For the World to Live, 'Europe' must Die
To understand those words, spoken by Russell Means, one would have to hear them rather than read them. That is, Means introduced them as follows;
“The only possible opening for a statement like this is that I detest writing. The process itself epitomizes the European concept of "legitimate thinking": what is written has an importance that is denied the spoken. My culture, the Lakota culture, has an oral tradition, so I ordinarily reject writing. It is one of the white world's ways of destroying the cultures of non-European peoples, the imposing of an abstraction over the spoken relationship of a people.” -- Russell Means (in a 1980 speech)
The problem with European language is that has a binary base, both in its discursive reasoning and in its moral judgement, which Western society plugs together in a manner that keeps European colonialism in a globally dominating lock-in.
It doesn’t matter how oppressive to minorities Western statist colonialism becomes, to defend against continuing injury to one’s family and one’s self, in such a manner that injury to the oppressive system results, will bring Western reason and morality into action to ascertain ‘causal responsibility’ and moral guilt.
Western science models dynamics in terms of ‘independent entities’ and ‘what these independent entities do’, as if the space they reside in is independent/uninvolved in the dynamics that go on inside it. Thus, science will assign full and sole causal responsible for injury arising from conflict between an oppressed individual and the state, in his defensive action against oppression [e.g. as in the case of blacks in slavery and indigenous peoples who 'push back'].
The binary logic of EITHER true OR false will be applied whether those defending against oppression ‘did’ or ‘did not’ cause injury to the state and its citizens. After science has decided that ‘it is true’, that the individual defending against injury from oppression by the state, the next step is to apply binary moral judgement to declare him ‘guilty’ of an ‘offence’ against ‘innocent victims’. This is the standard ‘binary double whammy’ administered by European reason and morality.
There are two major differences in the cultural tradition that Russell Means comes from; (a) the understanding is that relational conflict can build over time in a passive-aggressive manner; e.g. by selectively depriving people of access to natural resources essential to their well-being, thus violence that erupts in the present may have long and deep roots that can be traced back and around, connecting with the ‘innocent victims’ and their judges and juries, and (b) everyone is included in mutual dependency within a common web of relations so that while conflict may erupt through particular individuals who serve as lightning rods that release built-up tensions, such eruptions of violence in no way ‘jumpstart’ from the interior of those individuals.
People whose natural state is ‘in balance’ are pulled by the unfolding relational situation they find themselves included in, into a relationally tensioned condition where eruptions of violence may occur in the quest to 'reconfigure' into a less tensioned relational configuration. Given (a) and (b), justice is oriented to restoring balance and harmony; i.e. it is ‘restorative justice’.
The deaths of hundreds of people in a third world country evidently do not send the world’s press into high alert. In fact, while 500,000 Iraq children died [UNICEF figure] as a result of U.S. bombing of Iraq’s power generation, water purification and sewage processing infrastructure compounded by U.S.-led U.N. sanctions/embargoes of essential food and medical supplies to Iraq, it was given coverage but not the sort of frantic coverage given by ‘terrorist attacks’ in the U.S., Britain, Spain and most recently France. It is hard NOT to compare this lack of empathy to third world citizens to the cultural genocide inflicted on indigenous peoples of North America by European colonizers.
The attention given to terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States, that Means and Churchill refer to as; ... ‘some people pushing back’, and, ... ‘chickens coming home to roost’, .. are treated as one-offs, and are not viewed by the Western press or Western leaders as part of a ongoing conflict that began with 15th century European colonization. Instead, they are portrayed as coming out of nowhere for 'no reason' [why would anyone attack innocent others?] as if they are pre-shocks that warn of an imminent Armageddon.
In the wake of the attacks in France, yesterday, Barack Obama’s comment was;
Once again we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians. This is an attack, not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and universal values that we share.”
‘Once again’, ... we see Western world leaders pull out the binary ‘good versus evil’ framing, characterizing the colonizing powers and their supporters as ‘good’ and ‘innocent’ and as ‘victims’, ... while those people ‘pushing back’ are characterized in this binary framing, as ‘evil’ and ‘guilty’ and as ‘offenders’.
Few people can help but think about themselves and their own families undergoing such horror, whether watching helplessly as their children die in the terrible conditions in Iraq arising from infrastructure bombings and embargoes, or whether slaughtered quickly and suddenly in shootings and bombings in Paris restaurants and concert halls.
Strife is inevitable and war is hell, but pulling out this logical and moral reference framing, which Nietzsche euphemistically terms ‘a great stupidity’, amounts to such blatantly obvious denial that it can only amplify the radicalizing of some increasing fraction of the millions of those who ‘dream of pushing back’ but who, in the larger fraction, remain committed to less violent remedial paths.
Western leaders are ‘scientific thinkers’ and their discursive reasoning is based on logical assumptions adopted by science, such as;
“Instead of embracing in its entirety the progressive development of a phenomenon, we simply try to connect each moment with the one immediately preceding. We admit that the present state of the world only depends on the immediate past, without being directly influenced, so to speak, by the recollection of a more distant past.” — Poincare, ‘Origin of Mathematical Physics’
Such simplification, termed ‘economy of thought’ by philosophers of science, is very convenient when one has gained the position one now has through a program of global domination via colonization [military appropriation of the lands of indigenous peoples] and cultural genocide. It is a scientific concept reinforced by the Enlightenment European view of man as an ‘independent reason-driven being’, a ‘human being’ that is fully and solely responsible for his own behaviour.
So, look out, push back people, because the statute of limitations on prosecuting colonizer and sovereigntist atrocities expires before it starts, and where there is push-back, those who push back violently will be judged fully and solely responsible for ‘their evil and offensive behaviour’ against the ‘innocent colonizing powers and their innocent, victimized constituents’.
This essay is NOT aimed at justifying push-back retribution in Paris, New York, London, Madrid and elsewhere. There is no support in it for Western moral judgement based retributive justice. This essay is a commentary on the hypocrisy of Western leadership and the pathetic façade of holier-than-thou innocence coupled with sternly self-righteous commitments to ‘rid the world of evil’. The physical reality of our natural experience is NOT binary; i.e. if we are to be honest we must “embrace in its entirety the progressive development of a phenomenon” and thus connect the authorship of the push-back to colonizing powers who have been spring-loading the pushers-back for a long, long while.
How sick is this pretence of ‘we are the good’ and ‘they are the evil’ now looking. Oh yes, bombing infrastructure and embargoing essential food and medical supplies kills surely but slowly and is thus less shocking and so much more ‘civilized’ than the startling suddenness of the offing of heads.
And how many people, even of European descent, are coming around to seeing things more like Ward Churchill and Russell Means; “For the World to live, ‘Europe’ must die”.
Meanwhile, global media rushes to support the bald-faced political pitch of ‘good and evil’ on each eruption of push-back violence. Nevertheless, in the intervals, even mainstream media opinion-shapers such as BBC’s Adam Curtis are making documentaries such as ‘Bitter Lake’, advertised quote/unquote as; “How Western leaders' simplistic "good" vs. "evil" narrative has failed”, and how Western political leaders have come to recognize that the source of their power has shifted from rallying people onward and upward towards a Utopian society, to defending people against a global decline and free-fall towards a horrific Dystopia.
What is unfolding is reminiscent of Nietzsche’s predictions. Nietzsche, in the 1890s, suggested that it would take two centuries for ‘Europe to die’ in the very same sense that Russell Means intends it; to suspend this ridiculous pretense of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ and ‘truth’ and ‘falsehood’ as binary realities; i.e. to restore intuition and harmony-seeking to their natural precedence over reason and morality.
He didn’t say how it would play out, exactly, other than that there would be “devaluation of the highest values”; i.e. ‘good and evil’ ‘truth and falsehood’, morality and reason.
Both are already looking pretty shabby on Friday, November 13th, 2015.
indigenous wisdom is difficult for those trusting in 'reason'
When one sees a clustering of people 'a-steppin and a-fetchin' over something that has been said, it is never because such remarks are 'total nonsense'. if that were the case, they would pay no attention.
it is where what has been said is unreasonable but nevertheless appears to make sense, as our experience is the guide. The energy that arises is to kill such deceptive ideas.
indigenous wisdom is all about unreasonable statements that nevertheless make sense.
as Wittgenstein says, reality lies in the gap between 'what is obviously non-sense' and 'what is not obviously nonsense', meanwhile, our understanding is 'bewitched' (verhext) by language.
and as Poincare observes, people who have greater skills in logic than in intuition tend to be confounded by relational logic wherein relations are the basis for things rather than things being the basis of relations; as in the 'logic of the included middle' aka 'quantum logic' which describes how; “[In nature]… “the individual parts reciprocally determine one another.” -- Mach
The physical reality of our natural experience is beyond the reach of discursive reason, and that is a problem for those who associate the reasoned view with 'reality', because 'their reality is threatened', and that is why, when they hear something that is 'unreasonable' (beyond reason) but that makes sense, they are put to 'a-steppin and a-fetchin'.
Indigenous wisdom is entirely 'unreasonable'; i.e. it is based on intuition which comes from experience.
Russell Mean's statement 'For the World to Live, 'Europe' Must Die' implies that the European 'reality' that now dominates around the globe, and is forcefully imposed, must die.
European reality is based on belief in the independent existence of objects and organisms, including the sovereign state. This reality cannot reach the physical reality of our natural experience, but our experience based intuition can. So intuition transcends reason and gives us access to a reality that is beyond the reach of discursive reasoning. Intuition is the source of indigenous anarchist reality, and all peoples that understand themselves to be INCLUDED in the land.
Western culture, of course, advocates a reason-based reality or 'operative reality' wherein man is not only NOT included in the land, but views the land as an exploitable resource, much as in the Christian sacred writings on the topic; e.g;
“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” – Genesis 1:28
By contrast, the indigenous people's 'reality';
“You must teach the children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves. … This we know, the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” —Native Belief Tradition
The latter view is the view supported by modern physics [e.g. see 'Blackfoot Physics' by F. David Peat].
"Bohm met with a number of Algonkian speakers and was struck by the perfect bridge between their language and worldview and his own exploratory philosophy. What to Bohm had been major breakthroughs in human thought --- quantum theory, relativity, his implicate order and rheomode – were part of the everyday life and speech of the Blackfoot, Mic Maq, Cree and Ojibwaj.” – F. David Peat, ‘Blackfoot Physics’
however, this 'curved space' reality of quantum physics is an 'unreasonable' view which irritates logicians who believe that the reality of their discursive reasoning, is really 'reality', and indigenous wisdom that seems to make sense [because our experience-based intuition is affirming it], is not accessible to reason-based discourse. Mach's principle also falls into this 'unreasonable' category;
"The dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants" -- Mach's principle
Mach's principle makes the same point that the indigenous 'you must teach the children' statement is making.
examples where reason falls short include the case where "when we construct a house in the forest, we are at the same time destroying forest"; i.e. construction and destruction are conjugate aspects of the one dynamic of relational transformation. Reason cannot talk about 'construction' and 'destruction' in the same breath (as one dynamic). As Nietzsche and Howard Zinn pointed out, any dynamic can be discussed from the point of view of what is being created and what is being destroyed, but not all at once. The European colonizers will claim that 'We constructed a wonderful new world in America' and indigenous peoples, pointing to the same dynamics, will say 'You destroyed a wonderful established world on Turtle Island'. Reason would have them shouting yes!, no! back and forth ad infinitum since 'discursive reasoning' cannot 'intuit' that what is going on here is relational transformation.
Algonkians, as mentioned, have no problem, in their language, with conceiving of relational transformation as 'the way the world works'. Noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientific language-and-grammar, the foundation of our discursive reasoning, cannot do so because it constructs its representations on the backs of 'nouns', and reason wants to turn everything into a noun and make it a subject that inflects a verb and generates a predicate. Nietzsche gives the example where we take the unfolding dynamic we know as 'lightning' and we say 'lightning flashes', making it out to be the jumpstart author of its own action. We do likewise with storm-cells and everything; i.e. we chop out the relational figure from the relational ground and RE-present it as if it were an independently-existing thing-in-itself.
Where the relational native languages would see that 'the terrain is slumping' (relational features are transforming relationally), noun-and-verb language will say; "the mountains are being eroded by erosional processes such as 'land-slides' and these 'land-slides' are carrying material down and depositing them in the valley, so that the valleys are 'being filled in', ... and, ... the mountains are 'wearing down'.
hard-line logicians want to take things 'one logical step at a time'; e.g. they insist that 'avalanches are real', and if one rejects that claim, saying that it is just a linguistic construct, they will look dumbfounded and say; 'what?!, ... have you never been in or close to an avalanche'? Bypassing Mach's point that such statements are 'economies of thought' and not physical reality. They are in the same vein as speaking of continents moving apart and plates crashing together when the physically real dynamic is an overall relational transformation.
where the real disturbance starts is on questions of governance and politics. the reason that indigenous anarchists employ restorative justice is because they see the individual's dynamic as inseparable from the community dynamic [relational web-of-life]; i.e. the child-soldier is a channeler of behaviour from the relational social dynamics he is situationally included in. Western discursive reason depicts him as an independent reason-driven being that is fully and solely responsible for his own behaviour, as conforms with Western moral judgement based retributive justice [it never gets back to the real source of the child-soldier's behaviour].
Discursive reasoning similarly credits individuals who 'produce goods and services' as fully and solely responsible for the production of those goods, even if they are using slave labour. As a result 'discursive reasoning' justifies rewarding the nominal boss-producer since that is where 'the buck of doer-deed causation starts and stops'. You can see that 'something' to do with such 'situations' is what makes the boss-producer's assertive actions 'look good', but using convenient words to express that can set logicians to 'a-steppin and a fetchin'.
The point is that 'reason' is a very limited way of capturing an understanding of the physical reality of our natural experience and Western society is characterized by a mistaken equivalencing of 'reason' with 'reality' and building its institutions of government, commerce and justice on that basis.
As far as ISIS goes, it clearly does not buy in to a belief in the existence of sovereign states but puts 'brotherhood' (relations, dynasties, caliphates, 'al dawla') into a precedence over notional 'independent entities' (sovereign states). The takfiri tactics of ISIS are something else; they go back to the 7th century and they make an impression not only because of their ruthlessness, but also because the warriors using them generally fight to the death. As is the case of the Taliban in Afghanistan, ... people pissed off with colonizer oppression join up because 'its the only show in town'. So it is as well with ISIS. This is not a new phenomenon; e.g;
"Long before Pearl Harbor, a steady stream of Americans had started moving northward across the border to join the Canadian armed forces. By the beginning of 1941 some 1,200 Americans comprised about 10 percent of RCAF officer strength and 3 percent of the other ranks. A U.S. influx totaling about 10 percent of RCAF recruitment continued until, at the time of Pearl Harbor, over 6,000 U.S. citizens were serving in the RCAF, of whom 600 were instructors in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. By the same time nearly 10,000 Americans were serving in the Canadian Army." -- U.S. Army in WWII"
So, this article on Russell Means topic 'For the World to Live, 'Europe' Must Die' is entirely unreasonable, as it must be to share understanding that lies beyond reason, in our experience based intuition, a circumstance that sets hardline 'logicians' 'a-steppin and a-fetchin'.
[p.s. to thecollective. this is intended as a kind of epilogue to the original article]