In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

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Re: In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

Postby Elvis » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:48 am

liminalOyster » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:27 am wrote:
Elvis » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:06 am wrote:How about Exxon's, umm, collusion with science writers and others to discredit fossil-fuelled global warming? Certainly done in the dark. Illegal? Would a law have stopped Exxon from paying writers to lie?

I'd call it a conspiracy, while acknowledging the mincability of that word. Even after the collusion was revealed, there was a second, somewhat successful conspiracy to "debunk" the first one.


But getting more to 8bit's point, I think, is the remark of a mineral company (I think?) executive who was questioned about the environmental impact of a company project (paraphrasing): "Oh, we just remove the environment." :shock:

(Anyone recall that?)


The problem, though, is that the very idea that a name can be given to "everything" is a Eurocentric magic trick. The "environment" is meaningless. I still care, of course, about conditions for life being maintained. But one of the big problems with environmentalism at large is, by detaching from human lives and outcomes in favor of this odd and imagined monism, it tries to take on capitalism without having to name it as the enemy.


I think I disagree with the first sentence, and maybe the second sentence, but I might misunderstand, feel free to expand on that. If environmentalism at large suggests Sierra Club or WWF (wildlife, not wrestling), I refer myself to your signature and agree; it forgets that humans are part of the environment. Ever since that asshole Francis Bacon came along. :mrgreen: No really. :|
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Re: In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

Postby JackRiddler » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:41 am

Elvis » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:06 am wrote:How about Exxon's, umm, collusion with science writers and others to discredit fossil-fuelled global warming? Certainly done in the dark. Illegal? Would a law have stopped Exxon from paying writers to lie?

I'd call it a conspiracy, while acknowledging the mincability of that word. Even after the collusion was revealed, there was a second, somewhat successful conspiracy to "debunk" the first one.


But getting more to 8bit's point, I think, is the remark of a mineral company (I think?) executive who was questioned about the environmental impact of a company project (paraphrasing): "Oh, we just remove the environment." :shock:

(Anyone recall that?)


Sure, that can be called a conspiracy, whether "usefully" or not. It may be actionable under civil law, akin to false advertising. It's vital to expose it. Obviously the actions by oil companies to bribe or topple inconvenient governments are criminal conspiracies. But these are tools in a larger scheme again better described as capitalism. Drilling and burning for profit despite knowledge of the consequences, which is about what 98% of what Exxon does, is not a conspiracy, it's good capitalism.

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Re: In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

Postby dada » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:41 am

Drilling and burning for profit despite knowledge of the consequences, which is about what 98% of what Exxon does, is not a conspiracy, it's good capitalism.


Wouldn't this just be another way of saying "Commercialism is good capitalism?"

Defining commercialism as "emphasis on the maximizing of profit," here, leaving out the "at the expense of quality" part of the equation.

I'm not defending capitalism, I'm just saying that if we're going to insist on being caught up in arguing over minutiae, like there's some domination of definition of terms political race to be won in the almighty intellectual social sphere, shouldn't we at least do that right?
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Re: In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

Postby liminalOyster » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:49 pm

Elvis » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:48 am wrote:I think I disagree with the first sentence, and maybe the second sentence, but I might misunderstand, feel free to expand on that. If environmentalism at large suggests Sierra Club or WWF (wildlife, not wrestling), I refer myself to your signature and agree; it forgets that humans are part of the environment. Ever since that asshole Francis Bacon came along. :mrgreen: No really. :|


I guess it gets complicated fast but my basic point is that Nature as a place/thing is only a few centuries old. "Environment" is pretty much synonymous with it. It's meaningless, to me, because it's little more than a propaganda strategy to talk about (and rationalize) other things. It's a moral/ethical appeal, in general, but where it's vauable to one side ("think of the environment!"), it's therefore also pretty much inconsequential to the other. No dirty energy company in the world, at this point, probably fails to invest in an environmental impact statement, giving them an easy out in the popular discursive world, most of the time.

Francis Bacon is best associated, probably, with Jack the Ripper. His later namesake nicely merged their associations.
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Re: In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

Postby Elvis » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:50 am

I always preferred "ecology" because it's really about ecologies, more about a process than a touchable thing. But I'm told it's too specific to substitute for "environment."
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Re: In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

Postby liminalOyster » Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:50 pm

Elvis » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:50 am wrote:I always preferred "ecology" because it's really about ecologies, more about a process than a touchable thing. But I'm told it's too specific to substitute for "environment."


Told by who? I mean, "ecology" has a very troubled history also. It's roots are in the excess of wacko racialized 19th c environmental determinism and it's probably not a coincidence that the CIA was connected to Human Ecology academic fronts during MK. But what it ostensibly means - interdependent habitats for various lifeforms - is not a bad start.
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Re: In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

Postby JackRiddler » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:23 pm

.

Every term with any descriptive power to it has a lousy history, but you can't give them all up if you want to say anything. In denotation, ecology is to environment as system is to whole. (Except when environment is often used in a local or small-scale sense, like an individual's environment.) Also, ecology is to environment as capitalism is to economy or to civilization (insofar as capitalism is the present way of organizing human ways of life). In connotation, usually, ecology suggests moving parts interacting, and humans are a moving part within it, a set of actions, whereas environment is something that surrounds us, a context. Because of the tendency to externalize regardless, either term can be used to defuse. This is why I'm always writing long phrases like, "the capitalist system is destroying the ecological basis for sustaining human civilization and current population levels." Or adding that the issue is not about "the planet," it is about the extinction of most species including humans. Still, I will shorthand what is happening as "burning the planet" when really we are burning us--some of us more among the arsonists than others. Even in the worst case, wherein we all end up dead (so hard to conceive at this moment of continuing expansion and constant ideological affirmation of it), the planet will stick around and the biosphere will almost certainly produce higher levels of evolutionary complexity again within a mere couple of hundred million years. (It is "mere" in terms of geology and long-term evolution.) To attribute processes on this scale to collusionary action by a tight set of controllers carries an important partial truth but for the whole constitutes a woefully false frame. It is a different kind of externalization, in which removal of the controllers -- hard as it seems to those of us here -- appears sufficient when it is only one of many necessities if the overall process is to be tamed and directed toward human survivability. For that everything -- thousands of related variables and subprocesses -- must change in ways we can hardly conceive or predict. It also highlights the larger problem of values or deeply layered ideology inherent in our views, which I've heard most pithily summarized in the variously attributed saying, "It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism."

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Re: In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

Postby liminalOyster » Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:06 pm

JackRiddler » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:23 pm wrote:.

Every term with any descriptive power to it has a lousy history, but you can't give them all up if you want to say anything. In denotation, ecology is to environment as system is to whole. (Except when environment is often used in a local or small-scale sense, like an individual's environment.) Also, ecology is to environment as capitalism is to economy or to civilization (insofar as capitalism is the present way of organizing human ways of life). In connotation, usually, ecology suggests moving parts interacting, and humans are a moving part within it, a set of actions, whereas environment is something that surrounds us, a context. Because of the tendency to externalize regardless, either term can be used to defuse. This is why I'm always writing long phrases like, "the capitalist system is destroying the ecological basis for sustaining human civilization and current population levels." Or adding that the issue is not about "the planet," it is about the extinction of most species including humans. Still, I will shorthand what is happening as "burning the planet" when really we are burning us--some of us more among the arsonists than others. Even in the worst case, wherein we all end up dead (so hard to conceive at this moment of continuing expansion and constant ideological affirmation of it), the planet will stick around and the biosphere will almost certainly produce higher levels of evolutionary complexity again within a mere couple of hundred million years. (It is "mere" in terms of geology and long-term evolution.) To attribute processes on this scale to collusionary action by a tight set of controllers carries an important partial truth but for the whole constitutes a woefully false frame. It is a different kind of externalization, in which removal of the controllers -- hard as it seems to those of us here -- appears sufficient when it is only one of many necessities if the overall process is to be tamed and directed toward human survivability. For that everything -- thousands of related variables and subprocesses -- must change in ways we can hardly conceive or predict. It also highlights the larger problem of values or deeply layered ideology inherent in our views, which I've heard most pithily summarized in the variously attributed saying, "It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism."

.


I have to make some space to digest this and I will. But it reaffirms why I am a single issue molotov cocktail thrower these days. Climate is all. And because it's all, it does demand more for its language than the terms we have inherited. Anthropocene is a good start down that road, for instance, but obviously just a pitstop. I don't really care about any political question anymore that does not directly lead back to and encompass climate and extinction.

The big question now is about time. All hitherto existing forms of political action have depended on an expansive future, in some sense. We know nothing about how to do political action that is itself innately metaphysical and antagonistic to the void itself. All we have for reference is the psycho-theatrics of the high cold war, now re-proffered as a placating strategy meant to model resolution of the threat of annihilation. We need something more and no mass of senators high profile LARP-ing 1980s Tom Clancy plotlines is going to offer it.
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Re: In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

Postby dada » Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:37 pm

I still have to question this critique which leads to an overarching capitalism as prime suspect, the 'patient zero in the economic environment.' There may be a regressive tendency inseparable from capitalism, but there is no ideological system - economic or otherwise - that doesn't have the regressive tendency, to greater or lesser degree. The greater or lesser degrees appear to have more to do with the implementation of these various ideologies in large societies or widespread cults (entirely dependent on your view), more than qualitatively inherent flaws.

The regressive tendency reaches a critical mass, takes on a life of its own. Now it is parasite, the ideology is reduced to the role of host, until it is sucked dry. By this analysis, capitalism as we know it is not the culprit, it is merely a husk, a dead shell. There is a something else animating the corpse, masquerading as capitalism. That would be commercialism.

Not seeing commercialism for what it is causes all our efforts to point in the wrong direction. Our attentions and analyses are so much wasted effort, because we're aiming at the bulletproof, dead shell, and not at the heart of the matter.

--

I fully understand the human responsibility for the destruction of the biosphere, however I can't help but see humans as an expression of the planet, inseparable from it. "Of a piece," parts of the whole. I'm saying I can't escape the knowledge that something that emerges from the Earth is blowing it up, 'burning the planet, burning us.'

I just don't see anyone's strategies working, especially any campaigning histrionics. "Blame the bad guys, get excited, light your torches and grab your pitchforks brothers and sisters, let's stop the bad guys." These dramatic heroics are entertainment, not effective action.

So I'm trying a different approach to the problem. Getting to the source from which the trouble springs. Maybe I'll find a solution there, you never know. You certainly don't. If you did, we wouldn't be in this mess.
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Re: In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

Postby liminalOyster » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:15 pm

What do you mean by "commercialism"? Individual consumerism? I don't follow your post.
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Re: In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

Postby JackRiddler » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:08 pm

Yes, define commercialism as distinct from capitalism.
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Re: In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

Postby dada » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:32 pm

Commercialism, working definition: Emphasis on maximizing of profit, at the expense of quality.

Profit: more money, more attention, more status, more spiritually enlightened states... Things, material and non-material. Financial Profit, yes. Advantage, benefit in general, yes.

Quality: integrity.

Emphasis on the maximization of gain at the expense of integrity.

It isn't an ideology, it's a way of thinking, the commodified way of life.

Commodity: A thing that is bought or sold, such as water, time, affection, intellectual power, art, soul. Bought and sold for money, for attention, for status, for spiritually enlightened states...

I'm sorry you don't follow my post, but I'm not sure if there is anything I can do to help with that. But don't worry, I wasn't addressing you in particular, it was just to anyone and everyone, in general. I should probably change all the "you's" to "one's" when I do that, totally depersonalize it so it makes that super clear.

It was just a rant, anyway. Maybe someone else will get something from it.
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Re: In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

Postby JackRiddler » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:42 pm

But that's an automatic function of ownership of the means of production by private enterprises dependent on selling commodities within markets, in which furthermore almost all money is created by extension of debt at interest by private financial entities; which is a definition of the present and long-running form of capitalism, globally and in most localities. Of course the ideology of personal gain is powerful and drives the system -- it's a chicken and egg question of which came first, the beliefs or the system, going back to Max Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and I guess a few hundred years before it. But a profit imperative (not simply profit motive) is built into that system. It's not like a venture can fail to make a profit and survive. In fact, it picks up a huge disadvantage just from making less profit than its competitors, and this operates powerfully in the short and middle term already. So we're back to capitalism, are we not?
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Re: In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

Postby dada » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:51 pm

No, it's a primitive mindset. Commodities and possessions are just like totems and fetishes. Investing energy into objects. Material objects, objects of thought. Concepts of self, ego. It's superstitious thinking.
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Re: In The End, There's Only One Conspiracy That Matters

Postby dada » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:52 pm

It's regressive, right back to the primitive mindset.

There really is only one conspiracy that matters, and it really is the conspiracy of the living against the dead. And I'm really on the side of the dead. If my words seem foreign and strange, I apologize. We speak an entirely different language here in the future.
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