One for the Dark Lord on his Dark Throne,
In the land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One ring to rule them all, One ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all and in the Darkness bind them
In the land of Mordor where the shadows fall.
A Ring of Darkness forged of gold in ancient time? A Secret Fellowship dedicated to the destruction of the Ring? A journey through the Lower World? And a realm called Middle Earth? Where even a Dragon dwells? Where many other treasures lay hidden? The allure of the Ring, the need to own it (its deepest meanings that is, and the power it yields to those who know them)? Great hordes of spirits, less than divine, less than human even, cruel, assembled on the battlefields of this world? orcs, droids (wait! what movie is this? O well, the past and the future, it is all the same. It is all the present)? All in the mindless service of Sauron, the Great Lord of Darkness himself, and his need to own the Ring of Power--his fierce, but also sometimes subtle and deceptive attempts to attain the Ring of Power. So subtle is this Dark Spell, this influence over the minds of men, that it even has the Papacy of Isengard performing its unholy will, marshaling its forces against the great day of battle and war. (Well not all are in its service, for as our merlin Gandalf knows full well, and as he intimates to Frodo, the whole of creation, and all its various other spirits, some as fierce even as Sauron's forces, also travails together with this Fellowship of the Ring, hoping, almost beyond hope it seems to some, for its own day of deliverance).
But there it is, the Mountain of Doom on the horizon. Fire, fire burning bright, signaling the end of Night. And it is only there, and then, that the Ring of Darkness can be destroyed--if only the Fellowship can deliver the Ring that is, without succumbing to its powers--to the Dark side--and without meeting a less-than-timely end themselves (seeing that the hunt for those who know the mystery of the Ring, those who could pose a threat to Sauron's rule, is already, or rather, will soon be underway). And then there is this intervening episode called The Two Towers! (How more uncanny and timely could this be? Who wrote this story)? Of course these Two Towers represent the unholy relationship of church and state. September 11th then? It symbolizes exactly what the Power of the Universe thinks about this adulterous affair. (Revelation 17). And then at last, the Return of the King? Ah, now we know who has Their hand in this. For this has been the whole objective, the whole meaning of the story all along, the Return of the True King(s). Kings? Well this is another tale, or, rather, the real end of our present story. For in a world of true harmony, and true balance, there must be Two. He is one, and She is the other. She? Well let us not get our stories confused, not just yet. They will blend into each other at the end.
In the meantime, where else could the modern mind be treated to such a journey, into this make-believe, but nevertheless wholly archetypal world of legend and myth, than in the pages of Tolkien's own imagination, and now more vividly as front-row participants in the motion-picture arts? Of Course there was that other notable and collective journey that we all took together to the realm of Middle Earth, but it seems so long ago now:
CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF OZ, WHEREVER THE ROAD MAY LEAD, by Dinita Smith...The Wizard of Oz has worked its way into the national psyche as a fable of eternal hope..."It's like a religion," said Allison Laurie, who was here to give a talk...An updated version of Patrick Hearn's version of the classic, complete with references to Ezekiel and "the Pilgrim's Progress" is being published this September..."We travel together through the inner world to find our way," the great-granddaughter of Frank Baum said. "Initiates must travel through the chaos of the windstorm to find the storm's center point." The New York Times
(One can not understand yet how prophetic this article is). And let us not leave out such other archetypal adventures as Star Wars and The Dark Crystal, and to some other extents, such recent films depicting man's journey into the realm of the subconscious and other-dimensional worlds as, Pi, Contact, Stigmata, Stargate, The Sixth Sense and The Matrix. And while we are passing by let us not leave out the great list of foreign, and other socially significant, and epic films that have been produced over the past, which were always a sign of this industry's potential ability to inform the imagination and elevate the mind of man in ways that other media alone could not. The art and science of motion-pictures has become--thus fittingly--another 20th century technological achievement (along with radio, television and computers), that has brought with it, as all other things in the world of gods and men, the immense potential for both good and evil. It all seems almost wholly bent now in the service of $auron, sating, as it is, Western man's near-demonic need to be artificially enthralled and continuously a-mused and entertained. Do we remember those Hollywood Babylon days, all the decadence, the violence, the car crashes, the gangsters, the cheap talk? and now our fixation with doctors, cops and lawyers, military figures, helicopter crashes? Oh, and all the clichés, the cheap humor, the celebrity and idolatry, sit-com TV, the adolescence of it all. Austin Powers? Rambo? ("What with our Rambo heads and Terminator hearts," as one critic put it, or was it "Our Rambo hearts and Terminator heads")? The visual media (television in particular...ABC, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC FOX) are under the spell, and are employed in the service of Sauron now as one of his own weapons of mass distraction, and as a tool of indoctrination. It is all leading to war and the American people are being set up for it. (It leads to the destruction of America itself...the Mount of Doom, remember)?. As the Yellow press was to the American state of mind at the turn of the 20th century, and in a different sense as Axis Salley and Tokyo Rose were to America during World War II, the mainstream media, with all of its talking celebrities, is to to the American people today--their spiritual enemies. (Revelation 18:2).
The Lord of the Rings, nevertheless, demonstrates this great potential for good. It represents the motion-picture industry's ability to redeem itself (as the rest of us are redeemed), when finally all of its resources and creative--almost magical--energies are turned in the service of the Light, and not the Darkness as they presently are. (Who could have portrayed the mystic descent into the abyss of human consciousness--into the depths of one's own soul as it is--than was portrayed in Gandalf's fiery descent in the Two Towers? At the same time, who was not enraptured at the marriage scene in Braveheart? But then immediately trapped by the grandiosity and heroic manliness--the madness if you will--of the battlescenes, as those Scots declared their independence from the evil king of England. Evil indeed was this king, and they still are, all of them. But in this spiritual twist in human logic it was the spirit of Sauron in William Wallace himself, and not the king of England, that has brought us to our present terrible dilemma. We could see the evil in Longshanks, but it was hard to see in Wallace, and almost impossible to see in the founders of the American government. We can see the "evil" in Saddam for instance, but few in America can see it clearly in George Bush, or in themselves. We are caught because our religious leaders (Sauron's agents) are under the spell of the Ring, and have become unable to tell us what God is doing in the earth, and thus because we do not know who Sauron is. We think he is them, the enemies of America . But them is God (Romans 13). And likewise, Sauron definetly wants control of Middle Earth but his base of operations is not in that East over there as we might imagine, but in this East over here, over here in the West. It's a ring remember, a circle, and we have returned to it)...
Thus this particular film represents this art-form's ability to help us see into this world in which we are presently trapped, to open up the hidden chambers and doorways of our own spiritual psyche. For even despite itself, and its mainly decadent ways--largely unconscious of God as it is (of the Absolute Oneness; the True Dark Lord, that Higher Force in the universe that Gandolf spoke about, from whom both Good and Evil flows, the Force we must trust if we are to escape the looming Mountain of Doom..."Trust the Force Luke")--God has been instructing all of us together in the very subtle complexities of both good and evil (via an almost unimpeded exercise of the liberal arts if you will), and channeling through this art-form all of the necessary methods and techniques that would allow it, not only to accompany the mind of Light into the coming age, but to help all of us together see into, and through those dimensions of reality that have been by and large closed to the great majority of us...
Not to all of us of course. The world has always had its Gandalfs, its merlins, its sibyls and seers, its shamans and prophets. The truth is indeed, stranger than fiction, and art can only attempt to imitate it, for in it we have truly come full circle from Genesis to Revelation, from ancient Eden back to Eden again. The script has already been written in the pages of Holy Writ, and the film is playing now in the theater near you--in the spiritual realities of our very own times.:
The Ring of Power, the Circle of Darkness...2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (KJV).
It was here, at the Western ends of the earth, where the Ring of Power was first forged almost Six thousand years ago. It was here where the Dark son, Cain, first rose up to slay his brother Abel. It was here where he first came to power in the earth. Let the day perish wherein I was born, Job will say of it, and the night in which it was said, There is a manchild conceived...
Let that day be darkness: let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.
Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it...(Job 3:1-10; Genesis 4:1).
It was here where the Ring of Darkness, and the Fellowship of Darkness was first formed. (Which explains why the ancient inhabitants of this Western continent have obeyed their instructions not to actually build or make a wheel, for in the forging of such implements, in the gears and cogs of the future industrial age, would the evil ones be revealed...Psalms 106:32-42). And then, more than a thousand years later, in the time of Noah, the last wars of the Atlantean age were fought. How is it written: But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the son of man be. (Matthew 24:37-44). And the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end off the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26; Rev.17:15).
There is one Darker than these. For the Serpent is (indeed) more subtle than any beast of the field.
A dragon? Oh yes, a Great Dragon. Whoever can see it can overcome it. (Please see chapter three in The Commentary on the Tree of Life).
Such wars gave birth to the Vedic age, as the adepts of these Western mysteries found their way out of these epic conflicts, to India, and to Egypt and all other places throughout the Eastern world. (If one were to open up the pages of the Rig Veda for instance, they would immediately see what things passed back out of them into the Judeo-Christian mysteries at the time of Moses, and again in the time of Christ (great Kabbalistic insights), as it is also written: And to make all men see what is the Fellowship of the mystery...Ephesians 3:9). The Ring of Power though was not lost, but was passed on as it was intended to be (just as the Fellowship of Light in the earth was not extinguished with the death of Abel, but had only just begun). For the Author and Director of the story was making certain that it was passed from one generation to the other, from one Dark lord to the next, from the figures of Cain, and Nimrod--the first prototypical strong man in the earth--thus from the ancient figure of Hammurabi into the emerging historical realities of the world body-politic in the figure of Pharaoh, the first ruler of Egypt. God was now establishing the rule of Darkness upon a base of power that had its origins in, and whose structure could be traced directly back to the structure of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil itself...
The Seven Heads of the great World Serpent are these Seven world empires that have appeared in the earth one after the other, culminating in the Seventh, The Holy Roman Empire, which was established right there in the center of the Oracle...(Revelation 12:3, Psalm 74:12-14). And here is the mind that hath wisdom...America is the Eighth...(Revelation 13:1 and 17:9-15).
Middle Earth? We have already seen what is hidden there in the Center of this mystery: that Great Dragon, Leviathan. But what is it that the Dragon is hiding?...
For God is my king of old, working salvation IN THE MIDST OF THE EARTH.
Thou didst divide the Sea by thy strength; Thou breakest the heads of the dragons in the waters.
Thou breakest the heads of Leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat for the people inhabiting the wilderness...(Psalm 74:12-14).
...Nothing less than the true whereabouts of the City of David (see Isaiah, chapters 27 to 29), and the realization of the spiritual dimensions of the Temple of Solomon was built on top of it (not with stones of course, but with the building blocks of spiritual enlightenment as the Buddhist teachers call them):
These things have never existed in Palestine, but have always been hidden from the eyes of the world, at that place in the Center of the Universal World Tree named Tipheret--underneath the present-day city of Vienna, Austria, and those regions round about it. (Please see the second chapter in The Commentary on the Tree of Life)...
How else could the spirit of Sauron be revealed in the world? Everyone who has ever entered this city, or for that matter, left it, with less than the most highest and sacred intentions toward Jerusalem (it is that City Above, that we speak of, the Mother of us all...Galatians 4:26), or who has ever tread over it, in one direction or the other, in the Name of God, while following the pathways of destruction, murder and war, has been a servant of the Dark Lord, Sauron, and still is to this very day.
Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which you will not believe, though it be told you...(Habakkuk 1:5; Acts 13:40,41).
For, behold, the days come, and it shall be when the signs which I have foretold you come to pass, then shall the city which is now invisible appear, and the land which is now concealed be seen...(4 Ezra 7:26,27).
As for that place, it shall be unknown until the time God gathers His people again together, (not in Palestine,but here in the West), and receives them unto mercy.
Then shall the Lord shew them these things, and the Glory of the Lord shall appear, and the Cloud, as it was shewed under Moses (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-11; Hebrews 12), and as when Solomon desired that the place might be honourably sanctified. (See 1 Kings, chapter 8)...(2 Maccabees 2:1-18, KJV).
As the Two Towers ended we hear Gandalf saying that though one battle is over, the battle for Middle Earth has just begun. And so it has. Poor Golem--almost destroyed by the spell--is left struggling with his own mind (Joel 3:14), a struggle (poor Golem) that will eventually destroy him in the end. As for the Fellowship of the Ring it is onward to the Mountain of Doom, to the days that lie before us, and to the final episode of this great epic mystery: The Return of the True King:
Alas, for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.
For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his (Sauron's) yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of (Jacob);
But they shall serve the Lord their God, and DAVID their king, whom I will raise up unto them...(Jeremiah 30:7-9).
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places...(Ephesians 6:10-17).
"Thank you Sam," (said Frodo). "How far is there to go?" "I don't know," said Sam, "because I don't know where we're going." He looked back, and then he looked up; and he was amazed to see how far his last effort had brought him. The Mountain of Doom standing ominous and alone had looked taller than it was. Sam saw now that it was less lofty than the high passes of the Ephel Duath which he and Frodo just scaled. The confused and tumbled shoulders of its great base rose for maybe three thousand feet above the plain, and above them was reared half as high again its tall central cone...As he looked up...above him plainly a path or road. It climbed like a rising girdle from the West and wound snakelike around the Mountain, until before it went round out of view it reached the foot of a cone upon its Eastern side.
Sam could not see the course immediately above him, where it was lowest, for a steep slope went up from where he stood; but he guessed that if he could only struggle on just a little way further up, they would strike this path. A gleam of hope returned to him. They might conquer the Mountain yet. "Why, it might have been put there a-purpose!" he said to himself. "If it wasn't there, I'd have to say I was beaten in the end."...
He did not know it, but he was looking at Sauron's Road from Barad-dur to the Sammath Naur, the Chambers of Fire. (See 1 Peter 4:12). Out of the Dark Tower's huge Western Gate it came over a deep abyss by a vast bridge of iron, and then passing into the plain it ran about a league between two smoking chasms, and so reached a long sloping causeway that led up to the Mountain's eastern side. Thence, turning and circling all its wide girth from south to north, it climbed at last, high in the upper cone, but still high from the reeking summit, to the dark entrance that gazed back east straight to the Window of the Eye in Sauron's shadow-mantled fortress. Often blocked or destroyed by the tumults of the Mountain's furnaces, always the road was repaired and cleared again by the labors of countless orcs...The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkein, pp.218,219.
The light sprang up again, and there on the brink of the chasm, at the very Crack of Doom, stood Frodo, black against the glare, tense, erect, but still as if he had been turned to stone. "Master!" cried Sam.
Then Frodo stirred and spoke with a clear voice, indeed with a voice clearer and more powerful than Sam had ever heard him use, and it rose above the throb and turmoil of Mount Doom, ringing in the roofs and walls. "I have come," he said. "But I do not choose now to do what I came to do. I will not do this deed. The Ring is mine!"...
And far away, as Frodo put on the Ring and claimed it for his own, even in Sammath Naur the very heart of his realm, the Power in Barad-dur was shaken, and the Tower trembled from its foundations to its proud and bitter crown. The Dark Lord was suddenly aware of him, and his Eye piercing all shadows looked across the plain to the door that he had made; and the magnitude of his own folly was revealed to him in a blinding flash, and all the devices of his enemies were at last laid bare. Then his wrath blazed in consuming flame, but his fear rose lie a vast black smoke to choke him. For he knew his deadly peril and the thread upon which his doom now hung.
From all his policies and webs of fear and treachery, from all his stratagems and wars his mind shook free; and throughout his realm a tremor ran, his slaves quailed, and his armies halted, and his captains suddenly steerless, bereft of will, wavered and despaired. For they were forgotten. The whole mind and purpose of the Power that wielded them was now bent with overwhelming force upon the Mountain. At his summons, wheeling with a rending cry, in a last desperate race there flew, faster than the winds, the Nazgul, the Ringwraiths, and with a storm of wings they hurtled southward to Mount Doom...p.223.
And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:
(But) ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the City of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to the innumerable company of angels.
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect...
See (therefore) that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven.
Whose voice then shook the earth, but now He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
For our God is a consuming Fire...(Hebrews 12:18-29).
...Then came the day when Gandalf could not be found, and the Companions wondered what was going forward. But Gandolf took Aragorn out from the City by night, and he brought him to the southern Feet of Mount Mindolluin; and there thay found a path made in ages past that few now dared to tread. For it led up on to the mountain to a high hallow where only the kings had been wont to go. And they went up by steep ways, until they came to a high field below the snows that clad the lofty peaks, and it looked down over the precipice that stood behind the City. And standing there they surveyed the lands, for the morning was come, and they saw the towers of the City far below them lie white pencils touched by the sunlight, and all the vale of Anduin was like a garden, and the Mountains of Shadow were veiled in golden mist. Upon the one side their sight reached to the grey Emyn Muil, and the glint of Rauros was like a star twinkling far off; and upon the other side they saw the River like a ribbon laid down to Pelargir, and beyond that was the light on the hem of the sky that spoke of the Sea.
And Gandalf said: "This is your realm, and the heart of the greater realm that shall be. The Third Age of the world is ended, and the new age is begun; and it is your task to order its beginning and to preserve what may be preserved. For though much has been saved, much must now pass away; and the power of the Three Rings also is ended. And all the lands that you see, and those that lie round about them, shall be dwellings of Men. For the time comes of the Dominion of Men, and the Elder Kindred shall fade or depart."
"I know it well, dear friend," said Aragorn; "but I would still have your counsel." "Not for long now," said Gandalf. "The Third Age was my age. I was the enemy of Sauron, and my work is finished. I shall go soon. The burden must lie now upon you and your kindred."
"But I shall die," said Aragorn. "For I am a mortal man, and though being what I am and of the race of the West unmingled, I shall have life far longer than other men, yet that is but a little while; and when those who are now in the wombs of women are born and have grown old, I too shall grow old. And who then shall govern Gondor and those who look to this City as to their Queen, if my desire is not granted? The Tree in the Court of the Fountain is still withered and barren. When shall I see a sign that it will ever be otherwise?"
"Turn your face from the green world, and look where all seems barren and cold!" said Gandalf. Then Aragorn turned, and there was a stony slope behind him running down from the skirts of the snow; and as he looked he was aware that alone in the waste a growing thing stood. And he climbed to see it, and saw that out of the very edge of the snow there sprang a Sapling Tree no more than three foot high. Already it had put forth young leaves long and shapely, dark above and silver beneath, and upon its slender crown it bore one small cluster of flowers whose white petals shone like the sunlit snow.
Then Aragorn cried: "Ye utuvienyes! I have found it! Lo! here is a scion of the Eldest of Trees! But how comes it here? For it is not itself Seven years old."
And Gandalf coming looked at it, and said: "Verily this is a sapling of the line of Nimloth the fair; and it was a seedling of Galathilion, and that a fruit of Telperion of many names, Eldest of Trees. Who shall say how it comes here in the appointed hour? But this is an ancient hallow, and ere the kings failed or the Tree withered in the court, a fruit must have been sent here. For it is said, though the fruit of the Tree comes seldom to ripeness, yet the Life within may lie sleeping through many long years, and none can foretell the time in which it will awake."...
And Aragorn planted the new Tree in the court by the Fountain, and swiftly and gladly it began to grow; and when the month of June entered it was laden with blossom."..pp.249,250.
THE RETURN OF THE KING
In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem...And the House of DVD shall be as God, as the Angel of the Lord before them...(Zechariah 12:8).
The letter Dalet in the ancient Paleo-Hebrew script, the letters with which the Torah and the Psalms were first written, is shaped like . The name DVD is composed of two Dalets, one facing the other, as the Two Cherubim over the Ark of the Covenant, and as the Male and Female principles of Life when they at last recognize the Divine in each other. . The Two are joined together by the letter Vaw (or Waw), which is equal to the number Six and to those things that were hidden in ancient times in the center of the Universal Tree of Life: Hidden there, at the Navel of the Earth, guarded by the Sleepless Dragon, is the ancient City of DaVid itself, but also the Doorway that leads into these dimensions of reality, and out of them again, between the Higher realms of the world Above and the Lower realm of the world Below.
They that have an ear,let them hear what the Spirit saith unto the (seven) churches; To them that overcome will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is the midst of the Paradise of God...(Revelation 2:7).
And in that day Seven women shall take hold of One Man, saying, we will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach.
In that day shall the Branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the Fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel...(Isaiah 4).
One hundred and fifty years ago, the corporation was a relatively insignificant entity. Today, it is a vivid, dramatic and pervasive presence in all our lives. Like the Church, the Monarchy and the Communist Party in other times and places, the corporation is todays dominant institution. But history humbles dominant institutions. All have been crushed, belittled or absorbed into some new order. The corporation is unlikely to be the first to defy history. In this complex and highly entertaining documentary, Mark Achbar, co-director of the influential and inventive MANUFACTURING CONSENT: NOAM CHOMSKY AND THE MEDIA, teams up with co-director Jennifer Abbott and writer Joel Bakan to examine the far-reaching repercussions of the corporations increasing preeminence. Based on Bakans book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, the film is a timely, critical inquiry that invites CEOs, whistle-blowers, brokers, gurus, spies, players, pawns and pundits on a graphic and engaging quest to reveal the corporations inner workings, curious history, controversial impacts and possible futures. Featuring illuminating interviews with Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Howard Zinn and many others, THE CORPORATION charts the spectacular rise of an institution aimed at achieving specific economic goals as it also recounts victories against this apparently invincible force.
THE CORPORATION: Among the 40 interview subjects are CEOs and top-level executives from a range of industries: oil, pharmaceutical, computer, tire, manufacturing, public relations, branding, advertising and undercover marketing; in addition, a Nobel-prize winning economist, the first management guru, a corporate spy, and a range of academics, critics, historians and thinkers are interviewed.
A LEGAL PERSON": In the mid-1800s the corporation emerged as a legal person. Imbued with a personality of pure self-interest, the next 100 years saw the corporations rise to dominance. The corporation created unprecedented wealth. But at what cost? The remorseless rationale of externalitiesas Milton Friedman explains: the unintended consequences of a transaction between two parties on a thirdis responsible for countless cases of illness, death, poverty, pollution, exploitation and lies.
THE PATHOLOGY OF COMMERCE: CASE HISTORIES: To more precisely assess the personality of the corporate person, a checklist is employed, using actual diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization and the DSM-IV, the standard diagnostic tool of psychiatrists and psychologists. The operational principles of the corporation give it a highly anti-social personality: It is self-interested, inherently amoral, callous and deceitful; it breaches social and legal standards to get its way; it does not suffer from guilt, yet it can mimic the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. Four case studies, drawn from a universe of corporate activity, clearly demonstrate harm to workers, human health, animals and the biosphere. Concluding this point-by-point analysis, a disturbing diagnosis is delivered: the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a psychopath.
MINDSET: But what is the ethical mindset of corporate players? Should the institution or the individuals within it be held responsible?
The people who work for corporations may be good people, upstanding citizens in their communitiesbut none of that matters when they enter the corporations world. As Sam Gibara, Chairman of Goodyear Tire, explains, If you really had a free hand, if you really did what you wanted to do that suited your personal thoughts and your personal priorities, youd act differently.
Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface, the worlds largest commercial carpet manufacturer, had an environmental epiphany and re-organized his $1.4 billion company on sustainable principles. His company may be a beacon of corporate hope, but is it an exception to the rule?
MONSTROUS OBLIGATIONS: A case in point: Sir Mark Moody-Stuart recounts an exchange between himself (at the time Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell), his wife and a motley crew of Earth First activists who arrived on the doorstep of their country home. The protesters chanted and stretched a banner over their roof that read, MURDERERS. The response of the surprised couple was not to call the police, but to engage their uninvited guests in a civil dialogue, share concerns about human rights and the environment and eventually serve them tea on their front lawn. Yet, as the Moody-Stuarts apologize for not being able to provide soy milk for their vegan critics tea, Shell Nigeria is flaring unrivaled amounts of gas, making it one of the world's single worst sources of pollution. And all the professed concerns about the environment do not spare Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other activists from being hanged for opposing Shell's environmental practices in the Niger Delta.
The Corporation exists to create wealth, and even world disasters can be profit centers. Carlton Brown, a commodities trader, recounts with unabashed honesty the mindset of gold traders while the twin towers crushed their occupants. The first thing that came to their minds, he tells us, was: How much is gold up?
PLANET INC.: Youd think that things like disasters, or the purity of childhood, or even milk, let alone water or air, would be sacred. But no. Corporations have no built-in limits on what, who or how much they can exploit for profit. In the fifteenth century, the enclosure movement began to put fences around public grazing lands so that they might be privately owned and exploited. Today, every molecule on the planet is up for grabs. In a bid to own it all, corporations are patenting animals, plants, even your DNA.
Around things too precious, vulnerable, sacred or important to the public interest, governments have, in the past, drawn protective boundaries against corporate exploitation. Today, governments are inviting corporations into domains from which they were previously barred.
PERCEPTION MANAGEMENT : The Initiative Corporation spends $22 billion worldwide placing its clients advertising in every imaginableand some unimaginablemedia. One new medium: very young children. Their Nag Factor study dropped jaws in the world of child psychiatry. It was designed not to help parents cope with their childrens nagging, but to help corporations design their ads and promotions so that children would nag for their products more effectively. Initiative Vice President Lucy Hughes elaborates: You can manipulate consumers into wanting, and therefore buying your products. Its a game.
Today people can become brands. And brands can build cities. And university students can pay for their educations by shilling on national television for a credit card company. And a corporation even owns the rights to the popular song Happy Birthday. Do you ever get the feeling its all a bit much? Corporations have invested billions to shape public and political opinion. When they own everything, who will stand for the public good?
THE PRICE OF WHISTLEBLOWING: It turns out that standing for the public good is an expensive proposition. Ask Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, two investigative reporters fired by Fox News after they refused to water down a story on rBGH, a synthetic hormone widely used in the United States (but banned in Europe and Canada) to rev up cows metabolism and boost their milk production. Because of the increased production, the cows suffer from mastitis, a painful infection of the udders. Antibiotics must then be injected, which find their way into the milk, and ultimately reduce peoples resistance to disease.
Fox demanded that they rewrite the story, and ultimately fired Akre and Wilson. Akre and Wilson subsequently sued Fox under Floridas whistle-blower statute. They proved to a jury that the version of the story Fox would have had them put on the air was false, distorted or slanted. Akre was awarded $425,000. Then Fox appealed, the verdict was overturned on a technicality, and Akre lost her award. [For more information on the case see www.foxbghsuit.com]
DEMOCRACY LTD.: Democracy is a value that the corporation just doesnt understand. In fact, corporations have often tried to undo democracy if it is an obstacle to their single-minded drive for profit. From a 1934 business-backed plot to install a military dictator in the White House (undone by the integrity of one U.S. Marine Corps General, Smedley Darlington Butler) to present-day law-drafting, corporations have bought military might, political muscle and public opinion.
And corporations do not hesitate to take advantage of democracys absence either. One of the most shocking stories of the twentieth century is Edwin Blacks recounting IBMs strategic alliance with Nazi Germanyone that began in 1933 in the first weeks that Hitler came to power and continued well into World War II.
FISSURES: The corporation may be trying to render governments impotent, but since the landmark WTO protest in Seattle, a rising wave of networked individuals and groups have decided to make their voices heard. Movements to challenge the very foundations of the corporation are afoot: The charter revocation movement tried to bring down oil giant Unocal; a groundbreaking ballot initiative in Arcata, California, put a corporate agenda in the public spotlight in a series of town hall meetings; in Bolivia, the population fought and won a battle against a huge transnational corporation brought in by their government to privatize the water system; in India nearly 99% of the basmati patent of RiceTek was overturned; and W. R. Grace and the U.S. governments patent on Neem was revoked.
As global individuals take back local power, a growing re-invigoration of the concept of citizenship is taking root. It has the power to not only strip the corporation of its seeming omnipotence, but to create a feeling and an ideology of democracy that is much more than its mere institutional version.
© Copyright 2003 - 2004, Big Picture Media Corporation MMIII
Book: "The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power"
The End of Suburbia Oil Depletion and the Collapse of The American Dream
Since World War II North Americans have invested much of their newfound wealth in suburbia. It has promised a sense of space, affordability, family life and upward mobility. As the population of suburban sprawl has exploded in the past 50 years, so too the suburban way of life has become embedded in the American consciousness.
Suburbia, and all it promises, has become the American Dream. But as we enter the 21st century, serious questions are beginning to emerge about the sustainability of this way of life. With brutal honesty and a touch of irony, The End of Suburbia explores the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet approaches a critical era, as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply. World Oil Peak and the inevitable decline of fossil fuels are upon us now, some scientists and policy makers argue in this documentary. The consequences of inaction in the face of this global crisis are enormous. What does Oil Peak mean for North America? As energy prices skyrocket in the coming years, how will the populations of suburbia react to the collapse of their dream? Are today's suburbs destined to become the slums of tomorrow? And what can be done NOW, individually and collectively, to prepare?
Hosted by Barrie Zwicker. Featuring James Howard Kunstler, Peter Calthorpe, Michael Klare, Richard Heinberg, Matthew Simmons, Mike Ruppert, Julian Darley, Colin Campbell, Kenneth Deffeyes, Ali Samsam Bakhtiari and Steve Andrews. Directed by Gregory Greene. Produced by Barry Silverthorn.
DVD BONUS: Includes the vintage short films, In the Suburbs and Destination
Earth. Also includes producer and director commentary and edited audio for audiences
under 18 years. Duration: 78 minutes
This information is quite shocking. I think many people who thought they had sufficient knowledge concerning the energy crisis will be left in rethinking mode - Jim, Los Angeles
The film was quite frightening and I am sure many will say these scientists are just alarmists -- but it's so true that petrol and our American way of life cannot and will not last forever, especially since we are so oil dependent and energy hungry. Over the ages other great empires fell; but this time there will be greater, far-reaching consequence because of globalization - Anais, Pasadena
End of Surburbia is a perfect tool for introducing people to peak oil. Just enough humor to sugarcoat the bitter pill. Image and sound convey forcefully what can otherwise be a somewhat abstract issue, often couched in lots of confusing numbers and charts and theories. It felt good to have the documentary screened at a place like pathtofreedom, where people can see a practical alternative all around them as they're digesting the rather bleak message. At least people can get a glimpse of what they can do to minimize the impact of oil depletion in the scope of their own lives. Once you start to look deeply into the peak oil picture, it gets very depressing very quickly. And a lot of pessimists and misanthropes are attracted to it, adding to the vibe of hopelessness--which is, of course, paralyzing in itself. I think as Peak Oil kicks in it will be a kind of "dark night of the collective soul." We need to be able to look deeply into the worst possible outcomes (resource wars, "dieoff" etc.) and yet fashion a creative and human way through it all - Jason, Van Nuys
Thanks for having us over last night and sharing. We enjoyed ourselves though the subject matter of the film was a little frightening (and heartening as well, since without cheap energy this culture will have to give up its wasteful ways). Anyway its good to see people like you making a difference. - Suzy
I just saw the documentary "The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and The Collapse of The American Dream ", at Friday night's opening in Toronto. The film begins with the quote from Thomas Hardy, found also at the beginning of the dieoff site: "If a path to the better there be, it begins with a full look at the worst." In fact, the film does not look at the worst. It is cleverly packaged for the uninitiated by focusing on North American land use patterns to segue to the peak oil story, and by deftly avoiding excess discussion of depopulation doom and gloom and political intrigue, it will probably get past many people's denial-generating defences. Interviews with many of the usual suspects are included, and most of the salient information is there. The film is entertaining, and some parts are quite funny (not surprising if you've read Kunstler).
I would definitely recommend the DVD, especially if you are a newbie, or if you have some skeptics in your life, or just audiences you want to introduce to the topic including those who are challenged by time or reading. Despite some subtle signs of a low budget, the film is very well crafted, and most importantly, is based on the right marketing decisions (i.e. understanding the audience). Kudos to producer Barry Silverthorn and his team. This work will definitely open some eyes. It will be interesting to watch what happens as this is shown.- Rose Kudlac, Toronto (posted at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RunningOnEmpty2)
A new film, The End of Suburbia had its opening in Toronto Friday. Full information on it is at http://www.endofsuburbia.com. Directed by Gregory Greene and produced by Barry Silverthorn this film paints a startling picture of the end of North American society as we know it. The reason for the catastrophe is that global demand for fossil fuels is beginning to outstrip supply. World oil production has peaked and it will soon start dropping as the remaining oil is more difficult to extract. Prices could start to rise unbearably in as little as two or three years.
That means there will be no growth, only continuing recessions, shortages and blackouts. Suburbia will collapse because the auto based world is fast becoming a dinosaur. East to west and north to south, America is one vast city serviced by oil that will no longer be available at low prices. I would say the movie is a must see because it demonstrates that our way of life is most definitely unsustainable. Where it comes up short is on answers and ways to salvage a society facing collapse. I have a few answers of my own and they combine with ideas from the movie to paint this picture. - Gary Morton, http://CitizensontheWeb.ca
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