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So we must take care of ourselves. But with our individual survival ensured there is little satisfaction to be gained by enthroning and enshrining ourselves as individuals.
These problems that threaten to bring on global destruction are the result of legitimate human instincts gone awry, exploited by a dead ideology derived from dead desert myths. Fear and desire are the twin engines of human survival but with most of our basic needs met these instincts are being engaged to imprison us in an obsolete fragment of our consciousness.
Our materialistic consumer culture relentlessly stimulates our desire. Our media ceaselessly engages our fear, our government triangulates and administrates, ensuring there are no obstacles to the agendas of these slow-thighed beasts, slouching towards Bethlehem.
For me the solution has to be primarily spiritual and secondarily political. This, too, is difficult terrain when the natural tribal leaders of the left are atheists, when Marxism is inveterately Godless. When the lumbering monotheistic faiths have given us millennia of grief for a handful of prayers and some sparkly rituals. By spiritual I mean the acknowledgement that our connection to one another and the planet must be prioritised.
Buckminster Fuller outlines what ought be our collective objectives succinctly: to make the world work for per cent of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous co-operation without ecological offence or the disadvantage of anyone.
This maxim is the very essence of easier said than done as it implies the dismantling of our entire socioeconomic machinery. By teatime. Can this be achieved when we are enslaved by old ideologies, be they theological or economic? The absurdity of our localised consciousness and global ignorance hit me hard when I went on a Comic Relief trip to Kenya. Like most of the superficially decent things I do in life, my motivation was to impress women more than to aid the suffering.
A couple of days in Africa, I thought, and a lifetime cashing in on pics of me with thin babies, speculate to accumulate, I assured my anxious inner womaniser. After visiting the slums of Kibera, where a city built from mud and run on fear festers on the suburbs of Nairobi, I was sufficiently schooled by Live Aid and Michael Buerk to maintain an emotional distance. It was only when our crew visited a nearby rubbish dump that the comforting buoyancy of visual clichs rinsed away by the deluge of a previously inconceivable reality.
This rubbish dump was not like some tip off the M25 where you might dump a fridge freezer or a smashedin mattress.
This was a nation made of waste with no end in sight. Domestic waste, medical waste, industrial waste formed their own perverse geography.
Stinking rivers sluiced through banks of putrid trash, mountains, valleys, peaks and troughs all formed from discarded filth. An ecology based on our indifference and ignorance in the cradle of civilisation where our species is said to have originated.
Here amid the pestilence I saw Armageddon. Here the end of the world is not a prophecy but a condition. A demented herd chewed polystyrene cud. Sows fed their piglets in the bilge.
Gloomy shadows split the sun as marabou storks, five foot in span with ragged labial throats, swooped down. My mate Nik said he had to revise his vision of hell to include what hed seen.
Kibera in Kenya. Photo: Getty Here and there, picking through this unending slander, children foraged for bottle tops, which had some value, where all is worthless. For a while when I returned to my sanitised house and my sanitised state of mind I guiltily thumbed bottle tops for a moment before I disposed of them; temporarily they were like crucifixes for these kids, sacrificed that I may live in privilege. A few weeks later I was in Paris at a Givenchy fashion show where the most exquisite garments cantered by on underfed, well-bred clothes horses.
The spectacle was immaculate, smoke-filled bubbles burst on to the runway. To be here in this gleaming sophistication was heaven. Here starvation is a tool to achieve the perfect perpendicular pelvis. Now, I bow to no one in my appreciation of female beauty and fancy clobber but I could not wrench the phantom of those children from my mind, in this moment I felt the integration; that the price of this decadence was their degradation. That these are not dislocated ideas but the two extremes are absolutely interdependent.
The price of privilege is poverty. David Cameron said in his conference speech that profit is not a dirty word. Profit is the most profane word we have. In its pursuit we have forgotten that while individual interests are being met, we as a whole are being annihilated. The reality, when not fragmented through the corrupting lens of elitism, is we are all on one planet. To have such suffering adjacent to such excess is akin to marvelling at an incomparable beauty, whose face is the radiant epitome of celestial symmetry, and ignoring, half a yard lower down, her abdomen, cancerous, weeping and carbuncled.
Keep looking at the face, put a handbag over those tumours. Strike a pose. Come on, Vogue. Suffering of this magnitude affects us all. We have become prisoners of comfort in the absence of meaning. A people without a unifying myth. Joseph Campbell, the comparative mythologist, says our global problems are all due to the lack of relevant myths. That we are trying to sustain social cohesion using redundant ideologies devised for a population that lived in deserts millennia ago.
What does it matter if 2, years ago Christ died on the cross and was resurrected if we are not constantly resurrected to the truth, anew, moment to moment? How is his transcendence relevant if we do not resurrect our consciousness from the deceased, moribund mind of our obsolete ideologies and align with our conditions? The model of pre-Christian man has fulfilled its simian objectives.
We have survived, we have created agriculture and cities.
Now this version of man must be sacrificed that we can evolve beyond the reaches of the ape. These stories contain great clues to our survival when we release ourselves from literalism and superstition. What are ideologies other than a guide for life? Throughout paganism one finds stories that integrate our species with our environment to the benefit of both.
The function and benefits of these belief matrixes have been lost, with good reason. They were socialist, egalitarian and integrated.
If like the Celtic people we revered the rivers we would prioritise this sacred knowledge and curtail the attempts of any that sought to pollute the rivers. If like the Nordic people we believed the souls of our ancestors lived in the trees, this connection would make mass deforestation anathema.
If like the native people of America we believed God was in the soil what would our intuitive response be to the implementation of fracking? Little wonder then that these myths, these codes for our protection and survival, have been aborted and replaced with nihilistic narratives of individualism, peopled by sequin-covered vacuous heroes.
Now we only riot and roar in hot summers or at football scores or when our dead are desecrated by the vile publications that convey this corrosive, corrupting, deceitful narrative. I deplore corporate colonialism but not viscerally. The story isnt presented in a way that rouses me. Apple seems like such an affable outfit; I like my iPhone. Occasionally I hear some yarn about tax avoidance or Chinese iPhone factory workers committing suicide because of dreadful working conditions but it doesnt really bother me, it seems so abstract.
Not in the same infuriating, visceral, immediate way that I get pissed off when I download a new phone and theyve changed the fucking chargers, then I want to get my old, perfectly good charger and lynch the executives with the cable.
They make their own product, which theyve already sold me, deliberately obsolete just to rinse a few more quid out of us. But profit is not a dirty word. I hate big banks and banking and bankers but when they rip us off and do us down with derivatives and foreclosures and bundles, I roll my eyes. However when I see that Im getting a 3.
This is the selfish impulse the right expertly engages but ought to belong to the left. We have to see that all these things are connected. We have succumbed to an ideology that is per cent corrupt and must be overthrown. The maintenance of this system depends on our belief that theres nothing we can do; well, the government seemed pretty shook up during those riots. They snapped out of their Tuscan complacency quick enough then, and that was for a few pissed-off kids.
Those kids werent apathetic either. They felt impotent because they are given no status, structure or space. Perhaps in a system where legitimate, peaceful protest was heard that may have been an appropriate option for them, but Stop the War marches dont stop wars, at the top of the pyramid larceny is rewarded with big bonuses.
They may have been misdirected but they certainly had some vim. How beautiful it would be to see their passion utilised and directed at the source of their grievances. The system is adept at turning our aggression on to one another.
We condemn the rioters. The EDL condemns immigrants. My new rule for when I fancy doing a bit of the ol condemnation is: Do the people Im condemning have any actual power? The immigrant capacity to cause social negativity is pretty slender.
Especially if you live in luxury in Hollywood and the only immigrants you meet are Gabby, my Mexican second mother, and Polo who looks after the garden. It probably seems more serious if youre in a council flat in Tower Hamlets. Still the fact remains that an immigrant is just someone who used to be somewhere else. Free movement of global capital will necessitate the free movement of an affordable labour force to meet the demands that the free-moving capital has created.
The wrath is directed to the symptom, not the problem. We British seem to be a bit embarrassed about revolution, like the passion is uncouth or that some tea might get spilled on our cuffs in the uprising. That revolution is a bit French or worse still American.
Well, the alternative is extinction so now might be a good time to re-evaluate. The apathy is in fact a transmission problem, when we are given the correct information in an engaging fashion, we will stir. The hypocrisy me, working for MTV with my fancy shoes is a problem that can be taken care of incrementally.
I dont mind giving up some of my baubles and balderdash for a genuinely fair system, so can we create one? We have to be inclusive of everyone, to recognise our similarities are more important than our differences and that we have an immediate ecological imperative. This is not a job Id place in the hot, clammy, grasping palms of Cameron and Osborne. I shook George Osbornes hand once, by accident, it was like sliding my hand into a dilated cow. We require a change that is beyond the narrow, prescriptive parameters of the current debate, outside the fortress of our current system.
A system predicated on aspects of our nature that are dangerous when systemic: greed, selfishness and fear. These are old, dead ideas. Thats why their business is conducted in archaic venues. Antiquated, elegant edifices, lined with oak and leather. We no longer have the luxury of tradition. Cameron, Osborne, Boris, all of them lot, they went to the same schools and the same universities that have the same decor as the old buildings from which they now govern us.
Its not that theyre malevolent; its just that theyre irrelevant. Relics of an old notion, like Old Spice: its fine that it exists but no one should actually use it. We are still led by blithering chimps, in razor-sharp suits, with razor-sharp lines, pimped and crimped by spin doctors and speech-writers.
Well-groomed ape-men, superficially altered by post-Clintonian trends.
We are mammals on a planet, who now face a struggle for survival if our species is to avoid expiry. We cant be led by people who have never struggled, who are a dusty oak-brown echo of a system dreamed up by Whigs and old Dutch racists. We now must live in reality, inner and outer.
Consciousness itself must change. My optimism comes entirely from the knowledge that this total social shift is actually the shared responsibility of six billion individuals who ultimately have the same interests.
Self-preservation and the survival of the planet. This is a better idea than the sustenance of an elite.
The Indian teacher Yogananda said: It doesnt matter if a cave has been in darkness for 10, years or half an hour, once you light a match it is illuminated. Notify me of new posts via email. April 1, April 2, Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading The Cosmic Serpent: Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Email required Address never made public.