Friday, March 19, 2010

American beauty

6th or 7th:

In our society, when it snows...what do we do? Do we take it as a sign that we should slow down and appreciate that something beautiful has happened? Of course not. We don't even take the time to play in it and enjoy it. We immediately coat it in salt and chemicals to turn it into a sludgy, disgusting brown slush, and plow it to the sides of the road (without regard to whether this blocks walking routes), to enable ourselves to risk our lives by going out in it in our cars and rushing off to our jobs. Most of my coworkers react with puzzled horror when I say I like snow. You have to clean it off your car, they say, and then you have to drive in it to get to work. Yes, I say, but it's beautiful.

Wholly dependent on employment for life, we are intolerant when life intrudes on our relationship with employers. Whether it comes in the form of precipitation, commuters, colleagues, the intransigence of a child, the death of a friend, or a summons to serve on a jury of our peers; everything authentic about being alive is regarded with scorn or alarm, because this is how our bosses see it. In the words of Proudhon, we are watchful for their prejudices even more than their orders.

Capital, as Marx points out, is money in motion. When money stops moving -- whether by snow or by strike -- that civilization premised on its accumulation falls to pieces. The obstruction becomes an obsession, both for the beneficiaries of capital as for their dependents.


Mr.Fundamental said...

I thought you could do something with this:

JRB said...

Thanks, Mr. Fundamental. I'm thinking about it.