With an Apology to Rats

As a visual artist I’m limited in my methods, I must communicate a concept or situation via a syllogism to my chosen/wished-for audience. I’ll say: Rats do A and “suits” do A, therefore: suits are rats, rats in suits.

The metaphor’s back-story is thus: Rats live in a world parallel to ours but generally out of sight; they enter ours to steal our food, bite us, and give us disease. Suits do this too. We are aware of them both, not because we see them but that we are hungry, bitten and sick. But an apology to rats is due, they don’t know better, they are amoral not immoral. No rat would sink a ship and drown the crew just to steal the cargo.

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I could go on with google and wikipedia, searching ‘ethics’ then cutting and pasting quotes ad nauseum here. But I won’t. It would be wrong, not very wrong–not much suffering would be added to the world–but it’d still wrong as it would be both a still be theft of intellectual property and a headache for those who would be readers.

Some thinkers say only if I intend to add suffering to the world am I bad, and am bad even before I do anything. Some say I’m bad if what I do is bad no matter what I planned. Some quantify suffering by say a little bad here is worth it, if there is a greater good there. And some others think one should not care about the world at large but only oneself. That if everybody did this the world would have less total suffering. Hard to say which is right, but probably not the last one. Look around, does not general suffering increase when selfishness gets out of hand?

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Marx said that capital is dead labor. That doesn’t seem quite right, seems it’s more like stored labor, like a battery stores energy. Batteries and machines work together to produce more batteries and machines. Likewise capital and labor work together to make more capital for the capitalists and more labor for the laborer.

Not that there is a hard and fast divide between capital and labor these days. But there is still a divide, now it’s between the producers, capital and labor lumped together, and the takers, back to the rat image, the suits. Our food and houses are gained by labor and stored as capital. Rats can steal our food and live in  our houses for free. Do do, metaphorically, the suits.

In this economy, neither the workers nor the stockholders (labor and capital) are gaining anything but more suffering. Only the suits, via self-granted bonuses, thrive. Another point for the metaphor.

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So why the mechanical women?  As a counterpoint to animals in one kind of suit, the ‘escorts’ are machines in another. neither are human, yet both pretend to be such. They are chimera and cyborg wearing human costumes.

The suits don’t like being humans. Acting like animals, ‘red in tooth and claw’ they can destroy and discard humans without thinking of the consequences beyond their personal, selfish momentary needs. But it’s still messy, when mistreated humans make such a fuss.  Interacting with machines is preferred; machines can be destroyed or discarded, too, but without a whimper. The solution? Treat humans like machines. Metaphor complete.

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