Saturday, October 22, 2011

#ows Gets Down to Business

I am curious to how "Justine" is still part of this movement after robbing the poor so she can become richer, isn't this one of the biggest issues we our standing together in solidarity with !!!!!!!!!!! She is just completely out of line, has she been exposed for doing this yet ?
You did not get consensus approval for your website. You did not go through the procedures every other working group went through. You announce online a list of demands without approval of a group who has put everything in their lives on the line to create a global movement in solidarity. A group who has made it abundantly clear that there IS NO LIST OF DEMANDS. I ask of you Michael. How Dare You?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

WE, THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in order to form a more perfect Union, by, for and of the PEOPLE, shall elect and convene a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY beginning on July 4, 2012 in the City Of Philadelphia.

#ows’ goals couldn’t be more ambitious, and the methodology—reaching consensus via direct democracy—about as untried and frustrating a means as one could select. And growing up in total transparency, in view of anyone who cares to look. However, the means are the ends, the journey is the destination. To do something new we first have to be the change we seek. Making demands of the existing status quo is not going to produce change, just minimal cosmetic adjustments to grease the squeaky wheels. That is, if the starting point, the driving fuel of the movement, is the recognition that the system is broken at its foundation, appealing to that system with a list of demands makes no sense at all. Such would be idiocy. The only road worth building is the hard road. And, though the pressure is immense and the situation dire enough to have inspired people to this bold action, this path cannot be rushed. It will take time. Lots of time.

Of course there will be frustrations. The tension has only just begun. No doubt things will get far worse, despair and despondency will have to be fought again and again if long term momentum is to be maintained. And there is no guarantee of success. The goal is nothing less than a profound reorientation of society at the global scale. Just typing that sentence makes me feel foolish, but, seeing as I believe exactly this is needed, shying from the enormity of the challenge isn’t going to help me, or anyone else for that matter. Hence, my respect for the movement is enormous, and I wish them all good fortune and strength. Any person or group putting their money where their mouth is on a project of this size, and doing so with clarity and grace, deserves our admiration.

The above-quoted preamble to the unauthorized proposals is bold indeed. As I read the document's demands I couldn’t help smiling at its temerity. Yet as they unfolded I became more and more disappointed. And there’s the deeper, deepest, trickiest rub. Even a secessionist advocacy is unsatisfying, doesn’t go far enough in my opinion. In my opinion. How many share my opinion? One thousandth of one percent? Fewer?

When I got to work yesterday, I realised the intractability of the situation is almost overwhelming. A metaphor Charles Eisenstein likes to use is that of pregnancy and birth. In this metaphor, humanity is about to be born into a new arrangement, a new paradigm. We have reached the maximum of what the current paradigm can possibly create. There’s no space left in the womb of the old. We have been sustained by its nourishing beyond what it can healthily do for us. The pressure to escape crushes, yet the way out is hidden. The new environment we are about to be born into is necessarily unknowable. And we can’t go back, even if we wanted to. We feel trapped, suffocated, hopeless, even as we feel compelled to do something, go somewhere. But where?

Precisely because we cannot know, there must be millions of different opinions about what we ought to do. All each of us can offer the unknown soil of our invisible future is the best of what we are, with no guarantee that our position, our heart, our vision or rage or hope, will meet open hearts and minds. Yet for those of us who feel we have to try, we try in the face of this. This is our fool’s courage. We add our voice to the cacophony again and again. But we can steer nothing to our ego’s ends. And nor should we. It’s up to all of us, not one of us.

I’ve spent a long time over recent months contemplating hierarchy and anarchy, and have almost reached the (flexible) conclusion that this so-called dichotomy is a red herring (as most dichotomies are). What is demanded of us is self-education aligned with a humble readiness to be corrected by events and new information, to be tuned by what gradually emerges from the cacophony of collapse as The New Song, as it finds melody and rhythm, with our contribution in its theme.

Self-education is vital not because of its anarchic connotations, but simply because trust is gone; whom can we trust today? Who is without an agenda? No one. The only wise reaction to such a state of affairs is what we might call ‘humble arrogance,’ that is; to wise up interactively while staying true to the uniqueness each of us is, while accepting that of others. It is not an easy path to walk, but I believe we all have to walk it, and knowingly. It’s not that hierarchy is better or worse than anarchy, it’s that what we now create together must involve as many people as possible at the level of deep comprehension and contribution. Weave some new tale from humanity’s accumulated wisdom, transparent, replenishing, fecund and mysterious.

That ought to do it.


Debra said...

Toby, at the end when you talk about self education, trust, and the agenda, I believe that you are illustrating the problem.
The loss of trust.
Our constant cynical harping on "the agenda" is a result of OUR DISENCHANTMENT, our disillusion about our perceived failure of the Enlightenment PROMISED LAND. Harping on the agenda reinforces the IDOLATRY OF MONEY as a RESERVE VALUE, while at the same time bottoming out money, because even money itself cannot work FOR us without trust.
The sovereign debt crisis is what we have stuck in front of our eyes in order to avoid seeing how the crisis is an ideological one about the legitimacy of the state itself.
As I told someone yesterday who had a hard time understanding, the Reformation was chapter one (maybe there were previous chapters that I know nothing about though...) in a REFORM in the perception of the relationship between the INSTRUMENT of money and its relation to what it was supposed to measure (and what it was NOT SUPPOSED TO measure... "buying" a reduced sentence to Purgatory).
Our civilization is topsy turvy in terms of its beliefs, and certainly its faith, WHERE IT AND WE PUT OUR TRUST. In topsy turvy times, money becomes a RESERVE VALUE...
Can the individual be his own God, Toby ?
Can you ONLY trust... yourself ?
And is self education going to give you the positivist means to be your own God, and trust yourself ?
I think not, Toby.
The collectivity needs a place in which to DEPOSIT ITS TRUST. And the individual needs to be able to have faith.. IN SOMEONE.
Big problems right now, according to my diagnosis, lol.

Toby said...

You think in someone, or some thing? I suspect (hope) the latter, but it will take a lot of growing up at the collective level.

I think the 'problem' is as you define it, and like very much the idea of so-called sovereign debt as a dissembling mask we cling to because it 'fits' current levels of comprehension, but I believe the roots go all the way back to taming fire and the advent of farming, even though much has changed in the meantime.

Otherwise I think you've overlooked my use of "interactively":

"The only wise reaction to such a state of affairs is what we might call ‘humble arrogance,’ that is; to wise up interactively while staying true to the uniqueness each of us is, while accepting that of others."

For me it's the lack of faith/trust which compels us back onto ourselves, but we can 'do' nothing constructive until we cooperate, which means faith/trust in others is the vital part of the arrogation. Kind of a paradox, but there you are. I certainly don't think it's an easy task. In a sense this isolation is part of going cold turkey on decades of cynicism and our idolatry of mammon and the Ego (or separated Self), but cannot be healing or helpful unless we 'come together' and learn from one another openly and transparently. That's absolutely vital, I agree with you there 100%. Only, we're going to have to teach ourselves how to do that, almost from scratch. And I think that's what #ows is about.

Malagodi said...

Now that's a good posting.

"Everybody I ever met
Who wanted to help somebody
Wants to help themselves." ~John Giorno.

To me, placing faith or trust in humanity is no different that putting faith or trust in myself. I can always rely on myself to look out for #1 first and foremost. I am more than capable of making bad decisions. It's only natural.

But, as Jesus is reported to have chided, "Oh ye of little faith!" The faith I suggest that he referred to was not faith in humanity, which remains to this day quite self-centered and foolish (as I am), nor in the religious leaders of his day, as moribund in doctrine as ours are today, nor the power of the Empire, no different in its brutality than ours, nor in the revolutionaries, as short-sighted as ours today.

No he suggested faith in the process, displayed all around us, the process of life itself. Those lillys that don't toil, those sparrows, not one of which falls without the notice of the whole, the foxes who have dens, the little bird on your window sill. We are all quite worried for our future, with good cause. We look in vain for some logical direction. Some kind of control. There is none. It is indeterminate.

So I repeat my old saw, "Capitalism is killing us, Socialism can't save us, and no one knows what happens next.

Toby said...

Less fear, more faith. But don't overdo it. Which is the hard part.