"I wash my hands clean of all responsibility" said Dr. Morbius in the 1950's Sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet.
Now England is burning, a North Sea cinder, and the pundits, analysts, and sociologists are weighing in trying to explain the root causes for the violence that has gripped Great Britain this past week. Those who hold a larger 'slice of the pie' have a tendency to reject the simplistic notions that the violence is due to the frustrations of 'the have nots'.
They are quick to point out complex social problems such as bad parenting, rap and 'gangsta' culture, and worst of all, the freedoms and permissiveness encouraged by our lax moral standards. Although I agree that all these points play a role in the recent escalation of lawlessness and wanton destruction, it's important to note that even these factors are in and of themselves not only causes, but effects too.
|"They were warned!"|
In what way are these effects? Well to begin with, everything that exists in this world exists for a reason. In any ecosystem there are immutable Laws, and a 'Law', as one of my favourite authors Daniel Quinn likes to point out, is not something that can ever be changed by voting.
Yes, there is a 'Law' in the world of cause and effect, most of us agree on this, where we don't agree is on identifying the properties of this Law and how the Law works. We can attempt to control or modify the effects of this destructive madness by passing and enforcing new laws, but our laws will never be exempt from 'The Law' if you know what I mean?
Until Britain, or the greater human family for that matter, get together and make a sincere attempt to come to a logical understanding of what the Laws of these truths are, the pundits and idealists will continue to worsen the problem by implementing dumb measures and ridiculous laws whilst justifying their actions by seeking refuge in sophist arguments.
I visited England this past spring, and for many of you who have also visited the U.K. you certainly must have noticed the great abundance of CCTV cameras. Apparently Britain has more surveillance cameras per-capita than THX-1138, George Orwell's 1984, and The NORAD base underneath Cheyenne mountain Wyoming COMBINED!!!.
It is my opinion that highly regulated societies like Great Britain exacerbate the problems they attempt to mitigate by the nature of it's encroachment into the lives of the less fortunate, and by virtue of its idealistic methods of social control and regulation. The working class culture in major urban centres in the U.K. is, and has been, a very bleak one for many years, one of alcoholism, gang warfare and hooliganism. My perception is that the poorer classes there(in the U.K.) have a much harder edge than our overfed and pacified underclasses, who, if under sufficient duress, can always chose to lose themselves into the abyss of cheap credit and Chinese products… oh, and when things get really bad, have many more options of self-implosion available to them should the 'metaphorical frog' wish to jump out of the boiling pot.
Off the top I mentioned the quote by Dr.Morbius because I feel there is a parallel between him as an archetype and the ruling elite in Britain (or anywhere else for that matter). For those who may not have seen this film, Dr.Morbius, played by the debonair Walter Pidgeon, was a brilliant and erudite man who sought refuge on a distant planet in order to escape the "scurry and strife of human kind" He believed he was above the greater bulk of humanity, and somehow detached from the community which spawned him. Unfortunately for Dr.Morbius, the fear and contempt that drove him to remove himself from the human family, also travelled with him to Altair 4, and once he learned the psychic-mental science of the planet's long since extinct culture, known as 'The Krell', his fear bred a strange monster, which despite his complex and sophisticated security systems, ultimately consumed him, due to his inability to control his own Id.
I love science fiction, because it has the ability to condense truisms of the human condition into an easily understandable allegorical narrative. It can serve as a warning to those wise enough to heed it's wisdom. Writers and Artists are humanity's 'nervous system', able to sense pain by virtue of having a better understanding of their internal emotional dialogue in a way those who dedicate their lives to the metaphorical, and in many cases literal, building of their empires and personal shrines cannot.
I see parallels in our world between the class struggle and Dr.Morbius' desire to protect himself in isolation. I can understand how brilliant wealthy people might want to live in gated communities, and give their well funded authorities unprecedented powers to suppress the Id monster knocking on their door, whilst fostering a climate of neo-feudalism.
When Al-Qaeda came knocking, simplistic memes started circulating, which essentially boiled down to the belief that Muslims 'hate us for our freedom', yet now that the problem is internal, many who embraced simplistic explanations in the past are ironically rejecting them whilst attempting to address the root causes of this latest internal violence.
The best way to find out the reasons for this recent madness is not to consult 'the experts' but to ask the rioters themselves. Why would anyone want to burn down buildings and communities Britains laid their lives on the line to protect during the two great wars? Perhaps not all of them have the emotional self-dialogue necessary to understand why they act the way they do or their simple desires to destroy for the 'fun of it' and 'Nik' a flatscreen or two. But to dismiss everyone in the underclasses and riot mobs as incapable of articulating their feelings would be a HUGE mistake. Not 'walking a mile in their shoes', the elite classes do not have an emotionally visceral understanding of the despair that grips these peoples lives, this does not excuse the rioters for what they have done, however, I believe, empathy is the key to opening a dialogue which will do more to stem future acts of delinquency, than the intellectually lazy and morally reprehensible implementation of draconian measures and the curbing civil liberties will ever do.
Dirty CT August 2011