“Consider, for instance, the problems involved in persuading a traditionally pastoral people to use the plow. Their previous image is one in which the life giving grass grows spontaneously over the landscape and is preserved and utilized to feed the livestock on which the whole society depends. The very first step of the new process is to plow the grass under, to destroy the familiar life giving green carpet and replace it by a waste of barren earth. Not until the seed is planted, is grown, and yields its crop, will the new image be firmly implanted and in the meantime the old image which has served generation upon generation must ruthlessly be destroyed or devalued.”
-Kenneth Boulding, The Image- Knowledge in Life and Society
Is this what is happening to the U.S.A., Canada, and the West? Are we now a ‘pastoral people’, and have been for some time now? Not in the true definition of the word, as shepherds on the grass covered plain, but as wanderers tending the same paths and having the same expectation, regardless of dire circumstances in clear view on the horizon? Maybe, in the pastoral sense, we are the sheep, being tended by the shepherds, shepherds who know without a doubt that the grass that has fed their flocks for generations is in imminent failure. We the sheep just eat and bleat with the expectation that the grass has always been there and always will.
I saw Mr. Boulding’s passage above and wondered if the failed constitutional experiment is being plowed under, since it has become unsustainable in nearly every way it needs to sustain itself, at least in the capitalistic consumer driven form it has morphed into. I will fully accept that that is going to happen whether purposefully or not, but the machine and purpose behind that plowing under is what is giving me pause.
I think that an original plowing under probably took place in 1776 through 1810, wherein a group of rich men was able to publish declaration and writ with such magnificence that it compelled a people to abandon homeland and traditional rule of the divine right of kings in favor of government that had never been attempted at this level. That one fantastic change in public perception of the rights of the governed versus the governors was a monumental step forward in the evolution of societal image and thought. Unfortunately, it was a short lived one, as the original owners of all things they could point a gun at used incredible patience, political manipulation and the tactics of economic subversion to incite civil war, and create a theater of compromise in the original social contract that has caused its degradation ever since. What is the most amazing thing to record in all of this, is that even up to today, despite every kind of egregious action against the constitution, with every conceivable excuse attached, there is still a solid image in the mind of the general populace that the constitution still carries the full power and support that it did in 1810, or any other period in the nation’s history. This despite the fact that a majority of the populace couldn’t even begin to comprehend the document in whole or part, as ignorance of fact is the bliss that keeps the boogie men (or wolves) away. And if the majority relies on others to understand and uphold the social contract, they are much farther away from seeing the yet to be released torrent of laws to crush the constitution and its image to dust in a very short period of time, if not already.
My concern in all of this isn’t in the plowing under, per se. Like I stated above, I don’t believe this system of economics, politics, and relationship to ecology are the least bit sustainable. Major catastrophes like Chernobyl, the Gulf of Mexico disaster, and Fukushima are but the advertised poisoning of the planet earth, while the full extent of poisoning, were it revealed, would be staggering to comprehend. My concern is that those promoting the plowing under have no reason for it other than to kill off a majority of the flock in the most efficient manner without having to actually bloody their own hands with the slaughtering knife. Then the plan is to retain the bare minimum of the herd until the conditions of the grassland become favorable again, so the whole cycle can be started anew.
Essentially, a truth to be held self evident, is that a small fraction of people consider themselves to be divine above the rest, and hold that they should reap reward and profit at every turn, no matter the circumstance, at whatever cost to the rest or to life. As long as one king (or queen) is living in a palace on a hill, you can have confidence that there is a network of slimeball bureaucrats, lawyers and bankers creating the image that the royalty is necessary, and keeping themselves high on the hog, or in this instance, sheep. There is an ingrained mindset there, one that is impenetrable, that has forever been the privileged and will forever be the privileged, no matter the circumstances or consequence. Even if it means the ultimate extinction of all life on the planet earth, that is a small price to pay for the self anointed to keep their posh lives and command over everything, right up until they are the last person alive to rule over whatever nightmare they survey.
So here is the test. Can enough images of individual as master be converted to survive the plowing under, to take a contingent of men, not sheep, and survive not only the plowing under, but the final elimination of false prophet, king, president, czar, emperor, pope, and the rest of the profiteers and destroyers of life? This doesn’t mean the end to leadership, or organisation, but instead means an absolute end to privilege and accumulation of wealth through the guise of leadership.
I have little doubt that a great many sheep are going to be harvested in the coming transition of ages. I sadly say that for the most part it is deservedly so, as they are sheep of their own choosing, no matter the nationality, race, creed, color, culture or the like. The sheep are those that are constantly looking to the shepherd for guidance in all of their life’s affairs, and obey the directions of that shepherd without a bleat of objection.
These are not the actions of a man. A man is a spiritual, intellectual and self-sufficient being. A man is divine in his own right and development. A sheep is a follower of whim based on elimination of fear, that sees the divine only outside itself. A man fears not death yet cherishes his life in the fullest. A sheep knows only what is shown and told to him, and is an unthinking grazer on the plains of desperation. A man is in constant doubt of situation, and thus is always seeking a situation that greater benefits him in tandem with all life. A sheep knows only that which is shown or fed to it, and rests easy knowing the shepherds are close by to save it from any calamity. A man knows no end, only transition, and ascension as a spiritual being in an organic body, and lives firmly right here, right now. A sheep knows only the beginning and the end, and allows the in-between to be dictated by strangers.