INCREASED COMMODITIZATION WITH SIMULTANEOUSLY INCREASED REAPPROPRIATION, RESANCTIFICATION AND RESACRALIZATION OF THE COMMONS IN THE REALMS OF PECUNIARY MATTERS, ON THE WEB, KNOWLEDGE AND LEARNING.
I was once again off on a tangential phase of reverie the other day and got to thinking about how our world seems to be increasingly fixated on the commoditization of everything in human relationships as well as the sale of goods and services of all sorts, yet by the same token that there seems to be an equal and opposite trend towards the resanctification, resacralization and reappropriation by humanity of the commons regarding making goods and services and property of all sorts free of charge to individuals and freely accessible to all humanity for the common welfare of all.
This seems to be a growing phenomenon as we have progressed from the Enclosure Movement in Britain from the 16th to the 19th centuries, especially from 1760 to 1820, when wholesale enclosure of agricultural lands took place, creating a huge landless working class in Britain, and commoditized those lands for the benefit of the landed aristocracy and the emerging bourgeoisie, thereby emptying huge numbers of landless peasants into British cities and towns and then into their colonies such as America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and elsewhere.
From there the process of commoditization continued apace as the late 18th and early 19th centuries gave rise to capitalism, republicanism, industrialism, urbanism, secularism, humanism, agnosticism, atheism, consumerism, materialism, sado-masochism, alcoholism, and a whole host of unholy ‘isms’ too numerous to enumerate. This whole process of commoditization and desacralization, desanctification and dehumanization has not only ‘created enormous new sources of wealth and prosperity’ for our civilization, but it has also created heretofore unheard of quantities and qualities of socio-economic disparities, despair, inequality, perversion, bloodshed, slaughter, genocide, suicide, sickness, trauma, and toxicity and moral decay of all sorts which we had never anticipated and for which our governments and Churches find themselves increasingly overwrought trying to cope with, seeing that the ‘wealth-creators’ who are primarily responsible for also creating all of these afore-mentioned pejorative externalities, treat them as just that: Externalities for which they feel virtually no responsibility whatsoever beyond the self-serving philanthropy in which they engage which is designed to make themselves look good and to ‘give back’ a fraction of what they’ve arrogated to themselves by hook and by crook so as to ultimately drum up more business for themselves by raising their brand name awareness among the population, or perhaps at best they will concede a certain measure of pecuniary wherewithal in a class action settlement after decades of litigation for damages perpetrated and perpetuated upon members of the general public in which thousands usually suffered loss of life or limb because of various forms of explicitly construed and vehiculated forms of corporate malfeasance. One only has to think of the asbestos and tobacco companies to come up with such examples.
Therefore, in the Post WWII, Post-Cold War, Postmodern, Post-industrial era, where, as Jesus Jones put it so aptly, we find ourselves ‘watching the world wake up from history’, and that ‘right here right now, there is no other place I’d rather be’, I think a lot of people are finally doing just that, ‘snapping out of their drug-induced state’ as Carole Pope said in her song ‘Shaking the Foundations’ when she was with Rough Trade, the Canadian Pop-synth band from the early 1980s. These people are ‘shaking with the DTs’, ‘questioning their loyalties’ and ‘examining their priorities.’ People are no longer ready willing and able to accept to be subjected to the random tyranny of either corporate malfeasance or the government technocratic tyranny which often aids and abets it.
However, the problem which arises from this, and it is a problem, is the usual problem of the law of unintended consequences, is that as new solutions are presented to these problems of corporate and government tyranny, the usual thing which seems to be happening is that we seem to be wanting to resanctify and reappropriate and re sacralize all that was good in the world before the Enclosure Movement and to recreate a world where in the physical and virtual world of the Worldwide Web, the commons can and ‘should’ be open and free to be ‘grazed’ by all sheep, goats and humans as much as they see fit, which has created a new zoo-like frontier on the internet, in social media, in left wing politics, in the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ type of political activist-anarchist ‘free thinker’ movement, which is causing no end of chaos in people’s ability to organize coherently against the very corporate and state malfeasance which they purport to oppose and desire to deconstruct and supposedly supplant with this much-ballyhooed ‘New World Order’, thereby insuring all the more the continued hegemony of the very corporate and state-based stakeholders whose sincerity regarding their predispositions of conscience with respect to the safekeeping of the sanctity of all that is sacred in this world is dubious at best.
So what do we do with ‘our troubled revolution’ as the song says? ‘Where do we go from here, sweet child of mine’, did sing Axl Rose? It would seem that everywhere we go these days there is a move on to have free everything: free newspapers online, free just about everything and anything of a knowledge or information based product or service online, to the point that people get ornery when web-based providers have the temerity to try and commoditize their product or service by putting up a pay wall and sometimes it backfires in their face since ideologically-speaking, the people who use the service have grown accustomed ideologically-speaking to the notion that such information and knowledge is now part of the ‘new postmodern commons’ out on the frontier of cyber space and the new frontier where the ‘keyword is survival’ as Donald Fagan put it in the song ‘New Frontier’ and where JFK’s oft-spoken of New Frontier of space technology, education, science and technology and health would unfold as a result of the altruistic convergence of corporate innovation, initiative, entrepreneurship, risk-taking, a desire for the betterment of humanity, all validated and brought to life by a civilian governmental technocracy whose primary goal was the betterment of temporal and civic life in America and the world.
We also have had a tendency to start hearing stuff about abolishing money and reverting back to a society whereby all goods and services would somehow be bartered, or that we’d run on some sort of gold standard or other precious or semi-precious metals, or that ‘competition is at the root cause of all our troubles, you just have to get rid of humanity’s ruthless tendency to compete with each other and make everybody equal and we’d be all OK’, or that ‘if we all just sat down and talked things over calmly we wouldn’t have any wars’, or another good one we often hear from the women’s lobby is ‘if women were in charge, there’d be no war and everything would run so much more smoothly.’ I guess nobody remembered to tell that to Catherine the Great of Russia when she ran that Popsicle stand or to Margaret Thatcher when she sent in the troops to the Falklands in 1982.
So how do we reconcile our status as ‘Spirits in the Material World?’ How do we live in a commoditized society that has a tendency to put a pecuniary value on all goods and services and is beginning to encroach more and more through its relentless core/periphery process of exploitative development and depletive maximization of extraction of animal, vegetable, mineral and human resources and gain, while minimizing all things relating to costs of operation, including what gets categorized as ‘externalities’ such as the planetary and personal ecology, physical, mental and spiritual hygiene, and often the stretching, fraying and even ripping and destruction of the social fabric of society?
How do we do this whilst remaining spirits who defy the relentless pursuit of pecuniary gain and commoditization and preserve and promote the sanctity of physical and spiritual life, both individual and collectively so as to continue to sanctify, sacralise and appropriate for Christ our Saviour, God our Father and the Holy Spirit, our conscience and our guide, those key aspects of our existence and our life here in this world which bring us joy, peace, prosperity and quietness in mind, body and soul, both as persons and as a civilization?
The answer is simple: We must continue to leave space in our lives for Christ, in our daily lives and in the life of our society. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus in the morning, Jesus in the noontime, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus when the sun goes down! That was a song I sang at Christian camp. Something I can relate to especially today as I have recently turned 50 and find myself on the cusp of a major career change going back to school probably for up to five years non-stop. I’ll have to keep Jesus in my life constantly to keep my life on an even keel.
Maybe those Muslims aren’t so crazy after all, pausing five times during the day to pray? I now pray up to three to five times a day, if I count morning and evening prayer, daily Mass and the number of times I say the Serenity Prayer during the day to get through a difficult situation, I’d say I’ve got those Muslims beat by a longshot!!!
So don’t forget, God worked for six days and on the seventh he rested. No, I’m NOT a Creationist. I don’t believe that the universe was created in seven days. Don’t be silly. There was a Big Bang, but believe me, Sheldon, Raj, Leonard and Howard didn’t make it happen from their apartment while eating pizza and watching video games and playing with remote controlled robots!!! Obviously God (Good Orderly Direction) made those chemicals and made them come together, right now, over me, at the corner of Milky Way and Main and made them boogie in such a way as the universe unfolded as it should, we just chose to mess it up as we went along by dint of having the liberty and freedom to either be truly free and do God’s will and have Him help us carry the load of our temporal worries and cares, or to think that we were exercising what is known supposedly as ‘liberty and freedom’ and to do things our way and to pursue a path of self-centred, self-seeking, and self-aggrandizement, which ultimately makes us slaves to the bondage of our own glandular-hormonal instincts and other temporal pursuits of money, power, property and prestige.
So don’t worry, be happy. You’ll recognize a ‘fellow traveller’ soon enough. And I don’t mean a Socialist sympathiser but a fellow brother or sister in Christ Jesus, who will share with you the common bonds of love of His name and of His Word made flesh in the real presence of the Eucharist. You will then have achieved and shall forever maintain yourself in a state of Grace, contingent upon the maintenance of your spiritual condition, which, I daresay, cannot be ‘pay-walled’ in any way and shall never fall prey to the tyranny, whether random or wilfully-construed and vehiculated of governmental or corporate tyranny or malfeasance.
Such is the eternal promise of the one true and everlasting Commons of Creation: That of the Creator Himself. And for this we give thanks. Amen.