. What We Need | London Progressive Journal
A non-partisan journal of the left.

What We Need

Sat 13th Jan 2018

One of the most frustrating aspects of analysing current events is just how fast the world-picture changes. Over the past decade, both print and broadcast media have morphed into illusion-masters Penn and Teller. Yesterday's headline? Now you see it, now you don't! And our obsession with 24-hour rolling news, means headlines are being replaced several times a day.

This phenomenon leaves the rest of us scurrying around, trying to read the runes half-buried in the ashes. By the time we spot some glittering truth and extract it for closer examination, a blast of new-news blows it away.

Pinned against a time board of Alternative Facts and Fake News, it's no wonder the global society is so divided. We're filleting ourselves, actively choosing sides or being swept along unquestioningly to go with the flow. It's harder than ever to discover a balance of what we can agree about, let alone how to accept our differences.

But the Media in all its fading glory is merely the messenger, not the source. I'm not suggesting there's a clandestine conspiracy devising such insidious tactics of social chaos. There doesn't need to be; it's woven into the very fabric of the robes of power. Such modi operandi have long been the touchstone of the domination of the economic, political, military triangle.

What's changed so dramatically is the speed. I suspect we'll never again be able to discern truth from the many degrees of falsehood fed to us about every reported incident, whether genuine, immediate threats to our lives or conflicted articles about superfoods or insistence that the Earth is flat.

Cliches originate in truth, however ersatz they become. Political decisions are tainted by the next election - or the next coup. Union officials too often sacrifice the workers to the cauldron of back-room deals [not to mention gender equality]. Corporate fraud gets buried under the cosy duvet of false reporting.

In the end, though, none of that matters. It's mostly a ruse, a tactic, a device to divert us from what's really going on behind the closed doors of vested interest. If we're taunted to squabble among ourselves, we cannot spot the common enemy.

As a species, one of our most powerful developments has been our insatiable curiosity coupled with a mind capable of extrapolation. That's the quintessential basis of The Arts and Sciences. Our unique ability to ask questions. We may not always arrive at answers, and often our assumptions are later proved wrong or inconclusive. That's not the point.

One of the most effective ways we have to resist those who declare control over us is to keep asking. History abounds with examples of courageous people who questioned the status quo, who challenged the chains of their submission.

We're fortunate indeed within our current time-zone, both geographically and historically. We can access the records of our journey as a species and as part of the evolution of our pin-point in space. We can communicate in an instant using technologies as ancient as speech and as recent as virtual reality.

Above all, we can use those tools to stop the onslaught on our lives by a power elite. We can use the very means they employ to control us throughout the tangled network of their capitalist agenda - our bank accounts, debts and mattress stuffings.

We do have some choices. I must return to the only mantra that can have an effect. Stop buying their bullshit. Stop buying. Start growing. Stop buying. Start making. Stop buying. Start sharing.

What do we need? We need each other.

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