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Into Pyramid's Shadow: At War with Ourselves

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Like Taking Candy from a Baby

As natural as the end of summer giving way to cooler temperatures and the changing colors of the trees, the vast machinations of the military-energy industrial complex has yet again begun to spin in preparation for the upcoming midterm elections, using the myriad number of tools at its disposal to manipulate the electorate into once more voting against its own interests, into voting for the interests of the elite few. Knowing the absolute ignorance, gullibility and lack of critical thinking of the American masses, those in power are able, once more, in what has become all too familiar throughout the annals of history, to skew the decision, mentality and vote of large segments of the population by simply reaching to the primitive instincts of human nature and manipulating emotions, psychology and the instinct of survival prevalent in every living organism.

To the corporatists and elites steering the nation, this exercise is like taking candy from a baby, for having a citizenry devoid of reason, logic and common sense has its privileges. Unaware that their lives are in firm control by the elite, not knowing the level of manipulation they are subjected to, ignorant to their incessant brainwashing practically from birth, the American masses are like sheep being herded from pasture to slaughter, unable to understand the control over their lives, unwilling to confront the malignancy that festers in their midst, having become subservient to the wolves disguised as shepherds that lead them up the ramp of mirages into the corral of complete manipulation.

Indeed, the energy/petroleum industry, already morbidly obese with record breaking revenues, with each conglomerate literally making tens of billions of dollars in profits in multiple fiscal years, all at the expense of the average American consumer, has seemingly made the decision to sacrifice one fiscal quarter, or three months of revenues, choosing to break even instead of raking in billions in profits. This decision, of course, is to help ensure that the vital mid-term elections are decided in the direction most favorable to the industry. It has been the corporatist Republican Party, after all, that has in the last six years enabled the industry to lay claim to unimaginable levels of profit, power and control, both over the citizenry and the course of the nation.

Those at the helm of these oil multinationals have become our overlords, in the process making the government, now more than ever before, their instrument of domination. It was at their behest, their demand, that Afghanistan and Iraq were invaded and occupied, that the nation's institutions have been infiltrated by the industry's executives and lawyers, that the nation's tax laws were rewritten so as to exclude the elite and appease the corporate world, that America's environmental laws and regulations have been gutted, and the reason the American consumer has for six years been fleeced at the gas pump, with ever increasing prices becoming the new normal, so much so that if the price of gas drops fifty cents, as it is today, we think it wonderful, even though today's discounted prices are much higher than those two years ago.

So profitable has having absolute control over all levels of governance been for the industry that the sacrifice of one fiscal quarter of its enormous profits to insure its interests are retained will have no ill-effect on the corporations. To these giants of petroleum, breaking even for three months is the price of doing business, of assuring themselves the unbridled opportunity to once again fleece the American consumer at the pump. After the election, with a little patience, after a small pause in momentum and through a minute restraint on greed, the rape and pillage of the population's bank accounts can continue unabatedly, once again using the full force of the state and the corporate world to methodically subjugate the people. For while the energy/petroleum industry is forced by necessity and realism to think in the long-term, the American people have no such inclination, or desire. Rather, they think exclusively in terms of the here and now, of the selfish ego of wallet and security. The genius of the industry's manipulation, of course, is that the People are as unaware of what is being done to them as a lemming is to the periodic migration that will eventually cost it its life as in the end it jumps into a river and drowns. Nobody seems to worry, nobody seems to care.

The greatest profits, and hence shareholder wealth, in the history of the corporate world have been born through the spilling of blood in the Middle East, for nothing increases the price of a barrel of petroleum more than instability, war, violence and devastation. War, threats, fears and instability in the lands pregnant with the devil's excrement invariably lead to the manipulation of supply and demand, helping to fatten the coffers of the governments possessing oil fields, the corporations elected to extract and bring it to market, as well as the stockholders owning the conglomerate. The name of the game, the geopolitical chess match among powers, the contest played between the elites of powerful nations, and the reason America has its claws wound tight throughout the Middle East and around the Caspian Basin, is control of both the spigots spouting oil and the pipelines deciding which direction black gold flows, as well as possessing the power to manipulate the lever of stability upon which the supply and demand of petroleum is based.

These are the games elites and corporations play, and we are but sacrificial pawns in their next calculated move.

The Chimperor and the Pyramid

Indeed, the perpetual control of the masses by the elite few has been a hallmark of human kind, going back millennia, spanning every known civilization and region of the planet, evolving from the social hierarchy of mammals to the social structures of primates to the eventual creation of social classes and castes of modern man. The inability of humankind to escape a reality and a society based on hierarchical pyramids, with a powerful few at the top, a subjugated and weak majority at the bottom, and a sizeable middle fed the crumbs, bones and scraps of the elite that fatten and make comfortable their existence, their lives engineered to act as the barrier between elite and masses, invariably gives credence to the fact that perhaps humans are genetically, psychologically and by nature predisposed, like all social mammals, to live in societies separated by hierarchy, based on an accepted control of the few at the top of the many at the bottom.

Perhaps our perpetual struggle with classes and castes, with rich, middle class and poor, our incessant inequality and injustice, our fight with greed and indigence, comfort and suffering, with the societal cancer that affects all aspects of human civilization, is as much a part of the human animal as anything else ingrained in our condition. What else explains our historical inability to escape a system where an elite few subjugate and thoroughly dominate the poor masses? What explains the perpetual control by one minute group over one enormous in size, and the inability of the masses to ever overtake the elite? Why do societies, over and over and over again, allow themselves to be governed or ruled by the puppets of the elite or by the elite themselves, knowing full well that the interests of the masses have never and will never be furthered? Why has it been impossible for the many to usurp power from the few for a prolonged and constant timeframe? And why, when it is perfectly understood by the masses that the state and its institutions are designed to further the interests of the elite few, does nothing ever change, and complacency always prevail?

History, it seems, is but an affirmation of our mammalian and primate reality, as the hierarchical pyramid has never had its foundations shattered, nor has its top ever come crumbling down. In fact, the pyramid continues to reach skywards, building itself a much wider base and a smaller apex, with the elite reaching where gods once roamed with the masses being buried deeper and deeper into the ground. Yet it is this same pyramid, long a stalwart companion to the human condition that, the longer time passes and the greater our numbers multiply, threatens to tear all of civilization apart, for it is the inequality and injustice prevalent today, whether that defined as state versus state or social class versus social class, that is engendering ever more levels of anger, resentment and hatred. The consequences of this reality could be disastrous.

Commencing in our mammalian days, with Eden still virgin and pristine, still not contaminated by the plague called humanity, its forests and jungles and grasslands full of life and splendor, the silence of its beauty as enjoyable as today's most inspiring symphony, at a time when we hung from trees and lived in nests, at a time when we were preyed upon and hunted, before we embarked on mass extinction, turning everything we touched to waste, we lived in groups dominated by an alpha male, an animal larger, stronger, more aggressive and endowed with higher levels of testosterone than his competitors, able to offer the best available resources within his territory to available females while possessing the abilities needed to defend his territory from all potential male rivals. It was this male that reigned over his female harem, as well as his male subordinates, allowing no competitor or rival access to the group of mates needed for procreation. With his life he guarded this most cherished female possession, for inside the wombs of his females his genetic immortality and lineage depended.

Thanks to natural selection no rival could match his strength, stamina, aggressiveness and political skill, assuring himself that his seed propagated itself even after his death. It would be his offspring, too, that would retain his genes and traits, the skills and abilities evolution created to survive and thrive in the violent and aggressive world of our primate ancestors. It was only in old age, robbed of energy, testosterone and strength by the sands of time, made weak by years of living, that a newer, stronger rival would dethrone him, thereby creating new genes and new social and political interactions. A new leader could emerge at any time, challenging the alpha for dominance and for copulating rights, his presence coming either from a stranger outside the group or from within, usually from a son or relative thinking himself able to defeat the chimperor in battle.

As we evolved we retained much of our primate ancestors' linear dominance hierarchy, and among the pre-human hominid group, both the males below the leader as well as all females aligned themselves according to this hierarchy, a pyramid evolution created to delineate rank and importance, for in their social interactions an order existed, one based on group dynamics, blood relationships, age, abilities, aggressiveness, political skill and, most likely, intelligence. In this setting, all males were considered dominant over females, though not above the alpha male, the chimperor.

The establishment of a hierarchical pyramid among our early ancestors, perhaps even among those rodent-like mammals that preceded our primate days - a behavior which can readily be seen in today's social mammals - has as purpose the survival and perpetuation of the species, in evolutionary terms becoming a mechanism and an asset designed to minimize the rivalries and the competition that would naturally grow within social species as aggressive and intelligent as ours, creating synergy among peers of the group, even if unequal members, instead of divisive politics and unsettling jealousies, and bringing in unison several pieces of the collective puzzle rather than the disintegration of the group dynamic.

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Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst and Internet essayist. His articles as well as his archive can be found at his blog, http://www.valenzuelasveritas.blogspot.com as well as at other alternative (more...)
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