The Reformed Joker with a Serious Message

Russell Brand provides some food for thought in this video.

He quotes Edward F. Edinger explaining that we need a central living myth to give us a reason for our existence. “Meaning is lost, and in its place primitive and atavistic contents are reactivated. Differentiated values disappear and are replaced by the elemental motives of power and pleasure, or else the individual is exposed to emptiness and despair.”

Look at how much extra wealth Jeff Bezos has acquired since the pandemic took hold. Coronavirus is changing our world. Society is becoming more divided than ever at a time when we should be working together and seeking unity.

And here I am pointing two fingers, one at society in general and the other at myself.

We need people like Daniel C. Wahl and Declan Kennedy if there is going to be any sort of future worth living.

 

 

 

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14 thoughts on “The Reformed Joker with a Serious Message

  1. I watched about 1 minute.

    The most inefficient method of communication ever devised — communication by youtube video. If you have a position that you want to argue, then just argue it.

    +1
  2. Neil Rickert:
    I watched about 1 minute.

    The most inefficient method of communication ever devised — communication by youtube video.If you have a position that you want to argue, then just argue it.

    I think Russell Brand’s nearly 3 million subscribers to his youtube channel beats any message I relay here. 🙂

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  3. CharlieM: I think Russell Brand’s nearly 3 million subscribers to his youtube channel beats any message I relay here.

    I am underwhelmed. Popularity is not a measure of value.

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  4. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: I think Russell Brand’s nearly 3 million subscribers to his youtube channel beats any message I relay here.

    Neil Rickert: I am underwhelmed. Popularity is not a measure of value.

    Speaking of value.

    Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon was worth $182 billion in January.

    Are you underwhelmed by the fact that from March to September 2020 he could have paid each and every one of the 876 000 Amazon employees and still have been as wealthy as he was when the pandemic started?

    Are you underwhelmed by the fact that 22 of the worlds richest men have more wealth than all the women in Africa?

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  5. Vandana Shiva makes the comment that “the arteries of the global economy are clogged with corporate greed”. She advocates and campaigns for local economies which are circular in nature. The current centralized global economy flows in a linear manner. Wealth predictably being sucked up towards the one percent at the top of the pyramid.

    The present cultural systems under which most of us are living are not working. Both communism and capitalism fail when each is applied wholesale within a society in an exclusive manner encompassing all areas of life. Rather than just picking sides from which to launch venomous criticism of the opposition why not take the best qualities of each and apply them to the areas of society which will benefit most from them.

    In Western society education typically consists of teaching children to “get on” in life. “Aim for an upwardly mobile career and you too can climb to the top of the pyramid.” “It’s a jungle out there, competition is fierce, and you need to be tough to survive.” “It’s dog eat dog”. “Forget about women and children, it’s every man for himself”.

    It is hardly ever stressed that clamouring to reach the heights entails the poor sods below being crushed under the weight. The emphasis is put on competition at the expense of cooperation.

    Generally, we don’t educate our children to be informed caring citizens, we educate them so that they can compete in the spectacle that is the jobs market reality show. How can we complain about being trampled all over when the system is set up to give the greatest power to those who show the greatest self-interest?

    This pandemic is just highlighting how dysfunctional most human societies are. Monetary value is treasured, but at what cost? Suicides soar when the value of life is lost. We need to reclaim and renew society for our children’s sake.

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  6. I should also add that the pandemic is also highlighting how selfless and caring very many individuals can be. And they could be a lot more effective if they did not have one hand tied behind their backs by the system in which they operate.

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  7. CharlieM: It is hardly ever stressed that clamouring to reach the heights entails the poor sods below being crushed under the weight. The emphasis is put on competition at the expense of cooperation.

    Generally, we don’t educate our children to be informed caring citizens, we educate them so that they can compete in the spectacle that is the jobs market reality show. How can we complain about being trampled all over when the system is set up to give the greatest power to those who show the greatest self-interest?

    This pandemic is just highlighting how dysfunctional most human societies are. Monetary value is treasured, but at what cost? Suicides soar when the value of life is lost. We need to reclaim and renew society for our children’s sake.

    The problem isn’t “most human societies”. The problem is capitalism. Under capitalism, education is necessarily about competition. Education for cooperation is antithetical to capitalism.

    That’s not the only reason why I’m a communist, but it’s definitely one of them.

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  8. Kantian Naturalist:
    CharlieM:
    t is hardly ever stressed that clamouring to reach the heights entails the poor sods below being crushed under the weight. The emphasis is put on competition at the expense of cooperation.

    Generally, we don’t educate our children to be informed caring citizens, we educate them so that they can compete in the spectacle that is the jobs market reality show. How can we complain about being trampled all over when the system is set up to give the greatest power to those who show the greatest self-interest?

    This pandemic is just highlighting how dysfunctional most human societies are. Monetary value is treasured, but at what cost? Suicides soar when the value of life is lost. We need to reclaim and renew society for our children’s sake.

    Kantian Naturalist:
    The problem isn’t “most human societies”. The problem is capitalism. Under capitalism, education is necessarily about competition. Education for cooperation is antithetical to capitalism.

    That’s not the only reason why I’m a communist, but it’s definitely one of them.

    I agree that capitalism as practiced by Western society is a real problem. But communism as taken up and developed by the East created its own problems. Neither capitalism nor communism have had a good track record in practice.

    Steiner proposed a system whereby a community or society operates under three systems, the spiritual or cultural sphere, the political or rights sphere, and the economic sphere. This is in line with the French motto of liberté, égalité, and fraternité. It is usually put into practice in some form or other in communities such as Camphill.

    In this system no one sphere has power over the other spheres. Assets are entrusted to those who have the skills to use them wisely and for the benefit of the whole community. People are free in their beliefs and everyone is treated with equal respect regardless of race, colour or creed.

    Money is allocated fairly according to individual needs and individuals are not treated as commodities.

    See here

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  9. CharlieM: I agree that capitalism as practiced by Western society is a real problem. But communism as taken up and developed by the East created its own problems. Neither capitalism nor communism have had a good track record in practice.

    I’m not interested in discussing the so-called “communism” of the Soviet Union or China. I regard them as standing in a relationship to Marx exactly as the Spanish Inquisition stands in relation to the Gospels.

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  10. Kantian Naturalist:
    CharlieM:
    I agree that capitalism as practiced by Western society is a real problem. But communism as taken up and developed by the East created its own problems. Neither capitalism nor communism have had a good track record in practice.

    Kantian Naturalist:
    I’m not interested in discussing the so-called “communism” of the Soviet Union or China. I regard them as standing in a relationship to Marx exactly as the Spanish Inquisition stands in relation to the Gospels

    So are you interested in sharing wealth equally among a community without regard to how it will benefit that community?

    Say there is a family run business in which there are two sons. One wishes for the business to do well in order to provide for the extended family and even the local community and the other is interested in buying himself luxury goods and couldn’t care less about the business nor the community. Would it be wise to entrust the finances or profits of the business equally between the sons?

    Communist principles are fine in their proper sphere. Do you think it is okay to treat people as commodities?

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  11. CharlieM: So are you interested in sharing wealth equally among a community without regard to how it will benefit that community?

    As Marx says, “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”. Each individual contributes to the community what they are most able to contribute, and receives from it what they need in order to have a life of dignity and self-respect.

    Communism is not about an equal distribution of wealth — it is the abolition of wealth.

    CharlieM: Say there is a family run business in which there are two sons. One wishes for the business to do well in order to provide for the extended family and even the local community and the other is interested in buying himself luxury goods and couldn’t care less about the business nor the community. Would it be wise to entrust the finances or profits of the business equally between the sons?

    I don’t see the relevance of the question, because there wouldn’t be private;y owned businesses under communism.

    CharlieM: Communist principles are fine in their proper sphere. Do you think it is okay to treat people as commodities?

    A genuinely communist society would not have commodities.

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  12. Kantian Naturalist: As Marx says, “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”. Each individual contributes to the community what they are most able to contribute, and receives from it what they need in order to have a life of dignity and self-respect.

    Alas, it seems inherent in human nature to be competitive, to measure our worth in relation to the perceived worth of others. In nearly all aspects of life, we grade on a curve. We reduce intelligence to a number to see who can have the biggest number. Above a certain income, dollars are simply counters in a game, to see who has more. We strive not just to keep up with the Joneses, but to exceed them – to drive a better car, live in a bigger house, have more people reporting to us at work. There have been numerous communist communities based on the tenets of Marx, and these have devolved to “to each according to how much more each can accumulate than the other guy.” When the distribution is based on need, there will be competition to see who can be neediest, sure as sunrise.

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  13. Flint: Alas, it seems inherent in human nature to be competitive, to measure our worth in relation to the perceived worth of others. In nearly all aspects of life, we grade on a curve. We reduce intelligence to a number to see who can have the biggest number. Above a certain income, dollars are simply counters in a game, to see who has more. We strive not just to keep up with the Joneses, but to exceed them – to drive a better car, live in a bigger house, have more people reporting to us at work. There have been numerous communist communities based on the tenets of Marx, and these have devolved to “to each according to how much more each can accumulate than the other guy.” When the distribution is based on need, there will be competition to see who can be neediest, sure as sunrise.

    I think it’s extremely easy to make assumptions about “human nature” based on how the socialization patterns of the vast majority of people within a few closely related cultures within a few hundred years.

    It may be somewhat more difficult to defend those assumptions when one considers the thousands of human cultures that have existed during the 200,000 years that our species has been on this planet.

    I think it’s quite interesting that at the same time that Marx is writing the three volumes of Capital, he was also quite interested in the social psychology of Indigenous peoples.

    And while no doubt there have been some communities that claimed to be based on Marxian ideals, it is not possible that they really were. This is because what Marx is really talking about is a post-scarcity society. He’s talking about the elimination of scarcity: unlimited (for all practical purposes) food, energy, and satisfaction of basic needs, hence the elimination of the very need for money. Accomplishing this requires that we can build machines that can perform the functions of alienated human labor. The level of technology necessary for this doesn’t even exist in 2021, though we’re far closer than we ever have been. Unfortunately control of this technology remains almost entirely within the hands of corporations and the governments that enable them. That is why there needs to be a socialist revolution.

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  14. Kantian Naturalist:
    CharlieM: So are you interested in sharing wealth equally among a community without regard to how it will benefit that community?

    As Marx says, “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”. Each individual contributes to the community what they are most able to contribute, and receives from it what they need in order to have a life of dignity and self-respect.

    Sounds like Camphill

    Kantian Naturalist>Communism is not about an equal distribution of wealth — it is the abolition of wealth.

    Steiner:
    “It is easy to jump to the conclusion: The capitalistic orientation of economic life has these results, and it must therefore be abandoned. But the question is, whether in so doing we should not also be abandoning the very foundations, without which modern civilisation cannot exist. One who thinks the capitalistic orientation a mere intruder into modern economic life, will demand its removal. But one who recognises how modern life works through division of labour and of social function, will rather have to consider how to exclude from social life the disadvantages which arise as a by-product of this capitalistic tendency. For he will clearly perceive that the capitalistic method of production is a consequence of modern life, and that its disadvantages can only make themselves felt so long as the capital aspect is made the sole criterion in estimating economic values.”

    Steiner realised the impossible task of trying to eliminate wealth. I don’t have time to find the reference at the moment, but if I remember correctly he advocated doing away with the system at that time whereby money was used in lieu of gold and replacing it with a system in which money was tied to a perishable commodity such as wheat. This would ensure circulation and make it extremely difficult for anyone to accumulate vast amounts of wealth.

    CharlieM: Say there is a family run business in which there are two sons. One wishes for the business to do well in order to provide for the extended family and even the local community and the other is interested in buying himself luxury goods and couldn’t care less about the business nor the community. Would it be wise to entrust the finances or profits of the business equally between the sons?

    Kantian Naturalist: I don’t see the relevance of the question, because there wouldn’t be privately owned businesses under communism.

    It need not be privately owned. Someone would still be in charge of the business.

    CharlieM: Communist principles are fine in their proper sphere. Do you think it is okay to treat people as commodities?

    Kantian Naturalist: A genuinely communist society would not have commodities.

    I would say that is easier said than done. Running a community on threefold commonwealth principles involves ensuring that certain are not treated as commodities. Things such as labour and land.

    Camphill communities are run on a threefold social order. They farm, they manufacture and sell goods, they run cafes, but they do not receive wages for the work they do. Each is given enough money to meet their needs regardless of the jobs they do.

    Here is a short film they made (under difficult lockdown restrictions) to celebrate 80 years of the Camphill movement.

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