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Politics

My notes, quotes, and links are still spread over many pages...

La Societé du Spectacle Black Bloc Noam Chomsky Etc

From an article about Naomi Klein:

Klein went back to university in 1995 to try to finish her degree, and something very clearly had changed. "I met this new generation of young radicals who had grown up taking for granted the idea that corporations are more powerful than governments, that it doesn't matter who you elect because they'll all act the same. And they were, like, fine, we'll go where the power is. We'll adapt. It didn't fill them with dread and depression. When I was at university before, we thought our only power was to ban something - but they were very hands-on, DIY, if you don't like something change it, cut it, paste it, download it. Even though I don't think culture jamming by itself is a powerful political tool, there's something about that posture that's impressive - it's unintimidated hand-to-brand contact. The young activists I know have grounded their political activism in economic analysis and an understanding of how power works. They're way more sophisticated than we were because they've had to be. Because capitalism is way more sophisticated now.

I think I'm lucky because I got to witness a significant shift, something that changed, and I wanted to document that shift. And it seemed very, very clear to me that if there was going to be a future for the left it would have to be an anti-corporate movement."


From an interwiew with Gary Snyder, published in the ``East/West Journal'' in 1977 (reprinted in the book ``The Gary Snyder Reader''):

The last eighty years have been like an explosion. Several billion barrels of oil have been burned up. The rate of population growth, resource extraction, destruction of species, is unparalleled. We live in a totally anomalous time. It's actually quite impossible t to make any generalizations about history, the past or the future, human nature, or anything else, on the basis of our present experience. It stands outside of the mainstream. It's an anomaly. People say, ``We've got to be realistic about the way things *are*.'' But the way things for now *are* aren't real. It's a temporary situation. (TGSR p.108)


Chowka: You once mentioned an intuitive feeling that hunting might be the origin of zazen or smadhi.

Snyder: I understand even more clearly now than when I wrote that, that our earlier ways of self-support, our earlier traditions of life prior to agriculture, required literallythousands of years of great attention and awareness, and long hours of stillness. An anthropologist, William Laughlin, has written a useful article on hunting as education for children. His first point is to ask why primitive hunters didn't have better tools than they did. The bow of the American indians didn't draw more than forty pounds; it looked like a toy. The technology was really very simple --- piddling! They did lots of other things extremely well, like building houses forty feet in diameter, raising big totem poles, making very fine boats. Why, then, does there seem to be a weakness in their hunting technology? The answer is simple: they didn't hunt with tools, they hunted with their minds. They did things --- learning an animal's behavior --- that rendered elaborate tools unnecessary. (TGSR p.102)


From "'Beyond Greed and Scarcity': an interview with Bernard Lietaer":

Van Gelder: So you're suggesting that scarcity needn't be a guiding principle of our economic system. But isn't scarcity absolutely fundamental to economics, especially in a world of limited resources?

Lietaer: My analysis of this question is based on the work of Carl Gustav Jung because he is the only one with a theoretical framework for collective psychology, and money is fundamentally a phenomenon of collective psychology. A key concept Jung uses is the archetype, which can be described as an emotional field that mobilizes people, individually or collectively, in a particular direction. Jung showed that whenever a particular archetype is repressed, two types of shadows emerge, which are polarities of each other. For example, if my higher self - corresponding to the archetype of the King or the Queen - is repressed, I will behave either as a Tyrant or as a Weakling. These two shadows are connected to each other by fear. A Tyrant is tyrannical because he's afraid of appearing weak; a Weakling is afraid of being tyrannical. Only someone with no fear of either one of these shadows can embody the archetype of the King.

Now let's apply this framework to a well-documented phenomenon - the repression of the Great Mother archetype. The Great Mother archetype was very important in the Western world from the dawn of prehistory throughout the pre-Indo-European time periods, as it still is in many traditional cultures today. But this archetype has been violently repressed in the West for at least 5,000 years starting with the Indo-European invasions - reinforced by the anti-Goddess view of Judeo-Christianity, culminating with three centuries of witch hunts - all the way to the Victorian era.

If there is a repression of an archetype on this scale and for this length of time, the shadows manifest in a powerful way in society. After 5,000 years, people will consider the corresponding shadow behaviors as "normal." The question I have been asking is very simple: What are the shadows of the Great Mother archetype? I'm proposing that these shadows are greed and fear of scarcity. So it should come as no surprise that in Victorian times - at the apex of the repression of the Great Mother - a Scottish schoolmaster named Adam Smith noticed a lot of greed and scarcity around him and assumed that was how all "civilized" societies worked. Smith, as you know, created modern economics, which can be defined as a way of allocating scarce resources through the mechanism of individual, personal greed.

Van Gelder: Wow! So if greed and scarcity are the shadows, what does the Great Mother archetype herself represent in terms of economics?

Lietaer: Let's first distinguish between the Goddess, who represented all aspects of the Divine, and the Great Mother, who specifically symbolizes planet Earth - fertility, nature, the flow of abundance in all aspects of life.

Someone who has assimilated the Great Mother archetype trusts in the abundance of the universe. It's when you lack trust that you want a big bank account. The first guy who accumulated a lot of stuff as protection against future uncertainty automatically had to start defending his pile against everybody else's envy and needs. If a society is afraid of scarcity, it will actually create an environment in which it manifests well-grounded reasons to live in fear of scarcity. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy!

Also, we have been living for a long time under the belief that we need to create scarcity to create value. Although that is valid in some material domains, we extrapolate it to other domains where it may not be valid. For example, there's nothing to prevent us from freely distributing information. The marginal cost of information today is practically nil. Nevertheless, we invent copyrights and patents in an attempt to keep it scarce.

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