What has the exploration of space got to do with the latest stock market index level? What has the leadership of this or that political Party got to do with social anthropology? What have the last fifty years of faux capitalism added to the sum of human development? What is the real nature of “money”? The Slog tries to provide some answers.
Fifty years ago today, Apollo 11 blasted off on it’s journey to put the first humans on another solar system object beyond the Earth.
Zero years ago today, the Standard & Poors stock market index surpassed 3,000 for the first time in history.
This tells you pretty much all you need to know about how Homo sapiens has gone backwards over the last half century.
The knowledge given to us by physics during that time has probably affirmed that travel by our species beyond the solar system is impossible by physical means: the elegant Einsteinian equation e = mc² always suggested that. Until we discover and harness the gravitational-cum-magnetic “rope” dear old Albrecht foresaw, we’ll be lucky if even Mars is tamed within the next 300 years.
But such is the nature of science now, the ability to get to that elusive spinning electron in two places at once might be revealed next week. And this is the bit that those “in charge” of Planet Earth as I write really don’t even begin to get.
I gorged on an outstanding post at the site of one Dr Tim Morgan today. Not only did it go way beyond my own contentions of fake economic data over the last thirty years, it proved beyond any reasonable doubt that inordinate borrowing does not equal economic growth. I urge you strongly to read the piece, because it represents the very antithesis of conspiranoid bollocks: it is suffused from start to finish with irrefutable empirical data telling Truth unto power.
However, the most important reaction it inspired in me was an urgent need to ask what we’ve lost since those naive and yet wonderfully voyager-discovery years of the Apollo Project.
Three per cent of us have gained wealth not just beyond the dreams of avarice; the sums involved belong to another part of the Multiverse beyond ours. And they are as they are because they are not real: they are borrowings from a shadow of money, not the walking talking version of genuine wealth. What Tim Morgan reminds us of is that money is only a mechanism of exchange. It has no value related to survival in a world where all scales of worth have been diluted and perverted beyond recognition.
Morgan uses the analogy of survivors in a boat short of food and water being air-bombed by Dollar bills as a form of rescue. It’s a skillfully applied parallel, but even that requires another dimension: for while money without exchange has no survivalist role, at the same time there is far more to the gift of life than mere survival.
When asked in 1953 why he had wanted to climb Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary famously replied, “Because it’s there”. When asked in 1961 why go to the Moon, President Kennedy responded, “Why not?”
This is the voyager gene made flesh. It reflects the human condition that demands introspection as an integral part of extraversion: the answer lies within, but the brain within pushes us to demand an explanation of what without is about.
The voyager impulse is what our species has temporarily mislaid. It is not hopelessly lost: it still exists, but our distorted view of “monetary” wealth has acted as a distraction…we have sought money – and been so long in search of ways to borrow it – we have forgotten where we left our purpose.
Our purpose is not just to survive. Our destiny is the realisation of the species and personal potential.
Potential has little or nothing to do with the material world. Why write to engage? Why sing to inspire? Why speak out to encourage? Why create recipes to enhance taste? Why develop perfumes to invade myriad senses? Why paint visual images that go beyond the photographic?
Valesquez portrayed Spanish monarchs as flawed. Picasso tried to paint thought. Dali tried to paint dreams. Bacon depicted human beings as breakable vitreous china.
The aim, it seems to me, was always the same: to drag the unexpected into our understanding, to remind us that there is more, to stimulate us with surprise, and to tell the Truth.
Every last form of economic, political and religious ideology is, by contrast, designed to keep us scared and overawed at Base Camp….rather than captivated by the idea of the view from the mountaintop.
The ideologue aims not for release of the human spirit. He or she aims for its imprisonment in a Gulag, bamboozled by 50,000 versions of altered truths.
The ultimate demise of ideologues is what The Slog is all about. If you agree, please subscribe to it.
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