I Thirst – by Kyle Bunds

My body thirsts for water. My wife always tells me that I need to drink more water. I ignore her for the most part, as I would rather drink more beer or Diet Dr. Pepper. Yet, I have been ignoring the call to drink more water since I was a little boy. My football, basketball, baseball, and soccer coaches always implored me to drink plenty of water. My mom even made me drink a gallon of water each day when I was going through two-a-day practices in high school. I know that my body needs water to survive and that it helps my body function better. However, I take it for granted because it is always there. The thought of it not being there never crosses my mind. When I say “I thirst” I rarely mean it in the literal sense; maybe I just want another Diet Dr. Pepper because it tastes good. Yet, there is a bigger picture that I have not seen before. Water is the essence of the body and the body is being taken over by corporations seeking profit maximization. This is the epitome of body politics.

I thirst. (Quick note: The point here is not to discuss Jesus or my interpretation of Jesus and his teachings. Rather, I seek to entertain the possibility that “I thirst” carries a legacy today that means more than water.) The passion of Christ, as described in the Gospel according to John, is completed when Jesus, hanging on the cross, proclaims, “I thirst.” He was not talking quite literally about wanting water. In fact, he was given vinegar off of a hyssop, hardly something we would consider a quencher of thirst. Jesus is talking about his thirst for setting people’s souls free in all iterations of the word free. Yet, today we are hardly free. The lack of freedom within our world is accentuated in the exclusion of free water and the toll not having water takes on the body and spirit. Privatizing water is not what Jesus was talking about when he said that he wanted to set people’s souls free.

We thirst for water. Richard Raznigov (http://www.truth-out.org/benign-lucifer-privatization-water/1329057581) recently wrote a piece discussing how corporations are privatizing water at the expense of millions of lives. He details how corporations like Coca-Cola and the World Bank, acting as the operating arm of the largest U.S. banks, are seizing control of the water supplies in third world countries. They lay pipes and tell a story about how the people would not have water at all if it were not for the good corporations that provide it to them; corporate social responsibility in its finest form, no doubt. Yet, this does not tell the whole story. There have been massive uprisings protesting the privatization of water and the resultant deaths have painted a portrait of unforeseen terror that we turn our backs on. Ray Lamontagne’s discussion of worldly oppression in his interview before a live recording of “Hold you in my arms” details how we turn our backs on other citizens:

I just think a lot of people back home, maybe here as well, seemed to be tuned off, seem to be not conscious about a lot of things. Maybe it’s always been like that, I don’t know, I don’t know. You go to work, you do your, ya know, robot bit for the day, you come home, you turn the TV on, you hypnotize yourself for 4, 5, 6 hours, you go to bed, you get up and do the same thing. It’s just a crazy world that’s all. It’s crazy, I don’t understand it. I’m just aware of it, that’s all. I guess what’s happening in other parts of the world has to come to your part of the world before you start to wake up.

Unfortunately, this terror is largely a result of laws and a market perspective employed by the United States. We need to wake up and take notice.

I thirst to separate from the market model. This privatization of water is part of a larger symptom plaguing our world. That is the problem of the market model (Croteau & Hoynes, 2006). The market model takes the perspective that the only responsibility of a corporation is to maximize profit for shareholders. As illustrated in the film The Corporation, companies are legally mandated to make decisions based on what is best for their shareholders. Stop and think about that for a second. Legally in the United States, companies are obligated to put profit before human beings. Not only is this the case, but we as citizens vegetate on our ideologies and allow this type of power structure to proliferate. Millions of people die because of various diseases attributed to lack of water, and it is our structure that makes this possible. The worst part is that it is not getting any better. Corporations control bodies, knowledge, and time. Yet, we do nothing to stop this. We need to care.

I thirst for an answer. The market model does not just affect culture; it affects the individual as well. Bodies in the market model are just pawns to feed the wealthy elite. Our physical bodies are affected by the political structures we inhabit. The body of Christ was used by the church elite at the time to make an example of those who dare question the structure of society. Today, the body of Christ and the ideologies it is said to represent are paradoxically used as tools to support the corporations who are now equivalent to the church elite. We are told that the corporations are helping the bodies of the poor receive the water they need. From a market model perspective, corporations are allowed to act as Gods, deciding which bodies are worth keeping and which ones are dispensable. Yet, one can hardly believe this is what Jesus meant when he said “I thirst.” He was talking about all of society, not a select group of individuals. It is time for us to wake up and stop prioritizing one body over the other. Before we know it, water could be privatized for us and I am willing to bet that we will care, then.

I thirst for a people that are able to confront the demons that plague our society

I thirst for the ability to not turn a blind eye

I thirst for providing people with sustenance

I thirst for an America that will put people first

I thirst for leaders that will stand up to the market model

I thirst for the ability to appreciate all that I have been given

I thirst that the individual’s harmed by corporations will see their redemption

I thirst that I will be able to participate in providing water to those in need

I thirst

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6 thoughts on “I Thirst – by Kyle Bunds

  1. What comes to my mind is that the market model controls and shapes bodies. It refined the products or produced what consumers prefer. But what makes individuals greatly under control is that it creates relationships. It creates relationships between products and company, products and corporate leaders, products and mission, company and charity, etc. They are all used to create a solid relationship between the company and consumers, which is a chain, hard to break up. Apple is an example. It relates Nano, Itouch, Iphone and Ipad to the company, these products and the company to Steve jobs, and all of them to the people around the world. It makes people into fans, fans into loyal fans, loyal fans into people who consciously or unconsciously advertise or promote these products and the company. Then, other companies make apps that can be run on IOS system and manufacture cases that suit apple products. People are encouraged to buy. Even peer competitors are controlled, who are forced to imitate, reinvent and create. Consumers thirst for new products and personal needs satisfied, and companies thirst for market shares and profits.

    Companies also use “charity” or “donations” to create relationships. It is true that some decide which group of people to be saved prior to others on purpose, which may be due to political or cultural beliefs. But we can’t deny that on the surface they seem to be doing it, while, actually, they may just don’t know any other people are in need of help owing to their lack of knowledge. Just like people who don’t know who Kony is. If they know, Kony won’t be at large. If these companies know exactly who are suffering, they might give them hope. What’s more, sometimes it is not the issue that they select some group of people to help. The extent one can do is limited, and they cannot cover all people who are “thirst”. After all, they are not Jesus.

    Jesus can help us. Skepticism also can help us. It seems to be human nature that skepticism comes out before bodies are completely controlled. Self-made apps appear, cheap adaptable cases shows up, and cheap copies of “Iphone” present themselves. Different system is developed—-android. Skepticism could be force that help people get away from “control”. It also could be the force that let us know more about the world to kill more people’s thirst and more kinds of thirst.

    At least, skepticism quenches some of your thirsts. It makes some leaders to stand up to the market model, and it makes it come true that the individual’s harmed by corporations will see their redemption. Be skeptic, and make others skeptic.

  2. We are slaves to the market model. I watch movies a lot and many of them are silly and inconsequential but often they have messages within them that resonate. For instance, in the movie “The Devil Wears Prada” the main character played by Meryl Streep, chastizes Anne Hathaway’s character for not caring about fashion. She tells her that the sweater she is wearing that she bought off the rack started on a runway somewhere and people such as she, (Meryl Streep) decide what fashions will be sent out to the masses. The corporate fashion world decides what trends to set. Think about that for just a second, we shop for clothes from the choices we are provided with. We may long for a style we can no longer find but unless we have an avid sewing talent, the odds of obtaining a fashion that is no longer in style is long. Unless, of course you have money to have something made for you and do not buy off the rack.

    The same goes for the food that is available to us, the medicines that are sold in the U.S., this is even prevalent in the news we are allowed to see. Dr. Giardina, in a recent class, showed us a cover of Time magazine that was distributed in the U.S. and the same issue’s cover that was distributed everywhere else. Ours was some mundane idiotic message, whereas the international version was timely and gritty, with the pictures of the uprising in Egypt. Who benefits from keeping Americans in the dark? Why do we allow it to continue to happen. More Americans know who the winner of American Idol is than the Vice President, or the names of the candidates running for the upcoming election for President.

    We are in the dark because we chose to stay there. We as American’s do not challenge the status quo, we don’t question what we are fed through the news broadcasts. To refer back to a movie, I recently saw “The Hunger Games”. Could this be the future of humanity in America?

  3. The control of water is one of the saddest human rights violations of our generation. The fact that water flows freely from the earth, nobody should have the right to put a price on it, because it does not belong to us, but to mother nature. There are so many places on this globe that are lacking clean water to survive, either because they cannot afford it or the big corporations came in and closed off public access. What if one day you were walking then all of a sudden a guard came out and told you that if you wanted to continue walking and using the oxygen you would have to pay a fee. How abosultely ridiculous would that sound, and angry would you become. Air is FREE! It is all around us, how could somebody charge to use something they are not even in the process of helping make. That is exactly how out of control it sounds that people do not have clean drinking water. Every government should make sure that their people have access to drink clean water, and have it at their need whenever. As I write this I look over to my giant Zephyrhills bottle sitting in front of me, that I am helping this problem of supporting companies like Nestle(that distribute Zephyrhills) with their domination over water, making it a huge commodity. I am trying to make an effort to drink out of the tap, so that not only can I save money on bottle watered, but reduce the amount of plastic and toxin into the air, and also hopefully burn a whole throught the pockets of people like Coca-Cola and the World Bank as Kyle mentioned. That we have to come together as people of the world and say it is not okay for people to be dying of thirst, or getting sick from bad water, it is not okay.

  4. I hope you think of the privatization of water every time you drink your Dr. Pepper instead of your tap water. In the United States it is easy to think of all the choices we make that others around the world are not able to have. We on average can chose to drive or walk to work, to have breakfast lunch and dinner or not, or to drink water from our sink or to reach in our fridge and have an adult beverage. Being a citizen of a country who is big enough to take advantage of other countries water and labor sources is a privilege, kind of.
    Just as a mother and father are to make decisions that will be best for their children and spouses, corporations must make decisions that are best for their shareholder as you mentioned. In a world where I means more than the words we and humanity, it is very easy to see how the world’s decision making has become a slippery slope for inequality. Maximization of profits and revenue has become the only things that corporations care about. It is important for corporations to not lose sight of the humanity while trying to make a profit.
    Awareness by consumers is the first step in making a stand against corporation’s lack of care for others. It is important that consumers do not just think of themselves when grabbing a soda or bottled water off the shelf. It is important for consumers to research where these things come from, how do these things appear on our shelves, and what am I supporting by purchasing these things. I will not lie and say I will never have a bottled soda again, but what I am saying is that my choice may bare more weight with the knowledge I have

  5. First thing I want to say is that I really respect the author’s influential words and beautiful analogy of Jesus’ holy words when he was hanging on the cross. I am a Christian, so I can fully understand what the author meant when quoting the words from Jesus. And yes, I totally agree with the author that what Jesus said was not neither for himself, since he is the savior of this sinned world, and nor for some selected groups or individuals, instead he meant everyone, every human being breathing in this world could receive his bless and water, so that they would never thirst or hungry.

    However, it is still dilemma for corporations in this economic materialistic world. First of all, no one or no group can be “holy” under the current circumstance. You want to be the only one and specialy one? Sure, you can difinitely be. But the result waiting for you is also definitely failure due to more and more fierce and illegal competitions. Combination of charity and commerce is not a very good idea, in my mind, based on the nature of charity that helping people in poor conditions. Even though someone may argue that this combination is a kind of indirect assistance, it still cannot veil the monetary and publicity nature of this movement. On the contrary, when the real righteous companies (even if it is very rare nowadays) want to do something helping the poor people, what they can do is still raising money from customers in combining commerce and charity. Or they can spend half of their equity to help them? It will be a “dead” choice for the operator or manager of the company.

    In one word, it is so difficult to play fair games not only for competitors, but also for the audiences. We customers are like the loyal spectators in the gaming world. And we cannot receive equal treatments not only due to the unfair competitive strategy of the gamers, but also because some of us are in the stadium, some of us are watching the game through TV, and some of us are learning the process and results through radio.

  6. Ingnorance is an epidemic within American culture. As a society we are, overall, very unaware of the world around us, and how our actions, decisions, and ideas affect people in our own household and people across the world. When an issue like the privatization of water is presented to us our immediate reaction is usually one of sincerity, concern, and even a call to action. That’s only in the first five minutes though. As soon as something else in our busy day catches our attention our mind will wander away from what is an enormous social issue onto something that affects us directly. It is a mix of both selfishness and ignorance. We are so focused on what is right in front of us that we can not clearly see the people suffering to our left and our right. I understand that these are very generalization statements, and that there are exceptions to these claims, I’m simply referencing our society as a whole body.

    To see this played out we don’t even need to look any further than our own city/state/country. There are people in need all around us whether it be homeless, widows, orphans, sick, they are everywhere. People will always need other people to help them. Most people understand this simple fact and go about helping the ones that affect them personally, while ignoring the people that “don’t matter,” sub-consciously prioritizing people. Why do we feel like we have the right to place value on another person? I’m just as guilty as the next person of this, but I still do not understand why I do it. Why do I develop a first impression of someone and put them into their own little class? It’s arrogant to think that my judgement is a sufficient way to label people. What would happen to our society if we truly looked at everyone objectionally? Possibly, we would see the value of every human being, and start to address and assist the people who need it. If we took care of each other better then maybe we wouldn’t have to worry about so much crime and poverty. The social implications of a helpful society could be massive and global. If all of the wealthy people in this country reached out to someone that was poor it would drastically change the way our world looks.

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