Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Dominance Paradigm and It's Productive Works.

 With production at the helm of the trajectory of life, we have been steered towards the austerity of alienation, so far so as to lead us to see ourselves as separated from this thing we call "nature". With the binary process of "is or is not", "do or do not", "left or right", it should be no shock that the gender binary is so prevalent that it virtually disappears. The last trick of any take-over is to convince you that it has always been. The dominance of production is the leading force, and most silent at times, in the control over women. The premise for this thought may never be spelled out, and never elucidated, but is no less there. We have become automatic in our thought, to the end that we have lost the ability even to think. Thought is now reduced to comparison against a preset of ideals, so deeply placed, that we often do not recognize them as thoughts at all.

If asked what a woman is, most people, male, female, or otherwise, would not tell you "women are what we use to make babies", however, that does not take away the underlying fact that societies have controlled women, and their ability or want to reproduce since the beginnings of civilization in the agrarian Neolithic Revolution. There is little reason to think that, prior to this "revolution", half the entire population would have, or could have, been relegated to a sub-level of social hierarchy, because it would have been impossible and non-beneficial without the formation of society as we now know it. Despite the technological expansion, little has changed within the social construct since this time. This separation is touted now as logical, with reason showcasing a "might makes right" theory" that women are somehow weaker than men, and therefore shaped to fit the role of domesticate homemaker, leaving men to do the physical toil of field labor. What is not recognized is that there is little to show this as being the case, evidenced in the outcome of labor being held in large numbers by women today. What is possible, and aught be examined, is the mindset following, not preceding, agrarian society, that production trumps all means. Where once, it is conceivable that egalitarian principles were beneficial, if only on a base level of survival, hierarchy and dominance would be the tone for a settled society based on production. The theory of socialism highlights this tendency as well, with it's forced labor imperative, where the ruling tendency is not always direct authority of another person, rather the authority of the meme itself. If then, we can see that a ruling force of slave-ship mentality is not merely brute force, but a force of thought, it becomes easier to understand the patriarchal rise.

In a mindset of production, that which produces results wins. As we have viewed the land, so we shall view ourselves. The land is fertile, and can produce food, but the amount of food, and food for whom, is dependent greatly upon the control measures placed upon it. An area of jungle that is untouched by agriculture is a bounty of food, but not all edible by humans, and the food that is, is not always able to be stored away in vast reserves necessary for survival in sedentary societies through harsh seasonal changes. It must then, in the goal of production, be razed and re-birthed, impregnated by the seed of labor to produce what is desired. When we view the land as a resource, and see only what we can produce, we take away the life of the land, and it's importance of existence for it's own sake. This we also do to women, because women can produce children, another product necessary to the growth of workers and society. The growth imperative is the control, the whip holder. Women then, have been subjugated as a factory for life, and treated much as we treat all other domestic crops and animals. Of course, even the most ambivalent meat eater would cringe at the telling of the torture of factory farmed animals, if confronted directly with it, but indirectly consents to the process not by only consuming the product, but by believing the story. Whether or not the eater of said meat stops consuming the factory farmed animal's flesh, the concept of production does not escape that of any domesticated food, and continues so long as the only source of life is under controls. When women have come forth with the recognition of this state of inequality, they are met with some sympathy but mostly disregarded and  placated with pay raises and new laws, but never the changing of the story. Women have the right to abortion, jobs and education in this country, but to what ends will any of this serve, if the woman is still raped, exploited and taught the re-installment of patriarchal dominance by our schools? Even a change in curriculum would not change the very base element of the school itself, it's purpose: to produce workers! There is plenty of "evidence" to support the notion that educated women have less children, but do we even ask why the question of how many children a woman births is relevant? It is relevant because it is how we define and control women as a whole. A maker of children, or not a maker of children, but rarely an equal, and if even, only in economic terms, but still a woman. The hatred of women extends to the hatred of children and the hatred of life itself. This will never be remedied with any societal shifts, but only with the destruction of the societal foundations. To make women equal workers is only to enhance the progress of progress, but never to validate the existence of any life based purely on it's existence.

Perhaps most sad, is the inability of leftists to understand this origin. With work as a driving force, they pile through the world uniting forces to take over the means of production, without ever recognizing what production has produced. Otherwise fighting for social equality, but still holding the recipe for inequality so dear is the rapacious nature of domestication. The gender binary itself could have originated in this mode of thought. Definition is the key-guard of control. Science requires categorization of all things, and in a technocratic world, nothing refutes science. The shift from agrarian living to technocracy is not a shift at all in some ways. In many ways, it is a continuance of the same social order, hellbent on dominance. We cannot eat steel, but need it to protect the food. We cannot eat bombs, but need them to secure the land. We cannot eat computers, but need them to track the shipments of crops. We cannot eat cameras, but need them to monitor the stores. In the same sense, we cannot eat women, but use them as incubators for our armies. This is the underlying force of control that exists. All other societal imbalances are secondary, and if we intend to maintain mass society, and industrial life, even with the egalitarian work forces controlling the means of production, we would have to accept rape culture, because that is the inevitability of a production based society. In Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, the women of the not-too-distant dystopian society are controlled and valued only for the reproductive abilities. This story can be viewed in the present tense as the paradigm of civilization itself. The focus of some environmental groups today seems to be on over population, but rarely seek the origin of the population expansion. While agriculture may have given rise in the ability to feed more children, and sedentary life required the use of more workers, the doctrine of control lies in the production mindset itself. Daniel Quinn has espoused the ideas of food abundance being the origin of population growth, but this lacks a few elements of understanding, or rather frames certain elements into understanding without looking at others. The idea that food abundance creates population does not account for the wealth of food the unfettered world contains. Pre-Agrarian society was not afflicted with massive famine and starvation, because the world before agriculture was much more bountiful than the monocropped world of today.

The world of gathering and hunting was not a world that did not allow for population growth based on it's lack of food, shelter or water rather based in it's lack of social structure of hierarchy and mindset of production that is inherent to agricultural life. It is also not as if the switch occurred in one lifetime, or even five generations but over a long period of time, ranging possibly in the high thousands of years. The social structure of agriculture did not, then, precede agricultural life, but followed it, and could be said to be a product of it just as population growth is a product of it as well. It is then easier to say that population growth is a product not of the food, but of the social structure that the life-way demands. The food has been there for hundreds of thousands of years, but the control over the food has mandated the control over all life, and maintains itself through the subjugation of half the population, relegated to duty of baby production first, sexual commodity second, and possibly human being third. The very roots of gender role lies in production oriented living, be it agrarian, industrial or technocratic. So long as the concept of progress and production are in play, we will see such gross inequities that allow for all inequity.

The historical lens we use is short sighted and seeks only to benefit the story it promotes. If we look back in our written history, we see that women of all religions, of all regions, are banished to a second class of living. This is not at all to say that this is the case for all cultures within the time period of our written history, because it clearly is not, rather to show that our written histories are merely one sided, and tell the one-world story in the first person narrative.  It must be so to maintain that what we have is progress. If what we have differs from the trajectory of human life, as it does, then what we have is not progress of human life, but progress of the meme. The story tells us that history and science on are on the side of progress, doing everything in it's power to defend and perpetuate dominance imperative. The history of this culture however is not long, and the wildness that permeates everything is and is still alive today, and can be, must be mustered if we ever hope to see our selves break from the prison of production.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Domestication and Work: The Elements of Control

Here is another video I made, same as first, actually made the same day. No script, so the talk may stray a bit, but again, for this format, I feel that fluidity is important. The lack of critique, or even understanding, of what domestication is, creates a gap in understanding of our predicament. We must be willing to dismantle all constructs of control, to, at the very least, understand their effects on us. Domestication is not merely the control of plant life called "crops", or animal life, called stock. It reaches into the way we, as animals, control one another and ourselves, to be fitted into a tightly confined box of thought and imagination. The work of great thinkers such as Waziyatawin shows us that the effects of Colonization kill not only the spirit and the people, but the imagination. What world have created where even the anarchists cannot imagine a different history? I will be addressing this topic further as well, when I start to elucidate my studies into ancient origins and the stories that drive us. Daniel Quinn has touched on this in some ways, but I see something lacking in his critique as well. Of course, many will laugh off my premise as "anarcho-purism" or "Utopic". I see nothing Utopic about primitive life-ways, rather an opportunity for experience that has been stripped from us in this global one-world culture that civilization is creating. At any rate, here is the video:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Every Step You Take: Closed Circuit Civilization

The critique of technology is, of course, imperative to a critique of civilization, for without it's ever broadening scope and tightly clenching fists, modern life would be not only unthinkable, but also unachievable. The mere numbers of people and the consumptive habits of civilized life are not only made possible by technology, but created by technology itself. It is arguable that pop culture today is the product not of the culture itself, but the product of the products of culture. Where would our daily conversations be without television programs and dead pop stars. One needs only to glance at a facebook "feed" (peculiar name, wouldn't you say? are we being fed? we certainly are suckling the teat of technology! not an accident) to see what the dominant forces in play are today. It is clear that we are slowly becoming the creations of the technology itself.

For nearly every critique of modern technocratic life, there is an apologist chomping at the byte to defend and uphold the positive uses of technology. Be it the presumption of communication becoming more readily available, while at the same time rising instances of violence being attributed to lack of communication. Text messaging has become one of the most used forms of communication in the U.S. today, showcased in a 2008 study from top wireless cellular providers that showed a daily average of 2.5 billion texts, a 450% increase from the previous year. This far dwarfs the average number of phone calls documented by the same providers. This means that the beacon of modern communication, the hope for transmission of information, is being used for the sending and receiving of shortened, voiceless, impersonal communications. That argument is not good enough though, as it touches on the personal and begs the question of who is to say what is good communication. Apparently the phone corporations are. So, how about this one. You are being monitored at every turn.

The NSA is the U.S.' largest, most costly, most invasive group you will never hear about. Sure, we all know the soundbite we get on the news about Jihadists and the vital role of security played out thanks to the Patriot Act, god bless em, but what do you really know about the surveillance state? I can give you some numbers. As of right now, the NSA takes no less than 48 petabytes a year of information to be stored away forever in supercomputers. This is the paper equivalent of one billion four door filing cabinets full of documents, all alphabetized and categorized according to the information YOU give them. Twenty four trillion pages of text are generated each year in the surveillance world of the NSA, and all without the expressed consent of a single person. Now, you may say this is indicative of the state and not a solid critique of civilization, and somehow, we could use this technology for good, if only it were in the hands of those of us with the enlightened intellectual grace and college education to understand power dynamic and economic blah blah blah, you know the rest. Soon, by the way, while we have this fruitless argument over the blatant destruction of our person, the NSA is moving to measuring information by the exabyte, which is the equivalent of 1,000 petabytes. 200 petabytes is the amount of storage needed to store roughly every piece of printed material currently on the planet. This could account for nearly every word spoken within 5 years. The amount of money and energy placed into the development of technology to serve the surveillance culture will surely send advancements far beyond. This is all from ONE agency.

This shows nothing of the vast amount of surveillance taken in daily by corporations, which may end up surpassing that of national security. With the advent of social networking, 700 posts a second on facebook clue corporate armies into our wants, desires and breaking points.  Compound that with 34,000 Googles searches per second and you got yourself the most widely monitored society in history. But how did this happen? Is is state terror, or corporate greed, or could it be the outcrop of surveillance technology itself?

Street cameras are so pervasive  that they have become a part of our natural landscape, escaping scrutiny not because they are hidden away, or even necessary, but because we have become used to seeing them. Television viewers (an historically rabid bunch, known to stand up from their couch to urinate or get more chips, at times) are now privy to the ways of the world and it's human parasites thanks to the advent of reality TV. No need for direct contact anymore, we can watch Cops beat black men from the comfort of our "living" room, and if that is not your idea of fun, then see what two rich white debutantes are fumbling over this week. Not good enough? Don't worry, CBS has it all worked out. Interactive billboards are now taking pictures of the public and broadcasting the picture for the world in a stunt to advertise a new show where the guy who played Jesus will be busting criminals BEFORE they commit crimes at the bequest of a billionaire in New York. Hmmm. Why not head out shopping and be part of the game today? The point is, surveillance is entertainment and entertainment uber alles.

   The cable execs have even managed to extend the voting season to garner higher ratings by use of political candidates. More people watched the elections than voted, because clearly voting doesn't matter and the entertainment factor is far more relevant to their lives. The more we watch, the more we feel we have participated and the less we have ever done. The more they watch us, the more they get away with. See how that bit of Mede can enchant? The question though is begged where this drive towards self immolation is derived? Did we create the technology so we can watch ourselves all day? Or did the technology create a world where we must be watched? We know that a major loss in technocratic society is the hand to mouth experience of living by instinct. We no longer each have the ability to gather food, build shelter, find water and raise children without the assistance of technocratic rule. Food. Water. Shelter. These are basic aspects of every species of life, yet, we have evolved ourselves into a place where we, as a society, no longer have the knowledge of where these things come from! I can find a youtube video on my phone in traffic but cannot decipher an edible wild berry from one that will give me the shits for a week. Where did we go wrong? If you listen to the voice of reason, it says clearly that it is in our nature to progress this way....WTF?

There is little more unnatural than a bulk of a species propagating without even the most base knowledge of how to eat. We are truly insane. Of course, this is not the way of life for many in this world. Those who have not been subjected to the progress of society still have hand to mouth skills, and use them daily, as this is the way of life for the world without computers. Of course, they are now in jobs training courses so they can learn english and be forced to uproot their jungles to  bring us bananas for our vegan protein drinks. That program is coming next fall on NBC.

What purpose does the watchful eye of no one serve? The false sense of connectivity not only pales in comparison to true experience of connection, but actually stifles the ability to do so. The means by which we currently have to "connect" with friends and family, or mostly strangers, is the internet, and we all know how insecure that medium is. We have been driven to speak in code, or not at all, about our deepest desires, in fear of being placed on some federal schmucks' Google document the next morning. We are unable to slow down, but are begging for a stop. Perhaps it would be easier to roll the dice and jump from the train, tuck and roll, and rise up to bend the tracks out of commission.

Towards An Anarchist Spirituality...

“They therefore invented an idea of "primitive man" as a being whose total intelligence was supposed to consist in some rudimentary fumblings towards the kind of wisdom monopolized by Western civilization. Hardly dreaming that there are other and highly developed types of intelligence and wisdom, as well as different life/goals, than those contemplated by Western man, these anthropologists found only what their prejudices enabled them to see. Their premise was that their own culture as the "latest" in time represented the height of evolution. Earlier cultures must therefore be elementary forms of "modern” culture, and their degree of civilization and intelligence had to be estimated by the degree to which their values approximated to modern values.” – Alan Watts Myth and Ritual in Christianity

     To begin with, this quote by philosopher Alan Watts is in reference, immediately, to Christianity and it’s origins, it’s colonialist imperative but also applies more broadly to modern culture as a whole. I would find it hard to not relate critique of modern culture to Christianity, being that it has been, if not the most dominate religion of the past 500 years,could be called the most dominating with it’s imperative of conquest and control. We have seen in our lifetimes alone, a massive amount of repression, genocide, ecological devastation and oppression under the flag of divine right. From the conquest of the west to the colonization of the east (read Phillipines, South Korea, Australia, etc.) at the hands of not only the Church as an institution, but the force of will of “good” Christian missionaries, paving the way for development and providing reformist cleanup after genocide wrenches it’s deadly claim.

     This can be attributed, at surface level, to the defects of religion, but I fear this may be too easy. Without religion, would we not still have “progress” as a driving entity, in and of itself? This has long been written off as human nature, and in fact, is in the premise of the word progress itself to assume that this is a natural path.  Of course, there are deep seeded tones of colonialism in this thought process, not to mention the short view of the world and it’s existence, but the question we must put forth then, if not god, who takes the blame? If it is not in our “nature” to consume and destroy, then it must be in our nurture, and what better fall guy than the divine?  Anarchists have long been held to the account of atheism, and for good reason. The institution of god is no different than the institution of the state, if not worse. The development of the institution of mass religion follows closely with the development of civilization. When people began collectively living in sedentary spaces, developing large scale agriculture and relying upon the elements for bounty as opposed to their ability to maneuver towards more fertile hunting and gathering land, we see the rise of ritual. Ritual is the performing of duties not for sake of anything other than the duty itself, in hopes that repetition will bring forth the same results as in times of good harvest. To pay penance to the gods was a way of attempting to ensure that famine would not fall on you or your family, and at times, even attempting to force it upon your enemies. Warfare being a hallmark of confined living, what better ally than the gods to wreak certain havoc upon your foes?  Thus we find the beginnings of religion. The enforcement of communal ritual was a given, being that any sway may not be pleasing to the gods, therefore those unwilling to participate, or those defiant of the new lifeways, had to be silenced and alienated, or killed, so as to create a unity and confluence amongst the people. In order for this to take hold, there had to be specialists in determining who was and who was not sincere in their faith, and those rulers were appointed, not by consensus, but by divine right. God chose them. In this time, there was also the formation of the state, from the Latin word status meaning standing or position, words inherent to hierarchy that will be imperative to modern society. We see, from the beginning a tie in of governments and churches. From the murder of indigenous peoples and their land, to the assassination of spiritual prophets for the benefit of the state, the church and the state have remained, and will certainly always be linked.  This is not revelatory in any sense, and has been a part of the dogma of anarchy since it’s inception as a political force. This also, in many ways, holds to the same form of colonialism and imperative that our definitions of life-ways are the standard from which we compare all others. Where then is our spiritual concern? That which drives us to connect with life until there is no separation? Are anarchists to believe that all matters of the spirit belong to the church? And if this is the case, were they taken by the church or invented?

     I hold that spirituality is much older than elements of mass control, and must be explored to attain a wholeness of self that is necessary for reconnection with the world as a whole. The basic proposition of anarchy holds true only one thing: freedom. Freedom from oppressive controls and hierarchy, and freedom to adventure into one's life unfettered by the constraints of societal dominance. Tailgating freedom, within the context of mass society, brings forth additional baggage that is as fluid as the condition of the individual. Some may see non-violence as a strict doctrine of anarchy, because they have had an experience of violence from oppressive forces. Others may hold that violence nor non-violence are inherently anarchistic, but the tying bond between the two sets is freedom as an imperative. In modern western culture, it is remarked often that true freedom cannot ever really exist. Therefor, anarchy is merely an ideal that may be striven toward, but never actualized. 

 This concept of perpetual bondage is indicative of the omniscient nature of civilization itself. The gods of this culture reflect the same parameters of understanding. Where-as the gods of a polytheistic culture may retain certain powers over various realms, the god of a monotheistic culture is all knowing and cannot be escaped or hidden from. Freedom is not an option.  There is no escape from his all seeing eye. This, without elaborating, shows the patriarchal nature of the culture as well as the control imperative. What exactly does this god provide, outside of an archetype of the controlling beast of civilization itself? Is the god the root of the improprieties, or the outcrop? Being that the notions of gods have well preceded industrial civilization,  it is possible to conclude that the god follows the rod. 

  Upon the onset of colonization, being the widening of a particular culture for the purpose of conquest and resource control at the necessary elimination of the cultures of coveted regions, we have seen the encountering of "others", some with a set of gods all their own. It is no secret that the genocide of indigenous people's of the Americas was rife with stories of divine intervention and rite. The various tribal people's of this region had a set of gods that were revered for their different sources of power or kinship, but was the basic standing of these gods the same construct as the European Christian god? Most likely not, however there is substantial reasoning that points to shamanism as an elite form of religious rite as well. This is not indicative only of the indigenous of this region though, as we can go back to see pre-Christian peoples of Europe also held firmly their concepts of gods that had to be snuffed out for the propulsion of the Christian paradigm. What little we know of these gods in a mainstream aesthetic tells us that these societies functioned rather similar to that of the monotheists, but little evidence actually points to this. With the murder of a people also comes the murder of their knowledge, and we have very little knowledge of what the Celtic peoples, or the Picts may have had of their spiritual selves. Just as we have very little mainstream knowledge, beyond the blindly accepted and indoctrinated stereotypical of "pagan" cultures, we treat the indigenous of the Americas with same colonial swath. Narrowing down their culture's belief and spirituality to an easily digested mockery of the truth. Our priests are dominating and controlling, so it would play well that their shamans served the same purpose. We have no real understanding of the spiritual practice of these peoples, but apply to them the reasoning learned by our own oppressive system, despite the teachings from still living indigenous peoples who point otherwise. Of course, it does a colony no good to exchange with it's directive, only to steal and redefine. He who defines, in a large way controls. This is well known in the scientific world, and comes directly from the experience of the religious world. Science is, in fact, the new religion.  

  This taken into account, how can we presume then the spiritual practices of our ancestors were the same as the religious practices of our oppressors? What we know of the cultures of past are that they were not all oppressive, conquest oriented, gender based societies of dominance and control. Some, such as many Celtic clans, held no gender bias and had no concept of gender roles, division of labor (as labor, in modern terms, did not exist) and had no structure of punishment or imprisonment, yet they had many "gods". We do not know how the practice of ritual would have been carried out, if even at all, yet it is clear that there were archetypes within these cultures to represent various aspects of life and connectivity. It would put forth then, that the shamans of the Americas, whose tribal peoples also had "gods" of various ilk, held no power over others as well. Being seen a spiritual guide may have been as commonplace as being seen as a good hunter, or a good thatch builder. Could we then surmise that spiritual life held an equal importance to food and shelter? Yes, it could. What then of the concept of god, not as we know it, but as our ancestors may have it?

  Joseph Campbell has done much work in the field of mythology, the study of the myths of a culture, and came to many conclusions that the "god" archetype may have little to do with control, if the society was not interested in control.  "Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths. " Joseph Campbell
This could be said that the society manufactures the gods, but does not manufacture the desire of the spirit. The largest threat to the Catholic church was not war from outside, but disbelief from inside. Disbelief would not have brought down the church walls, but would have made them impossible to be built in the first place. The cultures we now know as "pagan" were diverse and many, and had to be converted or eliminated for the life-way of roman civilization to  prosper, just as the tribal indigenous of the Americas had to be converted or killed off for the foothold of western civilization to take hold and grow. Why then did people not just convert? Because the spirit is a real and important part of life, equally as important as food and shelter. This, of course, is not saying that conversion would have "saved" the lives of every person killed by the genocidal armies of progress, as the racism and divine right of white males was already ingrained into Europeans by that time, giving that their own colonization was completed many generations previous, but we can see that the adoption of Christianity did "allow" for many peoples to survive albeit stripped entirely of a basic element of life, spirit, which, again is as important as food and shelter.  Genocide, as Ward Churchill reminds us, is not merely the act of killing an entire people, but killing their way of life. Therefore, you do not have to be dead, to be a direct casualty of genocide. The UN defines genocide as such: any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:a. killing members of the group;b. causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;c. deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;d. imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;e. forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.With the understanding of the importance of spirituality to non-civilized peoples, it is easy to deduce that an addition to this definition is in order:f. control or destroy the spiritual connection to life of a person or persons. 
 It is clear that religion has for some time been used as an element of control, with it's dominant gods and forced behaviors, but spirit has been it's greatest enemy. With the control or destruction of the spirit, the greatest genocide has already, is currently, occurring. We place our bodies in the pews and our faith in the machines, be they computers or the textual gods of literacy, we are under control. To abandon the spirit is no different from murdering it, and modern living requires just that, an abandonment of adventure and experience with a reliance on ritual and technology.

 The secular notion of life put forth by modernity is for the purpose of technocratic rule and objectification imperative. If one can be defined, it can be controlled, therefor if one cannot be defined, it is out of control and must be eliminated or recuperated else the rule of normality ceases to exist. Politics is the normalization of control, and must be abandoned, while spirituality without religion is beyond the confines of normalization and must be embraced. Towards an anarchist spirituality, without confines, without constriction.