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Monday, April 22, 2013

The Concept of Sacrifice

Moloch in Fritz Lang's Metropolis

I have paid attention to the political debate on economic well-being involving Austerity versus Stimulus.

In summation, both will work... eventually. In the future, life goes on, and the gears of industry will turn again. The manifestly bad apples will be plucked from the bushels, and the good apples will be bright again.

Austerity, however, has the advantage of requiring Sacrifice.
It may require millions of peoples' well-being to be sacrificed.
That is an appealing notion to our societies, for our societies are thoroughly bred into the idea of intentional sacrifice as an augment to accidental death.

Please take note how often we downplay Risk, in order than the inevitable may happen: people lose their money, people lose their livelihoods, people lose their lives; these are all forms of sacrifice.

For example, why would a fertilizer plant store 270 tons of violently combustible ammonium nitrate in the middle of West, Texas, immediately adjacent to housing, a nursing home, and a school?

Downplay Risk, Increase (potential) Sacrifice.

We offer up people every year in the name of guns. We assembly-line sacrificial offerings every year in the name of automobile transportation. Somewhere around the world, there is another Bhaupal, India, or another West, Texas, being nonchalantly plotted in the name of industrial profitability.
Even now, we are charting a course for Syria that is sure to maximize the occurrence of bloodshed and ongoing fighting, which is our new avatar for foreign policy.

It is the God-like Inevitability of Teenaged Kids being killed in car crashes that lets us accept our grief and suffering like mute and weeping stones, rather than reacting with alarm and condemnation and demanding a change in the way transportation is funded and automobiles are driven.

It is the Divinely Decretal nature of toddlers being shot by their own family's guns that causes us to accept the sacrificial burden and duty, rather than clamoring for a rational gun policy.

No deity demands these sacrifices, no king does; there is no agency nor parliament of power which commands us to sacrifice these lives. We do so by our own choice of actions or inactions.

We have created a society wherein we sacrifice lives when things go wrong... or even when they do not go wrong. We sacrifice lives for such little things as more profits in a quarter - arguably a more depraved reason for unnecessary death than anything that ancient Nero or Caligula ever dreamed up.

The freedom of our society now demands a constant flow of sacrificial victims. Not just victims that are mute to us, victims of far away earthquakes and storms, but real, flesh and blood, and long-lived victims who will linger in their agony for our perverse inspection.

We will sacrifice entire generations up to economic disaster if... O, God of Cataclysms!... if only after some short time we could come out from our bunkers of wealth, look around at the depopulated cities, breath a sigh into fresh air, and marvel that "we" - the "nation" - had magically pulled through.
But we "the nation" did not pull through.
What came through is a new nation, a new entity formed by its actions, its karma.
Part of the old nation was sacrificed, and that act was a new Constitution and Bill of Rights creating the Nation of Survivors - Amen! - and there's no jury in the world would convict us! Whether we consign thousands to starvation or whether we murder people in their encampments by Wounded Knee, we are creating a new nation.

Every Life Is Sacred.
Every life form is covered by a declaration of its independence.

Now, shall we Cut, or shall we Grow?


this is sort of messy, but I've always said I use this blog as a notebook, too. 

West, Texas grew up around the fertilizer plant, so it was more a matter of almost criminal indifference of a number of people and local governments. 

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