Sunday, January 6, 2013

Power: its pursuit and punishments

In his interview on MSNBC with Chris Hayes, filmmaker Oliver Stone noted a significant military build-up in space, under the Obama administration. According to Stone, between the 50-mile and the 250-mile limits above the earth, the United States is militarizing/weaponizing space, in a not-so-covert attempt to gain the upper hand in any space/cyber conflict, especially with a country like China which, according to Stone, is following the U.S. developments closely.
Politically, Obama is justifiably confident that if he follows a vigorous national security approach, including maintaining the pentagon budget, or, if absolutely necessary, cutting only sparingly, he will not incur Republican opposition, while presenting a public face of "protecting the American people". National Security is the one file on which there is unlikely to be a political skirmish between Obama and the Republicans in Congress. And, unfortunately, another opportunity to down-size both the size and the importance of military spending will be missed, just as a significant opportunity to establish the single-payer fiscal foundation for the health care bill was missed by Obama's giving away too much to his Republican opponents during that protracted public debate.
Hollywood producers, directors, actors and the film-making industry generally contributed significantly to Obama's two presidential election bids. On social policy, Hollywood, like Obama, is more liberal than conservative. It is the apparent 'outlier' Oliver Stone, at least to the Hollywood community, who exposes Hollywood's move to producing 'vigilante' movies as a component in the anatomy of violence that infests American culture. Not only is there violence, but it is a specific 'individual-gang' operated violence, without regard to any principles, except the pursuit of power, perhaps revenge, and the wasting of human life.
So on the ground, Hollywood is exposed as an agent in incubating violence at the street level, and Washington, under Obama, is exposed as incubating military/cyber violence in space. Anyone who has watched the movie Wall Street cannot help but notice and absorb the violence in the pursuit of greed by men in suits and ties, masquerading as white-collar professionals, while they are really only sophisticated 'hit-men' seducing the weak and innocent and eliminating any who fail to follow orders.
Much of the abuse of others, under the guise of competition and the pursuit of personal and corporate greed, is considered both normal and acceptable, in a country whose primary purpose is the pursuit of the literal and metaphoric "gold" at the end of the rainbow. And, as a not-insignificant corollary of that pursuit, is a culture of competition, based on the pursuit of being "number one" in everything.
Well, certainly, with 5% of the world population, the United States holds 50% of the world's weapons.
That would make them number one in gun ownership.
With that 5% of the world's population, the U.S. also spends more on military spending than all other developed countries combined...so once again, that would make them number one in weapons, in weapon research, in recruitment and deployment of those weapons, at least potentially.
There are undoubtedly more billionaires per capita in the U.S. than in any other country; so that would also make them number one in the accumulation of wealth competition.
All of this competitive, acquisitive, and addictive pursuit of being 'top dog' in anything and everything is clear manifestation of a male culture that refuses to acknowledge the value, purpose and meaning of anything that looks like vulnerability, weakness, smallness, uncertainty and insecurity. Any recognition and admission of those qualities would constitute nothing less than heresy, if not treason, in the collective eyes of the American culture. The pursuit of power, as a defining male characteristic, has been adopted unquestioningly by the feminist movement, as the model to achieve in order to attain equality with males, while all the while, it is that very quality that imprisons men in suits, in uniforms, in offices, boardrooms, laboratories, and on athletic fields.
So, the American culture has produced both male and female models of convention and social acceptance that are based on a definition of success that fails to integrate the complexity of the human personality. And, without paying attention to its own blindness and hubris, Americans are locked in a phony political battle which merely gives voice to the charade of the pursuit of power, rather than the pursuit of national self-respect, health, respect for one another, sharing, generosity and community.
And both genders and both political parties, and from what is evident across the border, all religious organizations, all corporations and all universities and colleges are fighting to dominate their "field" whether that field is geographic, or intellectual or demographic or financial or political. Temporary "insiders" fight like hell to keep the "outsiders" out of the "gravy" of power, and the "outsiders" fight like hell in their attempt to penetrate the protective shield of the insiders, in order to bring them down.
And they call this normal!
It is not normal nor is it a conscious, ethical and rational approach to nation building. It has been allowed to be perceived as 'normal' without questioning the very cornerstones on which the 'paper-mache house' is built. Those who advocate greater sharing of the national wealth are despised as "socialist" or "europeans" or worse, "communists"...in order to preserve the "sacred cow" of capitalism, linked like a siamese twin to "christianity" as if the faith were the philosophical footings for the pursuit of power, wealth, machismo, and a male-dominated culture.
Those who advise less spending on military are despised, demonized as naive, weak, innocent and immature, as if such political positions were akin to what these people called "gay" or "fag" in high school. One presidential candidate even spoke as if God had ordained that American remain the number one in world dominance, thereby "sacralizing" his (and many others') concept of superiority among the hundreds of nations in the world. Wrapping the pursuit of power and wealth in both bible and flag masks the pursuit only in the eyes of the person who has succumbed to such wrapping. It is still the unadulterated, unabashed and blatant pursuit of power and wealth and it bodes ill for those participating, those emulating the pursuit and for those of us who have to live under the rubrics of such a faux-faith.
What would happen to American children if they were to learn that America and Americans would still be honourable and needed and respected in the world if their country did not dominate? Would they not learn a more valuable lesson that they are equal and not superior, and not thereby pressured by the need to remain dominant, among the peoples and countries and cultures and faith communities in the world?
Would they not come to accept some of the realities not currently being tabulated by "science" like the impact on the health care budget, from the imposition of the pressure to "achieve" and to be "perfect" and to "dominate" and to "defeat" perceived enemies and to "win" all encounters?
Societies and cultures that are more committed to sharing both wealth and the pain of sacrifice produce men and women who strive for and achieve excellence in all human activities including the arts, science, leadership, athletics and both national and human security and safety. They also absorb set-backs more maturely, and more resiliently and with more access to support, for both men and women.
America has willingly put itself on a pedestal, as a phony motivator for its continued achievements.
Unfortunately, that pedestal, like the culture atop its alabaster, is open to erosion, decay, crumbling and eventual atrophy. And only if and when Americans themselves come to their senses and accept that no human culture or human being can sustain the perch required on top of such an ill-conceived pedestal, will they begin to open their eyes to all of the "grounded" human experience they and generations before them have missed through the greatest pursuit of hubris/inferiority in human history.
And only then will the world begin to trust that dominance is no longer the only way to measure power and success,and wealth and influence, and Americans and many millions of men and women throughout the world can be unshackled from the chains that have bound us for centuries. And it would be the irony of ironies for the Americans to lead the parade from the top of their pedestal to the ground where we all live, in amazement at the discoveries of authentic life that abound with less of everything and more of each of us.

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