Understanding 9/11 & Acting on That Insight/PART ONE

In this first installment of four pieces, the reader will encounter just a couple of points.  The first is an overview that presents a way of looking at the tenth September eleventh since 2001.  The second both follows up on the ‘pitch-for-democracy’ which appears in the Preface and introduces the inquiries that Part Two will examine tomorrow.

A note on process may be apt.  For the most part, readers will view here thinking and scope unlike what they’ve encountered elsewhere.  This is not ‘liberal.’  It is not ‘leftist.’  It is committed to democracy and social justice.

As such, it does not focus narrowly on such topics as the Middle East, discrimination against Muslims or other forms of bigotry, or on the ‘greed’ of U.S. elites for money and oil.  What it does do is provide a focus that actually explains the world now, proffering explanations, moreover, that suggest the possibility of doing something more about our problems than writing a check for another donation or voting for another hopeless electoral candidate.

Anyone with whom such articulation resonates should definitely read on.

PREFACE–Laying a Groundwork for Comprehension

Seven billion cousins share the Earth with each other, in aggregate a human race that has the knowledge, resources, and talents to fashion a peaceful, creative, sustainable existence on definitely the coolest planet for mammals within several light years in any direction.  This happy outcome, lasting creativity and peace, does not seem like a safe bet, however, as the tenth anniversary of the inception of the present period approaches amid memorialization and appeals to patriotism that make not the slightest attempt to comprehend either what happened a decade ago, or why vicious, suicidal madness unfolded as it did on a brilliant September day in 2001.

Such a lack of rigorous assessment–lightweight farces like the 9/11 Commission notwithstanding–an inability or unwillingness to ponder cause and effect, action and reaction, culpability and responsibility, portends a repetition, only on a much wider scale and with much more catastrophic impacts, of the brutal spectacle–the collapse of a pair of buildings that might easily symbolize modern civilization–that seemingly everyone recalls but very few are willing to analyze.  In fact, a reasonable observer, who is willing to investigate and dissect this matter, could frankly posit  that a calamitous human decline in the next few days or the next few decades is almost certain, unless policies and practices are forthcoming that differ in essence from what has been coming down the pike for a decade following nine-eleven and for many, many decades prior to that.

However, different policies and practices, axiomatically, cannot be the program of those who have been calling the tune for the past couple of centuries, the banking and industrial and royal families who have exercised effective hegemony since at least the days of Mssr. Bonaparte.  Standing in for any sort of transformative reflection, at the behest of this ruling class, is the overwhelming plethora of breast-beating, woe-is-me, vengeful, blaming, facile nonsense that fills the World Wide Web to bursting and even rivals the volume of solicitations in advertiser-driven media.

Suspicious citizens, of whom many more than a tiny few exist, are prone merely to grit their teeth and shrug at such thoughts.  “What can I do?” they respond, grimly determined to continue trying to make ends meet and hope for the best.

In the alternative, a small number of activists make cases for an accounting about the almost unbelievable phenomenon: two huge jets that succeed in flying into and knocking down two even more gargantuan skyscrapers.  Along with Joseph Conrad, who based his novel The Secret Agent on an actual instance of British/German cooperation in an agent provocateur’s ‘terrorist’ act in London, these ‘doubting Thomases’ suspect that rulers are fully capable of murder and deception in the service of their continued reign.  Thus, this cohort contends that a conspiracy underlay the events of ten year’s back.

On the other hand, a more substantial but still-small contingent contend, whether anyone can prove that purportedly friendly criminal masterminds orchestrated this mayhem, that simple opportunism can also account for the response of elites to this situation.  After all, everything that they had wanted for a quarter century or more–a strengthened ‘national-security state, with untrammeled access to anyone’s communication or other private matters; a free hand to assassinate, or to go to war against, ‘evil-doers'(never mind that many of these are current or former contract agents and employees); automatic increases in spending on death-technologies, all in the name of ‘defense’ and ‘anti-terrorism,’ when they and their fellow rulers are the only competent promulgators of war and organized horror; and so on and so forth, ad nauseum–suddenly became not just politically plausible but sociopolitically irresistible.  ‘How convenient!’

Whatever the case may be, though, in regard to the actualities of a few hours of hideous tragedy ten years ago, these stances–both ‘It’s a conspiracy,’ and ‘our rulers are opportunistic thugs’–cannot of themselves facilitate much progress away from the political results of the planes and the buildings that fell that day.  In fact, the only plausible source of that sort of transformation–from imperial plutocracy and its attendant carnage to something akin to a negotiated manifestation of social justice and social peace–is an activated democratic upsurge that replaces the powers that be.  In other words, the U.S. and the rest of the world have no choice, if we want human life to have a decent prospect of survival, but to become the democracies that we have often bragged that we already are.

While such a prospect clearly appears at best fantastical at this juncture–the legions of folk who are conscientious and principled and synchronized are nowhere on the horizon, except for perhaps in parts of India, Russia, Germany, Cuba, Venezuela, etc.–no other pathway is available that does not end in humanity’s likely decimation, or even elimination from the planet that we inhabit together, like a group of fractious children who have lethal toys with which to slaughter each other.  Every other route, save an empowered majority-rule, leads to dead ends and evisceration.

One rule of politics is to seek only what is possible.  Therefore, to pursue such a long-odds pathway, praying that a series of ‘get-a-clue’ moments will lead folks to stand up and take matters into their collective hands, seems to violate this maxim.

An equally important rule, however, is to recognize that necessity establishes the boundaries of possibility.  If only one method holds the slightest promise of fruition, then all thinking, agitation, and action must emphasize that approach, presuming the premise that matters will coalesce so as to make further steps down a democratic ‘yellow-brick-road’ tenable.

Without a grassroots resurgence, a coming to pass of people power on a global scale, humanity’s wreckage is practically a guaranteed development: thus, necessity dictates that such leadership from below occur, or we will richly deserve the horrors that are already in the pipeline, headed our way.  We have all the tools either to destroy or sustain this sacred orb that we occupy: our individual consciousnesses, and consciences, and our willingness to undertake collective negotiation and responsibility, will determine whether, on the one hand, a lovely future is plausible for our progeny, or, on the other hand, a wasteland is the inheritance that we leave to them.

INTRODUCTION–Joining Knowledge to Mass Participation

While no simple program or process will make popular democracy “as easy as one, two, three,” a three step-engagement tango is discernible that permits any citizen to think, creatively, analytically, and actively, about having a positive impact on the present pass that we face, of mayhem and misery at every turn.  Though merely a skeletal outline, a precis of a brief for how to proceed, this description nonetheless proffers an initial ground from which to embark in the direction of participatory practice.

The three steps are pretty simple to state, albeit much more difficult to carry out.  First, all citizens ought to ask what in the world is going on and find a way to begin to answer that question with satisfactory accuracy, insight, and acuity.  Second, each of the plus or minus five billion adult stakeholders alive now, should seek to puzzle out an explanation as to why things are transpiring as they are, explicating the current status of things with analysis and deduction that matches the known reality and relates the various pieces of the puzzle.  Third, as might characterize a family whose members give a damn about each other, this aggregation of scattered and disorganized citizen-owners of the Earth will have to begin to turn to each other, asking, “Given where things are, and why, what can we do together to alter the ecocidal course that lies ahead?”

Truly, Earth’s people are like passengers on a ferry, which, as many of the travelers surmise, is headed toward a gigantic waterfall, the attempt to navigate which will certainly destroy most of the folks on the boat.  If together we ticket-holders cannot avert our ferry’s course, to a different channel or across the stream to the opposite bank, then the boat, from which few or none of us will have the option to exit and survive, will arrive at its catastrophic destination.

These thoughts seem particularly apt as the tenth anniversary of the present period of empire Is upon us.  The crashing conflagration of that September morning, seemingly at once yesterday and part of some immeasurably distant past, crushed under the weight of a billion pounds of falling steel and concrete the hopes and dreams of all the years.

The infernos that victimized 2973 Americans on 9/11/2001  have yielded wars of attrition that, in sum, have killed easily as many as a million cousins.  And the scope and pace of this fiercely vengeful slaughter show little signs of slowing.  Even if this disproportion does not fairly quickly elicit a massive acceleration of the murderous chaos, something for which so many of us wait with bated breath–not, like our former President, in anticipation of a long expected apocalypse, but in trepidation and mortal terror of the point of no return for our species–in such a climate of righteous recrimination, no possibility will ever emerge for us to address any of the other half-dozen crises–including the climate crisis–that could drastically shorten or even eliminate the viability of Earth as our collective home.

What has been corporate media’s response  to this frightening series of cataclysms?  Have more than a tiny fraction of people sought to learn about and understand what has come to pass?  Professor Douglas Kellner is one who has addressed the propaganda nexus that predominates now.  His assessment that manipulation through a focus on the ‘spectacular,’ in service to preordained policy and ideological goals, meshes seamlessly with commercial media’s main output, both over the past ten years and for this anniversary.

Princeton’s philosophy professor, Harry Frankfurt has also spoken to this overall tendency toward falsity in service of deflection or hidden agendas.  In 2005, he wrote a delightfully brief and artful capsulization  of the intellectual swamp that continues to predominate contemporary dialog.

“One of the salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit.  Everyone knows this.  Each of us contributes his share.  But we tend to take the situation for granted.  Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and avoid being taken in by it.  So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern or attracted much sustained inquiry.”

So saying, ”what in the world is going on?”  While any attempt to answer such a query must either seem a religious undertaking or the work of one deranged, delusional, over his head, I intend to paint a picture that presents a portrait of the current moment that is neither primarily ‘spiritual’ nor utterly cracked.

To do this, I ask that readers think about three important dates: September 15, 1945; September 11, 1973; and September 11, 2001.  I might have chosen other interludes, either to add to or replace these three.  However, a rich tapestry is possible to weave from these three exemplars of Septembers past.

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9 responses to “Understanding 9/11 & Acting on That Insight/PART ONE

  1. I’ve often wondered, also, why nobody has really asked the question, “WHY?” Why did this thing happen in the first place? What have WE done to inspire such hatred that would incite that kind of violation? And what are we doing not only to defend ourselves from similar actions, but better yet, to actually CORRECT some of the behaviors that would cause others to want to inflict on us this kind of damage or worse? It is well and good to feel righteous indignation at those “evil-doers” who would perpetrate acts of violence on a nation that has appointed itself as the “savior of humankind,” the “bastion of freedom and democracy;” (how could anybody feel ill will towards such a paragon of virtue and righteousness?) Perhaps what we should be doing is a little soul searching instead; we could also do with a pinch of humility.
    It is this righteousness that justifies in our minds retaliatory acts that are perhaps bloodier and more destructive than the initial offensive act itself however, thus perpetuating the give & take of violence and destruction. It is precisely this attitude of insularity, of considering oneself “better,” more “advanced,” or more “civilized” than the rest of the world, of not concerning oneself with understanding others–hell, just go abroad and see how our compatriots EXPECT the rest of the world to KNOW English, instead of trying to communicate in the vernacular for God’s sake!–it is this attitude of superiority that pisses everybody else off. Not to mention the cultural invasion that we have imposed upon the rest of world with the resulting loss of local identities, a true abomination.
    I’m reminded of a cartoon I saw once of a humble little peasant kneeling in front of Uncle Sam with his hand extended as in a begging position, with his other hand behind his back holding a dagger. (“I need you, but I hate you! I hate you BECAUSE I need you1”)

  2. Also, don’t forget to look at my reply to your comment on my blog. 🙂

  3. A never-ending cycle of victimization and revenge is indeed possible to imagine, at least until mutual annihilation occurs. What you’ve said, then, is ‘spot on,’ as the Brits are likely to state it.

    So saying, what comes next? How can we, from where we are, reach other people where they are to begin deepening this sort of dialog? Only then can we imagine the potential for coming up with actions, policies, and interventions that might accomplish some of what you’ve pointed out needs to happen.

    I’m open to ideas, as we wend our way along, trying to make ends meet and continue seeking to be present and make a positive difference.

  4. Except nobody wants to listen to the truth. Try holding a mirror up to somebody and ask them to look at their crooked nose, for instance. Nobody wants to do that! It’s better to bury one’s head in the sand, not to mention that first there has to be an awareness of guilt. “No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver.”
    Like I’ve said before, I can’t change the world all by myself; all I can do is act according to my principles and maybe, maybe it may rub off on some people (right after Santa Claus’ sleigh lands on my roof).

  5. Perhaps in addition to the recognition that none is so blind as he who will not see, Monica, you have to think about the proverb of not putting the cart before the horse. Blame and guilt are, at best, what we might do when we understand things better. To start there is, to say the least, jumping the gun.

    To me, you made an important point in your Articulations post the other day: in essence, we are all guilty–flawed, corrupt, and lazy, every last one of us. Little good can come, in such a scenario, in looking around for the culpable. “The bell tolls for each of us,” in every possible way.

    These recognitions do not mean that we’re off the hook, that we can freely shrug and say, “well that was easy. We’re all fuckers, so none of it matters.”

    Rather, we need to recognize even more so that the only vehicle, or ‘horse,’ in the idiom above, that can pull forward the baggage that we all bring to the life’s cartwheeling conveyance, is the vehicle of knowledge, joined to a willingness to act on that knowledge to improve ourselves and our joint cohabitation of this blessed planet that we are ruining, either through playing pointless blame games or through refusing to study and act altogether.

    “But what am I to do?!” How is this study/action nexus supposed to work? I can hear you asking the first question. The second inquiry heads us in the right direction.

    You have started. Now continue. ‘Follow the yellow brick road;’ follow, follow, follow. Read carefully what I have written. Point out error or lack of clarity. Add your own thinking to the points–to at least a single substantive point–that seems worthy of attention.

    Then, get ready. The next step involves real risk. Forward this link to every single e-mail, Facebook account, and Twitter connection–and so on and so forth–that you have. Print out these pages and take them to church; have them with you at dinner.

    You needn’t be overbearing, though perhaps that would be a fine idea. But you must be willing to disseminate something akin to insight and wisdom when it comes your way.

    I know that, at any given moment, I am capable of playing the utter fool. I am nature’s choice for “Bottom” in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” in many ways.

    But I have spent my life studying and preparing, and what I write has merit; it represents a necessary pole of discussions that almost never happen in this sector of the Northern and Western Hemispheres. My work is intellectually honest and, for the most part factual and learned. How else are we to engage the process of learning except by discussing what tin the world is going on?

    So there you have it. Spread the word. Be willing to discuss. Add your own insights and views. If someone reacts in mortal terror, or responds with disdain, send them to me. I’m ready, willing, and able to take on all comers.

    Above all else, remember this. Don’t despair.

    These are merely the steps to take in regard to silly SERMCAP’s blog. Much more awaits the new period in your life when time and energy and commitment might achieve “Miracles by Monica.” You never know, and I’m certainly hopeful, for one.

  6. Jimbo, Jimbo, Jimbo, (shaking my head in disbelief)

    Why not tell Monica that the “reason” for 911 was, and always will be for any future 911’s, “capitalist pig/royalist” greed; and that “911” was orchestrated and carried out by the CIA–not some group of hateful Arabs?
    Would that be so hard to do?

    • A couple of reasons guide what I state: first, what I can prove; second, what is central to taking useful action based on new knowledge or learning. I sure as shit don’t have the resources to prove that 9/11 was an inside job, though I do let readers check out Michael Ruppert’s work, which takes a reasonable stab at making such a case. Moreover, and more importantly, focusing on easy targets like conspiracy and greedy bourgeoisie permits avoiding responsibility.

      You know how that works right? A person doesn’t really want to contribute to transformation. He just wants to complain. He doesn’t want to have to do any work that might force him to participate, take risks of one sort or another, and so on. He just wants to pretend to know all the answers, which are easy, so that he return to whatever recreational pursuits suit his fancy.

      Not that recreational pursuits are wrong; not that everybody ought to participate–on the other hand, if someone wants a better world, then pursuing recreation at the expense of participation, and being willing to settle for facile answers completely eviscerates whatever small chance exists for making our lives together better.

      Some folks are absolutely certain that making things better is a fool’s dream. That’s another reason that they are all for the cheap shot, the conspiracy set-up, rather than the hard work of trying to figure out a way of thinking about things that leads to a dialog about people’s taking power into their own hands.

      That’s how it seems to me in any event, and that’s a big part of the reason that I don’t say what you suggested to a reader such as Monica. Capiche?

  7. Not that I haven’t thought about it myself. I’m not so naive. After all, Bush The Pig surely saw his ratings go up sky high after 9/11. I makes one wonder… Although it is sickening to think that these people would have orchestrated such an abhorrent act against their own! But on the other hand, when I think back on my step-father/ex-father-in-law’s death, which was touted by everyone who came into power after Allende’s fall in Chile as the work of Allende’s supporters–the Socialist/Communist coalition–it became evident as time went on that it was actually the Machiavellian plan of the right wing, which needed a spark to justify their later overthrow of the government. So no; I’m not blind to the limitless capacity for evil, particularly at the hands of desperate people.

  8. I remain intellectually capable of comprehending such perfidy, but emotionally, I’m as naive as a trusting eight-year-old. I couldn’t condemn several thousand strangers to death for any amount of money on earth, so I have trouble accepting others’ possible complicity in such acts.

    Then again, I am well aware of the savage annihilation unleashed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which I know as certainly as such things are knowable, occurred entirely for political-economic reasons. So, as much as the thought gives me the willies, I too have to ‘think about it,’ as you put the matter.

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