From JOE BAGEANT
Booze, rage and justice in the participation age
[…] It is now clear to me that the people’s rage is a tool in the hands of the new electronic and digital corporate state. Its various channels, eddies and pools, regardless of type, can be directed toward all sorts of mischief and profit. Left or right, the angry throngs on both sides can be managed and directed. They can be sent chasing various injustices, denouncing evil characters on Wall Street, Times Square bombers, BP executives, or whatever, worked up into slobbering outrage over Sarah Palin, and thus kept divided and working against each other for the benefit of last gasp capitalism.
Once outside the furious drek of American political and economic life, and having finished the last book I will ever write, I found myself asking: “Why did the good in the American people not triumph? How can it be that so many progressive, justice-loving citizens failed? Their positions were well reasoned. The facts were indisputably on their side. Obviously, there was, and is, more going on than merely losing battles to demagoguery and meanness. Why do we lose the important fights so consistently? What has kept us from establishing a more just kingdom? Something is missing.
I think it is, in a word, the spiritual. The stuff that sustained Gandhi and Martin Luther King, and gave them the kind of calm deliberate guts we are not seeing today. I am not talking about religion, but the spirit in each of us, that solitary non-material essence, none the less shared by all humans because we are human. When we let our capitalist overlords cast everything in a purely material light — as material gain or loss for one group or another — we played the oppressor’s game.
It was always a game with no vision. Just good guys, bad guys, pissed off people, or apathetic disenfranchised ones, amid one helluva lot of money changing hands. Mostly the wrong hands. That game drives us to the petty the larcenies we perform against one another in the name employment, and the atrocities abroad to which none of us lay our rightful claim as beneficiaries of the empire’s pillage. Our purposeful blindness to such things necessarily eliminates any universal vision. All the best ones are universal.
Yet down inside human beings is a love of justice. Honestly. The psyche seeks balance, and therefore seeks justice. Regardless of the perversion of its definition, and therefore the laws, by those who own nearly all of our country and damned well intend to own the rest, we know.
While those elite forces can own everything around us, and have proven they can make life quite miserable if they care to, they cannot own that thing inside us. The one that gives out the last sigh before sleep, and travels the realms of the great human collective consciousness alone. This is the consciousness that ebbs and flows between all external events. There is nothing mystical about it. Go sit in any quiet place with your eyes closed for a half hour or so, and that self will invariably say hello.
This is also the self that our oppressors can never allow a moment’s rest. Because when it finds rest, it finds insight, and can fuse the spiritual, psychological and material worlds into some transcendent vision that can at last seen and sought after. It makes Buddhist monks rebel in Sri Lanka and creates indigenous liberation theologians in Latin America.
Fortunately for Wall Street, the world’s bankers, the military industrial complex, there is science, which they love so dearly they purchased it outright. Scientism has successfully sold the notion that spiritual awareness is superstition. By that accounting, the mind is no more than the brain, and love is a body sack of chemicals interacting. (A stunningly successful new public relations campaign by BASF chemical corporation campaign actually declares that love is chemical. Its success both here and in China would give Orwell the heebie jeebies.)
This will in all likelihood be the last philosophical and political battle with capitalist totalitarianism, assuming it can even be called a battle. I am not seeing much thinking and no genuine struggle on the American people’s part. Consumer capitalism’s material gratification has been so grotesquely satisfying, that it has shredded most of thinking in the country and all of willingness to take risks.
The blinking reptilian elites now own our entire material needs hierarchy chain, top to bottom. You eat, shit, work, fuck and die at the pleasure of their Great Machine. The presence of six billion others, most of whom are in the same situation, all but guarantees this as our material destiny on a finite and increasingly poisoned planet, before the big hasta la vista.
Meanwhile, win or lose, we are left with our inner selves to sustain each day (if only because Oprah has not yet gained copyright). In doing so we can discover the only kingdom that was ever ours. The same one gurus, messiahs, martyrs and hairy-assed sages the world over have ever agreed upon. The kingdom within.
I’m sure many readers bailed out back there when I first mentioned the spirit. “That crazy old peckerwood Bageant has finally blown a head gasket!” And as many more said “fuck this” at the mention of a kingdom within us. That goes to show the level of our indoctrination against anything that cannot be measured, counted, computed (and thereby controlled by the corporate state). I find it fascinating that we can so easily bandy terms such as fascism, or American free market capitalism — two of the filthiest concepts ever devised — yet piss all over terms indicating some higher value or quality in human beings.
What has all this to do with blogging? Everything and nothing of course. When I do get around to blogging, I serve up whatever the ole puddin’ between my ears has been festering on. Mostly what happened around me that day, and what it may suggest about the world.
Sometimes it is a topic as big as the empire, other times as small as reflections on my latest batch of tortillas. In any case, I am the same as my reader friends, ordinary and fearful. Enough so, that they can identify with my ramblings. I don’t write to them. I don’t write for them. And I don’t write at them. We merely live on the same planet watching the unnerving events around us, things the majority does not seem to see. So I write about that. And maybe for just a moment, a few friends I’ve never met do not feel so alone. Nor do I.
Which is why god made blogs, I guess.
However, beyond that, we are each on our own, most of our waking hours, for the rest of our days. There are more chapters to come in our lives, and this time next year, I do not plan to be blogging. Having glimpsed that kingdom within, I am very much interested in its pursuit, which is individual and does not much involve rage or politics. In other words, shut my pie hole and grow stronger, and with luck, a little wiser.
I hate writing this sort of me-me-me stuff. But I felt your letter addressed a question I’ve been asked often lately, and deserved my best effort at an honest reply.
Original article here→
See also Joe’s article: What The Left Behind Series Really Means→