For Sure

 

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Extinction Rebellion – Perceived and Planned Obsolescence

Yes, to all of this: First, Rebel Against Yourself – A.C. Stark

And, to add, capitalism is built off of two manipulative conceptions that have become ideologically ubiquitous – these conceptions are 1950’s Americana capitalism at its worst and have become naturalized and unquestioned. Perceived obsolescence and planned obsolescence.

Consumers are trained to perceive of the products they buy as obsolete simply because of changing fashions – there needs to be a revolt against trendy materialistic consumption.

Planned obsolescence, on the other hand, is built into the product – products are built to break, and break in ways that are irreparable – “built for the dump.”

In today’s neoliberal capitalist hegemony, there is absolutely no incentive for corporations, who are legally beholden to their shareholders – not to the consumer and not the public good, to design and build durable products.

Part of the fight is the need for corporations to either be incentivized or regulated to produce durable products. When I say incentivization, I do not mean in the sense of neoliberal corporate welfare.

I mean the public needs to be aware of how they are being manipulated and hold corporations responsible – make the corporations obsolete that continue to flood our planet with trash. These corporations’ incentive should be that the public will allow them to continue to operate.

Sensory Aspects of Depression in Pearl Jam’s “Black”

I have always found Pearl Jam’s Black incredibly poetic. Take a look:

Black, Pearl Jam – Stone Gossard and Eddie Vedder, lyrics

Hey, oh
Sheets of empty canvas
Untouched sheets of clay
Were laid spread out before me
As her body once did
All five horizons
Revolved around her soul
As the earth to the sun
Now the air I tasted and breathed
Has taken a turn
Oh and all I taught her was everything
Oh I know she gave me all that she wore
And now my bitter hands
Chafe beneath the clouds
Of what was everything
Oh the pictures have
All been washed in black
Tattooed everything
I take a walk outside
I’m surrounded by
Some kids at play
I can feel their laughter
So why do I sear
Oh, and twisted thoughts that spin
Round my head
I’m spinning
Oh, I’m spinning
How quick the sun can, drop away
And now my bitter hands
Cradle broken glass
Of what was everything
All the pictures had
All been washed in black
Tattooed everything
All the love gone bad
Turned my world to black
Tattooed all I see
All that I am
All I’ll be
Yeah
I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life
I know you’ll be a star
In somebody else’s sky
But why
Why
Why can’t it be
Why can’t it be mine

 

Vin and Sori’s interpretation:

I like Vin and Sori’s interpretation, but want to add to it. This song is about the sensory aspects of depression. It is about falling into a deep depression after losing the person that your world revolves around; losing the person that lights up and sustains your life. Depression is dark and cold, like when the sun is gone; you can’t see through the darkness and you literally feel a coldness to your core, you can’t get warm.

Look at the lyrics again:

Sheets of empty canvas
Untouched sheets of clay
Were laid spread out before me
As her body once did
All five horizons
Revolved around her soul
As the earth to the sun
Now the air I tasted and breathed
Has taken a turn

All five horizons here are the senses – sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Canvas is for a visual rendition of art, by sight, and clay is for sculpting art with one’s hands, by touch. Losing the person that is the sun of your world robs you of your creativity. Depression causes you to lose interest in the things that were once meaningful for you, like creating art. The sheets of canvas are empty and the clay is untouched because without the sun, without the one who lights up and sustains your world, you lose interest in creating art. The sun as the source of your creativity is gone.

All five horizons, all of the five senses, from which you perceive and know your world revolved around that person – your sensory world revolved around that person as the sun. Now the air that you taste, and that you smell when you breath in, has turned foul. Depression causes you to lose your appetite because everything tastes and smells foul to you; everything you taste and smell makes you sick.

Take a look at these lyrics:

And now my bitter hands
Chafe beneath the clouds
Of what was everything
Oh the pictures have
All been washed in black
Tattooed everything

Bitter hands chafe beneath the clouds. The sun is gone, lost behind the clouds, it is dark. Without the sun, it is cold – it is bitter cold and it chafes your hands. You try to get warm by rubbing your hands together, but you can’t. And the more you try, the more you rub your hands raw. That darkness and coldness seeps into your being like a tattoo. It marks you and it is through that darkness and coldness that you view your world. The world literally, and I do mean literally, looks, sounds, feels, tastes, and smells different when you are raw from being marked by such a deep coldness and darkness.

Lastly, these lyrics:

I take a walk outside
I’m surrounded by
Some kids at play
I can feel their laughter
So why do I sear
Oh, and twisted thoughts that spin
Round my head
I’m spinning
Oh, I’m spinning

To “sear” is to scorch, to dry, to wither. Having been marked to your core by depression, the world looks different. Play and laughter look different. The play and laughter of others is painful. It scorches you. Anger is a big part of depression. When you are in such deep pain, the joy of others hurts you and a natural response to being in pain is to get angry. Angry at oneself. Angry that there is something fundamentally wrong with you that makes you unworthy of the sun. Depression causes you to hate yourself. Your thoughts become twisted in self-hate and suicidal ideation. Joy becomes twisted – a calming joy is found when you think that you could, you really could, kill yourself and the pain will finally be over.

This song is about the sensory aspects of depression. It is about how the world looks, sounds, feels, tastes, and smells when perceived and known through a darkness and coldness that is deep set into the core of your being. If you have depression, understanding these sensory aspects may help you understand and thus manage your depression.

A Quote from Rousseau

“Usurpers always bring about or select troublous times to get passed, under cover of the public terror, destructive laws, which the people would never adopt in cold blood. The moment chosen is one of the surest means of distinguishing the work of the legislator from that of the tyrant.” – Jean Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, Book II, 10. The People (Continued), 1762

Rousseau’s claim is that we, the people of a country, ought to be critical and wary of public officials trying to use fear to create laws that will destroy liberty and equality. Fear is used as a means of coercing the people into compliance with laws that will ultimately benefit some at the expense of the common good – fear distracts people from the implementation of detrimental laws. Something to ponder as we consider who to vote for.

Ableism and Suicide

It is incredibly patronizing to classify suicidal people as “weak.” It is not weakness. It is loneliness. It is living in a horrible world full of cruel and callous people. It is not having anyone to talk to because it is not knowing who you can trust, because people hurt you. It is being afraid and feeling unsafe, all of the time. It is the realization that you could disappear and no one would care. It is pain. It is a pain that screams in your head and reverberates throughout your entire body. If you don’t feel this pain, then you have no right to judge suicidal people as weak. You have no idea how much strength it takes to get out of bed and go to work when you feel this pain every moment of every day year after year.

“Ableism is a set of beliefs or practices that devalue and discriminate against people with physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disabilities and often rests on the assumption that disabled people need to be ‘fixed’ in one form or the other. Ableism is intertwined in our culture, due to many limiting beliefs about what disability does or does not mean, how able-bodied people learn to treat people with disabilities and how we are often not included at the table for key decisions. Just like most forms of discrimination, ableism often shows its ugly face from nondisabled people with good intentions.” – Leah Smith, Center for Disability Rights (http://cdrnys.org/blog/uncategorized/ableism/)

Racism and Speciesim, Sistah Vegan, Dr. A. “Breeze” Harper

http://www.sistahvegan.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/sistahvegan/videos

Love means challenging the status quo. The white vegan movement really needs to understand what Dr. Harper is arguing. White vegans want to make the argument that all forms of oppression are linked under the same logic of oppression – hence analogies between speciesism and racism. Yet, white vegans fail to take seriously how they recreate white supremacist conditions and spaces within the movement because white vegans tend to think that there is one universal way of thinking about veganism. That universalized way of thinking about veganism espoused by white vegans has a history, and that history has been from the perspective of whiteness and masculinism.

Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth – Damian Carrington, The Guardian, May 31

Full article:

Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth – Damian Carrington

Excerpts from article:

Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet, according to the scientists behind the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet.

The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.

The new analysis shows that while meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. Other recent research shows 86% of all land mammals are now livestock or humans. The scientists also found that even the very lowest impact meat and dairy products still cause much more environmental harm than the least sustainable vegetable and cereal growing.

The study, published in the journal Science, created a huge dataset based on almost 40,000 farms in 119 countries and covering 40 food products that represent 90% of all that is eaten. It assessed the full impact of these foods, from farm to fork, on land use, climate change emissions, freshwater use and water pollution (eutrophication) and air pollution (acidification).

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said Joseph Poore, at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the research. “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” he said, as these only cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“Agriculture is a sector that spans all the multitude of environmental problems,” he said. “Really it is animal products that are responsible for so much of this. Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy.”

[…]

Cutting the environmental impact of farming is not easy, Poore warned: “There are over 570m farms all of which need slightly different ways to reduce their impact. It is an [environmental] challenge like no other sector of the economy.” But he said at least $500bn is spent every year on agricultural subsidies, and probably much more: “There is a lot of money there to do something really good with.”

Labels that reveal the impact of products would be a good start, so consumers could choose the least damaging options, he said, but subsidies for sustainable and healthy foods and taxes on meat and dairy will probably also be necessary.

On the White Perspective and Racism

I have been hiding from the news. The barrage of horror stories told from across the soft fireside glow of the electronic screen was just too much for me handle in the seemingly endless and chilly night of U.S. culture and politics right now. So, I retreated from current events to the warmth of my tent and zipped myself into my sleeping bag of ignorance. But, as I was eating my beans and rice for dinner tonight, I hazily stumbled out of my tent and tripped over this video where CBS Atlanta’s Sharon Reed responds to a white viewer’s email regarding Reed’s mayoral election coverage:

The fall jolted me awake.

I want to address white people from my white person’s perspective. White people, I imagine that you don’t like being called a racist. I imagine that you probably think of yourself as a good person. You have existed in a world created by white people for white people. Media, education, and politics, in all forms for thousands of years throughout Western-European culture, has overwhelmingly been designed by white people for white people. This has created the white perspective, a perspective that has been magnified and amplified throughout history so as to appear as absolute truth – as absolute reality. The thing is though, there are other perspectives. Black men and women, latinx men and women, and other people from other racial and ethnic backgrounds, have different perspectives. They don’t experience the world as white people do.

Now more than ever these different perspectives are given a seat at the table and the opportunity to be heard in the media, education, and politics. And, I imagine this challenges the way you see yourself, white people. I imagine that it feels like reality has become tenuous and precarious. I imagine that you feel threatened at the very core of who you are and how you conceive of yourself. The first step of mourning is denial, the next step is anger. White people, your response to the death of your white perspective largely oscillates between denial and anger.

I hope that you can take the next step in the mourning process to acceptance. Accept that the white perspective is not absolute truth – it is not absolute reality. If you see yourself as a good person, then I imagine that you don’t want to hurt anyone, right? And, if a good person does unintentionally hurt someone, then they take responsibility for it, apologize, and try to make it right, right? Here’s your time white people. Step up, take responsibility, apologize, and try to make it right. No, you are not responsible for the entire system of racism and oppression. But, white peoples’ sensitivity to talking about racism makes white people willfully ignorant of what they do to perpetuate and justify racism.

Try to make it right. Seek out other perspectives. Intellectuals, professionals, activists, and every day people from a diversity of backgrounds have been writing and speaking about these issues for decades. Seek out those peoples’ voices, listen fairly and try to understand their perspectives.

I am going back into my sleeping bag now.