I don't really have much to say about the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary or the recent plague of mass shootings – I just don't. Actions like these are horrible and really are beyond words, but it seems everyone has something to say and some sort of quick fix.
Everyone in our American society is asking “how could this happen?” and they all have their answers and solutions. Well, I don't have a quick fix and I am certainly not gullible enough to place the blame on any one thing. If you ask me the problem is our society and our society, like any society, is complex.
I don't think the problem is guns and I don't think the solution is to ban them – I just don't. Banning all firearms or placing tighter controls on them might stop mass shootings, but in my opinion, you are nuts if you think it will stop mass killings, which is the real problem here. We need to ask what drives individuals to violently lash out against seemingly random individuals?
One might say they are nuts or mentally ill, but what causes that? In my opinion it is our society and its underlying idealogical driving force of strict materialistic efficiency. It is also my opinion that these individuals target random people because they all, and we all, represent and support the organism of our society which is destroying individuals everywhere, ripping their humanity from them, and raping the environment. They are attacking the only physical part of the very thing which is already attacking them every day.
Don't get me wrong. I am not saying “we” are the problem, I am saying “it” is the problem – the idea, the invisible organism, the hidden idealogical driving force behind “progress”, and our perspective on what “progress” is. “We” allow “it”, and I would venture to argue that we don't even allow “it” any longer, but are driven by, create by, and created for “it”. And when “it” let's some of “us” down, some individuals either can't cope or they react violently because they lack the very human tool of interdependency which grants them self-respect, integrity, appreciation for all life, and hope, unlike the system of dependency which our society has created and nearly forced all of us into.
I think the problem is our society, in fact, my belief in that is so strong that I prefer to say that I know the problem is our society (and I would venture to say that most are at least suspicious of that fact), and its strict materialistic efficiency is just one of the main roots holding the entire tree in the very bloody ground upon which it stands. Just how to get enough people to see that is the largest problem on my mind...
It is very difficult to love and respect a system that you depend on which does not even recognize your value as any more than a number or statistic – period. Given that very human fact, is it any wonder we have the violence and problems we do within our society? How can you be expected to act human and have emotions and care for others within society if society, of which we are all a part, does not treat you as a human being with emotions and care for what you think and feel? Simply having some “shrink” to talk too and some pills to take is not enough! Actions speak louder than words – we must SHOW we give a damn, and a society based on dependency is, in my opinion, incapable of such.
Now, so far as guns are concerned, this may not sound very “hippie-ish” of me or meet your ideas of “progress”, but I am not against them, which is by the way, very individualist of me (only individuals can have interdependence). It is true that guns are tools designed to kill, but it is not true that all killing is wrong. As the Hidden Song on the Tool album Undertow says, “life feeds on life.” - you must kill to live; therefore, tools designed to do that job quickly, painlessly, and efficiently (particularly with a spiritual approach to efficiency which likely includes care for pain) are not necessarily wicked tools. Personally, if a lion decided to have me for dinner I fear the pain of how it is going to do it more than the idea of being dinner itself.
And the necessity of killing for food is not the only reason tools designed for such purposes should be around – self defense is another very valid reason. The world is dangerous and not simply because of humans! Its a jungle out there and we all know this, unless we are living in la-la land.
Even if you live your life as a strict pacificist and live on nuts and berries you must still destroy what might have been in order to preserve your own life. The only difference when it comes to life under such circumstances is much like the definition of a fetus versus a living human – it is mere semantics. Should your teeth be plucked out and your hands be cut off because they are designed to acquire and consume organic material? Of course not! In other words, we all agree that it is necessary for life to feed on life, but we disagree on what the definition of life (or various levels of life) is, often merely because it makes us “feel” better about ourselves.
My point is that tools designed for taking life are not necessarily evil in themselves, it is how they are used and what ideology is driving the individual who uses it. Most “progressives” (I use that term in quotes because I consider myself a classic liberal who sees nothing “progressive” about our society whatsoever) have no problem with a peace officer carrying a firearm, but they suddenly have a problem when it is an ordinary citizen. Why is that? Where is the interdependency when only the authoritarians are permitted to efficiently and effectively do what we are all entitled (and often required) by nature to do in the first place?
I'm not trying to defend the Second Amendment here or Article 1 Section 21 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but rather I am trying to make my point. That point is that it is the body, mind, and spirit of the people using tools, not the tools themselves which are the problem. Blaming the tools is a far too simple and potentially hazardous answer. We are far too willing to give up our rights or even give an inch on them, when our inquiry and understanding of both the problem and the accused right should be examined inside out and upside down if any of our “societal rights” mean anything to us in the first place. Such an inquiry and understanding always begins with a full understanding of life, necessity, society, and a thorough analysis of what “progress” truly is.
I am confident that if people look deeper than the wound (the object) and the causation (the action) they will find both the underlying human condition (the adjective) and the causal force (the noun) which is all predicated on various epistemological assumptions (the philosophical ideology), which is ultimately founded upon metaphysical ideologies (dualism, physicalism, idealism or panpsychism), which is finally founded upon metaphysical assumptions (physicalism versus some sort of theism), which all works its way on down into society, its individual members and its ultimate underlying ideological drive.
In my opinion society has gone mad because it makes insane assumptions which it has twisted around in such a manner as to make the other equally valid assumption (by logic) sound somehow less likely and self-evident. Humanity needs deity (no matter what it believes deity to be) because humanity needs something which transcends it and its condition, and it needs this flowing through every level of its society, lest human greed and selfishness (individual or collective) become humanity's purpose. If you honestly believe nothing transcends your physical make-up and condition (regardless of what some claim) what do you rationally have to turn to as your guiding light besides YOU?
An interdependent society provides what is needed because it makes its deity among many lesser deities “Love” - something which cannot be perceived directly but only inferred (thus it transcends). Of course, then there are metaphysical assumptions concerning the definition of “love”, but then again, that assumes that the only valid criteria of truth is visual, auditory, or “scientifically” observable (as the criteria of materialistic science currently stands) and not the criterion of “feeling”.
As a panpsychist I must say that God is not dead, we only kill God/dess when we kill without necessity, for that is the only true death – to die without being the reason for the continuation of life.
For that matter, a last philosophical note... What of entropy and the expansion of life despite its need to feed on life?