Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Poison is the Pot - by Bayo Akomolafe

Forwarding this... Poverty didn't exist before we became totally
dependent on money. There were no poor before the "rich" came about. Try
wrapping that around your head.


We invented the modern ethics of philanthropy and poverty eradication to
escape the need to change a money system that is fueled by the very
existence of poverty and scarcity; we created an industry of 'waste
management' that tempers our anger and numbs us to the fact that we
abide in a cradle-to-grave, use-and-dump global economy - a behemoth
that necessarily generates 'waste' by silently celebrating planned
obsolescence. We institutionalized illiteracy reduction programs and
no-one-left-behind-schemes through our schools - conveniently forgetting
that because of the politics of correctness, the dynamics of conformity
and standardized assessment, our schools effectively create large
populations of people 'left behind'. We legitimized 'environmental
protection' - all the while shielding our ears from the subversive
question echoing in the fringes, tugging at our collective imagination:
why do we inevitably have to live in a world in which the 'environment'
needs protection?

The problem of poverty did not 'exist' until we introduced a monetary
framework that reified scarcity, valorized ownership and celebrated
property accumulation; the problem of waste was invented by the system
that pretends to address it; ignorance wasn't certified until schools
were invented; and, the health of our ecological systems will always be
an issue - so long as we continue to perpetuate a civilization whose
very foundation is the idea that 'nature' is a resource to be exploited
for our fanciful whims.

The poison is not in the pot, ladies and gentlemen - the poison is the
pot. We will not 'solve' the 'problems' we have with the tools that
created them in the first place; we will not change the world by adding
another syllable to a sentence that makes no sense. More schools will
not get rid of ignorance - they created it in the first place, and
actually need more of it to thrive (which is the reason why the most
prestigious universities are known by how many applicants they reject!).
More money will not get rid of poverty - because the dynamics of finance
and the politics of upward mobility demand that money remains scarce -
and therefore accessible only to a select few. Until we change the
holding assumptions and hidden narratives that power our systems and
ways of being, we will always tinker with the broth, experiment with new
ingredients, and stir with contrived spoons in a frantic rush for
culinary apotheosis. Meanwhile the toxic juices in the sooty crevices
and shadows of the pot will secrete into our soupy contraptions our
poison, our illusion, our unending servitude, and a stealthy charm that
will keep us wondering why the chef is broken.

Bayo Akomolafe - 'The Poison is the Pot'

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