And yet, here we all are: dying by a thousand cuts

I’m looking at the state of my country and the state of the world. I’m enduring political-social-economic breakdown, war and general meltdown; I’m witnessing agendas that require the deliberate construction of societal divisions and the fabrication of conflicts – even mass murder by sovereign nations and marauding fascist hordes. I’m seeing that when action is taken, it’s either simplistically eager and over the top or it’s reluctant and insultingly piecemeal. Nuance and subtlety; the simple and straightforward are in a right old jumbled-up mess. Priorities are twisted; evidence is skewed; manipulation of emotion and mind is rife in the pursuit of dubious outcomes. We are going everywhere at once and nowhere, really fast.

I’m feeling embarrassment, contempt and despondency for the political climate; for the calibre of leadership; for the level of debate among all peers and within all spheres. It is little wonder that we are deaf and blind to alternatives for, all too often, we believe our minds and hearts are open but, in fact, we are merely open to that which confirms what we already think and feel. I’m feeling the crushing despair of seeming and real disempowerment and righteous, horrified rage, not only in and for the millions of people in my own land but the world’s billions. I feel the confusion and the sense of overwhelm about which battle to fight first and where on earth to start the clearing up and renewal. It’s easy to knee-jerk with such thoughts as ‘wipe ’em out’ and ‘jail them all’ but serious application of ethical and sustainable change will require a little more than the reactionary generalisations that got us here. We have to understand that everything is connected to everything else; that one thing always leads to another; that very few events and problems can be isolated from others and be successfully resolved. We can say it’s the economy, stupid all we like and, of course, it is but, in our present domestic-global economy, it is neoliberal ideology and obscenely powerful, greedy, selfish, shortsighted fools and their dumb appeasers with which we must battle for it is they, with their bankrupt notions, who have turned finance into a weapon of such mass destruction that its continuance in present form threatens all else. ‘Minimum wage’ and ‘predistribution’ just don’t cut it; chasing the last drop of oil doesn’t cut it; growing by production of disposable crap doesn’t cut it; stealing resources doesn’t cut it; serfdom and subjugation doesn’t cut it. And yet, here we all are: dying by a thousand cuts. Who is Democracy for, if not for us? What is the Economy for, if not to serve us? What is Society, if not us? What is Life for if 90-odd% of us are merely surviving by relative degrees?

We humans have managed to get to a point where, although we cannot possibly continue in this way, whatever courses we pursue, the processes will be messy and bloody and the outcome will be uncertain and shitty for everyone in at least one form, no matter an individual’s or demographic’s current status. I wonder at the human capacity to avoid those changes we most desire or require – as if we prefer to wait in deep-down secret hope that something sufficiently dramatic will occur; something that forces us to do what we were too lazy, complacent or frightened to do before. We humans are quite the comedic tragedy, are we not? Sometimes I wonder if that’s why we’re still sticking with the devils we think we know: because change is risky, complex, uncomfortable and unquantifiable. It surely can’t be because we actually still trust our leaders to make good, can it? Can it..?

That’s how big the mess is, though, isn’t it? It’s an environmental, economic, psychological, (spiritual) mess. It took us an age of incompetence and false consciousness; of crises upon crises to reach this place and there is precious little political courage or will out there to provide a connecting narrative, let alone wholesome solutions, especially while the status quo continues to so well benefit the Powers that Be.

No magic wand exists to deliver us. And, even if it did: to whom would we give it? Not to me and, sorry but not to you, either, you crazy utopian. The future is still up for grabs – just – and, somehow, we must all shape it so that it works for all of us. The longer we try to carry on carrying on, the worse it will be and the narrower will be our choices and I think we all know it.

22 thoughts on “And yet, here we all are: dying by a thousand cuts

  1. Pingback: And yet, here we all are: dying by a thousand c...

  2. Pingback: Here we all are, dying by a thousand cuts – Juxtaposed | Vox Political

  3. We as individuals are not responsible for the mess the world is in. That took the greatest efforts of self-syled “experts”, who did not recognise the natural limits of their own stupidity.
    We tried to warn them over and over again about – for example – their ludicrous encouragement of religious extremism – as in Syria – and now the “experts” are confounded by the emergence of a group like the Islamic State. What did they really expect – or did they just not know at all?
    Fortunately, while all these foreign policy boneheads have been going our of their way to create their coalitions of the stupid, others – such as leading research scientists – have been coming up with huge scientific advances in knowledge and applications. The most recent developments suggest that a vaccine to inoculate people against the ebola virus is on its way. Great news !!
    Ultimately, we have to do what we can. If we can look ourselves in the mirror each day and truly say “I did my best” that is all we – or anyone else – can ask of us. Don’t beat yourselves up.


  4. Juli, great article. I wish you weren’t right, but I think you are. Change is coming. It will be bloody, and, in the short-term, it won’t be for the better. Too much power now rests in the hands of large corporations who regard mere national governments as their playthings. Governments already pander to them, for fear they will move their money to a different economy. The people who control multinational corporations have money as their mandate and thus the power of our democracies is increasingly replaced by mere symbolism. Ultimately, governments will become so weak that whole economies cannot survive. Currencies will cease to have any value: well, I have often heard British politicians say they wanted to go “back to basics”. And so our civilization, grown so decadent, will crumble and,with that fall, the multinationals will have brought about their own destruction. There will be barbarism. And change will come, as Mao Tse Tung insisted it must, at the barrel of a gun.

    The timetable for these events is unclear: twenty, thirty, fifty years? Perhaps a lot less. But I suggest it is likely that only when they have occurred will civilized societies (eventually) emerge once more (providing the human race manages to survive the process). This cycle has been often repeated in history: barbarism to civilization to decadence to barbarism once more. Unless we, as a species can somehow break that cycle. Can we? Or are we hoping to hold back the tide? Shame on us if we fail to try.


    • Did you ever see the 1975 film “Rollerball”?
      As I recall it, it was meant to depict a future world in which just a few extremely powerful corporations ran the world between them, putting on “bread and circus” type entertainment (i.e. a deadly sport game involving roller skating and a ball) to keep the unthinking masses placated.
      With the global waves of privatisation of all public services across the world, maybe the day of global corporation government is not as far away as we thought?


      • John, you could be right. Religion used to be the opium of the people, until it was replaced by television. It’s not such a big step to what you suggest, so long as they can eliminate most of the remaining free-thinkers and stop them communicating.
        “The world won’t end in darkness, it will end in family fun
        With Coca-Cola clouds behind a Big Mac sun”
        (Quote from “One God” by The Beautiful South, 1996)


      • Except we can change the paradigm. We can break free from the corporate, 5 sense prison and link with others in bringing the revolution of love, compassion, empathy and healing. It is humbling to think that the people probably leading this are the disabled, poor and the vulnerable. They are exposing the heartless, compassionless, greedy, uncaring and thoughtless underbelly of this corporate, fascist government. It isn’t about guns, strength, tanks and militarisation of the police. It’s about reaching out, caring, taking responsibility but above all, love. And they don’t understand this, how can they and that is their undoing. x


  5. Dear John, Tim and Amnesiaclinic,

    Thanks, guys! Your comments are great! I shan’t respond to your individual points because I agree with you all and, be they musings or verse, all my posts tend to address such themes and aspects by varying degrees so I’d just be repeating myself.

    Know though, that, for all that much of my writing appears dark, there is light and hope woven throughout – I am ultimately optimistic for the human race because I have faith in our resourceful minds, our good hearts and indomitable spirit. Whether I will be around to see the edible fruits of it, is an entirely different matter, of course! I worry, obviously, for the battles my own children will face and whether they, too, shall live to see an age of common sense, honour, justice, etc, etc.

    I do remember the ‘Rollerball’ film from my youth, among many others over the years: from ‘Logan’s Run’ to ‘Minority Report’ to those of the present day such as ‘The Hunger Games’ – Life imitating Art imitating Life imitating Art… And I love that The Beautiful South song..!



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