Monday, April 9, 2012

Prison Break!: Every day is a good day to die

[note: I apologize for late posting. Between my own tendency to procrastinate, midnight work shifts and the accompanying exhaustion and a recent death in the family, I have not been giving due diligence to this task. We all have our flaws. As long as we struggle to reconcile them, we all grow as individuals.]

Anarchy A to Z:
a guide to understanding our history unfolding for the anesthetized and apathetic

F is for Fear.

   My grandfather died early Sunday morning. I received a phone call shortly after returning from a gruesome midshift that was surprisingly busy, yet no new war casualties were unloaded like cargo—indeed, with cargo--from the commercial jets parked below the control tower. (I haven’t mentioned this, but I’m an Air Force air traffic controller. Hopefully this doesn’t undermine my anti-imperialist message.) Later, my mother called to tell me the same information. Of course, though, she gave it all the well-placed pauses and her signature sighs, all worthy of a stage drama. You see, she is a religious women—and I differentiate between my eco-spirituality and her adherence to the erratic interpretive nuances of her book. My father’s family, and certainly my dead grandfather and his widow, accept death as a reality. It was oddly appropriate to die on a day that celebrates the rebirth that accompanies Spring—at least, if you open your mind beyond the morbid fascination with a zombie messiah. Death is reality. Aboriginals didn’t fear death, but created rituals to celebrate it. Nonetheless, they still carried fear.

  The anthropological literature on fear and violence generally defaults to Darwinian terms of survival. Fear, most argue, is a biological response designed for self-preservation. Human beings are hardwired with a capacity to fear. Whether we were avoiding certain plants, territories or natural predators, early humans needed fear. At some point, fear for survival triggered the first greatest revolution in human history. Sowing and reaping on a cyclical basis to fortify food supplies gave way to sedentary agriculture. 

   It’s hard to wrap our minds around farming as a fear response, but if we consider neurobiology and the prevalence of Malthusian demographic theory in the present era, it may become a little bit clearer. In this respect, fear dominates our entire existence. We ceased to trust the land to provide for us. As such, we lose the foundation of trust. Those that trusted the earth became prophets who “miraculously” survived in the desert for forty days.

  Deeply, although we fail to recognize it, we are afraid of otherness. When I was at Occupy D.C., I caught myself employing biases toward the homeless; they made me uncomfortable. I truly want economic justice, but fear infects my subconscious. They are a part of my nurture. The homeless are mentally ill and unstable, I reacted, but I was the one in the straightjacket. The innateness of the biological is consistently exploited to control us and to prevent us from rising and confronting our crises. Think about them.
   We all know we’re the minor beneficiaries of a global imperial wealth siphon. We all read a story about a little old lady whose land was expropriated to build a new shopping center, yet we can’t wait to visit it. We know, deep down, that Paul Ryan’s new budget will cause mass suffering and that the Bush II-Obama burning of the Bill of Rights are concrete steps toward fascism. Yet, we look for the good in them because we’re afraid to accept the terrible reality of that humanity is standing on the precipice of our time. We have reached the end and beneath our feet is loose gravel. Rather than fearing the inevitable fall and resisting it, we should embrace it.  

   The human species now sits on death row. We need to be fearless to be free. If we will escape from our prison of systemic injustice, we must tear our arms, with furious passion, from the straightjacket of fear. We must cast the demons of fear from our heads before we can transform our world into one of ecological balance, deep peace and holistic justice. This is the next great revolution of human history: the global social revolution, the elevation of a common humanity and an imperfect global consciousness. 

Paradoxically, the greatest embodiment of fear is also the path away from it.

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