Friday, June 3, 2016


We pretend our lives are richer because we are wrapped in technology. We pretend our day-to-day-ness is not carried out in a system that requires we buy things. We pretend we are free when we buy the “best” brands. We pretend that we do not define ourselves by the status which these brands bestow upon us. I mean, I feel good when someone notices the shoes I wear. I feel less at the gym, when my gear is not top of the line, but I pretend this is not so.
     Police pretend that wielding arbitrary power is observing the legal code. Social media pretends that reducing human interaction to a process of “likes” and machines is more human than, say conversation, right? I can contact lots of FB friends rather than walking down the block. More is better, right? Which one is real? Society pretends that the disintegration of home-made-ness through shopping at dollar store chains is actually the ultimate liberation of the individual – that what is freed is the time spent creating a birthday card. We pretend it is “no big deal” spending less time with each other. I actually like the cheap design rather than my own crude, hand lettered card.
     We pretend our freedom of thought does not change when we face a college-ruled pad or a Samsung Note 4 screen. If only we had this or that app, then we could do that! The software manufacturers pretend that their products make better thinking possible, and not just following commands. That word processing is not, well, processing but really more thinking. They pretend that their products are liberating for human beings even though what we do requires their products. We pretend we will probably think better if we put our naturally free thinking capacities into the thought architectures of software, but we never compare that with the alternative. Why compare? Software thinking is easier. It’s all thought out for us. It’s easier.
     Consumptive economic society pretends to respect human rights and human freedoms. We pretend our society does not strips all natural community cultures, local retailers, local values, and replace them with a “capitalistic consumer culture” and calls this progress, estimates employment opportunities, measures the potential as the gross national product and focuses childhood, education and family life to keeping this culture in place. We pretend that’s the way it ought to be. Why else are we here?

We are told when we join the consumer culture we will become free. That are told, and we pretend we are liberated. From what are we liberated? What do we give up? What do we give up in our quest for freedom? Values which don’t “fit” in the corporate culture. We pretend this is good.
Corporate culture is organized around exclusiveness, exclusion, brand-specific behavior, but we pretend otherwise. It does not value groups which are organized around non-exclusive values – friends, family, music, church, locally grown food, shade-tree mechanics, garage bands, dancing in the street, baby-sitting co-ops, co-op groceries, individual freedom, human rights. We pretend these things are value-less because they come from the non-economic world.
We pretend corporations do not persecute us. We pretend that what they do is not a conscious choice. We pretend they are not like “active shooters.” We pretend that our government does not choose to value corporations over people. Our government pretends that the expansion of corporate influence is the support of the oppressed... that corporate culture is “better than” amateur, “do-it-yourself” culture.
We pretend we are not demoralized. We pretend we are not living within the corporatism lie. We pretend we have no crisis of human identity. We pretend this is not a reverse, mirror image of totalitarianism, formerly-Soviet life which then crushed human freedom. We pretend the voters in this election are not responding to this angst.

Where is the free human being? The human being not enslaved by technology? The human being living off the grid, and out of consumer culture? Living with the home-made? Living with knitting, not knitted? Living with hand-lettered? Stepping into humanity? Into the community which loves each member? Which does not need chain stores?
We exist, we “alternative” community members, in what is called a parallel polis – a parallel world. We seek out lives and training that values the human. We are creative. Inventive. Unafraid. Curious. We create browsers. We change what is built-in. We hop-up our cars. We do-it-ourselves.
You see us in co-ops, farmers markets and neighborhood child care centers. We are little retail shops. We are women who raise chickens and have egg customers. We are a society that is parallel to the outward, large, consumer society. We dare for one another, and care for one another.
The world pretends we don’t exist.
But, when the corporate / political polis collapses, you will be glad to find the egg lady. She does exist. Koo-koo-ka-chew!

© Copyright 2016, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved


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