Sunday, March 21, 2010

The FOX Toxin

When Greed Fails, Turn to Fear

(Warning: Rant, no pictures.)

These are terrifying times. Particularly terrifying for "The Establishment", because the world that was built on the old foundations is passing away.


Because greed isn't working any more. Not like it used to. Greed used to feel good. Greed used to produce "growth". Greed used to help us raise our standard of living.

And make no mistake. It worked for a very, very long time. It worked throughout the vast history of western civilization (with brief interruptions where, it seemed, nothing worked very well at all - but that's another story). It was the fundamental force in the emergence of agriculture, domestication of animals, clearing of forests, etc., etc. Thom Hartmann makes this point in his tour de force, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight.

And it was certainly the fundamental force behind the industrial revolution, mass production, and modern western capitalism. (Any arguments there from FOX?)

But the seeds of its destruction were sown at the very beginning, and we have The Epic of Gilgamesh as its seminal cautionary tale. The oldest (known) story set down in writing, it tells of Gilgamesh, a king in Mesopotamia, and Enkidu, a fierce and powerful "wild man" side-kick, who is seduced into abandoning his wild (primal) nature and power to join Gilgamesh's world. He becomes entangled with Gilgamesh's wild schemes, leading to tragedy and disaster.

It's a great read on its own, but here's the point: Gilgamesh decides that he needs more fulfillment, so he convinces Enkidu to go with him to the great cedar forest and chop down ALL the trees, bring them back, and enrich himself with fame and fortune.

The result is a brief period of fame for Gilgamesh and prosperity for his realm. But very shortly thereafter, Enkidu gets the shaft, and in the end curses the forces that tempted him away from his wild nature.

And Gilgamesh? He becomes filled with fear of death. His kingdom falls apart, and goes off looking for a way to become immortal.

Gilgamesh's greed is the source of all his troubles. It works for a while, but then fails.

When a culture strips its resources in the name of unsustainable growth (greed), the inevitable result is that the limits are reached, and the whole scheme stops working. What comes next is fear.

Here we are. The greed mongers are up against a wall of their own making. We've been operating unsustainably for a very very long time. But the planet has now gotten VERY small. There's no place left to rape and pillage. Or, perhaps more accurately, we're starting to feel the hangover despite the fact that we're still drinking heavily. The cedars are chopped down; the reckless partying is over.

We're all on one hellacious bender, and many of us are realizing we have to stop. That next drink just doesn't satisfy. We're getting (in every way imaginable) sick of it. But the FOX-aligned take their addiction very seriously. They would rather black out, because the alternative is too frightening. Their way of life might have to die.

So to make sure they can keep drinking, they're trying to fill the rest of us with fear. If we STOP drinking, everything we know will pass away. "We can't stop or we'll all DIE!"

Their fear of loss has become a fear of death, and they want you to feel it too. Nobody that tortured and afraid faces death with equanimity. And once the collective hallucination - the illusion - is broken, they can't pretend that their addiction is "normal". They'll have to change.

So they will keep trying to make the rest of us afraid. Greed, their former currency, has lost its value. Fear is the new coin of the modern realm, and Gilgamesh walks among us, rending his clothes and seeking immortality.

Me, I'm trying to resuscitate Enkidnu, and see if I can get him to remember how magical his life was in the woods.

Next: The Antidote


  1. I was just talking about this very point with a friend this afternoon. Our economy can experience "growth" or "contraction," but what's in between is never called stability: it's called "stagnation."

    Me, I vote for stability every time. Not that I'm averse to volatile environments: I'm not. But without stillness, how can we even find Enkidnu, let alone resuscitate him?

    - Sherry

  2. Hi Sherry,
    It actually IS stagnation, because our economic and social and governmental institutions are designed for growth. Anything else, and things "don't work". The situation is so pervasive that it's like reminding a fish that its swimming in water. It can't mean anything to the fish.

    We have to look far and wide to find the few examples of non-growth cultures and economies. Fortunately, they exist. Unfortunately, the greed model has destroyed most of them.