"Welcome to the Machine"

from http://www.yakrider.com/Poetry_n_Essays/Essays/welcome_to_the_machine.htm

Welcome to the Machine
.a look at control, dominion, and taking

Well, the illusion of being separate organisms who need to control has prevailed. In this country, as in most or all so-called "civilized" countries, all land is
owned. (But "civilized" seems for all purposes to be a euphemism for dominion by human intellect.) The fact of land ownership lends a great irony to most
four-wheel drive vehicles. A person pays $30,000 for an off road vehicle because advertisements show a flannel-shirted adventurer enjoying the beautiful
freedom available off road, driving over mountain tops to view the next horizon and its wide-open, breath-taking beauty. This lone sports-utility-vehicle
driver splashes through creeks and drives over hills into the sunset. He is an explorer, a rugged and free individual who loves the earth and freedom enough
to pay $30,000 for it. The tragic comedy that they never tell you is that he is not allowed to drive over those mountains. They are owned. The rugged and
free explorer will be in reality trespassing on either 1) a rancher's private property, or 2) the government's land. There is almost nowhere he may go.

Its odd, but I haven't met anyone who knows when or how various state and federal governments acquired all the non-private lands. At some point,
payments, agreements or votes must have been involved?? But, the fact is, there is no where one may go to live without going through the theater of
"buying" it, that is, paying for the illusion of ownership of some land. If you weren't able to buy it for yourself, you are trespassing. In the U.S., the
various governing authorities feel they ultimately "own" all lands in practicality, because if they want the rancher's land, they will take it. Protests, courts,
threats notwithstanding, they will have it in the end if they want it. In the U.S.A. this is called the Law of Eminent Domain; it is deceptively subtitled "the
greatest good for the greatest number." But, the ones who define "the greatest good" do so on their own scale of values, which are usually monetary.

Back in 1892, a man, W. A. Duncan, wrote in the Cherokee Advocate:

"Business knows no pity, and cares for justice only when justice is seen to be better policy. If it had
power to control the elements, it would grasp in its iron clutches the waters, sunshine and air and resell
them by measure, and at exorbitant prices to the millions of famished men, women and children."

This reminds me of a movie I saw recently called The Milagro Bean-field War, in which a town of simple farmers in New
Mexico had the natural water supply (a creek) confiscated by the local government so the creek's water could be controlled
and sold back to them. Irrigation trenches leading from the stream to the a small farm fields were shut down, and signs
hung on them strictly prohibiting private use of the water as illegal, under penalty of law. The town's families were
thereby impoverished; those who took and controlled the water were enriched. This kind of thing is accepted as normal
and somehow necessary. But it seems to me a form of mental illness - declaring dominion over a natural resource in order
to force your fellow man to pay you for it. Later, take a look at the essay by Peter Phillips, Ph.D. on the threat of the
privatization of the earth's natural water supply for control, taking, and profit.

Near where I live there are small ranches or homes, some very modest, but on a few or several acres of land. The people
living out there are told they own the land, but that the local water district owns the water under their land. They are not
allowed to dig a well on their own land because that would be stealing the water which has somehow been claimed by a
"water district." Instead, they have to buy their water from this self-proclaimed water authority. A little headway has been
made by people in adjoining ranchlands who fought for the right to dig wells on their own properties. (They are in a
different "water district" that was forcing them to pay more for the same region's water.) Their hard-won battle has gained
them this: they can dig a well, and after their labor and personal expense is finished, the water district comes out and
places a meter on their well and charges them for the water that comes out of it (but at a reduced rate!!)
Reading about that, it suddenly occurred to me how the American Indians got screwed out of any land to live on freely -
they made "deals" with this new race that came and wanted to acquire the land. For an American Indian this would mean
this visitor wanted to live on it - no problem. You see, the Indian had no concept of "owning" land - it was as ridiculous a
concept as fleas "owning" the dog they live on. We come from the earth, we live on the earth, we die on the earth and the
earth goes on. We spring up for a time from this environment because we are this environment.

They could not believe anyone could be so arrogant (to the point of insanity, it must have seemed) as to mean one could
"own" this environment. But Westernized societies have invented two notions that make this insanity, this delusion, seem
utterly normal. The first is the notion that we are separate from our environment and somehow at odds with it, so we need
to control it. Humph! What your body is, is an organism shaped by this environment to live it, experience it, survive by
it. No other organisms, whether plants or animals, feel a neurotic need to assert dominance over their environment. Only
humans feel apart from it. This is based on another ridiculous notion is that we "came into this world" as if we were
previously alien souls popping in to earthly existence for a visit called "life." But in fact we do not come into this world,
we come out of it, much like apples come from the apple tree. We are the fruit of this environment we call earth, and the
fruit is the tree, it does not conquer the tree.
An old Cree Indian Prophecy will apparently prove true in America. They said: "Only after the last tree has been
cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only
then you will find that money cannot be eaten."
"[W]hen we got organized as a country and we wrote a fairly radical Constitution with a radical Bill of Rights, giving a
radical amount of individual freedom to Americans, it was assumed that the Americans who had that freedom would use it
responsibly.... [However, now] there's a lot of irresponsibility. And so a lot of people say there's too much freedom.
When personal freedom's being abused, you have to move to limit it." (Bill Clinton 3-22-94)

Likewise, in an issue of USA Today dated March 11, 1993, the president expressed a love of dominion, saying, "We
can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans . . . ."

Again, this essay is NOT a political preference issue. All political systems, every political party is part of maya, the great
illusion. This is to raise a big question mark against the whole notion of control, dominion, and taking. This has not to do
with any one political personality; it has to do with the notion of any party thinking they have the wisdom for ruling others
well or deciding what the common good is. The old Taoist sage, Lao Tzu, said you should rule a country as you would
fry a small fish -- too much poking ruins it. But we have found ourselves to have made a system in which "the good" is
defined by the corporations who produce and/or support a politician to best represent their interests. Historically, it is only
after the corporations exhaust the resources of the society working for them (and then fail under this illusion of being a
separate and higher entity) that "the Strong Leader" can appear and make political postures for his own aggrandizement
and legacy. After economic collapse there is a Mussolini, and Hitler, a Chairman Mao to "take the public's best interests to
heart" and provide the tyranny necessary for their own good.

I saw a quote from Michael Hoffman, who noted how often, "...tyranny comes in the name of 'public safety,' which just
so happens to be the shibboleth of the 12 man junta who ruled France and instituted the Reign of Terror --they called
themselves, "The Committee of Public Safety." It's always "for your own good."


"Go for the Gusto, Go for the Overall"
-- Robby Gordon, SCORE off-road champion


Well-Known Member
Re: \"Welcome to the Machine\"

Pretty interesting - thanks!

<font color=yellow>Paige<font color=yellow>