Wednesday, 21 January 2015
Throughout human history the constant struggle over the acquisition of resources has led us to different epochs of savage and brutal conquerors and warring civilisations. The Ancient Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Ancient Greeks, The Roman Empire, the Mongol Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, the list is exhaustive. The supreme goal of these empires was to expand and provide resources for its citizen’s consumption. The unfortunate cultures in the path of this expansion were left with two stark choices: assimilation or extermination.
The brutal world wars crippled the last great empire, the British, simultaneously destroying her socially, economically and spiritually. That inevitably left a power vacuum that was exploited upon by the United States and the Soviet Union, fighting a half-century “bluff” war for the riches, the US emerging victorious. They now have 900 military bases in 153 countries as they snake their way to world domination. However, the current expansion of China’s economy may well lead to a new power struggle on the horizon. But, perhaps, there might be a different power struggle emerging. Not from between warring states, but the mere slaves to these land-grabbing civilisations, the struggle of the common man.
We are at a crucial point in history. This century could well be the biggest revolution since the Industrial Revolution of the Eighteenth Century - the social revolution of the Twenty-First Century and, perhaps, the greatest social revolution of them all. We could witness the final struggle for the common man against his rich and powerful overlords. The battle that has raged unwaveringly and intensely for eons, the war for the control of the masses, could finally come to an end and the winner could well be the masses.
The battles that our forefathers bravely fought for - the right to protest, the right to vote, the declaration of Human Rights - could provide the framework for a peaceful social revolution through the means of democracy. Not the distorted and warped version we are forced to endure today - a plutocratic oligarchy deceitfully masked as democracy, but a real working democracy. There is a considerable way to go and we may never get there. The well-trodden path might well lead us, blinded by our usual self-centred short-comings, down another cul-de-sac. But the slave-owner’s unquenchable, voracious greed could prove to be their downfall. The huge inequalities, where a new Oxfam report had the richest 1% nearing 50% of the world’s wealth, could be the trigger.
Throughout Europe, the common man is awakening from his slumbering coma. He is realising the battle before him. Induced into this hypnotic state by the ruling elites to keep him subdued and unable, even unwilling, to question the “way of things”, he is opening his eyes and heart to great new possibilities for a fairer, more egalitarian, society.
The immense scientific achievements of the last century may well be one of the most important movements in history. Our understanding of the world we live in has had profound impacts on society. From elevating our knowledge on the almost infinite universe through pioneers like Einstein and his theory of relativity, Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, (that proves all life on the planet is related and dependant on each other in a delicately shared eco-system) and science’s peer-regulated method of turning data into evidence, mankind has truly emerged from the dark ages. We are beginning to finally understand our place in the universe. We have seen it’s a hostile universe and the Earth is the only sanctuary we know of. Without it we are likely doomed to destruction, or a nomadic and harsh existence on alien planets. We are a part of this planet and our physiologies are not suited to other worlds. There’s not another crucible for human life just around the corner.
"Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception." - Carl Sagan
The scientific revolution has not just provided us with theoretical milestones but technological ones too. The countless improvements in technology have greatly improved our lives. The internet has opened up communication and exchange of ideas like never seen before. People from different countries and cultures can communicate instantly. New ideologies and information can reach a whole variety of people that may have not had access before.
The field of robotics has led to an ever-increasing mechanisation of the workforce, pushing up unemployment and pushing down purchasing power of more and more. Without jobs, the capitalist system will crumble. There are some who predict this demise as imminent and propose a new examination of the entire system as a whole. With an obviously broken and increasingly unstable structure, the break-away of countries is already happening, such as Iceland from pro-austerity and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela.
Whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden and Julian Assange have jolted the masses’ attentions from the official “truth” and led many to begin questioning everything in the mainstream media. The same media is 90% owned by corporate companies, where the same corporations lobby the governments and fund political parties into office. Releasing secret files, these heroes/villains (depending on your stance), have revealed the nefarious orchestrated movements performed in the dark by these untrustworthy governments.
With such disdain and despair in politics, the rise of the right and left extreme parties in Europe was inevitable. It is from the left, with their political position of supporting social equality, which the social revolution could emerge. They hold real alternatives to the tried-and-tested politics of the corporate-pandering middle ground.
Of course, as proven throughout history and echoed by Machiavelli, people in power will do all they can to keep it. The ruling elites will not shed their wealth and power readily. The only difference from previous civilisations is the nuclear situation. When previous civilisations collapsed, the fallout was contained within that civilisation. With a truly global world now, and prejudices running deep, an increasingly weakened ruling elite could take down everything with them. World War III and total planetary destruction is a distinct terrifying possibility.
“I have watched as the precious, finite resources are perpetually wasted and destroyed in the name of profit and free markets. I have watched the social values of society be reduced into a base artificiality of materialism and mindless consumption. And I have watched as the monetary powers control the political structure of supposedly "free societies". I have watched humanity set the stage for its own extinction.” - Jacque Fresco.
The end is perhaps certainly nigh. It might well be nigh for free-market capitalism that is killing our planet and driving the social and economic inequalities, or the vampiric super-rich that suck the life from this corrupt system. It may well be the end of us all as a species. It may, however, just be the end to a complete history of oppression, slavery and domination of the strong over the weak. From it might just spring the notion that the gloriousness of life is something not crooked and exploitable, but beautiful and to be cherished. It might give birth to the realisation that we are an integral part of this planet, not an exception to its rule and able to act without consequences. It might give rise to the idea that only by working in unity can we achieve harmony.
We owe it to ourselves and future generations to build a society where all life brought into the world has a chance to live, not just survive; to flourish, not just struggle along; to realise their potential in a nurturing and caring environment, not be persecuted and demoralised by it. That is a world worth fighting for and, if the masses win, with the help of clarity of thought and the conviction of moralities, could, maybe, become reality.
Saturday, 10 January 2015
Words have such power to inspire the human spirit. There are so many great works of art that can ignite the spiritual flame within us to better ourselves and lift us out of pain and misery, allow us to dream and wonder and provide us with better understanding of our world and our role within it. The great poets, lyricists, writers and orators of our species are shared with each generation, and in turn inspire new artists and wordsmiths to find their own voice and they then inspire their own generation and the cycle continues. The power of language undoubtedly has the potential to create such beauty in the world. But, it also has a dark side.
Language can be used to twist meaning, manipulate others into doing their bidding for them and has the power to cause great suffering and death and destruction on our planet. Inspired by his uncle Sigmund Freud, and his belief that mankind harbours great destructive desires that drive our unconscious, Edward Bernays knew the importance of language. He knew that by masking language from its real intent was the key to control and power. The father of “public relations” (which he coined as a mask for its true name “propaganda”) built this insidious empire of lies to deceive the general public.
Paul Watzlawick, Austrian Psychologist.
We are suffering from Bernays’ treachery of language today. It is ingrained in society like a parasitic organism, feeding on our darkest desires and whims. They sculpt the truth into twisted spires of hypocrisy and chicanery. They sculpt the individual into an obedient fearful creature, hell bent on self-preservation and self-gratification. On the one hand they offer redemption. On the other hand they demand enslavement.
Faceless corporate advertising agencies tugging at our spiritually malnourished being, conspiring public relations firms deliberately massaging our inflated egos and appealing to our more lubricious desires, unethical and morally reprehensible news and media conglomerates malevolently nurturing our primitive anxieties and helpless disquietude. If only they were watered and fed and allowed to blossom…breathing life to a world, where people are persuaded to pursue their own selfish interests and to indulge in their destructive vices at will, with little or no disregard for others or the fragile ecosystem around them…
“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”
- F. Scott Fitzgerald.