Modern civilization may have no central command (discuss) but it acts as if it does. VIVID thinks it should come clean and set up a reality newswire, which declares in straight-talking, plain-speaking English what is actually being decided at its hypothetical, brain-free centre. This month we’d have:
The ICSANLSMHTL (Institute of Conviction that Science has all the Answers and Natural Life Systems must be Managed by Humans Thinking Linearly) is pleased to announce good progress with its programme of research designed to tell people things they already know, intuitively. This has the ingenious effect of planting in their minds a sense that their ability to know things is entirely dependent on the current state of scientific research.
The latest revelations include: ‘Happy cows produce more milk’. Researchers at the UK’s Newcastle University found that farmers who named, spoke to and touched their cows gained a higher (up to 500 pints a year higher) yield of milk than farmers who didn’t. “A sense of innate intellectual and intuitive inadequacy is important to obtaining implicit, ongoing consent from the public for the funding of large research operations designed ultimately for the pursuit of power and profit. We need people to know that no understanding is available to them except through big science,” said an ICSANLSMHTL spokesperson, “because of course big science is mediated by government, and so by this means we can tell them what to know”.
Note in the linked news report a successful example of the deeply embedded, barely perceptible way in which journalists describe the research findings in terms of economic benefits (in this case to the farmers), rather than the well-being of the animals themselves or indeed the psychological well-being of the farmers forging the relationships with them.
Research in Canada, meanwhile has revealed that children ‘who feel that their lives have meaning and value and who develop deep, quality relationships’ are happier. The ICSANLSMHTL is sure that the population of Canada will be grateful to see their taxes being spent on discovering this. If nothing else, it gives the impression that their government cares. Note that the project was framed so that these desirable aspects of children’s lives are defined as components of spirituality, rather than presented as possible outcomes of personally directed spiritual activity, inviting the assumption that spirituality arises from external circumstances. The research also revealed that the participants’ religious practices have little effect on their happiness, which was counter to the plan.
The DMIULFCUSFPEELQNR (Department for Maintaining Increasingly Unlikely Levels of Faith in a Collapsing and Unsustainable System of Finance based on the Premise of Eternal Extraction of a Limited Quantity of Natural Resources) is addressing the challenge of maintaining a plausible aura of authority during what we call ‘a temporary hitch to the global growth plan’.
DMIULFCUSFPEELQNR representatives at the recent World Economic Forum at Davos agreed to state that there were as yet no solutions to the crisis in capitalism in order to avoid admitting the answer staring us in the face, which is that the current model is dead and successful economies of the future will be local and will develop natural and social capital rather than the financial stuff.
Instead, as pointed out by our highly paid actuarial staff, we can likely squeeze a bit more for ourselves out of the system at these challenging times by urging everyone to get the growth plan back on track at all costs. The DMIULFCUSFPEELQNR really does mean all costs, including life on the planet. Please don’t pester our staff with questions about how we can justify this statement; it is currently pending a full and comprehensive independent inquiry in our top-level cabinet drawer and we will come back to it after the next significant election.
To remind people how crucial growth really is we must scare them deeply about the prospect of not having growth. This is particularly important given the growing trend towards fashionable frugality and independent localisation initiatives like Transition Towns, designed to circumvent communities’ dependence on globally managed resources and secure a safer, happier future. This must be discouraged.
Therefore we are delighted that the latest IMF economic data was reported ominously in Britain as ‘World growth ‘worst for 60 years’’ rather than presented as a slowing of destructive activities that could be an opportunity for transformation.
We are also pleased that the announcement of an imminent global situation of ‘water bankruptcy’ has attracted less media interest in the English language press than developments such as the proposal for a multibillion pound investment in UK broadband infrastructure, which most pundits are peddling as a route to new growth, thereby ensuring it will attract investment and fill the coffers up again for a while. Amazingly, and thankfully, most media outlets still fail to acknowledge that without investing in the restoration of our biodiversity, water, soils, atmosphere and natural food systems, eventually nothing will be able to grow at all!