Flat cars, box cars, ore cars, car cars
Empty or full of our past and future
Empty or full of our bleak future,
There is much, by his choice, for this homeless person to do. Riding
along from camp to town on his bicycle, Victor let his mind wander.
Unregulated, he thinks about everything. He neither avoids nor
obscesses on his dismal economic situation. He's not one to hide from
reality but it's easy to ignore the view on a road he's travelled often.
Though he never tires of Sonoran Desert-scape much of it is occluded by
orderly, though individually beautiful pecan trees in commercial groves.
Besides it's easier to attend to road hazards and traffic when daydreaming
than it is when gawking about. His fantasy world is less preposessing than
real distractions. He made it that way in order to feel more in control
of his thoughts. Everyone needs some control.
... How to refocus? Obviously we need a common cause. If wages,
salaries and real buying power (not plastic credit) continue falling, with
more people underemployed, unemployed or in service sector jobs, ninety five
percent of the population will likely be starving in a couple of years.
But if we wait we'll be too weak to fight. It's appropriate to target
the wealthy to act upon. (Challengers to that assertion must identify their
home planet and register as resident aliens before I'll yield the floor.
Thralls should awaken now!) However only a demagogue, like Hitler, would
build power by isolating a particular group. The common cause is, none the
less the exploited vs. the exploiters.
However across all group boundries the distribution of good and
evil in individuals conforms to the same normal curve that everything else
does. We need another determinate beside wealth to isolate the common
enemy. My theoretical research indicates that discriminator must be
provided by members of the target group themselves. When we present our
ultimatum we will note who supports and who resists or obstructs our
demands. We'll also note but not negate, those who don't commit
themselves. Punitive action for the latter will be postponed until after
the war. In the discrimination process we must, unfortunatly, identify the
true believers who support the status quo. I hate the thought of a
True believers are individuals, and I use that term very loosly, whose
natural loyalties should be with the rebellion, but due to some mental
deficiency caused, no doubt, by the dis-nurturing of our culture, have been
unable to break the shell of foolishness society employs to "protect" us.
They require enlightenment. So lighten up fools!
The ruling gangsters include most CEO's and managers, and their lackey
politicians, judges, academics and generals. The managers are a class that
was invented at the time labor movements first began to evolve. Their de facto
purpose is to divide and control the masses. They are the group that are
cut off from the rest and thereby deplete our numbers. Unfortunately most
of the upper middle class and many of the middle class will need to be
labled reactionary and therefore declared enemies. This probably
won't shrink our recruiting pool appreciably since the middle class will
continue suffer from severe downsizing and a McDonald's janitor is a more
likely enlistee than an engineer or middle manager. All praise to the
service economy, you may serve us in ways you didn't plan.
If there is time before unnatural calamities like stock market crashes
strike, I hope many of the overseer class may be saved through reeducation.
Of course, throughout written history the truth has been consistently
repressed, distorted and/or perverted by those in power. Any education that
serves not the purposes of the masters, is undone (usually along with it's
Victor often muses like this, about the possible future of humanity. Or
about his own future. It's part of his planning process. His fantasies
tend to be more positive than his projections. Especially if they unfold
at his desert campsite north of the Cerro Colorado Mountains. Everything
looks better from 50 miles away, though there are things about human society
he can't get far enough away from. Contrary to his preference, today he's on
his way to Tucson do do some work on the internet and try to make some
connections. He thinks the internet is wonderful, it's cities, too many
rats in the same cage, he dislikes. He's not normal.
Yet different states of mind bring forth thoughts of philosophy and
morality; especially as they apply to human culture. One of his favorite
philosophical fantasies proposes an alternative culture with a system of
morality based on sustaining life on the planet Earth. For that system he
"uncreated" the world. Recreating it, he opts for a simpler system than
most wish to maintain. His model posits a Universe that is, always was and
always will be. Whether contracting or expanding is irrelavent to the life
it may contain during the midst of an eight to ten billion (or more) year
cycle. The life exists in virtually closed star/planetary system(s). There
may or may not be some I/O associated with star systems but for the day to
day purposes of life it is negligible.
As stated, this culture would base morality on the continuing ability of
life to survive on this planet. An act of an individual is rewarded if it
supports the life principle and condemned if it tends to inhibit life. The
same rule applies to a given human culture as a whole. Of course right to
lifers and population control groups would be at war over the interpretation
and application of the principle. "Divide and conquer", said the original
J.C. (Julius Caesar). It's as basic, along with divert and distract, to the
control of populations, as it is to warfare. There may be real solutions,
but one that can be obscured solves nothing.
He goes on like this. Victor's fantasies often consist of such abstract
summaries rather than imaginary theatre. He's either too intelligent or
too lazy to ellaborate on them. It's not that he isn't susceptable to
fantasizing a more heroic part for himself so much as the abbreviated form
allows him to pack more waste into less time.
In the "Post Modern Era" no one, not even the homeless, have enough time
to do everything they need or want. Perhaps the time savers of his personal
lifestyle can be emulated without aspiring to his economic status. I know
no one would set out to achieve homelessness, but suspect many more will
reach it anyway. He worries about the path humanity follows. He is concerned
about the place he is in. And what can he do about it?
At this point I'm going to interrupt this summary of Victor's musings for a
question. "Victor, what I have just recorded seems to be rambling. Can you
please clean up your thoughts a little?"
"Clean up your own head you arrogant fool! I'll think what I damn please!
At the moment it pleases me to think there is hope for humanity. But not much
while the superstitious belief in outside intervention prevails. Even less if
the majority continues to hide from awareness of the trendy decline in their
real income. And the expectation the politicians will do something is astoundingly
insane. I wish instead of criticism you would help me try to communicate my
observations more clearly. What the hell are you good for?"
He's deranged but there's no point in telling him so. No more than there is
in speaking out against the corporate cultured complacency of the middle class.
He isn't sure he can do anything either but he has a vision to follow. He'll
start by clarifiing the basic understanding of how the big system works. How
does our economy provide for our survival? Who gets the most benefit? Those
sorts of things. Someone needs to think about them, most people are too busy
just trying to survive to to think about anything beyond their immediate
problems. If they do find time to sit and reflect there is always some ready
distraction or diversion to protect the cultivated outlook. Like the Y2k bug
was exaggerated to the point it was merely a hoax. Possibly it was designed
to take our attention from our degenerating quality of life. UFOs and such
only keep a few nuts busy. Y2k was a plausable threat to the security of the
contemporary lifestyle that distracted the middle class from the declining
standard of living, among other things. The leaders lost so much when they
lost fear of Russian nuclear power. But of course we will always be able to
attend to the problems of others. Advice is easy to give and it doesn't cost
anything. Just seeing someone worse off than ourselve takes our minds off our
troubles an gives us a feeling of superiority and well being.
It's time for a break, Victor pedals into the lot beside the little
store in Suarita. He crosses his right leg over the bike and, standing on
the left pedal coasts up to the air and water station near the two gas pumps
which are situated off the S.E. corner of the store. There is a carport
facing the road on the eastern, front side of the store. He likes to sit
there some times and watch the people who get gas. Often someone will want to
talk. It's a shady spot in the afternoons and not visable from inside the
store whose entrance is on the N.E. corner, closest to the crossroad.
The Suarita Road goes East from the intersection across the Nogales spur
of the Southern Pacific Railroad. West, the road goes to the copper mine on
the other side of I-19. The road it crosses here is the [Tucson-]Nogales
Highway. Even in Tucson he often camps near that road. It follows the
railroad until it turns into S. 6th Ave. on the South side of Tucson. Near
the tracks and low lying areas by the washes are the only place his kind are
tolerated by the Tucson police. And those are swept regularly. He wonders
where he's expected to live. Or if he's expected to die to help relieve the
The traffic on the railroad is mostly freight and that mostly copper ore
going to Mexico. Copper ingots, farm produce and new "American" cars come back.
With all the jobs going to NAFTA or overseas who will be able to buy those
new cars a year or two from now? Would the unemployment numbers be so low
if they counted those whose unemployment insurance had run out as they did
before about 1982? Would more people work if you could live on minimum
wage? A moot point as far as Victor is concerned. Even convenience
stores, in desparate need of a fool to catch night time bullets, give him
the abreviated interview. He's tried day labor and found that futile too.
If he's going to starve he'll starve with dignity.
Pride is not the reason he doesn't often ask the locals here for money.
The place is a good rest stop on his biweekly (on average) commute. There's
free air for his tires and water for his bottles. It's hard to carry
enough water for a 50 miles of cycling in Arizona. If the bike breaks or
the weather forces him to camp along the way he needs enough for cooking
and coffee too. So, to preserve his welcome here, he doesn't ask for money
from the local resident looking over his rig. In Tucson he'd never miss an
opportunity. like that.
"Quite an outfit you got there" he says, sincerely trying to be friendly
but patronizing and condescending none the less, "you goin' far". The
emphasis on the question and the nodding head as it's asked show he's afraid
Victor might stay a while in the area. What's worse, as far as Victor is
concerned, is that his tone indicates he knows everything there is to know
about this sort of person and has loads of good advice with which to exercise
his officiousness. It irritates Victor but he's able to mask it well. The
game is easier to play when you know it's all pretense and posturing; when
you pity but don't respect it. Victor turns the underestimate to his
advantage or at least to a way to get rid of the fool.
"Yeah, I never go anywhere without carrying what I need to survive."
God what an idiot is what Victor is thinking. Vic wonders what TV show his
personality comes from? Probably the Walton's. A transplant to the rural
zone with a job in the city. Thinks he's gone back to nature. Victor pats
his hard flat stomach and ventures, "I can't always load everything I need
because I don't always have it but the weight loss is so gradual I hardly
The gambit only rarely results in an offer of cash but it will certainly
bring this tedious process to a climax more quickly. The expected happens
fast. "Why don't you get a job?"
A curt remark would end this farce but Vic hasn't had time to check his
tires yet. As he reaches for the pressure gauge he realizes he has an
opportunity to mess with the citizen's complacency. An amusing but
ultimately pointless pastime since TV debugs faulty routines so fast an
addict will probably reset to normality within 5 minutes using the memory
resident program even if he dumps the core in the first place. "My job is
on that last train going South to Mexico, yours may be coming back.", says
Victor with a little laugh that belies the seriousness of the remark. The
puzzled expression answers a ton. "The jobs I can live on have left the
country and what comes back is a prophecy."
What the jerk understands is that Victor isn't playing the role of the
inferior as he should. It makes the fool think this reject must be an
alcoholic, maybe a commie. I told you fault tolerant programming by
television is superb. You gotta respect it as a technical accomplishment.
"What are you trying to say?"
"I'm saying, that my work is documenting the un-American activities of
large corporations and informing the public of the danger to our way of
life. It's a good job but it doesn't pay much." Undoubtedly the jackass is
now convinced Victor is a conspiracy theorist. But, a well trained specimen,
he hasn't run out of conditioned responses. "If you don't like it here why
don't you go somewhere else?"
Victor's preparation for episodes of this nature was made in a somewhat
different than normal manner. You can judge it's quality if you like. "I
was born on this planet, where else can I go?"
"You can go to Russia if you think it's better over there!"
"Why should I choose between bad and worse? What if I lived on a planet
where 5% of the human population owned 95% of everything and the 95% had to
work to keep the 5% in luxury. If they refused to be slaves the resources
needed to live are withheld and they die. Further, a three fourths of the
slaves believe themselves to be free but are allowed to survive only if
they continue to work for the ruling elite. Should the thralls or virtual
slaves who are maintaining the illusion of freedom tolerate their servitude
because they are better off than the other slaves?" The good citizen just
snorts and walks away without further comment.
"Victor! You didn't have to be so negative. How is that going to help?"
"Don't know, but that doesn't mean I have to accept that unconsciously
prerecorded bullshit! And I can't and won't forgive a transgression that
hasn't even entered the awareness of the sinner. Forgiveness requires some
remorse and at least a desire not to sin again. The thralls don't even know
who they are or what they are supposed to want unless they see it on
television. How can I accept or forgive that kind of crap?"
"What's all this talk about sin, Vic, you're not a religious person?"
"That doesn't mean I don't believe that the concept of sin isn't a good
metaphore to describe what people are doing when they surrender their
ability to think and their free wills. Especially if they abandon their
control over their own survival while they are at it. Just because a thing
has been happening for eight thousand years doesn't mean it's right or that
it should be allowed to continue.
"But I will try to be a little more winning in the future."
Victor doesn't think there is a conspiracy to enslave or exterminate. He
thinks the enslavement was accomplished so long ago it's all old habit.
New twists don't spread by intrigue, with the masters it's just monkey see
monkey do and too few have even thought enough about it to qualify it as
intelligent, deliberate malice. He's worried though, about what solution they
may finally arrive at with respect to the superfluous dismembers of society,
Victor's ready and he jumps on his bike. It's best to move on quickly
after an encounter like that. His new acquaintences too often remember, as
soon as they near a phone, that all homeless people are threat to steal,
pillage and rape. In the post modern era, the force of stories in the oral
tradition, like UFOs and alligators in the sewers of you name the city,
coupled with the "educational" power of television, are compelling. Vic
doesn't need the hassle of police/security paranoia.
People do react, as the Sourita man did, when confronted by an individual
who is indifferent to societal power. Used to deference from all who are
considered inferior sorts, a singularity like Victor, who relies on
personal power of will for his sense of self worth, is an enigma and a
perceived threat to those who subscribe to massmind notions of power and
dignity. Genuine dignity seems impertinent to true believers. And why are most
people foolishly pretentious? Because pretentiousness is all we have left after
compromising with society in order to have permission to continue to live.
Vic's existential non-identity is not yet strong enough to entertain so much
compassion even though he understands his origin to be from that place.
Victor reflects on massmind as he pedals towards Tucson. What is it?
Group dynamics, mobthink and "national mood" are names he's used or heard.
Whatever you call the phenomena it has little to do with thought. At best
it is a concurrent emotion or mood that moves a group in unity. There is a
poverty of thought by the individuals who form the group and not much more
by those who try to inspire the motive and control the motion. The
"leaders" often get carried away themselves. Hitler's reign of terror is
probably an example of what results when one believes ones own bullshit.
The cohesive force is the powerful instinct to conform. It's exact
nature might be an interesting thing to study but, like gravity, you don't
need to know it's cause to know it's there. The belief in and worship of
individuality is a paradox, perhaps evidence of cultural schizophrenia or mass
psychosis. While believing, "thinking", and doing exactly what everyone else
does the individual simutaneously considers the self to be unique and even
thoughtful. George Orwell says it better than I can. The concept of
"doublethink" is the classic description but it obviously needs to be said
over and over until someone catches on.
Control of mobthink has been the desire of all human cultures. Twentieth
century psychologists and sociologists have made some progress but haven't
perfected it as well as some notable historical figures such as Chenkis
Kahn and Julius Caesar (with the aid of Pompey and Cassius of the
first triumverate). The governments of Elizebeth I, William of Orange and
Oliver Cromwell were also quite effective. But achieving total control
without the use of terror is a recent accomplishment. Advertisers and
politicians, with the help of psychologists, consider themselves to be
adept at the manipulation of massmind while, ironically, their competition
among themselves for control of the mob forces them to be the most
conformist true believers therein. But blinders on the nominal leaders
doesn't hamper the drivers, the ruling elite, in the guidance to our destiny.
The hands on the reigns, the hands of 5% of the population, haven't
faltered in 6000 years. Even when they change hands we continue to pull
their load. They live in luxury while we live in misery. They never tire
of jerking us around just to keep us off balance and unable to get a good
look at them. There is no conspiracy in this either. They even compete
with one another but operate in perfect consensus with respect to the uses
we are to be put to.
Most people know all this, at least intuitively. As teenagers and young
adults we try to adopt ideals and principles to counter the travesty of
ages. Most are so coopted and/or compromised by the time they are thirty
they may as well have never known the truth.
But we must have some compassion for those who appear to have forgotten.
It was do or die for them. Those who do not surrender have at best an
uncomfortable life to live; except the rare few who are able to create an
independent means of survival. Refusal to submit to the system often
results in homelessness and premature death by exposure, malnutrition or
related diseases. (By the way, alcoholism may be more often the result than
the cause of the slide into homelessness.) There are few who would rather
die than live in slavery. And so, though there is little security within the
system, only constant fear, the majority submit to control to save their
lives. Such is there hope. They choose to live enthralled, as true believers
(the System requires true belief), and exorcise the memory of the choice they
made [without conscious irony] lest it undermine their confidence, self worth
"And you ask why I don't live here?
Honey, how come you don't move?"
(Bob Dylan, circa 1965)
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