November 3, 2018 12:00 am
Place your bets, ladies and gents. Spin the wheel, round and round she goes and where she stops, nobody knows. Rien ne va plus, ladies and gents. No more bets. And the winner is … ta-dah! The House! As always. It’s always those who set the rules who come out tops, cream of the crops. The perceived wisdom is that it’s always been that way. Time immemorial. Year dot. But anyone with a sense of true history knows that just ain’t so. It’s only fairly recently in our social evolution that we developed and defined Power. And generation after generation has watched mesmerised and helpless as a relentless tsunami drowns free will along with futures.
Is there really a way to Free Will-y? The seminal task of a cultural analyst is to ask the right questions. And, like it or not, we’re all analysing all the time – down the pub endlessly re-playing The Game over a pint; picking apart the headlines of one party or another; having a serious family discussion about educational policy; or a moan on the food bank queue when there’s more week than dosh; even debating the merits of Strictly versus X-Factor at the tanning salon.
But actually choosing better questions? Not all that easy. As everyone knows who’s indulged in such easy analysis, you’re still left feeling impotent, insignificant and nothing bloody changes!
Philosophy, Science, The Arts, Politics, as well as peripheral/latter day disciplines including Business, Media, Religion and Sports all employ traditional forensics to identify what’s troubling society from day to day. Those with The Power, those in control of The House, they sanction such diversions from what truly affects us. And if that phony agenda is accompanied by – or promises soon – some bauble or perk, well that should shut us up for a bit, innit?!
All well and good if the territory has been pre-defined and offerings serve to fuel expectations rather than challenge or subvert them. I leave it to others to examine individual examples freshly plucked from headlines, bulletins, bleatings and tweetings. Not only are they likely to be suspect and open to abuse and corruption, but even the most independent and unbiased have to be seen in the context of either capitalism or state capitalism. Yes, our cultural imperative drives us to a sad admission that it’s impossible to recapture the essence of our evolutionary millennia.
This won’t be the first time I make this point: of the more or less million years we climbed aboard our own anthropoid timeline, it’s only the past ten-thousand or so that we transitioned from the circular structure of a roaming, roving hunter-gatherer gender-equal and leaderless way of life to a plunk-down on my land, not your land, and start farming and domesticating animals and having lotsa kids as unpaid help and then to enslave other helpers and maybe steal stuff and be prepared to kill for it and make up justifications to practice war and the abuse of the enemy. Are you with us or against us? It is so… because I say so!
Why do you suppose the global digital games industry has nearly overtaken the films, television, and the music business combined? We’re talking many billions of whatever currency you choose. The attraction, unlike most games in the meat-world, is control. It’s more complex with multi-player games, but whatever’s at stake within the rules, it’s your choice to carry on or call time-out, or quit and start afresh.This isn’t about games addiction – though that’s clearly one of the abusive effects – but how those with Power provide the deceptive trappings of choice to give those without it an illusion. And I know from both experience and research that there are plenty of free-play options to satisfy an immediate feel-good factor that quickly dissipates back into a daily loss of control.
Having evolved to arrive collectively at choices that benefit all, we’re stuck at the base of a social pyramid whose apex dwellers assume themselves to be the chosen ones, and the only ones entitled to do the choosing.
So, yep, bye-bye to our legacy of simple social bliss. In order to fully address the growing groundswell demanding a change of system, it’s not capitalism that needs fixing. There’s not a sticking plaster big enough for that! It’s scary to contemplate, but we must open our eyes to a much wider perspective. For the very survival of the planet and our species, this really is the time to throw the capitalist baby out with its soiled bathwater.
To formulate relevant questions, it’s vital to tag the beast in the field. And that’s a challenge indeed. We have reached tipping point. There is really no longer a way of discerning truth and reality from deceit and the agenda of vested interest. The very concept of Truth, and its handmaiden Justice, are now both weapons… not just as media reports that contradict each other on daily whims, but to define and divide various groups.
Hard to put a precise date on it, but certainly since the 1880s we’ve allowed ourselves to be shoved into groups. Partly as a consequence of the dwindling lack of choice available, we’ve been taking refuge in the solace of solidarity – be it an identification with a sports team, the outlier of a global holding company, a gender, faith, or a nation. Not content with that, such solidarity has been breeding its own brand of virulent hatred. Lives, at this level, sadly do not matter, whatever next day’s placatory rhetoric. And this is where the big gambles have become the primary social mechanisms of the capitalist agenda.Here in the UK – particularly under the dangerous rightward tilt of both the proto-fascist Tories and the shameful Tory-lite tactics of Blair and Brown – the most important sectors of society have already been grabbed by the grubby paws of global gamblers.
Increasing back-door deals have been in place for several decades throughout the NHS. And schools, including those served by the state. And even, shock horror, the BBC. And, of course, there’s the takeover of banks both trade and retail, as well as established brands, consumed like those new speedy ghouls intent on sucking the vitality and brains of anything in their path. It’s not merely the fact of privatisation, but that control has been ceded to various hedge funds. Mostly American hedge funds. Hedge funds whose very existence depends on betting the future.
The major concern, apart from their own obscene profits, is speculation in property values. They play with democracy as if it were an option in World of Warcraft. They broker dubious diplomatic alliances that influence elections and arms sales. What’s never an issue is the security of pension funds. Or how to regenerate neighbourhoods decimated by the arbitrary relocation of this or that industry to satisfy a spreadsheet. Or those regretable deaths of kids denied treatment or those misdiagnosed and mistreated. What a shame! Boo-bloody-hoo!
If there’s ever to be a true people’s revolt against their slavery by a new ruthless elite for whom they are expendable board game pieces, such a challenge must focus on the only valid economic question: why is the dignified activity of occupation demeaned by the concept of a job which only benefits someone else?
Neither unions nor bosses [both those resident and gallivanting in far-off lands], none is inviolate. There’s no guarantee they will always win at such capitalist games. A new generation has begun to ask better questions. You can bet on it!
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This post was written by outRageous!