July 06, 2004

The Corporation

Posted at July 6, 2004 12:18 AM in Society .

[I] see in Fight Club, the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential. And, I see squandering.

God damn it! An entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables: slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing car and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man -- no purpose or place. We have no great war. No great depression. Our great war's a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars . . . but we won't. We're slowly learning that fact and we're very, very pissed off.

  -- Tyler Durden in Fight Club

R and I went out this evening and saw The Corporation, the recent documentary on the rise of corporate power, with my friend, John, from work and his visiting dad. I thought that the movie was a very effective display of issues to do with the corporate dominance of the modern world and its immediate effect on our lives. It's all around us, like the air that we breathe.

Of course, it is kind of humorous to be watching this with a friend from my corporate work and to see a few images and what-not drawn from work websites and such sprinkled in here and there.

The ultimate effect of seeing this movie is much the same as when I read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn which, along with a number of other factors, helped trigger a precursor of my inevitable mid-life crisis of years to come. The movie even used the same metaphor of being in an airplane (civilization) which is convinced it is flying along great through the sky but, really, it is falling towards the ground off of the cliff it is launched from....the ground is just so far away, that it can't be seen by most yet so everyone is convinced that it is flying along fine. The effect caused is an inevitable feeling of helplessness. I'm watching a train wreck as it happens to some degree.

We live an unsustainable lifestyle. As currently existing, I work in an unsustainable industry that adds, at times, questionable value to the world. Even if that wasn't in question, I work for one of the most powerful technical corporations in the world. We could buy and sell small countries if we wanted. I am a cog in a machine and many of my values have some dissonance with this at times. Rationally, I know that where I am is not any better or worse than elsewhere in many ways (except for me) and that is our system as a whole that plummets all of us toward the abyss.

What am I supposed to do? Make pottery in a barn in Vermont? Even if I did, I would still be part of the overall system of commerce. It is a matrix that the entire world is embedded in at this point. Even the state communists have embraced it as the future.

Part of my draw to unconventional spirituality, not all but part, has been the knowledge that its experiences are immediate. That any gnosis is mine. It hasn't been packaged up by thousands of years of institutions completely focused on their own survival and sucking the lifeblood out of any actual spiritual wonder. It is one thing that will never be taken from me, packaged, and sold back unless I let them do it. Otherwise, I might as well just joyfully embrace the crass consumerism of our culture with no qualms and buy a nice car, nice clothes and the perfect toys to fill the time with until I die.

John made the crack "...and tomorrow, we're both going to go in and turn in our resignations, right?" He's right in that we're not but it is good to wake up now and again, look around, and evaluate what you're doing with yourself and what the world is doing to you as well.

You must have a revolution if you're going to survive. But you can't have a negative revolution. Any revolution that thinks of 'going back' to some 'good old days' of imagined simplicity when men tipped their hats, women stayed home and cooked, and no one got divorced or questioned authority is founded on dreams. Any revolution that depends upon people voluntarily giving up things they want for things they don't want is mere utopianism and will fail. You must have a positive revolution, a revolution that brings people more of what they really want, not less of what they don't really want.


The New Tribal Revolution's seven point plan: The revolution won't take place all at once. It will be achieved incrementally, by people working off each other's ideas. It will be led by no one. It will not be at the initiative of any political, governmental, or religious body. It has no targeted end. It will proceed according to no plan. It will reward those who further the revolution with the coin of the revolution. You don't have to outlaw the Taker life to make it disappear. You just have to open the prison door, and people will start pouring out.

  -- Ishmael the Gorilla in My Ishmael by Daniel Quinn


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What's wrong with making pottery in a barn in Vermont?
You got something against Vermont? :)

Posted by Scott at July 6, 2004 06:02 PM

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