Occupy Utopia

Chaos just isn't all that rare

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs about the ‘Occupy [fill in blank] phenomenon.  The hints of panic from the powerful, the ambiguous hopes of the demonstrators, the near-certainty what’s happening is both the beginnings of a time of public expression about dissatisfaction, and a manifestion of unsatisfied expectations.

Seeing all that brings insistently to mind how intrusive the illusions of a utopian ideal penetrate and embed themselves in the tiny fragment of humanity where chaos took a break long enough for non-chaos to become the expectation.  Mainly in Europe, Japan, the US, Australia and Canada post-WWII.

For the remainder of the world chaos never went to sleep and never expected it to slumber.  Africa, the Middle East, much of South America, Cambodia, Vietnam, the former USSR and other Eastern Block countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan have all experienced so much chaos within living memory there’s probably no danger of them occupying Wall Street.

It might be worth noting it’s an illusion being protested.  Copshops and politicians have never ceased being corrupt in the US, Europe, Japan, anywhere.  The super-wealthy were never not-greedy, never unwilling to sell their countries and their souls to become wealthier.  Religious zealots have never ceased being willing to slaughter disbelievers, rob them, enslave them, though they’ve briefly been restrained somewhat inside defined boundaries since WWII. 

The protests are against the entire history of human behavior.

It might also be worth shaking the head in horror and awe that this comes as a surprise to anyone.  Where have these people been for the past half-century while populations were slaughtering themselves and one another all over the planet except where  they lived?  How could they have come to live inside some bubble of belief that the venal aren’t venal, the greedy aren’t greedy and the corrupt aren’t corrupt?

The bubble is probably an artifact of improved communications, television, public education turning a blind eye to anything outside the sphere being brainwashed into the malleable brain tissue of those vulnerable to it.

Suddenly the bubble bursts.  Chaos yawns, stretches and begins to reawaken.

Old Jules

43 responses to “Occupy Utopia

  1. I think so much resides in your statement: “The protests are against the entire history of human behavior.”

    Human behavior has always been beyond despicable, but I do think improved communication has allowed for greater transparency and also for a greater coalescing around a need for change. If it’s possible. I’m a firm believer that real change has to start with our own lives, right where we are, but I am also grateful to those who are wiling to speak up.

    This offers a real look at our shared history and where we are now in a few well-written paragraphs.

    Thank you.

  2. “The protests are against the entire history of human behavior.”

    I have the same hypothesis. I can’t be sure that we are correct, but if you read the card board signs the protesters carry around your argument has merit.

    I too am very critical of the human being…as you clearly are…but I do dream of Utopia and man fulfilling his potential…perhaps I suffer from what those who believe in God suffer from…whereas they say you must have faith that God exists…I say you must have faith that man can progress forward and upward.

    Such a waste of potential.

  3. It is so true, I wrote a paradoxical piece about human nature just recently. Your brain is awesome out here. Love the reading and the thinking you provoke in me. I can see you just sitting back… watching it all… thinking: dance monkey dance. As the world repeats history and all that was is revisited time and again, it is sad to think that the waste of potential is actually a choice. For all we’ve raced so far, we lag behind ourselves… still… human nature… at once amazing and asinine. Trying to stay forward and upward… but this mud caked on my boots is so heavy, Jules, LOL LOL

  4. Sir, your words could not have been closer to the truth. “Protests against the entire history of human behavior” left a real impact on me. Perhaps my blog was one of the Occupy blogs you might have read. In answer to where have all these people been for the past half a century? Maybe they were all living in the illusion of what they were told and led to believe. But trust me sir, people are waking up now, people are asking questions and taking action. It’s about time. Thank you for your wonderful words. My Dad always used to say, America is going to hell in a hand basket. This was back in the 80’s. I didn’t believe him then, now I do, unless something is done. I think the people are ready to do it too.

    Caroline

  5. I am obliged to try to make this world a better place, futile though this may be it’s the only way I can sleep at night and look at myself in the mirror. We can only change our own behavior and influence those we are surrounded by. I think the answer lies in implementing “The Question” http://thehopefullscrivener.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/the-question-and-yo-mama/
    There will be the short gamers who won’t but if it is an social expectation things would get better

  6. I think this is a fantastic blog and exploration, and I love how your mind works! That said, I haven’t given up hope, and I love the fact that a new generation has re-energized me and awakened me from a cynical sleep. Can we change the world? Probably not. But it’s exciting to try.

  7. I enjoyed reading your piece, even though it depressed me still further: too close to the truth for comfort!
    Thanks for posting.
    Rob.

    • Morning wobsy and thanks for coming by. Life’s probably going to be and adventure whether we allow it or don’t. Adventure’s always included a lot of agony and can best be enjoyed by hindsight, I reckons. I’m sorry you found the post depressing. I din’t intend it to be so. Gracias, Jules

  8. “Protests against the entire history of human behavior” – yes, that resonated powerfully in my mind as I read it. And then I thought: hang on – yourself, Old Jules, all those commenting on your blog, the students I taught today, the people I talked to today, and the people who talked to me, all seem to be entirely humane beings and concerned that, despite the odds, decency at least be acknowledged, even if it has difficulty prevailing. Is it possible that history rather than human behaviour is the problem? (notwithstanding that some humans do, indeed, behave execrably) I can’t help feeling that, on some level, there is an account of us that we have been fed that is actively degrading. I find it hard to put my finger on it, but it seems to leave one feeling isolated, used, exploited and believing that there is nothing that can be done to counter the sense of progressive deterioration and powerlessness. We could maybe do with a vital new image of what it is to be human to to hold up against the monetised productive (or unproductive) unit that contemporary economic ideology makes of us. Not sure where such an image might come from, but I do have some hope.

    Great blog – I come here for sanity breaks – often.

    • Hi there. I din’t know you read here. I surely do enjoy your blog a bunch, though I’ve neglected it the past few days. Thankee for the visit. Gracias, Jules

    • apostate scientist: I’m pondering the history reference in your reply. Seems to me it would require more wringing out than I’m up to at the moment to find myself in complete agreement with it. But I’m frequently wrong. Gracias, Jules

  9. Pingback: BLOG AWARDS « AURORA MOREALIST

  10. My pleasure, I don’t even know how I did that pingback but I’m glad you got it. Just a way of getting more exposure of the best of what we read on here. Your reads are always engaging… thank you and you are very welcome:)

    • Aurora: Pingback has a ring to it, whatever it might be. Some species of Internet whatchacallit is what I’m figuring. Something single-celled but with a lot of hair and a pleasant set of footprints. Anyway, I’m obliged for your kindness. Jules

  11. I don’t know maybe people are just finally waking up to what has been happening around them…looking outside of the box so to speak. At any rate, I am always hopeful that mankind will find a way to live more harmoniously together.
    I enjoy your blogs…thanks for the experience.
    Jenyfer

  12. Hmm, I wonder where they find the time to occupy Wall Street. Me, I’m out pounding the streets every day looking for work. I do just about anything but lie, cheat, or steal to get by. Life is hard. My parents and grandparents had it way worse.

    Hope the bat got out of the bug light OK. We need bats.

    • Find an Outlet: Likely they ration their time to fit it in. Life can definitely be hard. The bat was dead when I found it. Thanks for stopping by. Gracias, Jules

  13. Well said! Liked you back.

  14. This is powerfully reasoned. So much so that I find myself thinking back to the Bible verse, “all is vanity”. Yet, on some level, I want to believe that human beings have made some progress toward being more humane to each other.

    Like I said, I want to believe this.

  15. Jules,

    I feel hope seeping out from that bubble that’s bursting, and I believe the call for change is sweeping the entire world. For the first time in recorded history there are protests everywhere and young and old are seeking improvements in our way of life.

    Can’t think of a better time to be alive and witness the challenge to human behavior.

    michael j contos,
    Conshohocken, PA USA

  16. Seems to me every living being has a tiny window in Time’s grand landscape to make some kind of difference, whether that means taking ground in great or small ways. There’s life out of ashes. Example in nature: several years after any volcano blows, take note of the incredible scope of surviving and new ecosystems. In short – the future holds… Jules – thanks for a great overflow of ideas on your well-written and thought-provoking blog.

  17. You summed up Occupy (blank) in one sentence:

    “The protests are against the entire history of human behavior.”

    Great post. Truth be told.

    • Hi Anonymous: Not much to celebrate in the history of the human species. Much to protest if we could protest the past. Judging from the present all the wars, revolutions and protests the people living then did haven’t improved things in that regard. Jules

  18. Jonathan Caswell

    You and I have a lot in common on the “Occupy —–” and probably elsewhere. Check out NAIVE PROTEST, my own comment on this matter, if you will. You are a joy to read, my friend. Glad to make your acquaintance! Jonathan Caswell

  19. I want to agree with everything you’ve said. Someone once calculated that there was only one decade in human history when someone wasn’t fighting someone else. At the time of Marcus Aurelius. (Although Marcus seemed to be fighting all the time.) And only in Europe. Civilization is a fragile business. Change is always occuring and if you don’t put some effort into directing it, it will come back to bite you.
    As for the demonstraters themselves. They are idealistic. No doubt about that.

  20. A very thoughtful and thought-provoking article – thank you.

    Order and chaos: a little chaos now is exactly what we need – that is, a disruption of the existing “order” that is killing us
    I think it’s time for a little chaos: the present and long-standing “order” is killing us and the planet, destroying any chance for a future for humanity. A little chaos now may be our only hope of survival. Chaos is, after all, in its essence, a break-up or disruption of established orders or patterns (see Ilya Prigogine, James Gleick), and not necessarily entailing violence or mass insanity – and a disruption of the established pattern and order is exactly what we need. Hopefully the chaos will be within the parameters of basic sanity, goodwill and common sense, but in any case, it is needed, and needed urgently I would say; and I for one trust the people far more than the reigning power elite, or any other elite.
    Democracy, as Chomsky also said, is probably our only hope. We need it now, and that means a disruption of the existing plutocratic order of global neo-feudal corporatism, aka, corporate fascism, or rule by the astronomically wealthy.
    As to human history, I think the anthropological evidence that came to light – quietly – in the `70’s, and which has yet to percolate through the field of anthropology much less the general populace, shows that war, conquest, inequality and empire are anything but immutable facts of human society, but rather the aberration to which we have become so accustomed as to not question.
    Thankfully, people are now questioning whether these pathologies of human society really are inevitable, or whether they can, at least to a large degree, be overcome and put behind us. I believe they can, and I know from the longer view of history that this is a fact. Whether or not we act upon what is possible to create a better, although not utopian or perfect world, is up to us.
    (See Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade, and far better, Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom, for more on this.)

    Thank you again. It’s a pleasure to find such thoughtfulness amidst the dross and drivel that pervades most of the mass media and a good deal of the public discourse! I seem to be more optomistic than yourself, despite the clear dangers we are facing, but I can certainly understand the skepticism. I have to focus on what is possible, and aim for the better of possible unfoldings, and work toward them. I agree with Thoreau in many ways, including this:

    “Ultimately men hit only what they aim for, therefore, they had better aim high.”

    And with Goethe, when he says,
    “If you can imagine something, begin it. Boldness has genius within it.”

    Regards,
    JTR

    • Morning to you JTR. Maybe you’re right. I’d take some convincing, having had a look in depth at a lot of ancient ruins, along with studying what remains above the surface and the obvious reasons for having been constructed as they were. But I’m not evangelical about it. Gracias, Jules

  21. An Imperial Empire is an empire is an empire,,..and so on.we have 900 bases on all 7 continents..we are the enforcement arm of the NWO..global hegemony..you are either the 1% or the 99%..a giant, global slave-gulag..here in Amerika, a high-tech surveillance grid..one giant prison grid…welcome, peasant!

    • archangelmatrix: Probably anyone who’d ever experienced actual slavery would consider your statement absurd. I, however, only consider it a lot of prelude to you welcoming me to my current financial state of being. Thanks for the greeting. Jules

      • We live in a SCIENTIFIC DICTATORSHIP as opposed to the traditional slave grid..everyone in debt, eating corporately engineered food, watching TV PROGRAMMING, al the MATRIX, doped up on pharmaceuticals, the American people can no longer think, just dumbed down zombies, drooling over ball games, while the jack=booted thugs can take everyhting you THINK you own, including land, house, car, just stop paying your slave rent (taxes) and find out who the REAL boss is!

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