Artifices of the Post-Carbon Dark Age : Transportation

A Survey of Technologies for Use in the ‘Long Emergency’

postcarbon

‘Mad Max meets Antiques Roadshow’

Fossil fuels permeate our lives. They heat and light our homes, and they power our tools and appliances. They allow us to transport ourselves and our goods from place to place, and they fuel the factories and farms that allow us to live as comfortably as possible. Because they are directly involved in nearly every facet of our modern way of life, without fossil fuels our reliance on such advanced technology would be difficult, if not impossible.

However difficult it is to imagine a world without fossil fuels, we must start to contemplate it. The problem of peak oil – a fact ignored and downplayed by the mainstream ‘powers that be’ – is a reality whose effects will be increasingly felt over the next few decades. No matter what the item is, unless it was made by hand from local materials, its creation and transport was made possible by the use of petroleum. Because its supply is decreasing, the demand for it is rising, and the cost of its extraction in unconventional forms is expensive in both energy and financing, the price of oil will continue to rise over the coming years, sending shock-waves throughout our economy and way of life.

Because the reality of this problem is ignored by the mainstream (and at least openly by the elites) of American society, it is almost a fact that it is really too late to do anything major in regards to a massive overhaul in our technology or infrastructure. Bio-fuels, nuclear energy, and massive renewable energy projects are only techno-fixes whose usefulness is still tied into the price of oil. This will mean peoples lives will become slower, their worlds smaller, and they will have to learn to live without energy-intensive technologies. Food production will again be the center of life for most people. Those in the developed world will come to live as how the third world does today, and as how their ancestors lived only a few generations ago. What will take root is a ‘World Made by Hand’.

With a shrinking globe, we will see the localization of agriculture and industry once again. We may witness the decline of prodigious governments and the rise of localized ones. We may have to bear the tyranny of increasingly despotic states, or the rise of new factions and identities in regards to religion, ethnicity, or locality. What we may experience is the end of the Pax-Americana and a dawn of a new Dark Age – but this Age mustn’t be too Dark if we can help it.

Lying within previous eras are various technologies that don’t require the use of fossil fuels. Instead of ancient sunlight, they harness the powers of gravity as well as contemporary solar energy in the form of glucose and the movement of winds. These technologies will involve the use and repurposing of various technologies that have existed into modern times, as well as the construction of all new technologies based on pre-Industrial methods. These technologies will be absolutely necessary for higher than subsistence level living and the continuation of anything we could call civilization.

Human Energy

 Human energy is the simplest form of energy that we can harness. It converts chemical energy in the form of food into the physical energy we need to perform work. This physical energy can be transformed through the use of machines to perform tasks too complex or difficult for human hands. Because of its simplicity as well as its unlimited potential, human powered technology will most likely comprise the bulk of technological innovation in the coming decades of economic and political decentralization.

Transportation – The simplest means of transportation involve human energy use, and several technologies could be used in a post-carbon world. These would likely be widely used before the commonplace ownership of draft animals, though they would be used throughout the ages to follow.

  • Bicycles and their derivatives (such as unicycles, penny-farthings, etc) – Short and long distance transportation of either persons or light freight could be transported on the bicycles themselves, as well as on carts pulled by these machines. They would best be used on the asphalt roads and streets that will eventually be rendered unrepairable by current methods. An industry of bike mechanics and repairers will probably be widespread within the coming years.
  • Rickshaws- These two-wheeled passenger carrying carts known specifically as being popular in East Asia may make an appearance in a post-carbon future. The basic form of it is pulled by a walking human, though bicycle pulled rickshaws exist in some countries. This may replace the taxi or provide for local transportation within towns and communities for those who can’t afford draft livestock.
  • Wheel-barrows – This basic garden and construction implement will perhaps make a more widespread use as a transportation device for short distances, though other technologies such as the grocery cart may have a more wider use for such purposes in the post-carbon future.

Chinese Wheel-barrow – A form of wheel-barrow that existed in China used a single wheel in the bottom and a sail jutting out on top that assists the user, allowing the user to carry three to six times more weight. The design came about in China when the governments road-building infrastructure broke down, and with our society facing similar predicaments, this design could possibly be re-used in the post-carbon upper Susquehanna bio-region.

  • Travois – A travois is a simple wheel-less frame structure used by Native American cultures in previous eras to drag loads over land. Its construction consists of two poles lashed together in the shape of an isosceles triangle, with some sort of netting or platform strung between the two poles. This allows for more weight to be carried than a person could carry on their back. Travois are either dragged by humans, dogs, or horses, and would best be used in roadless areas such as forests or grassland where obstructions such as brush may cause problems for wheels.
  • Canoes, Boats, and other Paddle powered Watercraft – The variety of watercraft powered by hand is truly astounding, and would definitely provide efficient transportation on rivers such as the Chenango or Susquehanna to move people and freight. The commercial adaptation of currently used recreation watercraft – such as fishing boats and canoes – may provide initial means of transportation in the early years of the post-carbon Dark Age. Construction of new versions based on indigenous or pre-Industrial designs would perhaps become the main form of watercraft as society adapts to the new limitations placed on it. With the end of the Fossil Fuel era, transportation along waterways would return to being the main means of long distance trade in the post-carbon future.
  •  Grocery Carts – Because of their prolific abundance, their widespread availability and their basic design, grocery carts may become a staple of human transportation in the near post-carbon future. They would perhaps be of low cost – either being sold by those who have acquired access or stolen by looters and scavengers in the suburban wastelands. Their current manner of use by the poor in inner cities may serve as a model for future use by the general population.

One World, Many Myths

Indigenous peoples, or those human populations whose identity, sustenance, and well being often are directly derived from their surrounding environment, often maintain a close and intricate relationship with the natural world that is vastly different than the views and perceptions held by members of industrial, modern societies. Through various spiritual practices and beliefs, cultures such as the pre-Christian Scandinavians, the Australian Aborigines, and the natives of the North American Pacific Northwest hold world-views in which humanity is closely linked with the natural world. Through an analysis of various indigenous culture’s spiritual beliefs and how they relate to a cultures natural environment, we can gain insight and appreciation for aspects of the human condition that directly relate to the natural world.

The spiritual beliefs of indigenous cultures often hold cosmologies, or views of reality, that perceive the concept of nature as a whole with various interconnected parts. Specifically, indigenous populations of the Arctic regions view the world as divided into three parts; the upper, middle, and lower worlds. The upper world is seen to be in the sky, the middle world is the earthly realm, and the lower world is below the surface of the soil and sea. The spirits and dead are said to reside in the upper and lower worlds, and life there is quite similar to that of the middle world. These realms are said to be utilized in shamanistic practice, and that a shaman can make contact with the different worlds, (Helskog 1999). This belief places humans on a nexus between the different aspects of the natural world, and blends the spiritual world with the physical.

The aboriginal populations of Australia have a cosmology concept that is quite different than this three-world system of the Arctic peoples, but essentially performs the same service. Their way of viewing reality is called ‘the Dreaming’, a concept in which nature, time, or history does not exist. People are not separate from the whole of creation, nor is their separation amongst anything in existence. In effect, The Dreaming unites the self, the clan, the totem, the physical surroundings – all are indissolubly one,“ (Mol 1979). This is a world-view that unites humanity with the natural world, completely dismantling the borders between human and non-human life, uniting the spiritual world with the physical.

Besides maintaining cosmological frames as a way to relate to the natural world, natural forces are personified and revered. Amongst the indigenous Pacific North-west coast of North America, the natural world was compromised of spirits, and that every natural force had life, whether it was “the earth, rocks, trees, ferns, as well as birds and animals-even the hail which fell from the sky”, (Clark 1953). This concept, called animism, is one that was entrenched in the lives of the people of this region (as well as many other indigenous cultures), influencing the way they acted in reference to natural forces and places. For example, the Tlingit people of the pacific northwest call various spirits of the sun and sky the ‘Children of the Sun’, giving them anthropomorphic qualities and shaping masks in their image, (de Laguna 1987). Klamath Indians believed that the lake known as ‘Crater Lake’ was the result of a magnificent battle between the forces of the earth and sky, causing the mountain that was there to collapse and fill with water. The lake that was a result of this battle was shunned by the Klamath; only the spiritual leaders were allowed to see it, and any others who saw it risked death and disease, (Clark 1953).

The forces that were seen to pervade the natural world were used as a source of power for the populations of indigenous cultures, who used shamanistic and magical practices to communicate with these forces to provide aid for their people. A common way to communicate with the spiritual world is through the use of sacred areas, where spiritual forces were seen as most able to be contacted. “Spirits in other dimensions are ‘contacted’ by people in order to gain control over animals, resources, diseases, people, spirits, life or the spirits themselves initiate the contact,” (Helskog 1999). The Sami people of northern Scandinavia identified these sorts of areas with ‘seide stones’ – stones with unusual shapes, representing spirits, while the aboriginal Australians identified these sacred areas through the use of rock art, (Helskog 1999). Specifically, among the aboriginal Australians, the symbol known as the ‘Rainbow Serpent is depicted at natural sites where water is found. These areas were seen as places ‘liminal places’ in which the threshold between the physical and metaphysical worlds was found, (Helskog 1999).

Besides specific places having spiritual power, various animals and other life-forms are held to have significance among indigenous peoples. Among the Tlingit of the Pacific Northwest coast, creatures such as the bear, mosquito, otter, and devil-fish, are revered as shamanic spirits, and various masks are constructed to bestow their respective powers upon the wearer, (de Laguna 1987). Various other Pacific Northwest tribes say that either Raven or Coyote gave the gift of fire to humanity, and that twelve tribes were created out of a large beaver that was killed by the youngest of four wolf brothers. They also believe that “…the primeval beings are “animal people.” In a sacred myth of the Skagit Indians, Raven, Mink, and Coyote “planned everything with the Transformer, were in on all the arguments” they decided that there should be male and female in everything on the earth, that people should not live forever, that at death the body should go to the earth and the spirit to the spirit world,” (Clark 1953).

Amongst the Australian aborigines, the Rainbow Snake is whom healers and medicine-men receive their powers from. According to the aboriginal myths, quartz crystals, which are often used by these healers, were once vomited from the Rainbow Snake long ago, (Eliade 1967). In the belief of the indigenous northern Scandinavians, reindeer/elk, fish, and bird were seen as symbols for three parts of nature, those parts being land, sea, and sky, (Helskog 1999).

Indigenous peoples are also very connected to the seasons and weather. In Arctic societies, rituals involving the transition from winter to summer were performed when various signals of the coming of summer were observed, such as the awakening of bears from hibernation among the Sami, (Helskog 1999). Among several tribes of the Pacific Northwest, it was Coyote who arranged the seasons, and a being known as Thunder controlled the weather and had the ability to call forth lightning. Amongst other tribes, a being known as Thunderbird was known to bring storms. “The flapping of his wings caused the thunder; the pieces of flint which he threw or the flash of his eyes was the lightning,” (Clark 1953). Among the Tlingit, weather itself was something that the shaman was seen to have control over, being a mediator between the forces of nature and the tribe, (de Laguna 1987). Among indigenous cultures, weather and climate is something unavoidable, and various spiritual beliefs such as these allowed for adaptability and validation of its power.

Often, the spiritual beliefs of an indigenous culture allow for the moderated and respectful use of natural resources. Among the Chinook of the Pacific northwest, salmon were believed to be guided by spirits, who needed to be appeased in order to ensure the existence of the salmon run. Besides having myths to limit the amount of a salmon catch, at the beginning of each salmon season, the first salmon caught were placed back in the water with a specific sort of berry in its mouth, (Clark 1953). One might assume that this helped prevent the over-fishing of salmon, as well as allowing for a sustainable amount of fish for the next year.

This reverence for nature also manifested itself in the form totems, and other various animal symbols that were held by specific groups of people, or single individuals. Among various tribes of the Pacific Northwest, young people would fast and mediate in order to experience a spirit (often in the form of an animal) that told them their abilities that they would be gifted in their adult lives, often doing this at a places considered spiritually powerful, such as mountains.. Those who experienced this would often carry a symbol of their power animal with them throughout their life, (Clark 1953). Among the Australian aborigines, a similar system of animal totemism permeated the culture, with each individual, each tribe, and each group of ancestral descent having an animal symbol, (Mol 1979). These totemic symbols show that indigenous cultures held a respect for the life that existed around them.

I feel cultures native to a region develop spiritual systems and cultural practices that are environment oriented because of the close, consistent contact the people maintain with the natural world. These are peoples whose sustenance and resources are derived directly from the surrounding landscape, rather than a store or a distant faraway place. Just as those in our modern Western lifestyle derive their values and beliefs from a constant, steady source of information such as the media, it only makes sense that people would derive ideas from the things that they perceive nearly everyday.

Whether a people lived in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, the icy realm of northern Scandinavia, or the arid bush of western Australia, they developed practices and views that allowed them to relate their human identities with the landbases on which they depended. The reverence and power indigenous peoples assign to the natural world is a direct result of the close contact that they maintain with the environment. By developing knowledge of an indigenous cultures views of nature, we can learn to hold the same respect for the environment as our own indigenous ancestors, and through this practice we can maintain a stronger contact with the planet that we developed with.

References

Clark, Ella E. “The Mythology of the Indians in the Pacific Northwest.” Oregon Historical

Quarterly. 54.3 (1953): 163-189. Print.

de Laguna, Frederica. “Atna and Tlingit Shamanism: Witchcraft on the Northwest Coast.” Arctic

Anthropology. 24.1 (1987): 84-100. Print.

Eliade, Mircea. “Australian Religions. Part IV: The Medicine Men and Their Supernatural

Models.”History of Religions. 7.2 (1967): 159-183. Print.

Helskog, Knut. “The Shore Connection. Cognitive Landscape and Communication with Rock

Carvings in Northernmost Europe.” Norwegian Archaeological Review,. 32.2 (1999):

73-94. Print.

Mol, Hans. “The Origin and Function of Religion: A Critique of, and Alternative to, Durkheim’s

Interpretation of the Religion of Australian Aborigines.” Journal for the Scientific

Study of Religion. 18.4 (1979): 379-389. Print.

Meaning

Goddess

Anyone who has been exposed to the knowledge of what is going on in the world and really cares has probably found ourselves in a frame of mind where nearly everything we see invokes thoughts and knowledge of what is wrong with it.

 When driving between school, work, and home I couldn’t help but notice the pointless hurry that everyone seems to be in. Pick-up trucks with ‘Nobama’ bumper stickers swerving into my lane without signaling. Massive tractor trailers flying past. Headlights ‘riding my ass’ because five miles over the speed limit is not fast enough. Every one of these people is rushing for some reason – and risking their life and everything they know – but for what?
 I turn on the radio. Yet another ‘hit’ about living life ‘big’,  how love was lost, something about meaningless sex or how much better the singers life is than anyone else. The song stops and an obnoxious ad comes on about how the latest thing at McDonalds is amazing. I turn it off, or turn it to one of the cds of my favorite band – a Celtic folk death metal band from Switzerland that sings songs about natures beauty, or the ancient Gauls resistance against Rome.
 When I walk through parking lots (which in itself should be seen as a curse), I notice oil droplets in puddles and think of petroleum’s ubiquitous presence in nearly every nook and cranny of this world. I think of it polluting soils, streams, and oceans. I think of its burning polluting the air, causing shifts in climate regimes, affecting countless species. I think of it being made into plastic that floats in the streams and oceans of our mother Earth, as well as in the blood streams of every human I know. I think of how tainted and unhallowed everything has become.
 The readings hit to the heart of the lack of holiness for natural existence in modern society. Everything has become a means for acquisition and endless consumption, whether it be places, objects, or living things. It is the sole point of modern life and there is absolutely no questioning of it nor is there any hiding it. Why is this the case? How is it okay that we can’t even escape plastic, chemicals, or human technology? Why is it that our lives are completely the antithesis of how we evolved to live (if the horrible amounts of mental illness show)? How is it that I (and perhaps all of you) are the only ones that sometimes can’t sleep because we are too busy thinking of how crazy this all is?
 Take the book ‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman. Its an incredible novel that asks what a ‘god’ truly is. In the book, gods from various mythologies have been brought to America by immigration in various forms and are living as real, living breathing beings. Its shown that they need worship to have power, and the old polytheistic gods have waned in power due to the coming of ‘new gods’ – the gods of Media, Corporations, the Economy, the Internet, and so forth. Mr. Wednesday, the Americanized version of Odin of Norse mythology, decides to round up the main character and various other mythological entities to combat these new gods. Its pretty amazing.
 It got me thinking of the idea of corporations and the ‘invisible hand’ of the market as being very much like gods that our society has bent their lives to. We worship them through rituals of watching media and purchasing things, and it only makes them stronger. These gods are only bringing on the destruction of the world and of our lives, because we have all become their slaves – their ‘high priests’ being manipulative CEO’s, politicians, and scientists.
 Do we want nature – who has always shown to bring forth life from death, benefiting both herself and us, cycling through time immemorial – to rule us?  Or do we want the controllers and concentrations of power that are just as ignorant and flawed as ourselves to move us recklessly for their own benefit? Do we want meaning now or the endless pursuit of finding meaning in emptiness?

Identity

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I keep thinking about the idea that the root cause of nearly all problems today – whether they be ecological, societal, political, or those of human mental and physical health – seems to be a disconnect from reality. It seems to be a narrow minded, egotistical, addiction-like mentality where the needs and wants of the ‘I’ or ‘We’ are superior to the needs and wants of ‘You’ and ‘Them’. Industrial agriculture rests solely on this premise.

‘I’ or ‘We’ – whether defined as humanity, a corporation, a nation-state, a race – are always the ones that know better. The technologies we use and the activities we spend our time on are ideally focused on acquiring more power and enjoyment. Despite the vast amount of effort expended and possible repercussions that could occur, our shifting and amorphous goals are paramount. It may cost us billions of dollars, billions of human and non-human lives, and the very security we wish to maintain, but our goals of growth, production, and control in every facet of our lives are supposedly worth this cost and effort. The myths the author dispels show that industrial agriculture is nothing more than a big waste of time – better yields can come from smaller, more intensive and ecologically sustainable agriculture. Its them trying to bend reality to fit the system rather than the system fit reality.

The idea of what is best seems to be expressing our dominance over the ‘other’. Whether or not we really need the top of the line technology (despite its tendency to consume increasing amounts of time and money) or the most attractive mate (or lack there of) we as a society seem to drift towards whatever we feel will allow us the greater dominance over the existence that lies outside our bodies. We need to make money by focusing on easily mechanized cash crops. We need to be famous by building our company into a multi-billion dollar corporation. We need to push the threshold of ‘progress’ with genetic engineering. All to prove our worth and express our dominance over those who lack the wits, luck, or patience. Its gold, glory, and God (which seems to be either science or money) driving us again, as always.

In reality, this dominance of what lies outside our bodies must have to do more with maintaining dominance over ourselves within. We all have multiple identities – college student, son, daughter, boyfriend, girlfriend, citizen, consumer – the list can go on and on. Each of these identities is held up by the actions we perform and the beliefs we maintain, and to keep these identities we have to perform these actions lest the identities fall apart.

It might be that we identify with the wrong things. We identify with the myths of progress, fame and fortune. We identify with the artificial rather than the natural. We separate ourselves from the land, sea, and sky as well as all the non-humans that dwell within it. This isn’t a game with an end, but a cycle and a web.

Library of the Living : ‘TECHNO-FIX: Why Technology Won’t Save Us or the Environment’ by M. and J. Huesemann

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This is an amazingly thought provoking book with the main premise being that modern technology is over-rated, under-criticized, and often creates unintended and unavoidable consequences that promote the need for a complex series of counter-technologies. It is well researched, packed full of supporting facts and references that convince the reader of the inherent flaws in a ‘technotopian’ worldview.

The adoption of any particular new technology is shown to be wildly unquestioned within the industrialized world, such as the popularization of the car and its effects on society. (Did you know that when miles driven, cost of operation, and time spent in a car are taken into account, the average speed of a car is only around 10 miles per hour? All that money spent to go slower than a bicycle.) The neutrality of technology – such as the discovery of nuclear energy – is disputed, and the existence of ‘democratic’ (ex. pre-industrialized agriculture) and ‘authoritarian’ (ex. television) technologies in the vein of Lewis Mumford is revealed.

Techno-optimism and the myth of progress are analyzed, showing that the economic motive drives most inventions and discoveries. (Scientific discoveries actually peaked in the 1990s! Anything new has been an increase in efficiency of consumer technology!) They highlight the reckless pace of the yearly approval of thousands of chemicals in the United States, and their unknown effects are examined. The authors also question the use of Gross Domestic Product to analyze a country’s well-being, leading to the same perspective endorsed by Ralph Nader:

“You contribute to the GNP when you run your car into someone else’s: your contribution is still greater if you hurt people inside.”

Similar to Noam Chomsky’s critique of mass media in “Manufacturing Consent”, the authoritarian, hegemony-maintaining power of technology is examined, and the idea that the supposed democracy of $1.00 equals one vote is shown to be a means of maintaining the status quo.

In the  most eye-opening (and what many readers would find as the most subversive) chapter, the worth of modern medical technology and how the medical system works is examined with scrutiny. The authors discuss the process where by new medical procedures and drugs – whose efficacy may be worse than previous procedures and medicine – are rushed from trial to widespread usage, being capitalized on merely for their ‘newness’. Modern medicine is also shown to be a ‘counter-technology’ whose task is mainly to allow its patients to continue to mistreat their health – such as the concept of an anti-obesity pill.

All in all, the information within this is a powerful indictment against technological optimism and its effects on society. It is a near guarantee that this book will convince the reader that technology isn’t the solution to all of life’s problems, nor will it be the glowing messiah waiting for us in the emerging future.

For more information on ‘TECHNO-FIX : Why Technology Won’t Save Us or the Environment’ by Michael Huesemann and Joyce Huesemann, visit http://www.technofix.org/.

Library of the Living : What We Leave Behind by Derrick Jensen and Aric McBay

what we leave behind

As the first selection in my ‘Library of the Living’ series of book reviews, I cannot stress how profoundly inspirational, intense, eye-opening and infuriating ‘What We Leave Behind’ can be. The authors examine the concept of ‘waste’ – what it is within an environmental context, what it was to previous societies, and what it means to our culture today. What was once a circular path of regeneration has become a one-way path of destruction – spreading toxins, centralizing power, exterminating countless species and cultures – constantly and consistently turning the living into the dead.

Like many of his other works, he examines this modern cultures view of reality and proves its insanity. Grounded in the fact that infinite growth CANNOT occur on a finite world (despite what economists think), he describes the evolution of our current disposable culture to its current obsession with Sustainability™. He questions the benefits of technology, the ridiculous techno-fixes being contemplated, and the ‘Magical Thinking’  that seems to ensnare those whose world views don’t match with reality. He refutes the idea that ‘clean™’ and ‘green™’ technologies will save the planet or our culture, and ultimately proves the best course of action is to take action.

Derrick Jensen is one of the most passionate writers that has ever used the English language. From beautiful descriptions of nature, to harsh real-world facts and insightful anecdotes, his work – especially within the pages of ‘What We Leave Behind’ – is something truly unique and powerful.  There is something wrong with the reader who isn’t spurred by his words or had the flames of rebellion fanned within their heart.

I urge anyone who has any shred of compassion for both human and non-human life to read this book and be exposed to the harsh realities of this cultures effects on this planet and its life. Reading this, you will walk away a profoundly different person.

For more information on Derrick Jensen, ‘What We Leave Behind’, and his other works, please visit http://www.derrickjensen.org/.

Millenialism

Pardon me for being a little anti-establishment, Marxist, or possibly a little conspiracy theorist in my reasoning – but there are several observations I’ve made over the past few years that I really want to mention.

I am further coming to grips with my identity as a Millennial, and it bothers me. I feel as though my generation both gives and receives a whole lot of misdirected blame. However, could I maybe pose the question that this ‘underemployment’ and ‘narcissism’ is perhaps ‘the system’ working its own favor?

Its apparent that ‘the system’ is constantly trying to distract us, in order to acquire our time in order to get at our money. Facebook, the latest celebrity news, Twitter, video games, smartphones, pornography, new technological gadgets and services- the amount of weapons that ‘the system’ has at its disposal increases every day. All of these things create a sense of alienation between us as citizens, family members, relationship partners, and coworkers. In terms of ‘the system’ – this is a good thing.

Dividing us socially, creating certain boundaries that one needs to pass in order to be accepted – such as having to dress a certain way, own certain items, or modify ones behavior – allow new markets to open up. ‘The system’ has agreed that certain behaviors, items, and services are the ‘in thing’ and so we are required to acquire them in order to maintain some semblance of being content.

The need to acquire these fetishized items, services, and modes of behavior creates an anxiety in people. This allows for even further penetration of these countless distractions, so that those in control of these distractions can increase the amount of power that they already have.

This leads to the concept that a society’s values serve the ‘powers that be’ in some form. Isn’t it apparent that our society – that values instantaneous communication, instant gratification in relationships, and ‘excitement’ in the form of games – stresses only those things that sell and concentrate power for a decreasing few of people?

As a young man, I am encouraged to NOT settle down, to not be romantically or seriously attached to any particular woman. I am told to not get engaged, because its ‘rushing things’. I should ‘keep my options open’. It is almost the same thing as employment.  Isn’t this a form of cultural values serving the powers that be?

Its an excuse to help further extend adolescence, and make it so we think of the present instead of the future. If I am not investing in building a family, I am more likely to spend time and money on consumer goods. If I am not investing in my future, I can spend my money now and ‘build the economy’. If I am not attached to any one person, it makes it easier to market sexuality and ‘excitement’. If I am not attaching my fate to another persons, I am more easily able to not have any commitments, allowing those in control to take advantage of me. If I am not attached to any one place, person, or ideal there is no excuse other than to use me. Life is rendered meaningless so that we can be exploited.

This is essentially the same as the process of being ripped out of our hometowns and being processed in college in order to be a free-floating, unattached cog in a machine drifting towards the flow of money.

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