Saturday, February 6, 2010

© Eso Antons Benjamins, a.k.a. Jaņdžs

79 Climbing Mt. Citheron (XII)

Given the rapid breakdown of the community and community oriented hegemonies and the exponential rise of atomized individuals cultured into being by consumerist broths, society is footloose and free to do as it may. With money in the pocket, anyone may dance his or her way to almost anyplace they wish. Those without money also may go their way and many do, but the process of numbing one’s self with alcohol enough not to feel no pain of death in the cold, is a process that may take years. It’s a strange world, Mr. Jack.

A long time ago “freedom” meant having the opportunity to live away from princely courts and find refuge in a subsistence economy. Last time this was tried in the U.S. was when the hippies moved to the states of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia in Canada in the 1960s. Some of them survive to this day by growing Johns Grass. In the rest of the world subsistence living—free but subject to finding food at the garbage dump, young women earning a living through prostitution, men growing and selling Johns Grass, and people dying as if they never were—is still the experience of the majority of humankind. Consumers may watch this world by taking "slum tours" as part of their consumption of vacation time. They may be preparing themselves for the rising tide of poverty that may force them to be discarded by the failed brain of our age of technology. On the other hand, there is also something to be said for wanting to live at the level of our forebears. Many would be happy to join them if using a horse and no car would free them from having to pay the government taxes.
It is a paradox of our civilization that it has not only rejected but also forgotten how the first human beings came into existence in conditions that offered them a comfortable subsistence living. In our own day, we are witnesses to how the advantage that an Earth full of fruit and life offered our ancestors has been squandered by using up ever more “lebensraum” (living space) in pursuit of consumption. Though Hitler failed in his attempt to carve out more living space for the German people by means of war (a nationalist activity often going by the name of fascism), a worldwide increase in poverty is only now beginning to see in consumerism a form of fascist dictatorship. Of course, I am speaking of a “soft” fascist dictatorship. For many Latvians going back to the ways of their forebears (if the world of the forebears could be recreated) would be an improvement over a country created with such foresight that 150,000 have left it, a no lesser number would like to, and the remainder wondering what fate had in mind when it put them ashore in Latvia
In the world as a whole, “Lebensraum” (living space) comes in many different sizes and shapes. There is concern over enough space for a growing population [risen from 2 billion inhabitants in 1950 to 6.5 billion by 2010, sixty years later, and expected to rise to 9 billion by 2040], but along with the growth of human population, the size of the ruling class has increased as well. It is, therefore, something like two billion Earth inhabitants stealing a living from the 4.5 billion others. Unfortunately, while the steal is successful, it is a steal that fails, because the theft helps increase the size of the middle classes on a planet of diminishing resources, certainly of such as are relatively cheap. Meanwhile, that part of humankind that was persuaded to abandon the ways of antiquity, yet never have had the opportunity to rise above the poverty level, continues to bring to life more people like itself than ever.
The majority of consumers live in cities, and it is around the cities that the human nakeds fill the slums. What once was a land for the original human subsistence dwellers, has become the private property of monster farms (probably bank owned) and the “bonus receivers” among bank employees, who invest and use retirement money of the middle classes for their own and the bank’s benefit. One may say that the natural order at the time when the first human beings appeared on Earth has been completely reversed: the haves then are the have-nots of today while the rulers-pretend-not-to-be are the Socialist Oligarch Party, SOP, of today.

More “growth” is obviously not a solution, but a problem to all areas that live as much on borrowed money as on borrowed time for lack analysis of the sustainability level of society and how to implement it. Sometimes a culture overgrown by a myth no longer either useful or principled may hinder the development or survivability of society as a whole.
While Latvia is a small nation, and one may think that it should escape notice of how it falls apart with all attention directed to the “biggies”, Latvia may play a big role in other ways. The current government is a perfect afterimage of what happens to those suffering from delayed gratification. The zeitgeist of consumer fascism shines bright in the eyes of almost everyone who knew the torture it was to stand in the long lines at stores during Soviet rule, yet was privy to television soaps from abroad. Such subjectivities obviously filled the heads of those who served Latvia’s bureaucracy and those who came to office as ministers and politicians. If consumer fascism is often well camouflaged in the West, it shows up in clear relief in post-Soviet Latvian morality.

Rather blatant presumption of hegemony among consumers translates itself best in images of television advertisements. The hegemony of images in advertising are unmistakeable. However, the modeling of the image began at the top, at top business and government level. There were no speed limits or blocks against running off the tracks. The examples of behavior in Latvia were set at the top and devolved down toward the valley where the people lived.
 The dazzling brightness of economic wisdom in the halls of Latvia’s “refounders” made plans to built "A Castle of Light"  to house a library that would put the Library of Congress in Washington to shame, but cost a mere ~140 million lats (~$300 mil.). It built the world’s most expensive bridge (~ Ls 600 million, with the lats almost twice as costly as the dollar, i.e., $ 1.2 billion) before its need was proven, and 27 million lats have simply gone missing. These and other objects reflect the high expectations of elected and unelected officials with no direct responsibilities to the voters—from 1991 on until the present 2010 election campaign. What an ironic spectacle of not only a lack of vision, but of the post-Soviet mindset revealed in all its dullness and primitiveness in the circles of the post-Soviet apparatchiki of Latvia.
The run for the sill began immediately after Latvia was retrieved—with help from the U.S.—from Soviet grasp. With America’s support, and soon part of NATO, the Latvian government felt safe. Latvian men went boar hunting and ate boar’s balls to prove the men they are. They could care less about Putin in Moscow waving red handkerchiefs and sending unkind messages, for we have in Latvia a partidocratic and zionationalist consumer nation on wheels already. Of course, consumer fascism does not smell but of coconut oil and olive skin. Latvia had one of the fastest growing economies in Europe a few years ago.

In any event, naked greed, sometimes robbery (but through an escape hatch in the ceiling always out of reach of prosecution) took the high chair of setting the public an example of correct behavior, and though there was talk of honor and honesty, the money did not go into education or its promotion. Today the founding institutions of Latvian consciousness, the village choirs and the Festival of Choirs that meets every five years to train their voices together, goes without state support. The ad hoc organizers and interested parties are left on their own, in effect homeless. If on some other occasion hard times are an opportunity for innovations, the government of Latvia is now saying in so many words that there is no mandate from the people for the choirs to stay among the living. Ligo Latvia! (Viva Latvia!)

I have already suggested using a “not-vote” as the occasion for choirs to meet near polling places and invite everyone to a not-vote sing-along.

Asterisk & Notes of Interest:
On the theme of “more-equal-than-others” see George Orwell's "Animal Farm"
A recommended read: “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” by Emmanuel Goldstein (A book within a book from George Orwell's "1984" ). 
Of great interest to me is this and like articles . It presents some of my reasons for supporting the growing of Johns Grass in Latvia.
These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.
Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and 

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