The Opposite of Reality

Anything and everything real is at risk of being eaten by the system and regurgitated as pop crap. Eaten as if by a thousand types of cancer that silently invade and occupy various facets of our lives, our cultures and are well-beings. Today, it has taken over nearly every minutia of our existence and still continues to capture nearly every spontaneous outburst and transform it into something for the powers-that-be to profit and benefit from. Through hundreds, indeed thousands, of years, it has carefully guided each and every one of us today toward meeting its own objectives. It has offered us a thousand ways to be special and unique (most of which, incidentally, add up to nearly the same thing) to provide a manufactured sense of meaning and carefully controlled moments of joy.

Part of this long and slow (albeit steadily through the centuries, yet exponentially increasing in modern times) process has involved centralizing control of the economy, which is essentially the distribution of wealth. In modern times, everything is mass produced purportedly to increase efficiency and thereby provide a less expensive product. Take clothing for example, early textile mills consolidated an industry that had previously been much more distributed throughout communities. So in creating a product that was less expensive through the assembly-line model, textile mill owners not only created a competitive edge, but also reduced the amount of money in the community thereby limiting its own customer base. (Ultimately, the system makes up for this simply by making sure enough people have enough money to spend in order to meet its needs, regardless of how many people that entails and how many are left out of the process altogether.) At the same time as the mills reduced the amount of money seamstresses were making, they also just plain put a lot of people out of work. More precisely, and more importantly, they removed a huge industry from the democratic control of everyday working people and placed it into the hands of a few wealthy white men.

This does more than create poverty, this drastic of an impact on the economy changes the very culture of a people, not only the way they live or are forced to live, but they ways in which they experience and interpret the world. Within just a generation or two, the industrial revolution in its entirety (of which the advent of the mass production of textiles was a part, and but one example, of consolidating industries and control over entire economies) transformed our perception of reality and in so doing gained a certain amount of control over that perception (as per above, a level of control that has increased exponentially in modern times). Iím not a political scientist, but I describe the above process as fascism. Itís obviously not the same type of fascism that Adolf Hitler made famous, but it is a process of centralizing control over not only the material wealth or limits of freedom, but also over our thoughts, dreams and emotions Ė the surprisingly limited opportunities afforded by this manufactured culture of extravagance.

For those who are part of the privileged groups who have enough money to spend to keep the system happy, it is a type of friendly fascism. For most people, of whom admittedly I am not a part, it may not seem quite so friendly. However, the prospect of one day becoming one of the privileged (the artificially constructed notion that anyone can pull themselves up by the boot straps) is generally enough to keep the non-privileged from making too much of a stink about getting the raw end of the deal. All of them, the privileged and non-privileged alike, have fewer prospects than many of us would like to admit.

The real challenge that each of us faces is finding a way to fit into the system. For the privileged, like me, this is primarily to avoid becoming one of the non-privileged and to help our children avoid the same. However, this fear is masked in the effort to fit in with other privileged people. To fit in, I simply need to figure out what I need to buy and how to get the money to buy it with, preferably in a legal fashion. For the non-privileged, the challenge is primarily to pay for rent, utilities and food Ė for survival in other words Ė and, if thereís enough blood, sweat and tears left over, to do whatever they can to improve their lives or at least the lives of their children. To survive, they simply need to find the cheapest housing, buy the cheapest food and then make sure they have enough money to pay for it all, preferably in a legal fashion. There are not enough ways or resources for all of us, privileged or non-privileged alike, to be successful in meeting our respective challenges, hence, as one example anyway, the preferably-in-a-legal-fashion disclaimer.

Anarchy to me would be the above turned upside down, at first anyway, and eventually more like the above inverted, where not just the wealth but participation in the economy would be distributed equally. Iím certain that people, most people anyway, would find such direct control in their economy and, more importantly, direct control of their wealth, survival and possibilities more meaningful and empowering than the opportunities offered by the powers-that-be today. Besides, the vast wealth of todayís powers-that-be was created by everyday working people who far too often find themselves struggling to make ends meet, privileged and non-privileged alike, constantly struggling to make it to the next pay day, ever vigilant for opportunities of upward mobility, and all of us seeking meaning in the material requirements placed upon us by the system, whether to remain privileged, to become privileged or just to survive.