Bitcoin is the most exciting new innovation since the Internet! Theoretically, banks and governments, through nothing more than simple global agreement, could lose the power to stop the first genuine free-market economy from being born! Of course, this is not to say that this new economy would remain corruption-free. It is likely being infiltrated by those who stand to lose profits made by the manipulation of currencies (and the dire poverty, and consequent economic slavery this practice creates ) even as I write these words. A true free-market economy is all-inclusive, benefiting everyone, allowing everyone the freedom to do what they wish with their money. To support this movement is to support the notion of true equal opportunity for all of mankind. Indeed, much like the Internet itself, at its best, it transcends nationality in favor of humanity, thereby helping us reduce our primitive barbaric territoriality to a minimum, which in the age of nuclear weaponry, is the only way to ensure the continuation of our species. In an age in which extreme greed and corruption continue to cause starvation, suffering, and destruction of the planet, it’s encouraging to see another sign of our continued evolution. Let’s eliminate the parasitic profiteers—and develop our own political and economic systems, based not on force, weaponry, and slavery, but on mutual agreement and cooperation.
This is a blog concerned with challenging the premises upon which our social institutions are built. It’s tempting to give in to the fluffy sound-bite mentality, to strive for glib and memorable one-liners that have a chance of going viral, resulting in stained-glass windows of advertising opportunities, and if not a full fifteen minutes of fame, at least an honorable mention on Entertainment Tonight. I couldn’t do that any more than I could accept a job with an insurance company or a bank, or go into pharmaceutical sales, doing my part to ensure that every good citizen had their daily dose of Zoloft to enable them to continue to sell insurance or foreclose on homes without killing themselves before contributing to the gross national product. And yes, the national products have become ever more gross as of late. Boeing, Mansanto, Tamiflu, Shell Oil, and the ever-popular war on drugs, which generates billions for drug cartels and the legal system. Call me Diogenes, but I’d really rather starve, and by the way, you’re standing in my sunlight.
I just returned from four months in Mexico. For four months, I had the wonderful feeling that I was not contributing to my own enslavement or the enslavement of others in any way. I taught English classes in exchange for Spanish lessons and shelter. Blessed simplicity. I saw families of five riding on single motorcycles on a daily basis-and nobody died. The same is true of people riding in the back of pickup trucks–without helmets! The forced gambling of the insurance industry does not yet control everything there. The free market still exists, in that one can decide to open a restaurant simply by hanging a menu outside one’s house. Incredibly enough, nobody in the town ever got a case of food poisoning during the four months I was there. Or one can decide to cut hair–without having to buy a license, or have one’s home inspected, or purchase costly insurance. If people like the haircut you give them, they tell other people, and you have yourself a business. If they don’t, they tell others, and you’ll have to take your sign down and think of something else.
Content, that’s what writers are paid for now— “content”. Under “writing” in the employment section, I see ads that promise to pay $10 dollars for every 500 word “article”. Information has become a pesky but necessary side dish to attract customers to the real main event—-advertising. Ten tips on how to heat up your love life. Five things you should consider when choosing a doctor. The seven deadly sins of gardening. Vapid homilies, tidbits of common sense, and parodies of practical advice are the new mediums of exchange. The promise of knowledge is now all that’s available for advertisers to exploit consumers who hope to gain any kind of real knowledge, for which they will discover, after clicking all the many links, that they now have to pay. That’s because any real knowledge is being snapped up, “protected” and held for ransom by copyright lawyers, along with nature’s bounty, like medicinal plants. Or it’s being held in the strictest confidence by Homeland Security to keep us as safe and secure as the helmets we are required to wear and the insurance policies we are forced to buy to stay in business.
So no, I won’t be writing a tidy self-contained blog on a different subject every day. I’ll be introducing a topic occasionally, and writing until I’ve said or introduced everything I deem worthy of saying on that topic. I’ll be researching the topic extensively, consulting both respected authorities and those reduced by the authoritarian social structure to “crackpot”. I’ll be asking for input from any who happen upon this blog, and incorporating heretofore unheard– of theories on the topic until I am satisfied that every aspect of the topic has been introduced, addressed, dissected, discussed, mocked, ridiculed, held up as a role model, dismissed as propaganda, filed away for future reference, or shouted from the rooftops as a cure-all before moving on to another topic. The first blog on any topic will simply be the introduction of the topic.
Given that I’ve discovered upon my return to the land of the free, that American has of late been plagued by mass killings (shootings) attributed to mental illness, I’ve decided that my first topic will be—-mental illness. Clearly, this is a topic that, no matter how much we might like it to be, cannot be addressed, discussed, or even just plain cussed with “content”. Therefore, I am beginning this blog with quotes from two men whose minds, thought processes, and political courage I admire very much. These men are Michelle Foucault and Noam Chomsky. Read them. Respond to them. I’ll do the same. To begin the dialogue on the subject of mental health, I’ll start with a few questions. What is mental health? What does it look like? Who decides who has it and who doesn’t? What’s in it for the deciders? Who do the deciders work for? What is their employers’ agenda? Does their agenda take your well-being into account? Let’s pretend it’s old-fashioned journalism, and follow the money. (and the power) Without further ado, here are the quotes.
“The real political task in a society such as ours is to criticize the workings of institutions that appear to be both neutral and independent, to criticize and attack them in such a manner that the political violence that has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them.”
A critique does not consist in saying that things aren’t good the way they are. It consists in seeing on just what type of assumptions, of familiar notions, of established and unexamined ways of thinking the accepted practices are based… To do criticism is to make harder those acts which are now too easy.” “Because they claim to be concerned with the welfare of whole societies, governments arrogate to themselves the right to pass off as mere abstract profit or loss the human unhappiness that their decisions provoke or their negligence permits. It is a duty of an international citizenship to always bring the testimony of people’s suffering to the eyes and ears of governments, sufferings for which it’s untrue that they are not responsible. The suffering of men must never be a mere silent residue of policy. It grounds an absolute right to stand up and speak to those who hold power.”
― Michel Foucault, Essential Works of Foucault (1954-1984), Volume 3: Power
“Education may well be, as of right, the instrument whereby every individual, in a society like our own, can gain access to any kind of discourse. But we well know that in its distribution, in what it permits and in what it prevents, it follows the well-trodden battle-lines of social conflict. Every educational system is a political means of maintaining or of modifying the appropriation of discourse, with the knowledge and the powers it carries with it.”
― Michel Foucault
“…modern man no longer communicates with the madman […] There is no common language: or rather, it no longer exists; the constitution of madness as mental illness, at the end of the eighteenth century, bears witness to a rupture in a dialogue, gives the separation as already enacted, and expels from the memory all those imperfect words, of no fixed syntax, spoken falteringly, in which the exchange between madness and reason was carried out. The language of psychiatry, which is a monologue by reason about madness, could only have come into existence in such a silence.”
― Michel Foucault
“The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on — because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions.”
― Noam Chomsky
“I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom.”
― Noam Chomsky
We still name our military helicopter gunships after victims of genocide. Nobody bats an eyelash about that: Blackhawk. Apache. And Comanche. If the Luftwaffe named its military helicopters Jew and Gypsy, I suppose people would notice.”
― Noam Chomsky, Propaganda and the Public Mind: Conversations with Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian
“There are few genuine conservatives within the U.S. political system, and it is a sign of the intellectual corruption of the age that the honorable term ‘conservatism’ can be appropriated to disguise the advocacy of a powerful, lawless, aggressive and violent state, a welfare state for the rich dedicated to a lunatic form of Keynesian economic intervention that enhances state and private power while mortgaging the country’s future.”
― Noam Chomsky, The Culture of Terrorism