First, context: Homo sapiens is an actively interdependent species of agents with responsibilities as collaborative participants in this web of life: all our destinies are intertwined. There is, in any healthy community a social contract, and its acknowledgement is emerging more and more vocally from our society’s closets and into our front yard again. Thank you, Elizabeth Warren.
Now to the bankers and banksters.
My bank is New Resource Bank in San Francisco and is a Certified B Corp. The bankers there, to my knowledge, are not criminals (by either the letter of the law or any sensible code of ethical behavior).
Banksters (or “fraudsters,” as Kalle Lasn of Adbusters likes to likes to say) are either sociopaths or just in a great state of personal and social imbalance and ill health — and need, at least, healing. Their cultivated selfishness and greed result in the asocial choices and actions which disintegrates community and other life-supporting forces in our ecosystems and violates our social contract.
This break or block in their psycho-socio-physio-emotional fabric is quite common in the anthropocentric so-called “modern” culture we have been experiencing as putting so many species into extinction and the human race on the endangered species list.
Though it may feel gratifying, this is not simply an opportunity for the vilification of yet another class of citizens in order to increase prison populations in the prison industrial complex; it is important to recognize this moment in the context of the global cultural shift taking place. In the beautiful near future I prefer to imagine, the balanced and integrated culture we are building will have structures in place to prevent people with these imbalances from holding positions of power in our communities. We will find a way put their unique gifts into the service of us all.
We are all collaborating, to varying degrees, in the conscious or unconscious crimes against the survival of our species; the banksters, though, are driving much of the ship, though, and manipulating the rules and flows of resources. Capitalism has always enjoyed stealing from the commons as a practice. This inchoate #OccupyWallStreet movement brings progressive transformation possibilities out into the forefront of our public discourse. In this context we are making space and doing the groundwork for the day when we are all collaborating in a conscious way on regenerative, sustaining, just, beautiful, mature and relevant artistry for ourselves, for future generations, and for non-human species, a truer economic practice. (The root of “economics” is household management.)
If a bankster, like any other criminal, does not perceive stealing from or abusing another human or ecosystem member is, in its essence, simply stealing from or abusing an aspect of his/her own self, then this is where the healing could begin. At this moment, however, our society at large has a backward way of addressing this break or block (if it addresses crimes of elites at all), which reveals another interrelated set of problems — endemic to the mindset and landscape here where perverse cultural structures remain in place (and failing), including, most significantly, our widely accepted stories of ourselves.
We need to embrace the banksters that much more directly so that they know experientially and intimately their connection to us all, to our rivers and fish, to our grey wolves and our intact (and our missing) mountaintops, to our intertwined destinies.
This must, most likely, be a forced embrace, in a rehabilitative context, for the repair of personal and social integrity within our communities, our ecosystems.
Distractions from our essential natures abound here, as we live and travel closed into humming motorized boxes, wrap ourselves in material objects, fetishes and dramatic creations, separated from the elements and participants in our wild and porous natures. The web of life is not a theory, but a practice for our species with which we might engage the biosphere in a consciously collaborative way, for the benefit of all. The real limits in our finite world of “resources” has, from its genesis, regarded unlimited growth for an economy as a painful fantasy, at best, foretelling this moment of conflict between capitalism and sustainability of our species. Our disconnection from each other and from our stories of shared destinies is at the root of this whole problem; the art of banking, for example, has not been integrated into the totality of our ecology, so it is not beautiful.
On a personal level, we must remember banksters and other corporate abusers have also been building a culture for themselves, a story, a mythos, of delusional self-justification for a long time and are likely extra-attached to their profitable delusions of grandeur, of supreme authority and non-responsibility for the effects of their choices and actions on people and the rest of the ecosystem’s players.
It would seem more convenient in the moment to grasp more tightly the illusions and shared stories of their tribal echochamber, to remain ignorantly abusive, to remain in a state of non-responsibility in their castles. If I had spent my whole life building my albeit disintegrated identity around my financial gaming prowess in an isolated tower, I would resist your questions of connection to–and responsibility for–the externalized mess also; it would not be built into the spreadsheets of my sheltered and non-integrated experience. Well, it’s time to move to a safe distance and call the authorities — and, at the same time, review our cultural rehabilitation mechanisms and practices. We are breaking our addiction to the abuse.
There are real and practical solutions, and they may seem drastic or even bizarre to many, especially those most committed to the delusions of capitalist grandeur. Yet the solutions have deep roots in indigenous socio-cultural paradigms, which include ecosystem relations and community (the verb) as living practices and which are often inaccessible to the hurried active participants in this self-centered materialist society, in the so-called developed world, yet which do address our accountability, our connected humanity and wilderness directly.
Simply and briefly, we need to have cathartic communal experiences, rites of passage, to integrate, to know in our most direct experience, the connection with all life, the significance of the interwoven effects of our choices in the web of life. We must marry the best of our technological advancement with the wisdom of the indigenous.
We must acknowledge by knowing personally and viscerally: there are no externalities. We are not externalities. Nor are banksters externalities.
Snuggly, yeah. Like that. Such love.
Love your wilderness. Mix well with your biodiversity.
Best and globally warmest regards,