Showing posts with label Malthusianism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Malthusianism. Show all posts

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The Dismal Science




"There's another fellow," muttered Scrooge; who overheard him: "my clerk, with fifteen shillings a week, and a wife and family, talking about a merry Christmas.  I'll retire to Bedlam."

This lunatic, in letting Scrooge's nephew out, had let two other people in.  They were portly gentlemen, pleasant to behold, and now stood, with their hats off, in Scrooge's office.  They had books and papers in their hands, and bowed to him.

"Scrooge and Marley's, I believe," said one of the gentlemen, referring to his list.  "Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge, or Mr. Marley?"

"Mr. Marley has been dead these seven years," Scrooge replied.  "He died seven years ago, this very night."

"We have no doubt his liberality is well represented by his surviving partner," said the gentleman, presenting his credentials.

It certainly was; for they had been two kindred spirits.  At the ominous word "liberality," Scrooge frowned, and shook his head, and handed the credentials back.

"At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.  Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."

"Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge.

"Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

"And the Union workhouses?"  demanded Scrooge.  "Are they still in operation?"

"They are.  Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not."

"The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?"  said Scrooge.

"Both very busy, sir."

"Oh!  I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course," said Scrooge.  "I'm very glad to hear it."

"Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude," returned the gentleman, "a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink and means of warmth.  We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.  What shall I put you down for?"

"Nothing!" Scrooge replied.

"You wish to be anonymous?"

"I wish to be left alone," said Scrooge.  "Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer.  I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry.  I help to support the establishments I have mentioned -- they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there."

"Many can't go there; and many would rather die."

"If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.  Besides -- excuse me -- I don't know that."

"But you might know it," observed the gentleman.

"It's not my business," Scrooge returned.  




"It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's.  Mine occupies me constantly.  Good afternoon, gentlemen!"


Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point, the gentlemen withdrew.  Scrooge returned his labours with an improved opinion of himself, and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him.




Scrooge fell upon his knees, and clasped his hands before his face.
"Mercy!" he said.  "Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?"

"Man of the worldly mind!" replied the Ghost, "do you believe in me or not?"

"I do," said Scrooge.  "I must.  But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?"

"It is required of every man," the Ghost returned, "that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death.  It is doomed to wander through the world -- oh, woe is me! -- and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!"

Again the spectre raised a cry, and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands.

"You are fettered," said Scrooge, trembling.  "Tell me why?"

"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.  Is its pattern strange to you?"

Scrooge trembled more and more.

"Or would you know," pursued the Ghost, "the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself?  It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago.  You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!"

Scrooge glanced about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see nothing.

"Jacob," he said, imploringly.  "Old Jacob Marley, tell me more.  Speak comfort to me, Jacob!"

"I have none to give," the Ghost replied.  "It comes from other regions, Ebenezer Scrooge, and is conveyed by other ministers, to other kinds of men.  Nor can I tell you what I would.  A very little more, is all permitted to me.  I cannot rest, I cannot stay, I cannot linger anywhere.  My spirit never walked beyond our counting-house -- mark me! -- in life my spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits of our money-changing hole; and weary journeys lie before me!"

It was a habit with Scrooge, whenever he became thoughtful, to put his hands in his breeches pockets.  Pondering on what the Ghost had said, he did so now, but without lifting up his eyes, or getting off his knees.

"You must have been very slow about it, Jacob," Scrooge observed, in a business-like manner, though with humility and deference.
"Slow!" the Ghost repeated.

"Seven years dead," mused Scrooge.  "And travelling all the time!"
"The whole time," said the Ghost.  "No rest, no peace.  Incessant torture of remorse."

"You travel fast?"  said Scrooge.

"On the wings of the wind," replied the Ghost.

"You might have got over a great quantity of ground in seven years," said Scrooge.

The Ghost, on hearing this, set up another cry, and clanked its chain so hideously in the dead silence of the night, that the Ward would have been justified in indicting it for a nuisance.

"Oh!  captive, bound, and double-ironed," cried the phantom, "not to know, that ages of incessant labour, by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed.  Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness.  Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused!  Yet such was I!  Oh!  such was I!"

"But you were always a good man of business, Jacob," faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

"Business!" cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again.  "Mankind was my business.  The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business.  The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"

It held up its chain at arm's length, as if that were the cause of all its unavailing grief, and flung it heavily upon the ground again.

"At this time of the rolling year," the spectre said "I suffer most.  Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode!  Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!"

Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the spectre going on at this rate, and began to quake exceedingly.

"Hear me!" cried the Ghost.  "My time is nearly gone."

"I will," said Scrooge.  "But don't be hard upon me!  Don't be flowery, Jacob!  Pray!"

"How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see, I may not tell.  I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day."

It was not an agreeable idea.  Scrooge shivered, and wiped the perspiration from his brow.

"That is no light part of my penance," pursued the Ghost.  "I am here to-night to warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate.  A chance and hope of my procuring, Ebenezer."

"You were always a good friend to me," said Scrooge.  "Thank `ee!"

"You will be haunted," resumed the Ghost, "by Three Spirits."

Scrooge's countenance fell almost as low as the Ghost's had done.

"Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, Jacob?"  he demanded, in a faltering voice.

"It is."

"I -- I think I'd rather not," said Scrooge.

"Without their visits," said the Ghost, "you cannot hope to shun the path I tread.  Expect the first tomorrow, when the bell tolls one."

"Couldn't I take `em all at once, and have it over, Jacob?"  hinted Scrooge.

"Expect the second on the next night at the same hour.  The third upon the next night when the last stroke of twelve has ceased to vibrate.  Look to see me no more; and look that, for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us!"

When it had said these words, the spectre took its wrapper from the table, and bound it round its head, as before.  Scrooge knew this, by the smart sound its teeth made, when the jaws were brought together by the bandage.  He ventured to raise his eyes again, and found his supernatural visitor confronting him in an erect attitude, with its chain wound over and about its arm.

The apparition walked backward from him; and at every step it took, the window raised itself a little, so that when the spectre reached it, it was wide open.  It beckoned Scrooge to approach, which he did.  When they were within two paces of each other, Marley's Ghost held up its hand, warning him to come no nearer.  Scrooge stopped.

Not so much in obedience, as in surprise and fear: for on the raising of the hand, he became sensible of confused noises in the air; incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret; wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory.  The spectre, after listening for a moment, joined in the mournful dirge; and floated out upon the bleak, dark night.

Scrooge followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity.  He looked out.

The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went.  Every one of them wore chains like Marley's Ghost; some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free.  

Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives.  He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a door-step.  



The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Green Agenda and Population Reduction



The planet is not in danger.

We are.

The planet’ll survive.

The planet’s been through, like, ammonia atmospheres and impossible-to-live-on, and everything dead – and it gets its way back out of it.

We’re in Danger. 

Or so we think, because our hubris tells us that 
We Are in Danger. 

Our hubris tells us that 
We’re about to destroy The World; 
We’re gonna destroy The Planet; 
We’ll fuck The Atmosphere.

No. 

We’ll fuck our atmosphere. 

But some trilobites’ll come along and live in anything we create.

So that is not the problem.

f


"We all want to have a good time. 
So we’ve got to understand that, as a starter.


Beyond that, I found we’ve actually been deluding ourselves in the worst way of all by believing in the individual.

Stay with me on this :

Kafka, Orwell, Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner.. everyone told us The Individual was the most important thing we could be.

Everyone is fucking ‘quirky’ these days; every shit in their window of MTV is ‘quirky’. Everyone’s cool; everyone’s smart… it’s not true.

What if the individual was the fake? 
What if the individual’s the crock? 

And we’ve actually been sold that by “Them”; by the man, the establishment.. whatever you want.

Because what occurred to me is that when you talk about the individual, and you deal with the individual, you find that the end of the individual is neurosis. To be individual means that there is “self” and “not self”. Okay?

Why do these fuckers.. why does the Skull And Bones Society, or the CIA.. why do the 33º Masons – why are they different from us?

They’re not – 

They want to explain things. 
They want an answer. 

They’ve found an answer that seems to suit them – which seems kind of uncool and cruel to me, because it involves exploiting other people. 
But they’re looking for an answer.

We’re all looking for the same thing: 

Why. 
Are. 
We. 

Here?

Why *are* we here? What are you doing here today? What do you expect? What do you expect to take home with you?

Can anyone answer? Can one person tell me what you expect to take home from all of this? Come on, put your hand up.

Yeah?

["Experience!"]

Exactly. Because that is all we have. And that is all I can offer you, is experience. Of having done this shit, tested it, put it in the crucible to see what happens – and it works.

So I began to think more and more about the individual, and I looked into what that actually meant. And what it was, was a structure that was pretty much created… the ego structure was created out of what Julian Jaynes calls the “bicameral mind” becoming one mind.

And apparently – according to him – he says that back in the old days of the Greeks, and the earliest writing of the world, people didn’t have self-consciousness in the way that we have.

They didn’t have egos. 

They didn’t understand themselves as “I” in the same way that we do. 

Because the corpus callosum – that connects the two hemispheres of the brain – wasn’t connected.

So if you heard a voice, that voice was God

And Homer, and all those guys, you’ve got plenty of examples of people hearing the voice of God, and acting on that. Alexander constantly acted on the voice of God.

Julian Jaynes suggests that it wasn’t the voice of God – it was the voice of the left hemisphere of the brain communicating with the right hemisphere of the brain, interpreted as a god.

So okay: now we’ve got the two things joined together. We’ve got this beautiful bridge in the middle that links the two. But we have the ego structure – which was created when those things linked.

Suddenly we’re like: 
“Oh fuck.
 I am I. 
I am the I Am. 
This is my.. my god is this. 
I am separate; I am one.”

We made this idea that we’re somehow separated from nature.

No we’re not. 

Bullshit!

Again, I read New Scientist last month, right – and they’re talking about nature: “We must control nature; we must do this. How do we deal with our relationship with nature?”

We *are* fucking nature! 
There’s nothing on this planet that is not “nature”. 

Power stations are nature; 
atom bombs are nature. 

Because nature made us to make those things. 

Either you trust Nature, 
or you don’t trust Nature – 

and I Trust Nature.

So we have to ask: 
What is Nature getting at here?

If we ignore this crap that we’re somehow isolated from nature; that we somehow have to tame nature… nature knows exactly what it’s doing.

The planet is not in danger.

We are.

The planet’ll survive. 
The planet’s been through, like, ammonia atmospheres and impossible-to-live-on, and everything dead – and it gets its way back out of it.

We’re in danger. Or so we think, because our hubris tells us that we are in danger. 

Our hubris tells us that we’re about to destroy the world; we’re gonna destroy the planet; 
we’ll fuck the atmosphere.

No. 
We’ll fuck *our* atmosphere. 

But some trilobites’ll come along and live in anything we create.

So that is not the problem.

The problem is we’re standing here at the 21st century, stuck with individuality. 

Because we’ve believed in it so much; it *seemed* so important that we should all be distinct. 

What happens if we stop being distinct?