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March 2005, Volume 12 Nr. 7, Issue 142

The Insignificance of Mostly Everything or so
They Would Have Us Believe

Jozef Hand-Boniakowski, PhD

The players in the current U.S. administration are devoid of the humanity that defines the species as being sensitive to other members of its kind.  For all the blather about "compassionate conservatism", the phrase remains an oxymoron.  Instead of compassion for those less fortunate in the human condition, there is a callous disconnect and disregard, a trivialization of life not blessed with wealth.  The common experience that makes us human is not membership in the investor or owning class.  It is, rather, the affinity and solidarity of those less fortunate of which the vast majority of earth's people  belong.  The common people's experience is inconsequential to the champagne and butler set.  The wealthy have, with few exceptions, separated themselves from the commonality that links fellow homo sapiens to each other.  They live in gated communities, protected by silver spoons and paramilitary protective services, with nannies sending their children to elite private schools while taking sustenance produced and served by the working class through which all wealth  is created.  

The wealthy have no time for such trivialities as standing in line at the super market. Nor are they burdened by the necessities of selecting the lowest per unit cost product.  Choosing between prescription medication and paying the rent is not a consideration for them.  Multiple home ownership and dental care are assumed necessities  minor expenses both.  The rich, ruling elite as exemplified by the Bushites have no time for consoling the families of the dead soldiers returning from Iraq (or anywhere else), nor for comforting the maimed and limbless bodies, the mangled, and the blinded.  My friend Peter reminds me that, 

There are more than 1,478 US military dead who deserved his (George W. Bush) greeting them; and there are 14,000 who deserved his honoring and thanking them for their lifelong debilitating injuries.

The administration has no desire to uplift the poor-in-spirit, the returning veterans incapacitated through the horror inflicted by its war-first doctrine.  When a hundred thousand civilian deaths are considered worth it, then of what consequence are the thousands of maimed who return from war?  The year or longer waits at the Veterans Hospitals and the diminished veterans benefits are telling answers.  To this administration, patriotism means never having to say you're sorry, never having to admit making a mistake, never having to take responsibility, and never having to look the mother in eye who asks, "Mr. President, why have you killed my son?"   

Both Democrats and Republicans are equally complicit in trivializing the suffering and death produced through their war of choice on Iraq.  Let us not forget that the Democrats, including Senator John Kerry, voted in October 2002 to authorize war.  In reality, this vote was a reauthorization for war on Iraq since the 1991 war never ended.  Greenbacks are thicker than blood.  Party loyalty is always trumped by class loyalty.  Capitalist class loyalty requires the setting aside of any doubt.  Above all else, the integrity of class commitment must be maintained.  However, the wealthy class exhibit a paranoia that any perceived crack in their solidarity, no matter how small, might lead to its collapse.  

The investor class' diversified portfolios include large arrays of human beings, mere line items in the balance sheet of world-wide power accumulation.  What does it matter to the investor class if the expendable line items in their portfolio are someone's father, husband, brother, mother, wife, sister, son, or, daughter?  The question itself is as pointless to them as is the expendable asset itself.  The powerful have no problem with losing human assets in the quest of attaining long term imperial goals and huge profits as long as the assets being expended are someone else's flesh and blood.  How else to explain the lack of commitment in supplying their own family members to the pool of cannon fodder?  If spreading democracy and freedom are such highly prized values then why are so few of the nation's wealthy in the battlefield?  Why are so few rich people or Congress member's children in uniform?  The answer is obvious.  Rich people and the ruling elite are significant.  Everyone else is not.  The rich know the score and are not about to digress into systemic insignificance through becoming casualties in wars relegated to be fought by someone else. Their destiny is to rule.  The destiny of everyone else is to serve them, even die for them, so they can continue to rule.

The wealthy, by virtue of their wealth, separate themselves from those not as privileged as they.  They then project and profess that separateness onto the separated.  To them the struggling masses are alien.  The reality of the rich is unlike the day-to-day experience of the six-billion working class people of planet earth.  The definition of what is alien is, however, backwards and is a common misperception exacerbated  through the manipulation of media owned by the wealthy.  What we perceive through the plug-in-drug (television) is what the manipulators want us to perceive.  The boob tube's programming is designed to instill what we are to believe, think, and how we are to behave.  Thus, a fetus has more rights than a child born into poverty.  Bombing pregnant darker-skinned women, killing both the mother and fetus, is acceptable collateral damage while reproductive rights are branded as murder.  Tell us what to  fear and we will fear it.  Tell us what to hate and we will hate it.  Tell us who to blame and we will blame them.  Tell us who to kill and we will kill them.  Tell us what to die for and we will die for it.  Tell us what matters and we will make it important.  Tell us we are insignificant and we make ourselves insignificant.  But never tell us that we are ignorant pawns in the game that profits those that do the telling.  Never tell us that our lives and the lives of loved ones don't mean squat in the imperialist's drive for global hegemony.  

Deep down inside, the wealthy know it is they who are the aliens, foreigners, cocooned in spaceship estates and private clubs.  These entrenched fortresses are homes and breeding grounds for the predatory class.  The power of wealth, however, does not come from within.  Nor does it come from their mythological creator that they would have us fear.  Deep down the wealthy know that their lives are no more significant than the lives that grant them their power.  Their power comes from the willing multimillions who sustain them and their corrupt system.  The working class at the bottom of the capitalist pyramid holds up the wealthy class through willing obedience.  The working class prop up the wealthy as long as workers continue adopting the cause of the wealthy as their own.  The willing enablers are in essence hoodwinked into toeing the line presumably out of free will and in their own interest.  This worker devotion to the cause of the wealthy is a consequence of blaming the victim for their own trials and tribulations.  If the working class blames itself then it preoccupies itself with guilt.  Why blame the rich when everything in our culture tells us that the culprit is always someone else? There is the flavor-villain of the week, villains chosen by psyops specialists of the ruling elite.  The enemy thus constantly changes.  Reds. Commies, socialists, hippies, welfare moms, the homeless, liberals, gays, atheists, people with disabilities, etc.  Take your pick.  There is always someone to hate and someone to tell to hate.  The enemy is always other than the ruling elite.  So, the ruling class supports dictators worldwide (including Saddam), makes foreign policy, creates war and institutes police states, passes laws that serve the ulterior motives of the few.  The few demand from the many.  The significant minority steal the assets, life and well-being from the majority.  The majority are, after all, slugs, in the grandiose scheme of things in the world of the rich and powerful.  

Justin A. Frank, M.D. in his book, Bush on the Couch, Inside the Mind of the President, talks about George W. Bush's overextended self-importance where he and by implication his administration are above all law.  Frank writes,

No limitations, no accountability.  It's a recipe President Bush might recognize.  "The interesting thing about the president," he explained to Bob Woodward in Bush at War, is that "I don't feel like I owe anyone an explanation...He remains outside the laws of history and responsibility".

George Bush's hyper-extended self-importance projects an aboveness, a significance over everyone and everything else.  This self-inflation goes beyond never admitting to making mistakes.  It is believing that one is incapable of making mistakes.  This self-exaltation projects insignificance onto everyone else who is not with the self-exalted.  In turn, we, the insignificant people of planet earth, take on an anxious reality.  The philosopher and existential phenomenologist Martin Heidegger writes,

The insignificance of the world, disclosed in anxiety, reveals the nullity of the things of our concerns, or in other words the impossibility of projecting oneself on a can-be that is primarily founded in the things of our concerns.

Thus, anxiety becomes our day-to-day reality.  We exist in a state of fear that prevents action which otherwise might liberate.  Our anxious existence is, of course, well calculated and implemented by the Karl Rovean master planners.  Blaise Bonpane in the Pacifica commentary of April 14, 2003 stated, do you get the masses of the people to ignore the failure of government to do its job of providing for the general welfare of the people of the United States? That is done by allowing Carl Rove to be the master of fear manipulation to frighten the people so much that all they will ask from government is protection, not performance.

Exploiting the masses through manipulating their anxiety and internalized insignificance cannot happen if the masses become unwilling of being exploited.  Therein lies the Achilles' heel of the purveyors of paranoia.  War cannot be fought with soldiers unwilling to fight.  Corporate greed cannot continue if personal greed ends.  Exploitation cannot continue if people say, "No!"

Gandhi taught that power rests within each person.  Our power comes by virtue of being able to make choices. We can choose to say "No!" to being insignificant.  In the quest for India's freedom from Great Britain, the insignificant masses remained so only so long as they perceived themselves so.  How can a simple man in homespun cloth be anything but insignificant?  How can we, slugs in the ruling elite game plan, be significant?  Gandhi shows how.  Gandhi shows us that breaking the chains of insignificance can liberate.  Insignificance is an adopted idea and therein lies hope. Insignificance is implanted in our psyche through Big Bother's media manipulation, the glorious public school education system, and the marketing temples of Madison Avenue.  Non-cooperation is powerful, but as long as people internalize their insignificance, they will continue doing the bidding of those that profess and inculcate their insignificance.  

Empowerment comes through breaking the chains of internalized insignificance.  Just say "No!" to the ruling elite.  Say, "No!" to their lies and distortions.  Say "No!" to their killing.  Say, "No!" to the military-prison-industrial-media complex that  controls what people think and say.  Say "No! to sending our youth to kill and be killed for the profit of the wealthy.  Say "No!" to accepting the neo-liberal model of maximized profits at the expense of people's health and the environment.  Watching less television and being exposed less to corporate media hype and brainwashing frees us from envisioning ourselves as not being good or important enough.  Saying, "No!" and saying it often to a system corrupted by money, greed and power creates small cracks in the wall that imprisons people in the cell of insignificance.  A few cracks in the wall empower and establish confidence that the wall is not impenetrable.  Many cracks reveal that far from being insignificant, the free thinking human being is empowered by virtue of being free.  Beyond saying "No!", we change how we behave.  We can become activists in our own significance casting off the cloak of someone else's supremacy.  Moving beyond saying, "No!" we become politically active.   Gandhi said, "Be the change that you want to see."  Be the crack in the wall that ends the insignificance of mostly everything.

All alone, or in twos
The ones who really love you
Walk up and down outside the wall
Some hand in hand
Some gathering together in bands
The bleeding hearts and the artists
Make their stand
And when they've given you their all
Some stagger and fall after all it's not easy
banging your heart against some mad buggers Wall

The Wall
Pink Floyd
(Outside the Wall)

Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number
Shake to earth your chains like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you
Ye are many, they are few!

Masks of Anarchy, 1819
Percy Byssche Shelley

2005 Jozef Hand-Boniakowski
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