March 2008

A Responsible Construct?

By

Kim Rush

                                                 

             In a free society, some are guilty, all are responsible.

                                                                  Rabbi Herschell

 

                        We know the persona of ancient man, because we see his work that has survived for centuries.  The ancient stone constructs tell us of his determination and spirit to build something of long time value.  He built with his mind and strength.  He built with the power needed to survive on the land whose eccentricities he knew.  And he knew that what took years to build would well outlast him—and he knew that what he built would tell the future of what kind of a man he was.

 

Modern Man:

            They start at seven-thirty each morning.  It’s been going on since early winter when they poured the concert basement walls into the frozen earth.  After letting the icy cement cure, they came and quickly pounded together a four condominium unit.  It is built out of thin two-by-fours and particles of wood pasted together into particleboard.  The investors are asking 300,000 dollars for each condominium that is covered by the cheapest uncolored plastic siding which was then painted.  It is a very expensively priced building that is a tornado death house, a governmental safe façade located in the U.S.’s “tornado alley.”  But, each condo will sell and profit will be made from this flimsy and deadly building.  But no man will be responsible for this only temporary building.

 

The word “keystone” has stood for the strength of a building, a state, a true way of life.  But this modern, profit only, building has no keystone.  Like this profit oriented building, modern capitalistic man has become flimsy and has lost the strength of stone that he once had in the reality of human existence.  Flimsy man now lives in a reality of a boiling capitalistic cauldron of no responsibility.  He has become limp and merely a means of continuing the systematic control for the profit of companies, their rich owners, and the absolute administrative suppression of the masses.  There is no longer stone builder man, but only flimsy man in the masses under control.  Like a weak, flimsy two-by-four puppet, modern mass man lives under the authoritative supervision of government and vicious capitalistic profit, allowing for him to unconsciously shift all responsibly to these institutions rather than to be a thinking, true, stone strong man.  Unlike the centuries old stone walls of mankind that show the strength of the human spirit, the modern man is caught, enmeshed, into the mass of norm and its suppresiveness that drains all strength and power of self control from the human spirit.

 

If a man in the past built a stone house and it failed, he had to take responsibility for it and to rebuild, using the knowledge gained from his failure.  But the modern man, in his particleboard world of mass human particles, living under authoritarian supervision, does not have the ability to learn from hard stone mistakes.  Crushed into the overwhelming volume of the masses he has been boiled into a limp particle soup to then shift social and personal mistakes to the volume authority’s supervision, and with these institutions, being so massive, he can not change or challenge the norm, so he must submit or drown.  The condo house is fully compliant with the auspiciousness of the building codes of the government.  Despite its obvious weaknesses, it is given permission to be accepted by the public and therefore sanctioned by the authority of government and no “man” is then responsible for its frailty.  So, when the strong winds of nature come during the building’s short disposable life and blow it to its particle pieces, no man is responsible, because the laws of distractive government have been obeyed.  No one is responsible, because the authorities above the actual builders have taken the responsibility away from man and have turned it into a diffusive mass responsibility.

 

The building within all law codes will make its necessary goal of vicious profit.  The two-by-fours are cheaper than two-by-sixes.  The cheaper particleboard was used to save building costs.  The plastic siding saved much money for the builders—and having come to the building unpainted, even more.  So the builders are saving and making money based on the weakness of the construct.  But no man is responsible.  And the government authority has made its money too, so that it can continue to allow individual man not to have any responsibility, for the law is law—social law rules us all.

 

Building permits have been paid.  Land survey costs have been paid.  Utility hook-ups have run their costs into the basket of everyone have to make a buck.  The tax assessor has been out and circling the flimsy building, while writing on a laptop, tallying the taxes to be given to the government.  Jackhammers have broken the curb outside the condos to make a driveway onto the too busy street in front of the new building.  A city crew has recently added a TV camera to the nearest stoplight.  The realtor’s sign has been stamped in front of the building, proffering a great, new home to those who can get a bank loan.  The bankers have begun the research into the potential buyers’ credit.  The credit god entities have revealed the numbers for each person who ignorantly wants this flimsy house.  Years and years of faceless credit claims hold each person in fallacious, statistical numbers, giving a value to each person’s life in vicious, unchallengeable capitalism that rules then—all self true reality is lost.  Then in the mystery of the “system” all responsibility is lost to the economic, nonhuman number reality of modern, vicious capitalism.


Imagination/Real/Common Truth

The workers end their day, go to their bank loan/owned cars, turn them on after the state taxes have been paid on the price of the car—and taxes on each tire?, and in the surety of their paid for driver’s licenses demanded by the state, and with their mandatory car insurance paid, and all car payments up-to-date—each pulls out onto the city street, unaware that the car and gas companies had forced all public transit out of business, and they go home to their thirty-year bank loan homes that they hope to be able to keep, if they can pay the electric, the gas, the phone, the garbage, the water, the sewer, the taxes so that they can comfortably sleep in the beds that they’ve bought on a credit card at the amazing thievery of 28% monthly interest, and wake to do it, in their façade of freedom, all over again.  The stone buildings continue to stand.

 

The next morning they start at seven-thirty. The building inspector arrives and walks through the two-by-four structure and makes notes while considering his up coming paycheck and he calculates how he will divide it to pay his bills.  He’s not really concerned about the longevity of the building, for it is within code, and all government rules have been met.  He thinks about the ten dollars in his wallet until payday and wonders where’s the cheapest place for lunch today, and what’s the price of gas today for his SUV.  The new year leviathan hits his mind--taxes are soon due, so who should he pay to get the best return.  He forgets that the money he’s paid into all of the deductions from his paycheck is money that the government has used and much of it is not taxes.  He smiles, thinking he's doing pretty well for he’s only going to have to pay a little over 25% in taxes this year.  He waves at the construct boss, and starts his car and the older SUV grinds in discomfort.  He grimaces that he has to soon take out a loan to buy another car so that he can continue to earn a paycheck in the forever cycle of small pay and large bills.  A worried thought crosses his mind as he crosses into traffic, the car radio news is now only on the presidential race, and Iraq is forgotten, and he wonders how is his oldest son in that desert hell?  He wonders why everyone is killing each other, drives too fast under the new TV camera, and a ticket is issued in his name according to his license plate. The ticket will arrive a few days later stuffed in his bills.

 

At home, downstairs in his basement office, flipping through the bills, he finds that the kids’ schools demand money for dance class, stretch and grow, cafeteria costs, soccer uniforms, band costs, wrestling costs, and the wife—via post-it-note, they don’t see each other too much, because of work schedules--needs a new dishwasher.  He’d talk to her late that night when she got home from her job.  He cringes and considers how to pay the oldest kid’s college costs at the community college.  The community college was the only option for the kid, for he couldn’t get into a university, and he would need some money to continue at the community college, so the kid could get a piece of paper “to get a good job.”  He’d caught the kid just the other day downloading an essay for English class, plagiarism,--kids today, no honor, but that degree was really the only way to get a job and make a good living in today’s economy.  And, besides, he’d paid for the tuition and the “customer is always right,” right?   But the kid had used his credit card to pay for the essay. The wife’s second post-it-note tells him that she’d spent more at the grocery store than they’d expected.  “Everything’s so expensive,” she noted and he nods, thinking about the news last night that had said that there was only a fraction of a percentage point of inflation? The note continued, “the medical clinic sent our bills to a collection agency—got a call on it today, just leave the answering machine on to monitor all calls again--their bills are so confusing—so many of them for a simple visit?”

 

For a distraction from the hellishness of the crushing demands of the bills—and wondering how the medical clinic’s sending the bills to the collection agency so fast, would affect his credit rating, he clicks on the TV that sits beside the furnace in his office and the news flashes into his mind.  The president is at the Saudi King’s land and he is receiving a large bag of gold and gems from the King.  The phone rings and—forgetting his wife’s advice, he picks up the receiver.  His boss says to him that someone has bought one of the condos, but someone else has been caught in the building trying to strip out the copper—probably a drug crazed fool needing a fix, so the inspector would have to go back tomorrow and re-evaluate the construction.  They’d, of course, have to bill the investment group again, but the group would be happy, because they’d just made a great profit.    The boss laughs and says, “It’s all about money.  Like that war we’re paying for.”  The boss hangs up.  The inspector looks at the phone and wonders who had been listening when the boss made his comments.  The president’s face fills the TV screen, an image from one of his speeches and says, “God bless America, the land of the free.”  The little inspector man clicks off the TV, pulls out the calculator, and begins to capitalistically “crunch the numbers”: so to quickly pay the collection agency.  He doesn’t want to pay the price of damaged credit ratings, but he knows it was already too late and the loan on his needed next car would have a higher interest rate.  He shakes his head and thinking about the president’s bag of gold and gems decides, he was just a single man and couldn’t be responsible for the world.  He had bills to pay, and he’d have to go back to the flimsy building tomorrow, and the price of gas was so high.  He looks at the bills and wonders how he will survive and keep his family afloat. He feels flimsy under the load of bills ready to collapse.  Eight more bills lay in front of him.  “In a free society, some are guilty, all are responsible.”  What is the definition of a free?

 

          In WWII, where our fathers and grandfathers fought and died to create, maintain, promote the idea of a “free democracy,” many men who experienced the hell of constant attacks were described by Ernie Pile, a news reporter—remember them and how they could tell the truth, as in “the accumulated blur”; men lost in the overwhelming constant attracts. We, now caught in the fascism of corporate control for profit over our government, and a government controlling its people in lies, and the overweight of law and rules atop of all, are now in the “accumulated blur.”  Free?  Responsible?  Are we now modern capitalistic slaves with absolutely no power?  What/where are you?  Oh, don’t forget to pay your credit card bills, or you’ll be damned to a huge late fee and your interest fee will rise in an obscene way, for the government is on their side and you, in the profit is the only value country, are . . . free to pay it at their creation, control, and demand . . . free american?