Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler


2nd thoughts

Connecting the Unconnectable

Pompidou Centre Connections

Pompidou Centre Connections

I began the day with a not wholly original post on the dissolution of French identity, this time slanted toward the destruction of their revered fine food culture. Let’s face it, the French have been decrying the dissolution of their culture (and by extension all the rest of Western culture) due to American insanity pretty much since de Tocqueville. That said, the Reuters entry is a thoughtful and well written look at the way 21st century corporate, manic-consumption culture destroys the very thing it claims to hold out in offer to its subjects: namely, the good life.

This afternoon I followed a friend’s FaceBook link to Howard Kunstler’s offering of the day. A rant no doubt, but one worth the 3 minute read. It does feel like the world (and particularly the US) is going down the tubes fast (economic recoveries without job or real value creation, climate change, costly ‘wars’ on a variety of designated UN criminals), but it seems that Kunstler holds out revolution as the only hope in the face of a rather bleak set of alternatives.

So, two posts with few surprises, but Kunstler made me think of the Reuters piece. It seems to me that they’re talking about a single crisis with many varied symptoms. Sadly, the crisis does center here in the United States and more specifically in our philosophy of unrestrained individual liberty.

The Reuters reporter laments the disappearance of time when families stopped working – stopped everything – in order to choose the very best foods, prepare them very well, and sit together over a long and rich meal. Yes, the nobility of France took this to insane extremes, but everyone did it, because the interpersonal connections to be reaffirmed at table each day were at least as important as any individual pursuits. That is disappearing in France, because their entire economy (our economy) puts value on money over time, the individual over the community.

Kunstler fingers the same problem with the recent investment bank bonuses. The bankers simply cannot see what could be worth more than the time they’ve spent manipulating money, securities, bonds, and their markets to appear valuable. What community could be worth foregoing a million dollar bonus? Why should destruction of a factory, jobs, a town, or even a planet be included as a negative in the balance sheet as long as you, the banker, can avoid harm and gain profit?

I don’t profess to know the answer. I don’t think it’s some big Communist give away or bombing Wall Street, but it might start with the wankers there putting their Ivy League heads together to understand the true costs of ignoring the value of communal responsibility in favor of unbridled individual liberty.

Am I making any sense here?

2 Responses to “Connecting the Unconnectable”

  1. carl sagan » October 19th, 2009

    in the words of song titles of the Talking Heads, ‘stop making sense’ and ‘don’t worry about the government’. the best we can hope for is that no one drops the Bomb. as long as humanity possesses the power to destroy itself, it’s not a question of if, but when.

    whether you’re arguing for the power of the individual or the wealth of community, we’re all drinking from a poisoned well – air unfit to breathe, water so filthy it needs to be sanitized with chemicals, eco-collapse for condo development – an entire Earth misunderstood, resources allocated to perpetual destruction rather than birth and growth.

    when the Bomb does drop, it will have been completely avoidable.

  2. dandam » October 20th, 2009

    Bleak Carl. Bleak.