commentary, philosophy, and outright rants

Archive for the ‘communication’ Category

“Corporate Greed”: a useless simplification

I see a lot of people complaining about corporate greed, as if a legal charter given to a group of people somehow acquires the very human attribute of greed. Corporations don’t have greed. They can’t. As Sir Edward Coke, sitting as the King’s Bench, put it in the Sutton Hospital Case of 1612:

“They may not commit treason, nor be outlawed, nor excommunicate, for they have no souls, neither can they appear in person, but by Attorney.”

Corporations do not have greed. People have greed, which is often more successful when hidden behind a for-profit corporation. Using the phrase “corporate greed” buys into the very denial of the I-thou relationship that the greedy people have. Calling it “corporate greed” aids and abets the glamorie that the owners of the corporation use the corporation for: there’s no people here, it’s just a corporation, it’s freedom, what’s your problem anyway? With a corporation, an individual human can only have an I-it relationship, eliminating any chance of dialogue and real change.

In order to break down the walls in society against I-thou relationships, people opposed to massive accumulation of wealth by individual persons need to initiate such connections, instead of attacking the phantom of “corporate greed”. One philosophical song that I see as addressing the desire to attack the greedy as opposed to the need to first make an I-thou connection with a particular person in hopes of establishing a resonance is T. Thorn Coyle’s “Hey Mister” (from her Give Us a Kiss! CD):

“Hey mister,it’s really not my place to put you down
Hey mister, it’s not in my theology.
Hey mister, I shouldn’t run your name into the ground
But I seem to do it anyway!

Hey mister, I know that I should see the God within
Hey mister, but in your eyes she doesn’t seem to play;
Hey mister, I suppose I ought to listen not defend
Hey mister, but I just don’t see the world your way.

All I see are your big cars,
And the way my neighborhood has changed;
It makes me want to shout you out:
And pull my hair like I’m deranged!
I want to bring salvation back;
I really want us to evolve –
But I don’t know how to see a thing
The money, opposition and false power.”

“Hey mister”: it’s a phrase one-to-one. It derecognizes the phony personhood of the corporation and tries to initiate a conversation with an individual, human, person who wields money and power behind the corporate glamorie.

Attacking “corporate greed” has gotten practically nowhere. Perhaps it’s time to look at another strategy; a humanistic strategy; a strategy of finding connections to those hiding behind “corporations”. Perhaps it’s time to try to see the world the way corporate owners (not managers unless they are also major stockholders) see it; it’s the only way to establish a slow resonance in dialogue to ultimately change the frequency.

Corporations have no souls, no greed, no lust, no passion. Attacking corporate greed is a symbolic action so divorced from the actual people who wield power and money, and an action so divorced from humanistic and social justice I-thou traditions, that it wastes energy that could be better used in addressing the actual people of power and money.

Effective online activism

Last week, CNN profiled Leanna Elizalde, a cancer survivor who was basically not being allowed to participate in graduation because she failed to complete a course where the school forgot its responsibility to make reasonable accommodations.

This enraged me… so I went to a social networking site I’m on, wrote an explanation of the problem, and provided links and phone numbers for the school, the school district, the town, the state, and Federal authorities. I also got 3 other people with combined regular readers of about 40,000 to repost what I wrote. I suspect similar things happened across the US, because the school alone was receiving hundreds of calls per day (per news coverage), and by the end of the week, not only did they change the rules and allow her to write an English composition in lieu of the class, but allowed her full participation in the ceremony and gave her a real diploma. Plus, as a bonus, she caught the attention of a cancer survivor’s group that gave her $2500!

Feedback on the site indicated many people called or wrote. Chances are they would not have done so if I hadn’t provided the phone numbers and email links; there’s an 8-second attention span on the ‘net. So if you’re doing activism online, make sure you make it as easy as possible for other people to communicate your message to the appropriate authorities – the easier you make it, the more people who are likely to participate!

People are turning it outward because inward is “bad”

When people have felt “tired” of life, they’ve been turning it inward and committing suicide. And we all know suicide is a bad thing. So now they’re turning it outward instead:

“A 25-year old man, Tomohiro Kato, was arrested… ‘I came to Akihabara to kill people because I am sick and tired of life,’ he reportedly told police. ‘Anyone was fair game. I came here alone.'”

A hearty congratulation is in order for the Japanese fight against suicide! Seven people (and we don’t know if they were sick and tired of life) killed, and ten people wounded by a person who is sick and tired of life, but whaddaya know, he’s still alive. If he had just killed himself… but we all know suicide is a bad thing, right?

Stifled by technology? Take a walk!

In a recent post on a Yahoo!Group, the author bemoaned that he feels stifled by technology.

Somehow he missed the irony that he was choosing to use computer technology to bitch about it.  He wants to return to the wild, yet he is unable to do without computers. I wonder about lower tech items, like indoor plumbing, microwave ovens, gas/electric ranges, electric lights… Somehow his idea of the ‘noble savage’ appears to be a ‘savage’ with all the advantages of technology as it exists to this point.

People who sincerely hate technology should unplug their computers and throw them out so the rest of us don’t have to read their claims to hate that which they voluntarily interface with to preach their dissatisfaction to the world.

Quote Updates 5/18

Horatio, Lord Nelson:
“I am acting not only without the orders of my commander-in-chief, but, in some measure, contrary to him…I am doing what is right and proper for the service of our king and country. Political courage, in an officer abroad, is as highly necessary as military courage.”
http://infomotions.com/etexts/gutenberg/dirs/9/4/947/947.htm

Gregory Norbert:
“When the time of our particular sunset comes our thing, our accomplishment won’t really matter a great deal. But the clarity and care with which we have loved others will speak with vitality of the great gift of life we have been for each other.”

Stan Rogers:
“…For we couldn’t leave her there, you see, to crumble into scale./She’d saved our lives so many times, living through the gale/And the laughing, drunken rats who left her to a sorry grave/They won’t be laughing in another day…/

“And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow/With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go/Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain/And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again

“Rise again, rise again – though your heart it be broken/And life about to end/No matter what you’ve lost, be it a home, a love, a friend./ Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again….”

http://www.stanrogers.net/

Kunal Ghosh:
“That communism is a crypto-religion in line with Judaism and Christianity (both are Abrahamic faiths of West Asian origin) has been alluded to by many great thinkers…Abrahamic religions, whenever they conquer a territory, convert the inhabitants and try to suppress their ancestral culture. Ancestral history becomes a prohibited subject. In Afghanistan and Pakistan pre-Islamic Hindu-Buddhist history is not permitted in schools. China is doing the same in Tibet.”
http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/auteur39.html

debauchette:
“I, and other women like me, object to the assertion that sex work is inherently degrading and that no woman pursues this work or experience by choice. Women do make these choices, and I’m among them. And I have no regrets. My perspective on Sawyer was just that – I was a woman who made a choice.

“This isn’t to say that degrading and dehumanizing sex work doesn’t exist, because it most certainly does. But it does a disservice to everyone when we fail to recognize the differences, the differences in power, autonomy, and freedom.”

http://debauchette.wordpress.com/

Website updates

I’ve added a cute new widget called shelfari which lets me show the books I’ve read (I’m limiting it to about 3 months’ worth) and the books I’m reading.  I’m slowly widgetizing sites, but to see the current shelf, go to http://www.shelfari.com/steward/shelf.

I also finally got all those cute little online tests I’ve taken posted at my online tests subsite.  For the most part, they’re pretty accurate.

Updating links pages and social sites

I finally added some actual descriptions (mainly copied from other sites I already put descriptions on) to my Tribe and Facebook profiles.

I also updated my humor link page and my cruelty, pain, and death link page. (The cruelty, pain, and death link page is not recommended for those who are easily offended, or for those who think ‘my body, my choice’ only pertains to abortion…)