Stanley Dundee

Why Stanley Dundee?

Oh phoenix, phoenix
How dwindled is your power!
As to the past, reproof is idle,
But the future may yet be remedied.
Desist, desist!
Great in these days is the peril of those who fill office.
-- The Madman's song to Master K'ung, Analects, xviii.5 .

A populist wave swells, responsive to the brutality and degradation of nearly half a century of market worship, globalization, and war. Western society is fractured and reeling. It's been a cruel slog for the 90%: war, pollution, falling wages, health care and employment insecurity, austerity, crushing debt... We've dumped hard on the bountiful earth that sustains us, wrecking habitat, poisoning soil, air, and water. We squander petroleum and other once used forever gone gifts of the earth. We resign ourselves to cruelty and violence. Ever more wealth and power gathers in the grasping hands of our plutocratic overlords. Despair stalks the hearts of those without.

Market worship has facilitated this plunder and despoilment. The plutocratic overlords expect their wealth to shelter them from the bitter fruit for which we have sown. The rest of us need to face up to the mess. We need to plan and build a post-capitalist society that doesn't flatter our sci-fi dystopias. We must end the crimes committed in our name and cease our careless way.

Why so broken? Spiritual failure. Bad choices in what to hold sacred. We are worshipping at the wrong altars. Fastened on market worship, enshrining selfishness, greed, and competition as our most sacred values. Who but a plutocratic overlord or an aspirant thereto wishes to live in a world that worships selfishly? Selfishness enables our careless way.

Easy to condemn an obviously false god. Much harder to determine what should be held sacred. What hubris even to try! But the enquiry into sacredness is one of the deepest human urges and humans everywhere and in all times have had their try. We are handed down wisdom traditions from the world's religions. In this time of failed spirituality, it's our turn to seriously enquire into how to get right with the universe. We must examine and articulate better notions of the sacred, and care accordingly.

Reject market worship. Reject selfishness. Attend to the gratitude we owe for being alive. The mysterious gift of life. We didn't earn it, we don't deserve it. It was given in mystery. Respect life. Not only human life. Animals. Plants. Fungi. Even microbes. Everything alive shares the blessing that is the mysterious gift. All the living share the bountiful earth that sustains us. The waters and the soil. The sky and the heavens. Express your gratitude with respect for all. Cultivate your worthiness with care for all.

We can never repay the mysterious gift of life, but that doesn't mean we're not here with a purpose. Perhaps we live to serve and be served. We gain our worthiness and earn our dignity when we give our best efforts in service to others. When we're in need or off duty, others gain their worthiness in dignified service to us. Serve and be served. But how to make it all work? Purveryors of civilization invented debt and eventually its sidekick money to keep us in harness so they could skim the efforts of the many for the enrichment of a few. But without money, how can we get people to do their part? We need to understand money and break the shackles that our plutocratic overlords have laid on what belongs to all of society. We can devise new kinds of money if necessary, and gradually shrink the spheres in which it need be used by accepting the duties of society. We can invert neoliberalism, which ever seeks to bring money to a broader scope of human activity.

We can find our purpose in service instead of accumulation. When you offer your best efforts in service and your contribution receives the sincere respect of those you serve, you gain worthiness and dignity. When you respect and dignify the service of others by sincerely valuing their contributions, they can respond with sincere efforts to be worthy of that respect. Where sacred service can be lovingly given and received, so much the better. In a society of healthy, confident, capable, and secure persons, money can be marginalized in favor of respect for service. A society that marginalizes money in favor of respect for service may offer the best hope of providing its citizens with health, confidence, capability, and security. Hence, serve and be served.

Market worship uses privatization, globalization, monopolization, financialization, and austerity. At the direction of our plutocratic overlords, market worship has abetted the corruption of our most important institutions, perhaps beyond reform. Politics. Media. Health care. Education. Security. Agriculture. Housing. How to evict the plutocratic overloads from their citadels in corrupt institutions that can be reclaimed? How to build new institutions where old ones cannot be wrenched free of plutocratic lordship. How can those new institutions be brought into service? How will they survive the backlash that will come from the owners and rulers when they recognize threats to the rents they are collecting?

Lots of work to do for those of good heart! Good works. Take a part, however small. Everyone helps to make a home. Homely houses and other good works can be administered in stewardship. Live well by embracing the sacred.

Serve and be served.

Care for all.