version of the “blockbuster pop romance”, the “diamond-studded romantic” success, “promises to relieve us of our anxiety as we push aside the horror of our depleted savings, our pinkslip”, our socially and emotionally disabled selves, our isolated existence, our suffocating depression, our very real flirtation with the idea of suicide as an end to the means of our discontent––which carries the sensation of an eternity, one eternity too many, our emptiness and the vain attempts to sate, if not partially fill the void, the frightening awareness that we do not feel, that we are incapable of feeling, that we pursue pain in a variety of forms simply in order to convince ourselves that indeed, we are in fact, still, alive. “Capitalism and romantic love offer the ceaseless promise of escape to a better world over the rainbow. But a general sense of the lie inherent in that promise is growing. The system of promised rewards has broken down, and left us with too many broken hearts.”[34] A broken heart can simply not contend with the calloused sinew of an imperially ambitious man. Well unto him, whose heart has a home.

Humpty Dumpty was with a broken heart
Humpty Dumpty experienced the world torn apart
Four-score Men and Four-score more,

Could only pretend that Humpty Dumpty was where and who he was before

END NOTES:
[1] Noam Chomsky, “Chomsky: The Boston Bombings Gave Americans a Taste of the Terrorism the U.S. Inflicts Abroad Every Day,” AlterNet (May 2, 2013 ), http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/chomsky-boston-bombings-gave-americans-taste-terrorism-us-inflicts-abroad-every?paging=off (accessed May 2, 2013).

[2] Pepe Escobar, “Pick Your Dystopia,” counterpunch (April 26-28, 2013), http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/04/26/pick-your-dystopia/ (accessed May 2, 2013).

[3] Dzenitis, John. NBC; Local15TV, “UM Coach: Bomb Sniffing Dogs, Spotters on Roofs Before Explosions.” Last modified April 15, 2013. Accessed May 5, 2013. http://www.local15tv.com/news/local/story/UM-Coach-Bomb-Sniffing-Dogs-Spotters-on-Roofs/BrirjAzFPUKKN8z6eSDJEA.cspx.

[4] Greg Miller, “CIA pushed to add Boston bomber to terror watch list,” The Washington Post (April 24 2013), http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cia-pushed-to-add-boston-bomber-to-terror-watch-list/2013/04/24/cf02b43c-ad10-11e2-a8b9-2a63d75b5459_story.html (accessed May 5, 2013).

[5] Scott Shane, Michael S. Schmidt, and Eric Schmitt, “Russia’s Warning on Bombings Suspect Sets Off a Debate,” The New York Times (April 25, 2013), http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/26/us/russia-told-us-bomb-suspect-was-radical-islamist.html?_r=0 (accessed May 5, 2013).

[6] Andy Campbell , “Homeland Security Denies Saudi Arabia Warned U.S. About Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev In 2012,” The Huffington Post (05/01/2013), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/did-saudi-arabia-warn-us-about-boston-bombers_n_3193317.html (accessed May 5, 2013).

[7] Andrea Estes, Maria Cramer, and Shira Springer, “Boston Marathon security stayed at high level,” The Boston Globe (April 17, 2013), http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/04/16/marathon-security-stayed-high-level/0UVbXIYMB2vyTKczNf6j4N/story.html (accessed May 5, 2013).

[8] Scott Malone, “Planning for Boston Marathon security included bombing scenario,” Reuters (Apr 24, 2013 ), http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/24/us-usa-explosions-boston-scenarios-idUSBRE93N1F620130424 (accessed May 5, 2013).

[9] Lawrence Davidson, “The Decline of Critical Thinking,” Counterpunch (April 5-7, 2013), http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/04/05/the-decline-of-critical-thinking/ (accessed May 2, 2013).

[10] Stuart Wolpert, “Is technology producing a decline in critical thinking and analysis?,” UCLA Newsroom (January 26, 2009), http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/is-technology-producing-a-decline-79127.aspx (accessed May 2, 2013).

[11] Salvatore Folisi, excerpt from “Eros Over Logos: A Revolt of the Instinctual Mind Amidst the Madness of Modern Life,” Xander Stone Ink, AlterNet (February 12, 2013 ), http://www.alternet.org/visions/how-our-machine-based-way-life-not-only-destroying-nature-it-also-destroying-us?paging=off (accessed April 29, 2013).

[12] Ibid

[13] ibid

[14] ibid

[15] ibid

[16] ibid

[17] ibid

[18] Belén Fernández, “Facebook and the disintegration of the human ,” Al Jazeera English (28 Mar 2013), http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/03/201332882423542636.html (accessed May 2, 2013).

[19] See Note 11

[20] See Note 18

[21] See Note 11

[22] Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. “learned helplessness”, accessed May 05, 2013, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1380861/learned-helplessness.

[23] See Note 11

[24] See Note 2

[25] Sherry Turkle, excerpt from “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other,” Perseus Books, AlterNet (February 19, 2013 ), http://www.alternet.org/books/alone-together-why-we-expect-more-technology-and-less-each-other?paging=off (accessed April 29, 2013).

[26] Salvatore Folisi, “Why Are We All Ignoring Our Loneliness?,” Xander Stone Ink; Alternet (April 2, 2013), http://www.alternet.org/culture/why-are-we-all-ignoring-our-loneliness?paging=off (accessed April, 30 2013).

[27] Mitra, Maureen Nandini . “Extremely Loud: We have drowned out the natural soundscape.” Earth Island Journal, Spring 2013. http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/eij/article/extremely_loud/ (accessed April 28, 2013).

[28] John Zerzan, Future Primitive Revisited, (Port Townsend, WA: Feral House, 2012), 178,179,181,182.

[29] Noam Chomsky, “Can Civilization Survive Capitalism?,” In These Times (March 5, 2013 ), http://inthesetimes.com/article/14684/can_civilization_survive_capitalism/ (accessed May 2, 2013).

[30] Theodore J. Kaczynski, Technological Slavery: The collected writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski, a.k.a. “The Unabomber”, (Port Townsend, WA: Feral House, 2010), 213.

[31] See Note 26

[32] Lynn Stuart Parramore, “Love in the Time of Layoffs,” AlterNet (February 13, 2013), http://www.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/why-its-harder-love-someone-era-extreme-capitalism?paging=off (accessed April 30, 2013).

[33] Richard Greenwald, “No Self-Help Wanted,” In These Times (March 20, 2013 ), http://inthesetimes.com/article/14714/no_self_help_wanted (accessed April 30, 2013).

[34] See Note 32