Volatility

May 4, 2012

GMO Empire: Thesis Statement

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Wednesday’s post sums up my thesis: Capitalism/corporatism must reach its fatal limit at the limits of the Earth itself, at which point, like the proverbial shark no longer able to swim, it must stagnate, sink, collapse.
 
GMOs comprise an attempt to overcome this limit by using technology to turn the globe itself into a slate which can be wiped clean and written on all over again, over and over and over. Each iteration is a new round of capitalist accumulation, each more vicious than the last, each following more closely upon the other.
 
This is the totalitarian extreme of the corporate imperative, and the basis of total corporate domination.
 
I’ll expand upon this. I’ll describe corporate food imperialism in general, and how GMOs are its ultimate manifestation. I’ll describe how the corporate state’s thuggery on behalf of the GMO rackets and welfare handouts to them are the most typical actions of this state’s general activity.
 
To provide evidence for this thesis, I’ll also demonstrate:
 
1. That no one within the system cares about whether GMOs increase yield. (They don’t.)
 
2. That no one cares about “feeding the world”. (It’s long been proven that corporate agriculture cannot do this and doesn’t want to do this. GMOs continue the pattern of decades.)
 
3. That no one cares whether GMOs reduce herbicide or pesticide use. (They increase it.)
 
4. That no one cares whether GMOs control weeds or insects. (On the contrary, they automatically generate superweeds and superbugs.)
 
5. That no one cares about drought resistance and other alleged traits. (GMOs can’t accomplish these.)
 
6. That no one cares if GMOs contaminate other crops and the environment at large. (They inevitably do.)
 
7. That no one cares if GMOs are safe. (As a matter of policy and dogma, no systematic safety testing was ever done on ANY GMO.)
 
8. That no amount of evidence that they’re unsafe will ever sway system policy and propaganda. (The ad hoc testing which has been done, and by now there’s been a lot of it, including rigged tests done by the GMO rackets themselves, has unanimously found potential problems for human health, usually severe ones. Not a single test has EVER given GMOs a clean bill of health.)
 
9. That no one cares that every polity everywhere, with no exceptions, given any chance to democratically express its will, has rejected GMOs.
 
10. That no one cares that agroecology has been proven to outperform industrial ag, including GMOs, according to every measure.
 
I think that if you put 1-10 together (and there may be others I’m not thinking of offhand), they constitute proof that the system’s top-down forcing of GMOs (a command economic policy by any measure; no polity anywhere has ever endorsed them or failed to reject them given a chance) has nothing to do with any consideration at all other than the profit imperative, the corporate domination imperative, the totalitarian power imperative.
 
I’m planning to write this up as a long essay/draft for a book. My posts here will be at first notes toward this project, and later drafts for it.
 
 

29 Comments

  1. Check out Salon for an article on Plan IT Valley, in Portugal. You will like this article.
    It does not address GMO’s ; it addresses the city of the FUTURE.
    This place is rather confidential in Europe, but it harkens back to Silicon Valley, evidently.
    I call this American colonization of the Old World.
    Most people over here in Europe do not recognize how colonization is accelerating, and the IMF incidents, austerity, the whole bit are another example of it.
    English is entering the French language at a rapid rate, propulsed by the sickening management vocabulary which has taken the planet by storm.
    If you think that profit is the ONLY motive for this, though, you are under a misconception, in my opinion.
    We are facing an elaborate belief system that, I repeat, Descartes set down in the Discourse. Like all belief systems, it is not..rational.
    The profit motive, although an important one, does not resist the observation that corporations engage in management strategies that REDUCE their profits in the long run.
    Ultimately, treating workers the way they do risks triggering revolution, and decreases productivity, as 100% automation is not possible.
    But… the fact that we are confronted with an elaborate belief system makes it extremely difficult to modify perceptions, and convince people at all levels that we are heading into the wall.
    People WANT to believe… and they like their comfort, too.
    This belief system even structures… HOW we think and WHAT we think. (Like all belief systems…)
    That makes moving away from it very very difficult.
    Look how long it took for this belief system to… defeat ? the Catholic Church ? Over 500 years..
    That’s a long long time.

    Comment by Debra — May 4, 2012 @ 5:40 am

    • If you think that profit is the ONLY motive for this, though, you are under a misconception, in my opinion.

      I didn’t say profit is the only motive. I said profit dominates and arranges the others and renders them more extreme.

      Comment by Russ — May 4, 2012 @ 6:06 am

      • Debra is inclined to collapse everything into “Cartesian dualism.” That’s her primary confirmation bias.

        For example, Debra refers to the “American colonization of the Old World,” but this colonization is founded on Austrian principles (all modern neoliberalism derives from Hayek and Mises). The fact that we humans tend to simplify everything into a choice between this and that cannot erase the other that is always present.

        She also seems to accept the “profit motive” at face value. The “profit motive” in practice is not about maximizing profits but demonstrating, on a quarterly basis, infinite scalability, which is the basis of valuation on all secondary equity markets.

        Regardless, there’s a lot in her comment above that I can agree with . . .

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — May 4, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

      • Ironically, this “American colonization of Europe” is just the most ponderous example of the pernicious practices of overseas imperialism boomeranging to subjugate the home country, since the worst aspects of the American character were inherent in the original colonialism.

        (Meanwhile, my own writing about the American Revolution seeks to identify and help foster the better elements of this colonial character, since I don’t see it as all-or-nothing.)

        Comment by Russ — May 5, 2012 @ 2:06 am

  2. How timely Russ. I went from this read, straight to this:

    “Shocking Letter Reveals Monsanto’s Contamination Dates Back 2 Years Before Deregulation

    A letter from Cal/West Seeds shows that evidence of contamination was withheld and the USDA turned a blind eye to proof of contamination in 2005 which shows it was planted at least two years before it was initially deregulated in 2005. As you can see for yourself, the official letter states:

    ‘We first discovered the unintended presence of the Roundup Ready gene in our conventional alfalfa seeds in 2005. It was identified in one of our foundation seed production lots grown in California. We tested the foundation seed lot priot to shipping it to a producer who intended to plant it for organic seed production.'”

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=30662

    Comment by tawal — May 4, 2012 @ 11:09 am

    • This is a common Monsanto/government tactic around the world, for example in India and Brazil. Monsanto goes ahead with illegal planting, with the goal of spreading as much contamination as possible. The government, rather than prosecuting the vandal/terrorist, instead uses this as a pretext to legalize the crime, regarding it as an “accomplished fact”.

      It’s a typical tactic, similar to “starve-the-beast”.

      Comment by Russ — May 5, 2012 @ 1:59 am

      • Yea, and to add insult to injury, they sue the farmers for using the now contaminated seeds because they own the patent.

        Comment by tawal — May 6, 2012 @ 12:34 am

      • It’s quite unbelievable…

        “Any child in the US who is vaccinated with the new DNA vaccines and anyone taking the flu vaccine is having their DNA being contaminated with patented GMOs.

        Those being vaccinated with the new DNA vaccines are automatically turning their “intellectual property” over their own DNA over to the vaccine manufacturers by allowing that DNA to be contaminated. The vaccines replicate how seeds are genetically engineered (patented GMOs are shot into the DNA), permanently corrupting it. But putting aside the damage to DNA, there is a undeniable commercial issue here. NONE of the legal issues of intellectual property rights over the DNA have been mentioned much less settled. What claims might the vaccine companies (or government which shares patents with it) make over the child’s “patent-tagged” blood, organs, etc. since patented DNA would be in all of it? Given the aggressive actions of Monsanto, a biotech company, against farmers whose fields were contaminated – involuntarily – by Monsanto’s patented intellectual property via pollen drift, and Monsanto’s refusal to say they will not sue those who were unwillingly contaminated, there is no reason to believe that the vaccine industry, biotech companies, will behave any differently. In fact, there is already action in Colorado to show how the drug companies may behave around control over what is in someone’s body.

        According to the FDA (which is controlled by the drug companies), adult stem cells are now drugs and the government claims the right to regulate them. How much more assertive would biotech companies behave when what is in people’s body includes patented material?”

        http://foodfreedomgroup.com/2012/05/05/unspeakable-outrages/#comment-15755

        Comment by Pete — May 6, 2012 @ 11:51 am

      • Those seemingly extreme conclusions do follow from the mainstream logic of the intellectual property ideology and practice. More reason for us to reject the entire IP concept in principle.

        Comment by Russ — May 7, 2012 @ 3:06 am

  3. What’s the connection you’re drawing between GMOs and capital destruction (“clean slate”)?

    Comment by paper mac — May 6, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

    • Paper Mac,

      The connection Russ is drawing seems pretty clear to me. The argument is that the promise of GMOs is illusory, a tactic to insert corporate profits ahead of human needs. GMOs offer nothing that Nature does not provide other than a patented monopoly. Nature can and will adapt to GMOs, which creates an accelerating demand for new GMOs that counteract Nature. The result may properly be termed the tragedy of the anti-commons, as the owners of the patents to the GMOs will act as a deterrent to those who would otherwise build upon and improve the GMOs that are losing to Nature. Eventually, the GMO patent owners will not have the resources needed to stay ahead of Nature, and people will suffer and starve as a result.

      At least that’s my interpretation of what I’ve been reading here . . .

      Comment by Tao Jonesing — May 7, 2012 @ 1:42 am

      • That’s a good take on it. It especially suppresses creative work in conventional breeding (which is actually responsible for all actual crop improvements*), since the aggressive GMO-IP regime is trying to quash all research except that dedicated to its own enclosure.

        *No GMO variety was developed by Monsanto or any other racket. Instead, they pirate an existing public domain variety which works well, cram a piece of alien material (usually extraneous, like herbicide resistance) into it, and claim the result as their “property”. But any productivity of the thing is 100% the result of its pre-existing public domain traits. The proprietary “gene” (really a chaotic mishmash) is only meant to serve as the pretext for enclosure, and perhaps to spur increased sales for something gratuitous like Roundup.

        For example, the USDA itself admits that Monsanto’s pending “drought-resistant” corn is an IP scam which will not improve upon the conventional varieties it pirated. Any actual drought resistance is indigenous to the original public domain variety.

        http://www.naturalnews.com/035299_GMOs_drought-resistant_corn_field_trials.html

        Meanwhile, the UCS estimates that all yield increases during the GMO era have been the result of improvements in conventional breeding (including the constructive use of genetic science, marker-assisted selection); none have resulted from GE itself.

        Comment by Russ — May 7, 2012 @ 3:01 am

    • In principle a new GMO regime can always supplant whatever the existing agricultural regime is, far more easily than needing a war to level cities so they need to be rebuilt. This leveling can happen almost immediately. It took only two seasons for Roundup Ready sugarbeets to go from zero market share to 95%, and to start contaminating wild relatives. That’s one example of how the entire agricultural sector can, in theory, be turned over every few years.

      Of course it would be harder for one racket to supplant an existing entrenched one than for the initial supplanting of nature. (“Supplanting nature” is actually impossible, but here I’m just referring to the short-run effects.) But I’m talking about the theoretical possibilities, as each iteration of GMOs enables a capital accumulation, fails, leaves much destruction in the agricultural and other sectors in its wake, and is succeeded by a new, even more aggressive iteration.

      For an example we’re already observing, we have the self-destruction of Roundup Ready infrastructure, perhaps to be superseded by the Enlist structure, which shall inevitably generate its own superweed-dealt destruction and the herbicide tolerance/seed suite to supersede it, and so on to infinity. (I refer to the principle and what is evidently the system ideology. Of course in practice this would bring complete environmental collapse much sooner.)

      Sorry if I’m not completely clear on my idea here. I’m still working out the details.

      Comment by Russ — May 7, 2012 @ 3:03 am

  4. Russ,

    Have you read anything by Jacques Ranciere? I just discovered him over the weekend, and I’m looking forward to receiving several books he wrote, including this one (“Hatred of Democracy”): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1844673863/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00

    Comment by Tao Jonesing — May 7, 2012 @ 1:30 am

    • I wasn’t familiar with him, but he sounds interesting based on that review. Lots of it resonates, and I especially liked this formulation (by the reviewer) :

      As such, hatred of democracy is symptomatic of a deep ressentiment on the part of the ruling classes, who must accept that their rule lacks any transcendental guarantee. In other words, democracy is the name of power’s intrinsic Lack.

      which neatly turns Nietzsche right-side up on this subject.

      It’s also good to see others who view anarchism and real democracy as synonyms.

      Comment by Russ — May 7, 2012 @ 3:13 am

      • By the way, I discovered this author while doing some research into Plato that led me to this book:

        “The Philosopher and His Poor is a remarkable work. Jacques Rancière demonstrates the recurrence throughout the history of western thought of a particular self-constituting move: the freedom and the right to think are premised upon a situating and excluding of those whose task is other than to think, what Rancière calls ‘the poor.’”—Derek Attridge, author of The Singularity of Literature

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — May 7, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

      • Yes, it’s completely bogus to speak of “freedom” or “democracy” while actively or passively advocating a system which doesn’t provide equal freedom to all and equal access to democracy and the leisure to pursue philosophical thinking. Pretty much all political philosophers except for the anarchists are guilty of this.

        Therefore, equality of political opportunity is a social requirement, while rough economic equality of condition is a prerequisite.

        Comment by Russ — May 8, 2012 @ 2:43 am

    • I briefly looked at the first review on Amazon.
      I have not read this book, nor this author. I will read… Toqueville, who is still on my reading list, before I read him.
      The book has gotten a fair amount of press in France. More than Toqueville…unfortunately.
      I will add my not scholarly two cents comment on what I read…
      I am not really sure that hierarchy is the devil that we are painting it out to be.
      Hierarchy is not necessarily a system in which classification is based on moral judgments of “superior” and “inferior”.
      The very idea of alterity is based on DIFFERENCE.
      In the family structure, would you say that the child is.. INFERIOR to his parent, because he is called upon to obey in certain circumstances ?
      Can you deny that the parent(s) exercise power and authority in their functions ? Are they.. superior for exercising that authority/power ? (I did not raise my children to be inferiors, but I did exercise.. AUTHORITY in certain moments, and the power/legitimacy that accompanies it.)
      I DO feel though, that human beings universally resent being treated.. AS INFERIORS. Being looked down upon.
      But here, that nasty grey enters into the picture…
      Last week, we had dinner with some friends, and I played the piano. Although I play rather well, I do not play perfectly, nor as well as I would like to.
      Our musical friend told me that I had played with sensitivity, and congratulated me. I know that he is very impressed with very virtuoso playing..
      And I, in rather… paranoiac manner felt for a minute as though he was snubbing me.
      The reasoning went like “who does he think he is, telling me that my playing was good… he was CONDESCENDING to me”.
      I had to stop and REFLECT to realize that, given his character, that was not his intention.
      This little individual incident can be generalized, and must be.
      Psychology is at the heart of revolutions, not political structure. “The people” revolt when resentment seethes, and THEY feel like they’re being snubbed, more than anything else (even.. economic/financial considerations…). Do the elite.. necessarily WANT to snub them ? Look down on them ?
      Things are more complicated than that.
      As I’ve said before, I am on an Internet forum with people who have unfortunately got stuck with psychiatric diagnoses.
      These people do not have any self confidence. Many of them have no concentration, have not done well at school.
      THEY FEEL INFERIOR…. even without somebody to lord over them, THEY STILL FEEL INFERIOR. And they resent… people who don’t feel inferior..
      In some cases, they manage to EXCLUDE THEMSELVES from what they then.. RESENT. (Not all, but many.)
      In such a context, it becomes difficult to decide who/what is.. “elite”, and definitions vary.
      I happen to feel that IF… we manage to implement the kind of political structure that you want, Russ, we will STILL find a worm in the apple.
      That’s… THE WAY WE ARE…
      As far as hating democracy is concerned, I am now impatient with it, and the eternal litany that it is the least obnoxious form of government available to us. We have been telling ourselves this story for over 500 years now.
      It is.. OLD NEWS…
      Time to move on… indeed, we are already moving on…

      Comment by Debra — May 7, 2012 @ 10:23 am

      • Do the elite.. necessarily WANT to snub them ? Look down on them ?

        Whether the elite want to look down on “the people” is irrelevant because they do, in fact, look down on them. Moreover, while it is clear that the elite do not want to snub “the people,” they just can’t help doing so given their hubris these days.

        Plato and Aristotle hated “the people” because they viewed the people as beneath them and unworthy of the franchise. Plato himself made the points you seek to make regarding the fact that people are different and most people are better at something than other people happen to be. I think these points are irrelevant to whether a person should have a say in how he or she is governed by the polis. The argument is a complete non sequitur as it changes the subject from whether a person has a vote to what a person does for a living.

        As far as hating democracy is concerned, I am now impatient with it, and the eternal litany that it is the least obnoxious form of government available to us. We have been telling ourselves this story for over 500 years now.

        What democracy? I don’t see one anywhere. Even Greece didn’t have democracy because the franchise was limited to males. The U.S.’s original flavor of “democracy” is something that Aristotle himself described as an oligarchy because it was limited to land-owners. Even after removing that limitation to the franchise, the U.S. is a republic, not a democracy. Whatever you’re impatient with, it isn’t democracy. Indeed, in both the US and the EU, what we have is oligarchy masked by technocracy– a gaggle of “philosopher kings” running our governments to protect the people from themselves.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — May 7, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

      • Plato himself made the points you seek to make regarding the fact that people are different and most people are better at something than other people happen to be. I think these points are irrelevant to whether a person should have a say in how he or she is governed by the polis.

        This was a typical Plato/Socrates fallacy. Just because it’s true that some people, on account of training and an inherent sense for it, are better ship captains etc. than others, does not cause it to follow that there’s any set of training and inherent wisdom which make some individuals naturally fit for political rule. (Plato’s personal experiments with this training were failures by any measure, as were Aristotle’s by most measures.)

        Plato was basically reifying his “ship of state”. But the evidence record is that no such “talent for rule” exists, at least in any way which can be replicated through training by any system. (Or even through the personal tutelage of a gifted individual. Richelieu failed to adequately teach Mazarin to guide a willful monarch like Louis XIV.)

        And even the “gifted individuals” were gifted only from the point of view of predation, not maximizing human prosperity and happiness (which are indisputably the basic human goals, even if we were to consider freedom the aspiration of a minority).

        So in the end the facts are clear – there’s probably no “talent” for humanly benevolent rule, and certainly none which can be systematically perpetuated by any institution. So it follows that we the people should directly rule ourselves. There’s no practical or legitimate “representative government”.

        Comment by Russ — May 9, 2012 @ 6:43 am

      • Please detail the reasoning behind the phrase that Plato was reifying his ship of state.
        For the past five hundred years or so, Western civilization has been slowly arriving at the place where Aristotelian logic is supposed to totally explain our world in an orderly, rational manner…
        But our world, and ourselves refuse to be explained, or justified according to this logic… and nothing we do, nor say, will make us fit into these neat little boxes the way we would like to fit into them.
        Isn’t that the center that cannot hold ?
        One of the most… gifted individuals that ever came on the scene in Western Culture was Jesus.
        Take a look at his life, what he accomplished, in an extremely… non predatory attitude.
        And look where we have taken his thought… Terrifying.

        Comment by Debra — May 9, 2012 @ 11:27 am

      • A community is not a ship, nor is it like a ship in any critical way. At best the ship of state may be a useful metaphor in some limited contexts. But Socrates/Plato introduces this metaphor, then proceeds as if the community really is some kind of ship.

        The fact is, society becomes like a ship only where hijacked by elites, who must then steer it in their own interest (usually right into rocks) while the people are chained as galley slaves.

        So the ship of state metaphor is also question-begging and circular. A ship needs a captain? The logic is really, an aspiring captain needs a ship.

        Comment by Russ — May 10, 2012 @ 4:33 am

      • You know, what I find really strange is that…
        Here in France, I encouraged a woman to witness for her Christian faith. More or less deserting our Internet forum, she went out and created her own little personal, individual blog in that vast universe of blogoland where we are mostly.. little planets revolving around an occasional sun (king ??)…
        I am not Christian although I am as not Christian as can be.. someone who finds her place in a secularized CHRISTIAN civilization.
        Exchanging with her… is like exchanging with you… she is… like a rock, standing in the middle of the ocean…
        I fear that you can talk about reifying as much as you like, our civilization is currently busy axing metaphor wherever it appears.
        That is why… I currently hate our civilization, and want to have as little to do with it as possible.
        On the ship incident, I refer you to “Pirates of the Caribbean”, first film, with the cool scene where Jack Sparrow highjacks two ships…
        A ship.. needs a captain, AND … captains are happy to have ships. And captains need crews, of course.
        But captains don’t need an army of other captains, and ships… do not need an army of captains, either.
        IF WORK IS GOING TO GET DONE. For… THIS KIND OF WORK…
        Dixit.. A CAPTAIN when she is not.. a wife and mistress (to the same man).

        Comment by Debra — May 10, 2012 @ 8:21 am

  5. Well, Tao, two incidents.
    Last week my 86 year old mother in law called to ask who we were voting for in the elections.
    She is.. lost. (If we were more honest with ourselves, and did less chest puffing with hubris, we could all admit that we are lost…)
    And she wanted me to tell her what to do…
    She WANTED me to tell her what to do. She consistently behaves this way in my house.
    It creates tension, and resentment, in me and my husband. SHE puts US in the position of knowing what she should do, Tao…
    Toqueville said that eventually the democratic system created a.. lump ? a conglomerate ? a mass ? of silent, sullen, seething people who want to be told what to do, while actively resenting those who, often out of frustration, end up telling them what to do.
    The American DSM has managed to AXE “hysteria”, the classification that describes this POLITICAL behavior. No wonder, over there in the mother country, that you are particularly lost when trying to understand it…
    When I walk around my favorite pond, I cross tons of people training their dogs. OBEDIENCE TRAINING, it’s called…
    And if you take a look at the world’s literature, and watch the people with their dogs, you will realize that WE have no respect for the dog, as an animal..
    Because we have TRAINED HIM TO OBEY…
    Pretty ambivalent, huh ? We train the dog to obey, and then we despise him for obeying ??
    As a species, we are not at one contradiction près, as we say here.
    For someone preaching.. humility, Tao, you sometimes sound rather arrogant, you know ?
    Unless arrogance is also in the eyes.. of the beholder ?
    Have you realized that in the world we live in, one man’s elite is another man’s proletaire, (or middle class..) ? You will almost always be.. the elite of somebody who is itching with envy, and is determined to feel inferior.
    Last week I read an eye opening account of a woman who was raised by the system in France, born in 1944. She spent many years in Catholic orphanages, in between Old France, and the new Republican one.
    She is highly intelligent, enough to recognize the advantages of the disadvantages, and vice versa.
    When she is a teenager, she spends her summers working as a servant in the château of an aristocratic family.
    In the 1950’s, in her modern pension, at school, she has running water, and flush toilets..
    The Catholic aristo family has none of this at the château…
    This realization of “progress” does not stop her from envying the lovely things in the aristo family, and resenting the way they order her around…
    I say… what’s to envy ? i am happy just to touch, and handle, and be with the lovely things, without having the incredible burden of.. OWNING them…
    If serving is a way of doing this, why not ?
    IF… we could manage to not despise those who serve us, wouldn’t that be great ?
    If we didn’t need to believe that those who serve us, serve us because they are naturally inferior, justifying our position in our own eyes, wouldn’t the world be a paradise ?
    If we could manage to not envy those who we perceive as having “more” than us, wouldn’t that be great too ? To imagine that what THEY own was not taken out of OUR mouths ?
    I keep dreaming…

    Comment by Debra — May 8, 2012 @ 3:58 am

    • For someone preaching.. humility, Tao,

      I was not aware that I was preaching anything, Debra, but if I seem to be preaching humility, that doesn’t seem like a bad thing to me.

      you sometimes sound rather arrogant, you know ?

      I have had people accuse me of being arrogant in the past. My experience has been that happens primarily because they read things into what I say that I did not, in fact, say, intend or mean. A few years back when I was at my lowest point, where I was very arrogant at times, but nobody called me out on it precisely because of my position.

      Pretty ambivalent, huh ? We train the dog to obey, and then we despise him for obeying ??

      Interesting that you would choose this analogy as the elite did indeed train the masses to obey and do indeed despise the masses, but not because the masses are obedient– that is what the elites view as their “natural” station in life, after all. No, the elite despise being responsible for the masses, for having to care for them and feed them, just like you resent your mother in law for making you feel responsible for her. (Your mother-in-law is a different story because it is to be expected that the elderly will need care in their later years, so I have no sympathy for you there.)

      Of course, humanity “broke” the wild wolf to create a domestic dog that is not self-sufficient, just as the elite broke the masses so they are not self-sufficient (and cannot challenge their power or take their stuff). I’m sorry, but if you break it, you buy it.

      Have you realized that in the world we live in, one man’s elite is another man’s proletaire, (or middle class..) ? You will almost always be.. the elite of somebody who is itching with envy, and is determined to feel inferior.

      The masses envying the elite is not the problem. The elite count on that envy as a carrot to keep the masses on the hamster wheel. The problem is the elites having an irrational fear of losing their stuff, even if their stuff is really a stream of future rents. The entire purpose of “austerity” is to preserve future interest payments . . .

      Debra, I really do believe that your belief in the primacy of Cartesian dualism prevents from seeing the true complexity of our situation, which is ironic because you assert that I’m failing to see the complexity. But that is because you seem to believe that I think that one man choosing to serve another is not an acceptable choice and further that I believe that everybody is equal in all ways. You are reading too much into what I’ve said in these comments and around the internet.

      Comment by Tao Jonesing — May 8, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

    • One more thing . . .

      You misframe what is happening in the world as the masses’ envy for what the elite have when, in fact, it is the masses’ resentment for what the elite do. The elite are forcing the masses to suffer and even starve so that the elite’s fictive wealth can continue to grow infinitely in a finite world. Again, this is the reality of “austerity”: the masses are being forced to pay off the elite’s bad debts because the elite cannot be allowed to lose its rigged game.

      Comment by Tao Jonesing — May 8, 2012 @ 11:03 pm

      • Tao, what can I say ?
        Nothing, apparently.
        I spent years… on the couch. Not loafing. In psychoanalysis.
        For a long time, I thought that I was broken. That I was… the only one who had not achieved this mysterious… nirvana of alterity, of being truly open to other people’s points of view.
        For years, I beat myself around the head for being.. not good enough. Not.. normal.
        Until I started noticing that… the people who were sometimes unconsciously… preaching the doxa of alterity, (now it’s transformed into empathy, perhaps..) had their blind spots too. We all have our blind spots…thank.. God.
        I ended my psychoanalysis with the realization that my psychoanalyst would probably always consider that he was… “saved” (another word… “normal”), while I was not, and that there was absolutely nothing that I could do, say, or think that would change his mind.
        This is a very uncomfortable position. Not an uncommon one, though.
        We live in a very evangelistic civilization, Tao. Lots of people wanting to save (and not just filthy lucre…), and be saved. Do you ever wonder where that comes from ? How it.. persists ?
        I find it very ironic that you talk to me about my belief in the primacy of Cartesian dualism.
        I do NOT believe in the primacy of Cartesian dualism in our society.
        Just as Christianity was progressively secularized in our civilization, and God became more and more an abstract idea, Cartesian dualism has been… secularized, too. Descartes was a mystic, and a believer in God.
        According to Ivan Illich, the Church fathers already perceived that the corruption of the best engenders…. the worst. Polarization highlights our collective… identity crisis.
        I do believe that at this point in time, the Renaissance reaction to the medieval church’s ideological supremacy has reached the point where it is now a new totalitarian ideology, as… intolerant as the medieval Church was, in our history. From Scylla to Charybdis.
        I find it very very difficult to resist polarization (binary thinking) at this time, precisely because of the above situation.
        And I think that MY difficulties are not… exceptional. If I look at the blogs, I see evidence of this polarization everywhere.
        It is illusory, from my point of view, to imagine that any individual can completely break free, all the time, from the incredible, invisible pressures of the social body, when said social body is radicalizing at the speed of light.
        Like I said to Russ, when you don’t want to promote something, you don’t SAY or write the word.
        That’s why I try to limit the M word as much as possible. By talking about… “the masses” (the M word..) you CREATE the masses, Tao. Is this.. what you want to do ? The “elites” and “masses” problem has a chicken/egg structure. Trying to pinpoint the origin of this.. dualism that excludes the middle, well, I happen to feel that that is like trying to find a unicorn in a haystack.
        I suppose that Russ (and you ?) think that I am a nihilist because I believe that as long as that “elite” WORD exists… and gets incredible COVERAGE all over the planet, we will find new ingenious ways to employ it… Combating that is not unlike Don Quixote taking on the windmills. Slaying monsters only to have them ressucitate five seconds later.
        Perhaps this is… natural ? normal ? desirable ? I am too old for it now, though…and not the right sex, either.
        It may be pointless for us to discuss this, Tao.
        We both share the extremely irritating passion of wanting to be right…and I am not sure that we live in the same world.
        At the end, we come down to the crucial question… if we don’t see the same world.. WHAT DO WE HAVE IN COMMON ?
        How can we live together ? What can we share, and how ? What can.. BRING US TOGETHER ? and not just over the Internet, which is very dematerialized.
        It is this situation, this question, that has the U.S. poised on the brink of war ? revolution ?, and the entire Western world in turmoil…

        Comment by Debra — May 9, 2012 @ 4:22 am

      • Debra,

        You are hiding in your language. And you know it.

        This is what you do best.

        Constantly swirling and moving, ducking and jiving, taking on a new aspect at every turn.

        But this has nothing to do with who you are today.

        You do indeed frame everything in a “this-or-that” Cartesian dualist way. You can’t help yourself. And as a result, you can’t help but to mischaracterize what I (and Russ) have to say. You constantly try to shoehorn me into positions that are not mine, which is why I constantly call BS on what you say.

        Like I said to Russ, when you don’t want to promote something, you don’t SAY or write the word.

        This is a prime example of your BS. I can, in fact, dispute your use of the word “democracy” by writing the word “democracy” without promoting democracy. I actually did so earlier.

        And I think that MY difficulties are not… exceptional. If I look at the blogs, I see evidence of this polarization everywhere.

        Blogs are self-selecting and, therefore, naturally polarizing. Stop looking at the blogs. The polarization in our communities and in the workplace is nowhere in evidence. There is great opportunity for dialogue.

        Just as Christianity was progressively secularized in our civilization

        You have it backwards. Secular philosophy was turned into religion and then transformed back in philosophy. Go back and study your history with a broader mindset.

        We both share the extremely irritating passion of wanting to be right

        You may be right about you, but you are wrong about me. I do not want to be right. I don’t care about being right because I don’t believe it is possible. Truth is not a static thing.

        …and I am not sure that we live in the same world.

        I don’t think we live in the same world because you insist that the world is static when it is, in fact, dynamic. You insist on either/or, right/wrong

        At the end, we come down to the crucial question… if we don’t see the same world.. WHAT DO WE HAVE IN COMMON ?

        That’s a stupid question. Regardless of what world we see, what we have in common is that we share the same resources.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — May 13, 2012 @ 1:39 am

  6. Frankly, Tao, I take our exchange as… proof that dialogue over the Internet, over PUBLIC blogs is not possible…
    That language is deceptive, equivocal, and always has been. Always will be, too, regardless of our current puerile attempts to rid it of ambiguity.
    We are apparently not reading the same things.
    I refer you to.. “Macbeth”, not what you like to call history.
    You seem to forget that man is not a rational animal. He is indeed capable of acting against his own… “interest”…
    All the time, indeed.

    Comment by Debra — May 13, 2012 @ 3:15 pm


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