Are Right Wingers Scared of Dependency?

Obamacare Protest
I’ve just been alerted to an interesting article in Psychology Today by Michael Bader (a psychologist from San Francisco), hypothesizing that right-wing attitudes to health care reform may come from a deep-seated fear of dependency. There’s some interesting ideas in here, whether you agree with him or not, it certainly gets you thinking. Often people cite the pursuit of freedom as their primary reason for being against Government-run healthcare. But surely this is irrational? If you are desperately sick and can’t afford to pay to see a doctor you are far from ‘free’ in any sense. In these type of cases Obamacare would increase the level of people’s freedoms. Why are people opposing policy that will ultimately benefit them? Is it that they don’t want to accept a societal responsibility to help others who can’t help themselves? Surely freedom and responsibility are two sides of the same coin, and one without the other is an illusion? Bader tries to plumb the deep psychological depths of these questions and comes up with some interesting suggestions.
Read it here

owen jones, cringing in the shadow of margaret thatcher

^^^

I’m usually a fan of Owen Jones’ work. I thought ‘Chavs’ was a good book that said some important things that had gone very much un-said in recent times, where even supposed ‘lefties’ started bashing the lowest echelons of our increasingly stratified society. This post from the Commune raises some good points about his views and positioning however; I can’t help but agree with the author that his misplaced faith in New New (One Nation) Labour will lead a lot of his followers and fans to disappointment.

Why Socialism X: Socialised Capital

soviet money

How would a nascent Socialist State get hold of the necessary financial resources to build new services and re-tool old ones? Mammoth opposition from the privileged layers of the old regime will not make it easy…

Read more on Shape

Why the VICE generation are apocalyptic and frightened

Vice Magazine - Looking Beneath the Waves

Vice Magazine’s Alex Miller interviews one of Red Eye’s favourite filmmakers, Adam Curtis, in this new piece called Looking Beneath the Waves. In the article Curtis shares some of his latest theories on why the news (in its current guise) is unable to shed any light on the real reasons for the global financial meltdown, why economics is a failed pseudo-science, why a whole generation has grown up to be supremely cynical and paranoid, and the frightening reality of a world in which no-one really knows what’s happening, including both the journalists and politicians that pretend to have all the answers.

A must read.

The Problem With Science

New documentary film by Michael Coldwell on philosopher Jim Schofield’s latest theories. Science has made several crucial assumptions that are fundamentally flawed, and may have skewed our view of the world around us.
Music is supplied by our friends in the Urban Exploration collective 🙂

A Remix Manifesto

Clay and the Collective Body

Clay and the Collective Body

Just read a really interesting interview with sculptor Antony Gormley (in New Scientist magazine, of all places) that had a surprisingly political slant.

His recent installation Clay and the Collective Body explores “conversations between people – through objects or through the process of creating” by locking 100 random people in a stark white environment, with only a monolithic block of clay for entertainment. This “gave rise to an extraordinary and explosive outpouring of, you could say, collective unconciousness.”

This alien place seemed to trigger something in the participants, something primal that if I was more of a “yogurt-weaver”, I may be tempted to call a universal human connection – certainly the only familiar sight were other people, and the only way of killing time was to create.

“What’s absolutely beautiful is the way that people have occupied that space and become the absolute opposite of what capitalism wants us to be – passive consumers of spectacle, of information, of entertainment, of objects of desire – they become participatory and productive and cross-fertilising.” I thought it was particularly apt that Gormley chose to use the word occupy in that context.

Although Gormley goes on to state that he never intends to make overt political statements with his work, he lets slip that “…there’s no question that many of my works, in different ways, are asking about the connection between humans and our environment. And I think that all my installations in cities of the naked human animal in effigy form – surrogate fossils, industrialised fossils – are asking, where does humankind fit? Now that we seem to be well into the sixth great extinction, how long are we going to contribute to the evolution of life? Those are very big issues”  – and undoubtedly political ones.

Another subject that Gormley brings up in the interview, that is also a favourite of my own, is that of Easter Island.

Easter Island

This ‘ghost island’ captured my imagination from a very young age, as it seems to encapsulate the power that art and iconography can hold over people, our self-destructive tendencies, the damage that can be caused by a flawed belief system and the folly of excess that human civilization seems prone to follow.

“What was in the mind of the man or woman on Rapa Nui who cut down the last tree? It seems the answer to that question is “Well, I cut down this tree because that was what my father did and that was what my father’s father did.” I think we’re in the same position, but we are running on the myth of progress. My work is there to ask pretty serious questions about how we can shift our perception of what constitutes viable human actions or viable human behaviour.”

I always thought there was an eerie connection between Gormley’s sculpture and the statues on Easter Island, and I’m pleased to learn my instincts were close to the mark. Both signify mankind’s strange detachment from the world that bore him, and the lonely marks left on the land after he has gone.

Antony Gormley's Another Place

Gormley also goes on to criticise elitism and the determinism of scientific progress – it is a thoroughly thought provoking and enlightened article, that has once again piqued my enthusiasm for art’s potential to induce change, by making us take a long, hard, look in the collective mirror.

Read the whole interview in New Scientist