Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Civilization is an Equal Opportunity Exploitation Machine

That doesn’t mean that all people have equal access to civilization’s accoutrements—some groups have seeming unlimited access while others are marginalized into insignificance—but all are equally alienated from their humanity. 

The rich, the famous, the powerful are presented as a kind of model so that the poor, the anonymous, the powerless masses are able to maintain the necessary sense of direction, the necessary illusion of hierarchy.  It is hard to appreciate the depth of your suffering if everyone else is suffering the same.  And it is important for a society based on consumptive acquisition that the majority of its members feel an acute sense of deficiency. 

But the rich, the famous, the powerful have exchanged what little freedom there is left available to us for their riches, their fame, their power.  They are, for all their apparent “success” more deeply embedded in the gears—they are, in fact, the gears.  As gears, their movement is only through direct transfer from the springs and gears around them.  A homeless person living under a freeway overpass has inestimably more freedom of thought and movement, is inestimably more human.  The homeless, because for many of them civilization is something they are living with more than something they are living in, are perhaps, along with their rainforest-dwelling brethren, the last remaining human beings on the planet. 

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