[dropcap style=”font-size:100px; color:#992211;”]S[/dropcap]elf-absorption, hubris and ignorance are traits that Unnecessary Death finds irresistible, and thus moves in for the seduction.
The air is redolent with the intoxicating perfume of self-deception. When possessed by feelings of indestructibility, one feels immortal while dancing on the precipice overlooking a yawning abyss. Intoxicated: The rules of gravity don’t seem applicable. Yet the delusion of being imbued by the immortal makes consummation with Death inevitable. [quote]Ecocide should be regarded
with the same sense of
abhorrence as genocide[/quote]
This is the manner that an addict is dispatched from the world. A compulsion to remain high provokes a jealous fury from the spurned ground and she smothers the errand consort in an endless embrace.
To avoid this lamentable fate, we, as a species, must listen to the earth’s entreaties. To demur, we invite our undoing. Ecocide should be regarded with the same sense of abhorrence as genocide, for the two abominations align to the same destination: The world shattered beyond recognition; mountains of corpses looming over a hideous and forsaken valley of denial.
Late capitalism’s putrefying paradigm has but one remedy for the devastation reaped by the system… insanely, more production and more consumerism. Bafflingly, despite the vast carnage inflicted and multiple promises betrayed, why does the storyline of the capitalist/consumer state still resonate with so many?
Fantasy and human libido merge
Consumerism, in the US and elsewhere, is one of the few activities in the capitalist paradigm whereby fantasy and human libido merge (albeit a facsimile thereof). The mall, the big box store, even upscale stores and department stores are phantasmagoric agoras, much like the fairways of old style roving carnivals wherein the modus operandi of carnies was to bamboozle gullible, repressed rubes by bait-and-switch scams involving the commodification of curiosity and desire.
[quote]You can never get enough
of what you don’t need
to make you happy[/quote]
The social repression, attendant atomization and ennui inherent to existence in the corporate/consumer age give rise to a form of a pent-up longing for release. And that is where the bait-and-switch comes in, vis-à-vis Edward Bernay’s and his mercenary misappropriation of his uncle, Sigmund Freud’s theories regarding the dreamscape of desire (i.e., Eros).
When we approach the dominion of Eros, we enter the realm of both beauty (Eros’ mother Aphrodite) and soul, Psyche (Eros’ eternal mate). Although the union of Eros and Psyche is fraught with mistrust, betrayal, outside interference (both human and divine), estrangement, struggle, the lover’s shattered bond wends, ultimately, toward rapprochement. (Familiar tumult to anyone who has pursued art and surrendered to love.)
Tell me what you long for and I will tell you who you are
In short, to survive the exploitation of the consumer paradigm, it becomes imperative to regain one’s soul. First step: the reclamation of beauty. Hint: The quality cannot be found in a retail outlet.
Beauty reveals herself in the longings of the heart. Tell me what you long for and I will tell you who you are. Hint: You are not the sum total of your consumer preferences.
Living things are closer to works of art: never finished, yet ever alluding to something hidden, subtle, and sublime – an immense and deathless quality within that we long to quantify, but remains elusive. This is what we concretize—despoil—when we seek consumer gratification.
Eric Hoffer summarized the hapless state of being thus: “You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.”
That is why the following incantation cast by the dark magicians of the consumer paradigm seizes the psyche, literally steals one’s soul: “No one can eat just one.”
Attention: Consumer State shoppers: The world was never your oyster—nor your salt-spiked snack food. Beware, although you believe you possess the consumer item, in reality, the consumer item possesses you.
The heart is untamable
The heart is untamable. It is not a poor creature in a circus that can be goaded and bribed into performing demeaning tricks. When we attempt to dominate and coerce it into accepting the dishonest, the artificial, and the demeaning, the heart will lash out, sink into sorrow, or even damage its host.
My heart grieves yet will not cease to yearn that we, as a species, will begin to resist with heart, mind and spirit, the reckless course that the economic elite have set us upon. We do not have the luxury of acting as though the carnage wrought by the Anthropocene Epoch is not upon us. We cannot deceive ourselves that the crisis can be ignored.
By choosing to retreat from the challenge, one exiles oneself from the heart’s landscape — a state of being comprised of angst and ashes. In this limbo of destiny deferred, the heart turns away from you. Your face will have become unrecognizable to it. Yet the moment one calls it by its name a rapprochement can begin.
How not to be a bystander in your own life:
Be attentive to the things of the world that evoke within you quicksilver enthusiasm or roil you with apprehension.
Remain open. Allow yourself to be remade by the interplay of innocence and experience… by transitory wonders and eternal forms.
Tell the story of it all, in your own time and in your own way, and whenever and wherever you can.
Never bore your audience.
The above can be achieve by telling an honest tale. In short, like an inspired storyteller who appropriates artifice to limn reality, you will be able to lie the truth. If you do so, people will be moved or angered — but they will not be bored.
Before us, the denizens, operatives, propagandists and enforcers of the old order grow more certain of their convictions in direct proportion to its accelerating rate of decay. Stoned-faced phalanxes of soldiers and bristling clutches of militarized cops stand guard before the entrances of shoddy, swaying towers.
But lies cannot be built to last. The lipless grins of a billion skulls mock the illusory staying power of deceit, while the perennial yearnings of the heart and its perpetual coupling with the eternal present endure. Love songs ring out among the rot of empires.
Photo: Ryan McGuire
Illustration by Dan Booth not to be reproduced without his express prior permission
Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City.
Yet a bio amounts to dharma for dimwits: It defines a human being in the same manner and degree of veracity as a restaurant menu describes the various slabs of meat offered … commodified things that were once living beings.