Antidote to a systemic disease or an alternative?
I’m saddened. Let me just mention one activism issue, energy and pollution. The problem I see with stopping these cheap energy
production options, like with the highly polluting coal option activists are
talking about stopping as the crude oil of the planet becomes desired by a wider marketplace and it’s sources continue to shrink as it’s finitude becomes realized, is those who want to stop the development of the coal option need to come up with a
viable option to the existing system. And what does that amount to
being? The system in place has evolved out of the use of lots of cheap
energy. Nothing we have is cheaper than oil and gas. Coal is next
cheapest, and it’s plentiful still.
People are "managed" by the system in place. And they participate
in their own management. That’s because nearly everyone is utterly
dependent upon it, though it’s not obvious without a little extra
thought — well, maybe a lot of extra thought. In general I think we
can assume people in the system are not going to initiate the option to
figure out how to provide for themselves, an option which takes some
major long term planning and a lot of dedicated effort at this point.
Nor are they going to be willing to suddenly be faced with freezing to death,
living in the dark, and starving when the system has an unexpected
failure, which it will as the energy grid demands energy which isn’t
there anymore. The ways those life threatening situations were avoided
by our ancestors are now almost completely lost, and either something
needs to be done to provide those basics through the existing system,
or the people now utterly dependent on the system have to take it upon
themselves to change their lives, each life, each of their own
volition. Would you take time out of your busy 24/7 event filled life
to change? That’s going to take a lot more effort than speaking three
paragraphs at meeting. And no one is going to lead the pack in that
direction either. Leadership of that sort is an illusion.
I don’t think scratching with pen is like being a dinosaur in one’s writing, as some folks are suggesting, just because using a computer is so much more efficient, I think it’s still important because it’s about being
personally connected, and taking the extra time to be personal. It might even be an
important effort to maintain an alternative system that’s sustainable in the long
run, even if by itself it’s not "efficient." Efficiency is one of the
most important characteristics in the "science" of management that
began in earnest with the second phase of the industrial revolution of
the late 19th Century. Efficiency is now the main concept driving the
whole of our global, vertically integrated, human economic survival system. Fighting against this predominant urge to be efficient may
even be a survival impulse, even if that’s not obvious on the surface.
It does become obvious to those who take the trouble to understand how
integrated this all is. But maybe "fighting against" is not the concept to think with. Maybe "alternative" is a very different way of viewing the problem.
I believe the concept of efficiency is closely tied to the
predominant modern day scourge of ideas known under the rubric: "professionalism," which Laurie
Anderson parodies so artfully with her song, "only an expert can deal with a problem."
But right at the moment, I’m feeling like giving up the fight to try to
share that awareness, and it’s part of a letting go I need to do right now. I don’t think this will last long, but I need to find a new trail, maybe break a new one for my path.
As I wrote in a blog the other day, though it was embedded in lots of other
"stuff," I can envision many genres of thought. A number of people and I share a lot of different but linked genres. To put a bigger picture, or what I would call a vision, together involves linking those
genres. The communication that happens in discussions that many people and I can have when we share a number of genres of thought can be
much deeper and often will occur with much less effort than any communication I
might be able to eke out with a number of other types of people whose genres of thought I do not share. Those are people who integrate a wholly different and unrelated set of
genres, and if they have visions, they are much different than mine as a rule. Of course we are sort of naturally at odds, and of course they must drive
me, and others of our genre kind, from their claimed intellectual territory, and they can generally do so quite successfully simply by disrupting any of our
attempts to create a coherent narrative with each other. They know instinctively, if not
consciously, what they do. Jesus was wrong.
While I may strive for some degree of self sufficiency, self sufficiency itself is not an antidote to the current system, a system which I consider to imperil us in many ways. Nor is self sufficiency
actually what I mean when I try to talk about getting out of the system and finding a way to survive that sidesteps our dependency on this system. Conceptually "antidote" creates a sense of inoculation against a disease. So I’d move to a different word, like
"alternative." Localized "community sufficiency" based on a conscious
self actualization is an alternative to vertically integrated
management systems, and is a whole ‘nother way of looking at survival
and democracy. It’s based on self actualization, not self sufficiency, though self sufficiency may be an outcome, and it’s based on what I would call an
artistically crafted way of life. A life in which each individual
would need to consciously understand the factors that draw us all into
a life threatening complacency trap. One that seems to be the real hidden promise
of progress towards an ideal of a perfect life. One that promises an
illusion of security.
"Alternative" to me implies action, and choice. Whereas,
"antidote" implies injecting a serum, or in this case an ideological system that’s
the serum, a system which some have named "self sufficiency." I don’t think there is
such a serum. We are human and social beings, and as humans we only have our opportunities to act in the moment. Precisely what that moment consists of, will be the key ingredient to our actions. If we want to look, we have an opportunity to see a pattern of strategic moves that can
only take place through time, one action at a time, each action depending on the circumstances of that moment, as one’s acts in the moment creates the
circumstances for another moment. Each situation from these actions has too
many possible inputs to be accurately predicted outside of a controlled
and circumscribed system, which is what civilization is all about trying to create, so artistic craftsmanship and creativity come
to play a role as our individual "imaginative self actuation"
engages our environment throughout the process of creating our own lives and our own individually crafted worlds.
Management systems deplore these
possibilities. Many types of institutions with their management systems want to minimize the creative
options and will, in that suppression of creative options make the system more predictable. That suppressive minimization makes
it all the more efficient. All the more professional, because the
professional is an expert who can deal with the problem. And the
problem needs to be identifiable by the expert. So the professional
can be trained. Kind of a root tautology of professionalism, if you