|Posted by straw prophet on June 5, 2011 at 8:09 PM|
As many students of history are familiar, Galileo Galilei, famed mathematician & astronomer, known today by many as the “father of modern science”, was forced by the Catholic Church under threat of torture to recant his “heretical” view that the earth revolved around the sun and not vice versa in the 17th century. This scientifically valid idea voided long held religious dogma and hence challenged the Church's integrity itself.
In a letter from 1634, René Descartes, one of the world's most noted thinkers and philosophers, stated:
“Doubtless you know that Galileo was recently censored by the Inquisitors of the Faith, and that his views about the movement of the earth were condemned as heretical. I must tell you that all the things I explained in my treatise, which included the doctrine of the movement of the earth, were so interdependent that it is enough to discover that one of them is false to know that all the arguments I was using are unsound. Though I thought they were based on very certain and evident proofs, I would not wish, for anything in the world, to maintain them against the authority of the church.... I desire to live in peace and to continue the life I have begun under the motto to live well you must live unseen.”
If we step back and think about the challenges that faced this small progressive and scientific community during 17th Century Europe and compare the fear and patterns of suppression coming from the established orthodoxy of that time to that of the modern-day, we find only mere variation. Descartes' revelation and retreat from exposure, as expressed by the motto: to live well you must live unseen is a disheartening disposition that speaks volumes and sadly carries on to this day across the world. The use of fear, intimidation and other time tested variations of oppression continue to persist as the dominant institutions of our society work to protect it's established orders regardless of social validity. Even more, the overall cultural itself, which invariably tends to support the accepted beliefs put forward by those that define “power” of a period, also tends to condemn those who choose to pose a challenge as it becomes a threat to the mass accepted identity itself.
The result is that many simply are not willing to risk their lives, occupations and reputations to challenge the orthodoxy of the time.
In late May 2011 news reports were generated that detailed how the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States was actively targeting “Political Activists” under the pretense of “Terrorism”.
Just as people like John Lennon and Martin Luther King Jr. were watched and harassed by the FBI for their activism decades ago, it appears modern, so-called “Anti-Terrorism” resources are being used to target environmentalists, peace, animal and political activists.
Just like the accusations of “Communism” against people like MLK Jr. in the mid 20th century, this newer, more generalized device called “Terrorism” of the 21st century is no less an “heretical”, accusatory tool than what was employed by the Inquisition century's ago to maintain the politico-religious social system.
So, we can sympathize with Descartes' notion, as to move against the Zeitgeist is to position yourself against the odds, regardless of how empirical, necessary or obvious the truth you wish to convey and act upon is.
Unfortunately, Descartes' position is unacceptable in the modern world. The risks that now exist within our current order are beginning to far outweigh the temporal personal risks generated by the act of activist objection itself.
It is no longer issues of accurate data, “rights” and “freedoms”. Today our very stability as a civilization is now in question and, if left unhindered, it threatens us all, regardless of one's position in the modern feudal hierarchy.
So, we can sit in confusion and watch as global unemployment rises due to technological unemployment and the resulting regional instability that is sure to grow. We can stare blankly at the systematic debt collapse of the world economy, country by country, like dominos, as self-appointed global banking institutions that derive money out of nothing impose austerity measures against the poor and middle class of each country to help support the wealthy, furthering the income divide.
We can twiddle our thumbs as what we have called “democracy” turns inexplicably into global plutocracy and the world economy becomes measured by how much money the rich move around amongst themselves. We can distract ourselves with our little gadgets as the rainforests – considered by many to be the “lungs” of this planet – are destroyed at faster and faster rates, reducing our ability to absorb the growing CO2 in the atmosphere. We can keep the TV on as the clean water and food shortages that currently affect over 1 billion people continue to grow to 2 billion... 3 billion. We can scan the tabloids at the grocery store news stands as the very basis of industrial civilization, the Hydrocarbon Economy, inches towards crisis scarcity with virtually no active initiative taken to change course.
We can continue to pretend that our “leaders” are anything but “mis-leaders”, set in motion by monetary commercial interests that follow the rules of the free-market with all legislation and offices going to the highest bidder, one way or another... and we can stand amused as a new global arms race gains speed as each country comes to terms with the very real reality that wars for resources are upon us in a way unlike any period in history.
This is what separates our world from the one Descartes hid from.
The fact is, the fear tactics of the Orthodoxy - in this context the FBI or any such “Intelligence Agency” - are no longer worthy of viable concern or even acknowledgment. At no time in history has any true social change come in a manner that was not opposed with hostility by the dominant orders of the time. If you choose fear, then fear exists and those little lists/tactics held by the Intelligence/Police Agencies have merit. If you choose love, pride and self-respect then no accusations, lists, or threats can ever stop you. The trick now is in numbers and if we can gain critical mass and override the “divide and conquer” techniques used to keep the orthodoxy in place, the game is over.
The Zeitgeist Movement is a global sustainability activist group working to bring the world together for the common goal of species sustainability before it is too late. It is a social movement, not a political one, with over 1100 chapters across nearly all countries. Divisionary notions such as nations, governments, races, political parties, religions, creeds or class are non-operational distinctions in the view of The Movement. Rather, we recognize the world as one system and the human species as a singular unit, sharing a common habitat. Our overarching intent could be summarized as “the application of the scientific method for social concern.”
To learn more about our work, please visit www.thezeitgeistmovement.com