. The Runaway Dog | London Progressive Journal
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The Runaway Dog

Mon 12th Aug 2019

We've got this metaphorical doggie, right… called Control. Gone! Our puppy is gone. We've lost Control!

About a year ago my column Control Freaks explored the immediate effects on people by the decisions of others, both personal and political. The months have not proved kind, busy as we are fending off anxiety, setting brave faces against media gloom, or smiling like party-time idiots in an advert of optimism.

One of the paradoxes of our species is the total control we have over almost every aspect of our babyhood during the first year or so of life. The paradox is we’re totally unaware of such power. Yet, we scream when our skin shivers, and as if by magic, we’re suddenly warm, swaddled in cosiness. We scream when our tiny tummies rumble and suddenly, as if by magic, we’re sucking on something soft which fills us literally with the milk of human kindness. We scream when all that nourishment leaks from us in gallons and suddenly, as if by magic, all the stink is wiped away.
 
If we’re lucky, and surrounded by the brand of love we’ve evolved to expect, our total control of the world gets reinforced every day.
 
Gradually, as we obey our instincts of perception, curiosity, and adaptability, we learn that screaming doesn’t always produce the results we didn’t even know we wanted. We’re actually in the control of others. Uh-oh, there goes that runaway pooch again!

Decisions, Decisions
It’s those details of intimacy measured against the corporate world that define our current arrangement, no matter which system that might be. Whether we seek to preserve it or challenge it by thought or action, it’s tempting to conclude it’s a natural vessel which has always contained and sustained us.
 
Not true, of course. It’s only fairly recently - within the past few decades of our million or so years of evolution – that control of society’s structure has been firmly clenched in the fists of those making decisions on our behalf.

Whatever our beliefs, we regard the pronouncements of informed and ignorant sources, primarily justifying whatever point of view we already espouse. Latest headlines shout near-incendiary examples of domestic abuse; gender and ethnic minority pay gaps; and the increase in hate crimes against citizens legally both in our country and others further afield. On the wider world stage, dubious financial transactions by decision and policy makers continue to be rewarded with unjustifiable salaries, bonuses and other perks.

Admittedly some stuff is way beyond our control, whoever we are, yet still has a powerful impact. In the past week, the remote Pacific island of Guam, an American military protectorate, couldn’t be protected by anyone against the vicious high surf and hazardous seas warning issued by the National Weather Service.
 
Beaches along Guam, Rota, Tinian, and Saipan were forecast to produce waves powerful enough to knock swimmers and surfers unconscious, with dangerous rip tides expected to cause drownings. Encompassed within Micronesia’s Typhoon Alley, such weather comes as no surprise.

But its politically strategic location has prompted insurance companies to declare these warnings Acts of God, absolving them of all liability for pay outs. That won’t cover Guam’s other front-page story, though. With its complex history as a pawn of European invasion-conquer-and-trade policies, the current 75% population of Roman Catholics are reeling from yet another revelation of sexual abuse and cover-ups directly implicating the island’s former Archbishop. There may be outstanding decisions, but by whom and about what?

With pals down the pub, broadcasters and papers that preach like some kind of media church, even churches themselves, we're baffled into a kind of social and intellectual stasis. We just don't know how to process this social storm surge. It whips up winds that bury us within the dunes, reverse ostriches with heads of confusion poking out. We're the impotent embodiment of Samuel Beckett's Winnie and Willie in Happy Days.

Please, we plead, just be done with it - whatever 'it' is. Make it go away. Wake me when it's over.

I never offer definitive solutions, but strive to ask the most relevant socio-economic questions. With the lobbying power of the wealthiest drowning out grassroots challenges, I'm convinced that to focus on specific issues only presents short term diversions. Besides, there are examples galore of those aspects, many with vital matters at stake. But it's the bigger picture view that presages the most dangerous threats.

The Essence of Control
As a species imprinting on every continent, we've evolved two of the most potent seeds of activity against which all others ultimately shrink to insignificance. The Arts and Science.

Of this potent pair, only The Arts offers certainty and total control. As an individual expression in whatever discipline, the redistribution from an abstract idea in the mind of the Artist into a process of realisation, represents the truest control since babyhood. This time it’s a conscious decision. It's only in the event that others, who are not part or party to that process, seek to impose their own restrictions of the pure idea that some or all external control is lost.

It doesn't matter whether such loss follows a financial path, one of ego, power, or dictat, no one can prise from the Artist the locked room of inner control. You can capture and kill, you can dissect with forensic fineness or brute force, you will not discover the size, weight nor material matter of an idea.
 
For the most part, artists are keen to share their concepts, hoping to stimulate and engender further ideas. They may or may not be aware how fearful are those in power of such a process of engagement and expansion. Result? Banned and burned books. Panties on piano legs. Retouched paintings and no-go exhibits. Censored films and telly. Blacked out internet. Refutations and mis-interpretations of free speech. Fascist tactics all. History is full of ‘em!

Science, paradoxically, presents a far simpler relationship with Truth. It is never a steady state. Of course, there's no denying that the Scientist's journey may indeed be inspired by new and unique perceptions.
 
The centuries heave with such challenges to the norm of the day. Which proves my theory. Science always represents change; it's always a fluid path. It's always on the edge of losing control. That said, by far the greatest administrative regulation of Science is governed by politically controlled bodies, both public and private. It’s they who decide what information may be released and what must stay hidden from view. But no one seems capable of managing the current chaos of change.

Even civil engineer Sir John Armitt, Chair of HMRC’s subsidiary The National Infrastructure Commission [who has benefitted financially over decades in association with some of the most well-funded public service departments and who has privileged oversight of developing policies for both Tory and Labour], even he’s declared, “We’re losing control.”

That’s precisely the message broadcast on Radio 4’s Today programme recently by Sir Paul Nurse, CEO of the Crick Institute and former president of The Royal Society. He’s one of the leading scientists convinced that withdrawing from the EU will foment sufficient change in the direction of global, cooperative scientific research to render it forever in debt to corporate control.
 
That’s the reason it’s being left up to such as the Gates Foundation to address and fund a truly effective elimination of malaria from impoverished African nations. Meanwhile multi-national drug lobbies hone their form-filling technics to reinstate lucrative grants to private-sector university research departments engaged in developing medical conditions of choice and those with military application.
 
The influential body of science professionals is convinced that the current government plans for Brexit are “not fit for purpose.” Whereas Brexit Secretary Michael Gove is widely quoted that “people in this country have had enough of experts.”

Losing It
It's important to define a context, usually plucked from the most unbiased sources of the past. We don't learn a lot from deconstructing battles and playing with tin soldiers. Better to address the aftermath of conflict and/or conquest, on subsequent eras of cooperation, or at least of the mechanics of social maintenance.

Before his untimely death in his mid-40s from a stroke on his wedding to Ildico, Attila the Hun conquered and controlled much of the territory now comprising the EU and beyond, from the Baltic countries to the farthest borders of China, Russia, and Mongolia. Occasionally fighting then absorbing such innovative cultures such as the Sarmatians, in that sense Attila’s realm was a precursor to the EU and formed the 2nd largest unified territory in human history.

But for an even more cogent examination of the loss of socio-political direction and its effects on the realities of governance, we must focus on the biggest and first of the Big Daddies of Control and examine it with microscopic scrutiny. I mean, of course, the Roman Empire. No one can doubt the influence on British life and culture left in the wake of Rome’s decline. Intermarriage with the locals tells only part of the story.

Though Julius Caesar trod upon British soil in 54/55 BC, he left it to legacy garrisons to carry out the tasks of reconstruction and what amounted to Romanification. All Romans at the time believed it was their divine right to rule the rest of the world forever.

They also believed the earth was flat, and were afraid to fall off the edge if they travelled too far, so Britain was destined to become the Empire’s outer reaches. Given the population of Britons was politically disparate, comprising small tribes of Celts, Gaels, and Teutons contesting land, the Emperor’s 40,000 strong army played whack-a-mole against regional resistance. By the reign of Claudius, Britannia was declared a Roman province in 43 AD.

Both along the abandoned walls to the north and outside other redoubts throughout the countryside, the locals set up small markets and trading posts. These grew into hamlets and villages called the vicus, a perfect place for a homesick Roman soldier to shack up with a local woman and raise a family. So much of Roman life and culture was adopted that the people thought of themselves as Roman. Many incomers travelled from all over the Empire, seeking a better life for their families. Sound familiar?

The Rabid Dog
It’s sad indeed that at least some of the relentless push to Brexit was a blatant or thinly disguised irrational hatred of foreigners. Citing the UK’s Roman heritage at least sets the context for assessing national origins. It proves that the re-definition of immigrants and migrants from a far-right perspective is more about vested corporate interests than the results of a DNA test.
 
I'm British, mate, innit! Oh, really... well, as they say on the telly, just who do you think you are?

I confess I’m ambivalent about the media justification for revoking Article 50, though I believe it should be. Apart from some champions of reform within the EU, most public analysis is obsessed with the benefits to and tribulations expected by corporate interests. To be fair, the maligned Labour policies have stressed an elimination of the obscene and divisive austerity measures foisted on the UK in the name of reducing debt and trading deficit. But, as usual, the mainstream outlets fail to provide proper coverage. I’m not a supporter of Corbyn’s style, though many of his ideas are sound. He’s simply not asking the most probing questions.

Nowhere are the tentacles of Brexit’s effect on the world more evident than the plight of the ‘people from the land of the wild pigs,’ otherwise called the Ayoreo Totobiegosode. This tribe has for many decades had its traditional nomadic existence threatened along with its territory in the Chaco forests of Paraguay and Bolivia. It’s too complicated to detail here, but the recent death of their champion Chagabi Etacore [teacher, health worker, film-maker, deforestation activist, political negotiator, translator and father of three], proves beyond doubt how the personal becomes the political.

The Ayoreo, one of the uncontacted peoples of South America, whose forest lives have flourished for hundreds of years, are systematically being destroyed by the dubious and illegal policies, funded and set in train by the world’s politicians, including the CIA, and carried out by global companies, locals trading morals for money, and a network of so-called Christian missionaries.
 
Of the latter, the most wide-reaching, best funded, and most corrupt is The New Tribes Mission, aka Ethnos360. Yes, there are proven crimes of sexual assault and capturing people for slave labour in the name of rehabilitation and indoctrination with Christian values. But perhaps its most obscene exploitation targets of a group of people who pose no threat to the rest of the world. It’s an insidious campaign to destroy them entirely. Despite the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights insistence to stop the deforestation of their territory, fourteen million trees are being cut down every month.

These incursions mean that the Ayoreo have no immune defence against the diseases of the developed world. Chagabi Etacore died from tuberculosis and related infections. His selfless devotion to the preservation of his people shines from his words:  "My hope for the future is that our young people, the children, our new generations will not be ashamed of our culture. I hope that they will continue practising our Ayoreo culture, because if they forget it, it will be very difficult to recover it afterwards."

Is that a woof-woof I can hear?
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