It’s just a story

In Lady Chatterley’s Lover (DH Lawrence), one of the characters loves to define human enslavement to money as the Bitch Goddess.  It’s caught on.  His friends use the term too.  I don’t like the feminisation and deification of money, but that’s not really what I want to discuss.   I’ll keep hold of the term for the purpose of my question.

When born, our lives are governed by this bitch goddess.  Sociologists since the 1950s have repeatedly shown how life chances are determined by the wealth of the family into which we are born.  This has little changed, despite wider social awareness of the fact and tinkering with policies to provide a semblance of ‘equal opportunity’.  There are exceptions to the general rule, of course, great stories of those who rose from the pit of their poverty to do incredible things.  But to do what?  Keep the bitch goddess happy in the creation of more currency signs on banks’ computers.

It isn’t even real.

Wealth distribution across the world is increasingly concentrated in the hands of the few.  The rest of the populace are slaves to the continuation of this concentration, motivated only by the demands of the bitch goddess, because they have to be.  Where is tomorrow’s meal going to come from?  Tomorrow the electric is going to be cut off unless I turn to the money lender.  Tomorrow, I will have no home.

Through Lady Chatterley,  the reader is exposed to a contempt for early industrialisation.  Set in a mining community in Derbyshire, his main character describes how industry creates separation.  Not only between the classes, but also between individuals.  It is now recognised that our separation is responsible for many of the more prominent illnesses of this millennium, stress (also linked to obesity, cancer, heart disease…), depression, addiction….

Cityscape City Liberty Travel Skyline Architecture
Illusion (image freely available through Max Pixel under creative commons licence – thank you to the creator; s/he wasn’t credited)

This awareness isn’t new, DH Lawrence could see it during the early 1920s.  Yet, the alternatives are being stripped away while the world is enmeshed with this illusionary global goddess.  Cultural diversity is replaced by a cultural mashup with the white potato as the primary ingredient.

I was browsing through cityscapes, thinking about what they represent.  Photographs are narratives, which tell a story about a single moment in place and time.  Have a look at the photograph above and consider it as symbolic of our current condition.    How would you explain its meaning to someone who has no understanding of our world?

To the being, you are telling a story.  The cityscape is a metaphor and they know it isn’t real, because there is another underlying narrative they have received.  For example, we tell our children stories about fairies and unicorns, but at the same time we tell them they are not real, and if they dare say they have seen a fairy out in the woods, we tell them how wrong they are.   The child is taught, ‘it’s just a story’.

The being gazes in the direction of the cityscape but can’t see it.  It knows it’s just a cruel tale.

If we could strip away the illusion too and no longer have the capacity to see the bitch goddess, how different might our lives be?

13 thoughts on “It’s just a story

    1. Thank you! I just keep getting side tracked. I think it’ll be a little like that until we have some secure knowledge about what Brexit will mean for us and hopefully can settle into our own small holding.

      Like

  1. That’s some deep thinkin’ there, pardnerette… What got you off on this subject? (So this is a new blog? I haven’t had any notifications from you in forever… And yet it says I’m following you. I’m confused. Which, of course, is nothing NEW these days! 🙂 )

    Like

    1. Not sure really why the no notifications – though I’ve noticed that my reader seems to prefer some of those I follow over others. I have to go digging sometimes when I haven’t seen a post from someone I really like to follow for a while. I archived all of the old posts and made the URL the same as the blog name, which could be why (it used to be safarfiertze.com or .wordpress.com, forget now which). Anyway, happy to have you here!!

      I’d been dipping my toes into some vision work as they call it in the magical circles, like guided meditation. Anyway, every now and then I’m getting a sort of meditative experience when I’m not actively meditating. One of those was when I looked at a landscape photograph, but I was not really ‘conscious’ and in the moment at the time. I just suddenly saw the place without the city there. It quite moved me to write.

      Like

  2. apollomemories73

    Safar, we should never get too hung up about street slang expressionism’s. They are inherently innocuous and simply tools of imaginary metaphor. They do not travel well and usually under best case scenario conditions remain localised. There are of course exceptions as is the above example as expressed by yourself, however, this is simply because it was contained in a published and very successful book. Otherwise, I have never heard the term being used anywhere at anytime during the course of general conversation. I can think of far worse examples but needn’t make further clarification at this juncture for fear of causing further offence to your protectionist ethos of sensibility. Yes, you are supposed to laugh at this point…and no, I wasn’t trying to goad with subtle insult… (OK, just a tiny bit if I’m honest).

    I have to ask, but did it really need some worthy Sociologists since the 1950’s to explain to us all who deal with this stuff 24/7? You claim, quote, “Sociologists since the 1950s have repeatedly shown how life chances are determined by the wealth of the family into which we are born.”
    Such reasoning will undoubtedly be extremely selective and entirely focused on those confined to the realms of family wealth. Yet since the 1950’s, the almost exact opposite has been put in place where family wealth plays no part in one’s ability to succeed due to availability of further education where the working class could freely attend colleges, poly’s and university. This is not simply as you expressed “exceptions to the general rule”, but includes over time since the 1950’s, millions of people. Millions of people have gained qualifications and entered a sphere of business that pre-WW2 would have been unimaginable to them.
    I think what you should be referring to here regards this family wealth detail are the levels of this wealth and with it the scales of social placement ie, deportment within the class system. This class system determines said life chances, but on an entirely different level and set of rules outwith the reach of at least 90% of the population. We didn’t need any Sociologists to report that fact back to us.
    But I don’t have much use for these people since I don’t need reports about what I already know. They are nothing more than a sort of post-event accountant adding up what appeared to happen then listing the details as perceived. The end result only gives us average assumptions. Those who achieve in life never deal with average assumptions. Never.

    You then make claim “Wealth distribution across the world is increasingly concentrated in the hands of the few.” This statement is completely false isn’t it? Otherwise we would never be having as many millionaires in this country today as compared to before. What is in fact happening is the entire opposite where in fact wealth is being more equally distributed. It’s just that we are being made aware of the differentials all the more often by media that we have formed a false state of belief. The basic arithmetic is self evident but we chose to ignore that detail in place of instant gratification association with current hot potato pseudo politically motivated glass houses.
    We’re told that there is increased concentration of wealth in the hands of the few and we believe it despite sufficient evidence to the contrary.
    In terms of the UK and some other EU member states, but not all, we have to apply a different sort of accounting equation if we were to attempt to calculate the true distribution of wealth.
    What really screws the figures up is the sudden influx of several million immigrants who bring little or no money with them (economic migrants, for brief description purposes). Take them out the equation and apply the original wealth total divided by populace and you will readily see an increase across the board.

    I find it quite incredible that so many people of similar mind set have completely discounted the fact that just one hundred and odd years ago they might not have survived at all. All of their children may also have died as well. They complain about their perceived lack of wealth yet are not or ever were equipped to do anything about it.
    They also appear to give so little consideration as to the reasons why some people have become extremely wealthy and appear to suffer from some form of cognitive dissonance. The few wealthy people that I have come to know of in my life had made extreme personal sacrifices to get to where they are. For some thirty years they worked seven days a week, eighty hours a week with total concentration on their business. They weren’t farting about doing hobbies, holidays, family stuff, socialising with their mates down the pub of an evening, at the football, sitting at home watching TV, listening to music, going to concerts, writing blogs etc. They worked all the time and they absolutely deserve every luxury that they can afford. They also get shit slung at them by the disenfranchised within their midst at place of work, but you can only try and educate the stupid.

    The “narrative” here (oh, do I loathe that term that has seemingly jumped out from nowheresville, USA, and clamped it’s greedy grip on some of our people’s vocabulary and subsequently wantonly over used for no other good reason than lethargy towards picking up a dictionary) is if you don’t try, you don’t get. How did so many of us get to this state of entitled expectation?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your lengthy and thoughtful response. (Sorry, I’m not really sure how to address you).

      The way we understand our world and share that understanding with others is through symbols, with language being a primary tool. Through language we create reality. As such, it is very powerful and I would never call it innocuous no matter the context within which it is used.

      No, the narrow concentration of wealth isn’t a falsehood. You have pointed out evident redistribution, but on closer examination the redistribution is limited. What I tried to say, perhaps clumsily, is that since it was ‘measured’ (and I do understand the various difficulties in obtaining such measures), wealth redistribution never affects the top 1%, nor even top 10%. Redistribution occurs in the bottom 50%, yet, the bottom 50% do not have access to 50% of the wealth of the world. It is much less than this. I know that is a crude summation and the situation is more complex, but this situation has very much persisted.

      The main point of the article though was a questioning of the pursuit of wealth at all. Your example of the eighty hour a week, 30 years, seven days a week is to me a symptom of something that is very worrying. Why forego all engagement with life in the pursuit of money? You ask why did so many of us get to this state of entitled expectation, when I would ask how did so many of come to believe that this is the only desirable way to live?
      There is something sad in that someone’s best achievement in life is to have made money.

      You have not quite addressed the central question – can you see past this veil of reality to envisage an alternative? If so, what might it look like to you?

      Like

    2. apollomemories73

      Hi Safar, trust me to upset the apple cart, but I was simply trying to outline the differences between what’s actually the case as opposed to general perception.
      In simple terms I could explain it another way: Recently as I’m sure you’d heard as reported, Charles Manson died. What struck me as remarkable was the vast numbers of people and including the contents of media reports to this day that Manson was responsible for the killings at the two houses on these two evenings one day apart from each other back in 1969. When in reality he wasn’t and he didn’t. At one house he was never there and at the other had left long before any further events took place. But general perception even as of today would dictate otherwise.

      As I tried to explain to you, such slang terms do not travel well. A slang expression as used in the New York’s Bronx district would most likely not translate particularly well in Los Angeles and would be even less effective in Cornwall. You are mistaken to assume that all parties use and share equal measures of understanding. We don’t as is very evident were you to dissect and analyse the use of expressionism and basic sentence structure practices as found within any edition you so chose to examine of the New York Times, for example.
      Of course a slang term is innocuous if it isn’t widely used for the simple reason that it isn’t effective and were it used all of a sudden without any introductory explanation on a wide scale basis it would fly over most people’s heads. For instance, the vast majority of people would be completely confused were they to be told “never trust an angel”. They’d automatically assume some form of religious connotation, but almost certainly nothing of the sort related to the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang. The reason being is simply because they don’t move in these kinds of circles where such an expression would be widely used. Yet were I a Coke dealer on the Sunset Strip in LA’s sleeze-central thoroughfare, I”d have an immediate “streetwise educated” understanding of the exact meaning of that term. Therefore, you initial theory is only good for some people, some of the time and is most certainly not absolute right across the spectrum of users of that same language, in this case English.
      I could give you hundreds of slang definitions that you perhaps would not be familiar with. I’m assuming that perhaps you never had anything to do with hard drugs in your life, therefore, by definition would most certainly not have an iota of a clue as to the terminology as expressed by users in that domain. The general public wouldn’t know where to start and they’d think the term “horse” was something to do with an animal with four legs or racing, or “sugar” was for your cup of tea etc. Which emphasises just how innocuous such terminology is because they mean absolutely nothing to the uninitiated and the uninitiated would remain resolutely unaffected by their use because of said lack of understanding. You can’t cause offense if the person on the receiving end of a slang term or slang insult has not understood it, which is why it is indeed innocuous because it is not part of their reality and has no meaning for them.
      Or in relation to a more recent event, for instance the dissection of all the recorded interviews and testimony transcripts made over nearly 50 years by Charles Manson, it is only now that a few people have been able to translate his expressionism as beforehand the Police or any official authorities hadn’t got a scooby-doo of what on earth he was on about.
      No, I’m sorry Safar, but you very much underestimate the convoluted extent to which we use language and the defining secret structure of expression used by manipulators for their own purposes. You are naive.

      What you need to accept is that a proportion of high achieving people are more driven than others. That’s their integral make-up and there’s really no rhyme or reason for it other than that’s what floats their boat. They don’t get any satisfaction out of life doing what are perceived as normal activities. It isn’t the money really that’s their buzz, but the end resulting in a success of sorts, whatever that maybe. The money is simply a by-product. Most extremely wealthy people in many cases hardly use their money for themselves and engage in a plethora of altruistic activity, but of course that doesn’t ever get reported. That’s why we have swathes of people making complaint without actually have any detailed facts to hand. They bought some b/s story in some rotten comic of a newspaper or some dumbed down tv show and went with the flow like sheep.
      This misunderstanding is solely determined by perception and never experience. Had they experienced at first hand the activities of some of these exceedingly wealthy people then they would have an entirely different opinion. But information is king, and if you haven’t got any, then you haven’t got any.

      I have to question this percentage calculation that you’ve tangled your good sense of reasoning with. Seriously, how can you use such an approach when every single second the world population is increasing at an ever increasing rate? Secondly, why are you including the unfortunates in Africa into this calculation when they aren’t any part of the economic equation in the first place. It’s ridiculous. That’s akin to calculating the low achievement levels of Amazonian tribes people attending university. You can’t turn apples into pears. Not by any means are all peoples on this earth chasing the same tale. This is the profoundly corrupt ideology of the economic mentality at play which all too readily assumes all people to be on the same playing field.
      In real terms you are one hundred times better off today than you would have been one hundred years ago. There has been a massive shift in the overall distribution of wealth, no doubt about it.
      There is no possible argument as the facts speak for themselves. We have instant access to a massive selection of commodities that our not so distant ancestors could never have dreamed of.
      Our economic powers are unquestionably out of this world compared to their abilities.back then.

      The question in hand: the Bitch, the Goddess, money. Thinking about it it’s not actually the money itself that we use, but all the stuff we accumulate with it. Even without money, we’d still need stuff and it seems to be in our DNA for the need to collect and accumulate stuff. Back in time before money, people were judged by their adornments such as amulets and animal tooth necklaces and bracelets.
      The alternative would be to crawl back to the stoneage and make our own homesteads, grow our own food. On the downside, you good womenfolk would be firmly stuck to the cooking pots, skinning dead animals and needle work making clothes. There’s little chance you’d be allowed out to play with the bows and arrows.

      Like

      1. I can see what you are saying about certain terms being a product of a specific time and place and I’m sure Lawrence’s use of the ‘Bitch Goddess’ was quite revolutionary and provocative at the time, as well as (for me) providing an insight into the culture about which he was writing. I still hold that language is intimately related to how we come to understand our world. Street names of drugs shape perceptions of that drug and what it means within that social situation. Even the distinction between drug and medication shapes the reality of agency and control over our own bodies and consciousness.

        Neolithic living with strictly defined gender roles is really the only alternative? My imagination takes me a little out of that as a response, though there are some aspects of neolithic lives that have value – e.g. community. I used to be a guide at a stone age monument. Our boss always questioned the assumption that the community was patriarchal in structure.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.