Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Scaring the Students

As my friends know, one of my favorite pastimes is scaring the bejeezus out of college students. When I teach about peak oil, usually none of them know beans about it. Understandable, of course. Their minds had been fattened on the main corporate media teat, so their mental map is as far from reality as it could possibly be. Initially, these students are apathetic at best when told about looming problems, but as the class wears on, they begin to see, through their own research, that something is up. They gain a certain sobriety. This is the same sobriety that youth in pre-industrial societies adopt when they come of age. They realize that life is serious business. But that is not what the mainstream wants them to know. In the United States, the primary function of the media is to inculcate and maintain an adolescent mindset for as long as possible in its captive consumer audience.

The bosses want children--for us to remain at the mental age of a child.

Children are easy to push around, to frighten with nonsense, to control. In fact, those young consumers readily take on the role of prison trustees, doing the job of the corporate wardens, making everyone toe the cultural line, the product story du jour. In an infantilized society, the perceived and promulgated social structure is upside down: The youth appear to control everything. The consumer web is geared towards capturing youth early, branding them like cattle. The "cool" youth are unaware that they are merely the shock troops for the corporate culture machine. Corporations do not care what your clothes, hairs, makeup, tattoos, or shoes look like. These do not change anything. ZERO. They only care that you buy it from them. So what is the cheapest way possible to create a new fashion? Let the captured youth produce it for you. Then co-opt it and sell it back to the lovely lambs.

Meanwhile, the actual social structure is one of total control from the top down, from the corporate masters down to the lowest of the low. No one is allowed to live outside the system without major hassles. If you are merely homeless, you live off the detritus of the corporate machine. Try to live off nature. Not much out there, and for the most part, people are clueless as to how to proceed. In other words, because of that long education at the hands of the corporate-educational system, they are fit only to be a wage slave. Let's say you want to live "off-the-grid." Guess what? You still have to earn "money" in order to pay property taxes. That means participation in the system. If you wish to keep the basic corporate lifestyle, you must buy the industrial gee-gaws that it requires. That means you continue to participate in the system: You need imaginary reality scrip, better known as money.

Is there escape? I think there is, and it revolves around the reformation of the youth culture. Should the young come to perceive that their inheritance consists of a pocketful of carcinogens and a dying planet, they will become very sober indeed. They may even become violent. Go figure.

We've seen the initial stirrings of youth in Africa and the Middle East attempting to throw off their shackles, and we are seeing the first nascent stirrings of exactly the same thing in Wisconsin and on Wall Street. The corporate media will ignore these events or downplay them in the hopes that it will go the way of the hula hoop, an innocent fad that youth will soon outgrow. But there is a difference. After the hula hoop, we still had billions of barrels of oil to burn. We still had cheap and easy growth. Young people had a career in the belly of the beast to look forward to, a comfortable living. What can they look forward to now?

Can those good old days, those days of wanton planet killing with no seeming repercussions, continue? Will the people put down their disagreements and head back to the failing corporate paradigm for long?

No. Not for long. The world is unravelling, and those students with their new found sobriety are going to do something. What? I do not know. Go on a fifty state killing spree? Maybe. Downsize and localize. Perhaps. Attempt to reform the unreformable in order to keep some semblance of the toxic paradigm alive? Who knows.

What I do know is that the dream killing, world eating, indigenous people murdering corporate culture will not go down without a fight. They will attempt to enslave, kill, torture, and poison all dissenters right up until the last corporate person goes down. And when that happens, all that will be left is an adult world full of sober people. These people will not scare easily.