commentary, philosophy, and outright rants

Archive for the ‘compassion’ 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.

Another reason why marijuana should be legalized

“‘We’re not winning the battle,’ Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard told lawmakers.  ‘The violence that we see in Mexico is fueled 65 to 70 percent by the trade in one drug: marijuana.'” (CNN)

The Arizona Attorney General has made it clear: marijuana legalization would cut violence in Mexico by 65 to 70 percent – violence that is creeping north into the US.  At what point will our elected officials see that the biggest threat marijuana poses is the violence that accompanies prohibition?

What if food prices spiked like gas did a few months ago?

Monsanto’s trying to make it happen: advertise aggressively, collect the money and to hell with the people.

For the Fallen

Sometimes a poet, writing of one matter – in Laurence Binyon’s case, the English Expeditionary Force in the First World War – will write words so timeless that those parts not specifically tied to place or time re-echo through the ages whenever a like event occurs.

The second, fourth, sixth, and seventh verses of For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon, for this eve of 9/11:

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

[…]

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

[…]

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Autism vs. Basketball Stars

What’s the main difference between Michael Savage and Don Imus?

Don Imus attacked Rutgers basketball players, who are perfectly capable of defending themselves.

Michael Savage attacked autistic people, who are people who are at a vast disadvantage for defending themselves.

Think Michael Savage will get fired like Don Imus did?  I doubt it’s likely.  Disabled people get a lot less funding than state university basketball teams – not to mention a lot less fans and a lot less attention.

I’d love to see some of the women’s basketball team at Rutgers step up publicly and say that Mr. Savage’s remarks are just as unacceptable as Imus’ remarks.  But I’m not holding my breath on it.

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/

Recent additions to my favorite quotes page

Mark Di Ionno:
“Want to know why there’s no peace in the world? Spend a morning outside family court.”
http://www.nj.com

 

Tom Clancy (Executive Orders):
“We all know that the government does take more than it gives back. They’ve just learned to hide it. The federal budget deficit means that every time you borrow money, it costs more than it should – why? Because the government borrows so much money that it drives up interest rates. And so every house payment, every car payment, every credit card bill is also a tax. And maybe they give you a break on interest payments. Isn’t that nice? Your government gives you a tax break on money you ought not to have to pay in the first place, and then it tells you that you get back more than you pay out. Does anybody out there really believe that? Does anybody really believe it when people say that the United States can’t affordnot to spend more money than it has? Are those the words of Adam Smith or Lucy Ricardo?”

 

Joan Kovatch, Jr.:
“How do you avoid conditioned air, toxic gases, and the stress of being boxed? Get outside whenever you can. Park a bit farther away in the parking lot and enjoy the walk, even in the rain. You know you’re not going to die wet and soggy and frostbitten, you’ve got the resources to get home and change as soon as you want to. Enjoy the wet, the cold, hot, whatever. Walk around a park, get some exercise, enjoy your neighborhood.”
http://joanjr.blogspot.com/

 

John Sinclair:
“They don’t want people to know – or if they know they don’t want it acknowledged – that men have cocks in their pants, that women have tits and cunts under their clothes, that people can say and do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, that their guns and orders and phony laws and honkie power are all bullshit, that there’s no way any common words can ‘shock’ and ‘corrupt’ kids who are really hip to the whole deal and who are instead shocked and hurt by the insane disregard for human freedoms that the police and other authorities practice as a matter of course.”
http://johnsinclair.us/10for2/

 

Barney Rosset:
“If the Americans, Dutch, British, and French persist in this attempt to rule other peoples in the world, which they have no right to do, then we are headed in a straight line for the third world war, because these people won’t stand for it. If it had not been for Gandhi in India, I feel sure the Indians would have killed countless thousands of English, but his leadership in nonviolence has saved a lot of lives. In return, the British put him in prison.”
http://evergreenreviewblog.blogspot.com/

 

Timothy Levitch:
“If it weren’t for the slight Dutch imperialism that went down on these streets, it is possible that Cookie Monster would have been chasing down biscuits his whole life.”
http://www.speedisms.com/

 

Isaac Asimov:
“Jokes of the proper kind, properly told, can do more to enlighten questions of politics, philosophy, and literature than any number of dull arguments.”

 

Rabbi Joseph Gelberman:
“Once there was a great rabbi who for many years had pondered a question, “Where is God?” He asked a friend who was also a rabbi to help him. His friend’s answer was simple, “Wherever and whenever he is invited—that’s where God is.”

 

xesce:
“The difficult task is to explain that depression does not necessarily indicate an inability to accurately assess one’s life and one’s potential to achieve a satisfactory quality of life. Also, that a person has a right to decide that the treatment options available are not right – or realistic – for them personally.

“It is incredibly depressing if the only way you can prove that it’s that bad is if you kill yourself – if no one believes you suffer until you actually manage to kill yourself.

“To address the idea that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem: things did not get better for me after high school. I am now 41 years old.”

http://xesce.net/qualityofdeath.html

 

Merri Lisa Johnson:
“Free love doesn’t always follow from a lack of self respect; there is something sex-hating in such an equation.”
http://preview.tinyurl.com/3yx38o

Click here for my favorite quotations page. (more…)