Let us discuss the concept of the absolute.
In philosophy, the Absolute is the term used for the ultimate or most supreme being, usually conceived as either encompassing "the sum of all being, actual and potential", or otherwise transcending the concept of "being" altogether. While the general concept of a supreme being has been present since ancient times, the exact term "Absolute" was first introduced by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and features prominently in the work of many of his followers. In Absolute idealism and British idealism, it serves as a concept for the "unconditioned reality which is either the spiritual ground of all being or the whole of things considered as a spiritual unity".
Now, let us consider a specific reality, that of a region arbitrarily defined by a violent, colonial history that originated in the desires of an absolute monarch of the British Isles, whose subjects claimed for their ruler the identity of the earthly representative of the Absolute deity, the supreme being.
From this being, we derive the concept of supremacy. There is a hierarchy, a chain of being, in this particular narrative of human origins, that begins with the divine will and divine fiat of the supreme being by which humans have been given dominion of the earth.
The Dominion of Canada is the specific reality that almost 40 million humans have been conditioned to believe as absolute.
However, even the courts of the land are calling into question the legitimacy of their sovereign.
Days ago, I learned of a ruling by Justice Kent of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in which he quotes the UNDRIP Act.
I was on Twitter, letting the algorithms direct my attention to what seemed important to the people I follow.
Ian Mosby shared:
This is a remarkable series of admissions by BC Supreme Court Justice Kent that the Crown's "radical underlying title" to Indigenous land is "simply a legal fiction to justify the de facto seizure and control of the land and resources formerly owned by [Indigenous peoples]."
Kris Statnyk posted:
Canadian courts becoming self-aware that they are bound by common law precedents that rely on racist doctrines and mostly empty UNDRIP implementation legislation with only an ability to make incremental developments.
Gidimt’en Checkpoint posted:
Even BC's Supreme Court calls Canada's ownership of our lands 'a legal fiction'.
Wet'suwet'en have never given up our lands, and never will.
They were reacting to Gib van Ert’s thread regarding the decision.
Kent J’s decision in Thomas and Saik’uz First Nation v. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. is a remarkable consideration of UNDRIP, colonialism, the discovery doctrine, and the questionable legitimacy of the Crown’s assertion of sovereignty. Here are a few outtakes. https://bccourts.ca/jdb-txt/sc/22/00/2022BCSC0015.htm
What caught my eye were the words “legal fiction”. So, I took a closer look at these particular paragraphs under the heading of “Legitimacy of Crown Assertion of Sovereignty.”
Paragraph 198 includes the following:
Some argue, in my view correctly, that the whole construct is simply a legal fiction to justify the de facto seizure and control of the land and resources formerly owned by the original inhabitants of what is now Canada…
Reading further, I found the circular logic to establish the legitimacy of the court itself to be a thin foundation for peace, order and good government in the Dominion of Canada.
First and foremost is the fact that the system of law and government imported by settlers into British Columbia and superimposed upon Indigenous peoples has become firmly and intractably entrenched. It is the foundation for Canadian society as it exists today. The laws relating to ownership of land are the basis for this country’s wealth and the very foundation for its economy. It is these same laws which provide legitimacy to this Court.
My question, then, is regarding the subject of justice.
The superimposition of an imported settler law upon the Indigenous peoples is not “intractably entrenched.” It is only so because of the consent of the governed, because we are a nation that tacitly supports racial apartheid and genocide through our intractable silence.
I was recently invited to join the core team of the Design Science Studio. In our first meeting to help define a roadmap, I was asked to write some copy and create a graphic to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.
I found a quote from King’s Letter From Birmingham Jail.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.
Letter from Birmingham Jail
Russ Diabo shared:
Canada, British Columbia and the BC First Nations Justice Council to collaborate on revitalizing Indigenous legal traditions and addressing systemic racism in British Columbia - http://Canada.ca
- Canada, British Columbia and the BC First Nations Justice Council to collaborate on revitalizing Indigenous legal traditions and addressing systemic racism in British Columbia
My role as a human being is to love. My responsibility is to speak the truth and to seek justice. The truth is not popular. It is not politically expedient.
Canada attempts to burnish its reputation by “revitalizing Indigenous legal traditions” while avoiding the words “genocide”, “accountability”, and “crimes against humanity”.
Canada fails to bring back to life the murdered and missing. #CanadianGenocide
This week, I have been listening to the Audible version of Thomas King’s book, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America.
In the chapter that Thomas King has entitled As Long as the Grass is Green, he begins with a question,
“What do Indians want?”
“Great question. The problem is, it’s the wrong question to ask.”
On the next page, he asks the essential question.
“What do Whites want?”
“The answer is quite simple, and it’s been in plain sight all along.”
“Whites want land.”
In the telling of the history of dispossession told by Justice Kent of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the story begins with the year 1493.
1493: Pope Alexander VI issued Inter Caetera papal bull granting the present and future kings of Castile and Leon (Spain/Portugal) all “rights and jurisdictions” respecting certain delineated lands of non-Christian peoples (including the Americas).
In this distinction between Christian and non-Christian peoples, whiteness was invented. Humans are not complex in their behaviour. We do not make judgments on the basis of rationality. We make judgments based on emotion, then back up those judgments with rationalizations. How might one, with little knowledge or training in matters of the heart—in discerning the character and the theological knowledge and the relationship of any one person to the divine—easily make a judgment about whether a human being might be a Christian or not? If the distinction is to define what most easily separates one from another, us from them, why not choose relative degree of pigmentation? Whiteness became the visual signifier of theocratic allegiance, of racial purity.
The Doctrine of Discovery
The Doctrine of Discovery established a spiritual, political, and legal justification for colonization and seizure of land not inhabited by Christians.
Racism and white supremacy are the foundation of the laws of the Dominion of Canada. To fail to recognize and acknowledge this fact is to be ignorant, to be a coward, to be complicit, or to be criminal. I see no other options. The challenge, then, is to admit that I have been one or all of these things, as has every other settler in Canada.
The Doctrine of Discovery is the Western legal principle that European countries extinguished Indigenous sovereignty and acquired the underlying title to Indigenous Peoples’ lands upon ‘discovering’ them.
The legal justification of the lies, theft, genocide, and plunder by European countries of the world was created as a legal fiction to give Christians a rationalization for un-Christlike behaviour.
A member of the Design Science Studio suggested listening to a podcast, Scene on Radio: Seeing White.
Just what is going on with white people? Police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Acts of domestic terrorism by white supremacists. The renewed embrace of raw, undisguised white-identity politics. Unending racial inequity in schools, housing, criminal justice, and hiring. Some of this feels new, but in truth it’s an old story.
Why? Where did the notion of “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for?
Genocide and Ecocide
I have been meeting with a group of people who have been rejected by their conservative, evangelical, Christian communities for breaching their rules of conduct by questioning their claims to absolute authority and absolute truth.
One woman noticed in her request to be removed from the membership of a church that the pastor responded by advising her of the process, that the church would decide whether to approve her request to be removed from church membership.
She noted how our discussions around the Sedona Method of letting go of the desire for approval, control, and security were the same desires that her church community had defined as the conditions for a relationship with God.
These desires are the basis of the political conflicts and the human struggle for power that has led to the destruction of cultures, species, and entire ecosystems.
Reconciliation is Dead
'Reconciliation is dead and it was never really alive': Jesse Wente
The CBC removed the recording of Jesse Wente’s discussion of reconciliation from their archives. At least, I cannot find it. All that is left are these quotes.
"The events leave me both resigned and resolved," said Wente, an Ojibwe broadcaster and producer from the Serpent River First Nation in Ontario.
"Canada is a state built on removal of Indigenous peoples to make way for resource extraction companies."
We must consult The Walrus to witness his admonition of truth before reconciliation.
Truth Before Reconciliation: Canada Needs to Hear Indigenous Stories
Colonizers have used false narratives to justify genocide. But storytelling can be a powerful way to fight back
It is a form of white-washing for white people to justify their behaviour by denying that they are white supremacists because they do not burn crosses or where pointy white hats.
All you have to do to be a white supremacist is to sleep in your bed, drive your car, go to work, and pay your taxes like every other Canadian citizen while ignoring that everything that we have is stolen from the people we murdered to live modern, affluent, comfortable, and entertained lives.
The long, insidious reach of the Doctrine of Discovery extends beyond the courts and government interactions with Indigenous people. Canadian private property rights are based on the Doctrine of Discovery. Every time Canadians sell a house and rub their hands with glee at the wealth their property has generated, they are complicit in perpetuating the Doctrine of Discovery.
The Absolute Disgust
I spent the past year in constant awareness of the depth of the intractable entrenchment of the legal fiction of Crown sovereignty and the domination of the Dominion of Canada in the minds of its citizens. As a settler, I assumed the responsibility of executor of the will of my father-in-law when he died of COVID-19 on February 26, 2021 after being infected by the pastor of his church while having lunch at a local restaurant. To be more precise, the pastor’s daughter’s boyfriend, who also attended the lunch, was infected with COVID-19.
At that moment of my father-in-law’s death, I became the uncompensated employee and administrator of the government as I proved my identity and my role as executor to secure the documents necessary to prove to the court the ownership of the land, to pay the probate fees, legal fees, and realtor fees necessary to claim the inheritance of my wife, the sole beneficiary of my father-in-law’s estate.
I went along with it all, the entire charade that we perform as settlers to affirm the sovereignty of the Queen of England over this land we call British Columbia. This land is not British and Columbus did not set foot in this territory. Such a claim is a legal fiction.
If you want to know what white supremacy looks like, consider this photograph of white men, walking the halls of government as if they own the place.
Thank you @JustinTrudeau for joining me in standing with all British Columbians and helping support BC's recovery.
Today we agreed to form a joint provincial-federal committee to ensure people and communities affected by this natural disaster have immediate and ongoing support.
The disaster was man-made as a result of the colonial invasion and theft of land from the Semá:th people and attempting to control and dominate nature by draining a lake. http://sumasfirstnation.com/about-sumas-first-nation/our-past/
Do you actually believe your own PR? I have noticed that the CBC has been running a series that calls into question the legitimacy of your governments. For example, a series on genocide that explores Rwanda, then Bosnia, before concluding with Canada.
The two of you belong in the series that CBC Ideas is partnering with ABC to unearth the Stuff the British Stole. You are relics of an empire in decay. British Columbia is not Crown land. It is unceded occupied territory, and you are thieves and liars.
I expect the laughable results of such a committee to be a campaign to “build back better” rather than to reckon with the #CanadianGenocide and the theft of land to benefit only those who remain in power at the top of an extraction empire. #LandBack
“We live in a racist society… it has to change.”
While listening to The Sunday Read, the episode, “How Disgust Explains Everything”, I noticed what was not being said. The power of editorial is the ability to direct attention to what the writer or editor considers important. This was a very interesting article, well-research and well-written.
Once you are attuned to disgust, it is everywhere.…
If you manage to complete a single day without experiencing any form of disgust, you are either a baby or in a coma.
Disgust shapes our behavior, our technology, our relationships.
Belief is a very malleable feature of human experience. We have witnessed the malleability of the human psyche by the leaders of the social, economic, and political system of the United States of America to use the media as a tool for forming public opinion.
Often, the tool that is being manipulated is the human psychology of disgust. The visceral, embodied response of disgust is employed to regard the other as deplorable, vermin, impure, and morally reprobate. It is fear of impurity, contamination, infection, disease, age, and death that drive people to respond in polarizing behaviours. This polarization is the intended result of a media environment built to serve political theatre and to influence the primary means of wielding power: legal fictions.
Visual cues and physical characteristics have become the signifiers of identity that we have been conditioned through social interactions to make judgments about influence, status, and power. In the influence industries of public relations, marketing, advertising, and design, we use personas as archetypes for the market segments, audiences, and consumers of messages, brands, campaigns, and products. We divide people by geography, income, education, gender, and age to infer race, class, and status. Brands are the capitalist signifiers of one’s ability to access capital and communicate status through consumption habits. Food, clothing, and shelter become more than necessities of life. They become signifiers of affluence and privilege or poverty and disenfranchisement.
Race has been the visual and cultural signifier of social status in the modern world through the influence of Western civilization—in other words, through European imperialism, white colonialism, and white supremacist genocide.
The psychology of disgust was weaponized by the ideology of race by the Doctrine of Discovery. Justice Kent of the Supreme Court of British Columbia notes in paragraph 192 of his judgment:
And most recently on June 21, 2021, the federal government passed into law the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, S.C. 2021, c. 14 (“UNDRIPA”), which includes in the preamble the statement that “the doctrines of discovery and terra nullius are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust”.
Here is Bruce McIvor’s indictment of Canada’s legal fiction:
Much has been made of the federal government’s proposed legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)> I have my doubts about its likely impact…. Even if the legislation is passed into law, it will not change Canadian law’s reliance on the Doctrine of Discovery.
It has become clear that Canadians cannot expect Canadian courts to rectify this injustice. Rather than denounce the Doctrine of Discovery, the Supreme Court of Canada has relied on it to build the framework for its interpretation of Indigenous rights protected under the constitution. It has done so because acknowledging the legal and moral illegitimacy of the Doctrine of Discovery would raise questions about the court’s authority over Indigenous people and Indigenous lands.
I am absolutely disgusted by Canadians and the lengths that we go to in an effort to avoid the responsibility for accepting the conditions of a genocidal apartheid state in exchange for comfort and affluence.
My disgust leads me to wonder about what it means to be Canadian, to be a designer, to be a human being.
I withdrew my membership from our Canadian national design association out of disgust.
I question the legitimacy of the Crown and the domination of Canada’s legal fiction over our lives. To seek truth and justice need not take time. It must happen now. Justice delayed is justice denied.
For Canadians to continue with the injustice of an ongoing genocide is an act of ignorance, cowardice, complicity, and criminality. The only way forward is a land acknowledgement that is a surrender of social approval, economic control, and political security to those whose land we occupy through deception, theft, and murder.
Justice delayed is justice denied.
— Stephen O’Neill, Former Ontario Superior Court Judge
I am a settler living in Sumas First Nations territory.
The truth is this land is not our land. Settler Canadians in so-called “British Columbia” have invaded the unceded territories of the First Nations and have assumed ownership of the land. Crown land is stolen land.
The Province of British Columbia represents the thieves and criminals who stole the land to kill and assimilate the original inhabitants and exploit their resources. We cannot depend on corporations and governments to do the right thing. They were designed to enact a genocide.
And according to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), they are killing all of us.
Should we not then agree the Dominion of Canada, founded upon the Doctrine of Discovery, is a crime scene, implicating the Provinces and Territories, the Dominion of Canada, the British Crown and its corporations in crimes against humanity and ecological devastation for profit?
Canadian settlers are complicit in the ongoing crimes against humanity. We must surrender to the governing authorities, the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, and submit to their ways and laws to live in reciprocity with Mother Earth and all living beings.
As Canadian Settlers for Indigenous Sovereignty (CSIS), representatives of The Corporation for Apartheid Nationalism and Aboriginal Dispossession and Assimilation (CANADA), we admit to our crimes, surrender, and give the land back.
- The Fall of The Corporation for Apartheid Nationalism and Aboriginal Dispossession and Assimilation (CANADA): The Dissolution of Parliament Becomes Permanent
We surrender John Horgan and Justin Trudeau as perpetrators of these ongoing crimes against humanity. We suggest a restorative justice approach with a minimum sentence of a life of community service.
The legal fiction of the Dominion of Canada has employed the formation of religious and educational institutions, capitalist corporations, and a constitutional monarchy to steal land and impose social, economic, and political control to expand Western civilization—that is, white supremacy. The entire system destroys humans, cultures, species, and ecosystems for financial profit.
We do not try to turn this ship around, making excuses for how difficult it is to avoid an iceberg because of the momentum and inertia of the monstrosity we have built with our own hands. There is nothing worth saving here. Or are Canadians just fine with white supremacy and genocide?
We abandon the ship or we all go down with it.
Had we taken the time to see and hear, to observe, to listen, and to learn from Indigenous peoples how they have thrived on this land for thousands of years, we would not be reversing billions of years of collaboration, cooperation, and synergy and the creative evolution of a complex and diverse ecology to replace it all with a global holocaust. We human beings have made Earth a death camp.
However, we have this brief opportunity to observe, to listen, to learn, and to change.
We learn from the DMZ that, if humans stop their incessant activity on the land, nature regenerates.
The DMZ is fortified with tall, barbed-wire fences, riddled with land mines and heavily guarded by the respective countries' militaries, keeping all human disturbances to a minimum. After people left the area, plants and wildlife were able to grow unrestrained.
Let us just assume that oil and gas reserves will soon be depleted. How, then, shall we live? We should live now as if they are already gone.
Creativity in design is based on constraints. With too many resources and too many options, creativity gets mired in the paradox of choice. Simplicity is clarity and clarity is kindness.
Less is more, because nature already takes care of the rest. It is the human desire for approval, control, and security that creates the illusion of isolation, scarcity, and fear.
The absolute is an illusion. Everything is in motion, in process. Everything is change. Our challenge as living beings is to live in the flow of experience, to learn who we are becoming through listening and observing. We come to know ourselves in connection, community, and compassion with the universe of life around us.
A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe’—a part limited by time and space. He experiences his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
— Albert Einstein, 1950 letter