I remember a feature Omni magazine ran one time of various folks’ independent projections of what humans would look like in another few thousand years. They were quite imaginative and varied but there was a thread linking them all: giant skulls and atrophied extremities, fingers only distinguishable enough to push buttons and far too short to grasp anything. My take at the time was, there has to have been a species split along the way and this consensus of a physically useless being survived by maintaining the ability to be served by the primary species, those less atrophied, less indifferent to the reality of nature. As John Brunner said, “It’s supposed to be automatic, but actually, you have to push this button.” Civilization’s dynamic of the served and the servers has evolved from outright ownership of a fellow human, through the burgeoning factory and service industries funded by the progressive distancing from personal responsibility for the results of acting on ones whims indulged by the wealthy with the same status recognition amongst themselves of having had many slaves, and finally to Omni’s projections where ones activity with the control panel is the only one left not supplied by machines or service personnel. Think Bush feels less responsible for his horrors knowing someone else just didn’t get the results he commanded while playing soldiers? (As I type this, Alberto Gonzales resigned as USAG, collateral damage to Bush's naked ambition)
In the dwindling number of the elite growing effete as a result of their efforts to eliminate the middle class and increase the mass of beholden factory slugs and service toadies, there lurk CEOs of large, ostensibly charitable service fronts among the richest, as they rake in the modern tithe, guilt money from people more helplessly worried about problems of others half way round the world than about the planetary problems to which their very lifestyles are major contributors every day. As the planet's premiere consumer nation, the US is a parasite on what healthy parts remain on this apple it is trying to own and none can live without.
Throwing money at modern problems is our hush money, a bribe for staying out of the dirty work of actually dealing with them, and we all know how rich lazy people create willing servants. From the cess pool cleaners to police rousting the smelly homeless we are sated with services to pamper our spoiled discomfort, prosecute ex lovers and build a better isolation chamber against the future.
Who’s gonna pay you to amend your contribution to the junkification of our very real planet. Who’s gonna subsidize you for turning off your planetary heat generating isolation chamber cooling air conditioner? Who’s gonna offer you incentives to leave your poison belching car at home and vote for the mass transportation system every day by being a passenger. Who’s gonna reimburse you for diminishing landfills and the packaging industry by buying only in reusable bulk containers. Who’s gonna refund your money for the seeds it takes to learn to grow food as well as flowers to lessen the dependency on agribusiness when it runs out of oil. Who’s gonna give you compensation for making your own cloths, toys, dinners.
We are our own reward.
We are our own reward.