There is Never a 12th Step in the Program Called Consumerism

Exiting Society Before They Slap You Hard with Retribution for Being Flawed, Human

Sixty days. A year. Five years. A week. A day. An hour. Right now.

That’s the curse of addiction, those needles, inhalants, the entire barbarity of cheap booze shilled by the chosen ones, the money changers, all amortized and bundled debts in trans-capital, sold next to the playground, the trees cut down for billboards pronouncing sexual prowess and football hero-dom with the flick of the Mike’s Hard Cider or a fucking Bud.

“I wake up with a pint of 100 proof vodka, just to take care of the shakes, in one gulp. I carried around half a gallon, and I fucked up my back – broke it in three places three times – because of the alcohol withdrawals.”

We’re talking to Simon (pseudonym) who started his binging when he was 10, mother and father full-on druggies, with a stable of “cool” friends with beefed up cars, chrome Harleys and a shit load of the elixirs of the devil.

Role models, parents, who they themselves had those fucked up upbringings, passing on the dysfunction generation to generation. Or arrested development. Full-blown fetal alcohol affective syndrome, drug affected prenatal and post-natal mental-neuro development.

And, again, the system making money off the dysfunction, the derailed lives, the criminality, the poverty, and the sickness of disease, both physical and psychological . . . just living in this shit society of dog-eat-dog, and survival of the fittest.

I am always shocked daily that there are people like me and my brethren who do this work, this low pay work, scraping people off the sides of the walls and out of the gutters.

So many tip toes and trampling and tongue in cheek people avoiding the detritus of capitalism and these shaky people in jurist robes, hobbling the world with their rule of law and endless debate club shit from circumcision to death spiral into the dungeons of legal purgatory.

I’ve heard them at Georgetown, Gonzaga, this and that state law school, the middling rulers of the arbitration and one thousand cuts of death to the average man, woman, child and community with their gangrenous gulag of laws stacked for the elite, the hedge funders, the Bloombergs and Zuckerbergs and Nike Titans and Bomber Whores and the Military-Pharma-Financial-Punishment society that is their shadow of perversion like a red cloud covering the earth with ferrous oxide disgorged from their bowels.

Anyone out there who despises the controllers, the law, the suits with suits stacked to the moon, ready to take anything and everything away from anyone based on the flabby shit that is their footnoted law, as much as I do?

If the answer is no, then what is a rant other than a cry in the dark.

So, Simon doesn’t remember a time when there wasn’t violence – booze-induced shit-faced terror eating at his soul, his siblings’ souls, his future and his rickety past.

The irony is I see them controlled by the toys and distractions and quicksand jobs and consumerism and education (sic) brought to them by the Point One Percent. An entire tidal wave of fallen devils propped up by the lubricant of power, money, political whoring.

This guy’s six-two, California-dreaming good looks, blue eyes, strong, a few teeth rotted out, thanks to the meth and street life, the charming sugars and ethanol of it all, this mixture of booze and drugs. He was proud the mainlining heroin abuse came late in life, when he was 18.

Simon shakes my hand and gives me a strong sense of my role in his life – Iron John, Iron Paul, Iron Fucker who Does Not Bend or Sway for the controllers, all of them, wrapped up in compliant rule making, rule following, hyper-nanny-ing, the entire shooting match that is an infantilized society, torn from adult thinking and tribal caring. Plugged in and Zoned Out, and one Costco shopping spree from bellying up to the pig trough of what the controllers want – deactivated brains, muscling ideas about exceptionalism (Go, USA) and the right to destroy brain cells, theirs and mine, and a shit load of manure piled up out back by the blow up pool and barque.

So my Simon is another Steve and a duplicate Stan and a male version of Sandra and a close cry to Sylvia. Every day it’s the gnarly thumbs and pudgy fingers pushed deep into the dike holding back the arterial gash of humanity largely put squarely on this capitalist, consumerist, concussion-plagued country.

Plastic cars, plastic boobs, plastic food, plastic trees, plastic blood, plastic ideas, plastic religion, plastic heaven, plastic futures.

But Simon is real, surviving, showing more guts than some shit storm of a white middle class thing could even imagine in some coke-induced stupor. Not one person I know with a career and bank accounts, and four credit cards and REI abs, trips to skiing and Venice and hot-dogging around the beaches, not one, could last one day on the streets, head into the gutters, the stars and piss flowing in eyes their heaven, the loud punks that are the punk-police rapping brains with nightsticks, not one of them, yet, the things in Congress, in the Senate, on Boards, ruling the world (like Bayer gobbling up Monsanto), not one would make it a day without plugging a shiny Eddy Bauer-designed slug into their brains.

These people are men and women of the night, the swallows in their lives giant fruit bats that have been transmogrified into flying ticks, sucking the marrow and bones from their futures. I know the value the non-social workers ascribe to the world of us, the lessers, givers and victims, the floundering, the insipid helpers, do-gooder educators. I fucking do, believe me, as a journalist, faculty member, and someone who inserted himself into their denizens of the power to rape, stack a thousand keys in the pool room, and destroy entire countries.

I was a jerk enough to have smuggled drugs across the US border, while helping people smuggle people across from the war-zones of American Enterprise in CA, central America. I was teetering in that world, novelist, journalist, little drug exchanger and user. I understand the value of what lines of Peruvian dust do to someone like a federal judge, who does the blow on Friday night and while golfing Saturday afternoon, but then pulls the switch on people — the lessers — selling the crack shit of his insipid poverty-drenched intellect.

Simon got wrangled into the death spiral of a dying family, dead uncles, not-there-grannies, sniffling men and women, who were brainwashed to believe the spittle of empire, the red-white-blue, all the lies of patriotism and god’s second chosen people.

Yet, for those scientists, who put so much weight on their brains and the process, the alliteration of their codas and lexicons, they are not part of any solution. Not for my homeless, the misbegotten, the rampantly stunted and stymied. What is the physics of this life, these people I treat or deploy social work on? Neil deGrasse Tyson is coming to town, Portland, and it’s sold out, and there’s a very good chance that these black holes and fallen stars and collapsing galaxies with the DTs and drug-induced schizophrenia, man, wandering the streets with pants pulled down, all these dervishes and voices, well, all of them, hunkering down in doorways, with the last vestiges of an Indian summer about to turn wet, none of them will be second thoughts or forethoughts to this Cosmos fellow, deGrasse, or any of the superstar TV scientists, none of the hipsters showing up for this fellow’s spiel, none of them want to confront the reality of the disease that is those few that have and the rest that have not.

This is the advanced age of super-colliders and radio-magnetic extra-terrestrial probes, and several billion humans make $2 a day, with entire countries soaked in cluster bomblets and depleted/atomized uranium. Sanctions, food blockades, 12 million children in the world dying annually from treatable ailments, while Americans complain about paying for shit storm nothing in food stamps.

I used to be that fellow – science loving – sort of, interested in the entire climate change thing, throwing in hard left around alternative fuels, but, really, now that I think about it, nah, I always was skeptical of the superstars like Bill McKibbeon, or creeps like Michael Crichton, amazing masters of fascism via the shit they make as movies, the monsters they write in books –

Here’s that dead movie maker/author’s words attacking ALL environmentalists, which is pure fascism, the stuff of Madison Avenue and Hollywood libertarian billionaires:

There is no Eden. There never was. What was that Eden of the wonderful mythic past? Is it the time when infant mortality was 80%, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? When one woman in six died in childbirth? When the average lifespan was 40, as it was in America a century ago. When plagues swept across the planet, killing millions in a stroke. Was it when millions starved to death? Is that when it was Eden?

And what about indigenous peoples, living in a state of harmony with the Eden-like environment? Well, they never did. On this continent, the newly arrived people who crossed the land bridge almost immediately set about wiping out hundreds of species of large animals, and they did this several thousand years before the white man showed up, to accelerate the process. And what was the condition of life? Loving, peaceful, harmonious? Hardly: the early peoples of the New World lived in a state of constant warfare. Generations of hatred, tribal hatreds, constant battles. The warlike tribes of this continent are famous: the Comanche, Sioux, Apache, Mohawk, Aztecs, Toltec, Incas. Some of them practiced infanticide, and human sacrifice. And those tribes that were not fiercely warlike were exterminated, or learned to build their villages high in the cliffs to attain some measure of safety.

He’s a sham, or was a shame. Imagine, dumb downing his own thesis, his racism and prejudices all bundled up in his whiteness, his American-ness, his elite position in this elitist world of blockbusters and Hollywood.

And that is the pit these vipers live in, mumbling their anti-anti-climate change crap and their own high-horse crap, and they don’t even step over the people I serve – millions upon millions now on the planet, and billions of lives at the whim of these elites, these chosen few financial demons, those interlocutors of psychology and education, the money manipulators and nasty storytellers, driving us all to spiritual extinction with the flip of a screen and click of a mouse.

My people are not even beads of sweat on these people’s pimples, the politicians, those delusional runners for high office, every stoned and rule of law ensconced living misanthrope in DC, ready to eat their flesh of billions, ready for their hit men to enter the dark third world for more and more of their goods and services that bolster the elite’s investment portfolios, and enough to keep 6 or 10 percent of the world’s population in self-imposed gratification, self-imposed exceptionalism, believing that “it all looks good here, and so the rest of the world will just have to catch up . . . .”

My people are your people, and they are the stutters in that erudite’s TED Talk, and the blinks in the genius’ calculation of future profits on wheat, potatoes, missiles, tanks, human lifetimes to build the next microcomputer sloshing around human circulatory systems.

The blame is placed on my people, children of the pre-post trauma of experiencing broken and malicious and monster role models, yet, no one I know who I respect, left of progressive, none of them know what it is to be beyond civilization, agriculture, this mining and polluting and smelting and pounding of metal into the weapons of trade and tyranny.

A tribe is, as Daniel Quinn says, “a coalition of people working together as equals to make a living. There is a boss, but the boss has no special privileges. The position of boss is just another job, like all the others, that contributes to the success of the tribe. We teach our children how to make things, whereas tribal people teach their children how to make a living in the tribe. The tribal life doesn’t turn people into saints; it enables ordinary people to make a living together with a minimum of stress year after year, generation after generation.”

Humans living in tribes was as ecologically stable as lions living in prides or baboons living in troops. The tribal life wasn’t something humans sat down and figured out. It was the gift of natural selection, a proven success — not perfection but hard to improve on. Hierarchalism, on the other hand, has proven to be not merely imperfect but ultimately catastrophic for the earth and for us. When the plane’s going down and someone offers you a parachute, you don’t demand to see the warranty.

Here, Daniel Quinn in an interview, on YouTube.

My Simon is not really mine, but for a moment, he gravitates toward my light, my penchant to drill against the tide of stupidity which is almost everything settling into this profit margin money-making world. He is trapped like most of us are trapped – in this backward system of believing we can go on like we are separated people – whether separate from the downtrodden, the other cultures or nature.

Here, Daniel Quinn:

In The Story of B I put it this way: If the world is saved, it will not be by old minds with new programs but by new minds with no programs at all (and I do indeed still feel this way). It may help to think of it this way: No matter how many new technologies you have, you can’t put a man on the moon and bring him back if you still cling to the medieval belief that the sun revolves around the earth. All the technologies in the world won’t do it if that false belief is in place. In the same way, no matter how many new laws you pass (or programs you put in place), we’re not going to survive here if we go on clinging to the medieval belief that humans belong to an order of being that is separate from and superior to the rest of the living community. All the laws and programs in the world won’t do it if that false belief remains in place. It is this absurd belief that enables us to view with equanimity the fact that (by conservative estimate) as many as 200 species are becoming extinct EVERY DAY because of our impact on the world. This belief enables us to imagine that this is okay, because humans are SEPARATE from those 200 species — they have nothing to do with us. We’re steadily destroying the biological infrastructure that sustains us, but people don’t get worried about it because they continue to imagine (just like people in the ninth century) that human life is somehow independent of that infrastructure. Nothing threatens human survival more than this archaic (and totally mythical) mode of thought.

Like the general racism and prejudice of our un-tribe who believe those homeless and drug addicted are separate from us, we are manifested into the black hole of recrimination, retribution and retaliation – economic, religious and legal.

Few care about Simon or the hundreds of others. Few know the pain of complete cognitive and creative dysfunction. Few want to be on that side, to be with the weak, suffering and sinful.

Step 12
“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

THE joy of living is the theme of A.A.’s Twelfth Step, and action is its key word. Here we turn outward toward our fellow alcoholics who are still in distress. Here we experience the kind of giving that asks no rewards. Here we begin to practice all Twelve Steps of the program in our daily lives so that we and those about us may fi nd emotional sobriety. When the Twelfth Step is seen in its full implication, it is really talking about the kind of love that has no price tag on it.

Our Twelfth Step also says that as a result of practicing all the Steps, we have each found something called a spiritual awakening. To new A.A.’s, this often seems like a very dubious and improbable state of affairs. “What do you mean when you talk about a ‘spiritual awakening’?” they ask.

Sixty days. A year. Five years. A week. A day. An hour. Right now.

Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.