Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Blind and/or psychopathic

Today, I want to write in response to a comment I received on my post The chink in the armor, a couple of days ago. Here is the comment.

"Kyle, as you may have gathered from the rest of the blog, Darshan wants to replace corporations with a pre-industrial anti-human "society," or, ideally, with the extinction of humanity. He doesn't want to live in a world with complex things like cars and computers--he wants to live in a world where rocks are afforded the same status, dignity, and moral weight as humans. Everything he ever writes expresses a deep hatred for humanity and freedom, and a love of totalitarian destruction of civilization."

Of course any thoughts contradictory to the status quo trample on the freedom of those who have benefited most. These are the "free" who have given themselves and their kin the "freedom" to destroy. Such sentiment comes from a deep psychopathy - of remorselessness, of insensitivity, of violence.

Freedom is a contradictory notion because we afford freedom to those most powerful, and then oppress other people to deal with the situations we've created for them. No better example than Delray in Detroit, where years of neglect and injustice by the powerful have put people in a situation they cannot escape from. In essence, the freedom of the powerful takes away from the freedom of the not-so-powerful. Many might say that people are free to do as they please. If someone doesn't like where they live, they can pack their bags and move away. Such thought comes out of either an ignorance of the world, or a knowledge that those being oppressed cannot be let free, because if they are, they might tell everyone else of the reality of their situation, making others want to take the powerful down. So instead, the powerful act innocent about the state of other people's lives and the environment, and live their lives as if nothing is wrong. Such an existence is devoid of even the basic moralities we would hope anyone to have.

In general, we are always told we have "freedom". We are free to vote and choose leaders to serve us. We are free to spend money in the way we choose to. But that’s where the train stops, because all the while, we have created behemoth structures and organisations, and even larger problems. When it comes to addressing these bigger issues, we are intimidated, beaten down and told that the problem is too big for each one of us to address. In a sense, we are told to make choices for ourselves, and just forget about the bigger picture. I've realised that we are given freedom when that freedom serves in the interest of behaviour that inevitably leads to ecological harm, but if we were to take a stand against this, we are labeled “tree-huggers” and “job-killers.” There is then an inherent contradiction between independence of choice, and the powerlessness to solve big social and environmental problems. We have the freedom to “consume” but not the freedom to change what it is that drives ecological degradation. 

Our right to freedom does not allow us to freely destroy. There is almost a libertarian sense that I get from hearing some people speak, how entitled they are to their possessions and belongings. What they fail to notice are the extreme injustices that lead to their entitlement. Those that support large corporatism are those that have benefited most from it; they aren't the ones living in Delray or Sumpter Township or Fox Township or the Niger Delta. When you disaggregate the costs and benefits, a feature of large corporatism, you disaggregate your ability to perceive wrongdoing. Or maybe it is the other way around. Actually, that's probably how it is.

People have today been enslaved because of circumstance. Many people actually believe that "working in sweatshops is better than what they would be doing anyway." How do we come to accept this? Why should sweatshops be the best people can be afforded? Because there is a hierarchy of power in this world. People at the top would not have it any other way. They want to keep you and me from speaking up against the injustices we are inflicting on the environment and people living in that environment. This is the corporatism that must fall.

And so my intention is a resolute take down of a system of society that on its face is one based on concepts of "justice" and "equality", but in the end is one of a subtle yet debilitating oppression, and the complex web of corporatism and government, the way we've structured them right now, does exactly that. The "humanity" we've created for ourselves blasts this Earth and its people to smithereens. This is not the humanity I subscribe to.  

One thing no one can argue with is the physical finiteness of this Earth. Conservation of mass, energy, and atoms dictate it. What this means is that if there is 100 of something, and I take one of them, there are only 99 left. Yet we act as if we can take all 100 with the blind faith that there are 100 left. Unfortunately, such people do not understand basic truths about nature. This is the physical world. Well, what about the emotional world, the spiritual world? There is luckily an infinity here, because we can always be kinder, we can always be more just, we can always show more love. What limits us is just the breath in our body.

The problems we face are of our own doing. Cutting down trees remorselessly for biofuel plantations and blasting through soil to get to tar sands are a rape of the Earth and its people. They are a result of mental and emotional constructs of society and economy influencing our physical presence in this world. And the only way they can be fixed is by fixing the source of the problems - this society, this culture. This is a culture that is founded on benefits for some, costs for other, and a privileged dishonesty about these costs. Thest costs move beyond just cost on human lives - this culture is oppressive and violent.

I like to ask myself the following. At what cost am I able to live the way that I do? Taking coal from underneath the ground inevitably degrades the ground, because we are incapable of doing anything benign. We are incapable of not leaving a trace behind. Instead, we pillage and plunder, and we'll blow the tops off of mountains. And the people that are doing the blowing up do not care, because they aren't the ones living in the valleys of West Virginia. They are probably living in their suburban homes, with their well-manicured lawns and big cars. They likely produce two trash cans full of toxic waste a week. No one would live in the place they degrade. Only psychopaths have the ability to somehow convince themselves that they are working in the best interests of other people, when they clearly are not.

We act far from "civilised" in the true meaning of the word. We act in ways that are indicative of moral and spiritual voids, ones that we feel we must fill with materialistic junk and physicality. The culture we live in depends on the Earth more so than any other culture in history. We use almost every element on the periodic table, we extract more and more petrochemicals and cull virgin forests and use more water than ever before. Exposed here is a deep contradiction that the privileged seem to not want to appreciate. In their efforts for "conservation," they use. In their use, they degrade. Technology as we conceive it is founded fundamentally on use of material, not on personal development and education. And yet it is a culture that degrades this Earth exponentially and categorically.

Things don't have to be this way. If we were to take a deep look around us, to observe, and really observe, and think about the complicated systems at play, we can boil much of this ecological injustice to very simple things, but things that would take diligent effort, thought, and consciousness to address. Or we can buy into what those that are privileged want us to think - that just because you are afforded the luxury of a car or computer or home, that things are good everywhere else. Of course, people have a tendency to surround themselves with people that are similar to us - similar in socioeconomic status, people of similar skin colour, people of the same political leanings. Perfect. This is what the oppressors want us to be like. They do not want us to think about what is wrong, they do not want us to look to the other side. Delray is cut off by I-75. Landfills are placed many miles from where we live. Africa is several thousand miles away. Sweet. Out of sight, screw what is happening there. This is a reality we are forced to believe. A reality of mirrors. We see ourselves, and then others like us. We do not see the other side.

And by the way, if you are going to bash my writing and thoughts, at least have the courtesy and courage to tell me who you are.


  1. Hey Darshan,
    I was struck by your point of wanting to find others like us. I understand your point in the context of your post. It did remind me, however, that sometimes we need to see others like us. I consider the environment in every decision I make. It is extremely burdening, as I always have to be on the watch (ex: Making sure extra napkins or packaging isn't provided with food). I am happy to fight this fight, but I sure wish I didn't have to do it alone or so often. I know there are others, unfortunately, I only know of them virtually. :)

  2. So what is your idea solution to providing energy supply, I too hate the degradation of this earth. Would love to have a few acre's but still have access to a some what metropolitan area. Energy issues do not have to be as complicated as they have been made to be, which we all know equals less affects on our world.