BIG MEDICINE
Introducing Anti-Corporate Biotics and Immunogentility

ADBUSTERS COLUMN JAN/FEB 2001

"Let us lift our vision high enough to dominate the problem."
Pierre Teilhard du Chardin

The human revolt against corporate dominion is the evolutionary equivalent of war. Currently underdogged to near irrelevance, our side quickly needs hard-hitting new memes as well as unstoppable means to cascade them through the zeitgeist. The real cascading force is of course with thee, br'er readers. You are such a fiercely special crowd - so madly diverse yet reliably convergent around fresh schemes to rescue our collective ass from terminal incorporation. Coherent yet shrewdly unorganized, you are potentially everywhere and connect to 10,000 other networks of bizarre seditious sway. In glorious sum, you ramify, people, and your defiance reverberates hopefully between our body politic's most distant chakras.

Clearly that body now ails grievously and Something Must Be Done. Less obviously, I trust a great number of you will initiate the doing.

  • Do you irrationally gravitate toward outbreaks of pain in the neighborhood (rather than swiftly, sanely scuttling away)?

  • Does distress even in far-off lands among total strangers often reach out and twinge you?

  • Do collisions with malignant authority oddly energize you?

  • Do you relish collusion, but detest hierarchy? Think insubordination is a vital civic good?

  • Can you see others trapped inside corporate membranes as recognizably human and sometimes feel moved to help those desperate to be free?

  • Stung by the corporate crowd's deadly poisons, contempt and injustice, do you long for better arms, stronger defenses, more penetrating ammunition? Would you settle for a few silver bullets?

If so, you're probably implicated in the planet's quickening immune forces, the Immunogentiles, the magic ten percent of us who reflexively respond to eco-social affliction and are inexplicably moved to DO SOMETHING! In older, less helpful words, we are the malcontents, populists, dissidents, rebels, heretics, anarchists, radical tree-huggers and flaming moonbeam goo-goos. May god have mercy on our souls.

This is not a fun calling. Our incorporated adversaries are huge, opaque, connected, acutely toxic to our health and dreams; they afflict everything they touch with lethal consumptive fevers. Terrifying foe, no mistake but mission impossible? Contemplate the fell little heroes in your own immune system. Our immune cells, too, are vastly outnumbered, totaling only a scant hundred million in our 30-trillion-cell bio-polities. That's one lone leukocyte ranger to guard every 300,000 in your cellular silent majority. In American terms, that's about 840 white hats to police the whole national shooting match. But note: if we're not egregiously stupid, these micro-vigilantes generally manage our defenses quite well, and we often live much longer than we can quite remember why.

If our relative fewness doesn't exactly explain our impotence against the current plagues, maybe we should re-examine our diagnostic directions. First, we might recall that any immune system depends entirely on intelligence its understanding of an enemy's true nature, strengths, weaponry and fatal flaws; where it is most vulnerable; when it least expects attack. Once this diagnostic picture is pieced together something quite marvelous occurs. Our lymph gland universities begin churning out wave upon wave of diverse special forces uniquely prepared to tag, stun or dissolve the identified foe. These activated individuals then converge upon their pathogen with all the bio-molecular analogues of journalism, law and guerrilla war. (Although surrounding communities of working class cells may not join the fray directly, many do sense the peril and boost fevers to energize their defenders and debilitate the foe.)

But who or what is our real foe? Well, fancy this. Let's assume that like most disease, eco-social scourges are caused by predators or parasites that plunder their victims for energy and nutrients. In this case, however, suppose our pathogens are not microscopic but immense. Accept for a moment the idea that big corporate bodies constitute a true life form. That is, they fulfill all recognized definitions of life; they can grow, learn, interact with their environs, ingest and excrete, communicate, behave, reproduce and die. Suppose further that these Big Bodies constitute a literal interbreeding new species, one now competing with ours for evolutionary control. And while such Big Bodies have little more sense than itinerant tumors, they have the collective power to shape their environment (including us) to serve their consumptive needs.

If such metamedical insights hold true, all our diverse symptoms of corporate malaise ubiquitous pollution, genetic agrobiz, nuclear peril, anaesthetic media, contracting liberties, widening disparities, vanishing species et mucho lugubrious cetera largely stem from a single source and can thus be simultaneously relieved. It is up to us to catalyze our great corporate slime molds into Final Fruition, a contagious defection and deliquescence that will bonsai, localize and democratize these vast bodies once and for all.

The end game is near and our odds, quite exhilarating. Only a few thousand mammoth Them now face millions of militant Us. If we're half as smart as I think we are, Big Bodies shall soon be known as our first deservedly endangered species.

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Kyoto Journal correspondent, W. David Kubiak writes/ lectures on tactical memetics, ki and Big Body pathology.



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