| Society

The Big Empty: Eating Cheetos with the Hungry Ghosts of a Corporate State Pt. 2

In a nation defined by vast wealth disparity and the deprivation it causes others on the planet, by means of impoverished lives and ecological devastation, taking more than one's share contributes to the vast harm done. The corporate food industry wrought epidemic of obesity in the U.S. is a microcosmic representation of a global-wide system of macro-imperialism.

There is a need in both the besieged psyche of an individual and its societal analog — in our own case, in the collective psyche of a declining nation — to worship and fear phantoms and view flesh and blood as phantasmal. As a culture, for example, we elevate celebrity culture to cultic status while ignoring the suffering of the poor; the teabagger crowd is accepted as a legitimate political movement, not as corporate state Astroturf; that there exist people known as Islamo-Fascists; and the acceptance as fact by all too many the noxious corporate media fiction that the energies of the Occupy Wall Street movement have faded — but the outcomes of the overpriced theatrical artifice of U.S. election cycles represents the democratic expression of the political will of a free people.

Phantoms arrive in the psyche when one refuses life's ongoing invitation to commune with flesh and blood beings; to engage the rigors of insightful thought; to know both the agony and the release of heart-opening engagement and falsity-cleaving insight.

    Apropos: "The foundation of all mental illness is the unwillingness to experience legitimate suffering." –Carl Jung

As we are surrounded by gibbering, imploring media phantoms, our hunger to regain a resonate relationship with the world at large grows…yet the corporate state proffers drive-thru window cuisine. We give them our life blood — and, in return, we settle for an evening at Applebees. And the plundering class insist we are privileged to be offered this…that our plight could be worse…we could spend our hours languishing in one of their foreign sweatshops.

As the one percent has acquired their grotesquely bloated assets, large segments of the American middle and laboring classes have acquired larger and larger amounts of excess body fat. As corporate executives have sweetened their salaries with limitless perks and multimillion dollar bonuses, their workforce has sucked down copious portions of high fructose-based soft drinks and obesity-engendered disease has increased accordingly. 

    "Soul enters only via symptoms, via outcast phenomena like the imagination of artists or alchemy or "primitives," or of course, disguised as psychopathology. That's what Jung meant when he said the Gods have become diseases: the only way back for them in a Christian world is via the outcast." — James Hillman

To the mind of a child, his/her parent's view of the world constitutes the very architecture of their psyche. The world carries the imprimatur of their parents' face. A child's character begins to develop when he/she begins to compare what they carry within, forged by paternal admonition and action, to their experiences outside the home. If the child remains in a passive position, then his/her personal destiny becomes arrested. This is the poisoned apple proffered to the dormant beauty within us all. Conversely, we must accept the small, hidden aspects of our character (our helpful dwarves) that dwell in a deep forests within, far from the cold castles of paternal expectation, to be able to awaken to hidden potential.

infantilizing bribes — e.g., all the bright and shiny things of the consumer state

Life in an authoritarian state, which is paternalistic by nature, arrests the psyche's drive to self-awareness; it puts one to sleep with infantilizing bribes — e.g., all the bright and shiny things of the consumer state — as it manipulates by means of coercive fear — e.g., the looming dragons of poverty and police state intimidation.

    "In Freud's time we felt oppressed in the family, in sexual situations, in our crazy hysterical conversion symptoms, and where we felt oppressed, there was the repressed. Where do we feel that thick kind of oppression today? In institutions–hospitals, universities, businesses; in public buildings, in filling out forms, in traffic…" –James Hillman

There exist few viable alternatives within the present political set-up to address the degradations inflicted by the corporate state and the machinery of duopoly in place to maintain the systems reach and power — and there will not arrive a mainstream prince to confront the vain usurpers and slay the institutional dragons who cling to power in the present era. This is an unpleasant truth, but it is true nevertheless. The sooner one faces this reality: the hopelessly corrupt nature of the present system — the closer we, collectively, move towards the creation of alternative arrangements when the current one collapses from its own corruption.

Addiction to fattening food speaks of our inner emptiness

Poets of previous generations warned that one's soul could be lost in blind pursuit of vaults of riches and limitless knowledge. It is difficult not to laugh in derision or weep in anguish for a people who sell their soul for access to the contents of a convenience store. Addiction to fattening food speaks of our inner emptiness; so called Reality Television relates to our hunger for social engagement and communion; the images that haunt the corporate state media hologram attract us because we long for the images that rise from the soul.

In timeless stories, such as Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, the awakening kiss of a princely figure should not be misapprehended with gender-based overtones of exclusively male power and dominance. Instead, the symbolic prince should be read as — the possibility that unfolds as one's true calling when one awakens to one's circumstance. In our time, this timeless tale plays out as: The ongoing challenge we have been given to face and struggle against the life-devouring, institutional dragons of corporate state governance.

Of course, there will never arrive a tacked-on, Disneyesque "happily ever after" ending. There is no distant kingdom of the mind that exists beyond the reach of harm or corruption. If there were, new stories would cease to unfold. By this method, this world beckons us to live out our own unique tale.

Part One of this essay appears here

Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at: phil@philrockstroh.com. Visit Phil's website or at FaceBook.


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