Unconcealment (Part Three): Transparency vs. gossip

Continued form Unconcealment Part Two:

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/pauladkin.wordpress.com/3382

10.

As a conscious being, the homo sapiens is a naturally unconcealing one. Nevertheless, whilst we have this passion to unconceal, we also have an aversion to be the object of Unconcealment. The conscious being in society needs to protect him or herself from the prying eyes of the society itself. Without privacy, life is stressful and the structure of society is totalitarian.

A political dialectic exists, therefore, between the need to be able to unconceal, and the need to protect oneself from the unconcealing of others.

11.

By embracing the Information Age, we have consciously and/or unwittingly surrendered ourselves to the stress and fascism of the unconcealed society. However, it is imperative to understand that unconcealment has different shades: from the gleaming brilliance of creativity and scientific discovery to the gloomy greyness of gossip and the invasion of privacy.

At the political level, the popular term for unconcealment is transparency, and whilst this is important for the healthy functioning of democracy, unconcealment also has an invasive, negative side. At the social level, this is called gossip. It is non-creative, accusative and stress creating and is often based on tenuous suppositions or blatant lies. The System loves it because it channels the creative and critical forces in society away from an unconcealment of the obscure world of power itself, into the mind-numbing noise of social chit-chat. However, with the surge of populisms in politics, the power of gossip has been thrown into the political arena, with the subsequent debasement of political theatrics, in which complex debate can be lifted out of the parliamentary setting and vomited forth in dangerous over-simplifications and memes propagated via Twitter.

The technology of the Information Age will not go away. Quite the contrary, it will offer more and more transparency, much of which will be negative and democratically dangerous. When freedom of speech devolves into the freedom for, and perverse enjoyment of, perjury and slander, democracy itself is infirm and knocking on the door of a dictatorship. To protect ourselves from this latent totalitarianism within the transparency-system itself, we have to nurture the brilliant side of unconcealment: the artistic, creative spirit and the unconcealment of scientific discovery.

12.

In order to protect themselves, the corporate powers that pull the strings of our global-world, capitalist civilisation, do allow a certain space for this brighter light of unconcealment to take place, whilst at the same time fomenting a gossip society of atrophied intellects that will happily consume that which is absolutely unnecessary. This causes a gap betwixt the brilliant creative part of society and its gloomy, gossiping grey side: a rift less visible but just as profound as the economic divide of rich and poor. However, this brilliant/grey society is only one stride away from slipping into the totally grey world of fascism. A proximity narrow enough to envisage a sudden, massive leap to the dark side.

When society nurtures atrophied intellects, it creates a breeding ground for fascism.

Read Part Four: https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/pauladkin.wordpress.com/3395

Pandemic (Part Two): our tragedy

To see PANDEMIC (Part ONE) go to: https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/pauladkin.wordpress.com/3348

For decades the largely hypocritical ethics of neo-liberal ideologies have been globally chipping away at the public sector of the system from all sides, disfiguring the State and undermining any democratic quality of it. This weakening process has been carried out to such an extent that there is a widespread sense of distrust from the demos towards those who organise and govern them. In tragedy-terms, the natural law that composes the democratic State, a polis for the people elected by the people, has been perverted.

In the Greek sense of tragedy, the tragic comes into play when the human ethics clash with the divine, natural laws of the gods. Applied to our current situation, our tragedy unfolds because the nihilistic ethics of the capitalist economy that drives our system, have fallen into conflict with the natural laws of ecological sustainability.

The co-habitation of conflicting forces is the underlying condition that makes tragedy possible. In the case of the pandemic, the forces contributing to the tragedy itself are the conflicting elements of the private and public sectors, two spaces that exist in the same space (the State), competing for possession of that space. The pandemic has revealed the real scope and existential significance of that conflict, which was hardly tangible in the pre-tragic scenario, so dominated by the private sector at the expense of the public. The pandemic has shown us the impotence of the public/private system, by revealing its fatal flaws.

On the surface, it seems that the State is able to manage the opposing forces comfortably. It could be said that the function of Western democracies is solely to bind these opposing forces together and guarantee the co-habitation of the two. Within this role, the State exudes self-confidence, seeing itself as a simple individuality in which public and private dynamics and needs are harmonised, but this perception is diluted and dissolved when the true situation is revealed with the unfolding of the tragedy. So, to see the real impact of the pandemic, we need to look at the essence of that which the State truly represents in order to see beyond the illusion that its public/private mask perpetuates.

For the State to make any democratic sense, it must be regarded as a guarantee of survival for the people that constitute it. At a secondary level, it needs to be dedicated to providing comfort and dignity, both materially and spiritually. It is the organisation that organises not only the lives of the people, but also their deaths, and this organisation is expected to be primarily quantitative. The democratic success of the State depends on the quality of life enjoyed by its citizens, as well as the protection against that life ending prematurely, and the guarantee for everyone to be allowed to die in a dignified way.

This latter point is often overlooked, and that is part of the reason why the pandemic tragedy is so bewildering. In the pandemic, the need to regulate death in the society suddenly jumps to the fore. Remember, the primary aim of the State is its guarantee of ensuring the survival of its citizens, and the pandemic reveals this essential objective very clearly. Like the Greek tragedy Antigone, the pandemic tragedy is set around corpses. It is about the real problem of death in society, which is, above all, a question of dignity.

In the 2020 pandemic, what we have seen is a humiliation of human arrogance and the principle product of that arrogance is the capitalist economy. It has also revealed the dangers of perpetuating a system which is anti-natural, in our contemporary sense of working in a rapacious manner that constantly violates and destroys the ecosystem that is ultimately our only true source of sustenance.

To be natural, politics must be a conjunction of human will and nature in which the human will is harmonious with the restrictions of natural law. To ensure this, the human will must submit to ecology, and the only political force fit enough and potent enough to organise and carry out that submission, is the public sector.         

5 WAYS TO CHANGE THE WORLD …

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Surely, we all want a better world, and that better world is possible if we …

1) Believe that a perfect world (Utopia) is attainable, and that, subsequently, the eradication of wars, poverty, disease, crime and social injustices is possible. Believe that we can create better living standards in clean environments and that work will be a labour of love for all.

2) Understand that this Utopia can only be possible if it is constructed for the enjoyment of all of humanity, and that nation-state borders are an impediment to the construction of this better world. A constitution already exists for humanity, it’s called the International Bill of Human Rights Insist that this universal constitution be taken seriously. 

3) Understand that the alternative to Utopia is Dystopia and that this Dystopia is the current direction we are headed. In Dystopia, wars are a constant reality; poverty is rife, as is disease; criminal organisations control and govern us; the environment is dirty and noxious; and labour is an alienating reality for the worker and a daily purgatory. Understand that the creation of Dystopia has to be resisted at all costs.

4) Understand that technology is the main tool that will make the utopia or the Dystopia a reality. Understand that our creation and use of technologies must therefore be bravely orientated towards Utopian purposes.

5) Understand how our current system, which is geared towards acquisitions and the protection of acquisitions, is prejudicial for Utopia and a motivator of Dystopian scenarios. Understand that this system needs to be dismantled in order for the possibility of Utopia to bloom.  Help provoke this dismantling of the system by believing in (1).

Productivity and War

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Should we be more, or less productive? The laws of the global market insist on the former: excess is a virtue, or at least while excess amounts to the excess of profit. To be rich and powerful, one needs to get money; and to obtain money, one needs to sell things; and in order to sell things, one needs to make things to be sold; and those things should be commodities with a short life-span so that that there will always be a need to purchase new things allowing the money to keep flowing in.

Now, according to this economic philosophy, we should have a productive and innovative society that is continually producing new commodities or improving on old ones. Capitalism produces a marvelous circuit of creativity dedicated to satisfying the needs of the hungry consumer.

However, there is an essential flaw in this philosophy. In order for it to work, consumer needs are not enough: the system must be fueled through consumer-desires, which can only be systemically positive enough if they are turned into needs. But then, this is not enough to keep the system spinning either. Something else is needed to keep the momentum going and the excess turning into wealth and power. To maintain a constant progress, every now and again everything has to be pulled down so that there is room to build anew in. And what is a better way of pulling things down than blowing them up. Natural disasters are good for the consumer economy, but, despite the increment of natural weather-anomaly disasters, these phenomena are still too infrequent and too random to be an assurance.

Yet, there is something we can always depend on in moments of the deepest decadence of the capitalist-consumer system: war.

War is something that can be manufactured; something that can be pulled out of the hat as a last resort whenever growth becomes lethargic, and guarantee the system’s self-perpetuating motion. In fact, war is a very part of that system: a tried and true methodology for injecting momentum into the machine. Wealth and power have been using war to sustain itself for the last eight thousand years. In a sense, technology has always been subordinated to military needs and great advances have been made when the empire of the state has pumped huge amounts of man-hours and money into military research.

But to see this fact as justification for the military and, subsequently, as a justification for war, is the most cynical of positions. The production and selling of arms (whether of mass or minor destruction) and the use of those weapons as profit-making internecine tools of thymotic rage has led us to the gates of the Apocalypse and the eternal damnation of a complete nihilistic destruction of life on Earth.

The inherent absurdities in the capitalist-consumer philosophy of perpetual growth have necessitated the production of its own class of clowns to perpetuate itself. Their justifications for prolonging the destruction have become infantile-ego wailings, in adolescent-will societies, driven by demands for what the clowns want and by the fact that they all want to have those wants now despite the consequences, because they deny the existence of any consequences. To get what they want, the clowns know they have to be tough, but they can buy protection, and they can rig the system to perpetuate their power and strength. The promises this circus makes for humanity, of course, are not comforting at all, but the clowns also feed on the fear they themselves produce in order to stabilize their grasp on power. And while the tough clowns flex their muscles, the weapons of mass-destruction sit comfortably in their silos, waiting to be unleashed in the greatest destructive act the world has ever seen. But this time, surely, it will be the final curtain.

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WHAT DO WE TAKE? … C) from Marx

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FROM MARX:

We get the idea that capitalism is concealment: hiding its exploitation well.

It conceals through seduction: the enamoured victim of the seducer is always blind to the depths of the one-sidedness of their relationship.

“… things do not always immediately appear as they are. The divorce between reality and the way it appears is a central aspect of Marx’s dialectical thought.”[i]

What we learn from Marx is the need to be critical and vigilant of appearances. In fact, it is precisely when everything looks quite rosy that we must be especially on our guard.

Marx argued that in communist societies technological development would seek to eliminate repetitive, physically demanding, unsafe and unhealthy tasks; reduce overall labour time, satisfy basic needs and develop human potential.[ii] The failure of communism is usually estimated by its inability to achieve, or even successfully approach the achievement of these goals.

However, in assessing this failure, it is also true that the communist states were set up at times when technologies were not advanced enough to make this forward-moving cultural-leap possible. Very many of the technologies capable of transforming our lives were developed in the capitalist, not the communist world, and the great spike in technological development that we are experiencing now came after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In a sense, it could be affirmed that communism arose as a political alternative before its time. Ironically, the application of Marx’s Utopian dream is far easier to envisage now. Whilst, a development of our current AI and robotics technologies offers an alternative to human labour that could give us the means to nurture our potential, the pressing needs for systemic change that are demanded by the ecological crisis give us a sound reason for wanting to make such a revolutionary change as well.

One of the goals of all human societies, if they are truly human, should be to get humans out of the psychologically and physically tedious work spaces, and into environments where human potential can be focussed on tasks related to the full development of our human, homo sapiens, potentials. Technology is now our greatest hope, and the more utopian are our hopes for the technological world, the better. Nevertheless, it is also true, and it should always be uppermost in any technological thrust forward, that a Utopia will only ever be built once research and the production of new technologies are liberated from the profit-making obligations of the market place. (Capitalism + Technology = Dystopia) is the true equation behind the façade of the current System, but it is this same monstrous equation that has to be avoided at all costs.

One of the ways to achieve the liberation from tedious, repetitive work that offers no spiritual reward for the labourer, would lie through a complete automation of production – a process which is taking place, but which is unpopular because it produces unemployment, which produces, in our capitalist-monetary system, misery and poverty. What this implies, therefore, is another Marxist or neo-Marxist goal: the deconstruction of the idea of unemployment allowing for a conception of society to be formed in which being without a wage-earning occupation never has to be a problem.

[i] From Ben Fine and Alfredo Saad, MARX’S CAPITAL, Routledge, p.4

 

[ii] Ibid, p.8

EQUILIBRIUM

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In the dystopian sc-fi-action film, Equilibrium, directed by Kurt Wimmer, we are presented with a totalitarian regime that controls society by abolishing feelings. In this dystopia, each member of society is provided with a drug, to be taken at regular intervals, that inhibits, like Prozac, the human side of humans – our feelings.

On a superficial level, this seems to be a critique of all dictatorial regimes, and of the evolution of power. Nevertheless, the real manipulation by the most powerful regimes today function quite the opposite: power today is ensured, not by inhibiting human feelings and allowing the logical mind to flourish, but rather by letting our sentiments and desires dominate us and, by so doing, inhibiting effective critical thought which would challenge the authority of the regime.

All totalitarian regimes have always identified their greatest enemies in the intellectual class. It is only knowledge and deep critical thinking which will be able to see through the lies they propagate and undermine the superficial veneers of happiness they have painted their societies with.

Governments and Ultimate Significance

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Governments are supposed to organise us, but … organise us to do what? To be able to answer this question democratically and function as effectively as possible in favour of the demos, the elected government would have to know the ultimate significance of what everybody knows and does, as well as the potentials behind what each one of us would like to do.

The paradox behind this fact is that no demos would ever want their government to know exactly what they know and do, or, perhaps, even what they would really like to do.

What this paradox means therefore, is that real democracy is an impossibility. Nevertheless, we have systems that call themselves democratic, and we are told that these systems are designed for our welfare, or for our security. But these claims are also paradoxical, because such justifications only make sense for a society that has already reached and understood its ultimate significance … which takes us back to the first paradox, and in this way the great leviathan of government swallows it tail twice.

To resolve these paradoxes, the demos needs to be able to have the faith that a democratic government that knew what we want, know and do, would be able to channel this perfect knowledge of its citizens into a collective, truly purposeful project directed towards real fulfilment.

 

THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN DEMOCRACY

Religion has traditionally been an escape vessel for political leaders: if the ultimate significance is a religious one, beyond our control, except by ensuring that the religious idea is allowed absolute freedom of expression, then government can concentrate on fulfilling its four-year programme without worrying about the inconvenience of its own ultimate significance.

What this succeeds in doing is to create the removal of politics from any truly purposeful organisation. When the long term is ignored, so is authentic fulfilment. The result is a general feeling of dissatisfaction and pointlessness and a retreat into hedonisms and living the day to day. If there is money around, it creates decadence. If there is not, it creates the struggle for daily survival.

 

ENLIGHTENED GOVERNMENT

But how can we ever get over the first paradox. The idea of the enlightened government is terrifying. Traditional enlightenment and power has been a terrible, often tragic, combination for societies, and they usually add up to dictatorial dogmas enforced by megalomaniacal leaders. We need enlightened government, but we fear it will only bring about oppression and tragedy.

Nevertheless, once we start analysing the ultimate significance we are proposing and the ideologies that have created past dictatorships, we find there is a fundamental difference. Traditionally, ideologies have been initiated by and for a social group, or class, race or culture. The failure of these ideologies as enlightenment has been their intrinsic nature of pitching us against them.

What we are discovering now is that the struggle between us and them has got nothing to do with the current crises except in the fact that it must be overcome. The only way that our great universal problems can be superseded is by humanity coming together and making the ultimate leap towards ultimate significance which can only come through a real identification with what each one of us really is … a member of the human race. From the human race point of view, sovereignty is a constant distraction away from the ultimate significance.

AUTHENTIC REALITY

But whether we can offer an authentic ultimate significance for social action or not, the shadow of power still hangs over the reality of all social organisation. And the form of that shadow is that governmental power is, really, the power to create reality.

Our argument is, that authentic reality which is that which offers an ultimate significance for all human knowledge, activity and desires, can only be measured from a holistically human point of view. Power on the other hand, has been traditionally self-interested, serving the needs and desires of certain factions and using lies and persuasion to convince societies that their regimes are working for them. Or, if not, that they have no other choice but to work for the regime that wields ultimate power over their lives.

FAKE NEWS

When President Donald Trump brazenly whines about the Fake News of his media coverage he is unwittingly – as most of Trump’s disclosures are – proclaiming a very uncomfortable truth, i.e. the basis of all the news we receive is fundamentally fake. But that’s not what Trump is saying. He’s not proclaiming that all news in the media is false, only that which gives him a bad coverage.

On the HBO programme Real Time, comedian Bill Maher made the claim that viewers of Fox News (Trump’s favourite channel) when asked about Trump’s ties to Russia said they knew nothing about it, because, concluded Maher, on Fox News  they don’t talk about the Russia-gate enquiry; and as such, Fox’s news is fake by omission. On the other hand, Trump and his supporters, argue that the rest of the media use the same tactics of falsity through omission, by never talking about all the great and wonderful things his administration is doing to make America great again.

Both Trump and Bill Maher are right … and wrong. Falsity-through-omission is perpetrated by all the mainstream media outlets at all levels and, practically, all the time, and so they are right. But what neither trump nor Maher see is that the truly grave omissions in reporting are not the one’s spurred by ideological interests, but rather the great omissions concerning the structural organisation of our civilisation that ignore the root causes of all evils. Lack of systemic criticism and the complete absence of systemic culpability is where the Fake News really resides.

We live in a civilisation that preaches the virtues of competitiveness and successfulness. This is the motor of our lives and money is the oil-blood that keeps that machine working. From this point of view, when Trump stood up before the United Nations and told every member of those supposedly united countries that he was going to put America first and that every other leader should put their own country first, it was pure madness (how can we be united if we’re all competing against each other?) but it wasn’t hypocritical. Quite the opposite, Trump was proclaiming pure market-system ideology – compete and succeed, no matter what that the demands of that competitiveness are.

But the ideology that Trump so honestly adheres to, is also insane. Seen in the context of the United Nations and international diplomacy we immediately see the dangers behind it – such a doctrine leads to wars; and in the case at hand, a possible nuclear war.

Trump may or may not be criticised for making his honest claim, but what will never be criticised will be the system itself which Trump is just a loud symptom of.

And there are a lot more serious symptoms, not just Trump. Not only wars but all violence in societies stem from this structural emphasis on competition and success. Yet, when the media report this violence, there is never any attempt to put the blame where it stands, on the competitive market structure of the global economy world itself. Poverty is another result and poverty also intensifies violent conditions. But the media don’t report on that, or debate in their in-depth analyses on how the structure might be changed … and therein lies the great Fake News.

Crime in our civilisation is not an aberration in society, but an honestly determined expression of its values to be successful – no matter what – even if it means breaking the rules.

And, of course, there is our interminable problem of biodegradation that is also deeply embedded in the system itself. This is yet another manifestation of the violence perpetrated by competition and success. Of course, with the issue of climate change there is an awareness that things have to be done, but a great lack in reporting how the system of competition and success is incapable of making the adjustments that need to be made to halt the lethal degradation.

In a psychological sense, the media seems to be in a blind state of denial to the ugly truth. in order to clean the filthy pond we’re swimming in, we have to change the water – which means we have to stop swimming, get the water and filthy scum out of the pool, and find some clean water to swim in again. And that is a lot of hard work. Yes, Donald Trump himself promised to drain that swamp for us, but he is just making it murkier than ever, and, how could we expect a billionaire capitalist ever to clean up the neo-capitalist cess-pool?

The truth is: for humanity to succeed, we must clean out the competition and success and replace it with a new purpose based on the creative potentials of an authentic humanity that is allowed to be creative without carrying the burdens that competitiveness implies. We need a systemic revaluation, a vision of a different future, and … a revolution. That’s the real news.

Patriotism, Fascism, and the Death of Democracy

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Our Civilisation of Wealth has used very different kinds of political ideologies to sustain itself but its ugliest version is undoubtedly Fascism. That a vulgar and fascistic, personality-cult leader has now become President of the USA is shocking, but not so surprising if we consider that the fascism has always been there in a latent form.

The Great War against Fascism of 1939-45, that we call the Second World War, did not actually defeat fascism. Yes, it defeated Hitler and Mussolini and the personality cult regime in Japan, but it did not defeat fascism. It did not defeat fascism because it did nothing to eradicate the patriotic pride of the national states. There were victors and losers in the war: one way of perpetuating the patriotic spirit defeat another manifestation of those sentiments; in the Second World War “democratic” fascism defeated “authoritarian” fascism with the help of the national-socialist regime of Joseph Stalin.   

Authoritarian fascism is best defined by the term National Socialism and the key word in fascism is National. The patriotic spirit behind the democratic forces that defeated Hitler were nationalistic and therefore fascistic forces. All forms of wall building and border defining ideologies are inherently nestling fascist frameworks. All nationalism and patriotic feelings are essentially fascist sentiments. Even the great bridge building ventures since World War II, like the European Union and Globalisation have always clung on to the maintenance of state sovereignty, and by doing this we have maintained the roots of fascism under every progressive tree.

The problem of fascism is that, once the National State establishes its power it needs to extend its boundaries if it wishes to keep progressing. The fascist state is always a little empire, and the Fatherland Empire will always want to expand into neighbouring Fatherlands. The same expansionist need is also an essential part of neo-liberal capitalist growth. However, the capitalist powers that defeated Hitler, knew that they did not need the muscle of dictatorship to perpetuate itself and its growth, in fact, they understood that tyranny was counterproductive to expansion. Fascism had to be subtler, and democracy was a far more efficient machine for allowing the rich to get richer and for Wealth to legitimise itself. Civilian upstarts like Hitler, or military reactionaries like Franco were themselves a bigger threat to Wealth than the pseudo-freely elected parliamentary systems. Control from the unquestionable legitimacy of the ballot-box, contained within an easily controllable patriotic ambience, is the apotheosis of power that Wealth needs to maintain itself.

In theory, Democracy should be the system that favours the masses, but by restricting it within the patriotic bubble this is hardly ever the case. The seemingly illogical results of the Brexit referendum, the Colombian peace referendum, or the seemingly impossible election of a fascist president in the emblem of the Free World that has been the USA, seems to indicate that the democratic process no longer works. But, really, veiled with the mask of patriotism, democracy has always been an easily manipulated motor for the National Socialisms that pull the strings.

As for the United States, where democracy is so widely revered, a heavy paradox has always lain over that system; for an idea of politics favouring the masses is associated there with the “evils” of socialism, that most Americans think is an un-democratic process. By rejecting socialism, the Americans reject the role of the people in democracy. When the will of the people rejects the power of the people, then the situation lies in an essential paradox that is profoundly absurd and invites dangerously ridiculous solutions like authoritarian fascism.         

The Serious Ridicule Campaign — P.D. Adkin Singer Songwriter

On 11th November, 2016, we woke up to find that the most famously disgusting man in the world had been seriously, ridiculously voted in as the 45th President of the USA. Donald Trump is seriously ridiculous. Seriously ridiculous because his ridiculousness has to be taken seriously. But, the seriousness of that ridiculousness does not […]

via The Serious Ridicule Campaign — P.D. Adkin Singer Songwriter