‘Tar-Babies’ on the Plains of Abraham:
… The Real Story Behind the April 20th Quebec 'Summit of the Americas' Confrontation
Montréal, Good Friday, 13th April, 2001
This essay is dedicated to youth who are participating in the 'globalization' debate, intuitively sensing that something is 'rotten in the state of Denmark' and who are still 'working' , open-mindedly, on discovering what is really at the 'source of it'.
On the surface, the upcoming confrontation in Québec City pits the forces of ‘global capitalism’ against the forces of ‘anti-capitalism’, as follows;
The supporters of ‘Globalism’:
The ‘globalism side’, bolstered by academic experts on trade and economy, harbour a belief that the world can be reformed across local and national frontiers into a global system of social justice. The ‘successful template’ model for this initiative is the United States. Bill Clinton, George Bush and Jean Chrétien maintain that global ‘free trade’ will make everyone richer and freer.
As a step in this direction, the ‘globalism side’, represented by the trade ministers from 34 countries in the Americas (all but Cuba) met in Buenos Aires and arrived at an accord on April 8th to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) which Canadian Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew termed "a historic breakthrough," saying international trade talks will never be the same. The details of this agreement are being held secret until after the Summit of the Americas meeting in Québec City (April 20 – 22), a decision which is tending to pour fuel on the smoldering fires of confrontation.
The ‘push’ behind the FTAA, perhaps the most ambitious trade initiative in history, is Canada. Involving 800 million people and $15 trillion worth of gross domestic product, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney has termed the FTAA "the richest free-trade zone in the history of the world." and said that Canada ‘would be at the center of it’. The FTAA initiative, if it goes through, will create the largest free-trade zone on the globe and the most comprehensive, governing investment, intellectual property rights and electronic commerce as well as tariffs on goods and services. The government of the province of Québec is equally at the center of it, with a goal to triple the number of Québec firms in Latin America to 1500 by the year 2005.
Canada sees itself as an immerging leader in ‘free trade’ on the global stage, not simply because of its rising star status as a trading nation (exports as a percent of Canada’s gross domestic product have risen from 27% ten years ago to 44% today, a foreign trade proportion which is double the average of industrialized nations and makes Canada the biggest trader in ‘the group of seven’ industrialized nations, the ‘G-7’. [Though 85% of Canada’s exports go to the US and 50% come from Canada’s largest multinational corporations.]
The thinking of the ‘globalism side’ on ‘free trade’ is that those who fail to embrace global trade will be left behind, impoverished in spite of their strong skills and potentials, by lack of opportunity. Thus the desire to re-make the world in the ‘image’ of the United States, where, in spite of its pimples and warts, appears to the advocates of ‘free trade’, to have evolved a means of supplying 'freedom' and 'riches' in greater measure than elsewhere.
The supporters of ‘Anti-Globalism’:
The ‘anti-globalism side’, a mélange of ‘opposing’ groups, including a rising number of youth groups, will be out in full force at the Québec Summit of the Americas to stop the advances of the ‘free market fundamentalism of governments and business’, which ‘aims to extend the reach of capitalist globalization and to submit health-care, education, as well as labor standards to the so-called logic of the free market’.
The anti-globalism supporters contend that the system which is being ‘globalized’ has been unable to deal with growing inequalities on a local (intra-national, intra-community) basis, and that while the overall ‘richness’ of the United States (i.e. the lower quartile of the US exceeds the upper quartile of poorer nations) camouflages the growing gap between the ‘opportunized’ and the ‘disopportunized’, this gap shows up along its southern border in the fact that Mexican labour is not showing the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with the implication that the ‘richer and freer’ benefits of ‘free market fundamentalism’ are 'being absorbed at the top' and not ‘trickling down’ to those sectors of the populace with the greatest need. While there is ‘free trade’ in goods and services, there is no ‘free trade’ in ‘opportunity’ for the impoverished worker who is not allowed the mobility to pass freely across borders in the manner of the goods and services he helps to produce [a freedom of access to the biospheric legacy which is perhaps unthinkable to both ‘sides’ in the confrontation]. By constraining the mobility of the worker, the transnationals are thus able to exploit cheap labour in a cyclic manner, similar to the pattern of corporate layoffs where those employees whose income has grown as they help to build corporate profits are cyclically laid off and replaced with lower salaried workers. The general geometry is something like 'crop rotation'; i.e. the corporation 'grows' a harvestable crop using the nutrients 'in the ground' of a certain human resource sector which establishes the 'value' of that ground, ... but after the crops have been harvested it moves on to 'new ground' to avoid paying the rising 'rent' and lets the mature ground lie fallow again until it can be cheaply re-acquired.
More than this, the anti-globalism side will be going to the Quebec City ‘Summit of the Americas’ to protest what they consider to be a ‘threat to democracy’ in the form of "investor-state rights", the upside-down balance of power wherein transnational corporations have acquired 'the upper hand' over democratically elected governments as manifest in Chapter 11 of the NAFTA accord. Chapter 11 permits corporations to challenge government sovereignty in democratically established policies for public health, the environment, labour standards and other public services on the grounds that they have been denied ‘fair and equitable treatment’. Disputes are decided upon by tribunals whose proceedings are conducted in private. (a sampling of Chapter 11 lawsuits by corporations against governments can be found in footnote )
The anti-globalism forces coming to protest at the Québec Summit of the Americas will include ‘working families, students, farmers, environmentalists, people of faith, animal rights activists and many others’. “They will participate in a large-scale grassroots mobilization against the FTAA. La Convergence des Luttes Anti-Capitalistes (CLAC) is organizing a Carnival against Capitalism that is to include events in Quebec City and Montreal over the month of April, and which culminates with the Day of Action on April 20. The Carnival will include conferences, teach-ins, concerts, cabarets, workshops, street theatre, protests and direct action.”
Simultaneous protests by the ‘anti-globalism side’ are being organized along the Canada/US and US/Mexico borders and in at least 65 other cities ‘from Buenos Aires to Thunder Bay’
What is ‘really’
What is really going on has been described many times in the history of our troubled western culture and it goes much deeper than the conflict between ‘global capitalism’ and ‘anti-capitalism’.
Jonathan Swift (Irish author/clergyman, 1667-1745) captured the basic geometry of ‘what is really going in’ in his ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ satires (1726), i.e;
* * *
“It is allowed on all hands, that the primitive way of breaking eggs before we eat them, was upon the larger end: but his present Majesty's grandfather, while he was a boy, going to eat an egg, and breaking it according to the ancient practice, happened to cut one of his fingers. Whereupon the Emperor his father published an edict, commanding all his subjects, upon great penalties, to break the smaller end of their eggs. The people so highly resented this law, that our Histories tell us there have been six rebellions raised on that account, wherein one Emperor lost his life, and another his crown. These civil commotions were constantly formented by the monarchs of Blefuscu, and when they were quelled, the exiles always fled for refuge to that Empire. It is computed, that eleven thousand persons have, at several times, suffered death, rather than submit to break their eggs at the smaller end. Many hundred large volums have been published upon this controversy: but the books of the BigEndians have been long forbidden and the whole party rendered incapable by law of holding employments.
During the course of these troubles, the emperors of Blefuscu did frequently expostulate by their ambassadors, accusing us of making a schism in religion, by offending against a fundamental doctrine of our great prophet Lustrog, in the fiftyfourth chapter of the Brundecral (which is their Alcoran). This, however, is thought to be a mere strain upon the text: for their words are these; That all true believers shall break their eggs at the convenient end: and which is the convenient end, seems, in my humble opinion, to be left to every man's conscience, or at least in the power of the chief magistrate to determine.”
* * *
The ‘geometry’ which is implied is that ‘freedom’ is first and foremost based on ‘opportunity’ to act according to conscience on an individual basis, rather than to be bound to actions deemed to be ‘correct’ by the fixed edicts of centralized authority. Swift's ideas were considered 'blasphemous' by the authorities including Queen Anne (he published his latter work, Gulliver's Travels anonymously) as indicated in his self-authored epitaph in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin; "The body of Jonathan Swift, Doctor of Sacred Theology, dean of this cathedral church, is buried here, where fierce indignation can no more lacerate his heart. Go, traveler, and imitate, if you can, one who strove with all his strength to champion liberty."
The tie back to the 'globalism' - 'antiglobalism' conflict is that the issue is not really about the 'correct' regulatory approach for trade, but instead, it is about 'freedom' and 'opportunity' as seen by the constituent of community, from his immersed-in-community situation. What Swift is saying is that 'regulation' is innately incapable of dealing with the complexity of community-constituent relations and human understanding must play an over-riding role. That 'regulation' keyed to the behaviours of the constituents of our real-world biospheric space is innately incapable of dealing with the container-constituent complexities follows from the principles of relativity, which continue to be ignored by our 'rational-over-relational' culture.
[[Technical Note The principle of relativity says that when a constituent moves within a containing constituency, its motion can be perceived in two different but complementary ways, the one being a more general perception which includes the other as a reduced sub-perception; i.e. relativistically, it is incorrect to say that 'something is moving' (implying an imposed inertial frame) since we know that everything is moving, thus we can only say that 'things are moving'; i.e. that a thing is 'moving relative to other things'. This relativistic view of motion is of the transforming geometrical relationships of the 'thing' and its neighbouring 'things'. At this first, most general level of perception of motion, by abstaining from making statements as to the motion of particular things, 'observer-dependency' is avoided, since the observer's motion may be effecting the motion of its neighbouring constituents ('space is a participant in physical phenomena' as Einstein says) and while each of multiple observers will specify, in a consistent manner, the suite of relationships involved in the transforming geometrical relationships of a 'thing' and its neighbouring 'things', their specification of the 'motion of things' involves the 'imposing' of an 'inertial reference frame' . This imposing of a reference frame equates to the 'excluding' of the observer from the observational dataset and forces the dataset to be interpreted in terms of the motions of the remaining constituents. An example of the problem here is the 'pretzel-shaped' orbit of Mars as seen from Earth (excluding the Earth in the view by imposing a (Euclidian) reference frame), a distorted orbital view due to the influence of the Earth's movement passed through to Mars by the 'mediation' of space; i.e. by the container-constituent-coresonance which occurs in the solar system. In general, the observed motions of thing in terms of an imposed reference frame may include a component of motion induced by the observer, who is now no longer present in the observational dataset. As Kepler said, in this regard, "I concluded rightly that the true journeys of the planets through the ether should be dismissed, and that we should turn our eyes to the apparent diurnal arcs, according as they are all apparent from one definite and marked place in the world -- namely, from the solar body itself, the source of movement of all the planets;" In fact this view is a 'relational geometric view' which is essentially 'the shape of space' and transcends, in an informational sense, the notion of 'a thing moving'. So relativistically, the 'bigger story' view of 'motion' is 'transformation of space'. And since the space between things is 'unbounded' and continuously transforming as long as any 'thing' is moving relative to anything else, we can further say that this 'shape of space' is the 'dynamic shape of space-time'. When we drive on a crowded freeway, we typically 'reference' our actions to this 'dynamic shape of space-time' which is uniquely seen by each individual (we 'bypass' the splitting apart of space-time into 'Euclidian space' and 'sequential time'). Thus the overall behaviour of the system (traffic flow) has a dependency upon our perceptions of 'the dynamic shape of space-time', a geometry uniquely seen by each constituent which forms out of the simultaneous reciprocal to the constituent codynamics, ... an 'implicit' (purely relational) geometry which is not specifiable in terms of 'things' and their kinetic trajectories. When we are referencing our actions to the 'dynamic shape of space-time' we are, in effect, in the continuously transforming 'now'. Referencing one's actions 'in the now', as in the freeway driving example, underpins the opportunity to 'co-create' harmoniously balanced opportunity for ourselves and our fellow constituents of space (by moving relative to the geometry of space we are immersed in, in such a manner as to 'open up opportunity' for each other to sustain our respective purposive movements), a 'balancing' which is beyond the scope of regulation oriented to the 'movement of things'. That is, our motion in the 'bigger story' view of motion is 'transform-motion' wherein we put our 'individual-mind' in the service of a 'collective mind' and put our individual responses in the service of co-transforming the shape of our containing space, and there can be no rule structures applying to individual constituents which describe this since such transform-motion is driven directly by the dynamic 'in the now' shape of space, the equivalent of a 'collective mind'.]]
Immersed as we are within the finite and unbounded system of the earth’s biosphere, the reality of 'relativity', that we co-create the shape of our opportunity to act and that the harmonious balancing of this opportunity is beyond the scope of regulation keyed to the movement of things, demands that we maintain the individual's freedom to reference his movements to the container-constituent geometry in which he is immersed. As Swift says, we must preserve the primacy of 'every man's conscience' to act in a manner which he deems to be 'convenient', and for those of an 'eco-centric' ethic (rather than ego-centric) this means to act in a manner which co-creates harmoniously balanced opportunity for our fellow constituents. Because of the innate limitations of regulation, regulation must be used only as a supportive tool, always ensuring the primacy of the freedom of the local constituent (local individual or local community) to act according to their perception of 'what is convenient'.
Maintaining the primacy of the constituent to reference directly to the relativistic geometry of space in which it is immersed is a necessary, but not sufficient, pre-requisite for the harmonious balancing of opportunity. Animals, plants and minerals do not themselves make use of the approximation of splitting apart the experienced shape of space-time into Euclidian space and absolute, sequential time, the splitting apart of space and time is a tactic of man's rational approach to describing nature. The confusing of 'percept' (dynamic shape of space) and 'concept' (scientific description of nature using the split-apart Euclidian space and absolute time assumption) seems to be chronic in our culture (see 'Poincaré's 'Science and Hypothesis' for how the 'space of our experience' relates to the 'space of our scientific description'). That is, our containing space, the space of our experience, is not empty, infinite and non-participating in physical phenomena as the Euclidian framing would have it.
The earth's biosphere is the source of all freedom and riches that we are trading, and it is a finite legacy bequeathed to us by all of our ancestors, faunal, floral and mineral, ... resources which have been co-creatively sustained by a re-cycling process known as ‘evolution’ which depends upon each constituent having the freedom to move according to locally determined 'convenience'. Since our containing space, the biosphere, sustains itself in a harmonious manner wherein the constituents co-create balanced opportunity for their fellows, our 'trading' arrangements are an 'included' subsystem within this larger, enveloping system. Of course, just as vines thrive in the moist shade of the trees they climb, there is nothing stopping them from becoming so prolific that the strangle the creators of their life-giving ecospace, a kamikaze trip which demonstrates the generality of the relativistic principle that the constituents of space 'co-create their own opportunity'; i.e. they can also co-create their own disopportunizing', as man is currently doing.
What does all this boil down to?
It boils down to the fact that 'regulation' is 'non-relativistic' while our behaviours need to be relativistic if we are to achieve a sustainable economy in harmony with our enveloping biosphere; i.e. we need to have the freedom to attend to 'what is convenient' on the local scale; i.e. to attend to what is convenient with respect to the shape of space the individual is engaging with, the shape of space the local community is engaging with and so on.
If further boils down to the fact that 'the story' of trade in goods and services is not the 'big story' but a 'little story' which is innately incapable of dealing with the issue of sustainable balance in the economy. The 'bigger story' concerns the reciprocal to the trading of goods and services; i.e. it concerns the 'dynamic shape of opportunity'. As in the freeway driving example, we are all ‘inclusions’ in a common, self-referencing system wherein our 'actions' (e.g. trading of goods and services' reciprocally co-create our opportunity-to-act; i.e. the geometry of space is the 'mediator' of our codynamic, ... we ‘are’ the others we are going to battle with.
This is not ‘speculation’ but the simple geometrical terms of ‘relativity’ which characterize the curved space we live in.
The assumption of our western ‘rationalist’ culture has been that space is empty, infinite and non-participating, a ‘nice try’ at simplifying our reality which has been invaluable in the development of ‘mechanical systems’, but a ‘simplification’ nevertheless which is getting us into a lot of trouble where we try to impose it upon 'naturally complex systems' as opposed to the detached mechanical systems we have constructed 'logically'.
What this 'space-indifferent' assumption leads us to presume, falsely, is that we can manage our affairs on the sole basis of our ‘assertive actions’ (e.g. ‘production and trade in goods and services’) and do not need to consider the reciprocal change in the geometry of our containing space which represents the informationally richer 'flipside' of our actions.
As the skilled pool player knows, … as the driver on the crowded freeway knows, … as the worker in the busy restaurant knows, … 'motion' is not just 'assertive action' of the constituent, but is, at the same time, transformation of the geometry of the containing space as well as material kinetics. Every motion of every constituent of space can thus also be seen in the larger, ‘relativistic’ terms of a transformation of the geometry of space, and the ‘geometry of space’ represents the ‘opportunity-to-move’, … the ‘opportunity to act assertively’.
In this context, freeway drivers are aware that their assertive actions of moving into ‘corridors of opportunity’ are simultaneously, reciprocally transforming the geometry of their containing space which includes the asserting individual and those around him, determining the ‘dynamic shape of opportunity’ governing their continuing assertive actions. If they are ‘friendly drivers’, they will not only maintain an awareness that they are ‘co-creating’ their own opportunity to move but will move so as to cultivate balanced opportunity for themselves and their fellow constituents of ‘opportunity space’. These relativistic principles of motion and transform-motion apply to the space of our experience as a whole and thus to the 'drivers' of our economy. To use the example of freeway driving, if we, in our local environments are like pedestrians or bicyclists on the freeway, there is a radical difference between the corporation which behaves as a coordinated group of pedestrians and bicyclists collaborating with us to co-create opportunity for harmonious sustaining of our purposive actions, and the 'centrally managed' corporation which, by its 'unconsciousness' of the local 'shape of space', inevitably infuses dissonance into the flow.
While Jonathan Swift did not couch this realization in term of relativity theory, his deep intuiting of this geometry and its implications, wherein ‘opportunity’ is in a natural primacy over ‘action', permeates his satire.
Kepler, Poincaré and Einstein all went to great pains to try to get across the point that the space of our experience was not empty, infinite and non-participative, ... but instead, a finite, unbounded mediator in all physical phenomena. In the finite, curved space of our containing biosphere, when we act, we co-creatively transform the shape of our opportunity-to-act. Opportunity (the geometry of space) is the simultaneous, reciprocal ‘mediator’ between the assertive actions of the immersed constituents of biospheric space. The corporations that ‘corner the market’ on our common finite legacy of ‘fossil fuels’ corner the market on ‘opportunity’; i.e. they transform the ‘shape of opportunity space’. Does their financial ‘success’ derive from the quality of their ‘assertive actions’ and from other being ‘less performant’?, or is their financial success due to their controlling position in an ‘opportunity economy’?
If space is infinite and empty and non-participative, logic says (and logic itself is based on the assumption that space, the excluded middle, is non-participating) that ‘opportunity is a non-issue’ and that ‘assertive behaviours’ are ‘all she wrote’.
Can we really ignore the geometry of opportunity, … can we really trust in the assumption that space is empty and infinite and non-participating and thus put all our eggs in one basket, the basket of 'managing transactions'?
'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark' alright, opportunity is getting short shrift, but where can we be hiding this in our rational structures?
In our globalism ‘template' based on the US system of providing freedom and riches, there is a problem with the notion of ‘freedom’ which is being assumed, with respect to this issue of ‘the geometry of space’. It is interesting in this regard, to read the debates on US immigration law reform, and to bring it into connection with the fact that while products and services cross borders with relative impunity, workers do not. In other words, the ‘free’ in ‘free trade’ is applied to ‘assertive actions’ such as the production and trade in goods and services but not to the ‘geometry of opportunity’ available to those producing the goods and services.
Lawrence Fuch, an immigration lawyer from Brandeis University puts it this way in his testimony to a Commission on Immigration Reform (http://www.utexas.edu/lbj/uscir/102296.html )
." More than any other nation, Americans have emphasized liberty as its central value. Liberty was grounded in what they called the equality of every person under God, a belief asserted in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truth to be self evident, that all men [and women] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
emphasizing equal rights in a nation that authorized slavery, the founders
introduced a profound moral ambiguity that some argue has not yet been entirely
resolved. The idea of equality became as compelling as that of liberty in
American political discourse, but its meaning is less clear. Liberty meant
freedom from government interference to the founders and still retains
essentially that meaning. But what does equality mean? Does it mean social
equality, equality under the laws, equality of opportunity, equality of
condition-or some combination of them? Equality, in all its many meanings, took
on great significance in the rhetoric of public live and social discourse and
even in family life in America.”
* * *
is implied in Fuch’s statement is that ‘freedom to act assertively’ is not
much of a freedom if there is no ‘opportunity to act’, if the geometry of
space does not ‘open up for you’ as it may open up for others, as a function
of their contacts and associations, their color and ethnicity, their positioning
with respect to the man-made ‘frontiers’, all of which are ‘gates’ in
the ‘economy of opportunity’, the over-riding economy in any space which is
finite and unbounded, such as the space of our biosphere, and the space of our
local activity, in the busy restaurant, on the crowded freeway or sidewalk. We co-create our opportunity for assertive action, and
‘opportunity’ is the staging ground upon which assertive actions are built.
space really empty and of no consequence? Is
the geometry of space; i.e. ‘the dynamic shape of opportunity’ really a
non-issue, …or is the economy we are looking at an economy of opportunity,
wherein the big story is how opportunity is gated by frontiers, the frontiers
along national boundaries which keep impoverished workers ‘in their place’,
the frontiers along the boundaries of privileged (in terms of opportunity)
corporations, families, nations, ethnic and religious groups and other
theory says that in a finite unbounded space such as the space of our
experience, the economy is first and foremost, an ‘opportunity economy’, as
is apparent on the crowded freeway and on the pool table.
The ‘shots’ we make are enabled by the ‘shape’ we co-create with
our shots and our manner of making shots (assertive actions) simultaneously,
reciprocally determines what corridors of opportunity will be opened up for whom
and who will be ‘snookered’.
is ‘the name of the game’ in a finite, self-referential space such as we are
all immersed in and ‘assertive actions’ are a degenerate (mathematically)
picture of the transforming geometry of opportunity.
A degenerate picture which is arrived at by making the assumption that
space is infinite, empty and non-participating and that we can therefore put
‘action management’ into the primacy over ‘opportunity management’.
if space is a participant, if our assertive actions do indeed have a defined
reciprocal influence on the geometry of space which represents ‘opportunity’
then the primacy of ‘action management’ over ‘opportunity management’
makes no sense at all, and we must invert it and restore ‘opportunity
management’ to its natural primacy over ‘action management’, the geometry
which is manifest in nature and ‘ecologies’, … a geometry which delivers
sustainable ‘container-constituent harmony’.
The skilled pool player emulates nature in implicitly observing that a
pure ‘action orientation’ can only lead to dissonance in the domain of the
balance of opportunity, … the friendly freeway driver or worker in the crowded
restaurant similarly emulates nature by allowing his actions to be guided by his
awareness of participating in the co-creative transformation of
on the basis of putting ‘assertive actions’ into an unnatural primacy over
‘opportunity shaping’ can only lead to dissonance, whether the philosophy is
capitalist or socialist, when one is constituent within a self-referential
‘container-constituent-codynamic’ such as we are with respect to our
enveloping curved space biosphere.
As the psychologist R.D. Laing said in ‘The Politics of Experience’, … we ‘are’ the life which we are reaching out for’. The geometry of space or ‘the shape of opportunity’ is the mediator in our ‘reaching out’. The message is the same in the traditions of the Native American , i.e;
* * *
“Mitakuye-Oyasin (mi-TAHK-wee-a-say) means we are all related - Ojibway language
Chief Seattle proclaims we are part of the Web of Life. What I do to you, I do to myself. What you give me, you give to the Universe. What the Universe gives, she gives to us. What I feel, you feel. What you become, I become. You are not alone, nor am I. You are forever with me and I with you. We are brothers and sisters on the Web of Life.
Manifest Mitakuye-Oyasin. Relate, connect to your sisters and brothers. See the similarities, not the differences. Recognize that water is ice, as well as vapor. Hear the one heartbeat and embody the awe of life. (mi-TAHK-wee-a-say) means we are all related - Ojibway language
Chief Seattle proclaims we are part of the Web of Life. What I do to you, I do to myself. What you give me, you give to the Universe. What the Universe gives, she gives to us. What I feel, you feel. What you become, I become. You are not alone, nor am I. You are forever with me and I with you. We are brothers and sisters on the Web of Life.
Manifest Mitakuye-Oyasin. Relate,
connect to your sisters and brothers. See the similarities, not the differences.
Recognize that water is ice, as well as vapor. Hear the one heartbeat and embody
the awe of life.
* * *
not only Chief Seattle, but Kepler, Poincaré and Einstein who have embraced the
same ‘relativity theory’ as is manifest in nature, … and R.D. Laing and
Carl Jung and many others in the domain of psychology as well, not to mention
poets such as Rumi and philosophers such as Goethe.
pointed out in ‘Harmonies of the World’ (1619) that the assertive actions of
Mars took on a pretzel shaped orbital geometry when viewed ‘geocentrically’,
from the earth. Why? … because
the earth observer is looking at ‘himself’ when he looks at Mars in that the
earth’s dynamic is passed to Mars through the mediation of space, the
‘magnetic river vortex’ with the Sun at the ‘eye of the vortex’.
economists such as Michel Chussodovsky (University of Ottawa) have said the same
thing about the view of Serbia/Kosovo from the United States; i.e. that the US
is not looking at the purely ‘independent’ assertive actions of the
Serbians, but is instead, in direct analogy to the geocentric view of
Mars,‘looking at reflections of its own assertive action’, … the actions
of the ‘first world’ economic bloc which starved the former Yugoslavian
region of ‘economic opportunity’ until unemployment rose above 50% and an
internal ‘cannibalism’ erupted which aggravated all the old divisions and
the people elected someone who would do something about this abuse of stewarding
of the common legacies of the biosphere.
the eyes of the first world bloc, they elected a ‘rogue politician’, … and
Serbia became a ‘rogue nation’, convenient phraseology keyed to the
assumption that ‘space is empty and non-participative’ and therefore that
Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbs are ‘fully independent causal agents’ whose
actions can be understood ‘in their own right’, a theory which, if applied
to the orbit of Mars as seen from the Earth, would say that Mars ‘really does
have a pretzel shaped orbit’, … in effect, a denial that it is the
Observer’s own assertive actions which are twisting the assertive actions of
the ‘observed’ out of shape.
This is a familiar delusion to the Jungian psychologist, who would call it ‘projected identification’, as captured nicely in the ‘Tar Baby’ story  which, not by accident, comes from the Black and Cajun south. In this story, Brer Rabbit gets right angry at the ‘rogue’ Tar Baby who ‘impertinently’ fails to be polite to him in response to his generous gift of a ‘good mawnin’. Brer Rabbit rewards this lack of respect for his benevolence with a punch to the tar-baby's head, and soon learns the principle of Mitakuye-Oyasin, that we are as one, and that to go to battle against the ‘other’ in a finite, unbounded curved space is to go to battle against oneself.
So, what is really going on in the Globalism – Antiglobalism conflict is a classic case of ‘projective identification’ emanating from the delusion that the space we live within is empty, infinite and non-participating, and that ‘economy’ can be safely specified and managed in terms of ‘assertive behaviours’, ignoring the ‘bigger story’ (transcending) view of the economy as a co-created shaping of opportunity.
If we really want ‘democracy’ in the sense of ‘equal opportunity' and if we really want ‘free trade’, let the frontiers be opened so that people can have free access to ‘opportunity’, … opportunity of access to the common legacy of the biosphere. It is doubtful that either ‘globalism’ or ‘anti-globalism’ factions would approve of such a measure. The relatively highly paid US union worker is not ready to share his relatively larger opportunity with the impoverished Mexican worker, but wants to rebalance things, on a first priority, within the national hierarchy of privileged opportunity, a tactic by which his privileged (in a global sense) condition will ‘improve before it declines’ in the ‘rebalancing’, … taking him up higher into the zone of ‘living beyond one’s means’ relative to a global distribution of opportunity and deferring the responsibility for a global restoring of opportunity balance to his grandchildren.
Of course, one can argue that, for practical reasons, we can’t suddenly open the borders and have ‘free trade’ in ‘opportunity’, but one cannot argue that the economy is fully determined by the ‘assertive actions’ of the constituents out of the context of ‘opportunity’. In the curved, relativistic space of the biosphere, the economy ‘is’ an ‘opportunity economy’ and viewing and managing it as an ‘assertive behaviour’ economy is a degenerate view born of the assumption that our biosphere is an empty, infinite, non-participating space, the same assumption that makes of us ‘detached’, ‘independent’ constituents who assertive behaviours are in ‘our own right’ and which are not ‘connected’ through the ‘mediating role of space’ to anyone else.
Perhaps the upcoming confrontational classic in Québec City; i.e. ‘Tar-Babies’ on the Plains of Abraham' will be a precursor to our ‘retracting’ of our ‘projective identification’ and a realization of the principle of Mitakuye-Oyasin, ... that ‘we are who we are bitching about’.
The psychology of 'free trade' differs radically depending on our 'choice of geometry' and this has tended to be a cultural choice. The Native Americans chose, implicitly, the spherical space of relativity in which 'material dynamics' can be perceived in both a 'bigger view' and 'smaller view' where the 'smaller view' is included in the 'bigger view'; i.e. in the 'bigger view' terms of the changes in geometric relationships amongst things (i.e. 'the transforming shape of the containing space' which determines the 'opportunity' for dynamics) and/or in the 'smaller view' terms of the dynamic movement and transactions of material objects.
Meanwhile, our dominant Western European culture has chosen to build its models and operative methods on' the 'smaller view' which ignores the relativistic 'reciprocity' between 'action' and 'opportunity' (the transforming shape of our containing space).
In the relativistic curved space view of the Native American tradition, 'opportunity' is put into a natural primacy over 'action' (while they are flip-sides of the same thing, 'opportunity' inductively shapes the patterns of 'action'). In the rectangular space view of the modern Western 'rational' tradition, 'action' is put into an unnatural primacy over 'opportunity'.
Since we are 'inclusions' in the curved space of the Earth's biosphere, the 'unnatural' primacy of 'action-over-opportunity' leads to both operational and psychological problems. The trouble starts at a very basic level, in the notion of 'sovereign ownership'. In a relativistic curved space, the part is inextricably interwoven with its containing space, thus it is problematic to claim absolute ownership of things on a geographical basis. If each country with fisheries claims all the fish which frequent their waters and plan their fisheries management on this basis, the same fish will be counted many times and if each of ten countries decides to harvest 20% of the fish it counts, there will be problems.
The message is that 'actions' impinge simultaneously, reciprocally on 'opportunity', and opportunity is the 'bigger view' since it is what enables action [in addition, action is observer-dependent while opportunity is not, as explained in the technical note above].
In the curved space container of our natural experience, the inside is the outside; i.e. if one imagines a kingdom which continues to grow in size, pushing its defensive walls farther out into the wilderness as it increases the radius of its circular interior, it will reach a point where, one day, an observer will be able to look out over the wall and see the defensive wall approaching him. That is, as one expands a circle on the surface of the earth, when the circle gets to the size of a hemisphere, the circumference will start to shrink and eventually, 'the wilderness' it was pushing out into will be no more than a small circular enclave in the middle of the king's courtyard. Is it still 'the wildnerness?'
The 'assertive action' of the kingdom simultaneously, reciprocally transformed the 'shape of opportunity-to-assert', thus the 'assertive action' was an incomplete way of looking at the overall dynamic, ... unless of course, the assertive action was taking place in an infinite, empty and non-participative Euclidian space, as is the assumption which typically underpins western scientific theory (pre-relativity).
A more complete ('bigger view') way of looking at the dynamic is in terms of the 'transformation of space' or the 'transforming shape of opportunity'. In the case of the fisheries, the plans would no longer be based on local assumptions of 'sovereign ownership' and 'harvesting actions' but instead, in seeing the fisheries as 'opportunity' and putting one's actions in the service of managing (sustaining) opportunity as one garners nourishment from it.
When one flips to the 'opportunity-over-action' mode, the view of 'free-trade' is rather different. For example, the people and creatures in the wildness in the 'growing kingdom' example were not 'free' but were 'captives' as the kingdom continually encroached on their 'opportunity' (the were denied access to the forests, and lakes and the common legacy of the biosphere which fell within the kingdom walls). The 'walls of the sovereign nation' are thus of fundamental importance and make it imperative that the 'global economy' be seen, first and foremost, in terms of an 'opportunity economy' rather than an 'action economy' (trading economy). Again, it is the Euclidian space assumption of our rational theory (as contrasted with 'relativistic' i.e. 'relational' theory) that says that there is no 'action-opportunity' reciprocity since space is infinite and empty, and it supports this with reasoning based on Aristotelian logic and the law of the excluded middle which says that a thing 'A', cannot, at the same time, be another thing 'B'; i.e. the interior of a kingdom cannot, at the same time, be the wilderness in which it is immersed.
There is an important piece of psychology here for the 'citizen of the kingdom' which is tied up in the 'bigger view' and 'smaller view' of motion and the question of which has 'sovereignty' over the other. In the prior example, it made sense from the 'bigger view' for the 'sovereignty' of fish to take precedence over the sovereignty of the nation. This same question arises with respect to people, and is in fact a major differentiator between the Native American 'bigger view in the primacy' tradition and the Western European 'smaller view in the primacy' tradition, i.e, as Taiaiake Alfred (Professor of Indigenous Governance at University of Victoria, B.C.) says; "In the European system the Crown is sovereign. In our system the people are sovereign" (from 'Peace, Power, Righteousness: an indigenous manifesto').
What this implies in geometric terms is that the 'nation' which is in the primacy is the 'people nation' and various abstract 'nations' and their hierarchies are valuable associations which one can appreciate (like the fish) but not be 'owned by', as the following comment by Steve Dixon, former chief of the Sechelt band implies; "After watching my friend . . . raise our Sechelt flag, along with the British Columbia and Canadian flags; I felt a deep emotion and realized how much I loved Canada and my people. At that moment, I cried . . . It signified what Sechelt is all about, a distinct people with a culture and a past."
Native Americans demonstrate symbolically in support of their belief that the sovereignty of people (constituents of nature) must be held above the sovereignty of nations, by, on special occasions, walking back and forth across the Canada - US border crossings without stopping. While non-native North American natives 'put down' this drive for the primacy of people-sovereignty over 'crown' sovereignty, as being motivated by the avoidance of import duties, the issue is clearly a deeper, more philosophical one, as this following excerpt from Mohawk Council notice (June, 2000) indicates;
* * *
Mohawk Council of Akwesasne
The Mohawks of Akwesasne have finally reached the end of the long road to the Supreme Court of Canada, where the Court will make a final decision on their Aboriginal right to bring goods into Canada from the United States for their community and for trade with other First Nations of Ontario and Quebec without payment of duties or taxes.
The Akwesasne community has been fighting for these rights for decades. Starting with the Francis case in the 1950’s, our people have asserted to the Courts that we have Aboriginal and treaty rights of this nature. In the Francis decision, the Court ruled against the Mohawks on a technicality stating that the portion of the Jay Treaty of 1794, which affirmed our border crossing rights, had not been ratified by Parliament. This strained legal decision did not deter our vision, and our people have worked hard ever since, to utilize other methods to gain recognition of our rights.
In the mid 1980s, the people of Akwesasne insisted that it was time again to bring our Aboriginal treaty and border crossing rights to the attention of Canada. Akwesasne tried to negotiate with Canada for a means to exercise our rights, but the existence of these rights was always denied and the Mohawks were told to go to court to prove the Aboriginal and treaty rights. In March 1988, acting on direction from Akwesasne elders, Grand Chief Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell, crossed the international border with a truckload of goods destined for his community and for trade with Mohawks of Tyendinaga in Southern Ontario. After identifying the goods at Customs, Grand Chief Mitchell refused to pay the duties and taxes asserting his Aboriginal and treaty rights.
This began the litigation now coming to a conclusion.
Akwesasne is situated in an unusual geographic situation, where a portion of its territory and people are within the jurisdictions of Canada, the United States, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec and the State of New York. Despite this confusing overlay of artificial borders, Akwesasne comprises one people who are entitled to inherent rights that pre-date European contact. . . .
The fight for Akwesasne’s rights is also the fight for the rights of all First Nations.
* * *
The current conflict between the supporters of 'globalism' and 'antiglobalism' fails to question the basic principles underlying the current system of 'free trade', such as the unnatural and dysfunctional primacy of 'action' over 'opportunity' and the unnatural and dysfunctional primacy of 'crown sovereignty' over 'people sovereignty'.
The American (or Canadian or British) sailor in a third world port has been able to buy sexual favours from teenagers in exchange for chocolate bars. Does this represent his superior trading skills? ... or does it imply that the 'trading economy' is really an 'opportunity economy' wherein the 'assertive action' is nothing and the 'terrain' (geometry of opportunity) is everything' (a general and 'relativistic' systems geometry describing health and pathology as cited by Louis Pasteur on his deathbed, and which is currently manifesting in the advances in 'pro-biotic' medicine.)
In the body of the essay, the view was put forth that the constituent human resources were being 'used' by the abstract, sovereignty of business and government economic hegemonies (for more on this, see 'The secret free-trade agenda: Accessing cheap foreign labour is good for companies, but only dreamers think it benefits workers', by John MacArthur, April 12, 2001 in the Globe and Mail ( www.globeandmail.com )
Also in the body of the essay, the point was made that there is some 'projective identification' going on. The campaign by unions for higher wages and benefits puts their constituency within their sovereign nation in the primacy over the 'global worker' constituency. That is, the US or Canadian worker is not advocating a rebalanced distribution of the total North American wage packet with the Mexican worker. Unlike the Native American traditionalist (a declining minority amongst natives, it appears), he does not see the 'worker nation' as having sovereignty over the 'political nation' (the 'crown'). This 'shadow' of not being willing to share across an abstract boundary (political boundary) he 'projects' onto 'management' which is unwilling to share across the abstract boundary of 'management-labour', a 'tar-baby' effect which is unlikely to be 'freely admitted'. So 'who do we represent' in our trading activities? Are there not some Canadian traders who advocate a free-trade region because they feel their trading skills are 'more competitive' and the competitive average will 'fall' as the free-trade region is expanded? And are there not some developing nation traders who advocate a free-trade region because they can be 'middle men' in the 'chocolate bar' transactions between the 'opportunity rich' and the 'opportunity impoverished?' As the psychologist R. D. Laing says, in his book 'Knots';
'They are playing a game. They are playing at not
playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I
shall break the rules and they will punish me.
I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.'
For my own part, I have lived and worked with British Columbians, Québecois, Canadians, Texans, Americans, British and Libyans, and I am supportive of the cultural systems of all of these 'peoples'. Like the Native American, if someone asks me my 'citizenship', I would prefer to respond 'I am of the global people's nation' though I carry the passport of a particular political nation. For, if I say 'I am a Canadian', the excluded middle logic of the rational West prevents me from being 'an American' or any other citizenship and I find this an unnatural 'geometry' in its manner of 'excluding'. Like the chief of the Sechelt band, I feel an inclusionary emotional connection with my 'British Columbian family', my 'Québecois family', my 'Canadian family', my 'Texan family', my 'American family', my 'British family' and my 'Libyan Family'. I feel as if I am 'included' in all of these families at the same time, in the same way that the circular kingdom is an 'inclusion' in the 'wilderness' beyonds its walls and the wilderness beyond its walls is an 'inclusion' in the kingdom.
What is 'really' going on in the conflict between 'Globalism' and 'Anti-Globalism' runs far deeper than the surface issues.
While this essay tries to point to the deeper 'geometric' and 'psychological' principles which underly the 'globalism' - 'antiglobalism' confrontation, it is not my intention to minimize the importance of public intervention on the issues, to draw attention to the 'something rotten in the state of Denmark', and I plan to be in Québec on the 20th and 21st to participate (peacefully) in this intervention. [for my report on what happened in Québec, see 'Sequel to Tar-Babies on the Plains of Abraham' at www.goodshare.org/kebek.htm ]
**'Tar-Baby'** --- the 'tar-baby' is the shadowy aspect of ourselves that we dislike and are ashamed or unwilling to admit to ourselves but which we are prone to attack when we see it in others, often viciously ('projective identification'). The government and the 'transnational corporation' (governments are looking more and more like 'transnational corporations') are like the kingdom whose technology has superior capacity to exploit the 'global commons' (i.e. the common space of the biosphere is an indivisible 'living' system) and trade the output to those in the 'wilderness' in exchange for the 'growth' of opportunity of exploitive access to the 'global commons'. The geometry can be likened to that where the nation or corporation with the best 'drilling technology' taps into a 'common' oil bearing formation of global extent, selling to a captive, energy-dependent global populace, at the same time restricting the opportunity of others to access their own resources (i.e. the resources of the biospheric commons). The nation and the corporation thus play the shadowy game of 'procurer', manipulating others by seducing them with the promise of increased opportunity to access what is rightfully theirs. The 'shadowy' aspect in 'Globalism' is in the thought of moving towards a 'global pimping championship' while the shadow aspect in 'Anti-Globalism' is in the thought of not wanting to shift the 'territorial balance' in the current 'pimping' arrangements. Interwoven with these shadowy thoughts, on both sides, are sincere, heartfelt views on promoting harmony amongst one's biospheric fellows. The tar-babys (i.e. the reflections of our own unadmitted shadow thoughts) will be out there in full force on 'the Plains of Abraham' (i.e. in Québec) and they will rise up as ghostly forms in the demeanors of those we argue with. The challenge will be to recognize that the 'evil we see in others' and want so badly to destroy and eliminate, rather than being 'out there', may be our own 'shadow'. If we can 'hold on to the tension' of the opposition and not become victims to the 'tar-baby' effect, we may find that what is 'really' going on beneath the superficial issues is that we have put our logical fragmentation of the world into an unnatural primacy over global human relations.
 Citations of lawsuits based on NAFTA Chapter 11, by corporations against government, excerpted from the article ‘How Free Trade Threatens Democracy’, by Michael Valpy, April 9, 2001
… The U.S. Ethyl Corp. sued the Canadian government for $250-million (U.S.) and obtained, in 1998, a settlement of $13-million for the government's ban on the gasoline additive MMT, labelled a known nerve toxin by reputed scientists. The ban was reversed.
In 1998, U.S.-based S. D. Myers Inc. filed a claim for more than $10-million against the Canadian government for losses it claims to have incurred during an 18-month ban on the export of PCB wastes from Canada. The government says it imposed the ban in accordance with international conventions on disposal of PCB wastes to which it says the company did not adhere. The case is before a court.
California-based Sun Belt Water Inc. is suing Canada for the decision of the British Columbia government to refuse consent for the company to export bulk water. Sun Belt's president, Jack Lindsay, has declared: "Because of NAFTA, we are now stakeholders in the national water policy of Canada."
The U.S.-based Pope and Talbot lumber company, which has operations in B.C., is suing for $510-million in damages, alleging discrimination in government quotas set on softwood lumber exports to the United States -- ironic, given that U.S. softwood lumber producers are claiming that Canadian softwood is unfairly subsidized.
U.S.-based United Parcel Service is claiming $230-million damages against the Canadian government, alleging that Canada Post provides unfair competition through its Purolator courier service. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the Council of Canadians have applied to a Canadian court to take jurisdiction away from the tribunal, arguing that constitutional Charter rights of Canadians are at stake and secret trade tribunals violate the independence of the Canadian courts to protect those rights.
 How can You Buy or Sell the Sky?, A speech made in 1851 by Seattle, chief of the Suquamish, in response to a treaty proposal under which the Indians would sell two million acres of land for $150,000. Buckminster Fuller calls it "one of the most beautiful and profound environmental statements ever made". From people that have done research, these were not his actual words but the gist of what he said. It make them none the less profound. (http://featherstonecreations.com/nawisdom.htm#How )
How Can You Buy or Sell the Sky?
How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them? Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.
The white man's dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man--all belong to the same family.
So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land, he asks much of us. The Great Chief sends word he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves. He will be our father and we will be his children.
So we will consider your offer to buy our land. But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us. This shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father.
The rivers are our brothers; they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes, and feed our children. If we sell you our land, you must remember, and teach your children, that the rivers are our brothers and yours, and you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.
We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on.
He leaves his father's grave behind, and he does not care. His father's grave and his children's birthright are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.
You do not know. Our ways are different from your ways. The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man. There is no quiet place in the white man's cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring or the rustle of the insect's wings. The clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around the pond at night? I am a red man and do not understand. The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind itself, cleansed by a midday rain, or scented with pinon pine.
The air is precious to the red man for all things share the same breath. The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes. Like a man dying for many days he is numb to the stench. But if we sell you our land, you must remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.
The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh. And if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred as a place where even the white man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow's flowers.
You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our 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 that 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. All things are connected. We may be brothers after all. We shall see. One thing we know which the white man may one day discover: Our God is the same God.
You may think now that you own Him as you wish to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of man, and His compassion is equal for the red man and the white. This earth is precious to Him; and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator. The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Contaminate your bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.
But in your perishing you will shine brightly fired by the strength of the God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man.
That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tame, the secret corners of the forest heavy with scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires.
Where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the eagle? Gone.
The end of living and the beginning of survival.
Story, source of story and appended notes by R. M. Young http://www.human-nature.com/rmyoung/papers/tar1.html
the fox never catch the rabbit, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy the next
come mighty nigh it, honey, sho's you born— Brer Fox did. One day atter Brer
Rabbit fool 'im wid dat calamus root, Brer Fox went ter wuk en got 'im some tar,
en mix it wid some turkentime, en fix up a contrapshun wat he call a Tar-Baby,
en he tuck dish yer Tar-Baby en he sot 'er in de big road, en den he lay off in
de bushes fer to see what de news wuz gwineter be. En he didn't hatter wait
long, nudder, kaze bimeby here come Brer Rabbit pacin' down de road—lippity-clippity,
clippity-lippity— dez ez sassy ez a jay-bird. Brer Fox, he lay low. Brer
Rabbit come prancin’ ’long twel he spy de Tar-Baby, en den he fotch up on
his behime legs like he wus 'stonished. De Tar-Baby, she sot dar, she did, en
Brer Fox, he lay low.
sez Brer Rabbit, sezee—'nice wedder dis mawnin',' sezee.
ain't sayin' nothin', en Brer Fox, he lay low.
duz yo' sym'tums seem ter segashuate?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
Fox, he wink his eye slow, en lay low, en de Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin' nothin'.
you come on, den? Is you deaf? sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. ‘Kaze if you is, I kin
holler louder,’ sezee.
stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.
stuck up, dat's w'at you is, Says Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'en I'm gwineter kyore
you, dat's what I’m a gwinter do,’ sezee
Fox, he sorter chuckle in his stummick. he did, but Tar-Baby ain't sayin nothin’.
gwinter larn you how to talk ter ‘spectubblke fokes ef hit’s de las’ ack’,
sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. ‘Ef you don’t take off dat hat en tell me howdy.
I’m gwinter bus’ you wide open,’ sezee.
stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.
Rabbit keep on axin’ ‘im, en de Tar-Baby, she keep on sayin’ nothin’,
twel present’y Brer Rabbit draw back wid his fis’, he did, en blip he
tuck’er side er de head. Right dar’s whar he broks his merlasses jug. His
fis’ stuck, en he can’t pull loose. De Tar-Baby hilt ‘im. But Tar-Baby,
she stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.
you don't lemme loose, Ill knock you agin, sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, en wid dat he
fotch 'er a wipe wid de udder han', en dat stuck. Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin'
nothin', en Brer Fox, he lay low.
me loose, fo' I kick de natal stuffin' outen you,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, but
de Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin' nothin'. She des hilt on, en den Brer Rab bit lose
de use er his feet in de same way. Brer Fox, he lay low. Den Brer Rabbit squall
out dat ef de Tar-Baby don't tu'n 'im loose he butt 'er cranksided. En den he
butted, en his head got stuck. Den Brer Fox, he sa'ntered fort', lookin' des ez
innercent ez one er yo' mammy's mockin'-birds.
Brer Rabbit,' sez Brer Fox, sezee. 'You look sorter stuck up dis mawnin',' sezee,
en den he rolled on de groun', en laughed en laughed twel he couldn't laugh no
mo'. 'I speck you’ll take dinner wid me dis time, Brer Rabbit. I done laid in
some calamus root, en I ain't gwineter take no skuse,' sez Brer Fox, sezee."
Uncle Remus paused, and drew a two-pound yam out of the ashes.
the fox eat the rabbit?" asked the little boy to whom the story had been
all de fur de tale goes," replied the old man. 'He mout, en den again he
moutent. Some say Jedge B’ar come long en loosed 'im— some say he didn't. I
hear Miss Sally callin'. You better run 'long."
following Notes are by Robert Maxwell Young, Professor of Psychotherapy &
Psychoanalytic Studies, Centre for Psychotherapeutic Studies, University of
question is whether or not a projective identification was in place between Brer
Rabbit and the Tar-Baby, and my answer is yes. We can see it in two contexts.
Brer Rabbit greets the Tar-Baby in a friendly manner. There is no response. He
increasingly finds the Tar-Baby insufferably rude and finally loses the use of
each of his limbs one by one and his head, as well. This occurs as a result of
his growing indignation and his determination to teach his insolent and silent
interlocutor a lesson. The Tar-Baby has only not replied and then becomes
adhesive as a result of the intrinsic qualities of his somatic features,
modified by Brer Fox’s turpentine.
have no difficulty at all in noting that the Tar-Baby did not have to be changed
in her internal world or to do anything in order for the interaction to build up
to violence. She omitted to greet a passing fellow creature and, in particular,
would not tip her hat. Rude and insolent. Insulting. Outrageous.
the Object does not have to be affected and there does not have to be any
behaviour elicited for there to be a projective identification in place.
broader context, of course, is the position of the creature feeling potentially
snubbed and insisting on civility. Moreover, Brer Fox has placed the Tar-Baby
there just so it would wind up Brer Rabbit - so that he would take umbrage and
be captured by the consequences of his own easily affronted sense of dignity.
These aspects of the broader context are supremely relevant to many situations
where there is a rapid build-up to a virulent projective identification. My
Pakistani dentist told me such story this very morning. His wife‘s handbag
brushed against a black man as they passed by one another on the pavement, and
the man immediately berated her and then her husband for jostling him, being
disrespectful, and I don’t know what all.
Looking further, the relationship can be with an inanimate object which in no way resembles a person. My car sometimes offends me in this way. At the moment the automatic lighter on the cooker is doing so every time I try to light the gas ring. This is one reason that Harold Searles wrote his magnificent but under-appreciated The Nonhuman Environment in Normal Development and In Schizophrenia (Madison, Conn.: IUP, 1960).