Is there a purpose to life? Hmm... has anyone ever asked that question before? Maybe I'm the first, ha ha. And then there's stinkbugs. I wonder if a stinkbug ever asks this question? I shall call this curious fellow Jonathon Livingstone Stinkbug.
Are we familiar with stinkbugs? For those who groove on the Linnaean system they are family Pentatomidae, order Heteroptera. There's at least 5,000 different species and they're found on every continent on the planet. Their means of surviving environmental depredations, or more specifically predators, is very successful. They nail a predator with a really foul smelling liquid and otherwise taste like shit. Whilst I've never eaten one, I've smelt them and they're nasty. The smart money gives them a wide berth.
I saw a perfect demonstration of this when I was out on the balcony talking to my local grey butcherbird. I do all the talking sure enough, but he sings me a song and it's fair deal all round. And there we were when a big fat stinkbug landed less than a metre from the both of us. Both our heads turned and I waited for the coming inevitable violence. Nothing doing. He knew precisely what sort of bug it was and went straight back to the very important question of whether I had a bit of ham for him or not.
I knew not to touch the stinkbug because back when I was six or so, some other six year old said something along the lines of 'Don't touch it! It's a stinkbug!' Humans are clever like that. They can tell each other things. Butcherbirds don't have that facility. The only way any butcherbird learnt not to eat a stinkbug was by eating one and learning the hard way.
To hell with the butcherbird
Forget the butcherbird now, there's something extraordinary going on here. Stinkbugs are spectacular survivors and none of them are within cooee of extinction. But their mechanism of survival is arse-about. They don't ensure their own survival so much as they ensure each other's. The only way a butcherbird learns to leave them alone is because a stinkbug gave his life.
So, for our heteroptera philosopher, Jonathon Livingstone Stinkbug, between the two questions of, 'What is the purpose of life?', and 'What is the purpose of death?', one is a no-brainer (which is just as well since they are bugs of little brain). For our Jonathon, the purpose of death is to ensure life. Not for himself of course, but for every other stinkbug. And weirdly enough, in answering the latter question he goes some way in answering the former.
Obviously I'm drawing parallels here. Parallels with humans, natch. And if we're talking about humans we have to address the question of choice. Stinkbugs don't have a choice. And we do. Sure enough, we make choices all the time. Social Darwinists choose to emulate the predators of the world. As I've discussed before, that says less about Darwin than it does about them being self-serving motherfuckers. But it is what it is, and the human world is full of predators and the predated.
The occasional spook aside, if you're reading this blog it's my melancholy duty to inform you that you belong to the latter group. You are the predated. But happily Darwin says that there is more than one way of dealing with predators. Mostly we choose to emulate those creatures that run with a herd. We let the predators take the weakest whilst muttering, 'There but for the grace of God go I.' Or to put it another way, 'Please God let them eat somebody else, not me.'
Frankly this is piss-weak. It's not so much a thought, as a non-thought, the product of a brain seized by fear. As has been discussed in the comments section here recently, any herd that runs from predators could, if they chose to, stomp the shit out of them. But only if they stopped and thought about it, if they weren't possessed of fear, and crucially, if they acted in concert.
The predators know this of course and have ensured that the possibility of people acting in concert is nigh on impossible. The means of mass communication are subsequently in their hands. No voices of resistance or of organisation will be permitted. And yet here we are on the net, talking freely. But the net is purposely designed to be a cacophony. It's as precisely flooded with crap as the mainstream media is - millions and millions of people on facebook blathering about Paris Hilton and her foo-foo dog. But still, the potential is there and this is enough to warrant its destruction. Right this minute Australia's very own Senator Stephen Conroy is doing his damnedest to shut it down. It's all for our own safety, of course.
To hell with the herd
Let's not obsess on herds and the possibility, or lack thereof, of the herd acting in concert. I have no doubt that such resistance will take place. To a certain extent it already is. Not forgetting of course, that history is replete with such movements being co-opted and led by agents of the predators. The French Revolution, the Bolshevik revolution, Eastern Europe's various colour-coded revolutions, all run by the usual suspects and all designed to ensure that no harm comes to the top predators. As ever, the wolves lead the sheep in throwing down their shepherds. Three cheers - free at last!
Back to the stinkbugs now. They emphatically do not act in concert. Numbers ain't their bag. Their whole strategy functions on the sacrifice of fearless individuals. Certainly, they do not choose to be fearless. Their weeny grain-of-sand brains aren't up to it. But that's not the point. Our brains are up to it. We can choose. And we can be that fearless.
How might this plucky individual embody the strategy of Jonathon Livingstone Stinkbug? How might one, as a singleton, stick in the collective craw of the predators of the world? To be honest, actions such as this are quite common. We need merely look to the suicide bomber.
Suicide bombers sacrifice themselves in order to kill their oppressors. But suicide bombing has the precise opposite effect of that intended. As ever, the depiction of an event trumps its reality. With the bloc-media owning the rights to the meaning of a suicide bombing, they will achieve nothing useful, will enable the sowing of further seeds of fear and hatred, and most importantly will allow the bloc-media to portray the oppressed people (which the suicide bomber was ostensibly trying to help) as murderous madmen who deserve death. Everytime a suicide bomber does that thing, the motherfuckers clap in delight.
To hell with suicide bombing
What's needed is something unimpeachable, something that cannot be portrayed by the silken media voice of the predator as an excuse for more predation. Since it's me talking here, there is only a single thing that cannot be slurred, twisted, or impeached. And that thing, sure enough, is selflessness. If there's nothing in it for the person sacrificing himself, and no harm comes to others, how might that person's actions be misrepresented? Certainly the bloc-media will try but it will be a sure case of shit uphill. People know selflessness when they see it.
Has anyone heard of Norman Morrison? How about Thích Quảng Đức? No? Their names don't ring a bell? Funny that. In spite of their being two of the most extraordinary men in history they're almost perfectly absent from the media. It's not for no reason that the media ignores them. For mine, when the media ignores a subject it's a clue as to what they fear. The media voice of the predators would no more tell you about these men and what they did, than Achilles would say, 'Hey, did I tell you about my heel?!'
Somehow I doubt that either of these men were inspired by a stinkbug. But regardless, that's effectively what they did. They jammed themselves in the craw of the predator and ruined his fucking day. And yep, they did this by setting themselves on fire and being burnt alive. Are you recoiling in horror? Precisely, that's the whole idea. But over-the-top shock value aside, no one was harmed but themselves. The message was unambiguous and as loud as could be. Certainly they blew the minds of the punters but I expect they also blew the minds of the predators. True full-tilterama selflessness taken to the nth degree in this fashion is a real mindfuck.
To hell - with details
As usual, the devil is in the details. Let's skip the selflessness. This is actually the biggest hurdle but for the sake of the exercise, we're just going to take it as read. Beyond that first biggie, if the message and the means of delivering it aren't considered, all will be for nought. Like I said in a piece, Bloody Sunday, over at the cinema blog - If a monk burns in a plaza and no one sees, will it have done any good? (Actually, may I recommend that people read that piece? Sure it's a film review but it's not really a film review so much as a discussion of non-violent resistance, and the crucial aspect of it that the bloc-media unsurprisingly would prefer went unacknowledged).
Let's tackle our first question - Who are we aiming our action at? Our two heroes above were looking to shame the US military. And hats off to that. But we here are a little bit beyond that. The military is merely a servant. We want the masters. We want the bankers.
Here in Oz, the Reserve Bank of Australia is smack dab in the middle of Martin Place, which is smack dab in the middle of Sydney's CBD. Apart from the wee hours of the morning, Martin Place rarely has less than a hundred people in it. Most of the time there are thousands there, with more handicams and mobile phones than you could poke a police baton at. Perfect.
Okay, so it's filmed, uploaded to youtube, forced into the media with everyone seeing it. And?
'Man! Some guy burned himself alive in Martin Place!'
Worthless. You may as well have slathered yourself with guacamole and sung the Yah Di Buckety song. (Well, if you're going to be meaningless, you may as well be funny). If you don't want to be meaningless, you need a message that makes sense and a place it can be seen. Welcome to the internet. The internet is a big place sure enough but people could be directed by way of a thousand flyers scattered about with a url printed on it. Nothing else, just that. After all, you don't want to give the game away early. And later, after the TV crews arrive and bail up the ashen faced witnesses, they'll stare into the camera and say, 'I don't know man, it seems the answer is on this piece of paper. It says...'
Okay I admit it. I've taken huge dapartures from the simple brainless method of the Stinkbug. But the fundamental principle is right there and the aim is unchanged. It's still a simple act of selflessness for the sake of others. And when the politicians get on the telly (with their sad faces on) and say, 'We don't want anyone copying this individual' you'll know they're scared. Something just got stuck in their craw.