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The latest from A.C Stark

Hi Friends,

Here’s the latest I’ve received through WordPress from A.C. Stark of the UK.  Worth reading, I suggest.

Richard

14/10/2018

The Greatest Gift that I Possess

Everywhere I look I see countless miniature empires. This makes sense when one considers the many necrophilous sectarians ostensibly populating Britain, as their morals seem to be founded (if Brexit is anything to go by) in the delusional glory of this little island’s historically imperial sovereignty. Small-man syndrome is a natural phenomenon, even at the state level. However, worryingly, even members of today’s ‘hipster’, left-wing subculture – cultural decedents of a cleaner living, hitchhiking, happy-go-lucky, hippy era – revel in the excesses of their individual realms. Today everyone is an emperor. Myopic, capitalistic narcissism is pervasive. It’s killing humanism and the planet with it.

Taken from his recent book, Happy (his recent and a fascinating serious prose on welfare philosophy), Derren Brown hits the nail on the head, when he says, “‘Get what you want’ remains a mantra of modern living, as if we each had the birthright to accumulate whatever we think will make us happy.” We’re programmed to desire, indoctrinated even. Society is set up to consume. Without our desires being quenched by consumption, we’re destined to be miserable. This is the message we’re sold.

As a result, we’re constantly seeking to expand our empires in the pursuit of something more addictive, more socially corrosive than crystal meth. Purchasing is the tool by which we seek our little hits of serotonin and dopamine, each dose a sparrows-step toward securing a peculiarly phantom mental state: happiness. Obsessively, most of us seek it, but in vain. The era of achieving happiness collaterally is long over. Now, we seek it as an end in itself. More fool us.

We’re so addicted to these minute hits of gratification that we don’t let anything or anyone get in the way of our attaining them. This is not a clean drug, its cut with numerous toxins. It kills. Collateral damages, in the form of physical (1, 2), mental, environmental (1, 2, 3, 4) and cultural sickness (1, 3, 2), have been normalised. It’s an unfortunate necessity but a necessity all the same; a small price to pay for “happiness”. Crucially, we reject that our pursuit of happiness is damningly self-defeating (perhaps through fear of self-loathing). Moreover, those that indiscriminately pursue happiness are often considered virtuous. This is despite their holding a complete disregard for traditional virtues such as moderation, wisdom, morality, or empathy and a sense of community.

Regretfully, and rather non-virtuously, Conspicuous and invidious consumption (purchasing goods to flaunt economic power and incite envy), the bread and butter of capitalism, affect us greatly (the recent #OOTD appeal is a hideous example). Products are designed and marketed specifically to create and then cure anxietynot to promote happiness – which stimulates us to indulge in further self-destructive retail therapy. Possessions are seen and brandished as symbols of identity, wealth and “happiness”. This is no conspiracy theory; it is advertising theory (1, 2). It’s business. As a result, western society has entered a mental health crisis (1, 2) as its free markets mass produce depression and narcissism, as we are all miss-sold happiness.

Social media compounds the issue, providing “short term, dopamine-driven feedback loops” (1, 2) which manipulate us into to further embellishing and flaunting our lively possessions – the flags of our empires – in the virtual world, as we unwittingly encourage one another to consume more still.

What is deeply disconcerting is that the means by which we might relearn the value of empathy, community and virtue, and consequently rediscover happiness as contentedness, is being dismantled. With central government stripping powers of discretionary spending from local councils and redirecting the cash to Whitehall, our communal infrastructure is rapidly disintegrating. With it go the remnants of a once humanistic, community-based Great British culture. Youth centres, libraries, care homes, parks and public gardens are being left to ruin, so that the state can financially compete on a global scale in order to recreate the illusion of a “Great British Empire”.

It’s difficult to decide which of Britain’s politico-economic ideologies are causing all this: sectarianism, capitalism or neo-liberalism? It could be any or all of them. However, all of them scream the same battle-cry, wealth and empire are all.


A.C. Stark

Recommended Reading
Happy; Out of the Wreckage; Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered;
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
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Armistice Day is better day to commemorate WW I casualties

The Editor,  The Dominion Post,  Wellington

10 November, 2017

Dear Editor:

The 11th of November is a better day to commemorate the casualties of WW I than ANZAC day; the armistice to end the war was signed on that day in 1918. Read the rest of this entry »


Advice of self-respect and forward thinking, from Aotearoa Independence Movement, Murray Horton, Christchurch

24/10/2017

Chief Reporter

HEY JACINDA

Let’s Do THIS!

Read the rest of this entry »


“honouring our fight for freedom” – too much cliche

The Editor,  The Dominion Post,  Wellington

29 April, 2017

Dear editor,

The Dom Post headline, “honouring our fight for freedom”, contains too much cliché to be helpful. WWI was not about freedom or independence; it was about empire. Read the rest of this entry »


The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month

The Editor,  The Dominion Post,  Wellington

11/11 2016

Dear Editor:

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month – the armistice of WWI was signed. That’s the date we should be celebrating in New Zealand, an end to the slaughter of young men of all nationalities. Read the rest of this entry »


Union Jack perversely appropriate

The Editor,  The Sunday Star Times,  Auckland

06 September, 2015

Dear Editor:

The ‘Five Eyes’ spying network of USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand is in practice New Zealand’s biggest commitment of foreign policy. This commitment is a legacy of its colonial past as part of the British Empire. As such the current flag with the British union jack logo is perversely appropriate, but contrasts to many other realities of today.

What effect will the flag referendums have on the public’s consciousness of the government’s foreign policy priority of being part of the ‘club’? Would a new flag without the union jack promote the realization that Five Eyes is a dangerous remnant of the past? Or would it simply serve to submerge discussion (‘out of sight, out of mind’) of our predominant commitment to the Five Eyes network?

I expect the ‘spooks’ of the GCSB and the SIS are interested in this. Have they been pushing the flag agenda? It would be a gamble, but in our desperate times, gambles should be expected.

Sincerely,

Richard Keller


No Palestinian land in 1948?

The Editor, The Sunday Star-Times, Auckland

21 August, 2014

Dear Editor:

Rodney Brooks (Israel-Palestine conflict, 17 August) says “there was no Palestinian land in 1948” when the state of Israel was formed.  The Palestinians had been living there for some time by 1948.  What else does it take for Palestinians to belong in a place, or put another way, be indigenous to a place?   Read the rest of this entry »