“Capitalism” In Eight-Hundred Years

When we hear the noun “Feudalism,” we think of an outdated socioeconomic system, which was replaced by later systems, because it was sub-optimal for human flourishing in various ways. If we are mentally plastic enough to identify a past socioeconomic system as sub-optimal, flawed, and something that can be (and should be) doffed and replaced, why do we have such difficulty doing that with our own current system?

Eight-hundred (800) years from now, the distance between the height of “Feudalism” and the present moment, one of two outcomes will have occurred if the climatologists are correct:

(1) human flourishing will have been extremely diminished, if not annihilated, by the effects the current socioeconomic system, called “Capitalism,” had on the environment. Surely, the Earth will recover many times over after humans are gone, clearing the stage for later apex predators. The question is: will humans even reign for a few-hundred-thousand years? This would be a paltry fraction of the dinosaurs, who ruled for well over one-hundred million; or

(2) the socioeconomic system called “Capitalism,” like “Feudalism” before it, will be a curiosity in the history books. A sub-optimal arrangement that led to rank inequality, brutality, inhumanity, and the despoiling of the ecosystem, which had been long since replaced by something better (if itself not optimal). If humans are indeed to be flourishing eight-hundred (800) years from now, one aspect of the future socioeconomic arrangement will be that it is environmentally sustainable enough to preserve such flourishing.

If we are mentally plastic enough to conceive of other socioeconomic arrangements as brutal, destructive, and deleterious, why do why have so much trouble doing the same with the one under which we presently suffer? Why do we strangely treat mere current norms and practices as immutable rules?

Hieronymus Bosch - The Conjurer

The Two Understandable Moralities

The only two moralities I’ve ever understood were those of the Jain sect, and of Peter Singer. The first draws the line at ‘everything alive.’ The orthodox practitioners actually carry a broom about and sweep in front of their steps, in a symbolic attempt to not step upon even microscopic life forms. A little untenable in modern, non-hermetic life.

The second draws the line at ‘everything human.’ It finds fault and violence in mere inaction. By not helping when we know there is suffering, even somewhere foreign and distant, we are not behaving morally. But, as we know from all the social sciences, we are a tribal species, and what is most proximate and genetically-related and self-narratively important concerns us most. Our concerns are circumscribed by our limitations. This is the essence of ‘tribalism,’ or in other cases, ‘egoism.’ Freud — holla!

There is no end to this story. Thank you for tuning in.

♥ Sterling —

Closed System Collapse

I keep a fifty-five gallon saltwater aquarium, in which I’ve had several fish for as long as three years. Suddenly and inexplicably, upon returning home one day, the fish were dying — swimming to the top, struggling, a slow, tortured death in a closed system they could not escape. I had just added two new organisms, and with them a half-gallon of foreign water, from the aquarium store. I hypothesize one of the organisms may have been diseased, or the water contained chemicals, bacteria, or other microorganisms that my existing system was ill-equipped to handle. I tried desperately to do a 50% water change, to no avail. One day, after three consecutive years of living their merry little fish lives in a closed system that was regularly maintained, all my fish — every single one of them — died within twelve hours.

You see, when a change happens in a closed system that the organisms living within are ill-equipped to handle, the tragedy comes quickly. Just a slight alteration in the closed system’s conditions can make life untenable for certain species within that system. Mind you, not all life — the saltwater worms and hermit crabs and soft coral all survived whatever malady struck — but the fish, the centerpiece of the system — all perished. So you must assiduously endeavor to keep a closed system in homeostasis. A synonym for this word is ‘sustainable.’ Because the slightest homeostatic hiccup can rapidly kill the centerpiece organisms of that system, in totality, with the snap of a finger. Kill them regardless of how long they’d been there prior, and how safe they felt. Just a few degrees change.

Oh well, I guess there is no larger moral here.

R.I.P. fellas — Sterl

Pentagon v. NASA

Department of Preemptive Military Aggression and Drone-Killing Innocent Brown-Skinned Foreign Civilians (a.k.a., ‘Department of Defense’) budget: $495 Billion. National Aeronautics and Space Administration budget: $17 Billion (and a lot of that is rocket science, which serves to, oh nevermind).

As a proxy: odds are 29:1 we’ll kill each other on this tiny rock in the universal hinterlands before we find another one suitable for us to live on. Kill each other over which hairless primates ‘own’ portions of the planet against other primates (nevermind the other species, they can go where they want, but we get to shoot at them with devices the vast majority of us couldn’t figure out how to make ourselves), and which primate gets to command the other primates in a showing of anachronistic, bullshit social dominance (a.k.a., politics in a democracy, naked force in an autocracy, or ‘the boss’ in a workplace hierarchy).

Popcorn anyone?

Climate Kids

Dear Human Children,

Because a very small percentage of adult, white, male humans are quickly increasing numbers on a bank’s digital ledger in connection with the emission of greenhouse gases, they are willing to intentionally confuse you into thinking this emission will not make life for humans on planet Earth more difficult, in your very lifetimes. But, fuck it. We all know economics rules all, and we all know from valuation analysis that ‘value now’ is worth more than ‘value later.’ So, sorry: fuck you kids.

Eternal Nonexistence

If you do not reproduce, the genes for which you are a transportation vessel will die with you. But that will be their fault for not being go-getters and driving the vessel properly. So it is off to eternal non-existence for them. That is, of course, unless copies of some of them are in a vessel with a better go-getter at the helm. Like being B.J. Armstrong on the 90s Chicago Bulls. A real freeloader into posterity.