There was a time when many people believed that Governments were the ultimate safety net. Many of us, including myself, believed that, despite all their faults and inefficiencies, governments, at least the so-called “democratic” ones, were better than no government at all. We believed that the government was a place where big, important, and intelligent brains, at least for most of the time, took responsible decisions. Sometimes they got it wrong, but in general, their intention was to strive for the “common good” and ensure that humanity will continue, in some form or other.
But the phrase “death by committee” wasn’t coined for nothing. Today, failed COP after failed COP meeting has proved exactly this: that our governments are driving us to our own death. It is a mass collective suicide decided at the supra-governmental, planetary level.
The reason is simple: collective decision-making is an oxymoron. Because we are not living in a democracy, but a collection of puppet governments enslaved to Business as Usual. Each of the puppets is given an equal right to vote, so while in technical terms there is an illusion of democracy, in real terms every single individual vote is rigged. Trying to achieve meaningful consensus under these circumstances is not only unrealistic and overly ambitious, but also pointless, considering that everyone is effectively corrupt. At best, what is achieved is a complete decision deadlock, which however is carefully word-smithed and media-spinned to look like a triumphant agreement has been reached.
Our governments are about to kill us all, but before you start blaming “elites”, politicians, and governments, have a think about your own role in this. Put yourself in the shoes of an elected senior decision maker. Choosing what is “good for the planet” would require each of these stakeholders to come into direct conflict with their “stake”: the oligarchs, corporations, and political polls that they are hostage to, and which in fact they owe their own rise to power to. They need to always balance what is “good” for justice and for the planet with the interests of corporate greed. Even the most “ethical” politician cannot work in their own ethical vacuum. They all have strings, like the puppets that they are, and must work within the corrupt system that they are part of.
Even when an “ethical decision” is reached, this is not the result of meaningful debate or ethical responsibility, but of a complex, careful rebalancing of all the puppet strings: each new law is nothing but a slightly different configuration of the puppet’s posture. The actual result of political “consensus” is usually a meaningless, fragile “pact” that can break down at any moment, if just one of the strings suddenly starts pulling more than the others.
What we perceive as “democracy” then, is just the collective balancing of all mutual “strings” and exploitation relationships within society. And this is really what has always been the role of government: not to do “good things” for humans and the planet, but to keep all the corruption, exploitation and aggression from getting out of control, by establishing some additional puppet strings i.e. rules and regulations.
These mutual strings of exploitation and laws superimposed on them keep the puppet of society standing, preventing major conflict, but that doesn’t mean that all the ugliness and evil actors are not there. The outside picture may look stable and orderly, but each of the puppet’s strings wants to have its own way. Underneath the static picture of a perfectly composed puppet, lies a vastness of animalistic power relationships that are kept in check through laws, guns, physical borders, threats, social castes, and money. These are the strings that keep it all “together”, and the role of government is to oversee all this.
We live under the illusion of “democracy” as a system that creates good in the world, but it doesn’t, because democracy relies on government. Democracy is a system more concerned with equality between puppet votes, rather than with the validity, quality and freedom of each individual vote. Yet so many of us still believe that “saving the planet” is possible within the current systems of economic and political governance, even though these systems are increasingly proving themselves to be nothing but suicide machines.
But as much as these politicians and “systems” are to blame, so are we, the so-called “ordinary citizens”. We invented democracy with the pretense of being able to voice our opinion, yet we overindulge in delegating this opinion, and the tough job of governance, to someone else who “represents” us: a high-ranking individual who we can hold responsible and pass the blame to for all the problems we cannot solve.
But these high-ranking individuals have already called our bluff, and they can play this game equally well. So instead of stressing about their responsibility as leaders, they simply let us down, passing the responsibility back to us. An endless ping-pong process is about to begin.
After all, leaders are humans themselves, not superheroes. And they certainly do not want to break any of their strings, becoming martyrs for “choosing the righteous path”. They will avoid controversial decisions at any cost, just like we avoid becoming involved in politics, switching off lights in the house or reducing our fossil fuel footprint. Today’s politicians mirror today’s humans: they lack all of the qualities that our economic system has successfully exterminated in modern society: empathy, critical thinking, and above all, a conscience.
As we, the “ordinary citizens”, continue to play along with the democratic illusion, so do the politicians. Both sides are pretending to not know what’s going on and continue the ping pong game. But in the end, we all become puppets of our sinful ignorance. We sink into denial, convincing ourselves that at least some of these senior decision makers may do the right thing and suffer for our own sins. Occasionally a few politicians spring up who pretend that they are outsiders, and rise to fame by attacking the hypocrisy of the system. But all they are is good actors. Many of us will vote for these fascists, but they are no different. We are yet again placing our hope and trust in governments and politicians. The more they pretend, the more we pretend that we don’t know they are pretending.
The illusion of democracy, and the ping pong game between voters and politicians, are deeply rooted in our cultures. We build houses of parliament, senates and capitol hills. We create stories and textbooks that idealize power and authority, and only rarely do we rebel against them. The boring, pantomime choreography of mirrored movements between the voter and politician continues, as one passes the hot potato back to the other. The show ends, the curtain falls, and both voters and politicians clap for themselves. They clap so hard, that they cannot hear the implosion of civilization.
George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books
9 thoughts on “Catastrophe Ballet”
So, in essence, those in positions of influence are spoiled children throwing tantrums to get what they want. Sounds about right. Cheers, KG
I find truth in most of your words in this particular post. So guess the novelty. Nobody is doing anything about it . All the ppls that have understood these things and kept condoning or not taking stand are perpetrating the status quo. I have two or three lines marked. Plus a few more things and there . I paint just so that you know about me Fine arts. And creatives are very well stuffed and silenced so that they do not speak thruths. So . P. S. On location it is crowded dense and working class. For them to figure what it would take to uphold stand in life would be to recognise that their ways have led to today and oppose with equal if double the effort where they have pulled initially. They working hard into not working hard getting paid to waste and consume and most of them find their convenience. Keeping in touch, Sincerely Olivia Jifcovici
Very well said George, we are tragically limited by our self interested predatory biology. We are clanish tribal pack animals. Mother nature’s rationing system is the pecking order. Hierarchy is our biological organizing system. Individual, pack, and status is our modus operandi. We don’t really know how to share or organize any other way. Deep down we are oppurtunistic predators. We have been socially groomed by the rules of so called civilization to be comfortable preying on everything and each other. We believe the lies that we tell ourselves that we are special and we are on a benevolent quest to create a human utopian society that benefits all of our kind. The game of thrones is the best we can do. The hierarchical rational and biological urges for status and mating rights permeates every conceivable organization we create. Civilization and all its thousands of rules and structures is a clever way to organize our collective self interest and massive exploitation of each other and the planet. Searching for an easier way of life for a few humans at the expense of the many and all. Not aware of the folly in that quest. Simple subsistance is the only operandi that could ever be sustainable for a long period of time. Our collective meteorical rise to obsessive exploitative success and dominance is a one time short story. The entire process of the universe appears to be some sort of creative urge. Stimulus response through and through. We have been seduced by our freakish cleverness at exploiting the planet and all the other life forms and planet substances. Blinded to the hard fact that we are slowly but faster and faster destroying the magically hierarchical stimulus response tree of life of that created us. There is no free lunch. Only exploitation. The foolish attempt to become omnipotent. The rise to world dominance has been exciting for some. The slide back to extinction or subsistence more likely than not won’t be a pleasant one. Our collective fantasy will be a hard one to give up. We will have to forgive our trespasses and get in touch with our better angels to not turn the tree of life and earth into a smoking ruin. Be smart, be kind, forgive, and fall in love again with the simple magic of the creative urge that got us here. Love Rick
I am an ardent reader of your newsletters. I wonder if you know this website.
All the best,
Digital Discourse Foundation® is a registe
No, thanks for sharing, it looks like something up my street!
Bravo! Capitalism roars louder than than the death cries of the species which are going extinct.
It might work better if you join the campfire convention.. free option available. Then you’ll see the events on the left hand column. Or just come along, I think you’ll enjoy the people Informal Gathering 12 noon Sunday 18th at Camley Street Nature Park. There’s a cafe. Looking forward to seeing you again.
Sent from my iPad