This may seem like a reply to a different topic. But it is related at the very foundation of what we're discussing.
What I mean is that we are at the mercy of our own actions. We're looking outside for an answer.
Over the years of living on farms and ranches, I've had the rare opportunity to meet some older people who saw what happened before and then after the time period around World War 2. Farms that were natural and healthy that ran into financial trouble. What were dairies turned into beef raising land. Farms that were in the clear turned into farms that were in financial need. A pivotal role was played by corporations. The companies that served as dealers in artificial fertilizers, weened these farmers into a way of life that gave the corporations great power and wealth, at the expense of farming, and those who farmed.
This is one example. One of how we became dependent. Look at our dependency now. I've made a few enemies in my family when the 4th of July comes around, and I'm very open about calling it Dependence Day. Most people don't get it.
I'm not going to finish this. I feel like I'm talking to an alcoholic. Preaching to the deaf. I was deaf. And blind. Only when I could see did I turn my life around. But that's personal. We're talking about getting an entire society to turn around. In a nutshell, when we support the corporations, we open ourselves up to being squashed by them. This isn't happening in a vacuum. We're the ones. It all starts at your personal consumption.
It's interresting that we picked up on the country bumkin part of your post. I also tended to put the blame on rural folks. But it's not the case that it's geographic. But that is a sidetrack of the issue. But one that we ought to get straight in order to focus properly on what our problem really is.
We are a country where the civilians do indeed have a say in where things go. There's a problem that exists within our civil infrastructure that has not instilled and inspired us to take full advantage of our gift in order to do what is best for US. I believe it is a combination of corporate and other things I am not able to identify off the top of my head right now. Our entertainment has been anything but good for us. Father Knows Best? Cops? Even Laugh-in had some modicum of value. But most of the shit that has gone over our airwaves has done nothing to inspire us to make a better country. We could have used tv to teach biology, math, chemistry. But we took the entertaining way out. After all, it's a lot more fun. Like drinking and smoking is to excercise and eating properly. Ask me, I've lived all of these lives.
We have the steering wheel in our hands. But we don't know where to take the bus. So we took our hands off the wheel and let others drive it for us. Others like Bush. Or FOX. Or any of these huge lobbying firms.
It's across the board. Inner city, to the tip of Alaska. It's an individual choice which has no location. And now we've reached our destination. Our credit card is maxed. It was a great ride. Check, please.
We had a hand in the greatest civil experiment on earth. And we crashed it. Now what? I still think there's another starting line somewhere. I did it. I had my six pack every night for years. It makes me sick to think of it. I lost time and energy and money. I picked myself up and started the hard work of bettering myself. What does it take to wake up the sleeping, the lazy, the careless. I think it takes a helping hand. We gave our money to the warlords. We need to spend that kind of cash on helping people raise themselves up and out of their stupors. I know, that's why I gave up. Hopelessness. Give most people a start, and they'll find the optimism to do something with it.
It seems so simple, if one only looks at why 911 happened. Not WHAT happened. The depth of vision that most people on this planet have seems to be quite shallow. I have a deep sense of personal responsibility for what happened. All Americans do, whether they know it or not. Killing Bin Laden, or even forgiving him, would not change why we were attacked. If I were to post about what transpired in my family when the towers came down, it would probably be an unmatched fight on this forum. We immediately called for forgiveness. We also realized that it was very likely a choreographed act that went well beyond the one man, if you catch my meaning. What needs to happen is personal reflection by each American. As long as we have to subsidize the goods we consume, with war, there will be Osamas in one form or another. The enemy is us. No amount of celebration will change that.
And then there is the subject of celebration. There is room for it, within a context. The end of a specific era. The end of one man. But I find that part rather trivial in comparison.
I might add that to counter anyone who believes that forgiveness is crazy, just think about what we accomplished by doing it the way we did. Trillions of dollars gone. Trillions! Thousands of young men and women gone. A million Iraqis alone, gone. Forgiveness may have not given people a sense of strength or revenge, or whatever, but it would have saved a huge surplus for our future, a million people's lives, and lastly but not least, one hell of carbon footprint. And that is not insignificant. And we wouldn't have incurred yet more wrath from the terrorists in the Middle East.
After all of the pessimistic posts I've made, maybe I can say something positive.
Just like America sold it's manufacturing sector to the lowest bidder, we did the same as individuals when we decided to buy what the companies had to sell. And after all, times were difficult on the farms. And it was easier to have things done with uniform standards in mass production. Like milk, butter, bread, eggs, heating oil. There's a hidden message behind all of that which seems to go over people's heads, and it's too late to even talk about it. Nevertheless, there may be one way in which we can throttle down the corporations. Do things ourselves. I'm not optimistic in the sense that when we look at which things to do ourselves, we end up with things that we can't do ourselves. Those things that are most important to keeping corporations alive. Look at which corporations are the largest. That's the starting point. Just because one has chickens and bakes their own bread doesn't affect Exxon. So what does? I'll tell you what, that which slows down the corporations has a twofold benefit. Not only does it slow down the companies, but it slows down the environmental damage. It also brings jobs back to communities. But it's difficult. If you look at which companies we need to target, you'll see that in order to effectively slow them down, we must give up things that are absolutely dear to us. Things I guarantee we heroin addicts will not even consider giving up. Things which we've grown dependent upon. Things our lives literally depend on. How many people in Alaska can live without the benefits of petroleum? Case and point.
So I'm optimistic that there are ways to solve our situation.
I agree with all of my replies. Great posts.
If one had pasture, running water, and could live off of the land, they would be doing what I was mentioning. In all of my experiences living on ranches and farms, the people I've talked with tell stories about a time when things were like that. Forget about civil rights. But there was a time around 1900 when we had electricity, lots of fish in our waters, and no big corporations forcing petroleum products down farmer's throats.
That time died when the population grew. Farmers could not produce enough food without artificially boosting the soil. Once again I'm coming back to population. It is what drives all of this.
Now we are stuck.
I believe that there is a reality that we are fighting. We can't have it all. We can't have comfort and this amount of people. You get to choose one or the other. Both means that we have to go against nature. We have to start making what nature can't, or won't. And when we do that, not only do we kill the planet, but we create monsters.
I gave up killing insects when I realized that in order to stop the infestation I would have to kill them all. And that just wasn't going to happen. It may seem trivial, but this is what I mean- why kill a fly when you can just let them out? I open the door, and out they go. I kill it, and I have a mess.
I can't blame Osama. It doesn't mean I don't like America. It doesn't mean I'm not patriotic. It means I have empathy and I can understand that when a military occupies one's country I can expect them to be extremely upset about it. That leads to trouble.
I'm convinced that our Pentagon is the problem. Convinced that wars are designed. Finding Osama is a good goal, and one that doesn't require armies. Nor bombing other lands and people. When we let him go, I knew it wasn't about him. It's about America's military economy. We're subsidizing a segment of this country with an illegitimate economy. A war economy.
At the end of Seven Samurai, the two remaining Samurai look at the farmers whom they helped fight off bandits, and said that they were the losers. They fight battles, and the farmers farm. There is no winner in war. There are losers, but war never helped them. It just changed the situation.
I have been asking something what most people would consider ignorant. 50 million people died in world war two. How many people would Hitler have killed if we hadn't had that war? 50 million? I doubt it. Who knows what would have resulted. Furthermore, the Germans that came back from world war one were furious. That war helped the next war happen. Et cetera.
War begets war. It's a law of nature. And I'm sorry, but if people don't see that then they have ulterior motives for warring.
We can make this civilization work. Every day is a new beginning. Let's step in the right direction. It's that simple. It IS that simple. Argue about it, but anything that is hateful will result in hate. Only love and understanding will make this a better world. Abandon fear. Be brave. Be a fool. Be weak. Only then will we all win.
I understand. And I'm with you. Perhaps it is because my grandmother was an Armenian who stood there as a member of a royal family decided her fate. I know what it is like to see the marble palace that they left behind. Everything gone. Friends, family, wealth. To die in poverty. All because of the same shit that happened to Iraq.
I recently left a beautiful farm in Oregon because of several reasons. Primarily because of ignorance. Bush/Cheney bumper stickers. I had a cemetery on the property. One day the local minister showed up with someone to see if they could visit. He told me his feelings about the Iraq invasion. I was appalled. What was it about "thou shalt not kill" that he didn't get? Or do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Or love thy enemy? Or love they neighbor? Whenever I heard the church bells from that day on I wondered what kinds of idiots lived amongst me.
It's sickness. It's unconsciousness.
I just want to share a concept that I feel has truth to it. It may be helpful. And I apologize, as I don't mean to be preaching. I haven't found a way to really put it into proper words.
The worst things are caused by the best people. The nicest people. People who may not even know what they have done. There is individual evil, and collective evil. We can all identify with the individual evil. It's easier since it directs the responsibility away from our self. But, and especially in a modern society, our collective evil is responsible for most of what we are seeing. Iraq was about oil. Oil is used in our cars. We drive to the store. That is considered a relatively benign act. But when it is multiplied by millions, it becomes evil. I don't think more than a handful of people ever get this. Multiplicity is the way that relatively benign acts can amplify into horrible ones. I call it the "just me" syndrome. I'm just going to take that trip to Europe. I'm just going to go shopping. The result is 20 million barrels of oil PER DAY, just for the U.S.
What we've done is give big companies huge power. By virtue of multiplicity. Each person donates a tiny bit of money, and collectively we have grown these monsters. And we've given away our independence. The independence of going out to the chickens in the morning and grabbing an egg, instead of having chicken farms. It's all exactly like that. Making soap. Riding a horse, versus getting in a car. This is what happened.
It makes my head hurt. Because I too am responsible. I helped kill Iraqis. Now I know there is not a direct connection. I protested. I didn't vote for Bush. But I've given power to the huge companies that lobbied.
Even our apathy is multiplied. I dropped out when Reagan got in office. That was without a doubt my most serious contribution to the path that led to Iraq.
I also want to recognize that there is positive multiplicity. I often find myself in pain over the disgust I feel when I see a sea of cars. I get so angry I can hardly stand it. How could we be so stupid. Oh yeah, I was saying...places like DU are positive. And the potential for us to do good is there. It can happen. And to think that we could create a world of beauty and kindness. I know it does exist, but it seems to be overshadowed by evil. Maybe that's my problem, that I don't look at the positive more than the negative. I'm trying to grow here too.
Phew. OK, that's enough of my rant. '
Another edit- I still didn't get this right.
I have an aunt. Auntie Jay. Now my dad is a Democrat, but Auntie Jay is one of those people who loves my dad, thinks he's a genius, but won't listen to his arguments regarding politics because she was married to a conservative, and hangs out with conservatives. And so she voted. And as sweet as Auntie Jay is, she helped that war happen. This is what has been on my mind. I called her the other day, and she was worried that "Obama is going to ruin America". Huh? Where were you the last 8 years. Do you even know what Habeas Corpus is. No. No way. She is one of those people who is uneducated. Or unwilling to open her mind when she's being educated. That is how this happened. I guess it's no mystery. I'm not telling anyone anything new. Oh well, back to watching Catch-22. I give up. I can't solve the world's problems. Although they're easy to solve. Very easy. If only people would just look around.
Posted by Gregorian in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sat Feb 07th 2009, 09:50 AM
We never had the Black Plague or famine. We've never had any hardship at all. This has been a country of relative ease. Petroleum plays a huge factor. And I think the fact that we're like the generation X country. A fresh clean country. Granted, we come from Europe, but it was all left behind. An experiment in freedom. I often replace freedom with free for all. And I mean that in the irresponsible sense. Anything goes. In a way we are like little kings here. I heard a speech that was given back in the 70's regarding peak oil, where it was mentioned that because of gasoline, each American has the equivalent of 300 slaves. Every person has the power and comfort of what kings once had. And now, instead of a ruling powerful one, we have many powerful ones. And they are directing where we will go, unless we as people stand up. But we don't because we're warm and full. And this is what happened to our rail system. We had them. In many towns across the country there were electric trolleys. We know the story. The corporations didn't like it, and soon people were given the chance to have their own "trolley", or automobile. Luxury. I think an old continent with history is one with memory. We have no national memory. And we broke with Europe in every way. But I think what we're discovering is that all of the science and gadgets and comforts will not replace the simple love in life. So maybe, and it's my hope, we will go back to being Europeans. Valuing good food and culture. And humility.
It is very much related to what you are discussing.
What would it take to make Americans revolt? Darfur, Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan. These are places where our compassion just won't engage enough to see and act in order to help another human being. But just take our cars away. I was thinking of the 1400 cars that were burned in France over New Years Eve. Just take our cars away, and there would be riots. Old, young, ill alike would be in the streets.
What does that tell you?
And this isn't about cars. This is about our depth of compassion. This is about just how self-centered we have become. Selfish. So selfish that we would let Iraqis die, but wouldn't tolerate the loss of our cars.
Posted by Gregorian in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Thu Nov 20th 2008, 05:11 PM
The idea that we are lone individuals and yet also many making one society. I was, and still am to a lesser degree, a very angry individual. Closing bars every night. Flunking out of college only to return a dozen years later and graduate. And still angry that much of what went on was weeding out for corporate preparation. And now clean and learning about politics. Always a Democrat.
It seems to me that much of this (whatever "this" means) revolves around respect. And yet this respect on an individual level can be violently abandoned when society as a whole decides to change. It's this very thing which I have spent so many years watching. Wear a seatbelt, or else. Don't abort a fetus, or else. It's ok to smoke a highly addictive poison, but don't grow cannabis.
Somehow respect can get lost. And sometimes it it tossed. In the name of change. I believe there is a core center which must always be obeyed. And yet we cannot even agree on what IT is. The ashtray is an example of flagrant violation. But which may not have even lodged it's importance in the head of he who violated. And so respect is part of awareness.
That statement by Martin L. King is simply prophetic. I remember hearing it many years ago. He even mentions petroleum companies, if I recall. And so we throw yet another wrench in front of awareness and respect. Our logical hierarchy of that which is supposed to make us civil is blinded. By ignorance and greed.
How do we all get on to the same plane? After all we are all the same. Humans. Sentient beings. It seems to me that until that time, we are engaged in tug of war. Which goes nowhere.
It may be that this is why the bible has had such an effect. A set of supposedly universal principals. Like a universal field theory which may begin to explain everything. It may help to put us on the same page. But even that has not done so. And in fact has even divided.
Unique beings, yet only a component of a greater one society. We want to organize and unify, and yet we want to succeed at our own rate, and even compete.
My only answer is that there should be a level below which a human being should never be allowed to fall. Financially, physically, mentally.
I'm afraid this doesn't happen through thoughtful preparation. And maybe this is one significant aspect of our condition. To act before it is necessary. One example is that in which we presently find ourselves. As individuals we are all living a lifestyle which will, if continued, kill us all. Or at least future generations.
The truth should be a highly sought after possession. After all, the things we stand for should be self-evident. Yet we live in darkness. One thing at a time, we must peel back the layers of lies and reveal that which is valuable in life. It is very simple. We have complicated it all. All in the name of power. Not love.
Posted by Gregorian in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sun Oct 12th 2008, 11:34 AM
No one is talking about LIMITS. It's as though there are only ten of us on the planet. 400 horsepower cars. Traveling around the planet. New subdivisions.
Why is no one talking about limits? Because they threaten our comfort. That's why.
Yes we need to make stuff ourselves. Chickens, butter, milk, soap, clothing. Things we don't and can't make any more. And not 400 hp cars. In fact, not cars at all. Now that one's really threatening. How dare I say that. My Prius will save the planet. NOT.
In a nutshell, WE WENT TOO FAR. Homo Sapiens, the animal that didn't know when to stop. Well, the planet is telling us to stop. And now we're trying to figure out ways to sustain our lifestyle without killing the planet. Clean coal, nuclear, solar, wind. Forget it! It's time to go backwards. And no one wants that.
The truth is, in 1898 there was a challenge to inventors to come up with a way to create more nitrogen. The prediction was that by 1930 there would be massive starvation due to lack of food. And it was true. But we found a way to make more nitrogen. And we supercharged the soil. And we polluted the waters of the world. And it's so bad now that when it rains in Alaska there is enough fertilizer in the rain that it's equivalent to what wheat farmers use for spring crops. And the ecosystems are changing due to it. It's the other "global warming" that no one is talking about. Nobody even knows about it. Half the nitrogen in your body came out of a factory machine.
We are artificially huge in numbers. What we are doing is WRONG. And we're going to pay for it. It's no different than the economic problem we're in. Keep feeding it, and it'll only crash that much worse.
Whatever. No one's listening.
No, really this is one hell of a post. You've nailed it. Absolutely. And I too have lived with your indignation. To the point where I have had to back away (I'm still learning and trying) from the rage. Which is another subject in it's own right. And where I part ways with most who are pissed off about this subject is with "breeding" habits. It's in quotes because even here we have trouble accepting the term. There are six, nearly seven billion because "I want a baby". And yet many of us are, and have been, cringing and dying as we watch the fields turn to concrete.
Simply put, the troubles stem from unconsciousness.
As a bicyclist from way way back, I learned early on what it's like to be crapped on. Big metal boxes with tiny people inside who know the power they wield, and that I can easily be a victim. There's nothing more delightful than a bike forum member who was struck by an object which injured him, but managed to get a license number. Payback. Unfortunately we can't do that in most cases. Enron. Iraq invasion. Or how we just sat back and let the machetes fly in Rwanda.
You said it best. I just want to tag along. But just remember that rage is also an ego driven act. One can accept what is, be negative about it (like me most of the time), or change it. And being negative contaminates the environment. It's why people do the things that enrage us in the first place. The only way we can help out is if we become enlightened ourselves. It seems like a painfully slow process. But it starts with this moment. And then we start to change the media. And then we take the $400 billion that is spent on military, because everyone is so sold on fear, and we put it into schools, teachers, battery research, medical.
I've been angry long enough. It's time. Time to wake up. Because if we don't wake up, the human race is threatened. We are the most important generation that will ever live on planet earth. We decide if the planet is fit for human habitation for the rest of eternity. This is where this all ends up. We're watching the wars, the willful ignorance, and all of the rest. Because it's a wild and crazy time.
I believe the proper response to 9/11 was to ask why it happened. To introspect. There is a very simple answer that very few people want to think about. It's our lifestyle. This statement is highly threatening to everyone. It threatens our comfort. Our convenient lifestyle. If we ask why 9/11 happened, it's an easy answer. Meddling in other people's lives. We steal what we want in order to have our extravagant lifestyle be affordable.
I waited for many years for 911. It was long overdue. I knew it was coming. And after all it had already happened once. But we ignored it then as we are now. What I'm saying is so foreign for most Americans. It sounds almost nutty.
The bottom line is, we have to start taking responsibility for our actions. The war on terrorism starts with me. Not with them. And it's primarily about petroleum. I remember listening to Dave Emory about thirty years ago. He made sense when he said that Americans confuse liberty with comfort. They don't hate us for our freedoms. They hate us for meddling in their lives. Installing dictators like the Shah, or Saddam. Or financing wars in South America. Or Operation Condor.
And of equal importance is the effect we are having on the environment. If we address our actions, we also address our carbon footprint. It's two for one. But it requires sacrifice. And that is not going to happen. So prepare yourselves for bad times ahead. More military funding. More terrorism. More wars. Fewer civil liberties.
I need to add the obvious. Stop looking outside yourselves. This is not just me talking. This is Scott Ritter, Noam Chomsky, among many. If we take the steps in our personal lives, the rest follows. Maybe it really does take a degree in engineering to see how things work. I don't think so. The corporations are doing what we are asking them to do.
That is exactly what everyone is missing. I'm not just some guy ranting. This is a subject I've been paying attention to long before Gore came along. It's so obvious, yet I suppose I'd have to write a book to open people's eyes.
The bottom line is number of people combined with what they are doing. The problem is twofold. And people don't seem to be connecting the two. What Gore is saying is great. But unless people connect it with population, they'll never make that connection. Which is, thinking in terms of we versus me. And there is a reason people aren't making that connection. It has made my life really difficult. And it should. It's the only way we are going to curb the increasing carbon footprint that is going to destroy this planet. Or at least alter it in a way that will change it dramatically. That connection leads to the realization that each one of us is doing this. Not just some obscure notion that it's happening. Each one of us has the responsibility to change what we are doing. To sacrifice. That is the word that is so threatening.
The thing that is so obvious is the use of petroleum. Oh it's just one seat on a plane. It's just me, one time. It's something everyone has to do. Bush is an idiot, he doesn't even like to travel. Travel broadens the mind. All kinds of reasons why we should. And very little inspection as to what we need to do in order to stop the problem now. Because if not now, then when. The real problem is more related to the fact that there are six billion of us than it is to petroleum use. There is a point below which the planet can handle this kind of carbon dioxide production. But our numbers have exceeded that. And more. Now the forests are disappearing faster than they can grow. Number of users. There is no argument.
When you use petroleum, you have to realize that "you" is now billions of "you"s.
It's actually one of those things that can be put in binary terms. You either are causing global warming or you aren't. And that is what each of us is faced with.
And therein lies the answer.
There have been several revolutions of energy sources. Wood, petroleum, nuclear. Each one has had it's successively increasing degree of difficulty in achieving.
Fusion might be one avenue that pans out.
But here is the problem as I see it. We are way out of equilibrium with nature. People are looking for a solution to sustaining a lifestyle that is unsustainable. There are too many people. Period. Where do we put the garbage? Immediately people start replying that garbage can be this and garbage can be that. Yes, they're right. Sort of. Then water. Then wood. Then transportation. Then energy. Each one has a solution. Maybe. Perhaps one has a total solution. Perhaps one has a partial solution. Food? What about food? And then there's global warming. If we already had a renewable source of energy conversion then maybe we could begin to equip the world with photovoltaics, or some other such personal or communal energy conversion devices. But how are we going to beat this giant problem we have with global warming if everything we do has a carbon footprint?
It looks to me like we've run the gamut of modern living. Instead of bigger, faster, growth, we are going to have to start retreating to smaller, slower, communal.
It sounds so threatening. But it's only the way humans lived on this planet for all of eternity, except for the last 100 years.
There is one very big problem as I see it. We've backed ourselves into a corner. I laugh every 4th of July. We are so far from independent it's dangerous. Bush said we are addicted to oil. We aren't addicted- We're dependent!
It's time to turn our thinking around.
Nanosolar has been around a few years. I've been watching them. Google seeded them with a hundred million bucks. They're good. There will be new developments. But I'm afraid the truth is far more serious than people realize.
So after saying all of that, I want to emphasize that what I'm saying is exactly the opposite of doom and gloom. To the extent that we can liberate ourselves from dependency upon the corporations, we have much of what we need right now. Granted there isn't much in the way of wild abundancy like there used to be. But we do still get sunlight. We can still return to what we had before. But it's very far from easy. I just sold a beautiful farm. Creeks, bears, salmon, apple orchards. And I'll be damned if I know how to farm. And who does? We've got a lot of relearning to do.
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