We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, April 23, 2015

We Lucky Molecules

Click here to access article by Robert Parry from ConsortiumNews. 

This piece exhibits both a profound cosmic perspective and a very naive understanding of current human societies. He starts out by showing how we humans are an extremely unlikely life form in a vast universe of dead molecules. 

Such a cosmic vision impels us as humans to recognize our unique existence beyond merely our individual lives and our daily, rather petty preoccupations. Parry confronts us with the stark fact that we humans now possess the means of our own destruction: 
There can be a sense of senselessness to the human existence. There is wholly unnecessary destruction, driven by greed or fear or ideology or religion. We have seen plenty of that in human history and especially over the past century, a time of world wars, human-caused global pollution and advanced instruments to deliver death, even the potential to exterminate all life on the planet.
Parry sees the main driver of humanity's self-destruction as ignorance, and see his vital role as a journalist to report the truth about human events as accurately as possible in order to prevent the disappearance of our unique set of organized molecules from the known universe. 

This is where naiveté sets in. Like so many of today's humans, he seems unable to rise above the profound indoctrination by ruling classes which ignore their role in this orgy of self-destruction. During the last 10,000 or so years societies have been organized into classes of people with some enjoying far more power, wealth, and privileges than others. During this period we have also seen societies plagued by continual wars and crime. Worse yet, in the last few centuries a new driver of our self-destruction has come in the form of an economic system, capitalism, that drives economies to perpetual growth in a finite planet. 

The system has now spread so much pollution that the ecosystem is being so dangerously altered that the planet will soon no longer be able to sustain humans along with many other life forms. This system of capitalism has also dangerously affected the health of societies upon which humans depend for their existence. Societies are now so wrecked by inequality, vast poverty for the many amidst fabulous wealth for a few, that wars and crime are now a major menace to societies. Parry also correctly sees a threat from another product of human creativity in the form of "advanced instruments to deliver death, even the potential to exterminate all life on the planet".

Capitalist ruling classes are the ones who benefit from this arrangement. It is they who put their stamp of self-interest on every institution in their societies. The deadliest form of this self-interest are the pervasive deceptions about the realities of their rule and their system. Parry in his quest to report the truth will always be thwarted by his own self-interest and by threats from these ruling classes. Should he report too much truth about their rule and their system, he will be banished to the journalistic equivalent of Siberia--if he hasn't already. He seems completely oblivious to this reality.