The Ophidian Way
The Hand That Feeds
For the person that is concerned with one's own liberty, one's true freedom to be what they were born to be, there is no more important and basic concept to understand in life than the Hand That Feeds. It is so important, in fact, that any modicum of personal liberty is impossible without arranging one's life in light of this concept. For it is the secret tool used by the ruling elite of all cultures against the people at large, in order to control them and to shape them to their wills. And, unlike the outright use of force and violence, it can control the people without them being aware that it is happening. But to understand how this concept is used, one must also know a little about the origins of society and civilization.
Humanity has had a great struggle with respect to individual liberty, autonomy and self-determination in every instance in history where it has left the ways of tribal culture. Generally speaking, tribal culture is structured around families and extended families living and working together for mutual support and protection. It is human-scale in its abilities and scope, consisting only of what the individuals can do or make with their own hands. Because of this, there is a natural limitation as to how much damage the tribe can do to the environment, and to themselves. And because tribes are isolated from other tribes in their every-day living, trouble or corruption that may occasionally bring down one tribe generally does not spread to another. There are limitations of scope imposed by the nature of the tribal system, itself.
However, as soon as a group of people turn toward agriculture and what is popularly termed 'civilization', we see these human-scale limits erased, and a host of new and more serious problems immediately emerge. In humanity's history, the most devastating type of agricultural advancement has been that of the grain-based pastoral societies. When tribes began to pen animals instead of hunting them, the need for a long-term and predictable food supply for these newly domesticated livestock emerged. The solution was to begin to farm large areas of grasses for hay and grain for fodder, both of which have the advantage of being able to be kept for long-term storage. As time progressed, humans began to develop ways of eating these grains of the animals too, through fermentation and bread-making. Forgetting for the moment the problem that these foods cause for humans such as heart disease, gluten intolerance, and allergies, the cultivation of these long-term storable grains changed the very manner in which humanity lived. One man with a team of work-animals could now do the work of many men, and produce enough food to feed many more people than before. This freed other people to do other, more specialized work which they did not have time for before. Goods begin to be produced and traded for the grain. And grain becomes the first universal system of barter, a currency of transaction. Humanity is for the first time operating under the influence of money.
It is at this point in the historical record that societies become stratified. Often the kindest and most humble people in society are now relegated to manual labor and toiling in the fields to produce food. The more crafty, aggressive and socially devious behaviors within people are incentivized in this new system, since they now have a way of acquiring and cornering the wealth, which is the labor, of other people. Industry begins to become more advanced, including the smelting of metals and advancement in weapons. Societies based upon trade and production quickly become places with rulers who seize power over those who produce the grain in the local areas. And he who controls the production and storage of the grains also controls the flow of money, in much the same way which modern banks do in our time.
This innovation of mass food production and storage which seemed so promising at first for humanity, was actually the very thing which enabled the ideas of domination and servitude to become not only possible, but the new economic model in and of itself. By the middle of the Aeon of Taurus, one sees a drastic change in the historical records in many places across Europe and the Near-East. The marauding horsemen had arrived, and in their wake they left the worst creation which humanity has ever offered the world: rape and war.
Many small cities and villages became the economic store-houses for the grains produced in the area which everyone depended on, and which fueled their economies. Often these storehouses were actually Temples of the local grain Goddess. It was their duty through their priestly affairs to make sure the fields remained fertile and the rain always fell. And these Temples were the targets of those early Arean hordes which streamed from the east in endless numbers over the centuries. They would attack and ravage the local villages and Temple, raping the women and killing the men. They would eat all the food and drink, and then move on to the next village or city to do the same, again. Sometimes they would settle in an area, becoming the local warlord who would enforce his authority through violence and the subjugation of the people, retaining the wealth which was produced for himself, which would then be given out to his mercenaries to keep them loyal to himself. By the beginning of the Aeon of Aires, a new way of living for humanity had become cemented in most of the known world, a society based upon violence, resource acquisition, domination and servitude. And in the Aeon of Pisces the rulers learned to cloak their mechanisms of control in the guise of altruism and love, in order to foster more compliance in the people.
And this society is still the society in which we live today.
This brings us back to the original purpose of this writing. How does one obtain any sort of liberty or autonomy, when one lives in a world that is completely designed, planned, controlled and executed by warlords and slave-masters who are too powerful to ever confront with force or violence? How does one go against the momentum of the herd, the masses of people dependent upon the system, and who believe in the efficacy and goodness of this system of control and slavery to such a degree that they attack anyone who dares to live in some other manner? The answer lies in the understanding of the Hand That Feeds.
The Hand That Feeds describes a system of control based upon forced or imagined dependencies. For example, the most basic of needs for all living creatures is food and water. And as it has been shown, he who controls the food, controls the people. Very few people who are starving will be able to resist the commands of the one who could dispense them food, and save their life. And furthermore, the pitting of people against each other for scraps of food keeps the people fighting with each other, instead of against the one who controls the food.
The Hand That Feeds even controls the people better than the threat of violence does. With violence, there is always the danger of rebellion, as the brutal rulers show themselves to be the enemy of the people. But by using he Hand That Feeds against the people, the people can not rebel without starving themselves. It also creates competition amongst the people for the favor of the ruler who controls the distribution of food and essential resources. It incentivizes a stratified society where cruelty and abuse predominate between the haves and the have-nots, and where greed and gluttony are rewarded.
It does not matter which political system predominates, be it capitalism, communism, fascism, totalitarianism or any other contrivances of those who wish to rule over others, as long as they remain the Hand That Feeds. That is why they all fail to solve the 'crises' of modern civilization, which are inequality, poverty, injustice, crime and violence. It is the co-opting of the Hand That Feeds which creates all of these problems in the first place. And that which is causing the problem cannot also be the solution.
The only answer to all of these problems is to wrest the Hand That Feeds away from the ruling elite, and return it to Gaia, Herself. The only system of human relations which has ever avoided all of these problems of modernity is the Tribal and Family based systems of mutual interdependent support, working in a human-scale fashion directly from nature. When there is no one between you and your food, because you grow it or gather it yourself, then no one can make you subservient through the threat of starvation. You will have freedom. When you work with family or tribal members to sow and harvest food, to nurture and raise animals, you will be creating bonds of cooperation and reciprocity while ridding your people of selfishness, greed and competition. You will have a sense of harmony and equity amongst the people.
Avoid money, the real mechanism of slavery, at all costs. Tribal and family systems have no need for money or its shadow named greed. Return the Hand That Feeds to yourself and your family. Work with Gaia directly for your food, your shelter and all your needs, just as our ancestors have done for hundreds of thousands of years. And in so doing, know true happiness, contentment and the invaluable feeling of true personal freedom.