Killing Horizon: Capitalism
At The Expense Of All Life
By Juan Santos
The bottom line is profit. Profit and the lust for it is capitalism’s event horizon. Like the boundary of a black hole – which is roughly what the term “event horizon” means in the theory of general relativity, any energy, information or meaning that passes the threshold of a consciousness driven by profit disappears into the super-gravitational field of the black hole itself – never to be seen or heard of again.
Nothing can be seen once it enters this realm, and nothing, having entered, ever escapes. No light, no sign, no dawn of understanding can re-emerge. Anything, any light, any object, any thought, any meaning, purpose, or any human feeling is swallowed and for all practical purposes, obliterated there.
No communication can transpire between inside and outside.
The event horizon of profit-consciousness functions as an inviolate barrier between what appear to be mutually exclusive worlds. Those of us on this side of the event horizon can only guess, but never really know, what happens on the other side. What we know of what is inside the black hole of the capitalist consciousness can only be inferred from what seems to happen at its horizon. We are left to assume that what happens there is annihilation, or its equivalent. It seems that the only thing that can enter that realm is money- life stripped of all meaning except a numerical designation, like a concentration camp inmate with a serial number tattooed on her forearm.
There are things we can infer from this side of the horizon about what happens on the other side, in the black hole of the capitalist mentality - things that show up outside that tell us something about what happens within it. Things like the concentration camp victim, like the mass graves in Guatemala, the unearthed Mayan corpses left by death squads… they seem to emerge from the black hole and give us a glimpse of what is inside: and, beyond that, sometimes we almost get real glimpses in. We get glimpses of Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, of someone’s recollection of headless frogs spewing blood after the psychopathic child, George W. Bush, has lit a firecracker he’s inserted in their mouths and hurled them through the air. We know these things – we glimpse them, those of us who are paying the strictest kind of attention. But, mostly, nothing escapes, or that which seems to escape the pull of the black hole for a moment is immediately sucked back in to the realm of oblivion as if it never happened.
But, as often as not, we can tell what matters to those in the center of civilization’s black gravity – its centers of “power”, by what doesn’t happen out here in the real world - on this edge of the horizon -as much as by what does happen.
Notice. Notice what is taken “seriously” by the denizens of the dark center of “power” – if anything beyond the next quarterly profit and loss statement can be said to be taken seriously at all.
Notice where the $700 billion in “bailout” money is going. The black hole people feared would swallow the Earth when the CERN particle accelerator was launched in Europe didn’t appear there. It appeared thousands of miles away – on Wall Street - and the $700 billion is going into that black hole, never to be seen again.
It’s going to fix problems that have no real existence, that are tied to values that have no real existence. Down the rabbit hole, the black hole, into the land of illusion, the land of swindles, the land of lies, of the selling of the negation of values, of mirrors upon mirrors, into the unreal land of black magic, where it will impact nothing but the “faith” of capitalist financiers and wizards in their ability to live on - and to sustain themselves with - lies and illusion in a system that is fundamentally not sustainable. They call this psychic trick- this denial - “faith” in the markets, liquidity and credit (and to give credit, of course, means nothing but to put faith or belief in something or someone) – even as the credit markets are drying up. They are drying up because no one who is sane can any longer believe the lie. The whole thing is incredible, unbelievable. Such faith is nothing more or less than faith in a lie. The whole thing is based on what Ayn Rand – the late high priestess of capitalism, cruelty, arrogance, free markets and the “virtue” of selfishness, called, ironically enough, given the context, the “blank out.”
All it takes is one stroll down Wall Street to get that Wall Street is “America’s” temple district –
The sense of being on “holy” ground is palpable - and all it takes is one glance to get that none of the financial wizards really knows what’s going on… they know not what they have wrought, they know not whom they have robbed; they have invented a house of lies so complex that they themselves can no longer follow the plot or the floor plan. What we know – and what they know, and what Bush knows and Obama and McCain - what they all know- is that the $700 billion is going to cover the lie, is going to keep their asses out of prison, is going to prevent revolt against their system, which profits at the expense of all of us. It’s not going to so-called “Main Street,” and - even if it did - who’s on Main Street, if not merely the junior, local and regional versions of the players on Wall Street – the ones getting their hands dirty – the ones that exploit us face to face, rather than from the remote heights of the now-obliterated World Trade Center?
Yes, who’s on Wall Street, who’s on Main Street, who’s on ghetto streets and barrio streets, and who, after all is on Skid Row, or on a dirt street in a third world village, living on $2 a day - $2, not $700 billion – not even $200 billion, not even $200 or a twenty dollar bill. 2 dollars. A day. Or less.
Of course, outside the black hole, outside the house of mirrors, it’s plain to see. All profit comes at someone else’s expense. They have robbed the poor blind – that’s why they are poor. They have gutted the Earth of its soil, plant life, energy, forests and water tables: we are left with deserts and a $700 billion black hole. That’s why the Earth is dying. They profit, as the traditional Hopi elders told us, at the expense of all life. That’s where the limos, and the mansions (whether its one mansion like Obama’s or 13 of them like McCain’s) come from: at the expense of all life. That’s what happens.
Now, notice what doesn’t happen.
Humanity faces a real crisis - one that threatens not only Wall Street, but all life on Earth. Call it Global Warming, call it Peak Oil, call it running out of water on a global scale, call it the collapse of industrial agriculture. call it fisheries collapsing, call it mass extinction. Call it the potential of planetary death. Call it what is inside the Black Hole made visible, palpable in its meaning. Call it the real event horizon. Call it the Killing horizon. It’s every bit as complex in all of its intersections as the financial “crisis,” but, unlike the financial “crisis,” it’s real.
And what happens?
Nothing. No significant action. At all.
There's no $700 billion plan to save the Earth - which sustains us all.
The only thing that has ever mattered to the rulers of this empire – and of every other empire- is profit, and profit, we will recall, always comes at someone’s expense – ours, the indigenous peoples in every corner of the planet whose lands and lives have been usurped,
at the expense of the enslaved, from Babylon to the USA, at the expense of Polar Bears, Wolves, Buffalo, Dolphins, Bears – and now even the Chimpanzee faces extinction, along with Whales, and as much as 50% of all living species before this century – and this system - is finished with them. Profit. At the expense. Of all life.
The capitalists can’t look at the meaning of it. They can’t bear to see the meaning and impact of their lives and how they live them. Blank out. They don’t know and can’t know, any more than George W. Bush can really afford to know what was happening when he stuck firecrackers in frog’s mouths and sent them sailing through the air with the fuse sparkling (that, after all, is why he drinks – not to know.) Maybe he imagined as a boy that the frogs were B24 bombers in WW2, and that when the firecracker exploded, it was flak hitting the nose of the plane, right where the navigator sat, and that the blood was the navigator’s blood. Maybe he couldn’t bring himself to look at the shattered skulls, the exposed spines, the blood, and know what he had done. Or maybe he looked, and delighted in what he saw. We’ll never know. It’s lost in the black hole. Maybe the financial wizards think of derivatives and scam mortgages like Bush thought of frogs. The thrill, the drama of making a kill, of scamming, lying, getting over on others less powerful – the nobodies - the frog people - like you and me, the frog people who live on Elm Street, on ghetto and barrio streets, on Skid Row, on dirt streets, and along trails in the Amazon jungle and paths in the high Andes of Bolivia. I say probably so – that the financiers see us just that way.
But, maybe we’ll never know. It seems to have disappeared in the black hole of denied memory, impossibility and lies, just as Bush’s childhood memories lay hidden in the dense black hole of unresolved alcoholism. But we know this; for them, regular people - and animals, forests, polar bears, wolves and glaciers – are invisible. We’re on the other side of their event horizon, and they don’t care what happens to us. They are pulling us all inexorably into the gravity well from which no light escapes. They call the collapse of their house of financial lies a “crisis.” In the U.S., people like the Republican vice presidential candidate call the Killing horizon – the potential of planetary death - a “hoax.”
But, on a planetary scale, as everything unravels and is thrown into increasingly radical imbalance, people are starting to understand that what we see is what we get. And they are starting to see what has remained hidden in the realms of dark gravity and power. The event horizon, the Killing horizon, is drawing ever nearer.
And people are starting to decide for themselves what constitutes a hoax and what is, in fact, an actual crisis. We are deciding what and who needs and deserves a rescue –a “bailing out” – It's not the wizards and merchants of death; it's the frogs, lizards, plants, forests, beavers, bears, and human children.
You decide who and what nurtures us all and who and what destroys us. You decide. Is it saner to hug a tree, a cold stone building on Wall Street, or a stock certificate? Look at it. You decide. Everything that matters to you depends on the nature of your decision.