Globalization with the intent of nurture, not necrophilia

Something kind of clicked in my mind last night while smoking un cigarro and watching the rain. I realized that here in Perù the contrast between modernity and tradition are rather stark. The people that are truly poor are mainly the indigenous Andinos. They are the ones begging, sitting in doorways on the street. They wear the native garb, the women with faces like leather and rather dapper looking hats, colorful but worn ponchos, a woven sack slung over their shoulders. The affluent Peruanos wear gortex jackets, not alpaca. And this contrast is something which all of the world is undergoing–it’s simply more apparent in “developing” nations.
Tourists flock to this country and other latin american countries because here there remains still the burning embers of a living past. But in many ways the very fact that people of the world come here with their cameras to snap pictures and reimagine the Incan empire seems to speak of the slow but steady ebbing of the living existence of these traditions. People come here because everywhere the cultural heritage of our ancestors is suffocating or has already long since passed. Much is still active here. But how much of it is truly active and how much is generated by the providence of rich tourists coming for las fiestas and dropping cash about them like turds? Sometimes watching traditional dances reenacted for commerce seems to me like visiting a museum. It has become sterilized by a growing awareness of itself that suppresses the meaning which once lay behind its archetypal subconscious narrations.
The chimera we face in these days and times is the ever certain prospect that our current mode of living is completely unsustainable. It seems to me that if our past cannot be reconciled with our future, if the campesinos cannot even eke out at least a decent lifestyle and are destroyed by global commerce and urbanization, then the human race doesn’t stand a chance.
We can never go back home again, of course. But we are certainly capable of pulling our heads from the sand of inertia and considering what we can do to incorporate greater consciousness of time and space and alternative lifestyles into our daily lives.
In my mind the worldwide movement of organics has demonstrated quite clearly that there is a profitable market for locally and consciously produced products that are of higher and distinctive individual quality. The agri-business corporations and their minions in DC continually make statements about the need for greater control over nature (i.e. genetically modified patented seeds) so that they can conquer world hunger. To quote William S Burroughs: “Beware of whores who say they don’t want money; what they mean is they want more money, much more.”
Solving world hunger would involve fostering communities that are not completely junkie dependent upon robber baron businesses and bureacracies and aristocracies outside of themselves. The more self-reliant a community could be, the less poverty and hunger there would within that community. The small time farmers all around the world are suffering terribly because they have no choice but to accept sub-standard payment for their goods. I know that the concept of “globalization” is a complicated and intricate affair–but in a very generalized and simplistic nutshell, it looks to me like what it generally entails is rape and pillage of developing nations. So called “free” trade in other words, refers to privateering, not libertad. Just in the same way Republicans continuously say things about diminishing “big government.” What they really mean is they want corporations to have free and untrammelled access to our anuses.
I am by no means advocating the regression to city-states. There is no going back. But there is time for pause and consideration rather than blind plunging into a bleak and faceless future. It is possible to have a level of maturity and responsibility and accountability in our actions. If we want to survive as individuals, then we have to begin thinking about other people in our community. If we want to survive as a nation than we have to begin thinking in terms of the globe. Currently our nation acts just like a self-destructive adolescent, reckless and blind with desperate selfishness.
Heritage. Meaning as imbued by tradition and specific locality rather than homogenized mass consumption.
Again, we cannot go back.
But cannot we find a way to incorporate what is passing into what has yet to come?
Otherwise, what will be left to feed the future with except hollow images we never really knew?

Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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