Sunday, June 5, 2016

PAPER OR PLASTIC?


The human brain's frontal lobe is a blessing and a curse. This brings me to the human propensity for dualism. Right or wrong, good or bad, black or white, the human brain is comfortable with opposites. It is, therefore, prone to blind opposition. 

I recently joked with a Polish neighbor about my genetic background. I told him that my mother's father was a Lithuanian Pole. Her mother was from Belarus. It was a marriage of constant "Da. Nyet". One would say "yes", and the other would immediately say "no"... about everything from adding salt into a stew to the color of paint for a kitchen. Gray was never an option. 

The regressive nature of progressive politics in the U.S. today is founded on duality. Blacks are always good. Whites are always bad. Criminals are always victims. Cops are always oppressors. Women are always correct. Men are always misinformed. There is little wonder why those who see blurred lines and shades of gray are looking at Mr. Trump as an alternative to Ms. Clinton. Mr. Trump may be a demagogue and an ethical weasel, but he hasn't genuflected to an altar of politically correct dualism, prescribed by corporate media in the interests of their corporate owners. Perhaps the disgruntled press corp, slaves to corporate empires, have somewhat intentionally given Trump his shot at the White House with so much free publicity.

My own experience of oppressive dualism comes from being raised in the U.S. of the 1950's. My childhood was colored in pink or blue, feminine or masculine. The men of my father's age were all shell-shocked from WWII and the Great Depression before that. They weren't really Tom Brokaw's touted Greatest Generation at all. They were indoctrinated victims of militarist capitalism. The women of that generation were traumatized by the Great Depression and liberated by WWII through the manipulations of Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband. The first major breakthrough for working women occurred during WWII. Hence, the women were indoctrinated into "war is good" thinking as well. 

When the Catholic Imperialist Vietnam War occurred, my generation of boys were enthusiastically encouraged by our parents to go get killed in rice paddies. Why? Because war was "good", and pacifism was "bad". We boys had been raised with the strict male-female duality for a reason: To further U.S. capitalist and militarist objectives. 

When my generation revolted against this dualism, the powerful adjusted their strategy. Armies became peace-keeping forces. The military draft was ended. The foreseeable down-sizing of blue-collar demand and the ascendancy of feminism would provide volunteer male canon-fodder from the 1980's into our era. In fact, the academic reinforcement of male castration by dominatrix feminists today feeds that system. Lower achieving males who are desperate for work provide a large reserve of potential soldiers and reactionary rioters. 

Here lies the danger of dualism. Dualism is a tool of mass distraction, as George Orwell described beautifully in his novel, 1984

By convincing young women that all men are potential rapists, they can be prevented from forming the kind of asexual political and social relationships which could overthrow the powerful. 

By convincing Blacks that they are de facto deprived no matter how they behave or what they choose to do with their lives, they are prevented from pursuing economic and social equality through educational and vocational competition with other groups. 

By convincing LGBT people that being equal requires subscribing to heterosexual norms of monogamous marriage and child-rearing, they are deprived of their actual homosexual identities and made powerless as a group in society.

By convincing transgender people that they must be subjected to the most tortuous and brutal medical and surgical procedures to outwardly pass the discernment of "normal" people, they are prevented from truly expressing creative androgyny. 

Dualism is entrenched in societies through religious prescriptions of right and wrong. Civil law codes diverge from religious absolutes in evolved societies. There is a distinction between first-degree murder and manslaughter in self-defense, for an extreme example. A female shoplifter in menopause is dealt with differently than a professional car thief. However, our political structures do not reflect this evolution. They have regressed to more dualism rather than less. Multiparty democracies are always being pushed toward two-party systems. Two-party systems run the risk of being pushed to totalitarian or military Fascism.

Paper or plastic? This concrete dualism of regular shopping in the U.S. has yielded to rational environmentalism. A third way, the canvas shopping tote, and a fourth way, recycled paper bags, and a fifth way, recycled plastic bags, have made the environmentally sensible transition fairly easy. But this innovation requires first discarding the old duality. Stretching the human frontal lobe's capacity beyond dualism while still maintaining ethical standards of social behavior is a great challenge as the world becomes overpopulated by human beings and environmentally degraded as a direct result. The powerful will rely on dualism to maintain their control and comforts. Livable and peaceful solutions for the vast majority of human beings will have to come from within that majority, peacefully unified in action against the elite, or these solutions will not come at all.  

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