by Carol Warner Christen
(Swans - May 7, 2007) I am fifteen billion years old, atomically speaking. I am a woman. Of those years, I remember sixty-eight, more or less. My species is five million years old; I am 0.000013 million years old. The first human zygote had X number of atoms to start growth. That original set of atoms -- have they moved down through those several million years to me intact? Where are they inside of me now? Did they migrate to my brain? My reproductive cells? My nerves? Did those specific atoms that started me spread into each piece of DNA and then move through division into every cell I have? Did those atoms leave me? Atoms are neither created nor destroyed; where are my originals? Does anyone know how to find them? Could I be the object of my own search for original energy? Did my mother pass a set of atoms to me that she received from her mother? Why don't we know?
I am as old as a newborn and as young as my mother. Anyone I meet is the age I am. Everyone is as old as everyone is. I've only been organized as a human woman for over half a century. Do my atoms pass on energies to me giving rise to the sum of the experiences the atoms accumulated over time and space? Aren't I really greater than the sum of my parts? Is it possible for the whole to be worse than the sum of its parts -- a reverse synergy? Might that be what the negative has to be?
If I am greater than the sum of my atomic parts, it follows that everyone is, too. Isn't it curious that some feel superior and some feel inferior? Atoms are atoms; some atoms arose from hydrogen in a star. Is uranium superior to zinc? Does lead buy itself gold? Is a half-life less satisfying than a steady state? If atoms line up in steel, do they form an army because they are stronger? Does steel seek to overtake silicon? Or is it more as if silicon has convinced humans to shape it into millions of forms and shapes -- my beloved coffee cup, and crystal? Iron beckons us to melt it in unimaginable (for me) white-red hot heat and pour it into molds, then pound it into objects.
Some metals seem to crave piercing softness; they convince human men to turn them into bullets or missiles. The whole is worse than the sum of its parts. Is that what war really is on the atomic level? The atoms seek and the atoms shall find every which way to express themselves, even at our expense. We seek to profit from atomic malleability, no matter the cost.
The other side of my species is male. Human men have been as long as human women. Neither side has been here longer. Each is atomically, or is that anatomically, correct. The differences scientists have noted are hormonal: complex atomic molecular groupings solely for the purpose of creating new humans. What would be the point of life if it occurred and then died without offspring? How often would it occur? How could the universe admire itself if there were no one to reflect it back? Life, being aware, realizes that what it senses is there; ergo, the atoms know themselves. Energy bursts into gladness or ecstasy; the universe moves somewhere in response to itself from within and without.
I feel within; I know from within what is without. I learned within is surrounded by without but not bound from without. Or is that what we do to each other? We bind others of our kind from without because we cannot bind their within. Limits are placed one upon another; equality goes unrealized among the equal.
If we cannot bind what is within others, then we kill them, maim them, banish them; we show prejudice. Why, puzzled me for years. One set of atoms organized complexly as a human decides that another human complex has no right to remain here, either alive or free. The Old Testament had Ten Commandments to protect people. Thou shalt not kill. Strange, the commandment has no condition upon it. Later, two commandments were formulated to supersede the first ten; i.e., the two about loving the other as the self and of loving god. If those two were followed, none of the others would be necessary, would they? However, not all humans subscribe to these principles. Instead, we've written laws upon laws -- millions of laws, most of which we've taken from English law, assuming we are American citizens.
One hundred forty-one years before my country was organized, one set of my ancestors, fleeing religious persecution and incarceration as Dissenters, arrived in the future state of Massachusetts. Dissenters, according to a television show I saw on public broadcasting for PBS, were builders, engineers, manipulators of the physical world, inventors, and precursors of the middle class. My family was, and is, that to this day. My family hated the threat of jail or death for having beliefs which ran counter to the dominant. It mystified me; but, one side of my family was still deeply furious over the Catholic Inquisition of the fourteenth century. That fury at the injustice of power was passed down intact, gaining in outrage when the English kings and queens of the moment in the sixteenth century, threatened the family again. Revulsion at star chambers, at torture, at bigotry, at royalty is my heritage. The entire family fought in the Revolution; we had good reason to want fair representation. When we got it, we built America; we've always been middle class. It feels right.
As I said, I am sixty-eight, a woman. I am the thirteenth generation here. My grandchildren are the fifteenth generation on New World soil. None of them has yet created the sixteenth generation. We know nothing of the old soil; we've been away for three hundred seventy-two years, which means we've been here for over three and one-half centuries. We have never been subjects. We've never sworn fealty to anyone. The only criminals listed in the family annals were one Tory tax collector and one horse thief, the thief being in the same era as the tax collector -- pre-Revolutionary. It is not clear if tax collecting was a crime; it was done to serve the English crown.
I feel the need, now, to have some say in the defining of life in this country. I speak for myself, I speak for my ancestors. I think the Revolution and the Bill of Rights they left as my grandchildren's legacy are jeopardized by modern expediencies. The Preamble to the US Constitution is one of the sanest definitions for government in the world. Few read it; no one matches laws against it for clarity and fairness. I cherish it: We, the People...
Science says for every action there is an opposite but equal reaction. No one, except the scientists, appears to understand this concept is a principle, a law most exact. What if this law also works inexorably in our own lives? What if science's discoveries happen to us? We act as if we were exempt most of the time. What if we aren't? What if every murder, every premature death, caused all the atoms in the universe to shift in reaction? What then? Wouldn't the world we know change with every death? I read there were 9,000 violent deaths per year in one South American city. And, in the twentieth century alone, at least 175,000,000 million people have died in war or worse (Piotr Szyhalski, Minneapolis, November 6, 2005). Is it possible that changed everything for all of us? After all, the collapse of one of us has ramifications we tend to ignore. The family's grief is all we have time for while the hidden reactions change the world.
The Communists killed 140,000,000 people; the Nazis killed millions; each of those deaths wrenched the universe. Perhaps this is part of the answer to the ugly changes in the world lately. The men -- yes, men -- never seem to answer to us for the changes and havoc they wreak in our names. Too many men of our species do as they please. Too many men are the primitive world's need, not ours. The time has long since past when we can afford to be ruled by too many men. In order to dominate, they will use every, any, method invented or not, to force others to submit. I ask you, is what we really want or dare afford now? Those who admire alpha power become the "yes-men" willing to do any dirty work to others for money or pretend prestige. The alphas will never admit the yes-men into their enclaves to marry or anything else. Nor will they admit all the young women who long to be on the top of the pyramid. The ranks of the mighty do not increase by wishful joiners. No one seems to learn this lesson. Year after year, they try and fail.
After all, we left England to avoid subjugation. In 231 years, too many elite males have taken what they want and are rewriting our freedoms; who cares? Those who used to care appear to have caved in to the alpha elites. The people's work has been transferred to other countries; the people are poorer. The people appear to despise their own offspring. Domination is everywhere. Everyone is acting as if force will do the trick. Isn't force's purpose submission? Doesn't force's rationale have to be reasonable? Not anymore, it seems, from the poorly thought-out and irrational arguments used to beat people down now.
The media say that the country (the world?) has shifted its center towards the right. To me that means the country has shifted towards an extreme. That shift then looks like moderation to many born within that shift. In reality, the shift was to force, towards more and more authoritarianism; the right's extreme is fascism or totalitarianism, isn't it? Fascists want everyone to conform. How is it we embrace what our ancestors despised? How soon will it be before we, the people, surrender to our own government? If we disagree, will the weapons we provided to too many men be used against us, paid for by our taxes?
How do I feel about these new mass police attacks on homes in the name of war? Will I have to get a pass someday to leave my house? Will my belongings be confiscated because my belongings have now become culpable; i.e., capable of breaking the law by themselves? Isn't that just legal thievery? What better way for the alpha powers to scare everyone into conformity, into submission?
Today, some of us may feel it's important to confiscate property used in certain crimes; tomorrow the crime will be redefined. We all lose; we used to know this; it was a hard-won right. A few children in Vermont or New Hampshire lost their home and the US District Attorney refused to feel bad for them. The children committed no crime and neither did the property; circumstances caused the parents to use the property to commit a crime. Who dreamt up a law that wreaks vengeance on the children? It is new, you know.
In the book The Institutional Imperative, the author stated that no institution should benefit from its purpose monetarily; i.e., the fire department should not be allowed to profit from fire (Zijderveld, Anton C.; The Institutional Imperative: The Interface of Institutions and Networks). Eventually, the fire department would look for sources of profit from fire and begin to conspire to set fires. In a similar vein, the police should not profit from raiding. These new laws permit just that -- legal raids. Raids! Whatever happened to matter-of-fact civilized arrests? I, for one, do not believe the police because, legally, they have become judge, jury and, far too often, executioner. No one mentions this anymore. Who will dare to speak when the extreme shifts again and becomes more forceful, demanding, and more fascist? The police are becoming more military and the military is preparing to ignore the posse comitatus law to patrol on our soil because the new enemies -- immigrants -- are flooding our world. Funny, we wrote and implemented the laws to destroy their trade and livelihoods in their home countries. We were once the immigrants...
The police do not like the need to establish justice with court trials of guilt or innocence because it does not mete out the penalties the police believe are due. When did our city fathers give the police this latitude? Why? Are we unaware that legislatures define crime? If we define too many actions as crimes, will we get what we now have? Of all the laws about crimes, do the police pick and choose what to enforce? How? Who? Who benefits? Are too many men again predominant? The police are prejudiced and, I think, out of control because their mandate appears to be to use force against everyone who is not like them. It's not glamorous to solve tedious burglaries, robberies, assaults, batteries, car accidents. It is glamorous to shoot people before trial and to have the camera record their raids on drug houses. We don't hear if they are unsuccessful at the next level. Who cares? Not the many men who bury Care at their annual post-pubescent political rites in California, not your minor league alphas who emulate them.
Carl Sagan said in an article that too many men have forced all females and other males to submit. Are women aware of what that may mean? Men will put down "uppity women" any way they can, most of it specious logically, fairly, or rationally. Why? The alpha imperative in the human race's pre-modern-weapon days was to force all females to submit first, then all lower-ranking males. Females maintain other forces of nature, thus allowing themselves to be overborne by even their sons. Since too many men are the world leadership force, how do women expect to gain parity? It is not in the male nature to permit it unless the woman or women have an overwhelming, to the too many men, force. This may be the main reason a country of equals has so few equal. It is the basis for the problem black men and women face daily, except where black males are alpha elites, but only in a closed community.
Is it possible that biology is destiny? Then why are we human enough to detest these excessive limits? That is what we are talking about: limits. The alphas can only enforce the limits they can understand and defend; ergo, all other possibilities are too dangerous or troublesome to deal with today. They rule today; I hope they do not rule our entire race's human tomorrows. If they do, then earth will always be a kind of hell for millions. Is this the kind of people we are underneath? Is this all humanity is? If so, pity your progeny now.
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