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Collateral Damage

June 12, 2010

Back for todays first entry to what is my core reason to begin this blog, to wake us all up from our collective slumber induced by the Industrial Revolution.

Collateral damage is a term we’ve all, unfortunately, been made familiar with in this era of made-for-TV wars and remote bombs. It implies the death or destruction of unintended targets in the acquisition of intended targets. As an example, your target is one person travelling in a party of 30. Bomb the lot of them, your man meets his maker, intended target destroyed. The rest of the 29 are collateral damage.

In our acceptance of collateral damage as an unavoidable by-product of war, we have been increasingly de-sensitized to needless death. Such a symbol of our times, but I’ll dwell on this aspect as it pertains to war on another day, in another post.

For now, let us look at the culture that we all live in and  it’s collateral damage.

We live in an industrial world. Except for the most remote tribes, if they exist per-chance in their pre-industrial ways, untouched by us (the greater culture), the rest of all of humanity lives in an Industrial culture.

If you have a road near you, if you have a fan above you, a car, a light, a tractor, a shop that has goods from far away, a hospital, a “soild” house, a job in a building, wear shoes, tie a tie… get the idea… you are a part and parcel of the Industrial culture, THE dominant culture of our times.

And what a cruel culture it is. A culture can’t be cruel you might say. People are cruel, cultures aren’t.

I beg to differ, for what are we or people at large, but by-products of culture.

Society = Culture.

Ponder that. We are in-formed from the moment we are born by the dominant culture we were born into. It is the womb in which we will spend the rest of our waking life, shaped by it, controlled by it. Your body is the food you eat, your personality is the culture you consume. In my mind, beyond question.

So, culture and it’s populace are in-distinguishable. Culture is potential energy and we are it’s kinematic expression.

Back to collateral damage in the industrial culture.

Look around you. At your house, your car, your greater environment. Does it feel safe? Are our factories safe? Are our products safe? Friendly? Blend with us in effortless ways, enhancing our lives? Huh?

Every day, every day, every day…. industrial culture claims thousands and thousands and thousands of victims.

Every day, each and every single day, Industrial culture claims thousands upon thousands upon thousands of victims.

Every day.

People the world over are maimed in industrial accidents, construction accidents, poisoned by toxic work environments, maimed in automobile accidents, die in automobile accidents, get their fingers caught in doors slamming shut, fall down stairs, slip and break bones, get electrocuted……………………………. every single day, thousands and thousands and thousands of people around the world.

But those are careless people you say. Their fault you say. Uneducated bufoons you say.

Really? Let me tell you, starkly, that we are only statistically safe in this Industrial world we live in. Every product we use has been statistically tested to not explode in our face, fail at 100 miles per hour, jolt us with more current we can deal with…etc.

Our safety in this world is only statistically guaranteed.

A little harsh you say?

I’ll say it again, we are only statistically safe in this Industrial world we live in.

Look at animals and their environments. A monkey is pretty safe up in a tree. Strong hands, strong feet, a tail, a monkey is pretty safe high up.

Now look at yourself, leaning over the edge of your 35th floor balcony.

A cheetah is pretty safe at 60 mph on the Savannah. Familiar terrain, body perfectly adapted to unpredictable ground below it’ s feet, ability to turn and stop on a dime. Never in danger from it’s environment.

Now look at yourself on a highway. Ever met an oil-slick on the road? A sheet of ice? Failed brakes? Happens all the time and ends badly.

Seen a herd of Wildebeests thundering across some plain somewhere in Africa, probably on TV? Thousands upon thousands of animals, full throttle (almost anyways), inches from each other. A stampede we call it. If one falls, slips, fails as it were, seen the herd keep going? One stampede victim, but the herd? Safe.

Now see your self on a highway. Bumper to bumper. Even at 45 mph. One car loses control. Result? Screeching tearing metal, crash after crash, pile-up, total mayhem. Happens all the time.

What I’m trying to say here is that the Industrial culture is inherently harmful for us.

We’ve been inoculated to believe in it’s safety. It’s a false vision.

Many wrong turns along the way, western science and engineering, bigger is better, higher is better. All classic mis-takes on the way to where we are today.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Don’t get inured  to collateral damage. It’ll help you see the world in it’s truer and unfortunately harsher light.  But taking cognizance of reality is the only way to make better right?

This truth is ultimately much sweeter than the lie we are currently living.

And it can be changed. If it does not, a wall of hubris awaits us and the tragedy might be that we are so inured to collateral damage that we won’t won’t even feel it hit.

Time to get the blinders off.

Let’s get In-Dust-real, shall we?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2010 5:11 pm

    I have never felt safe in this industrialized world. I feel safe in the mountains of my mother’s hometown when I go visit my aunt and drink her hand-ground coffee from beans produced by her tree and eat the pork from the pig she raised and eggs from the hens walking around the yard. That’s the only place I feel safe… and out in the wilderness of the Sierras with nothing but a backpack. For a long time now, I’ve thought that less is more and that what we call backwards is actually forward. Welcome to bloggin!

    • June 12, 2010 5:19 pm

      Hola Tuttysan.

      I sense some resonance. Excellent.

      Please dive in, return often and share as you feel called.
      Pleasure to link up in blogland with old (young) friends.

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