Saturday, August 4, 2012

I actually meant to talk about the hemispheres of the brain.

Government and corporations are like dinosaurs: massive outmoded things sucking up all the resources consuming themselves to death. One theory of dinosaur extinction says that as the climate cooled into one of the several ice ages Earth has experienced, they needed more resources than the freezing planet could offer up. The much smaller mammals who needed far less to survive thrived while the dinosaurs ate themselves to death. I think I believe alongside most that it was actually a meteor that led to the death of the dinosaurs, but the same principle applied: the dinosaurs needed more resources than could be offered up. Mammals thrived. Eventually dinosaurs disappeared.

I think the image in our heads is one of a peaceful inevitable decline in which the dinosaurs, too unaware to process what was happening around them, passed away melancholy like; beatific in the way they lay their heads in the dirt, shut their eyes and never opened them again. But I imagine the reality to be unchartable brutality and fear: giants fighting over scraps, hoarding every last bit they could for themselves consuming even the small amounts of food stashed away by the miniscule rat-like mammals consuming the mammal itself should larger meat prove too scarce. Being a mammal in this time would have been horrific between finding food and avoiding the monsters.

Eventually, when the dinosaurs passed, mammals were allowed to flourish and experience abundance. We’ve yet to again experience the diversity of forms seen in the cambrian, but it might be safe to say that the trade off is in the increase of complexity within the individual forms. But if technology is the 6th kingdom like Kevin Kelley speculates, then we’re experiencing a proliferation of forms at least on par with the cambrian if not greater than.

With the monsters gone, individual complexity proliferated. But the monsters didn’t want to go - they held on with every angry claw in their bodies. So it is with our current monsters - government and corporations, the latter being the son of the former. I don’t think this is anything new that I’m saying here. This observation is almost cliche and sophomoric with how common I feel its sentiment. Government is the system that springs up thanks to bullies, but exists long after it achieved its goal (which would be what? Establishing order?). It’s like the washed up rock star that keeps writing the same song over and over trying to re-establish his long lost fame. Rather, it’s like government goes through a metamorphosis: in its initial stage, it’s the bully that springs up to regulate the other bullies - that’s the order. Instead of vanishing after having corralled the bullies, however, it enters a second stage in which it extends its controls from the bullies to everyone else. Now it wants to control everyone, and this becomes its only goal, but since this is perhaps contrary to nature (as if I, a city mouse, has even an inkling of how nature works), it has to get more insidious in its control designs. Thus it moves from slave to worker, though there exists little difference between the two. The worker is perhaps allotted more freedom - or even just perceived freedom - in the form of his slavery, and his beatings only come when he refuses the government its tithe and tax.

The corporation is the result of the second phase, the symbiotic relationship that comes when the nobility breaks from government and rule their own micro-realms. Those realms quickly grow, and lest government itself be overrun, it must learn to cooperate with the new monster. The new monster wants slaves, true, but more than that, it wants the resources brought about by the natural product of people’s work. People create simply because people are - it seems as necessary to our health and happiness as sex and food. Or perhaps it’s a result of people trying to get sex and food. I mean, this is even more a cliche argument than the first: corporations want to turn people into money.

But despite both these monsters, individual wealth (or happiness, or potential access to wealth and happiness) does increase with the more refined of the monsters. The monsters of America and Europe, for example, give their serfs better toys and more time than the monsters of Libya. Despite the natural inclinations of the monsters, the serfs continue to pull more of the resources for themselves.

But then the death throws, which is what I think is happening now. Just like the dinosaurs before them, the government and the corporation are entering their death throws, taking for themselves everything they can find - every scrap dollar, intellectual or property right, raising the bar of entry so high that the small mammals of this age is better off hiding and hoping the collapse of the monsters comes soon.

Perhaps you could say the throws is a third stage in the metamorphosis, and comes to so closely resemble the first that it’s difficult to tell if it’s a second wind, or a winding down. But it’s a winding down when the natural cycles have worked to spread the wealth and complexity uniformly, and the bullies the monsters seek to fight exist only through the repeated religious repetition of their existence. Monsters lock in contest with each other while the mammals hide and wait.