Jun 302006

Why We Fight

If you haven???t seen the movie yet, then go rent it (if you can find it).

Americans love war. The national fabric of the nation is interwoven with vast multinational conglomerates and corporate lobbyists whose main business is to provide the arsenals of war. To anyone, anywhere who can pay the price.

The tools of death and destruction are sold to the highest bidder, even the ???enemy???. America armed Iraq. Saddam was handpicked by the CIA. Saddam was given tacit approval to invade Kuwait. Suddenly, the Saudi oil fields were imperiled, and the US war machinery cranked up.

America produces more war machinery and weapons of mass destruction then any other nation on earth. Yet we are repeatedly told, we are not a war making people. Defense contractors employ million of Americans, with jobs located in ever single Congressional district, ensuring that the perpetual war machinery is keeping Americans employed, satiated and of course, heavily taxed. And we are repeatedly told, we are the freest people on earth.

The entire nation is built around the concepts of capitalism and military superiority. Democracy by blood. Any nation which fails to submit to American demands is either destroyed financially or militarily, oftentimes by both. This is the price of freedom in the New World order.

The national consciousness for war is harnessed with patriotic images, movies and hero stereotypes. What really happens in war is hidden behind the flag waving and sound bytes. The villains are always radicals, fundamentalists in the extreme who take exception to anything American. Anti-Americanism is bad, killing people who espouse such views is good. It???s also good for business.

War means hundreds of billions in profits, millions of jobs and expansions of Empire. War supports huge corporations whose sole purpose is exploitation, commercialization and extraction of resources. War profits those who already have the most but want more. War always takes from those who have the least, including their lives. War employs the poor. War kills the poor. This the price of democracy.

War stirs strong emotions, feelings of hatred and loathing, and feelings of nationalistic pride and patriotism. The winner is always those who have the best funding and the best support. The loser is always those who were already impoverished or happen to be sitting on a pool of oil or other desirable resource.

War is what America is all about. A significant portion of Americans support war and support the vast industrial military complex that makes war their reality. Theirs is a disconnect from the casualties of war, the death, destruction and suffering inflicted by all those American jobs. This is the price for the American way of life, which is not negotiable.

War creates racial separation and class distinction. War seperates the riffraff from the chosen. War helps weed out the undesirables, racial and poor, both at home and abroad. War supports the few and exploits the many. War perpetuates the slave-holder status of the plantation owners. War is freedom. Immigrants can obtain citizenship by going to war. Fight for Empire. Die if necessary.

War creates mechants. Lobbyists. Jobs. War is innovation and invention. Technology. Advancement. War is good for America because Americans benefit so much. War creates security for those engaged in the long distance support infrastructure. War is safe for those at home.

America has engaged in more wars then any other nation, but we???re still being told, we are not a war making people. Americans spend more on ???defense??? in the quest for bigger and better wars then any other nation on earth. More money is spent on the war machine then all other discretionary spending combined.

And the price for all of this ???freedom??? is what? More war. More sons and daughters. America???s enemies are growing by leaps and bounds and even once friendly nations now despise and dread the Empire. It???s not like this can last forever. Despite military bases in 142 nations of the world. Despite nearly a trillion dollars spent, American security is worse then ever before.

War does far more then kill people. It profits faceless corporations immensely. It creates a national indebtedness to war’s employers, insinuating itself into the economy and the fabric of living. Congress becomes beholden to its lobbyists. The media caters to its interests. The American voter becomes its unwilling victims.

The young of America are forced into it???s gaping maw because of economic inequities. The desperate and the delusional are championed together. The old turn the other cheek because they know what the real price is for their lifestyle. The mothers and fathers look on with horror at their destroyed families and future years, alone. The sons and daughters stand in utter bewilderment and incomprehension. They did their “duty”. Some “paid” with their lives. But nobody seems to know who got paid or why their duty was required of them. The Congress and the Senate demand our “sacrifices” on the altar of bloodshed to the unknown god of Empire. The rich cluck with sympathy as their children attend college and they attend to their bank accounts and stock profits and board seats on defense corporations.

In war, there are no winners. There is only the victorious and the defeated. There is much suffering on both sides. Examine any defeated or victorious nation that embarked on war. Even today, Germany and Japan continue to suffer. America, ostentiously the victor, embarked upon a gigantic and global military buildup that has never stopped. Cannot stop. Empire is colonial expansion.

War perpetuates the continued slavery of the human race. Even the victorious are less free then before the conflict. Afterwards, they must suffer for their losses of family and friends, lives and liberties that are forever stolen from them. War never serves the people, it only serves the corporations and the elite. None of them go to war. Ever. Instead, they send you and clap you on the back and tell you what a good soldier you are and how your country needs you. To die. Somewhere else. Somewhere far from home. For freedom. When you come back, if you do, you???re an embarrassment and quickly forgotten. Your benefits are cut. Your health deteriorates and your government doctors deny anything is wrong with you. Your Congressman ignores you. You drink or drug yourself into oblivion because of the pain and the memories and because you’re an outcast. Your usefulness as a cog in the machinery of war is used up, and so are you. Your life spirals ever downward and you die, bruised, broken, forgotten and poor. Nobody comes and visits your grave. Nobody remembers you. America marches on, to another war. New heroes. New sacrifices to the Gods of War. Waving the flag. Of Empire.

We are the worlds largest debtor nation. We are the supposedly the bastion of democracy. We are the world largest exporter of arms. We are the supposedly the forerunners of freedom. We have engaged in more wars then any other nation. We supposedly have the worlds greatest economy. We have some of the highest taxes on earth. We supposedly have the worlds highest living standard. Tens of millions have no health care. We supposedly have more freedoms then any other nation. Over two million Americans rot in our prison system. We are allegedly the greatest country on earth. Millions of Americans are applying for their passports and leaving.

War makes this all happen. War is the health of the State, the reason for Empire and the purpose for our supposed superiority. War makes America what we are, the most terrible and hated nation on earth. War is America. Americans, a significant portion of them, love war. They support war because they are the merchants of the earth. They revel in the profits of gluttony of blood. War is their America. Anti-war people are their enemy. They are now turning their war machinery upon the anti-war activists. War abroad is no longer enough to satiate their hunger. War at home against the dissenters is now a consideration. It would be good for business. Good for America. Rid the world of more terrorists.

Because America is war. America is business. America is democracy. America is freedom. America is Empire. America is profits and projection into every nation on earth. Because we are America, and war has made intercourse with the national consciousness, entwining and enveloping itself into the very fabric of our economy, our lifestyle and our purpose for existence. Even into our belief systems and our national religion. War justifies and supports everything that America is. War validates America, anything else is unthinkable. War made America. War keeps America. War is necessary for America. War is demanded of America. And what America demands, America gets.

This is why we fight. We fight for us. For Empire. For profits. For promotions. For preeminence. For resources. For corporate expansion. For corporate authorized freedom. For corporate jobs. For safety. For security. For ownership of what is rightfully ours. For control of all things that go bump in the night. We fight for anything that might imperil the American way of life we have grown oh so very, very accustomed to.

It doesn’t matter what it costs. It doesn’t matter what it takes. It doesn’t matter what it affects, or what it destroys, or what it damages or how it’s done. It doesn’t even matter if it takes some of us, or some of you. Or some of them. No price is too high. No sacrifice is too great. Duty calls upon you, upon us. Empire must advance. The American way of life is not negotiable. Do your duty. You owe it to Empire. To the corporate elite. To the Congress and to the Senate. To the President. To the fat cats and the board chairs and corporate lobbyists. To the rich and to the manipulators and the liars and the undermining weasels. To the merchants and profiteers. Lay down your life and die, so that they can have theirs. You owe it to them for the life they gave you. Your life for theirs.

Go on now. Hurry up and get with it before Empire falls.

Jun 282006

The ongoing double standard between the people and their government continues. Just trying to get them to admit that there IS a double standard is nigh unto impossible. Hearings to that very effect have already be stymied.

Only 750 “signing statements” have been issued by Shrub. Let’s be glad he just doesn’t issue one that calls the Constitution null and void. We can at least keep up the pretense.

Jun 252006

Bird flu is on a lot of minds today (although not nearly enough), but another gigantic problem of far greater magnitude is looming on the horizon. Peak energy is about to slap everyone in the face, worldwide.

Matthew R. Simmons is the Chairman of the energy-industry investment banking firm Simmons & Company International, and he’s giving the warning cry to what will prove to be civilizations Achilles heel:

“As I study the oil situation, the problems get worse… [but] the peak oil movement has grown from being a pimple to a pandemic” Culture Change

I get a lot of people calling about bird flu, people who want to prepare with 2 – 3 months of food or maybe longer. Their concern is valid, but it’s really only the tip of the iceberg. The avian flu could kill 20 or 30 million people in this country – but starvation due to peak energy could kill 100 million. Peak energy is a generational crisis, whereas bird flu will at worst last a few years, coming in probably three waves and then die out (until the next pathogen mutates).

Peak energy has global impacts that are only superficially similar to bird flu. The greatest threat is the long term nature of peak energy and how it will affect the very fabric of modern civilization. To some, resorting to community based agriculture and locally produced goods and consumables is a step backwards to the 1800’s. Their ignorant of the fact that almost every morsel of food travels at least 1500 miles (representing a lot of oil) before reaching the consumer. This will no longer be an option, food will come into extreme demand as energy supplies dwindle.

I harp a lot on our present culture (for good reason) and the need to live sustainably – peak energy is about to make the cultural change needed a stark and painful reality. Limited and expensive energy will force change at the very foundations of our society. Lasting change is almost always the result of an overwhelming need. We’re about to see that happen in a very painful way.

Jun 242006

Being self employed does have it’s advantages. I’m batting .1000 with my predictions regarding the war on terror.

Some 86 percent of them said the world has grown more, not less, dangerous, despite President George W. Bush’s claims that the U.S. is winning the war on terror???

Remember back when Bush was running for re-election and we had all those national security color scares? The red and orange scares that scrambled municipal police departments all over the country in a frantic attempt to stop those ghastly terrorists from destroying us all?

Ever notice how we ALWAYS got a new color scare every time John Kerry had a bounce in the polls? The last serious color scare we got was the week following the Democratic presidential convention.

After Bush was re-elected, we never had another color scare, not even after London was bombed. Not even after Madrid was bombed. Not even after that dire Canadian plot was uncovered last week.

No more terrorist scares, once the Republicans were back in office. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Anybody with half of their brain cells firing could have predicted that the war on terror was a ghastly mistake and wouldn’t work, only producing more and more terrorists. And that incredibly stupid color chart that was supposed to impress the inhabitants of the Fatherland…

Bush isn’t the first dickwad to scare the public during a campaign year. I don’t wonder about anything. I marvel at the idiocy of the American people and the government itself. They actually had to convene a high level research group to make the above determination. Whose really covering their ass here?

Cheney of course. The power behind the throne. And the other fools in government who are wringing their hands now that little boy blue is against the ropes.

Ah, what’s the point anymore? We all know it’s broken beyond repair. The whole shootin’ match. All we’ve got left is forward momentum, all of it downhill. Not a chance in hell of turning any of this around. It IS all smoke and mirrors, poorly executed for the illusion of the many.

I’m going back to sleep now. This is just more of the same crap, same story, same outcome as ever. If they (or anyone) was really serious, they’d quit their pussyfooting around and get down to business.

Jun 232006

Steve Sanders shows how hard it is to really get a grip on what’s coming down.

We’re faced with some of the most difficult decisions of our life. This generation. Weighing against those decisions isn’t just our cultural values and expectations, but our families too. What kind of world are they going to inherit? Will they even be able to survive, or will it be a hardscrabble living subsistence existence?

The inheritance we received and what we are now already passing down, isn’t what our fathers received. Each successive generation is getting less and less while the shallow material wealth and consumerism has been on an exponential rise. Everyone in the first world is rich as a king, materially speaking to what our forefathers once had (or the third world today). More and more “stuff” is being created from natural resources all of the time, distributed around and the material wealth of first world nations is higher then it’s ever been.

Yet on the other hand, our real financial wealth hasn’t kept pace. We’re poorer now then ever. The growing discrepency between wages and the cost of living is gigantic for lower class wage earners and growing all the time. This is the world that our children are facing when they leave home and try to make a go of it. They’ll be laboring under ridiculous and outdated minimum wage laws while getting 2o or 30 hours per week because their employers refuse to hire “full time” employees and be required to pay them benefits.

It’s going to be a lot harder for them to get on their feet then it was for us. I slept in my car a few times when I was first starting out. Always broke, always poor, but never hungry. I somehow just managed to make it and things got better, but I can’t even imagine what it is like today. Rents are sky high, gasoline is staggering and food costs are ridiculous. I doubt very much I could pull this off on minimum wage like I did before. Not unless I worked three jobs.

Much of our real wealth isn’t wealth at all, but tied up in mortgages and debt borrowing. The concept of credit cards isn’t that old, something that my parents didn’t have until they were my age. Debt of any kind isn’t an asset, but a liability. As world populations continue to climb, the level of consumer debt is rising to astronomical heights. It seems like we have more, but do we really?

All that material wealth comes from somewhere too. This is the basic problem with the exploitation of the world’s resources. Our “stuff” isn’t created from nothing, but came from all the natural resources once found lying around in their natural state. The entire world is now in a mad scramble to commandeer what’s left. It doesn’t make for a peaceful world.

The basic problem is us. All of us. We’ve chosen unsustainable and unsuitable ways in which to live, learned from our parents and passed down to successive generations. Unless and until we break this cycle of wealth, materialism and consumerism (and the corresponding debt loads), we’re destined as a species to spiral ever downward until we hit absolute rock bottom. By then of course, it will be too late, because the planet itself will be totally uninhabitable.

The only logical course of actions is to break this cycle of generational insanity now. But that is much harder to do then to say. The emotional and psychological attachments we have to our “stuff’ can’t be simply overlooked. Our cultural foundation is at fault. Nothing in our cultural teaches us what we now desperately need if we’re going to survive. Our culture is at impossible odds with what needs to be done and vehmently fights against doing what is right, sensible and common sense.

I realize just now hard this is. Everyday I’m asking myself how I might simplify my life. And whether or not I need to buy anything. It’s not easy and I often fail. I fail more often then not to be honest. My own dependency upon the dominant system is still very much in place. The efforts I have made toward sustainability are incomplete, inadequate and unable to meet my daily needs. But to be fair, there are many reasons for this. For starters, I didn’t learn the concept of sustainability from anyone. That would have helped a lot if I had. My father didn’t teach this to me, nor did his father teach it to them.

And that’s the problem. We can come to understand what needs to be done, but we’ve no experience in how to make it happen. We weren’t taught this as children and even if we were, many people come to reject it as they grow older anyway. Why? Because the dominant system makes it so damned easy to be a dependent. And to be completely insulated from the entire process and knowledge of your own dependency. Just pay a little bit of money, or a lot as the case may be, and you can have whatever your heart desires. You’ve no real investment in the process at all (fiat money is not an investment). You have no idea of what forests were cut down, what species were eradicated, what devastation was caused to extract the mineral or mine the ore. You don’t see the slag piles, the waste dumps or the belching factory chimneys. You’re immune to the effects of the fabrication, machining, transportation and pollution this all causes. Nor do you see the waste piled up high in gigantic landfills and junkyards when you’re done with it. You didn’t grow it, plant it, fertilize it and nurture it. The only sweat you’ve invested is what time you gave your employer doing any of the things you were told to do. But for almost all of us, none of these things are even remotely connected what it takes for each one of us to actually survive, physically, day by day.

All you see is the apple of your eye and you want to buy it. So you do. Your “time” is what you think you traded, but in reality, the trade is far, far more then this and far from equitable.

Our culture insulates us from so much. Even death. Everything is ritualized and preprocessed, packaged and pretty, made as perfect as possible. Grow up, go to school, graduate, get a job or go to college. Start a career or get another one. Packaged, processed and cellophane wrapped lives. Sanitized and homogenized with all the ugliness and dirtiness taken out. All packaged up nice and pretty with clean lines, straight fences and clipped lawns. But underneath it all is a terrible ugliness and denial and continual gross imbalance. And a complete lack of involvement in the very processes that make our packaged professions and day to day existence possible.

There is a terrible human cost to our present mode of existence. We are of course destroying the place in which we live, but we’ve also forgotten how to take care of ourselves. We let other people do it for us. Faceless corporations. We only live because they make it possible. If they were to fail – then we would fail.

Which is exactly what is now happening. Their existence is co-dependent upon our existence, and it’s all based upon cheap energy to generate all of the crap we consume, eat, wear, drive, live and build. Food, clothes, cars, electronics, electricity, fuel, heat, air conditioning, consumables, roads, housing, lumber, tools, everything.

This is the reason that the desperate race for energy supplies is now underway. When Cheney claimed the “American way of life was not negotiable”, he not only meant it, but he was declaring just how critical it is to human survival. If our economy or our corporations fail, it is us that will be losers. Our civilization will collapse – and so will we.

Of course I’m not in agreement with Cheney and his ilk and their global greed, but I suspect that they do recognize that this generational dependency we have created is a serious crisis. Or in their money grubbing case, an opportunity to keep us at the feeding trough of oil dependency. We’ve painted ourselves into a corner and there’s no getting out without badly messing up the intricate mosaic we’ve created.

Somewhere, somehow, a massive cultural shift needs to take place before we run out of time. Tiny shifts have been made, but they are woefully inadequate (such as the Green Revolution) which in itself, isn’t so tiny. It represents a significant change in people’s attitudes and thinking which eventually translated into corporate changes. But it wasn’t enough, not even close. Where the Green Revolution has failed is where we need to start. Buying green does nothing towards addressing the problems of consumerism and materialism, you’re still consuming. Or stopping the cycle of dependency, you’re still dependent. All we’ve done is to raise the awareness that some things we’re doing aren’t good for us and are harming the environment.

We’re going to have to get hardcore and deadly serious about making the cultural adjustments necessary if we hope to continue our survival on this planet. And this needs to happen at home – not just in corporate boardrooms, whose motivation for profit and dependency cannot be trusted to make the right decisions. So how does a home embrace a new cultural standard?

It’s not easy. It’s damned hard because there is so little support for it. Outside of the home, where do you find it? You can emesh yourself in a village or a cult, but outside of these miniscule examples, you’re still on your own. But it’s still the place to start, the lowest common denominator there is. Everybody lives somewhere, if even it’s just under a bridge.

We have to become our father’s father, teaching ourselves and our children that sustainable begins here, right here, between your own two feet and theirs. We have to practice the preaching and put actions behind the words. And we have to teach it religiously to our young, because it is they who are going to need it more then we will. Their lives are just beginning and they will be facing a lifetime of needs. Ours are ending, winding down. There’s still a reasonable chance that the world will last just long enough to bury the last of us even if we do nothing. But not for our kids. They’ll need this knowledge like a desperate man needs a drink in the desert. It will be life or death for them.

Jun 212006

“The federal minimum wage has been $5.15 an hour for almost 10 years, and is worth less now that at almost anytime in the last 50 years. Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage in 1968 would be worth $9.09 today, 75% more than the current wage.”

Of course the Senate blocked the wage increase for minimum wage workers. Expecting our (dubiously) elected officials to do anything right these days is asking for a massive disappointment. The Congress, Senate and White House are totally out of touch with the will of the people is beyond obvious, but unless there is a coup or revolution, there’s not much we can do about it.

Commenting on this the other day (privately) I told my listener that “at least banana republics clean house once in a while.” America is WAY overdue for some serious house cleaning. Most of our Congress, Senate and ALL of the White House appointees and staffers should be shot for treason. The survivors should be prosecuted and put in Gitmo for interrogation and torture for crimes against the American people. Or something like that.

As America continues to degenerate into a squabbling seething mass of hatred and violence, the people are more then just a bit bewildered about their options. It’s simple, really. There are only three (sorry, NO rapture) –

a) Fight back. If you don’t, nobody else will and they’ll keep sticking it to you and everyone else as fast as they can. We’ll get more of what we’ve already gotten, since we’re still doing as we’ve always done (nothing).

b) Give up. This is the path of least resistance and practiced by hundreds of millions of apathetic and lazy Americans. Don’t pay attention, don’t care, don’t protest and don’t fight back. Attack the messengers that do. Shift the blame and make them responsible, thereby taking away your own guilt and culpability. Insulate yourself with booze, drugs, music, computer gains, entertainment, television, anything but the truth that your country is crumbling apart all around you. Subscribe to the lie that there is nothing you can do.

c) Leave. Pack up you bags, pick up your passport and go (be advised, the lines are getting very long). Anywhere but here. America is NOT the greatest country on earth, not anymore, not since fascism reared its ugly head and made you, me and everyone in America an enemy of the State. Just remember to leave your fingernail clippers behind, you’re likely to be arrested trying to fly out of this God-forsaken country.

And that does remind me. The “God bless America” crap is getting really, really old. God doesn’t bless America, how could he? Unless he had a warped sense of humor and justice. American leadership and many American corporations are soulless beasts with hearts of pure evil. Raping and pillaging the planet and the people are “the price of business”, including enslaving millions and millions to a lifetime of servitude and drudgery. It isn’t that God doesn’t like Americans, God doesn’t like liars, hypocrites, the unmerciful, thieves and whoremongers. Since that describes an awful lot of American leadership and American corporations (and a lot of Americans) then to go on pretending that God “blesses” America is the height of stupidity.

America should become a banana republic, at least our dictator would finally be recognized for what he is and then we could look forward to a little house cleaning (or a lot). Or maybe we already are a banana republic. Consider this –

    banana republic are often ruled by dictators.
    banana republics are often overtaken by rigged elections.
    banana republics fail to hold their leaders accountable for their actions.
    banana republics are ruled by fiat and decree, ignoring law and convention.
    banana republic torture their dissenters, shoot their journalists and imprison whoever they dislike.
    banana republics have a terribe record for human rights abuses.
    banana republics declare anyone who is against them “the enemy” and often disappear whoever they want disappeared.
    banana republics flaunt their military power and their capability to do what they want irrespective of treaties and conventions.
    banana republics are ruled by angry little small minded men who cannot be held accountable for anything, no matter how henious their crimes may be.
    banana republics let their infrastructures fail, while heaping profits and riches into their own private coffers.
    banana republics do not listen to their people, who suffer terribly under the self-serving leadership of their leaders.
    banana republics are ridiculed and derided by their neighbors and the world community.
    banana republics rape the public treasury for their own personal gain.
    banana republics abuse the public trust and make a mockery out of their public offices.
    banana republics are staffed by friends and chrony’s of the dictator who handpicks his support staff, smoothing the way to rule by fiat and decree.
    banana republics are staffed with leaders and officials who ignore their own laws and laugh at their own justice officials.
    banana republics sell off the public land and give favors to private corporations and foreign investments while lining their own pockets.
    banana republics are almost always debtor nations, borrowing money continually to stay solvent.
    banana republics deride and lambast anyone who doesn’t agree with them (until they’re simply killed outright).
    banana republics believe that torture is their God given right in their fulfillment of their mission from God.
    banana republics “retire” their generals and their admirals that don’t agree with them, fearing a military coup.
    banana republics spend ridiculous sums of money on their military, often nearly bankrupting their country.
    banana republics strut and preen and declare “Mission Accomplished” in uniforms they have no right to wear while their soldiers are still fighting and dying.
    banana republics fabricate their reasons for their actions with flimsy lies, trumped up evidence and outright bullshit.
    banana republics make a big deal out of public events and show and tell dog and pony shows.
    banana republics are often xenophobic.
    banana republics make havoc of their own land, causing widespread ecological devastation and destruction.
    banana republics don’t let their own reporters print the truth, but censor the news and spin everything.
    banana republics are often populated by a people that are simply too tired of the game to give a shit anymore.
    banana republics always spiral down into disrepair, collusion and destruction due to gross mismanagment, incompetence and indifference.

America is probably the largest banana republic in the world. Still think this is the best country on earth? Option C starts looking like a better and better deal all of the time. Of course, there is always option A, or even B. Blowing one’s mind with drugs, drink and that mind numbing drug of apathy works too.

I don’t hate America, but I am pretty sick of what America has become. Shockingly, many Americans like what America has become (which just goes to show how far you can degenerate before people actually take notice). If this describes you, then stick around, you’re about to find out what it’s like to live in the third world.

Jun 202006

This is a terrifying story – Iraq’s disastrous ‘black oil’ swamps. There’ s no telling just how serious the damage is, but it’s very, very serious. One of the more lasting environmental side affects on the “War on Terror”. Along with the horrifying effects of depleted uranium killing and maiming tens of thousands of people, the environmental disasters in Iraq is of Biblical proportions.

Jun 182006

According to Paul Theroux, in his book on Oceania, there are communities that are almost entirely self sufficient. Interestingly, these are the communities (villages actually and in some cases, entire islands) that are cut-off from civilization. World War II had a dramatic impact on many of these islands, since they were first invaded by the Japanese and then by the Americans. The disruption lasted for quite some time, because of the initial crop loss and inability to continue their traditional methods of living and then when the invaders pulled out, the sudden loss of their food supply they had come to depend upon.

In time, many of the smaller, remote communities returned to their kastam (traditional) way of living, which is comprised of fishing, gardening and gleaning food stuffs from their natural surroundings. These villages have little demand for outside support and are almost entirely self sufficient. But the villages that aren’t cut off remained dependent on outside inputs of food, fuel and essentials. Their traditional ways were totally or partly abandoned and they lost the self sufficiency that they once had.

What’s noteworthy regarding this is how civilization creates entire layers of dependency spanning traditional cultures, undermining the heritage, practice and ancient knowledge. The long term affects are of course in widespread evidence, even here in America, where indigenous people have become entirely dependent upon outside energy inputs of all types in order to survive. I don’t know if anyone has ever attempted to measure what the global impact is, but it must be extremely significant, since indigenous and self sufficient peoples were once found everywhere. The fact that few still survive in relative numbers doesn’t say much for the advancement of civilization.

It would be very hard for a Westerner to live completely cut off from civilization, but there are people who do it, with almost all of them being born into that culture. They don’t live long, averaging about 45 years of age, which is considered to be “old”. This is because of disease mostly, not hard work or malnutrition. Their lives are idyllic compared to ours, with no particular set schedules, moving to the rythms of the seasons. There are no concrete and glass building, no work schedules and no employers. Their daily lives are much different then ours, bound by tradition, superstition and ancient practices, worked out through centuries of isolated living.

Some Westerners practice a sort of self-imposed cut off by hermiting themselves in various cloisters and retreats, found all over the world. Most require a type of severe discipline, refraining from cultural enticements like electricity, fast food, television or outsiders. But they’re not really indigenous in their practice, but rather self ordered lives of discipline, regimentation and restrictions. Essentially, their efforts are artificial barriers, most often designed to build a fabricated wall between themselves and the outside world. The difference here are many, their retreating from the modern world as opposed to having never lived it. Because of that, they have a greater difficulty in surviving and adhering to the self-imposed isolation, inadverdantly bringing with them vestiges of their cultural.

I’ve visited a Benedictine nonastery, staying overnight. The austure surroundings were just fine by me, but the monks didn’t seem happy. They appeared to be working too hard to act like they had something I didn’t. They also allowed in a lot of outsiders, even having public dorms, which is where I stayed. My visit was disappointing to be honest.

Most cultures, once exposed to the outside world, become tainted with the surrounding cultures wealth, beliefs and customs. Missionaries from around the world have made gigantic impacts into traditional cultures, leaving almost no part of the world untouched, bringing with them (besides their bibles) their Western customs and materialism. The impact is felt almost immediately and it’s long lasting, and many times permanent.

The lasting damage done to kastam, traditional culture is to create a cycle of dependency where none used to exist. Some villages refuse all outsiders and have manage to retain their traditional ways and their independence But where civilization manages to touch them, they become infected with the same western values, traditions and materialism we have and lose their self sufficient ways.

Remaining cut off then, becomes of paramount importance in order for these indigenous peoples to retain their traditional cultures and to teach them, generation by generation to their children. This is also true of even Western cultures that intend to remain static (and some do, such as the Amish). The only way to resist the dominant culture is to refuse it.

What this means is that a culture change of significance, rejecting the materialism, greed, consumption, expectations and demands boils down to the refusal of participation and allowance into your life. This applies to individuals, tribes, communities and villages. But it is almost impossible to do unless you can somehow remain cut off.

Most traditional villages don’t accept outsiders for this very reason. What you might be looking to find, a traditional way of living, is the very thing they are seeking to protect and they won’t welcome you into their midst. This makes the idea of “leaving the world behind” and finding your own private paradise exceedingly difficult. There is almost no place untouched by modern civilization and those that are, you’re not welcome there.

I don’t have an answer for this except to comment that “wherever you go, there you are” meaning that you take your culture with you, even if you don’t want to, and others can easily see this. If your looking for a new paradigm of living, you’ll have to carve it out somewhere.