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Life Arts    H4'ed 12/1/13

Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers Speak: Is it Time for Us to Join Them?

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Reading is often considered a very passive exercise in which one takes in an author's words. You may or may not do anything with the readings, but you read. And, as you read you may either think the writer knows "his or her stuff" or is being a complete "idiot." In this interpretation, what you see is what you get, and the writer exercises all the authority over the "text." Of course, reading is on the "receptive" (yin) side of the communication circle/cycle whereas writing is on the transmitting (yang) side.

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However, good writers always have an internalized voice of the imagined reader advising them; and responsive readers exercise active interpretation, interior dialog with the author, not to mention the proactive choice of whether to read something or not. Each reading is a co-creation among author, text, and reader. When there are multiple readers interacting, such as in a reading group, classroom, or research situation with critics consulted, the text takes on multiplicities of meanings.

The point is that reading is not passive. To see it that way disempowers the reader. The impact of the expectation that readers will remain passive, places them in submission to authors, the "printed" word, media gurus, professors. Passive reading turns all text into propaganda and all readers into stooges of the system. It is like the old days when women were expected to lie flat on their backs during labor and intercourse. The impact of such an expectation was the woman's submission to a man be he in form of lover or doctor. This reflected a belief that women were supposed to be powerless in their creation of life and experience. This attitude in turn was thrust upon the rest of the Planet, Earth, which almost universally was considered "Mother." Instead of a Mother, we leaned on Her as our resources placed there solely by our egotistical, jealous Patriarchal God for our own egotistical gains.

The role of women was thus subscribed to what was eventually called the "labor classes". The rest of the planet was called "resources." Resources for whose sake?

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Both men and women, as well as the Earth, thus came to exist as resources and labor for the sake of a corporation, property owner, church or government enterprise. By history, the labor classes were placed in the same role as women, meaning powerless. They laid flat on their backs, powerless in terms of pay and benefits, and, most importantly, any control of their lives.

Yes, succumbing to "The Man" cost the working classes life, limb and "freedom" (i.e., jail or working for hours for little pay and benefits or downright slavery). "You haul sixteen tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt!" With labor and anti-slavery movements, there were indeed times when all appeared well and good. More money, fewer hours, greater benefits. But the power was left in the Master's hands. Thus, behind the scenes, the powers-that-be watched and waited for their chance. So, here we are in 2013 with the middle class pretty much extinct and a corporate elite owning and controlling the entire world. And what are the working conditions of the Chinese factory employees that took over our manufacturing produced often by unionized workers?

The name of the game was Monopoly and it was played out in the "real world" as well as in the board game of the same name. Thus, today, we have just a few corporations left competing on the "Board of Life." And just like the game, the prize is ownership of the whole sha-bang, i.e., world domination. Who shall the winner be? Not me and I bet not the reader. We're out of the game. Most of us never were in it. Indeed we were the pawns running about the board for the sake of our dice rolling masters. It wasn't the player that went to jail, now was it? It was always the pawn.

What we have is not democracy, nor capitalism, nor socialism. What we have is corporatism: Government by and for the corporation. The game of Monopoly is down to but a few silvery pieces. So, instead of public-owned resources such as prisons, we have corporate prisons where people are incarcerated by a judge and sent to work for nothing more than a tiny cell. No more "get out of jail for free" card for any of us. It all costs us.

Today, we are re-experiencing a powerlessness that is enforced by a dependence on the "higher" classes often defined by monetary as well as familial status (e.g., the Rockefellers, Bushes, etc.). Oh, for a while there it was looking good. The 50's, 60's and 70's especially appeared to be our movement towards a more equitable economic future. Yes, we were told we had a bright future as evidenced by futuristic scenarios like the Jetsons. It was all one big lie.

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But the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed (or is it cursed) be the name of the Lord! Thus, to end the fun times, along came Reagan and Bush in the 80's and the wealth of America's working class began to slide backwards. Today, our world is under the strict control of the corporate rich. Like a woman of the 1800's, we are flat on our backs in labor and relationship. We are powerless, or so we think. Of course some of us think, "well maybe they'll behave themselves if we get new laws passed, we'll have our insurance back, and decent pay etc." Oh, maybe just maybe he'll send me flowers for Christmas! Don't hold your breath. He may play for a time. But he's a lying drunkard of the worst kind, for he is not only addicted to his accumulation of wealth; he is a sociopath with no morals. Thus, he may give you some sweet talk. But, the monster we have allowed to control us will wait for the right time to reassert its ugly head. That reassertion is occurring right now. The monster is currently winning and we're watching our planet's health, and the future of our children, going to "hell in a hand basket."

For the sake of the world, we can't afford passive interactions anymore. We need to become engaged in this planet's future, on our own terms. "Hell hath no fury like that of a woman," should be the cry of both women and working class peoples throughout the world. This is ultimately all about our childrens' childrens' childrens' future. It is to this future that we are all responsible. My question is: can we tap into powers and states of being within ourselves while reducing our dependence on the "authorities?" As I have said in past articles, who has the right to author any of our lives. Yes, this is exactly what relying on "authorities" mean. Your life is being authored by external sources. The authors are the players of Monopoly and they are but a few. What they whisper in your ear is a lie. Stop living it!

The fact is: Your thoughts matter! Your actions matter! You matter!

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Burl Hall is a retired counselor who is living in a Senior Citizen Housing apartment. Burl has one book to his credit, titled "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal our Wounded Nature." For more information, search the book on Amazon. (more...)
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