We all love stories. The story is vital to our cultural cohesion… But there is a story written in the blood of humanity that defies ethnicity, race and national boundaries squeezing the life from our cultures, stealing the natural wealth of our lands, entrapping us in prisons of fear, deceit, paranoia, and unjust hatred. The only key to free us from this prison is deciphering the story that we share; the story that the profiteers fear; the story that will dismantle this terrible illusion and inspire us to find we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
As large-scale natural disasters proliferate in a frightening acceleration, how we deal with calamity is ultimately what defines us. Whether it’s a natural disaster or a premeditated war, what is the natural human response to catastrophic situations? Is it to exploit human suffering, or to help alleviate it? What is the natural human nature to tragedy and loss?
Before any discussion of human nature can begin, we first must take into account two absolutely critical factors with regards to our species:
1) There is more than one kind of human nature
2) In order to understand human nature, we must first take into account the fundamental human needs
On the second point, we cannot assert that humans are inherently violent creatures when so many cultures (i.e. the Hutterites, the Monnonites &c.) have demonstrated an intollerance of violence so absolute, that over the course of centuries they attain zero recorded cases of homicide. We likewise cannot refer to starving sectors of the human population forced to steal their food to survive, as criminals, because any organism that is hungry will find a way to eat, and if the society has dissolved any genuine economic opportunities to the point that poverty becomes mainstreamed for large sectors of the population (as is the case today), humans are not exempt from the drive to survive by necessarily overcoming obstacles that stand in the way.
Therein we can begin to get a glimpse into the real nature of human nature. Our precise nature, is to not be confined by our nature. Whatever our environmental circumstances are, the human organism thrives by overcoming those boundaries. Whether it is incorporating the use of new tools into our knowledge base, developing a resistance to advertising lures, or cultivating an adaptation to the limits of computer capabilities by ‘hacking’ various system limitations, human beings demonstrate a remarkable ability to overcome their initial environmental conditions.
In a similar way, the historical record illustrates quite thoroughly that in disaster situations, the natural human inclination is to overcome misfortune and help ease the suffering of others. Following 9_11, for example, most Americans were driven by a desire to talk, to be together, to grieve and to share their stories with one another. But to reiterate the first point of human nature – that there is more than one kind of human nature – not everyone saw the 9_11 event as a tragedy. Indeed there are disaster opportunists; a demographic of individuals within the sphere of the ownership-class who capitalize on catastrophe and profit from the misfortune of everyone else.
Viewing disaster as a clean slate that opens the floodgates for business is a response so violently counter to compassion and the natural tendencies of human nature, it has been coined by author and journalist Naomi Klein as the mentality of “Disaster Capitalists.” During emergency events, while the majority of people are distracted alleviating individual tragedies within the midst of the fog and confusion on the ground, legislators take the opportunity to implement anti-human policies and privatize public utilities before the dead have even been buried: Airlines, Telephone, Water and Electricity services are all taken out of the public sector and handed over to private corporations; school systems are re-engineered; populations are relocated while public housing projects are demolished to make way for expensive condominiums or luxury resorts.
Because the public sector would under normal circumstances, never allow their public utilities to fall into the hands of private corporations, profiteers require crises to fuel consent for the changes they want. When 9_11 threw our country into a state of shock, our collective story was ruptured and we’ve been sold a cartoon fairytale of our history ever since. When the natural human tendency was to grieve, the advice from America’s Commander In Chief, George W. Bush, was to “go shopping.” The message from our media was universally one of blood lust accompanied by an arrogant certainty of who were responsible within hours of the event. Overwhelmingly Americans were coerced into accepting that we were entering into a new phase of existence in which history and previous ideologies no longer applied; that the Constitution is “just a piece of paper.”
By losing track of the narrative, we’ve lost our sense of who we are collectively. We’ve ever since witnessed the rise of the police/surveillance state like never before. And at every turn we’re meant to believe that everything we see are the consequences of an incompetent government. This lie is nothing more than an elegant smokescreen, because it is preferable to be seen as incompetent when the alternative is to be viewed as insidiously evil. The War on Terror is not a disaster – not for everyone – in exactly the same way that “No Child Left Behind” is not a failure of a program, in exactly the same way that the Drug War is not a colossal malfunction for everyone. These policies and programs are incredibly beneficial to the elite, and extraordinarily lucrative for the ownership-class.
It is said that “Compassion Isn’t Profitable,” but imagine, if you will, two cars smashing together right in front of your house, followed by the screams of those injured in the collision. Is it your natural tendency to close the blinds, turn up your stereo and carry on as if nothing at all is happening right outside your door? Is it your natural tendency to watch what happens through the window but never interact with the victims themselves? Is it your natural tendency to go out there and take the wallets out of the pockets of those who are incapacitated? Or is your natural human tendency to go outside and help mitigate the pain of those involved? Whether it’s pulling people from piles of twisted metal, calling the authorities or simply being present and talking with those affected, it is more than likely that your natural inclination is far from doing nothing, or trying to take advantage of the situation for personal gain – that is, if you are a human being.
Similarly, if an avalanche buries a neighborhood near you, the natural human tendency is for the community to band together, rescue survivors and do whatever possible to help repair fragmented lives. Whether it’s attending funerals, administering fundraisers or digging through rubble for survivors, our natural inclination is not apathy or exploitation, but compassion.
So what are we to make of the mind that sees these situations as opportunities to exploit the vulnerability of the victimized?
Perhaps the most perplexing question of all is:
Where do the natural human tendencies for empathy and compassion fit into a system that is predicated upon a dependence of human suffering for its very perpetuation?
In the modern monetarily driven society the majority of us spend our daily lives in a constant and often fruitless quest to “make money.” This is an absurdity first and foremost because in order to “make money” one requires a printing press and some ink, because the business of “making money” is the exclusive prerogative of the U.S. Mint. But simply on the basis of utility, it seems a sobering reminder that we no longer live in a society wherein the individual places themselves into a niche based on their own personal talents and knowledge, ultimately to “make shoes” or “cook food” for the benefit of the majority. No. We now live in a world of individuals all driven to the obsessive absurdity of earning something which has no inherent value and is actually worth nothing. Moreover, if we’ve taken a wage it means that we’re more than likely working to build up the dreams of others while abandoning our own.
In a scarcity driven economic system, scraping together to simply make ends meet sustains a state of anxiety within the masses that effectively distracts us from socially relevant issues. After all, how can be become sufficiently educated about Corporate Exploitation if our already limited political energy is restricted to those times of the day that we’re not working jobs we hate merely to afford the housing and food we require to continue surviving?
Thus, the modern Corporate State has cultivated a society of individuals segregated from each other in every way imaginable, all living in individual houses watching individual television sets collectively ignoring ongoing damage sustained onto themselves, their neighbors and the planet as a whole. And whenever we stick our heads out of our individual boxes, the problems of the world seem so frightfully overwhelming that the new natural tendency of today’s post- 9_11 era is to forget what we saw and return to distracting ourselves with the meaningless entertainment – to continue placating our formerly inquisitive minds with messages of denial and egotistic hedonism.
We’ve somehow been convinced to draw our focus exclusively onto things that make us feel good and ignore the elephants in the room with the kind of pathological denial that misinterprets wishful thinking for positivity, confuses reality for negativity, and uses this misconception to sell anti-depressant drugs; Pharmaceuticals that can actually make us feel good about the suffering transpiring all around and injustices spiraling out of control; Pharmaceuticals that coerce us to be well-adjusted to living in a profoundly sick society. Their message is that if you feel depressed, it’s not because depression is the natural emotional state accompanying slavery, meaninglessness, injustice, exploitation and genocide, but because there is something wrong with your brain – a “possible chemical imbalance” they call it. There is no room left for humanity in such a Brave New World that institutionalizes insanity as the societal norm and marginalizes anyone who questions the offical narrative as a kook
As Dresden James famously stated:
“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.”
Because the takeover of our minds and the conquest of formerly free societies seems all pervasive, it is not difficult to understand why many of us have become tragically apathetic when it comes to even endeavoring to begin solving the major problems that befall our world. It has become more appealing to take the victim mentality cop-out and proclaim that, “There isn’t anything we can do about it,” because the alternative requires a courage that we’ve forgotten we possess in order to embrace. So the popular solution to solving large-scale problems has been commonly accepted to be political for a long time, as generation after generation is drawn like moths to the flame into alluring advertising campaigns that have actually convinced us that the correct persons voted into the correct offices can bring an end to the debacle. Many still cling to this perspective because it’s easier to shift the blame onto a single politician (who’s ability to limit the power of corporations that fund the very elections that got him/her into office in the first place is practically nonexistent), or shift the blame onto the disenfranchised who chose not to vote because they see the facade for what it is – a dinosaur that consistently fails to deliver beneficial results to anyone but the elite. We’re consistently seduced by the notion that we need only spend one day out of the year voting at our Elections to get a father/God-figure into power who will dictate the difficult decisions for us, and it is seductive because we actually believe that the world is too complicated for us to handle the responsibilities ourselves.
But what happened to the natural human tendency to help others in all of this? When did the natural human tendency to help alleviate the suffering of others transform itself into the egotistical individualism we see as the dominant social paradigm of the western hemisphere today? What happens to our humanity when the extent of emergency circumstances is so vast that it extends into every human life on the visible horizon, including our own?
This paradigm has spawned a new kind of genocide that forces people into a game of musical chairs, pushing them toward suicide when they inevitably lose – because musical chairs, like monetarily driven governments, puts a lot of people on the curb, and benefits a tiny minority of the total population. It is a genocide that thrives on the “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” narrative; the “If I can do it, you can,” myth of individualistic triumph over adversity that instills guilt in anyone who fails to triumph in what we are told is the “freest and most prosperous society in the world.” Those who espouse this view usually conveniently fail to mention the 40 million homeless Americans walking the streets of our collapsing nation, which is a major part of what drives so many people to commit suicide today. Whereas Nazi Gestapo officers in the 1930’s would outwardly encourage Ghetto residents to kill themselves (thereby instilling a will to overcome the circumstances by means of reverse psychology) our system is far more insidious. Our system demands that anyone who works hard can make it, and that if you haven’t become successful it’s due to your own laziness and inadequacies.
The obvious flaw in this kind of logic was perhaps best articulated by George Monbiot, who stated that “If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.” It’s the same failure in reason that somehow makes it easier to believe that 150,000,000 Americans are lazy instead of accepting the simple truth that 400 Americans are addicted to greed and power.
So on the strategic theatre, those currently in power depend on the Friedman model of infrastructure and societal breakdown to line their pockets and acquire additional power. They depend on our own learned helplessness to accept the world as it is – to internalize the lie that there’s nothing we can do about this because this is just “the way things are.”
Baby elephants tied to large trees learn that they are completely immobilized if they are tied to a stick in the ground, and this programming sticks with them into adulthood. The technique is so effective, that large adult elephants who trained by this kind of conditioning early in life, will not attempt a move to free themselves of their captivity, even if tied to a weak stick poked a few inches into the ground. Metaphorically speaking, our human societies are exactly like the elephant, our systems of government akin to the rope, the money that funds government analogous to the stick, and the corporate oligarchs comparable to the circus trainer. As the elephant could easily overpower the restraint of the stick without even breaking a sweat, so too can humanity easily overcome its enslavement. Just as the stick mentally traps the elephant in a state of perceived hopeless imprisonment, so too are humanity held in place by a rickety infrastructure of lies, scare tactics and propaganda so pathetic, that it can be toppled effortlessly if only we could band together as one worldwide organism and shake the shackles free. Two things hold us back from ever doing this – a fear of the unknown, and the false, implanted denial of our own power that maintains within us that we can’t do anything about the way things are.
Those who benefit from things being “the way they are” maintain a constant barrage of messages that keep the rest of us all locked into a mentality of victimization and helplessness that prevent us from ever conceiving we might have the power to rise up and change this exploitative status quo into something better.
Once the seeds of this strategic mentality are firmly planted into the minds of the masses, those minds are rendered sufficiently malleable into accepting the manipulative tactical execution of resource theft.
Tactically speaking, Corporate fascism requires sudden shocks to secure its agenda. This “Shock Therapy” secures radical gains in the visible short-term, making one of the slogans of the Disaster Capitalist (championed by Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel) to: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Profiteers need crises to fuel consent for the changes they want. They require calamity to “wipe the slate clean” and declare previously sovereign societies open for corporate exploitation. Disaster Capitalism doesn’t simply profit from disaster – it hinges on it to maintain its infinite growth paradigm to the extent that the ownership class will go as far as creating disasters and intentionally destabilizing formerly secure regions in order to exploit their resources.
But for their tactics to work, they depend on our ignorance of the modus operandi. Their Shock-Doctrine profit model depends first and foremost that the people be unaware of the method. In this way, simply being aware of our history is a shock resistance against Disaster Capitalism.
So if the first step to turning this story around is to be aware, what is the second? Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. If we’re aware of the Problem-Reaction-Solution tactic of Disaster Capitalism and remain on the alert for symptoms of the Totalitarian-Tip-Toe, the Corporate agenda falls apart like a house of cards.
To keep the disasters coming, all we have to do is nothing. But if we develop some shock resistance through historical awareness, it becomes more difficult for us to continue to be herded.