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Author Topic: who's interests are being served?
otter
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12062

posted 02 September 2006 06:03 PM      Profile for otter        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In the never-ending debate about community issues, public concerns and individual "problems" the most common sticking ground invariably is whether self-interest or common interest is to prevail.

Every human being, probably every living thing, first and foremost, operates in its own self-interest. Which ultimately means, my survival will always be more important to me than yours. This is a given.

The principle reason for members of a species to co-operate is, through sharing a common interest, they achieve greater self-interests than would be possible on one's own. Hence herd animals get the benefit of many eyes and ears watching for danger and the predators find sharing a kill is more beneficial than trying to get a kill on their own. For others, the co-operation is solely for mating and, once completed, they go off on their own again.

Humans choose to co-operate as communities and societies because the common interests they share are perceived as being greater than those of total independence. Likewise, communities from states and states form nations. The price we pay for achieving those common interests is the surrender of personal freedoms as laid out in laws, regulations and constititions. The great benefits we achieve are supposed to be safety of person, security of property and personal prosperity.

Such has not been the case. It is obvious that a small but every growing number of individuals are manifesting a hell of a lot more safety of person, security of property and personal prosperity than the majority of citizens.

Are the concepts of society, civilized existence and common interest just too complicated to really achieve?

Why?

Will it ever be thus?


From: agent provocateur inc. | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8312

posted 02 September 2006 10:36 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Are the concepts of society, civilized existence and common interest just too complicated to really achieve?

What are the concepts of society, civilized existence and common interest? Who defined them? Who defined common interest?

The premise, in my opinion, is flawed becuase it assumes that we are desirous of definitions and concpets we have had no part in defining nor shaping.

And, in fact, the very essence of civilization is adherance to a set a heirarchy where one serves -- through the selling of body or skills -- others. Suffering and unhappiness is expected and religion serves as a tool of civilization to offer us relief, in the next world, if we unquestioningly accept are lot in this one.

There is a general and unexamined belief that civilization is a good thing even though it races us toward death, individually, and as a species.

Why do you accept that civilization is desirous?


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Digiteyes
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8323

posted 02 September 2006 10:46 PM      Profile for Digiteyes   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by otter:

Every human being, probably every living thing, first and foremost, operates in its own self-interest. Which ultimately means, my survival will always be more important to me than yours. This is a given.

Actually, I don't think that is a given. There are plenty of species that show us otherwise.

If that given is taken away, it means we can consider, first and foremost, survival of the species, rather than the individual.

I think that is the only way we are not going to kill this planet.


From: Toronto | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
mayakovsky
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Babbler # 5171

posted 02 September 2006 11:47 PM      Profile for mayakovsky     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"There is a general and unexamined belief that civilization is a good thing even though it races us toward death, individually, and as a species."

But damn, I love this invention called the internet where I can say really silly things and other people can read it.


From: New Bedford | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8312

posted 03 September 2006 06:47 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, it allows people like you to be critical without contributing anythging at all of value to a dioscussion. Either offer something or fuckoff. I don't care which.
From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 03 September 2006 08:07 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hey, would you two mind getting a room if you want to be all lovey-dovey with each other? Thanks.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
otter
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12062

posted 03 September 2006 12:06 PM      Profile for otter        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
The premise, in my opinion, is flawed becuase it assumes that we are desirous of definitions and concpets we have had no part in defining nor shaping.

Absolutely. Nor are these concepts emphasized or even examined in any depth by our so-called educational system. And it is no surprise that the average Canadian has little to no input into establishing just what they should mean.

Yet they are bandied about relentlessly by politicians, the media and the citizenry alike.


From: agent provocateur inc. | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
rabble-rouser
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posted 03 September 2006 06:10 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, they are.

To further my point, every single major river in North America is polluted; we can't drink straight from them. Our drinking water is treated with chemicals ostensibly to make it safe for consumption:

quote:
Authorities say tap water that was dumped from a pipe under repair killed about 1,900 fish in Rock Creek this week.

The tap water is toxic to fish because of the chemicals used to treat it.

Tap water blamed for death of fish


The reason we poison our own water, air, and soil, we are told, is for economic progress. How is poisoning ourselves progress?

We are told we need to balance economic "development" with protecting the environment. So we protect a tiny amount of nature and even then, we find it is not really protected such as the Alaskan wildlidfe preserve. Or, in Zambia, there is a proposal to build luxury hotels and golf course within the boundaries of a national park and designated world heritage site:

quote:
Zambia's small scale farmers around the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park part of which are Victoria Falls, have joined the crusade to oppose the construction of two hotels and an 18-hole golf course within the world heritage site.

Report


Certainly Africa, ravaged by poverty and AIDs, requires golf courses and luxury hotels moreso than an preservation of habitat and wilderness. No doubt the finest chemicals will be used on the golf course grounds.

The thing with "balnce" is that ecology, that which sustains life, is always losing to economic development which largely benefits fewer and fewer people. But we are conditioned to believe that such economic progress is inevitable and desirable and will benefit all of us even though at an instinctual level we know poisoning our own nests can't possible benefit us.

If we were to begin listing all of the ecological crises we face or will face in the coming decades as we sacrifice more and more of our biosphere for "economic development" we would first realize that we don't have enough space on this site and then we would begin to recognize we are nearing the point of no return for our species if we haven't past it already.

And what is critical to appreciate is that we are exhasuting the planet's ability to sustain for the purpose of enabling a small minority to accumulate more wealth than any human could possibly ever need in any number of lifetimes. Or, to put it more succinctly, the unbridled greed and privilege of a handful of people without conscience or morality.

How is this destruction of our biosphere in our interests? How is the war in Iraq to secure the resources to continue the destruction in our interests? How is the obscene development of the tar sands in Alberta in our interests?

Only if we convince ourselves that our instant gratification takes precedence over the continuation of the species can we agree such developments our in our interests.

Yet, every single institution from the media, to churches, to education, to government, to corporations tell us that economic development is both desirable and inevitable. But all these institutions are tools of the civilization engaged in the process of destroying our biosphere. What else would we expect from them?

Jared Diamonds Collapse informs us that civilizations have failed in the past due to ecological destruction. But these civilizations have been geographically specific. Our civilization, Western civilization, is global and so will be the collapse.

In his book endgame, Derrick Jensen relates a parable: A Christian missionary is walking through an Indian city when a large crowd of panicked people come charging past him screaming "an elephant has gone mad!" The man continues telling himself "God will protect me." As he goes further, more panicked people come running screaming an elephant has gone mad. "God will protect me," he tells himself and continues on. Then an angry elephant appears and tramples him. As he lies in his own blood with his life slipping away he screams "God, why didn't you protect me?" An the sky opens up and a booming voice answers "You idiot! Why do you think I sent all those people to warn you?"

The same lesson holds true to those who ignore the warnings of scientists which are becoming more frantic by holding that "science will save us". In yet the most bizarre case of denial, there are those who both discredit and dismiss scientific findings while insisting those same scientists will provide the solutions to ensure we need not ever adjust our behavior.

I suspect one day humanity will be dying and demanding from science why it has failed to save us and the answer will be, "You idiots! Why do you think we wrote all those reports?"

Edited to add: In conclusion, I think the statement that "every human being, probably every living thing, first and foremost, operates in its own self-interest" is flawed in that if we were acting in our own best interests we would not choose to poison the air we breathe, the food we eat, or the water we drink.

[ 03 September 2006: Message edited by: Frustrated Mess ]


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
otter
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12062

posted 04 September 2006 11:30 AM      Profile for otter        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
if we were acting in our own best interests we would not choose to poison the air we breathe, the food we eat, or the water we drink.

In this case you are talking about common interests of the species. Individuals seldom worry about such things. Just look at all the individuals focused solely on their paychecks while participating in all the poisoning you are concerned about.

It is in our Nature to exhaust resources, ever confident that we can find more elsewhere. Such has been our experience for eons. It is only recently that the possiblity of no more places left to plunder has arisen.

Certainly it is in our common interests to ensure resources are renewed or renewable. That the basics of our existence remain plentiful and available.

But there are also other, competing common interests. Namely those of the profit taking community that understands scarcer resources make for ever bigger profits while plentiful resources only mean lower profits. In this regard, the self interest of this group will always trump the common interests of humanity as a whole.

Never let it be said that human beings ever let sound reasoning stand in the way of the unrestrained interests of any group that was able to control the political decision making process.

In this regard, one really does have to look closely to see just whose interests are really being served these days by their poltiical representatives.


From: agent provocateur inc. | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8312

posted 04 September 2006 12:58 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
In this case you are talking about common interests of the species.

Absolutley not. I am speking of the interest of the individual. Each and everyone of us is being poisoned and if we were acting in our own best interests we would rebel against that.

quote:
It is in our Nature to exhaust resources, ever confident that we can find more elsewhere. Such has been our experience for eons. It is only recently that the possiblity of no more places left to plunder has arisen.

Again, I disagree. It is not in our interests but in their interests., We have been conditioned since birth to accept that we are free and that we have influence on the economic and political system as consumers first and then as voters. We convince ourselves that this is true and we accept that the destruction of nature and the poisoning of land, water, and air, is necessary for us to live (however outlandish that sounds on the surface).

The end result is that we accept our "reality" and never question. But why is it our reality? Why do we accept toxins in our bodies and in the bodies of our families and in our children? What are we exchanging our health for? Reality TV? MP3s? Cellular phones that take pictures?

We fill churches counting down to the last days rather than filling parks enjoying our time with our children and raising them to have a future.

A couple agreed with me recently that the future of their children is murky and they seemed to accept that. We go apeshit over the formatting of report cards but we shrug at the toxification of young or even newborn bodies. It is because we have been so thoroughly indocrinated into the death march of civilization we are incapable of thinking beyond it.

If a man approached you and proposed to inject a toxin in your arm and argued it was in your own best interests to let him, you would probably strike him before he had a chance. But when society tells us the same thing and expresses the beneift in terms of jobs or cheaper goods, we accept it without question.


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
otter
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12062

posted 04 September 2006 03:58 PM      Profile for otter        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
If a man approached you and proposed to inject a toxin in your arm and argued it was in your own best interests to let him, you would probably strike him before he had a chance. But when society tells us the same thing and expresses the beneift in terms of jobs or cheaper goods, we accept it without question.

An excellent point. Ignorance really is our greatest enemy. An informed participant is an empowered participant. This is why the oppressors and power mongers struggle so hard to control the information that people have access to.

It is also why our so-called education system continues to employ a passive method of instruction rather than one wherein critical thought and objective reasoning are central to the learning process. Such skills lead to people questioning the actions or inactions of the authorities. They might even demand real, effective change!


From: agent provocateur inc. | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
marzo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12096

posted 04 September 2006 05:05 PM      Profile for marzo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
At the foundation of this economic system that thrives by poisoning every living thing on earth, and that requires an oppressed class of people or nations, is the belief that money is the highest authority, the ultimate ground of being, the stuff that the universe is made of. I hear that market fundamentalist ideologues like David Frum talk about money being 'the only true organizing principle of society' or some such nonsense. To people who think like this, a forest full of life is an abomination because nobody is making money off it.
Many people are so immersed in this illusion that it is difficult for them to see things any other way, and I fear that humanity is hopelessly addicted to this economic system and there is no escape from inevitable global disaster. The uncertainty is whether we will all be killed by the poisoned earth, burn in a nuclear inferno,or be swept away by genetically engineered plagues.

From: toronto | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
otter
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12062

posted 06 September 2006 07:54 PM      Profile for otter        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The geneticist who wants to be a "success" operates in their own self-interest. But can easily believe that they are operating in the common interests of their company and even the community at large.

Now that corporations have the same rights and priveleges as people, perhaps we need a policing force like the R.C.M.P. to monitor their behaviours and deportment to ensure they are operating in the communities common interest?

Of course, then all communities will have to sit down and develop or update a community plan too.


From: agent provocateur inc. | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged

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