One of the main goals of the functionaries of Empire is to bring everything and everyone into the imperial system. Totalization is, in fact, the motivating impulse behind Empire. Empire has a remarkable ability to assimilate threats to the system. Protest movements turn into think tanks. Rebels become a marketing segment. Empire will validate your criticism as a healthy expression of free speech and award you with a position guaranteed to shut you up by paying you off.
Wendell Berry, “Word and Flesh” in What Are People For?: The question that must be addressed, therefore, is not how to care for the planet, but how to care for each of the planet’s millions of human and natural neighborhoods, each of its millions of small pieces and parcels of land, each one of which is in some precious way different from all the others. Our understandable wish to preserve the planet must somehow be reduced to the scale of our competence—that is, to the wish to preserve all of its humble households and neighborhoods.
Jack Leahy: [All ideologies seek to] contain the uncontainable cosmos in rational, propositional thought in order to fix it. But the cosmos and the earth are not flawed systems that can be reduced to their atomic parts and then rebuilt perfectly to our own ever-changing and unstable desires. In our attempt, we must reduce the mind-boggling complexity and vastness of reality to a set of knowable propositions. Everything, therefore, will be reduced in order to be comprehended.
“Don’t obsess over politics”—click through to read a good quote posted by Patrick Rhone. It’s not healthy for people to think about politics as much as they do. And I understand why: too much is at stake. That’s the problem. Too few people hold too much power. Literally world-changing power. That is the province of the gods, not humans. Our governments and corporations have long since abandoned human scale, and our anxieties have increased accordingly.
I could do what I wanted, to a degree, and stay within the community, be part of the tribe. I just had to be okay with the most important parts of me being casually overlooked, ignored, or dismissed.