Boxes

An empty silo fills with dust, something sets off an explosion, and the silo is destroyed. The same thing happens in sawmills and coalmines. Large empty spaces filled with hot air and atomized particles.

     Sometimes people are caught in the spaces, trying to do a job. They do not necessarily agree with each other but somehow the do their work. They have an objective.

     Gazing from afar, you might call it spirituality but later, there is time to think about it, paint it, write about it, sculpt and even copy it. The work comes first though, it is not found in reflecting pools, only children, narcissists and egomaniacs are found there.

     Explosions happen, they even make sense in a way. It does not keep people from working within and without these places.

     It does not take inspiring words to find these jobs: they have to be done; later on, they can be given names at the academy or in cloisters.

     People who know better try to fit life into boxes labeled politics, economics or religion. These boxes are left in the midst of crowded, bleeding cities and amidst the quiet countryside longing for order. When I open a box, I find hot air and dust ready to explode but for my curiosity at work. I sift the dust, a pile of pepper here causes me to sneeze; another pile of flyshit derived from the dunghills where the box was sealed. After finding nothing else, I stop; this is not a forensics investigation.

     The overwhelming majority of inhabitants of this land avoid these boxes, they know better. Too many read the labels and take for granted that the boxes are filled with what they want. They never open the boxes but take them home on credit and on faith, the cry when they explode and burn their house down.

     Here is what I think should be in one of those empty boxes, so it is better that I keep it to myself. I am sharing this, not to convince any one but to demonstrate how I was fooled into thing that there was something in a box. It was only a wish.

     The invisible hand that Adam Smith referred to was assuming that rational players could make decisions that resulted in good political policy. He was talking about the butcher the baker and the candlestick maker. Conservative think tanks flogged this idea and conflated it with immense corporations that used mass marketing techniques to unfairly influence individuals and spread the cost over its entire target market. ‚

     It makes me want to puke when politicians who allowed these practices to then call for individual responsibility. In other words, a person is a consumer when he or she is herded into making unfortunate commitments of capital and a human being with legal responsibilities when it comes to paying. But, I digress, it’s so easy to do.

     As a butcher shop owner in my youth, practices like these were antithetical to my self-interest, which I considered the interest of my customers, after all they were my people and my livelihood. They were not consumers. Not an abstraction of data to be mined for possible profits. I took pride in solving people’s problems regardless of whether or not it resulted in a purchase. That was an intangible asset that corporation now inflate dishonestly as good will in order to fudge their balance sheets. I have seen that honesty does not figure into calculating profits in the statistics of bottom line profits.

     It was Adam Smith who pointed out that making money for the sake of money was a perversion. Yes, it was possible; no, it was not his vision of capitalism. In this regard, he recognized Burke’s imperative to govern. Neither one could be considered a Republican today, yet, in conservative think tank speak‚ they are considered fathers of the conservative movement.

       In his limited study of large corporations, he determined that high prices were caused by high profits. (There were not that many large corporations in the 18th century, The East India Trading Company was not an American enterprise, even though it commissioned many American traders who bought furs from native trappers and then sold them to the company.)

       My point is that the practice of capitalism as defined by Adam Smith has been destroyed in favor of opportunistic profiteering. I don’t believe that is capitalism and I don’t agree with passionate arguments that say that it is, ether practically or academically. It is this opportunistic profiteering that should be the target of approbation, not capitalism, which after all, is and idea, like communism.

      Similarly, Reagan and his conservative minions claimed to have destroyed Communism. They never destroyed that idea; they never did anything about totalitarianism, which was the problem.  I am not suggesting that America is totalitarian; it is more chaotic today than even the USSR was, back in the day; power and money interests are conflicted here, they all toed the party line in the USSR. The politics racket here is not run by ideology but taking advantage of the ideological split to support that culture. That is the American way; that is the fear produced by the political parties. That is the politics outside of the politics box.

   The corruption in the USSR and the US congress are also not similar except they both were infected by financial and moral corruption.

   So, in dealing with these problems, reacting with deceptive slogans about capitalism and emotive photos of fat cats adds to divisiveness. The perpetrators of these crimes are unaffected by this information despite the fact that having it made public makes their activities more complicated. The right wing hate machine thrives on accusations whether true or not. It emboldens them and they are heroes to their supporters who consider what they do as using any means possible to defend their Liberty. They may know that they are lies, they may not but that is what war is, especially a phony war fought with rhetoric and sophistry for weapons.

     I beg you, dear reader, to consider my ideas and reformulate your responses. Encourage righteous unity rather than righteous anger. After all, the subtext is that one’s deepest feelings are not of anger but of peace, human rights and social justice. Please balance intelligence with emotion, and think harder, not compute and recapitulate facts into excuses to express anger. That is the human project.  

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3 comments

  1. Everybody is in the box because they have spent their entire lives being lied to.  We are a product of “the farm”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    Am I “in the box”.  I have to occupy physical space here and as such have to put up with this matrix system to a great extent.

  2. to imply that anyone in particular was in a box but there are a lot of people opening the boxes expecting Christmas presents.

     

    …for every mile the feet walk

         the heart walk nine

      EE Cummings

  3. Late-corporate markets, hyperindividualism and American Exceptionalism seem pretty hegemonic, no major political figure or institution exists which doesn’t swear fealty to all of the above.

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