Politics be damned!

progress

A commenter observed, recently, that Man is a political animal.
Well, Man certainly is an animal. He may also be political. But only inasfar as he has not yet raised himself above the often derogatory term ‘animal’.
“What an ‘animal’”, you might hear someone say. “He is so political!”
The context being, in this case, that the politics of the ‘animal’ are something bad, while the politics of the speaker are something good.

Yes, Man has a great affinity for being political. I’ve often wondered why.

I lean towards conservatism, because it seems the only sensible, and useful thing to be. Thus I am an ally to conservatism, while not actively being a Conservative. Like many, I associate unpleasant things with Conservatives, mostly for my own personal reasons, from my own personal experience.
Much like someone who was abused by a religious figure, deciding to hate God.
Except there is no hate in me, and if something makes sense, or is useful, I associate with it regardless of the failings of anybody else who associates with it.

Which brings me to the importance of religion. Or rather, the importance of a notion of ‘God’.
‘God’ is a term nobody understands. It means something different to everyone that utters it. To some, it is an old fellow who lives in the sky, and who gets very upset on a regular basis. To others, the creator of Man, and since Man is such a fine thing, then ‘God’ must be too. For still others, it conjures up whatever it takes to have those people foaming at the mouth in self-righteous rage…

You get the idea.

And yet… And yet, without some notion of God, a man is set adrift upon the storm-tossed waters of life, without a radio, an immersion suit, a life-raft, or a hope. He may survive. He may not. But that is not the point. The point is that there is no point. No ‘God’ = no point.

Which brings us to atheists.

Atheists come in all sizes. Their only common ground is having no ‘God’. Some are extremely rabid, thoroughly obtuse individuals, from whom no trace of humanity issues. Others may seem calm and untroubled by having no apparent power-source. Either way, if you are of the latter, it makes little sense to be lumped in with the former, by association, in that the worst of them makes a lot more noise than the best of them, and so one is often assumed to be the worst of them, even if one is not.

It’s all completely nuts, and you may have noticed this, or, at least, suspected it. Because it is. And this is so because Man is a political animal. Until he isn’t. And when does this magical transformation take place? When a man realizes that everything he is, and everything he has, and every dream he dreams, can only ever be, because of what is out there, beyond himself, and around himself, everywhere and all the time.
In short, when he wakes up to Reality.

Religion was good for a while. Atheism was good for a far shorter while. The only thing that endures, aeon after aeon, is Reality. Recognizing this, and being able to recognize it, makes of a man something more than a political animal. It makes him humble. And humble makes Man.

Being humble allows a man to remain open to what he doesn’t yet know, so that he can know what he presently does not. Whereas the humble-challenged already know all there is to know, and so can never know more.

Humble, bumble, toil and trumble.
Fire burn and cauldron bungle.
Eye of newt, tongue of frog.
Dead man’s liver, Dutch Man’s clog.

Humble is a dirty word. It conjures up images of the absolute last thing anybody would want to be.
It is so counter-intuitive to the hipster, lone-wolf, radical-individualist, intellectual.
But it is the one thing that could enable a man to rise above himself and become Man.
So how to find such a thing? Where does one go to track down this chimera?

Look inside, look outside, look anywhere, and see.
Animal, bird, flower, tree.
Find what it might mean, this ‘me’.
Discover what it means, to ‘be’.

Don’t look. See. This is done by not judging what meets the eye. It takes some practice.
But by and by, you will notice that, beyond what you think of it, Reality is there, quite independent of whatever you think of it. Not only is it there, it is eternal. It may be locally disfigured, by the doings of man, but always, always it reasserts itself, given five minutes in cosmic time. Can you do that?

You can. But not as you are. Only as you can-be.
‘God’ has for too long been a complete misnomer for Reality.
Reality requires no religion, unless for the sake of ritual.
It is what it is. It remains up to you to understand and know what it is.
How to know? Ally yourself with it, align yourself with it. Join it and be it.

Politics be damned.

25 Comments

  1. Hauer says:

    The termite and the ant survive through cooperation. No single ant, whether it be a queen, soldier, or worker, can survive outside of the colony. They all need each other to live. Cooperation is in their nature.

    The progression of man in throughout history can be described as a series of social systems. First, men lived in families. Families banded together to make a tribe, tribes formed a town, and towns were incorporated into a nation. Human social structures have a trajectory. They become larger, more complex, and more interdependent as time passes.

    Modern man’s survival is innately tied up to his success in these systems. If politics isn’t next to godliness, I’m not sure what is.

    1. Politics could also be a filter for truth/leadership. Maybe we should cut out the middleman?

      1. Hauer says:

        An axiom for decay- the more corrupt a system becomes, the more prevalent middlemen become.

        You can see it in action in failing business, ineffective social movements, and societies in decay.

        I’m not convinced the converse is also true. If a system has no middlemen, is it inherently successful? Health comes from the healthy, not from the absence of parasites.

    2. LoreTek says:

      I am always careful using termite and ant structure as an analogy to politics. They are more a model for the caste system. Most of their structures are called eusocial structures, where a worker/soldier does not breed but successfully passes on their genes by giving their lives to the colony because they are kin to each and every ant in that colony – mathematically passing on more genes by working altruistically than they would if they tried to mate. They also sacrifice a group each night to seal the mound, and use unhatched eggs to build rafts during heavy rain. The most successful colonies being ones that have the best “maintenance”. Meaning they kill and absorb any eggs not produced by the queen. Of course if you mean this in a way that says that in order for a society to survive it must maintain its “kin” (ie inclusive diversity so we in some way feel related and bound to the success of others), and have high levels of “good” inequality (or specialization in some form of hierarchy of duty) then more power to you.

      I would also like to point out that with each step of the progression of man from families to tribes to towns etc… comes a larger and larger group of people made obsolete. The tribal leader, now a worker, the town mayor, now a messenger of law from higher up, and with innovation, the blacksmith now a button presser and the carpenter now a saw dust vacuum operator. With each step comes a flattening of the hierarchy, and when nations become planetary, the loss of skill and craftsmanship will be catastrophic.

      This is assuming current trends. Politics may be next to godliness but in my mind it is strictly due to the magnitude of precision and responsibility required, as well as the risk of extreme failure involved. Look no further than our own dust bowl mid-west, created by political agenda and rash missteps that turned a grassland that rivaled the Serengeti into a whole lot of nothing all to compete with global exports and drive immigration, to view the catastrophic nature of these “godly” tools in the wrong hands. The common man is so far removed from the acts of politics, the politicians might as well be gods, they certainly can ruin the world like one.

      I think this is what you were alluding to?

      1. Hauer says:

        Yes, there might be setbacks that remind societies of their hubris, yet these often turn out to be the exception rather than the rule. It is not very often that society reverts back to a smaller and simpler form.

        That being said, our society is probably on the path to it. It isn’t necessarily bad thing- just against the general trend of history.

        1. crow says:

          The general trend of history is for all civilizations to suddenly fail.
          Avoiding such failure entails moving backwards, somewhat, thus avoiding the headlong rush into failure.
          Time inevitably leads to failure. Human death being the best example. Slow time, stop time, set back the clock. Repeat as necessary, until the fatal flaw is identified.

          1. The general trend of history is for all civilizations to suddenly fail.

            And with few people noticing, until it’s too late, and all that’s left is a disorganized and primitive ruin comparable to today’s third-world societies.

            1. crow says:

              Progress is one of those ideas comparable to intellect and equality. Everybody automatically assumes they are ‘good’.
              What if they are not?
              What if they are – at root – really bad ideas?
              The hare and the tortoise. Speed does not necessarily lead to a good outcome.

              1. NotTheDude says:

                Oil seemed good didn’t it? And now our only salvation is a dearth of it. I agree. You’ve gotta ask these things.

                1. LoreTek says:

                  With the death of oil comes natural gas. Goodbye middle east, hello eastern Europe, welcome Russia, welcome WW3…

            2. Hauer says:

              And yet, whenever societies have failed, some progress has survived. If it didn’t, we’d still all be living in caves.

              1. crow says:

                We are, most of us, living in caves.
                Flats, apartments, condominiums, empty houses…
                Just outside lies the enemy horde, none of whose individual names are known to us.

                1. LoreTek says:

                  I always say that I am amazed. We trust every person we walk past not to stab us in the gut. Sometimes hundreds a day.

  2. Repair_Man_Jack says:

    The whole thing is an arbitration process. It’s designed to let people who hate oneanother have a venue to fight it out in a way that doesn’t get anyone’s viscera left dragging on the floor. Take the politics out of it and people would go back to vendetta.

    1. But by its very nature, blunting the blow as you suggest may lead to compromise, which means that having an actual direction is impossible. Or am I misinterpreting your statement here?

      1. Repair_Man_Jack says:

        The lack of progress is possible. Eventually, if that happens, people get frustrated and operate outside the law. A lot of people will accept arbitration right up to the point where the other guy wins.

  3. NotTheDude says:

    This post was pretty much what I was arguing about with my father today. He says you don’t need religion and I agree but I always say that you need to bear in mind that you are not the most important thing in life, and say that I think that just saying that there is no God so I am, or Mankind is the most important thing leads to the self worship of Liberalism. I find it hard to communicate what it is that I reckon you should hold higher than yourself because of an awareness of sounding ‘religious’ and being disregarded. I could say reality, but whose? You have to find come to your own understanding it seems.

    1. crow says:

      Whose reality? There is only one: Reality.
      If you can make it up in your head, it isn’t Reality.

      1. NotTheDude says:

        That’s what I’m getting at. Not everyone understands Reality. Many people I know of admit when pushed to understanding it, even more are afraid of it and I’m not even sure how much of it I know yet but I know what I know and am open to learning more about it.

        1. NotTheDude says:

          By coming to your own understanding I mean that you can only communicate so much information that you have acquired in a way that your target audience will hopefully understand, yet you can’t make someone understand it. It can be lost in translation, so to speak.

        2. The great liberal illusion is that there are as many realities as there are people. They seem to like that idea, despite the knowledge that it would cast us all into perpetual loneliness.

          1. crow says:

            As it has.
            The sheer scale of the level of dementia that afflicts the left and its minions, is revealed in the very idea that reality is something you make up as you go.

  4. davec says:

    When there is nothing bigger than “me” in this world, then “me” becomes everything. What results is a completely self-absorbed world with no moral or social/ethical boundaries. Anything goes. Laws and the politicians who write them are meaningless.

    1. crow says:

      You have a good grasp of the mechanics involved. That does not change things, but will certainly help you keep from spinning off into insanity.

  5. Why I like this piece:

    It explains how politics is in theory the tool, where the goal is reality itself.

    Why not cut out the middleman?

    Do we need to worry about whether we’re conservative or liberal, atheist or religious? The categories themselves dominate over us and confuse us, and obscure the very reality they’re meant to describe.

    A man once wrote about this, and in doing so, unintentionally began postmodernism:

    In particular, let us further consider the formation of concepts. Every word instantly becomes a concept precisely insofar as it is not supposed to serve as a reminder of the unique and entirely individual original experience to which it owes its origin; but rather, a word becomes a concept insofar as it simultaneously has to fit countless more or less similar cases–which means, purely and simply, cases which are never equal and thus altogether unequal.

    Every concept arises from the equation of unequal things. Just as it is certain that one leaf is never totally the same as another, so it is certain that the concept “leaf” is formed by arbitrarily discarding these individual differences and by forgetting the distinguishing aspects.

    This awakens the idea that, in addition to the leaves, there exists in nature the “leaf”: the original model according to which all the leaves were perhaps woven, sketched, measured, colored, curled, and painted–but by incompetent hands, so that no specimen has turned out to be a correct, trustworthy, and faithful likeness of the original model. We call a person “honest,” and then we ask “why has he behaved so honestly today?” Our usual answer is, “on account of his honesty.” Honesty! This in turn means that the leaf is the cause of the leaves.

    When we assign meaning to the word, it displaces reality.

    This is because we are trying to do our thinking through words and the social identities they convey, instead of — as crow suggests — simply paying attention to reality itself.

    I suggest that we are afraid that our reality will not be real enough, and we will look like fools, so we fall back on what is safe. Social definitions. Even if they’re as accurate as a cardboard blunderbuss.

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