Fortune & Men's Eyes
Does the objective truth really exist or is human
civilization a colossal collection of lies?
By John Kaminski
When, in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least,
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings,
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
- William Shakespeare, Sonnet #29
Yeah, I know. Love is a cheap word, one that is thrown around with more disdain for reality, with more ulterior motives, than perhaps any other. I love Entenmann's chocolate chip cookies. I love "freedom," a word larded with control mechanisms if there ever was one. And of course, I love the Orwellian word "peace," right up there with "democracy" as a meaningless utterance of thoroughly deflated connotation, constantly kicked around in the dirt by such rabid butchers as Nixon, Reagan, and Bush.
And yet as I stand on my porch gazing through the screen door at the leafy green bounty of my backyard, I take that Shakespearean sonnet and direct it in my mind to my e-mail list, which perhaps more than any other thing in my life has convinced me that life is worth living, that I do love myself, that there are many people in this world with whom it is an absolute joy to be. Because unlike the tawdry and lamentable deceptions of savage social life spewed forth by what we numbly call "the media," sincere truths shared with two or more people, and the humble, ironic laughter that usually accompanies such unpretentious gossiping, exemplifies the shimmering value of life and friendship, the joy of mutual understanding, without which we would go mad and silent into darkness.
Oh man I'm rambling. To so many I only wish to say: thank you for inspiring me, for reassuring me in this time of rank superficiality and discount-store violence, that some people do care about the difference between gathering trivial toys while ignoring all those dead people in the desert, and striving to somehow serve the force that has given us our beautiful lives. Though I possess this knowledge myself, it is great comfort to me that many others have it as well, and enables me to nurture my own desperate hope that humanity may yet blossom into something more than the killer lemmings we see paraded ceaselessly on the TV screens.
The point of this lament is about honesty, about what we really need, and how to get it.
Is it possible to achieve honesty in this world of ours, this material cornucopia where deep in the reflexive crannies of people's behavioral habits, goodness is measured by beauty and worth by wealth? Where the truly decent people go wanting and see their lives destroyed because they are unwilling to consign their souls to moneymaking schemes that cheat others?
And so we come to the fork in the road upon which depends every decision ever made by humans on this planet. A flash of memory from forty years ago flits into my mind as the best way to explain this dichotomy.
I was standing in my childhood living room arguing with my father about the Vietnam war. "We're killing all those people for nothing, for no good reason," I bellowed, shaking my shaggy adolescent hair in vibrating rage. My pop looked at me with tender resignation, and bellowed back (we were bellowers, as if you couldn't have guessed): "You're thinking about the wrong things! The only thing that counts in this world is money!"
What followed that collision of ideologies was twenty years of silence between us, which fortunately for us both, ceased a few years before he died.
Perhaps that was the defining moment of my life. I always believed that life was about much more than money, and I guess as a consequence have never had much of it. It's shocking to contemplate my Social Security printout and see how little I've made over these four decades of work history. And yet, still standing firm in that living room of memory, I stand by my teenage story. "We're killing all those people for no good reason."
And ironic that now I should be talking about those two things: killing and money. And how they go together, the yin and yang of civilization, the thing that prevents us from starving but compels us to keep on killing each other. The witless demonic dance of the predator species.
We can't have peace in the world because we need to make money and war is the most profitable mode of operation. That could be the epitaph for our civilization.
Particularly in the area of environmental contemplation, the argument always runs that we can't protect the nest that's keeping us alive because we don't have the money to do it. Somewhere down this road is where we will cash in our chips for good.
The billions of people killed over the millenia since Oannes first crawled out of the sea and started organized civilization somewhere in what is now Iraq (according to the historian Berossus) has all been about money, as our decision now to endorse the same slimy show in the same strife-torn place is most certainly about cold hard cash.
Money, that root of all evil, both keeps us alive and keeps us from being human. Unless being human means a lot less than I thought it always did.
One thing is certain: honesty is an impediment to making money. Just ask a banker, who fiddles with his derivatives income statement as he smiles at you and says everything is just dandy, as long as you have collateral. Just ask any of the principal honest news gatherers and principled journalists on the web, who try to tell the truth without ulterior motive. None of them has any money. That's probably the biggest reason the real story about 9/11 isn't more widely known. The people with money don't want it known, for one reason or another. And the people who do want it known don't have the money to adequately publicize it, especially since so many of those in the media with money are dependent on cashflow from those who have some reason not to want the story to come out. It is the story of human history, I think.
When that choice inevitably confronts us, we choose survival and luxury over sharing and compassion. Who can blame us? There is always the handy excuse that it's simply too difficult to attempt to do both. Let those starving fellows go. There are simply too many people on the planet.
That's the real history. What gets regurgitated to us through our history books is really quite different.
I've been struck dumb recently reading a book about the history of our so-called Founding Fathers and their creation of our so-called Constitution. They sound like a bunch of savage neocons. Democracy was the farthest thing from their mind. Property ownership was everything. For purposes of tallying population to proportionalize states' shares of federal largesse, they counted black people as three-fifths of a person.
And if you think the 2000 election in Florida exuded the stench of a back-country latrine, you should check out how they ramrodded a Constitution past a mostly illiterate electorate in 1776. Just like the way they do politics today: by bribing the wavering opposition, fast-talking the rest, and rigging the vote. And of course promising those who oppose the idea that they will have an opportunity to make changes "down the road." Ah, the ubiquitous promise of tomorrow.
That's where the Bill of Rights came from, you know. As a reluctant afterthought to the original Constitution, a concession to those with consciences after the baronial landowners had set the whole deal up to assure the dominance of merchants and landowners over the common folk. And it has been the same kind of rigged deal ever since, as you can clearly see by the nature of public participation today. It takes more than a few million just to get into the game, just like it was way back when.
That's why I get a little sad, a little nervous, when Patriot types rise up and say, "We have to return to our Constitutional principles." Because it wasn't so good a deal to begin with. The seeds of empire were sown, and the rest is bloody history.
And honesty? Allegiance to a noble ideal? They teach us in school to put our hands on our hearts and promise to kill anybody who gets in the way of the big red, white, and blue machine. We never really know what they're talking about, but we think it's good and do what they say. Only later, very much later, do we understand the devil's bargain we have made. We will kill whomever we choose to get whatever we want. And from this feral promise, the faithful grow teary-eyed over American patriotism.
This is about the distance toward enlightenment that any civilization has ever traveled. And today we sit squarely in this location, watching the blood-drenched boys brought home in secrecy, and the flag-waving mothers with brave but glazed eyes waxing eloquently hollow about patriotism and the sainted Founding Fathers.
But when the tears are dried, and the expendable chess pieces laid to rest, the eternal question remains: shall we be honest, or shall we eat well?
And thus we come to yet a further irony, one for which I am forced to admit my father might have been right.
I made my choice and don't regret it. But I don't eat well. For the past two years I have been combing every nook and crannie of cyberspace to try and discover what it is that makes us tick (and sick), and more precisely, to identify the facile strategies used by so many to shoot to kill. I understand their way of doing things is very profitable, and from that standpoint don't really blame them. After all, animal nature is all about predation, and perhaps they're just behaving naturally..
But somewhere along the line I got a message that humanity is something more than that. Being blessed/cursed by the knowledge of our limited time frame instills in us a higher realization. That we are gifted with the knowledge of mimicking the beauty we have been given, and to not live up to that responsibility is truly a sin. Most of the population, regardless of what they say on Sunday, do not do that. Which is why we're in the fix we're in - facing extinction because we've poisoned the garden that sustains us.
What I really believe, as many of you know, is that we are committing suicide as a species because we've never been willing to confront the terms of the deal we've been given when we are born, and instead pretend that we are immortal, invent strategies to convince ourselves of this delusion, and kill others who oppose our methods of achieving this objective. If we were immortal, that would make us the only thing in the universe - except the universe itself - that actually WAS immortal. So how stupid an idea is that?
Still, the question of whether we are immortal - as well as the one of whether we are honest - need not bear that much on our lives. As long as you can manifest kindness and compassion, you can pretty much live up to your human potential. You don't need to follow any silly rules. You just need to be kind and thoughful, and understand that the other fellow is in the same boat as you are, no matter what his color or his habits.
So that's why I've tried to point out lies, hypocrisies, behaviors that hurt others. And, if I may be so bold, that's why you like to read what I scribble onto this computer screen. I have tried to be honest, because that's what friends are for.
But as I said, and have learned repeatedly over these chaotic years of the late 20th century, to be honest is to be poor, because honesty doesn't sell well. Honesty does not lend itself well to markups and fire sales, and if we all were honest in this disease called usury that has enveloped world society like a poisoned fog, perhaps we'd all be broke. Perhaps I have been wrong about everything I've said.
However, not having a boss, a corporate watchdog, censoring my thoughts and limiting my suggestions has enabled me to cut right to the chase on so many issues without fear of alienating advertisers or offending politicians who might be providing legal advantages that enable my employer to cut corners and increase profits. No, what you get from me is the whole story as much as I can comprehend it, with no restrictions due to so-called commercial or political realities.
(continued at link - http://rense.com/general54/fortunre.htm