artwork by banksy




A Rant …




… this moment in time, and the decades that have preceded it since the industrial revolution, have been studded with great breakthroughs in medicine and the sciences, among other ‘miracles’ of technology and human ingenuity.

However as we live in 2018, has the human race not become virtually inured to the ‘bigger picture’ – the ‘system’ chosen, or thrust down, being the system of profit at any cost.

Whether it be the grotesque arms industry or the equally grotesque Monsanto and Cargill and Halliburton corporations that wish to patent seeds – the very essence of food, and others of our world that have orchestrated an almost unbelievable feat of social and emotional and psychological control and engineering, or the corrupt leaders of governments pillaging the coffers that are meant to serve the people.

The fortunate ones in terms of material comforts and the rest that the ugliness of money can ‘do’ for them, compared to the 99% of whom we share this world with – those left out in the cold to eke out a miserable existence of the fight for just survival from hunger and the innumerable deprivations of poverty.

One need not look far.

The system and the placid and complicit acceptance of it has inured people to the point that hearts are hardened and that compassion has been dumbed down.

The self contained bubbles that ‘shield’ ‘successful’ humans from poverty and deprivation, but more frighteningly is the insidious injection of apathy and lack of empathy into daily life that has been the aim of the only-for-profit societies has done at the cost of fellow human beings who are stuck in 22 hour-a-day shifts in sweatshops and far too many dehumanising ‘work’ that is a necessity for the 1% to live the lives they do.

It is quite simple actually – earn as much as you can to buy the things you want and are ‘told’ that you need and make as much profit but at the price of the poor for no business or industry can run profitably if it gives its workers a decent salary or wages for then the grand aim of profit making is lost.

Don’t humans all live in cocoons?

In the office, a cocoon that makes human beings earn the money that is needed to live the life that is desired.

Cocoons at home in bubbles, surrounded by material possession that have been sold because of their ‘need’ and shutting out the ‘outside’ so-called ‘dregs’ of society, whom one gets irritated at when they knock on our cocooned bubbles once a week or so to plead for bread or some loose change.

Cocoons within ourselves, true feelings and emotions kept close in islands that are lonesome hearts because again it has been ‘sold’ to all that the McDonald’s ‘happy meal-life’ of always being ‘with it’ and always painting on smiles is the ‘way to go’ as people get more and more engulfed in the pressures of maintaining that lifestyle.

The pressure, or ‘persuasion’ to have kids go to the best schools, wear the finest clothes, have swimming and piano and other lessons where the parent, almost always the wife and mother, has to be on-call and on her toes all day juggling a career as well as being subjected to the daily grind of all of the above and more and then still having to prepare a meal or three – this makes the wife and mother exhausted both physically and mentally and emotionally and psychologically to the point when days are spent not really ‘living’ but just doing the ‘daily moms taxi runs’ for which we then need therapy and psychiatric medication for not all can bear all that and more without cracking or at the very least not being able to cope.

This anaesthetised ‘living’ – almost to the obscene point of even having the gall of comparing the 1% to the 99% because ‘look at the poor’ – they are so content and happy’.

No, the poor anywhere in the world are not ‘happy’ that they slog and sweat for long hours to return to shanties and urban ghettos in order to put some bread on the table – not even a table, as that is a luxury too.

So the system keeps on keeping on, piling pressure on cocoons separate from fellow beings and families and wives or husbands and mothers and siblings as the same cocoons are what family, friends, and people are ensconced in.

How can there be ’empathy’ in a system that breaks people down into compliant consumers and making sure that the cocooned state of meticulously crafted obliviousness, because how can humans ‘care’ for the ‘other-half’ when every hour of every day is precious and when the race is forever ongoing, always running and chasing time and being almost slave-like to the clock.

The system then further infects with the promise of bliss and joy if consumption of things people are made to think they need but really don’t – how many advertisements for alcohol are around which pummels all, where ‘The Main Man’ is surrounded by ‘pretty’ and scantily clad women – an ugly appeal to the basest of emotions – sheer unthinking lust.

Furthermore, every two years or so a new car model is unleashed with again advertising that seeks to ingrain the relationship between ownership of a particular thing, in this case a car to the ‘idea’ of the ‘ideal family – kids in the back seat having a laugh and the pretty wife looking over to the broadly grinning husband – so one has to have that car to add that ‘missing contentment’ to ones already cocooned lives.

The so-called cosmetics and beauty industry is probably the best example of all where an industry ‘sells’ their idea of their ‘ideal woman’ to women – maybe it’s maybelline that makes all desirable and pretty and not a hair out of place or maybe it is l’oreal because ‘you’re worth it’ and a worthy consumer also to make one desirable to whom – the man – always the man.

The louis vuitton handbags and the de beers diamonds, the ferraris and the chanel ‘haute-couture’, the mansions with 20 rooms for a family of 5, the ‘need’ to always ‘look’ the best and to attend parties and weddings shrouded by the ‘best clothes’ and for what? For the simple wish to look ‘better’ than the ‘rest’. Not to look presentable – nope – but to make a ‘splash’ and to be talked about with awe.

Of course all of this applies to men probably even more so as they have hand made saville row suits for their daily work lives and their thousands of dollars on their wrists for a clunky thing that just tells the time – the time that they have so very precious little of because to buy into the system is to aim to fulfill all that the system offers – first a toyota then a bmw and then a ferrari.

The patriarchal entitlement and the gender-based violence that countless women are subjected to by the very people they love and live with is a cancerous tumour that needs to be excised now, not tomorrow, but now.

We talk incessantly about the ‘need’ for simplicity and contentment while actively pursuing the very opposite.

The rituals of religion, all of them, overshadowing the very basic teachings and humane tenets that all religions espouse.

We are led to believe by the clergy of different religions that it is okay to amass wealth as long as ‘charity’ is ‘given’ – such an obscene word in itself making people feel so powerful with wealth that they may ‘give’ alms to the unfortunate poor.

The words of Dom Helder Camara – a Brazilian Archbishop, come to mind, who said the following:

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist”.

If that statement resonates within anyone reading it – it means all is not lost at the altar of greed and imperialism and neo-colonialism and wars for oil and profit and influence.

It means that human beings are not totally lost in the temptation-filled cesspool of wealth and of power and of influence and of greed at any price, even the price of the blood of the miner who digs and dies to extract the shiny stone that has no earthly use other than being an ostentatious statement of which ‘class’ and what strata of society one ‘belongs’ to, and perhaps most grotesquely the shining little stone is tied together with ‘love for another person’ – the expression of love for another being that shiny shimmering cold and dead stone.

All is not lost when the countless human beings who are actively serving their fellow humans, not by flinging some charity their way, but but educating and imparting the skills needed to live a better life or to simply manage to feed their children and do so in a dignified way, and not being reliant on the alms of the ‘altruism’ we hear so much about in this world of pure unabashed greed and of standing and kicking down others to reach higher and higher on the ladder of ‘success’ – for every winner in the this system there have to be many many losers – that is built into the system.

What can we do about this gross obscenity we live in and pursue and are a part of, not because we are all greedy but because to eke out a living is to trample on others, giving us almost no choice.

What other systems of governance can we turn to in order to effect real and meaningful change.

Not many at all. Communism was tried and failed. Protectionist isolation was tried and failed. And a few more also tried and failed.

If there is a ray of hope it has to be that the people, us all, rise up to demand social equality for all our fellow human beings – even at the expense of our own personal cocoons being punctured.

A system of professional and free universal health care for all. A system of free and compulsory education for all.

A social contract between the government and the people that we may not all live lavish lives but that the lives we shall lead shall not be on the backs of those whose only crime was the accident of birth into poverty.

This may or may not effect real change – and certainly will not obliterate all the ills of this unjust world but wouldn’t it be a worthy goal to aspire towards – the service of our fellow living beings – our human family, the fish in our seas, the grandeur of nature and animal species not killed for profit, and for the active search for and working towards a world that is ecologically healthy so that future generations do not look back on us as those who failed not just each other as human beings but this entire planet called earth and the millions of other living beings and trees and plants which we share the world with.

It will take time.

But is it not a point from which we make a collective start moving forward.

I think so.

PS: On the other hand, who am I scribbling this for?

The ‘other half’ may not get to read this, they would need a cellphone and that too only a phone that is recent enough to run apps at the like which of course means a price will have to be forked out for a data-bundle – so I am obviously the 1% – as always thinking and believing that ‘I’ know what is best for ‘them – the poor of the world’ and ‘I’ again as always am speaking to you and I and not the ‘other-half’.

So no, this is most definitely not for ‘the other half’ who live and are beaten down by the system daily, and who certainly doesn’t need someone like me to spout the above with the presumption of knowing what their life is like every day.

So maybe it is just for me and for you.

Or maybe and probably more close to the point, it is just me absolving myself of guilt for a few hours or a day just because I scribbled something that mentions the words ‘system’ and ‘capitalism’ and the other platitudes people like me throw around when the convenient time presents itself – obviously after a steaming cup of not just any but the finest tea while lying on my bed surrounded by the very wealth and privilege I rail against.

Or it is even more subtle and dangerous – my attempt at appearing to sound like a humble man of sorts – not that any of this hasn’t been said and written a million times before but again to assuage my guilt and of course to puff my ego and my cigar a little more – scribble something about inequality blah blah, again sipping fine tea from a fine cup lying on a fine bed propped up on fine pillows surrounded by fine views of nature and far removed from the cacophonous ‘other’.

Yes, because I will rail against ‘my own’ but never shall I surrender ‘my life’ to be a part of the whole.

That would be so much more difficult and would mean yanking myself out of my own comfort zone, so instead, it is far more easier to just scribble a rant, because I am so ‘progressive’ and ‘liberal’ and filled with the most humane of values.

To quote Bono of the music group U2, in the song “Silver and Gold” from the album “Rattle and Hum” …


Am I buggin’ ya – I don’t mean to bug ya

from the Nelson Mandela Foundation

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