Tuesday, February 18, 2014

rearranging and ruminating

It's funny how time slips away when one gets distracted by other things. Once I'd assisted Crow by rearranging his library I undertook the project of doing the same with our own collection of books, none of which have ever been sorted very well. Even in Portland we'd often go from room to room, upstairs and down, in search of a book we knew we'd seen somewhere next to something else. A few days ago our mail carrier rang the bell with a delivery of two new shelving units from Amazon. Why Amazon, you may ask? Well, as you may know, we've moved from one place to another a number of times over the years and rather than keep all our books, movies and video games on the floor we were delighted at the innovation of folding, stackable bookcases. Here in Canada it appears the only place these can be found is on Amazon. When the lady puffed into the lobby carrying one huge box as my husband picked up the other I mentioned my surprise that they weren't delivered by a transport company. After telling me they do all Amazon deliveries my only response was to hope Amazon Canada doesn't start offering refrigerators.

Meanwhile, Crow and I have been continuing to think about a possible solution to the crises humanity faces. Coupled with a commitment to community and co-operative based localised energy schemes, a more innovative locally owned economy and a significant change in values from 'I love shopping' to 'I'd like my grandchildren to have half a chance of a reasonable life,' sound like good ideas.

As Crow says, 'People have been trapped in a bubble of surreal economics and politics for so long that there is no possibility in some of your minds that there is any alternative. There are many; neither crows  or humans are the passive victims of the techno-machine that neo-liberal orthodox thinkers believe us to be. There are a million possibilities for the human condition and you don't have to stick with tired, cynical, self seeking and crass rhetoric of those who appease a system long since shown to be corrupt and past its sell by date.

'Wouldn't it make far more sense to invest in successful co-operatives, which benefit the lives of ordinary people, than to invest billions into failed banking organizations that continually treat the ordinary population with contempt as they continue to develop their self serving shady financial dealings?'

He went on to show me a film of one of his young cousins that you may enjoy too:

Please excuse old Crow portrait, but it's a favorite of us both.
I promise more soon.


gfid said...

I hope there will be a picture of the collapsable book cases soon...... ? Perhaps Amazon will carry collapsable refrigerators.

Remember the days when 'scientists' said the one defining characteristic of human intelligence is the use of tools? Crow and his family were laughing politely behind their wings.

marja-leena said...

Of course, crows are smart! I love the one in the video and your friend is one too, so right about local economies and cooperatives. We've been watching a number of fantastic BBC films based on novels by many great Victorian writers who critized the times where the rich ruled and the poor were very poor (what's new?). The latest was "The Way we Live Now" based on Anthony Trollope's novel.

Fabulous drawing, Susan.

susan said...

Of course, I will :).. Although I was happy we didn't have to pick them up it was a bit of a shock seeing her carrying one of them. Hah! collapsible fridges and stoves might be the next big thing.

Yeah, now they've even found fish that use tools. Certainly puts us in our place, doesn't it?

susan said...

The one thing Crow and I don't expect is some charismatic leader who will come to the rescue. What's needed is a populist movement to enact a viable alternative. Crow reminded me about the Rochdale Cooperative Principles that were developed in England in 1844 and are still in use world wide today. He's always been a fan of that era when people were still valued for their unique skills and things really could have taken a more positive direction.

Glad you still like the drawing. It was fun to work on.

Life As I Know It Now said...

'Wouldn't it make far more sense to invest in successful co-operatives, which benefit the lives of ordinary people, than to invest billions into failed banking organizations that continually treat the ordinary population with contempt as they continue to develop their self serving shady financial dealings?'

Yes it would. And what a great video. Of course Crows are smart, why is anyone surprised by that? :)

Life As I Know It Now said...

Oh and the drawing is fabulous!

susan said...

We can only wait and hope - and help wherever possible - for this change to happen.

I'm glad you enjoyed the cool video of Crow's nephew in action :)

susan said...

Thanks :)

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Interesting post and great drawing.
Fascinating video about Crows whose curiosity and high intelligence is always of interest.
Talking about animals I find it surprising how factory farming retains its stranglehold of 99% of all consumption in the US -do consumers realize the misery such practices inflict on intelligent animals? I notice our major chains here include more free range products such as pork, chicken, eggs, grass fed beef etc. but it is more costly. Live exports to countries here also remain unethical in my view but again your have the reduced cost at the consumer level for poor countries.
But as Humans we have made such incredible health strides to ensure longevity and in every sphere there are now far less bad outcomes overall and with advancements in understanding I remain optimistic for future generations as changes come to fruition.
Best wishes

Tom said...

It is true as Crow says that people have been trapped in a bubble of surreal economics and politics, and they still are. But they are happy there! The majority of people, it seems to me, do not wish to enter the real world of legitimate risk and hardship. So long as they can convince themselves that all is reasonably well, no matter how much denial that may take, they will 'stick'.

What exactly, in practical terms, are 'commitment to community', 'co-operative based local energy schemes' and 'a more locally owned innovative economy'? Now I'm not saying that Crow is incorrect when he puts forward these ideas. But such ideas really only worked in Medieval times when the human population was far smaller. But even the people of those times were out for everything they could get to make their lives a little easier. And why not? So what is his recommendation? Enforcible birth-control? Mass euthanasia? No, I know he wouldn't recommend such solutions. History has already demonstrated that they wouldn't work anyway. Even massed migration to other worlds, if it were possible, would require enormous outpourings of energy. And again, what of the people who are left behind, with even further depleted resources.

The only solution that has any chance of working is to allow environmental conditions in all its facets, to continue to get worse until enough people say, "Enough is enough!" Only then will people be persuaded to change their minds and their attitude that, "Because I can have it, I must have it!" People may well elect to change the circumstances that are causing their long term problems, so long as the solutions do not involve actions that are in their back yards. In the end, people will change only because they must, because they recognise they are up against forces they cannot beat. But first, they will need some convincing.

The Crow said...

This is one of my favorite portraits of Sir Crow, as well.

linda said...

HA! I'm here. I was able to leave a comment on north of sane so thought perchance? ... i love the drawing, btw. Amazon is becoming to the marketplace for everything one could possibly dream up, it seems. And far too convenient here in my neck of the woods. But beats trekking half hour to town for almond milk or whatever.

I so agree... the tired rhetoric is indeed ready to be retired to the basement in favor of some inspired, gentler, more meaning-filled ways of taming our enormous glut of thrilling catastrophes of late. Contrarily is buying local. :`/ ah well.... still, i agree but caught myself in that one. i just don't buy, that's actually the best for me. Just figure I'm "off" today. And cannot type very well.

much love to you. xox

susan said...

Hi Lindsay,
While factory farming should be outlawed entirely there are laws in force now in the US against people exposing such practices by photographing or filming them. Meanwhile, the industry advertises idyllic spacious pastures. Whether they know the truth or not, it seems a lot of people would rather not know because they're only interest is in large quantities of cheap meat wrapped in plastic on the grocery shelves or in their burgers at their favorite fast food restaurants.

I agree tremendous progress has been made in science and health care issues, but what's worrisome is the overuse of antibiotics in meat production. I hope you're right that things will continue to improve in future and that that future arrives sooner than later.

susan said...

Crow and I both agree with you, Tom, that people who have been lucky enough to be at least decently well off (having the basics, at least) are for the most part stuck with things as they are. Many of us who are older remember hearing our parents tell us how different life was without the conveniences that burgeoned after the second world war. We grew up while all of these previously undreamed of technological marvels were gaining ground by leaps and bounds. We soon lost sight of how things used to be for most people.

Since 1945 nearly everyone in the industrial world, and most of the nonindustrial world as well, has behaved as though corporate capitalism or bureaucratic socialism (or a hybrid of them) were the only possible forms of political economy. The Cold War decades simply solidified beliefs on both sides. Now both corporate capitalism and bureaucratic socialism have not only failed to make good on their promises, but have turned out to be catastrophically failure-prone into the bargain. The one difficulty is that very few people nowadays realize that there are other alternatives – and this, in turn, is a function of our collective blindness to our own history.

The adoption of some less wildly inefficient and failure-prone approach to political economy would be a very sensible move as we begin to deal with the challenges of the long era of contraction and readjustment that is taking shape around us right now. Utopian schemes remain as useless as they have ever been, but efforts at thoughtful, constructive, and realistic change are quite another matter, and in the wake of corporate capitalism’s latest round of failure, there might just be an opportunity to accomplish a bit of the latter.

For the foreseeable future it looks like it's still forward over the cliff in one way or another.

susan said...

Why, thank you, dear friend of us both :)

susan said...

Hello, my sweet! I'm so glad to see you made it by for a visit. I realized immediately there was something of a contradiction in the fact of me mentioning in the first part I'd just bought two furniture items from Amazon rather than finding a local carpenter. But who can afford one of those? Amazon is a behemoth of the retail world and I do try to keep my needs as small as possible.

Yeah, I figure there has to be something better than what we're doing now. This is a tall order of change for humanity. Corporatist type thinking has almost drowned out any type of "seven generation" thinking so often demonstrated by many indigenous communities.

I can easily get bogged down in sadness when I think that we really are very close to running out of time. Whether that be true or not, however, I choose light, over darkness, hope over despair. To do otherwise simply hastens our demise.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan
The unilateral ban established by Coles Supermarkets Pty Ltd on HGPs in Australia which advertises all of its meat products as free from antibiotics was not well received by our own premier independent research organisation the CSIRO. The CSIRO have said such a development represents a dangerous development, in which marketing ploys have been accorded a higher value than the care of animals, the environment, or the profit made by producers. Their conclusion is the decision reduces the viability of animal production and pose a threat to sustainable agricultural production in Australia.
The only problem it concedes was from the illegal abuse of use of diethylstilboestrol.
So here you have one of the largest supermarkets in the world specifying non-use of antibiotics to their farmer suppliers and our independent research institute presenting a contrary view. From what I can understand most farmers prefer not to use any antibiotics and welcome the decision
But what this tell you is that what often seems a black and white issue is not always so straightforward.
Best wishes

susan said...

Most of the antibiotics used on farms aren't administered to treat sick animals. Instead, farmers feed livestock a low-level diet of antibiotics to attack bacteria that might require the animal's body to expend energy to kill off. This allows animals to grow more quickly and, from a producer's point of view, more efficiently. But this practice has increasingly become the focus of concern. From what I've read previously, researchers have already found evidence that the use of antibiotics on farms has led to an increase in antibiotic-resistant cases of food poisoning caused by campylobacter and salmonella bacteria in people. That the time is soon coming that antibiotics will cease working their magic on sick people is a scary thought.

That DES is still being used anywhere as supplemental food for animals is criminal.

Thanks for the follow-up, Lindsay.
Best wishes to you too

gfid said...

FIRMLY in our place. Perhaps one day it will be recognized by the offending species that a desire for world dominion is NOT an indicator of high intelligence. I didn't even mention how beautiful the drawing is.... I fear I'm beginning to take you for granted. finding that you've posted a new picture is often the high point of my day. many thanks for all the times your art has warmed my cold northern soul.

susan said...

I'm happy you like my pictures enough to expect them to be cool :)

Sean Jeating said...

Well, (most) crows are intelligent while (most) humans . . .

susan said...

As Crow has said, 'Without opposable thumbs, none of this would have ever been possible'.