The concept of endless economic growth, accepted as sacrosanct by both U.S. mainstream political parties, and internalized as the dominant mode of mind by the general population of the corporate/consumer state is mirrored in the exponential mathematics of a malignancy.
Cancer, if given voice, would proclaim itself to be a believer in “free market values” . . . devoted to the principle of endless growth . . . until, of course, it would silence its own voice by killing its host.
Likewise, all life seeks limits or prematurely dooms itself.
The same holds true with addiction to unlimited economic expansion . . . the craving for incessant ascension is, in fact, a doomed Icarusian flight.
In our time, politics as usual has failed to address the most pressing issues of the age: The manner by which neoliberal economic agendas exploit the masses in the service of a corrupt elite, and in so doing, decimating individual hopes and aspirations, as, all the while, the environmental dangers, endemic to the unchecked system, imperil the survival of humankind.
Although, alarmingly, both political parties continue to serve the status quo: Contemporary conservatives promote—in fact, seem to outright revel in—the litanies of a gospel of global-wide destruction (in the case of religious fundamentalists even going so far as to implore the forces of heaven, with fervid prayers, to expedite doomsday’s date of arrival) by means of militarist aggression and environmental carnage—while squeamish liberals are devotees of the cliché-worshipping temple of incremental change.
From the right flank of this disastrous cosmology of convenience, Rick Santorum insists that a literal interpretation and societal application of “The Scriptures,” i.e., an ad hoc collection of the laws, legends and beliefs of Middle Eastern, Bronze Age, hill country barbarians will remedy our national woes. Accordingly, what is one to make of this lovely bit of wisdom from Isaiah (13:9,15–18)?
“Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger . . . Every one that is found shall be thrust through . . . Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes . . . and their wives ravished. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them . . . [T]hey shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.”
Lovely, huh? Surely, we’ve evolved past such barbaric sentiments. What kind of a blood-besotted people would accept such an abomination to the tenets of modern civilization and basic human decency?
Tragically, this is who: Both political parties of U.S. duopoly and their supporters, comprising a nation of people, who by large majorities support, for example, the Obama administration’s policy of warfare waged by predator drone attack. Military actions that often result in an Old Testament-style “dashing to pieces” the bodies of children.
What does it matter now to the dead whether the reason given for perpetrating these monstrous acts are based on Santorum’s psychotic concretization of religious lore or Obama’s slick, national security state rationalizations?
As neocons press the pedal to the metal of the war machine, mainstream liberal apologists for the status quo, luxuriating upon the hurtling juggernaut, counsel us that any change in direction and velocity must be incremental, as they proffer other brain-dead, political clichés about the need for ”civility” and “political realism” involving the criteria of sausage making.
First, clichés are zombies; they are dead to the novelty of the living moment, and they eat the brains of inspiration. They are worse than lazy thinking—they are putrefied thought. Worse, clichés will not die, because they are already dead. Burn them with fire . . . reduce them to ashes . . . let the ash mulch the soil where future inspiration will grow.
Second, an incremental approach is an utterly useless, if not delusional, response to the situation. The U.S., through the decades of the post-war era, has been moving with increasing rapidity towards becoming an outright national security/corporate authoritarian state. At this point, this much is evident regarding mainstream liberals who tout the virtues of “incremental change”: they, from their comfortable perch of privilege, do so, because they harbor scant desire to alter the present order.
Still, mainstream liberals are baffled as to why people find them so unbearable, when, in their swoons of self-regard, they believe themselves to be oh-so reasonable sorts who selflessly wish everyone the best.
If you are an advocate of incrementalism, then you co-sign the present order—and the present order consists of corporate/military/police state dominance over almost every aspect of life in the U.S. In short, “reasonable,” “well-meaning” liberals—you are complicit in crimes against human dignity when you bandy your incremental change fantasies.
This is what your reasonable, well-meaning, piecemeal approach is worth . . . Not a drop of blood of the innocent slaughtered in your predator drone-besotted president’s wars of imperium whose blood-drenched deeds you co-sign with your casuistry. Your faux civil pose is worth about a handful of dust. Obama apologists you can keep making excuses for dear leader—although, it strains credulity as to how anyone with a working moral compass can continue to defend him, or any leader, who has proven himself to be a stalwart defender of the dominant order.
Regarding which, the defining trait of the financial and corporate elite, who lord over the present system has proven to be an all-consuming lust for riches that an individual could not spend in a thousand lifetimes. Their concept of what constitutes acts of trade and commerce is analogous to what pornography is to erotica. Accordingly, one would regard the greedheads of the one percent with the same compassion that one grants to a porn addict, if not for the fact that acts of autoeroticism are not responsible for climate chaos nor did the activity bring down the global economy.
In contrast, this ongoing, noxious, degrading circle jerk of the elite did.
And this brings us to what is at the root of the current siege mentality of the architects and operatives of the corporate/militarist state: Below the armament-bristling surface, and at the dark heart of the subterfuge of one percenters’ yawns this abysmal psychology: If an individual insists on existing in a fortified tower of the mind, the truths of his own heart, as well as those arriving from the soul of the world, will appear to him to be acts of sedition; the longings of his own heart for compassion will be misinterpreted as signs of weakness and emotionally displaced as a malignant, paranoid fantasy in which his own desire for resonate human contact will seem to be the attack of an invading army of rebels.
By reflex (mirrored outwardly in the modus operandi of the one percent against a rising, global chorus of political protest and social unrest), he will attempt to block out and silence the admonitions of his own besieged heart, doubling down on his paranoid actions, until the fortifications in and around himself (the mass psychology of a national security state) have grown to titanic proportions.
An inhuman system that has come to stand for little but the empty perpetuation of itself, according to the metaphoric lexicon of the ancient Greeks, is tantamount to approaching existence as a Titan—and they did not mean the metaphoric designation to be taken as laudatory: The Greek poets believed an evincing of titanic traits was an anathema to human life and an affront to the gods.
According to Homer, after returning from a long military campaign, the reluctant warrior, Hector, who upon seeing his young son, Astyanax, for the first time, in a misguided attempt to bestow a hug on his son, pressed the boy, with too much force, to his armored breastplate, causing the child to cry out in pain. Upon noticing his son’s distress, Hector eased the pressure (an act of sensitivity; conversely, some father’s never notice the agony they inflict on their sons in their wrong-headed attempts to show their love).
Then Hector held the boy skyward and offered him to Zeus. We should all be so lucky.
Zeus, after all, is the father of the gods; therefore, Hector granted his son the right to choose his own unique destiny; he was given free will.
In contrast, at present, the collective fathers of this culture have given us—and we now give our own children—to the Titans of the corporate/militarist state. Titans, who, as Titans are prone to do, eat their young.
According to Greek mythology, human beings could not exist on earth until Zeus banished and imprisoned his father, Cronus, a Titan, and the other Titans to the depths of Hades.
In human terms, we call this an uprising.
At present, daily life has become defined by the caprice of titanic forces (forces that devour our humanity). Fellow human beings, we are long overdue for this: The hour has arrived to demand an end to the destructive reign of these self-serving elites who have proven, time and time again, they care nothing about the suffering they bring to humanity nor the damage they inflict on this living planet.
In our time, when feedback loops of methane gas are melting arctic ice at an exponential rate, yet the powers that be continue their pursuit of ruthless agendas that perpetuate this death-worshiping trajectory, it is evident that politics as usual has failed.
Incremental change will not slow a runaway train. Awareness and action might. In our case, at this late date, if the corporate elite, who control the agendas of the state, are not challenged and brought to heel, and soon, then there is little else left for us to do, other than become hospice workers for our doomed species.
Even the notion of (much less the cultural imperative) of constant, endless growth causes one to feel diminished. Resultantly, the imagination seeks to fall in love with limits—a process we mislabel as depression, a form of repressed grieving that brings feelings of powerlessness, but when tweaked by an active participation in confronting malignant power can be transformed into a life-vivifying vehemence to bring meaning and structure to an overly complex system.
“All around us, the fundamentals of life are crying out to be shaped, or created.”—Joseph Beuys
Conversely, personal devotion to a fear-bulwarked, habitually self-serving egoism, as opposed to embracing a soul-infused selfhood, creates a catastrophe of malignant greed—a disastrously narrow, resonance-bereft approach to consciousness that alone cannot carry the multiverse of the self into the world. Hence, a selfish man’s relentless obsession to possess the bounty of our planet can never assuage his sense of insecurity and emptiness, not even if all the plundered riches of the ravaged earth were laid before him for his taking.