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The Politics of Competitive Desperation
'He's the universal soldier and he really is to blame' - Donovan
There is no doubt that life for the majority of us is a struggle. As a species we have combined to make it so. Those who live a more luxurious lifestyle will often speak sardonically of and to those whose lives are a daily struggle, perhaps forgetting their own roots or simply declining to acknowledge their luck and fortunes.
We have created a ridiculously complex competitive society and its unhealthy influences begin to affect us from the moment of our birth. Amorphous, intangible targets are set and we are schooled by ourselves to believe that those targets are valuable, meaningful and important. As long as we remain caught up in such doctrine of thought it is extremely difficult to apply any independent rationale of perspective to our lives.
As a theoretical simile, someone who is born inside a prison and never gets the chance to leave it is unlikely to be able to comprehend the reality of any world beyond those confines unless a trigger event occurs.
In effect, all change to human awareness is preceded by external trigger events and only our reactions to and readiness for those trigger events determine the extent of any change.
Enduring enforced insanity
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child has grown, the dream has flown
And I have become comfortably numb
It takes a while to properly begin to grasp the real extent of the hypocrisy in our world. You kind of have to go through the mill some and even then you can still miss the signs.
In the 1940s the Nazis demonstrated the reality of human depravity, a demonstration mirrored in many ways by other members of the axis forces and by the independently acting Japanese, who may have seen the possibility of imposing Imperial domination on a word ravaged by war.
Despite the horrors and warnings of those demonstrations, they have continued to reappear throughout our 'civilised' world; Indonesia, Yugoslavia and South Africa to mention just some. And more recently, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Middle East.
We have evolved our human society over many thousands of years and it is necessary to examine that process-together with its corruptive factors—if human life is to break free of its own imposed insanity—-an insanity we have come to accept as 'normal' and as 'right'.
Collective society has its roots in the common good. People joined forces to help and to protect each other and to improve their condition in a world that had the potential to be hostile. And that hostility did not always come solely from the natural world. It also came from other people, motivated by greed.
Today we have dressed up that greed in a glossy veneer of acceptance called business. Where a business returns an annual profit of say €100 million, just who benefits?
Surely not the workforce, who would certainly run out of cash in a very short time indeed if they stopped spending a major part of their lives working to make those very profits.
And just why should only some people be able to have their own yachts, or their personal Lear jets, or their mansions in the country?
We adhere to that acceptance like folk worship the gospel. And what do we do? We continue to live in an insane way, reliant on a commodity that we have created and without which we now cannot live.
It is ironic to the extreme that the very tool we invented to improve trade and barter and better our general situation in life has been allowed to dominate us with the ridiculous concept of debt squeezing the very life out of some people. Yet what is even more ironic is that we simply seem wiling to accept our messed up ways and look down on anyone who dares to challenge the authenticity and sanity of those ways.
You turn on the television and perhaps see the Tour de France, dozens of riders riding expensive bicycles in a race that costs millions to stage and brings in much revenue whilst someone somewhere has no food on their table. Is this sanity, or is it a sign of a world that really doesn't know how to care?
Bono of U2 recently warned of the possibility of the onset of a campaign of what he described as 'civil disobedience' if the more wealthy nations failed to effectively address the poverty of poor nations. What he did not say was how that civil disobedience will one day become the natural order as survival becomes the dominant force of the poor.
Northern Ireland's Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams called on the Irish Taioseach to push for action towards eradicating third world debt when Ireland took over the presidency of the EU in January 2004.
"The debt burden faced by developing countries is overwhelming. The UN has estimated that if the funds to pay off debt were diverted back into health and education the lives of seven million children a year could be saved. That is two million more than the entire population of this island," said Mr Adams.
Having said all that, it remains that over $100 billion at least has been spent on the Iraq war. Combine that with the cash spent on the war in Afghanistan and military actions elsewhere in the world, not to mention the millions spent on political electioneering, we begin to look at a world that could in the past two years have made multi-millionaires of every living human being on the planet.
In the 1970s the world was humming the Beatles song All You Need is Love. Thirty years on and we seem no nearer to grasping the reality of those words.
There is a much talk of the current crime levels in Ireland, particularly violent crime. There is also talk of the need for more police or gardai and that would be a move towards tackling crime, but only if the full measures of law are implemented when the law is broken.
It is important not to overlook one stark and simple fact and that is the prevalent level of ignorance towards the recognition of respect for the law.
As a journalist I have experienced at first hand blatant disrespect for the upkeep of law from within the public domain and more worryingly from within the gardai. I have also evidence of those charged with upholding the law who are prepared to bend and twist its provisions to suit their own interpretation. In some instances, the proper process of law has been deliberately ignored and twisted by serving members of the garda.
I can also vouch for the existence of a willingness to ignore factual reports and observations and to pretend that certain on-going events are not in fact happening.
Until these and similar issues are given serious attention, Ireland will continue to descend into a growing state of increased lawlessness.
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