Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Fear

Empires, during expansion, control by force of arms and the fresh memory of defeat in the minds of the vanquished.  Once the borders have expanded too far, and the battles are the wars of previous generations, other means must be employed.
One of the most successful examples of such practise was the Roman Empire.  No longer able to control its subjects by military might alone it cowed them with a state religion in the form of the myth of Jesus Christ.  If fear of punishment in the here and now could not keep the proletariat in line, then the threat of eternal damnation surely would.  Indeed, even after the Reformation, it is only in the last hundred years that the Roman Catholic Church can be said to have truly faltered.
God may not be dead but he is undeniably failing rapidly in Western society.  The Almighty is more often than not the puppet vassal of right wing politicians.  Where a strong moral stance on society or an excuse for war is required, you can almost be certain that it is time to pay lip service to God.  The downside, now that God is only an excuse, is that fear of His divine retribution can no longer be used to control the masses.  Fortunately, for the West at least, the War On Terror has presented itself.  A concept so brilliant that if it did not exist then the American government would have to invent it.
Fear, as always, is the key.  The identity of the enemy is almost irrelevant.  His true power and capabilities are likewise negligible, just so long as the fear is real.  The psychology is both simple and deeply rooted in the human subconscious to the point of being an archetype – fear of the bogeyman.  Hitler had the Jews, gypsies and homosexuals.  America, since the institution of slavery, has had the Negro.  The same white liberals that will inform you that the coloureds are now free to vote, ride at the front of the bus and attend schools with their children are ones who are barricaded up in the suburbs with private security.  Deep down they know, because it is enforced by the media, that the black man is waiting, ready to rape, murder and pillage.  Correspondingly, they must be kept in their place.  To do so overtly would be to invite a race riot.  Instead, civil liberties have been abused in the name of that other moral crusade – the War On Drugs.  With the American prison population now at two million, and a felony conviction in most states resulting in a lifetime forfeit of the right to vote, it is indisputable that this particular war has been most successful is disenfranchising a large number of black, Hispanic and Puerto Rican Americans.
The above has proved so successful in the domestic environment that it can come as little surprise that America has decided to employ it world wide with their War On Terror.  They have learned the lesson well – the enemy is now so nebulous that no one is above suspicion.  As long as you accede and surrender your civil rights without argument you have the right to be innocent until proven guilty.  Should you be foolish enough to suggest that the government may be in error, to protest against being forced to provide fingerprints, DNA and iris scans, woe betide.  At best, you will be judged guilty of unpatriotic behaviour.  At worst, you will be viewed as a subversive with terrorist sympathies.  To disagree is to have something to hide.
While it may be argued that it is a historical inevitability that Britain should align with a power block, it is disconcerting to see the ease with which the current government has grabbed a hold of the USA’s coattails.  Apparently falling into line without question to every request made from overseas for increased security.  Though, perhaps, there is a certain irony to be derived from the fact that the British now appear to be little more than a colony of their former colonies.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Plastic Age

Schopenheur’s pessimistic view that everybody suffers has continued to hold true through the Industrial Revolution and the ensuing technology spiral of the late twentieth century - which continues at an increasing pace during the twenty-first century. It is a truism that all human beings desire, and anyone in a state of want may be said to suffer. In the past this desire was a basic need for food, shelter and warmth, as defined by Maslow’s Hierarchy. Now that we in the West have long since met these needs the current generation has more leisure time than any previous; they should only suffer only through boredom. Correspondingly, this should be a Golden Age for art, music and exploration, of freethinkers and liberal attitudes. The shackles of custom and dogma should have been torn asunder by a new breed that transcended the societal norm, freed from the tyranny of the herd mentality. This should be the age of the Übermensch, as prophesied by Nietzsche’s Zarathustra.
Instead of evolution we have embraced devolution! The lowest common denominator is the yardstick by which we measure society. The current generation is not the Übermensch – they are the apathetic, poorly read stooges of the Multinationals, the inheritors of consumerist policies. Their pathetic and narrow worldview is incapable of grasping the importance of anything beyond ownership of the latest WAP phone. That the Arab and the Jew murder each other’s children in the name of religion is inconsequential to them. They are blinded by the pernicious influence of satellite television, the Internet, games consoles and the tabloid press. Why bother to hold an opinion when someone else can hold it for you? Why question your government’s domestic or foreign policies? Every time they should cry out they remain silent, disinterested, as their civil liberties are still further eroded in the name of the War On Drugs or the War On Terror. They do not worry that the government wants the right to monitor their phone calls, read their e-mails, or review which sites they have visited on the Internet. Their concern lies in having faster access and better browsers and video-streamed graphics. If a Police State is to exist, surely it will exist for their protection? It is easier for them to believe in the existence of evil unfounded than to question what motivates a human being to crash a hijacked aircraft into a building. That there might be injustice at the root of the problem is inconceivable.
Nietzsche’s burial of God may have been premature, when over a century later mankind still clings to raft of faith in the harsh light of scientific advance. However, he was correct when he warned that Christianity had weakened and impoverished the character of man. We have swapped the authority of the Church for the authority of the Multinationals. Where once the herd animal was a Christian sheep, now it is the Corporate sheep. Its purpose in life is no longer benevolence, charity or moralisation; its purpose is to consume. The military and the bio-pharmaceuticals rain down their wares on the herd, which bleats thankfully in the name of progress.
No, this is not the Golden Age; this is not the time of the Übermensch. It is the Plastic Age – the age of disposable culture! The age of the nothing, where the blind who choose not to see are crowned kings!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Of Corporate Sheep And Shepherds

The corporate shepherd leads his flock in the belief that each is a valued member of the organisation.  This deceit is necessary to foster a sense of family within the group and to aid in subsuming the individual personality.  The individual is valued only so long as he or she is deemed to be both productive and cost effective.  In short, they are a resource, and their effectiveness is always judged against the bottom line.  The profit has spoken and declared that in the face of loss, or even that of a higher margin, we are all expendable, a fact proven the expansion of foreign call centres and manufacturing plants.  The cold logic of accountancy is not subject to morals or ethics or sentimentality, simple arithmetic states that an Asian worker trained to the same competency level as their European counterpart need be paid a far lower wage.
Care, therefore, must be taken to distract the sheep from this financial Sword of Damocles through indoctrination into the corporate mindset.  Corporate identity has become increasingly important, with ready identification through logos and colours, the physical branding of property and metaphorical branding of personnel.  Communications and briefings are targeted at reinforcing the corporate identity over that of the individual.  In this particular worldview you are either a leader or a follower, it is anathema to step outside of the rigidly defined boundaries.  Intelligence is respected only when it is employed within one’s designated area of expertise.  It is an act of heresy to question the motives of higher management, a sign of deviancy, or worse, a belief in the rights of the self.
Dichotomy arises in the individual in that it is extremely difficult to function outside of the corporate sector unless one is independently wealthy, either through inheritance or via self-made means.  The majority of sheep, even the self-aware, are bound by financial responsibility to their partner, children, or simply by a perceived level of lifestyle that they wish to maintain.  Others, still, are bound by morality.  To disapprove of corporate politics and policies is reasonable enough.  However, for some the act of signing a contract behoves them to honour it, not necessarily out of loyalty to the company but for the sake of their self-respect.  Respect for the security of their fellow employees is also a powerful binding force.  To put one’s own livelihood at risk through an act of omission or rebellion is foolhardy enough; to jeopardise the security and future of others is to risk being socially ostracised.
In such a manner the corporate shepherds, like the Church before them, are able to exercise control of their flocks through guilt, fear and familial ties; through the promise not of eternal damnation but the certainty of hell on earth.