When I visited Bali many years ago, the tourists had not yet taken over – mostly Australians hanging around the southern tip. The feeling of the place: unhurried, devoted to life, to honoring the spirits including plants and animals; devoted to making beauty.
The Bali children seemed happy, quiet, concentrating and free. The island searched for those who could easily play a drum or dance with their arms and legs turned out and took them on for training. Everything they used was made beautiful. Their chop sticks were carved with shapes of bird and beast. Their hanging cloth were batik, hand made prints on wax. Art is everywhere.
I went to a gamelan concert, about 20 men in a line playing a variety of drums and a few flutes. They played for about 2 hours. The complicated beat created a pleasurable trance state. Children wandered about, listening and playing with each other. There were no parents fearfully holding onto them or seeking and shrieking for their children to return. When the musicians finally took a break, an equal number of boys pounced on their seat and played. Their playing was very good. When the musicians returned, they surrendered the drums. No one made a fuss. This must be a routine event.
I saw the Barong, a huge devil-kind of figure in an inflated suit with mask parading through the street going from one side to the other and lunging at the children who ran in terror. The Balinese recognize the bad in us all so there is neither expression nor denial of it. Mothers put small bits of food in the corner of their house each day to satisfy the animals that might want to join them indoors. One time I visited a farm situated high on a hill whose farmer made coffee for us from his own beans, milk from his goat, water from his well. I have never tasted anything better.
Then the tourists came to Bali and the tourists had the kind of money never seen here. The Balinese never thought about wealth before. They had what they needed. They lived in spirit and made art. Family was everything. Even their names only signify birth order. They did not understand my name which had nothing to do with my birth sequence.
Tourism set the whole society on its ass. Now they should make money! They chopped down all their teak trees to make objects to sell to tourists. Some sold their houses at phenomenal prices. Some sold things they would never have again, things that should not be sold. They sold their identity. People began to compare themselves to one another in a soul-destroying way: I have so little and you have more. Everything had a price tag.
We in the United States are undergoing the same kind of running-down state for precisely the same reason. Profit versus people.
Take the current world crisis over whether we are going to cook the planet to the point of extinction for us all. At the same time, the money interest, a kind of genetic abnormality in which the immediate profit overlays all that follows, those who own the company are sending “bullet trains” carrying tar sands oil from North Dakota to Albany. Whenever possible, they go through poor black neighborhoods due to explosions and enormous fires which have killed and will kill many. But there’s profit to be made here don’t forget.
Take digging for natural gas called fracking which is presented as a good solution to the “oil problem” which turns out to be a lie. Fracking uses explosive chemicals which remain in the soil, enter underground streams and travel by this means to your well water and then to your the tap which can be lighted with a match. Fracking destroys the water we need to drink to live. There is a battle going on between those who would stop fracking and those who would continue. While they fight the fracking goes on. Fracking looks a little dim now because it costs too much to drill and the quantity of gas per well too small. That wind and solar and tidal costs far less than fracking is just beginning to enter the stage.
We could use sun and wind and especially the tidal flow moving back and forth without fail. But these are rejected since natural resources cannot be copyrighted by corporations . You need to own and control to “sell high.” Hence the corporate pressure to overlook and under-develop; to declare these resources inadequate for our needs. Corporate propaganda suppresses awareness and acceptance.
Take the underpricing of farm food when it is sold to the supermarket. Soon the farmer has to sell his farm. The factory farm usually gets rid of former owner(s) who know better. It uses foreign labor with no history on the land and no knowledge of natural farming. It uses chemicals against pests and growth hormones to force plant growth devoid of vitamins and minerals. It avoids composting organic waste which enriches the land and makes food which is good to eat. Composting takes time which equals money, and so is considered a poor investment.
Take factory farming of animals. Chickens have their beaks cut-off without anesthetic so that they cannot peck each other to death in cages so small they cannot turn around. Chickens raised in cages, are put on antibiotics so as to not get diseased and die in that life-destroying environment. Organic chickens not labeled free range, are kept in a windowed room eating corn rather than a diet rich in bugs and worms and plants and grubs…. So even the organic indoor chicken’s eggs are devoid of minerals and vitamins
Take the corporate pig farm where thousands of pigs share a space: the foul odor of their shit permeates the air and pollutes the land, the nearby rivers and streams. It eradicates the value of local housing. Who would want to live there? There are 3 main pig corporations in the county. No place here for the family pig digging here and there, eating what it finds and wandering outside the house. And corporate cows also lead the life of prisoners, in a small space eating corn in troughs. These cows do not know what grass is.
All of these animals are in jails created by us.
They are killed in the most brutal ways. Sometimes limbs are cut off while they pass by hanging on a hook, still alive. Sadistic behavior is stimulated in the worker. People laugh at a fallen cow being dragged on the ground, on an animal attempting to escape. They laugh and increase the damage done to the sensate creature on the path to death. The public is not allowed to visit the abattoir. Aside from the worker’s behavior being illegal, seeing it will remove your appetite for meat. The flesh of these horribly mistreated animals is filled with the chemicals of fear which you will consume
As we reject a humane approach to life with our plants and animals, it inevitably comes home to roost on how we treat the humans among us (let alone foreign” enemies”), the poor and the weak, the undocumented. The schools are falling down. Private charter schools are allowed to occupy public schools, library, lunch room, gym so that public students are eating lunch at 10. Few can afford to go to colleges which not so long ago were free. Jobs are shipped overseas where people will work for far less.
Remember the nursery rhyme ending “Ashes, ashes, all fall down?” “All fall down” was a metaphor for succumbing to the plague. We are doing “all fall down” now in our man-created plague.
People or profit.