In my 43rd year upon this planet, I think I have become the kind of person that people commonly refer to as “misanthrope”. I do not like people very much. Humanity seems to be an experiment gone horribly wrong. I’m not sure what the Earth’s next living project will be, but I hope that we will be excluded from its future plans.
We are overpopulating the world. We are destroying the very ecosphere we are living within. We are choking on industrial filth and we are destroying other species as we wind our way toward planetary oblivion.
We lack the social maturity to survive our gift as exquisitely talented makers of technology.
This planet’s living mantle is vanishing around us, and in spite of this, power and money hold more meaning than our continued survival. We savor the control we have accumulated over our environment and our fellow human beings. This matters far too much to ponder the relevance of the next generation’s survival. We value our children as much as the rest of life on this planet.
Control. Division. Hierarchy.
We obsessively pay tribute to this Holy Trinity.
We exquisite tool makers love to draw invisible lines across the natural world. We place the pieces of our planet into invisible drawers called words. We categorize, analyze, and theorize so that we may extend our human reach over all that we survey.
Linear thought. The systematizing mind.
We have a gift for creating virtual walls: cells of analysis that enable us to manipulate the world within a scientific hierarchy of understanding. We revel in our cognitive mastery of the natural world.
Our gift for creating lines, cells, and walls of understanding extend to the human realm, as well. Sometimes we call this wall building science, culture, or government. Sometimes we combine the transcendent with divine walls of separation and we call it religion. At the end of the day, though, these sorted disciplines fall under a single, solitary quest: control. Simple, pure control.
And we are oh so talented at control.
We excel at drawing boarders between ourselves and our neighbors. We are marvelously suited stalwarts of marginalization who forever whisper the tribal mantra of us vs. them. Us vs. them: the simplest form of categorization ever devised. A binary, born of our lust for control, division, and hierarchy.
The ruled and the ruling.
We divvy each other up into simple categories and then do our best to exploit and hurt each other based upon these virtual walls. As one group struggles to rise above second class citizenship, another group is pushed down into the muck of oppression. We are ensnared by our own participation in the authoritarian, capitalist, racist, colonialist, patriarchal shit heap we call government, science, society, and religion.
This passion for tribalism extends everywhere…
In our words.
In our thoughts.
In our relationships.
In our laws.
Lines of power flow and divide us in this culture of shit and spittle.
We dream of future tyrannies and we call this “order”. Efficient, logical, planned, control. The heart warms at the notion of more for us and protection from them. Our fears and ambitions form the shape and texture of tomorrow’s violence.
We take as much care with our fellow human beings as we do our natural environment. We separate ourselves from others and from nature via lines of power.
We lust for control, division, and hierarchy.
We happily, willingly, lovingly intertwine our souls with this Holy Trinity. We infuse the essence of this godhead into everything.
Under capitalism, we call control money. The more you have, the greater your ability to exploit others.
In these modern times, we call control technology. The more you have, the greater your ability to exploit nature.
We would all like larger bank accounts, would we not?
We would all like access to the latest marvels of science and technology, would we not?
Who dreams of a house and family in the suburbs, populated by technological wonders made by poorly paid serfs in far off lands?
Who fancies sparkling new autos powered by fuel from beneath lands pockmarked with bomb craters and patrolled by grim faced soldiers who kill for our pleasure?
Air conditioned, cushioned, 300 channel, surround-sound living, in a sanitized, virtual world watched from the tinted windows of our middle-class homes and SUVs… All protected from the non-white hordes by bullets, missiles, thermonuclear warheads, and so many other marvelous tools of violence, brought to us by science, technology, and government.
Who longs for this modern slice of heaven?
The good life. Now on sale at the nearest retail outlet. Act now, while supplies last.
Your children will thank you… for a while. Until the very atmosphere comes crashing down around us.
In God we trust? Our gods are clothed in green and black cotton linen. They will not save us.
. . . .
I once took hope in finding a sense of centeredness in human company. I search for this no longer. My alienation is complete.
Who am I?
What lines and walls of tribal science cross through my body?
I am white. I am vegetarian. I am a citizen of the United States. I am a queer woman living outside the boundaries of normal. I am a transgender lesbian who experiences bisexual desire. I violate the gender expectations of women and men. I am godless. I am morally suspect. I am an atheist who leans heavily toward agnosticism and searches for the spiritual. I am an outsider. I am a loner, cut adrift from my origins. I was raised in a racist, Christian family of yesterday’s factory workers. I am a college educated leftist who rejected her blood relations because of their myriad hatreds.
These labels and these statements will never fully capture who I am. The categories do not fit, and yet, others will define me by these things… and so will I. These endless lines of control divide us. I stumble upon privilege that I share with others and I stumble upon privilege that I am excluded from. The tethers of the Holy Trinity steam with our intermingled blood: control, division, and hierarchy.
Of this I am certain:
I am an oppressor.
I am oppressed.
I am tired of tripping upon the ropes that bind me to tribal science. I am tired of the bone shattering alienation that is born of intersecting lines of hierarchy and control.
Where I search for a sense of connectedness no longer centers upon humanity. I seek alternatives. I turn to nature. I turn to my physical surroundings: the solitude of a starry sky, the grasses of the fields, and leaves blowing in the wind. I turn away from human beings and return to the quiet thrill of my senses: a memory from childhood, golden and pure… a simpler form of being.
This human ground has turned bitter and barren.
I travel in search of other lands.
I shall make a spiritual home in the quarters of reality that exist beyond human flesh. I shall cast my sight beyond this species in search of something more. I will try to let go of my human lust for controlling the world that surrounds us.
I am lost.
I am seeking.
No god or guru can hold my heart…
This article is one installment of a five part series: