Tuesday, August 11, 2015

WHY IS BEING HUMAN NEVER ENOUGH?



WHO AM I?
A slippery double bass riff. A whining blues-harp. A backbeat, fair and lovely with its own kind of truthful spine upon which the heart of a woman could recline. Her head nods slowly in time. In time. In time with her heart and the feelings in the music. The 7th chords open the captured heart, the obligations, duties, anger at bosses, slave masters, kings and shift leaders. The rhythm moves her fingers. What is unlocked in the heart of woman, or a man, and makes the flesh respond? Something intimate. Something human. When I brush her neck and down her arm, she chills and turns with a shiver and a “don’t do that” smile. Sometimes the human touch is too much. The music, for a moment, replaces the reality in which the human spirit lives.
Once alive, kings, queens, tribal leaders, slave masters, bosses, parents, family bullies were humans with hearts and hands and heads. They “ruled” people personally. “Their” people. They had power in their hands. They angrily raged against enemies who opposed them. They struck fear in our hearts, brutalized and, betrayed. They were alive. They were the mortal face of power. Evil, strong, good or bad they were not anonymous power. They were not distant, indiscriminate. They commanded and we obeyed. You knew whose face looked out of power eyes, who wore the crown, earned or privileged.
Your labor was due to them, you worked for them day, night, round the clock, work until you dropped, no time off unless the Lord or Master took a break. Compensation? What is the compensation for obedience under threat? They gave you enough, or let you keep enough, to stay alive. Slave wages, indentured, indebted, tied, work was not freely given. Freedom did not belong to the worker. Had justice been invented. You’d never know it. Justice and rights were for the ruling class.
But, power shifted. The rights of man arose. Despots died at the hands of the common folk in uncommonly brutal ways as their despotism demanded. The king is dead. Their Power was released. Was it shared?

WHY AM I HERE?
Kingless times and the “rights of man”. Which men? The “rule of law” made by the privileged put the privileged on the thrones. Gave the privileged the rights. Kingdoms were transformed and the once human despots operated behind corporate veils. Then science gave them economics that showed how profits were to be made. Profits, is what were the power was renamed? Power measured by profits still measured blood.  What is the cost of slave labor? Corporations joined their power with politics and freed the workers. Then workers had freedom without power. They paid the old slave wages, never enough to live on, take it or leave it. The same old nickel and dime now costs more.
Power now: dehumanized, industrialized, and corporatized. Computers, robo-calls, answering machines, media are all human-less agents of power. The same power. No specific person does me ill, but I am harmed by chains of corporate actions. Bound by chains. And, the human being has not changed. Still breathe, still bleed.
Deed are visited upon us all, and what is there to do? How can I swear vengeance for an uninspiring corporate heart? How can I make a defective product, or a chain store pay in blood? The chains have bound more, captured villages, hold communities back. Pay no taxes. Move the money to their castles. Hire few. Rob many. There once were kings who ruled our lands who could be hanged. But how in the world can vengeance be had when corporate amorality unfurls? Corporate faux-kings plot against us, inhuman faces over international lands, evil, strong, good and bad. No corporate face, no human eyes. Anonymous power in thrall o’re the world.
Corporate strategies are not about virtues, only what can be measured in quarterly profits. Outsource every expense. Damn the quality, cut the costs. Offload all responsibility, to whom? People? Let the people pay for toxic waste. Let individual residents, citizens – the humans in a place - pay to clean up what corporations leave behind. That’s just the cost of having corporate jobs! Corporate adultery? Of course, undulating behind the corporate veil with legislatures. Corporate sentimentality? None. Love? Compassion? Musicality? Not possible. Not human! What reigns in the heart of a corporation? Fear of being found out for the crime. But, even then, the individual corporate leaders are protected by the law. Let me go bankrupt and someone else pays. Golden parachutes.  Hidden.

WHAT DO I WANT?
The slippery double-bass riff, the whining blues-harp. The backbeat, fair and lovely, a truthful spine upon which the heart can recline is the product of a human group not motivated by economic opportunism. Our community can be that band blowing sweet. A band, restauranteur, gardener, shop keeper, barber, bookkeeper, carpenter, handy man, the self-employed, the healer, the farmers markets; independently outside the secret hand of Adam Smith, not buying into corporate greed, seeking only to meet our local need. Not hidden by corporate veils. Not anonymous. You know them. Creators of the family’s 7th chords which open, open so much, open the corporate-minimum wage doors, unlock the corporate chains and chain stores that otherwise bind our hearts, hands and brains. Makes life livable for the human spirit here, and competes against the anonymous corporate slaver selling cheap because he’s stolen from another over there.
Hubris, power, anonymity, and greed are what the corporate Board must feed. But the human-sized, the locally based mom’n’pops operate on things called virtues, human values, remember those?  That’s what binds us to us and us to them. Do unto others. Golden Rules. Corporations suck capital from our local lands and feed giant banks in banking centers where conglomerates amass riches to fund bigger projects, create bigger profits, bigger waste, bigger collapses. Too big to fail. What a threat? As if we don’t already have hard times. Hard scrabble. Hard luck.  Really? The bigs needs the bigs and the bigs crush the littles and ignore the locals.
We have collisions of the moral and the amoral. Friction of self-interest. How can a company have morals without a conscience or a soul? In the confluence of the grocery store we see the battle waging. The bankers, the morbid profiteers, the bigs versus the locals. Let’s choose human-sized. Let’s choose the local. Let’s choose the eyes into which we can look. Those who leave their capital locally, in local banks, to pay local workers, fairly, not minimum, another motive – not only about profit.

© Copyright 2015, Jean W. Yeager
All rights Reserved

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