Apathy, Self-Censorship, Wall Street, Government Censorship

Oct 21, 2011 by

With great concern I read about Naomi Klein’s speech to the Wall Street protestors. What is it that concerned me so much about this? The greatest cause for concern was in the first italicized paragraph of this article where Naomi points out the disheartening fact that the Wall Street Protestors have been forbidden to use megaphones or any other form of amplification. I’m going to look over the American Charter of Rights today and report back to you in an addendum to this post – I just wanted to get this out there to folks who might not realize this.

Even if you (in my opinion) foolishly don’t agree with this movement the very fact that this silencing is happening should send chills down anyone’s spine.  Try doing this Google Image search of Martin Luther King Jr.  Tell me how many photos on the first page do you see Dr. King with a microphone in front of him? On the first page of results I counted not less than thirty-five instances.

Then I did a quick search for some of Dr. King’s quotes and this one stuck in the pit of my stomach the second I read it:

“Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

Now for the second item that has caused a great concern and sadness to me today. As a longtime member of Facebook I have participated in rousing discussions with friends, voiced opinions, concerns, joys, etc.. Item number one (not necessarily my greatest concern as they all have the same value in this context ):

 

 

I have always made it a rule to keep my Facebook friends list below a certain threshold as I feel there are only so many people who I can have friendships of value with. Some might say this limits one’s reach when attempting to reach out to a group with an ideas, a plea, or just a simple announcement of some kind. I have always, thought, perhaps incorrectly, that if social media is functioning as it should then the idea of factorial explosion should, in theory, supplant the limitation that I put on my friends list. I do allow friends of friends to see my posts and this simple device allows that factorial explosion take care of the rest – or at least it should if you have something of value to share.

Missing children and people’s pleas for help that get posted on Facebook from time to time.

So lets take this example recently: a father somewhere here in British Columbia, Canada posted a heartfelt plea and a picture of his seventeen year old daughter who had gone missing. How many shares do you think this got? I know I received it from a friend, reposted, and I saw, are you ready? One other friend reposted it out of the hundreds of people I supposedly know. I’m still not sure how to take that, so for the forseeable future I have decided to leave my Facebook account stagnant and to withdraw my participation from it, as at least to me, either I have the “worst” group of friends on the planet, or more likely they are simply representative of the general sickness of apathy that seems to be prevalent in our society.  How would they feel if they were to use social media to help find a missing loved one and no one participated?

 “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

To me this self-censorship finds its roots in apathy is really not all that different from whatever is casting the shadow of silence that forbids the Wall Street Protestors from using any form of amplification.

Just before I left Facebook I posted a message that begged a question of why so many who take part daily on Facebook will speak privately to me, to their friends etc., that they believe in their hearts that something has gone seriously awry in our world,  but can’t participate even with the least amount of effort?

This simple act of hitting the “share” button on an announcement from the general assembly, from Adbusters, or from anyone else who is participating can help make a real difference! Why won’t they participate in this way? It is a way that they can help make a difference with the least amount of effort.  Yet they will readily post feel-good stories from mass media, and you can see the shares cascade out at the speed of light, like so much other drivel that captures the minds and bleak attention spans of the masses.

Is this what the majority of us have become? Maybe I’m still too young at forty two to realize that it’s not a question of what we have become, but a question of when did we become this? Did this torpor take root at the end of the sixties? Was it there long before?

Have the greatest majority of us become so disconnected from reality that whenever a glimpse is presented to us we turn the page, or hunt like drug addicts for the next feel-good story? This is not an irreverent or facetious question to ask, on the contrary it is asked with all the passion that I have. I bring up the idea of cognitive dissonance in so many posts here on oddbloke that I fear some of you may soon be sick of hearing about it. Be that as it may, this is another signal of how those who make their way through life have that “niggling” feeling that maybe I should do something; like hit share on this message indicating the loss of a child, a general announcement of the Wall Street folks, or a picture asking why a 100 million people cry for the loss of the mercurial, greedy, megalomanic who ran Apple computers and not shed a fucking tear or share an announcement asking for donations for the relief fund in Africa where thousands upon thousands are starving and dying.

It is no surprise that I woke today to find on MSN Canada an article indicating that Canada’s share of millionaires is growing. Has it ever occurred to the less dull-witted out there the reason why the editors of transnationally-owned companies are pressured from above to report stories like this? It is yet another bit of information to lead you into believing that if you just keep your mouth shut, work hard, pay your taxes and the interest on your mortgage, and train your kids to be good, compliant citizens then you too will have the chance to join this ever-growing list of millionaires?  Should it be a surprise to you that not only is it not mentioned in the article that the disparity between the rich and the poor is growing at a faster rate in Canada than in the US, but perhaps this disparity is actually illustrated by this very story? If you are earning $250,000 dollars a year, that is a very good income – why is it that you are encouraged to earn more and more? If you do earn more and more and it doesn’t come directly as compensation from the place you work. where does it come from? Are you encouraged to speculate and play games with properties and derivatives, and play stocks short as well? This habitual encouragement of selfishness is in my opinion one of the main things contributing to our apathy.

“I submit that an individual who breaks the law that conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.


 In closing I dedicate this post to those who are out occupying trying to wake up the collective of the nation to the ongoing injustices of this world. I hope that they soon find some way to become amplified so their words are heard – ringing through the streets. Because this silencing is yet another symptom of a world increasingly controlled by corporations who make profit that is beyond most people’s comprehension – they rely on that and our collective ignorance and apathy.

I hope sometime I can return to Facebook but I will not contribute a sentence until I see those that participate daily contribute more themselves. It really is a situation where hitting the “Share” button could change the world.

Until next time,

R.

3 Comments

  1. “So, the human mic seems to cultivate a kind of egalitarian attention to one another. And on occupied Wall Street, what began as a way of circumventing an inconvenient police rule has come to function as a regular demonstration of solidarity and co-operation, amplifying the people’s voices.” from http://blogs.aljazeera.net/fault-lines/2011/10/10/ows-human-mic

  2. and

    the least we can offer

    urgency is the word of our voice together;
    for there were people in pain when we awoke,
    and there were people in prison when we were born.
    urgency is the least we can offer.
    and,
    outrage is the word of our work together;
    for there is hurting as we do our talking,
    and there is killing as we do our planning.
    outrage is the least we can offer.
    yet,
    love is the word of our coming together;
    for we came through love to see and to weep,
    and we came through love to act and to intervene.
    love is the least we can offer.
    and,
    peace is the word of our being together;
    for without peace we will come too late.
    and without peace we will come too early.
    peace is the least we can offer.
    http://1journey.net/1journey/Kith/theleastwecanoffer.htm

    • RedIron

      That is a beautiful poem thanks for sharing it with us Jock. BTW I meant to send you the last couple of days, but I have been ill and it was tough just to get this post out. Feeling better tonight but studying this crazy expensive book on Karl Marx and his theory on economy. It is indeed heavy reading and I want to get the next Beautiful Anger out soon as well. Hard to find time to research, write, and edit sometimes in a day. peace brother