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***I Can Think Of Elephants

by Antifa Sun Jul 23rd, 2006 at 09:29:57 AM EST

An elegant epigram of Serendib says that 'two elephants cannot be tied to one post.'

The glimmer in this gem is as obvious -- and subtle -- as he who hears it.

Lifelong sarong and sari wearers among you, who have actually seen two elephants tied to one post know damn well that they will soon wander off with that post. It's only a matter of time before they happen to pull together or happen to pull opposite -- the post survives neither event.


This lesson is portable.

Many see our world's rising tide of human woes, think it all through, and blame global capitalism.

Capital is widely respected and regarded; it is influential and omnipresent; it is slippery, solvent, and super sexy. Like water, it gets into everything. It can rinse away blood. It can feed millions. It can drown millions.

An Ism is most anything writ large, writ larger than life itself. Ideology is love of an idea. Ideology of every sort is Ism, is an idea taken to be larger than life itself.

An Ism will not blink or bend if polar bears are drowning, or babies are bleeding. That's merely life -- here is an eternal Idea. We must stay the course.

Capital is money. Money is debt. Usury on debt is the fuel of global capitalism. We extract compound interest from the beating hearts of human lives on every continent and island nowadays. Human sweat congeals into capital instruments that will burn reliably over measured fiscal periods.

Some of us have our lives. Some of us have basis points in other human lives.

When debt creation and servicing becomes our global culture and condition, we are pursuing Global Capital Ism. When that Idea of perpetually increasing debt service is larger than human life itself, when polar bears are drowning and babies are bleeding, we have tied two elephants to one post.

The post is civilization, the maypole, the base agreement between people that we will not kill each another on sight, that we will leave one another's daughters and property alone in exchange for the same treatment. The post is the promise that people from one valley will not raid the fields of people in the next valley.

The post is the sum of how far we have come since our ancestors drew buffaloes and birds on the cave walls of rural France.

We've come all the way to Consumer Man, whose idea larger than life is to get more, to live better than well, and to see that the kids all get even further along the Capital Highway, at any and all collateral damage. Why? Because it's all good. Because it's super sexy to have the best and be the best. Elvis is in the building, baby. Hoo-yah!

This is one elephant tugging at the post.

The billions of bug-eaten bastards digging in the dirt all over the world, the filthy and filched in the factories and fisheries and foundries, the various victims of capitalism's conquests who sometimes in death or crisis join the infinitesimally small percentage of human beings to ever have their picture taken -- this faceless multitude is the other elephant tugging at the post.

There are so many people without anything at all. Just the day, and hunger, and the children. So unbelievably many with nothing but that. Human minds do not really count as high as the number of people scratching for edible things around the globe. A billion -- is just a word to the human mind. Two billion -- is just two words.

But all those lowly lives, and billions more living scarcely above their level, are tugging opposite to Consumer Man, who wants to own everything and run everything. When he comes to collect sweat from them they know not his language or his trade or his tools but they do know they have less when he leaves than they had before. Because he bought basis points in their lives.

He bought their government, he bought their laws, he bought their resources, he bought their property, he bought their lives.

Their sweat builds empires in far off countries. Their sweat congeals into debt instruments and derivatives and Dow Jones daily averages. What gave Consumer Man possession of their sweat is as much a mystery to them as where their lives will go from here. Consumer Man neither knows nor cares. His world does not work that way.

Most of the human race will never -- ever -- under any circumstances enjoy a tenth of what Consumer Man takes for granted and throws away. There is not enough planet to supply that standard of living for all of us, and not enough environment to hold the garbage. We would need several more Earths to reach that level. Global consumer civilization isn't going to happen with these numbers. Ever.

So we have two elephants, and you cannot leave two elephants tied to one post. If you do, you must watch them all night and all day, keeping them from tugging together or tugging opposite, keeping them from wandering off with the maypole.

The rich and the poor could tug all together, and wander off with this civilization grounded in debt servicing. They could cease all usury of human lives, and everyone could have somewhat of the Earth's available bounty, but not at any and all collateral cost to human creatures living and yet to live. The American lifestyle could become, actually, negotiable.

The rich and the poor could tug opposites, wandering off with the maypole shattered and broken, with no one's daughters or harvest safe anymore. Start tossing nukes around, and Consumer Man will be drawing buffaloes and birds on the walls of caves. We'll try again. We'll start over. Maybe we'll share this time.

One planet spinning through space. One global civilization based on debt servicing, based on the few harvesting from the many. Two elephants tied to that maypole, that civilization.

The sun will come up in an hour. I'll be in my fields, getting the work done before the heat arrives. I can't think of a billion, but I can think of one mother or one father somewhere waking up to the day, and hunger, and the children. I can think about elephants.

I don't want this war, and I don't want this civilization.

Display:

another dollar . . .

Frames exist within larger frames. Draw a larger frame around your opponent's frame; he will appear wrong or insufficient. This is how wizards play.
by Antifa (antifa@bellsouth.net) on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 05:01:51 AM EST
Frames exist within larger frames. Draw a larger frame around your opponent's frame; he will appear wrong or insufficient. This is how wizards play.

Reminds me somewhat of Caesar and Vercingetorix at Alesia in 52 BC. Somebody got framed real well there:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Alesia

Never cared for elephants much. Met them first when I was about five. My father took me to the Ringling Brothers circus in a town 50 miles away, when Ringling still had the big top. At the end of the show we had to walk near the area where they were hosing down the elephants. One of them back up close to me and I moved real quick, thinking she might step on or sit on me. Fortunately it was just a nature call. But stll..

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins

by EricC on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 12:36:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Think maybe everyone is on holiday over here.

Good diary anyway.

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins

by EricC on Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 10:40:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the human race will never -- ever -- under any circumstances enjoy a tenth of what Consumer Man takes for granted and throws away. There is not enough planet to supply that standard of living for all of us, and not enough environment to hold the garbage. We would need several more Earths to reach that level. Global consumer civilization isn't going to happen with these numbers. Ever.

I'm not convinced of the truth of that statement. Consumer Man wastes more than he uses because it seems cheaper to do it that way. It's not the standard of living that's necessarily impossible to achieve, it's the level of waste that is unsustainable. Including the waste of cheap, disposable goods.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 10:51:54 AM EST

good diary...

i agree with colman, it's the waste and ecological ignorance that's doing us in.

it's not that the chinese shouldn't have cars, but they should have electric ones, powered by renewables, for example.

if we eat vegetarian, and only what we need, not for sensually indulgent reasons, not only would we be healthier, but, we'd sleep better at night knowing there was more grain for people instead of fattening feedlots for cattle.

the world is being run appallingly, when will the grownups come home and take over?

the whole mindset of unbridled capitalism is so plainly destructive, how long, oh lord, must we put up with soulless leaders doomimg us to perdition?

fucking sellout pols and evil backroom lobbyists have made a tragic mockery of out political systems.

meanwhile italy broils at bahgdad temperatures, and bush castrates science to please greedy screwed-up enroncorps who don't give a flying toss about the world, other than their idiot bottom line.

and hezbollah bombs nazareth, while israel sets up new reconstruction challenges in lebanon.

like 2 year olds in high chairs, the lot of them!

food and forks flying, and mum and dad out watching movies...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jul 24th, 2006 at 06:58:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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