Sacrificial Lambs

February 4, 2012

English: Two lambs

Image via Wikipedia

Europe’s economy is in the crapper.  The American economy barely has its nose above the edge. The prospect of war with Iran dances along the rim, ready to flush both – and perhaps the entire global economy – down the toilet.  Scientists now tell us the deadly winter occurring in Europe is due to the melting Arctic sea ice and that the gut-wrenching drought in Texas will go on for another year or two.  The world continues its dance along the bumpy plateau of peak oil.  Saudi Arabia assures that world that it can increase its output of oil, currently at 9.something mbd, by another 2.something mbd if a war with Iran should send Iran’s oil output down the crapper, even though it hasn’t been able to do so for any of the other disasters that befell the world last year.  And  One Million Moms, sponsored by the conservative Christian group, American Family Association, tried to force J.C. Penney to dissolve its partnership with Ellen De Generes, as their national spokeswoman, because she is gay.  (To Penney’s credit, they are refusing.)

Looking at that odd juxtaposition of news this week, it occurred to me that, in our grief over the impending death of Business As Usual, we have sidestepped moving on from bargaining  to acceptance by taking a turn back toward bargaining’s ancient stepsister, the sacrificing of lambs, (or in the case of those million moms, lesbians,) to whatever gods we feel need appeasing so that BAU might live.

And it’s not just conservative Christians that are busy whetting the knives; that sacrificial craving is everywhere.  Among Movers and Shakers, the Fed and the TBTF banks here have sacrificed several million homeowners and small businesses to the gods of financial stability.  The ECB is busy trying to wrestle Greece and the other PIIGS onto the stone slab for another bout of bloodletting in hopes of appeasing those same gods. The giant corporations have drained the life blood from Gaia and offered it to the gods of commerce in hopes of one more orgy of profits.  Conservative leaders everywhere are sure that if they can just cut the hearts out of a few more poor people and offer a few more tax breaks to the wealthy and big corps, the god of fiscal health will be oh, so pleased.  While the Liberals would rather cut the hearts out of the wealthy and the big corps (except, of course, for donors) and offer the tax breaks to the poor in appeasement.  The DHS, along with its spineless allies in Congress and the White House, has offered up the Bill of Rights to the pyre in hopes of satisfying the gods of security.  The Defense Department and the Commander in Chief seem willing to sacrifice anyone, from individual citizens it deems terrorists to whole nations it sees as not acting in our national interests, to the gods of empire.

And we, the People?  We – Religious or Non; Black, Brown or White; Democrats, Republicans or Independents;  literate or illiterate; OWS or TeaPartiers; doomer or sheeple – have been so busy trying to shove each other into the conflagration in hopes that the gods of chaos will pass us by, we’ve failed to notice that Business As Usual just expired and all our bloody sacrifices have appeased the gods not one whit.

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35 Responses to Sacrificial Lambs

  1. pamela says:

    oh hell yes LInda! This was truly inspired!
    I never looked at it like that, that it’s some kind of sacrificial offering to the “gods” to make our boo-boos go away.
    Good stuff today, really good!

    p.s. love the little lamb photo too. 😀

  2. Bill Hicks says:

    Great post, Linda. It really captures the rage people ought to feel at what’s happening.

    I actually also posted a story today about an unwitting group of sacrificial lambs:

  3. “…it occurred to me that, in our grief over the impending death of Business As Usual, we have sidestepped moving on from bargaining to acceptance by taking a turn back toward bargaining’s ancient stepsister, the sacrificing of lambs…to whatever gods we feel need appeasing so that BAU might live….”

    Some people hold back grief progression
    With bargaining-based obsession;
    It’s a kind of digression
    To hold back succession
    And avoid the next stage: depression.

  4. steve says:

    excellent insight/analogy – spot on

    BAU expired and is on life support – family and friends are in serious denial about it

    but are we all “busy trying to shove each other into the conflagration in hopes that the gods of chaos will pass us by?”


    but no doomer I know expects to be passed by – see definition of a doomer

    (and remember the difference between a doomer and a survivalist)

    participation in the matrix reinforces it – ultimate BAU is a particular way of being in the world – as much historical artifact as conditioned worldview – its almost instinctive its so deeply ingrained a sense, that also makes us co-conspirators

    so what are the options?

    what are you implying we should/could do instead?

    how bout the wake up and unplug option
    or the live simply/live well – so others can simply live/ just enough option
    how about a more sophisticated psycho-spiritual perspective option
    a “be here now/savor every moment as if it were your last” option

    and a lets get the hell out of immediate harms way option

    …and then “lets face the music and dance”

    • theozarker says:

      Hi Steve, welcome. Yeah, I think all of us are co-conspirators in one way or another – even those of us who are sincerely trying to find ways not to be any longer. As to options, I’ve only been blogging for a couple of years (a mere infant as doom bloggers go), but I have tried to suggest a variety of ideas over those two years, including the ones you listed. I just don’t have answers – those we have to find for ourselves.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

  5. graveday says:

    Steve, you are a dead ringer for goodraven. Heh, sorry about the dead word.
    Linda, you may have only been blogging for two years, but you were making posts as pithy from the early days of latoc. You have been honing the edge for some time, as has Ben. Jesus, he can toss off a bell ringer at the drop of a hat, to mix a metaphor or two.

  6. graveday, it gets easier the more you do it. And iirc(?), Linda was a college English professor!

    theozarker says:
    LOL, amen, brother Ben.

    For a framework to deal with our loss,
    The five stages of grief are my boss;
    They’re not lots of fun,
    But they get the job done,
    And that’s why I like Kubler-Ross.

    • theozarker says:

      LOL, not me, Ben. I think you must have me confused with Grower or Wordy. (Not that I don’t consider that a compliment.) I have a BS in Psychology.

      I like that Limerick. Kubler-Ross nailed it, didn’t she?

  7. pamela says:

    Ben!!! fancy meeting you here! LOL
    brilliant poetry as always 😀

  8. Linda, sorry, my memory gets worse every day. O.K., psychology then. Having been very interested in comparing different theories of psychology since the fifties(!), IMHO K-R works best for doom. It’s simple to understand cognitively, yet it covers the whole process people are, or will be, facing. But I’m completely open to comparing that system with anybody else’s favorite doomer therapy.

    Hi pammie! Thanks! Yeah, I’ve been coming here now and then for a long time, but your unusual multiple alerts (again, bad memory, I think you had one at your place as well as several forums) said very loudly, check this out! Thank you for that! 🙂

    • theozarker says:

      No problem, Benjamin, I find I increasingly suffer from foggy brain syndrome, myself, these days. 😀 Wordnerd’s first name is Linda, too, which probably helps add to the confusion.

      I agree about K-R and like her model for the same reason I like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. They’re simple enough as models to help ordinary people make some sense of what they’re going through in life (and death), including doomers, but deep enough to satisfy the requirements for experimental verification (as much as psychological models can by verified anyway). It’s been 25 years since I finally finished my degree and so much of the emphasis in psychology now is on trying to integrate psychology with what we’re finding out about the neurology of the brain, that much of the purely “psychological” modeling seems to have been left to the “pop” psychologists and seems rather shallow by comparison, in my opinion anyway.

  9. Doomer Therapy, Kubler-Ross Style

    K-R’s a good system for basing
    A way to serenity chasing;
    It helps people plan
    For when shit hits the fan,
    And prepare for what they’ll soon be facing.

  10. Folks get a good introduction
    From her theory’s simple construction;
    Using just a rough sketch,
    It helps their minds stretch
    Enough for doom basic instruction.

  11. graveday says:

    I remember Linda was an intensive care nurse. I am married to one, thought she has moved on from the bedside to computers. I have a degree in Psych too, but also Chem and Microbiology.
    I like to say I got the third degree, heh.
    I agree with your assessment of current day psych. I haven’t heard anyone mention Maslow in years. And for what it’s worth, I haven’t heard anyone use the word usufruct. Last time I saw it in print was a Tom Jefferson quote, ‘Man should live in usufruct to the land’. Hell, even spellcheck is flagging it. If you say usufruct these days you may get asked, ‘What did you call me?’ Heh. graveday

    • theozarker says:

      Ooops, not quite, Graveday. I worked in ICUs and CCUs as a “tech” (basically a nurse’s aide with special training.)

      Okay, here’s the scoop, to set the record straight. When I first went to college, as an art major, right out of high school, I worked in a local hospital as a NA – in 1958, – back when ICU’s were little four bed cubby holes in the wall, off the surgical or medical floors and CCUs hadn’t even been invented yet. (First one was in Philly in 1961). But the patients on the floor I worked on would have been in CCU if it had been invented. Because of that experience, after I dropped out of college there and moved away, I was often put in the ICUs and the (by then, invented) CCUs in the various hospitals I worked at when they were short-staffed. When I moved to Chicago to go to back to school at U of I, in their medical art program, I worked on the floor outside CCU-ICU at U of I hospital.

      That Christmas, with three stable patients who were ready to be moved out, they stuck me in CCU on the night shift with the floor nurse and the on-call intern covering if I needed them for anything. One of the three stable patients suddenly decided to crash; I called the nurse and she and I basically saved the patient while the poor intern (who’d been asleep in the doc’s lounge after a 24 hr. shift) found his pants and got them on. The nurse and the intern were duly impressed and talked to the chief cardiologist the next day. He was beginning an ICU-CCU cardiology class for the nurses and interns in preparation for the opening that next summer of their new, improved ICU-CCU unit. So he told me that if I wanted to take the class and could pass the exam at the finish, he’d recommend me for the new unit when it opened. So, I did and he did and I worked in the old unit until the new one opened, took a couple of months off to have my son, then worked in the new unit for another year. After I left there, I worked in a couple more units while moving around the country trying to finish up some kind of degree. When I married and we moved to Missouri, they wouldn’t even let me work as an aide without paying some company $400 to train and certify me as a nurse’s aide. So that’s when I switched to working in group homes with MR/DD adults. After my divorce, I went back to school to finish a degree in Psychology, so I could work as a Qualified Mental Retardation Professional. I did that for 10 years before the company I worked for closed. By then, I was 53, and everyone was hiring new grads with a degree that they could train “their way” (at half the salary :D). When my unemployment ran out with no prospects in sight, I moved to Springfield and took the first job I could find, working with the elderly in their homes. I did that for another 10 years and then I retired. And here I am. And that’s the scoop on that. 😀

      As you can see, In all those jobs, out of a job and outside the jobs, I’ve lived a most interesting and fulfilling life. So I have no complaints – just want to stick around a while longer and see what comes up next.

      And I always learn something new from you, Grave. I couldn’t even find usufruct in either of my dictionaries. I’m guessing from Mr. Jefferson’s use of the word that it means in harmony? Neat word. Thanks.

  12. graveday says:

    Usufruct, the way Jefferson used it, meant to leave the land as good as or better than you found it. Use it fruitfully and faithfully. The only modern user I heard was the arch conservative intellectual William Buckley, but he was only using it to test someone’s vocabulary.
    The death of that word says a lot about our times.
    It has/had meanings in other areas if I remember well, but I forget.

  13. ouroboros says:

    Good as a LATOC read, this thread and your commentary both, Linda!

    Love “usufruct” the death of this word signals the death of true stewardship.

  14. theozarker says:
    “…the neurology of the brain….”

    All of us soon will be leaving
    Gains we’ve worked so hard in achieving;
    With science’s dearth,
    The sun circling the earth
    Is what we’ll be back to believing.

  15. theozarker says:
    “…psychological” modeling….

    They could use areas where they are strong,
    And find places where we went wrong;
    With their understanding,
    Soften the landing,
    Maybe fix why we can’t get along.

  16. theozarker says:

    Grave, ah, yes, Wm. Buckley. Of course he would have known the word. Hopefully, the universe has used his remains to usufruct the ground he is buried in.

    Ouroboros, thanks and welcome to my little corner of doom. I agree about the death of usufruct…well, except for that thing with the slaves doing most of the usufructing. Don’t want to see that make a comeback.

    Benjamin, as always, thanks for the doomy laugh.:D

  17. graveday says:

    As for slaves, I think Jefferson did a little usufructing there too, heh.
    I spent a wonderful day poking around at Monticello once and noted well Mulberry Lane, the area where the slaves lived.
    If you haven’t been there, his beautiful house is built above a huge catacomb like cellar where a lot of the work and trades were performed. Jefferson lived above it all, as it were. One could say the dumbwaiter he devised was itself something to keep the stench of slavery at the furthest possible remove. His relationship to slaves was like ours to oil, uneasy. He saw the game and couldn’t stop it, but saw it’s consequences clearly.

  18. graveday says:

    I found the following, which is pretty enlightening.

    “As his life advanced, Jefferson became more and more concerned that people understand the principles in and the people responsible for the writing and adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson wrote: “this was the object of the Declaration of Independence. not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we [were] compelled to take.”

    Also, he wrote his own epitaph, to stake his claim to what he was proudest of. Few talk of what they were not proud of, heh.

    “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson Author of the Declaration of American Independence
    Of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom & Father of the University of Virginia.”

    I guess he hoped somewhere in there the slaves would be freed and the banks kept in check(s).
    He is a rich mine to be explored, but there is a lot of dross.

    • theozarker says:

      Well, let’s face it, Grave, although Jefferson’s Declaration reflected the best of the enlightenment, the Constitution was still written by wealthy white males to protect wealthy white males. It was left to the rest of us (sometimes at great cost) to fight for those rights reflected in the Declaration in spite of the wealthy white males. And ever it is so … 😀

  19. graveday says:

    Well, mankind can’t say that the ‘common sense of the subject’ wasn’t placed before them. gd

  20. theozarker says:

    True enough, Grave, but without the Bill of Rights that they threw in at the last minute to get the Constitution ratified, just understanding the common sense of the subject wouldn’t have done the rest of us much good.

  21. graveday says:

    True, so true, though that corporations sneaked in under an Amendment makes me think we need a Bill of Lefts too, left out that is.

  22. graveday says:

    Good one. Guess I’ll just have to be satisfied with Bill Hicks.

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