Tuesday, November 15, 2016

To Bring Some Understanding Here Today


The Industrial Revolution--

Inspired hundreds of political revolutions;

Destroyed centuries old family systems and replaced them with semi-autonomous "nuclear" families;

Moved massive numbers of people from the country to the city;

Accelerated slavery before ultimately helping to end it;

Accelerated the wage slavery abuse of men, women and children while inspiring workers' movements to end such abuse;

Reshaped the United States with the Civil War;

Changed the role of the United States on the world stage through both World Wars and the development of the nuclear bomb;

Created the world our world leaders grew up in, the world too many want to "go back to" in some way.


The Technological (AKA electronics, computer) revolution that began in the mid 20th Century--

Through automation and globalization of an increasingly small world, realigned family systems and destroyed urban centers;

Destroyed division of labor giving us more work to do individually in a decentralized work environment;

Destroyed the basis for civil society throughout rural America and heavily industrialized areas like the Rust Belt;

Destroyed the basis of most 20th Century industry, as in the case of the music industry;

Accelerated the pace with which we receive information while turning the news industry into a rival form of entertainment;

Undermined (if not destroyed) traditional notions of privacy and individual rights;

Created a world of high tech warfare with no clearly demarcated front lines;

Split American society so severely that two great camps are in a sort of ideological cold war between different notions of politics based in the Industrial era.....

WE live in a rapidly changing world with minds blinkered by the ideas of an old society. As surely as Industrialism pushed the artistic movements of the 19th century to shift from subjective contemplations of the individual (Romanticism) to a desperate objective need to study the world around us (Realism, Naturalism, even, to some extent, Modernism), we are desperately needing to let go of what we thought we knew and study the world around us with fresh eyes and open ears. As long as we keep defining things in Industrial era concepts of "liberal" and "conservative," we stay dangerously divided, and more and more people will die for stupid, subjective reasons.

Meanwhile, in the past six years, the 388 billionaires who owned more than the bottom half of the world's population have become 62 billionaires, while half of the world's population lives on less than $2.50 a day. In America, job security is a thing of the past, and 48 million people live in poverty, 42 million Americans are food insecure and twice as many Americans living in poverty now live doubled up (returning to pre-industrial family living conditions), and over a half million people live in abject homelessness on any given night.

We don't want to return to a world without our phones, PCs and social media. The human potential is great and obvious. Besides, even if we wanted to, we couldn't. Technological revolution moves forward, and society adapts to it. If we want to avoid the enormity of destruction that came with the Industrial Revolution, including the full-on civil war we can all feel stirring in the darkness right now, we have to talk, to listen, to study and to strategize, not on behalf of our individual clans or ideological "friends" but on behalf of humanity itself.

In our lifetimes, we have had no greater national emergency in each of our hands than the one we have right now. So, cuss and grieve and point and shame all you need to process this new level of horror--reality TV replacing what we all thought was actual reality--and then let's get busy studying the world around us and talking about it's potential. The next four years, the next eight and the fate of future generations depend on it.