In a time of violence and bloodthirsty messages of hatred, it is difficult to find a rational yet humane approach to such events. Peter Joseph may not be a social engineer, nor a politician, but he is standing on the shoulders of the real giants. Those who, when facing the easy way to violence, choose the path of love instead. And so should we.
On May 1, 2011 Pres. Barack Obama appeared on national television with the spontaneous announcement that Osama bin Laden, the purported organizer of the tragic events of September 11th 2001, was killed by military forces in Pakistan.
Within moments, a media blitz ran across virtually all television networks in what could only be described as a grotesque celebratory display, reflective of a level of emotional immaturity that borders on cultural psychosis. Depictions of people running through the streets of New York and Washington chanting jingoistic American slogans, waving their flags like the members of some cult, praising the death of another human being, reveals yet another layer of this sickness we call modern society.
It is not the scope of this response to address the political usage of such an event or to illuminate the staged orchestration of how public perception was to be controlled by the mainstream media and the United States Government. Rather the point of this article is to express the gross irrationality apparent and how our culture becomes so easily fixed and emotionally charged with respect to surface symbology, rather than true root problems, solutions or rational considerations of circumstance.
The first and most obvious point is that the death of Osama bin Laden means nothing when it comes to the problem of international terrorism. His death simply serves as catharsis for a culture that has a neurotic fixation on revenge and retribution. The very fact that the Government which, from a psychological standpoint, has always served as a paternal figure for it citizens, reinforces the idea that murdering people is a solution to anything should be enough for most of us to take pause and consider the quality of the values coming out of the zeitgeist itself.
However, beyond the emotional distortions and tragic, vindictive pattern of rewarding the continuation of human division and violence comes a more practical consideration regarding what the problem really is and the importance of that problem with respect to priority.
The death of any human being is of an immeasurable consequence in society. It is never just the death of the individual. It is the death of relationships, companionship, support and the integrity of familial and communal environments. The unnecessary deaths of 3000 people on September 11, 2001 is no more or no less important than the deaths of those during the World Wars, via cancer and disease, accidents or anything else.
As a society, it is safe to say that we seek a world that strategically limits all such unnecessary consequences through social approaches that allow for the greatest safety our ingenuity can create. It is in this context that the neurotic obsession with the events of September 11th, 2001 become gravely insulting and detrimental to progress. An environment has now been created where outrageous amounts of money, resources and energy is spent seeking and destroying very small subcultures of human beings that pose ideological differences and act on those differences through violence.
Yet, in the United States alone each year, roughly 30,000 people die from automobile accidents, the majority of which could be stopped by very simple structural changes. That's ten 9/11's each year... yet no one seems to pine over this epidemic. Likewise, over 1 million Americans die from heart disease and cancer annually - causes of which are now easily linked to environmental influences in the majority. Yet, regardless of the over 330 9/11's occurring each year in this context, the governmental budget allocations for research on these illnesses is only a fraction of the money spent on “anti-terrorism” operations.
Such a list could go on and on and with regard to the perversion of priority when it comes to what it means to truly save and protect human life and I hope many out there can recognize the severe unbalance we have at hand with respect to our values.
So, coming back to the point of revenge and retribution, I will conclude this response with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., likely the most brilliant intuitive mind when it came to conflict and the power of non-violence. On September 15, 1963 a Birmingham Alabama church was bombed, killing four little girls attending Sunday school.
In a public address, Dr. King stated:
“What murdered these four girls? Look around. You will see that many people that you never thought about participated in this evil act. So tonight all of us must leave here with a new determination to struggle. God has a job for us to do. Maybe our mission is to save the soul of America. We can't save the soul of this nation throwing bricks. We can't save the soul of this nation getting our ammunitions and going out shooting physical weapons. We must know that we have something much more powerful. Just take up the ammunition of love.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, 1963
"The Danish political scientist Bjørn Lomborg won fame and fans by arguing that many of the alarms sounded by environmental activists and scientists — that species are going extinct at a dangerous rate, that forests are disappearing, that climate change could be catastrophic — are bogus. A big reason Lomborg was taken seriously is that both of his books, The Skeptical Environmentalist (in 2001) and Cool It (in 2007), have extensive references, giving a seemingly authoritative source for every one of his controversial assertions. So in a display of altruistic masochism that we should all be grateful for (just as we're grateful that some people are willing to be dairy farmers), author Howard Friel has checked every single citation in Cool It. The result is The Lomborg Deception, which is being published by Yale University Press next month. It reveals that Lomborg's work is 'a mirage,' writes biologist Thomas Lovejoy in the foreword. '[I]t is a house of cards. Friel has used real scholarship to reveal the flimsy nature' of Lomborg's work."(from /.)
And for those who still can't face reality, here's the empirical evidence that humans are causing global warming. It still amazes me how people don't realise the most fundamental and undeniable facts of nature. The deniers' arguments are always the same, poorly researched, very confuse, and sound like a broken record. Furthermore, science should be taken seriously, and unless you know what you are saying and have the factual backup to support, you should have the decency to shut up. That's why bloggers and journalists typically report what actual scientists say, by reading their publications or specialised magazines, but don't actually do research. Climate deniers, amazingly enough, do just the opposite. They don't study, they don't have any respect for the peer-review process, and they only present unproved, untested, original research, with the typical excuse: "It's only logical. No, it is not.
The confusion in their minds is probably caused by a sense of frustration, which is caused itself by other confused ideas they have. For instance, it's one thing to recognise the fact of global warming, and a completely different one accepting a carbon tax, a regulation, cap and trade or any other type of monetary reform. The former one is science, and the latter is politics, things that often take different directions, if not always being divergent. I don't think any of the proposed solution is going to solve the problem, to me they seem only badly designed patchwork, they don't address the real issues. The cause of the problem is the sick values that this society is proposing, the need for cyclical consumption of goods and services, the fact that it's economically convenient to pollute rather than not, that efficiency and sustainability are intrinsically enemies of a monetary based society.
I know what you are thinking. Here comes the idealist, the communist, the socialist, the utopian, or whatever label may come to a mind. Until we realise that social problems result from scarcity, that when a few nations control most of the world's resources, there are going to be international disputes no matter how many laws or treaties are signed. If we wish to end war, crime, hunger, poverty, territorial disputes, and nationalism, we must work toward a future in which all resources are accepted as the common heritage of all people.
Before you close this post, or mark it as nonsense, take some time to watch these videos. You might be surprised.