Post Modern Bind:  to live inside the public paywall

Sue DeGregorio-Rosen, Photographer

by LJ Frank

The evolving public paywall is an economic philosophy in which life itself means access to the practical benefits of that economic system is restricted to those who can pay and unavailable to those who can’t pay.  It’s a version of fhe popup paywall subscriptions for information access on the Internet.

The public paywall is also a system that standardizes the belief in consumerism and manipulating people’s wishes to want more…. look at how good the rich live, this could be you.  

Those who can’t pay for even the basics are debtors, pawns, and the system’s refuse. It’s a dangerous concept and undermines democracy and the social and global economy – those who pay are the only ones that can play. The paywall is not an abstract. It’s a game of tracking and matchups – if I can afford a private jet the tracking of me as a person is minimized. Few cameras, fewer intrusions on my privacy…. If’s the velvet rope that distances people. The Gospel of wealth. Be like me…. Celebrityhood, It’s a form of shared communion for the rich.

Whether a person agrees with it or not, to be born into that economic system automatically places the person into the potential position of enduring the demeaning and humiliating side of competition. Is artificial intelligence a leveler? Or, something else altogether? Life increasingly becomes like a sporting event. Competition has gone awry. It’s about money. Who makes the game’s rules? Who controls the loans and debt?

Wealth can be found poolside at tropical resorts… if they are compassionless they send a postcard or an instagram, etcetera, to the common people who helped them get to their special station in life…aren’t you happy for me? 

Freedom is continually being redefined. Liberty is not an insurance. And slogans and branding are tiresome. In such a system one never really pays off the principle. It may appear the bills have been paid, but are they?

Much in day-to-day living is easily tracked since the turn of the century. Suspicion, fear, and paranoia have achieved propaganda status. As the fictional Inspector Jacque Clouseau said, “I suspect everyone, I suspect no-one” …. I believe everything, I believe nothing”.

Are state, province, and region border customs on the horizon in democracies?  Fascism has a large appetite. Polarization has a dynamic and long history… the outer layers of the cloth of polarization, change. Money feeds into the tinted lens of society.

From the cost of corporate greed on judicial opinions, the for-profit student loan business, to lobbyists subsidizing politicians to build another prison, to fossil fuel industry, real estate corruption, to church, temple, synagogue “class behavior” and the rise in self-help gurus…how much knowledge is truly free?  Public libraries with diverse, thought-provoking collections?  The economic system requires entertainment to block reality.

Nothing is free, other than talking to yourself as you are walking down the street or you are on a public beach, nothing besides the air you breathe is free. And the air you breathe has hidden costs to keep it somewhat clean…….

As a colleague notes “Think about it, seriously…….how much do you pay for health care, education, transportation, food, the water you drink and use in your garden, and the medications……..everything has a cost”.

Those who can’t pay suffer…. the bills must be paid…. And the financially elite walk. Have we become Nietzsche’s Madman crying in the street exclaiming we have killed God?  Is God Man’s greatest celebrity existing on the precipice of human thought and wish? But for the grace….

Issues come with existence, Depending on one’s mental, and physical wherewithal no one is born or grows truly equal… fortune and opportunity are the spices that gives breath to the soul.

And, on a cold day, under a beautiful, cobalt blue sky, my 99-year old father was found dying, lying naked on Earth’s damp floor…. a good day as any to die. He was no longer a productive part of the economic life machine only to become like my mother and daughter, part of the economic death machine…. And in this world, one might ask, will the machine ever attain a level of development where it will inquire of itself – what is it like to be human and humane?