Should we besmirch this plucky rodent’s escutcheon by associating Lemmings as the embodiment of greed and feral-consumerism known to a good chunk of the western world as ‘Black Friday’? It isn’t really fair (hey, just like capitalism) to play on the misunderstood ‘suicidal tendencies’ of the much maligned lemming. For the record:
“Lemmings have become the subject of a widely popular misconception that they commit mass suicide when they migrate, by jumping off cliffs. It is in fact not a mass suicide but the result of their migratory behavior. Driven by strong biological urges, some species of lemmings may migrate in large groups when population density becomes too great. Lemmings can swim and may choose to cross a body of water in search of a new habitat. In such cases, many may drown if the body of water is so wide as to stretch their physical capability to the limit. This fact, combined with the unexplained fluctuations in the population of Norwegian lemmings, gave rise to the misconception.“
The answer, dear friends, is of course we should – appropriating and exploiting nature is a zesty analog for capitalism and the consumer culture that feeds the satanic mills that are grinding our planet into dust. (Not enough sleep and too much coffee during this particular writing stint.)
It’s hard to believe, but sometimes your dear host finds it necessary to perch upon a perfectly precarious high horse in order to dispense the needed wisdom to the unwashed massess, the hoi polloi, the basket of deplorables, et cetera. I remember making a post about Black Friday expressing my disgust with scenes that seem to happen around this time of year.
As noted in the video above – we’re still mired in this terrible consumerist extravaganza. The problem is that, I’m not disgusted, but rather saddened by the whole, often gory, spectacle. The lengths people will go to, to get stuff, that they think will bring them happiness in their life.
Their association of “happiness = stuff” is no mere coincidence, but rather the endgame of a society, while drunk on capitalism, that measures success, status, and happiness with the amount of material goods acquired. Of course, the needs are manufactured (followed by the goods to meet those ‘needs’) so that the prospect of new shiny baubles will be the next ‘true’ indicator of having ‘made it’ in life. The process of chasing after material goods in the vainglorious pursuit of happiness is a nasty positive feedback loop that reduces citizens in a democratic state to mere consumers always hungry for their next fix and thus justifying the exploitative system that feeds them their drug.
I can’t help thinking that if we had a guaranteed minimum income and housing for everyone people might start to stray from the consumption paradigm. People might start renewing connections with others and engaging in pursuits that they actually want to do instead of what they have to do in their struggle to avoid the depredations of abject poverty.
We’ve lost reverence for the security and connectedness a strong community provides – and it is only way back from the abyss that we continue to create for ourselves.
Make no mistake – capitalism in its current incarnation requires the exploitation of people and resources to make it work. Exploiting people and natural resources inevitably leads to war (see Iraq for instance) and this in this zeal for feeding our doom-systems we often forget that eventually
Start with lemmings and end with Lord of the Rings references, you’ll only see it here at DWR (for better or worse).