Category Archives: Interdependence

Privilege, Guilt, and Social Currency

I’m concerned about the proliferation of articles on privilege being used as a sort of social currency. What is often left out in all this privilege talk, is that the advantage given by privilege is given by a neurotic and hypocritical hierarchal society. So, by all means, if I am seeking advantage in this society, I shouldn’t be blind to that which helped me here. However, it seems like if the privilege dialogues are successful, and we all try real hard, the most we can hope for is to grant everyone equal access to participate in the “status quo.”

It is a fact that there is a full fledged attack on human consciousness in the form of mass media. A lot of us take this media far too seriously. It is an insult to our most basic human sensibilities and seeks to make us feel marginal and less than whole. The divide and conquer strategy runs deep, and will leave us all fighting over the largest crumbs, while the cake is hoarded by the instruments of a psychotic control matrix. I don’t want more access to advantage in this culture. I want each of us to take responsibility for our own consciousness, which may in some small or large measure involve taking stock of those things that give us advantage, how we seek to exploit that advantage, and our deep rooted fear of losing a secure position on the social ladder. Additionally, we need to reconcile what society projects onto us, in our appearance and station in life, and where we choose to place our identity, for ourselves. It’s basic self awareness, and I expect it from all of my people (my people being anyone who is ready to share from the heart, care for fellow humans and the earth, and rigorously apply themselves to the work of taking responsibility for their consciousness and how that consciousness effects others).

Those at the top of the pyramid are only too happy that we squabble over the minutia of privilege. It seems like authors of such articles are trying to get out in front of the guilt ball by pointing out and codifying ever new areas where some have privilege and others lack. It is a great way to distract and not get much done in the work of saving our species from extinction. Voices like James Baldwin and Steve Locke are not saying, “stop oppressing me, person of privilege,” they are saying, “Stop whining. Don’t pity me. You, like the rest of us, have been sold an empty bill of goods. Why do you accept it?” Stop seeking advancement in a profoundly sick society, and join the rest of us out here. Let’s not be defensive or guilty, let’s grow in strength by sharing our vulnerabilities.

The history we learn in school is bunk. A lot of us learn that later on. But in our formative years, when exploring our identities, personally, familialy , and culturally, we are severed from our roots, all of the human’s in America (and probably other places, too). Hundreds of years before the monarchs, clergy, financiers, and great pirates of europe colonized the rest of the world, they conquered europe, and ruled it under a reign of terror known as feudalism. During the European Renaissance the great expansionist mythologies came into action. Under the banner of divine right to conquest, a small handful of psychotic families conquered a lot of the world with brutality, various forms of slavery, religion, and the divide and conquer psyop that continues to the day.

Our modern racial constructs were created to give lighter skinned people an upper hand and therefore split the slave classes. This included white slaves from europe, or “indentured servants.” The construction of “whiteness” occurred around the time “divine right” was no longer a tenable justification for conquest. This required a major white-washing of history to hide the deep intermingling of all people of the earth, genealogically and in the spread of knowledge and wisdom. To accomplish this, it was necessary to establish “Western” culture as being at forefront  of evolution, and the appearance of an unbroken religious and intellectual supremacy going back into greek antiquity. So, the “white man’s burden” was used to “civilize” “backwards” indigenous cultures.

It is often over looked that during the “dark-ages” in Europe, the Moorish culture was flourishing in the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. The Moors in Spain were not religious fundamentalists, the land lords took what was fair, in food, for payment for the use of land, and cross-disciplinary education was encouraged from the ground up, as opposed to being guarded by a few elite. Further, they were open to many systems of knowledge and translated libraries of greek, egyptian, chinese, and indian treatises on topics ranging from astrology, to alchemy, mathematics, architecture, and so on. The Renaissance was made possible by the work a civilization far in advance of European society, a civilization comprised largely of brown-skinned people.

Our differences were further codified by the development of the middle-class, which was the missing link to the lie of meritocracy: the middle rung of upward mobility. Sure, many have climbed that ladder from the bottom rung to the top, but the lie of meritocracy is that this is a valid option for everyone if they try hard enough. Our society relies on there being poor people in our country and in the world. It’s built that way. Looking through the internet often makes me feel hopeless. What gives me hope is my interactions with humans on the day to day. But let’s forget hope. Enjoy the inspiration of hope while it is there, but it is not required to show up everyday, and take the high ground and be in our truth, as Morrison suggests.

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Culture Lag

The feminist thinker and cultural critic, Camille Paglia, said that a man is more likely to be a DeVinci or a Michelangelo than a woman is. Paglia follows to say that a man is also more likely to be a Ted Bundy or a Charles Manson. This is because, in her view, men are more prone to be driven to obsession. She also believes in the mental superiority of women. Additionally, she holds that men and women have innately different psycho-emotion constitutions.

This would make Paglia of the old world sensibility of fixed gender characteristics (which she personally defies), which is rapidly becoming passé. This does not mean that those sensibilities no longer effect us, but that there is a long and painful “cultural lag” that occurs during the changing of the guard. This is part of our transitional task: the task of knowing in our cells what we see to be true in our intellect.

A few examples of this cultural lag follow. We know that ecosystems function through symbiosis, and that parasites on an ecosystem drain its ability to sustain itself, and we can plainly see that we have a parasitic relationship to our ecosystem. Biologically, humans are more similar than different, in some geneticists view, we are no more than 50th cousins. We are family. Yet racism and factionalism persist. We know that at an atomic level we are 99.99% empty. We know that radios and cell phones and satellites all receive and transmit information electronically, and we know that we are electro-magnetic beings, but we believe that something as confounding as human consciousness exists entirely in the matter of the brain. We believe in the immutable laws of nature, but in scientific observation, we see that we are standing on shifting sands. An example of the last is that, the constant on which the Theory of Relativity relies, the speed of light, is not constant at all.

So, if all the above is true, than we live in a post-racist, post-sexist, post-factionalist, post-materialist, infinitely interconnected world, in a universe of worlds that may be similar, in this regard. We know this, but we don’t seem to know that we know it. So you have our world, a sick world, devastated by parasites, trying excruciatingly to birth a new world which is radically self-aware through it’s newly evolved faculty of social consciousness. This is a living world, colonized by its own inborn sovereignty, in an endless multiplicity of modalities of expression. It is not the world of our dead stories, it is not a world that is ruled by immutable laws from on high, it is dynamic, it is happening now, and our awareness of all of these facts has pressed us to the edge of the Chasm. So, into the Chasm we must plunge. And if we emerge from this crucible, we collectively and universally, will be pure gold.

Social regeneration is our survival. The journey of dependence through independence to interdependence. Or the journey from here to here. We have extremely violent first-person shooter video games. We hype our sporting events as battles. Ultimate fighting is, like, crazy popular. We sensationalize and idolize our mass murderers. We have TV shows (some of which I enjoy) that romanticize and protagonize serial killers. We pay tax dollars that fund wars in which thousands of children are murdered by our boys and girls, at the order of our government. And then when one of our boys glitches out and guns down a bunch of people and himself, we use that opportunity to watch the news and push the hot-button issue of our choosing (well-intentioned perhaps), rather than giving the victims’ families the silence to bury their kin in dignity, and taking that time to explore deeply our own cultural culpability. Adam Lanza is a symptom, and so is gun violence, mental illness, violent video games, and mass media. So yes, we should treat the symptoms for temporary relief, but we have to heal the cause if we want to live together in this world. We don’t need to be reminded of human decency in order to forget human depravity, we need to be aware of all that it is to be human, in every detail, in cellular culture and in social culture.

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Lynn Margulis – Gaia Theory

Margulis gets into Gaia Theory 4:00 minutes into this video. Below are a few quotes to emphasize.

“The Gaia concept is that the surface of the earth is regulated and modulated physiologically. That is, the temperature of the earth, the acidity, and the concentration of the gases like oxygen and methane are not here by chance alone! They are a product of the interactions of the organisms. So…we as people, in general, have considered…passive life is adapting to an the environment that’s changing. [That] is the wrong way of looking at it. The way you wanna look at it is: life is actively changing the environment, and then it is responding to that [change], but after responding it’s changing it more. So, it’s not a monologue it’s a dialogue”

“I am convinced that the cell is a microbial community, it is not bacteria grown large. It is the integration of formally…separate entities, whose living co-descendants we can still understand.”

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David Bohm – Implicate Order

The Individual

What we commonly refer to as an individual, is a totality of billions of living entities with an infinite variety of possibilities of behavior. As such, it is these billions-of-self-determining entities, which are the sovereign beings involved in what we refer to as the individual. To be an individual, it is necessary to be acting as an indivisible unity. The establishment of “individuality” has very little to do with physical appearances, or setting up preferences in contrast to our local reality.

As it is, we are completely divisible. We are, at any given moment, moving in a thousand different directions. How can we expect to bring about the good society, when we, in our selves, are deep in conflict? The individual is glorified to such an extent that people compete on the merits of their individual talents and aptitudes. This is inline with the human as machine metaphor put forth by Descartes. Whether the human is seen as remarkable machine or as merely a cog in the machine of industry, the machine metaphor applies equally in capitalist and communist industrial societies. In this model the human’s value to society is measured only in her or his ability to contribute to the accumulation of capital or to the state regulated “commons.” Mechanization’s assumption involves interchangeable parts. Each part separate and equal to others like it, so that it can be discarded and replaced to keep the gears turning. To apply this to humans in society is to imply that those who are not capable of producing are “broken” and must be discarded and replaced.

But change the metaphor, and create the world anew. The individual, as I am proposing, does not give way to Individualism or the setting up of the individual against the world. Rather, it is a self-governing unity of the billions of live beings that form each of us, which is inseparable from the larger system of society, world, and cosmos. In this way, we are a particular subset of the one individual or the unity that is all that there is. With such a concept of individuality we can abandon “survival of the fittest” in favor of total interdependence as the mode for human survival on earth.

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