Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Dilemma Of Being Part Of A Giant, Mutant, Parasitically Symbiotic Thing

"How can the US help the world heal and improve its relationships with other citizens of the world?"

This was a question put forth before me by Denmark Vesey, "the blackest man on the Internet." Make yourself a cup of coffee or a drink while I give you a steely-eyed answer that's kind of cold and may not settle well with some of you. The floor, as always, is open for your own ideas about answering this question.

The images that immediately came were:

1) fatally attached Siamese twins, and
2) two species that are parasitically symbiotic in their relationship with one another.

Quick definition of symbiosis:

1. In biology, the living together of two dissimilar organisms, as in mutualism, commensalism, amensalism, or parasitism. 2. In psychiatry, a relationship between two people in which each person is dependent upon and receives reinforcement, whether beneficial or detrimental, from the other. 3. In psychoanalysis, the relationship between an infant and its mother in which the infant is dependent on the mother both physically and emotionally. 4. Any interdependent or mutually beneficial relationship between two persons, groups, etc.

The downside of our symbiotic relationship with other countries is this: centuries of expansionism and decades of technology have led us and much of the world to become parasitically dependent on one another.

Like fatally attached Siamese twins, if we separate them, they go into shock and die.

I think this stage of mankind would happen in any alternative universe, on any planet, where humans are separated by geography and language, because that's our nature. We are territorial, competitive, always looking for the best deal, and will take what we can get when can get it for "free". We see this play out between kids with toys, and nations over resources. The problem is compounded by not every area having the needed resources to make modern life comfortable.

People also selectively share, at times, and I think a degree of empathy is inherent in our nature - because this contributes to the continuation of our species. Conditioning kids through violent video games and other forms of entertainment, as well as adults through all things media, has weakened this natural empathy and redirected it toward a perverse form of empathy that includes only "one's kind". The result is nationalism, racism, and other forms of bigotry.

It wouldn't surprise me if the think tanks in Intelligence agencies have come to the same conclusions, but politics and their decision-making aside, one truly pragmatic national security issue is coping with limited resources and anticipating diminishing ones. Ignore that and you do so at your own peril.

This brings us back to the inoperable Siamese twin metaphor. Instead of twins, you could say the U.S. is part of Siamese octuplets (the G8). Add in the EU and China, Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Venezuela, and other big players all scrambling to hang onto the good life, with the little countries hanging onto them to get the crumbs, and you have a giant mutant, mutually parasitic thing with no name.

So say you're in charge and you see that this thing is very, very ill. To prolong it's life, (and lifestyle), do you let the stronger continue to feed off the weaker and cannibalize it?

A strong case could be made that this "twin reabsorption" strategy is one that powerful nations are taking by waging endless wars.

The problem is it won't work. It is only a short term fix.

I need not address the human and political problems because we know what those are.

Pragmatically and coldly-speaking, cannibalizing smaller nations compounds our problems by the additional waste of resources. War takes oil and money. The returns have been less, to the point where our system has been thrown into shock, and this is because the law of diminishing returns are in effect.

What's that, some of you ask? It's when you give and get something back, usually more. You keep giving, but you begin to receive less for your investment. When the pain exceeds the gain, it's time to quit. Every disciplined gambler knows this.

This applies also to negative giving, like when you give all you've got to win an unwinnable war, as well to love relationships, when the two of you start off fairly even in give and take, but it becomes lopsided when when one's doing all the giving and the other is doing all the taking, but the two can't seem to break it off because they've fallen into a negative, emotionally symbiotic relationship pattern.

Our dilemma can be further explained by:

1) The exponential function of our needs - that when we keep doing the same thing at the same pace, the cost increases over time and within a certain period, has doubled, like maybe Auntie Carol's weight since she was 16; and,

2) The refusal to accept that we must live with less and figure out how to do this, without one country absorbing and/or feeding off another in unhealthy ways.

The globalists in charge "have the attitude or policy of placing the interests of the entire world above those of individual nations", and use both strategies. Here's where they also err.

In a true case of inoperable Siamese twins, the weakest or sickest one will die first, but because they are connected, the stronger one will too, usually within 24 to 72 hours.

On the Doomsday clock of humanity, this geopolitical strategy will buy us some time, and might allow the strongest countries to survive for the rest of the century - especially as they militarily expand further, co-opt and feed off countries that are "under-exploited". I don't know if that term exists, but it's descriptive, and typically, these weaker nations come to depend on the stronger ones by design.

When nations and people ignore the instruction that Nature has set before us, they court disaster.

It's like this: the twin-destined embryo must fully separate into distinct, autonomous, and independent beings in order to survive. Only then can their relationship be healthy, rather than parasitically symbiotic.

The social systems of humanity have so far been a work in progress. These became unbalanced when the first groups developed weaponry more advanced than other groups, and instead of using them for hunting, used them to foster parasitic relationships and/or oppression.

Not being parasites to one another - and the planet - in the future will continue the progress of our species. This goes beyond simple "sustainability". It will require negative growth and use of resources for the fattest countries, and zero for the rest.

The alternative is the endgame. Unless the entire planet goes up in flames, it will also be a new beginning. A few scattered peoples around the world will be the ones lucky enough to be unattached and far away from the damage done by the giant, mutant, parasitically symbiotic Siamese thing.

"And the meek shall inherit the earth."

It is written.


  1. Kit,
    Wow! what an excellent,excellent post.I'm too tired to leave a reply which does it justice-but will anyway!

    I've heard it said fairly often how the British Empire went down gracefully-IMO it's thought of in that manner because to the West, it did go that way. They pulled back from their outposts while still remaining a power.

    If you were on the colonial end they pretty much left the lid up and the roll empty, the cap off the tube and the water running.

    So in Western terms,I think it's certainly possible as we inevitably unwind, we unwind "British Empire" style. Becoming like a princeps, first among equals of global powers.

    Western Europe, US, China in their sphere of influence and possibly Iran in theirs. I say China cause with Japan's deteriorating demographics and (in my scenario)withdrawal/drawdown of the US nuclear umbrella Japan might choose an accomodation with China.

    I think US multinationals and their interconnectedness (60% of Chinese export businesses under US control for example) would insure this kind of graceful withdrawal.

    The downside would be a reassertion of the control we've always exercised in the Western Hemisphere. Lula,Chavez,Morales, Cuba of course-the Sheriff kinda took his eye off his backyard, I would expect a new generation of Pinochets and Somozas to rear their heads. I think it would get ugly in Central/South America-kind of the inverse of the negativity that the British left from their divide and rule (Kashmir,Rwanda,etc).

    But what the hell do I know. BTW I'm just noticing your great posts on the economy-that's what I mainly post at MadMikes, economic stuff. I saw you are a clinical social worker,I had to look the clinical part up. My big girl is studying to be a social worker.She wants to work with women and kids.

    Anyway I'm blown away by your post. My reply really was just a slight expansion on a general thought I'd had, caused by my initial reaction to your post.

  2. http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/65987/niall-ferguson/complexity-and-collapse

    A great piece from FP journal on the history of Empires' collapse(s).

    chauncey devega

  3. Chauncey, That site requires a paid subscription to read more than a summary; maybe I'll remember to read it the next time I go to the library. I am familiar with the brilliant Niall Ferguson, who has a British charm that keeps you from falling asleep on otherwise dry topics. (Readers, he can be seen in presentations and interviews on YouTube.) One of the points he made with Charlie Rose is that the US can either default on it's loans, or allow the dollar to devalue to nothing. I'd add or they can go to war, which leads me into my comment to Oso.

    Oso, Thank you. My greatest concern is that the mutant US-China-Russia triangle does not want to go on a resource diet, and will resort to a death match between each other.

    It's an understatement for me to say this would be different from how they usually do business: fight by proxy in off-soil war theatres, enabling them to feed off or cannibalize their respective, smaller partners and enemies.

  4. Chauncey & Readers, Note: Just caught this March 24, 2010 of Niall Ferguson giving a warning statement to Congress at the Ways & Means Committee about China and America (Chimerica, which he says is dying). See it here.

  5. Damn.... This post was excellent Ma. Where did you come up with this metaphor? Alls I can say is excellent. I thought I left a comment on your previous post but I cannot see it. Anyways... That shit was funny as hell. But real. I had to read it twice just to see if you were bullshitting or not.
    You got skills Boo.
    Mad Skills.

  6. Red, Thanks. As for your question about where I come up with metaphors, I grew up with Aesop's Fables. My father read them to me (he was like a genius at dry humor using them) and we'd talk about the moral of the story. The only other books I had were the Dr. Seuss collection - one came delivered each month - and lots and lots of nature books. By the time I discovered Star Trek, I understood what they were talking about even though I was quite young.

    As an adult, I got hooked on evolutionary psychology (how we evolved on a socio-biological level), and learned to do art and play therapy with clients. The latter draws on my creative side, and I found that coming up with metaphors often succeed where real talk failed. I think it's because they're simple without being intrusive or offensive.

    In this blog I have quite a few articles that also draw on nature and intuition (via what I sometimes call "The Spirit World", ie, your guardian angel or God quietly whispering in your ear) as path to figuring out solutions. These essays are timeless and on the right hand side of this page if you ever have time to read some.

    Thanks for asking.

  7. Great post, great analogy.
    The US has many possesions that feed off of it, the island of Puerto Rico being one. I say feed off of it because this island really doesn't contribute much except in the way of acting as a satelite military base that is in a strategic position on the map.
    Many here feel that if the US were to leave, the island would perish, which in a way is true as it has no sustainable industry to speak of. Not even agriculture like the Dominican Republic has developed. No one here even likes to farm any more! Scary...Just my two cents...


Hi, this is Kit.

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