It looks like the Occupy movement is starting to fade. It’s no secret that I’ve passively supported them, not with donations or blog posts, but rather with polemics with my work colleagues.
What does it mean to support or sympathize with the Occupy movement? It’s not like those people have much of a cohesive message; so, what am I supporting after all? Is it their hippie like rebellion? Or perhaps their anarchistic rhetoric?
I liked the things I learned about the hippies. I liked Hair, the movie. I liked the hippies. They knew a thing or two about life, not like our peers, who are more like robots working inside cubes, getting their soul food from their TV and their friends online.
I like anarchistic rhetoric too. Rebellion against systems which ultimately restrain the individual is not only ingrained in our nature, but also a good reminder that you’ve not become complacent. And to become complacent is as much a crime as to be ignorant, if not more.
No, it’s not the hippie message, nor is it the rhetoric. It’s something else, something that I deeply believe in, driving me to support these poor confused individuals.
Lemme tell you a story. It took Nature some 2.5 million years, since the appearance of the genus Homo, to evolve man. For the longest time, man lived in harmony with Nature, hunting and gathering. Then, some 5000 years ago, man learned that he could exploit Nature to grow and engulf the Earth. Man discovered agriculture. Agriculture per se is not that dangerous to that way of life. But at just the right moment, the power of agriculture was catalyzed by a dangerous culture of self-centered expansionism. This culture quickly dismissed the history of man prior, calling it pre-history, and proclaimed the history of our culture to be the history of man instead.
Our culture ravaged the Earth. We were so infatuated with ourselves that we regarded man as the pinnacle of evolution, asserting that the Earth was meant for us to rule and that, no matter what or how much we consumed, Earth, like the Eden that it was, would replenish its supplies and forever give. No evolution tree charts will show you the simple saddening truth that we’re here due to many strokes of luck and not inevitable perfection, or that bacteria are in fact the most successful beings on Earth, having been here since inception. Ah, those pesky bacteria, and our never ending fight against them.
With our culture, we were able to outgrow our naturally set limits, and, as we grew in numbers to the point where Nature could no longer sustain us, we built us cities to live in. A majority of humans today live in cities, these huge concrete concoctions where we’ve all but banned nature. Your plant in the house or random tree is the only vestige that remains of nature. I didn’t count the rats.
Now I haven’t even started with the evils of our modern culture, systems which act as black holes for money and limit your happiness in subtle yet profound ways. Things in nature don’t always self-regulate. Starting from the physical realm of the black holes, and into the abstract abyss of mathematics, we can find examples of tendencies that can ultimately corrupt systems and set the stage for their demise. Our economy is no exception in that it has unchecked tendencies damaging to our well being. As an example, unchecked lending with interest together with the power of having money create a vicious cycle in which my mortgage interest goes to pay some rich person elsewhere, and, in being paid, that rich person amasses more and more power. In the meantime, I spend my life and health working my ass off. No matter how I try to sum it up, I can only interpret this to mean that my work pays someone else. Of course, that I need a place to live kind of goes without saying, since I can’t move in a wooden area and start hunting without obtaining permits and in general paying my dues to the enforcers of our culture. This is an economic black hole of the most sadistic kind. But unlike true black holes, conducive to awe and nothing else, or mathematical black holes, mere curiosities, we can actually control and limit the impact of black holes in our man-made systems. We don’t have to live with this.
You see, that’s why I sympathize with this ill-formed, weak rebellion, which I know already is doomed to failure.
But where does this story lead? This is about more than Occupy.
Our life today is a joke. Nature has given us beautiful gifts and we’re squandering them. You want to live more than your ancestors – and you do. But tell me, are you really better off living 100 years, with a third of your life spent away from your family, with your children raised by nannies, your food prepared by strangers, the natural tendencies of your body repressed by a system of your peers? Or, were your ancestors better off, living 50 years in their close circle of friends, call it tribe, and family. I have put this on the table before, during one of my past debates, and was told that it’s the same shit at the end of the day. But it’s not. Because we’re not shaped by Nature to live in cubicles, sit down for eight hours per day, walk on concrete, live in pairs, repress our feelings. We were shaped to live off the earth, hunter gatherers, listening to the voice of nature. And that means that you are more stressed and unhappy than the aboriginal who goes hunting every few days, climbs trees and lives in the embrace of Nature.
The road to redemption is long and strenuous. I don’t expect you or I to turn into hunter gatherers, or anything close. But I would like for you and I to take a small hit now, rearrange this system, so that our children can live a little closer to nature. And no rhetoric that doesn’t blame the current culture for its egregious faults will get us anywhere close to that goal.
That’s why I’m for rebellion, however faint or misguided. That’s why I sympathize with Occupy Wall Street.
Got something you want to say? Forget the comments – e-mail me at the address in the header. I’m really good at flame wars.