Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ordinary Stupid

Here are a few randomish thoughts after the dismal ‘election’ in the  US Empire.  I’m tired from working on my novel, but need to process.  To those who don’t know, the elections gave more power to a party out of touch with reality, as discussed below.

First, though, remember this:  we live in a unique time among billions of years.  Are you feeling it?  Nothing has ever happened like--well, everything around you--computers, electricity, cars.  Coming soon to a location near you,all kinds of robots.  They will be in our homes.  They will drive our vehicles.

Let’s not forget nuclear warheads.  These are particularly important.  I’ll come back to them.

Also of utmost importance is global warming.  You know, that phenomenon where all the heat-trapping gases we’ve released melt the polar caps and raise the seas?  The party that won a landslide victory in the elections, the Republicans, doesn’t believe the phenomenon is real.  If you can get them to admit the planet is changing, they shrug and say there’s nothing we can do.  They don’t know why it’s happening, but there’s nothing we can do. 

To them, it’s some kind of mysterious phenomenon, which they liken to an Ice Age.  And yet Ice Ages take tens or hundreds of thousands of years to bring about the kind of climate change we’ve seen in a couple centuries.

What else are Republicans in gross denial about?  How about the mass extinction taking place? Yes, ours is a little window of time in which a huge number of plant and animal species are being extirpated at a highly accelerated rate.  This is not your natural extinction rate.  This is your extreme outlier bye-bye rate.  Our effect on the planet is in the category of a few other mass extinctions caused by planetesimals (huge meteors).  

Nota Bene:  It’s not only the death of so many irretrievable species, but the complete transformation of the environment that is titanic, in the full tragic sense of that word.

So, again, NOTHING like this has ever happened in five billion years.  You’re living in an accelerating funnel of converging metaphorphoses.  And yet most of us are like, ho hum, another day driving my car and flipping my light switches on.  Many of us, too, will go to McDonalds and buy the flesh of animals that have been tortured in crowded factories worthy of underworld myths (which, I guess, are not myths anymore--we have made evil real).  Or we will go to gigantic superstores, those dominanting boxes that blight many acres, and buy things made in China.  What’s wrong with China?  It is a country that uses slave labor and is against all the ideals--things like freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and so on--that we claim to stand for. 

In likelihood, China will soon be the #1  superpower in the world, thanks to so many of us in the free world buying so many things made by their unfree citizens.  Once supreme, China will be more able to undermine the ideals we claim to hold important. 

Nota Bene:  Having the US and China start another cold war will be incredibly destabilizing and holocaust-risking.  Remember all those pesky warheads standing underground in their underworld-myth-worthy silos?  Will such a cold war ensue as China flexes its biceps?  Absolutely.  The US is war-addicted.  Anyone born in 2002 or after has lived their entire life in a state of Imperial warfare.  

But, hey, let’s just ignore that and buy more cheap stuff made in China.  Smog in China’s air, global warming?  Who the heck cares!  It’s a leftist lie.

In a way, all this is as fascinating as it is atrocious, at least from a psychological perspective.  Let’s call it The Psychology Of the Ordinary Stupid.  Hey, look how numb homo sapiens can be!  How wrongheaded.  How disaster-bound.  Even when we claim lofty ideals, we act to contradict them.

And yet, we ARE capable of ‘waking up’, seeing the truth--of empathic, magnanimous passions and insights.  Heck, tens of millions of us are there now!  But we lost the election to the majority.  So, too bad, you are now officially impotent.  Welcome to ‘freedom’ in the Empire.

Actually, the spark of hope in the hearts of so many of us, this is what makes the Empire’s inexcusable failure so much harder to face.

‘Waking up’ takes education.  And Republicans are all about cutting education.  One of the first things you learn in any kind of college course that draws on science is that global warming is real.  A major chunk of the right wing platform falls.

Cognitive dissonance, anyone? 

Currently a college degree will sink you into a mire of burdensome debt.  Meanwhile, a single helicopter  missile costs tens of thousands of dollars.  You can pay a gaggle of half-starved adjunct professors on that.  But, of course, the goal is not to pay them.  President Einsenhower, upon retirement, warned us about the “military-industrial complex.” 

Hello!  It’s here!

Another thing you might get asked in college is, Why do you suppose we buy so many things made in China?  Those who steer the Empire want none of that.  They own the stores packed with Chinese slave-labor goods.

Philosophy, ethics, history, literature.  All anathema to the lockstep dogma of the right wing.  These disciplines, these humanties, after all, open the mind.  The right wing wants to replace them with two unsupported  principles:  (1)  Government bad, corporations good, (2) poor people bad, rich people good.  Corollary:  corporations and rich people deserve more tax breaks and benefits, government and poor people need to be punished.

There are many offshoots of this dogma, such as:  we should guzzle more oil and coal.  Why?  because global warming is a myth so all the gaseous pollution caused by oil and coal are no big deal.  Besides, oil and coal are associated with corporations, and corporations are good! 

What does environmental health and beauty matter anyway?  Mass extinction?  Who cares!

The income gap between the rich and everyone else continues its march into hideous extremes, with less that 1% owning 40% of the total wealth.  This is a clear statement of corruption in a mathematical nutshell. 

But the current President is black, not white, and that can be exploited by right wing leaders.  And they do play to unconscious (and conscious) racism.  Once hooked by your anger at blacks, and lacking the inoculation of college education, it is hard to get away.

In summary, we live in the rarest of times.  NOTHING has ever compared to this.  And, sadly, it will not be a time of triumph, but of utter debacle for humanity instead.  If we have a civilized future in front of us, not just barbarism after the chaos brought by sea rise (which in turn precipitates nuclear detonation)  those in that future will look back at us with horror:  at our ignorance, greed, and delusional consumption.  At our mass psychosis. 

The way that Republicans now mock those who try to spread the truth of global warming is the way that people in the future will mock our Empire as it functions now.

Functions?  No it does not function, it dysfunctions. 

It dysfunctions.

And the people of future will turn their back on democracy because of us.  They will point to us and say, “Look what democracy did for them!”

I actually hope that they see us for what we are:  monsters who consume in denial.  Monsters chained to the dogma of blind leaders.  We will not acknowledge the blood of slain truth leaking from our petty, rapacious jaws; and so it falls to those in the future, painful as it is, to see that truth, in order that they may not fall into the same selfish trap.


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