Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘oblivion’

Pathological

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

retardation

During some events in your life, you will encounter pathological behavior. Like most tendencies in human experience, the concept comes before the action. Pathological behavior can be defined as any action of a method whose goal is not achieved by that method, no matter how many times it is repeated. Pathological behavior occurs when the concept behind an action is erroneous, and the individual deciding how to act does not recognize this fact.

We see pathological behavior in many ways every day. The people who buy lottery tickets and never win, or the lonely souls who carry someone home from the bar to wake up lonely, or even the endless get rich schemes of the masses who chase wealth and, failing, enrich the scammers and frauds of our modern world. All of these pathological behaviors have two components: a flawed conception of the world that unites an unrealistic worldview with an expection of certain result in reality.

The problem with pathological behavior in a social system is that a form of inductive capacitance can be measured in human beings. When two wires are run parallel, current sent through one can be measured in the other. By a similar principle, if two human beings exist in social parallel, they absorb the nervous energy – a sort of essential simplification of idea – in the form of half-understood concepts and desires. As if by osmosis, people grasp the essence of an idea and it becomes the ideative portion of their pathology. “God will save us” and “The state will find a solution” are scarcely removed as concepts in this pathos.

It’s not easy to recognize this. Our civilization has become complex and interdependent enough, and the normal person is so overwhelmed with needs and desires, that it is impossible to point to proof of its failure — but more importantly, it’s equally impossible to point to proof of its success. Many people note the increasing problems (crime, corruption, pollution) and correlate it to a lack of great achievements (art, music, philosophy) but two things hold them back: first, the system seems to be working, and it puts food on the table, so don’t rock the boat. Second: we are still so awed by our technology that we put unlimited faith in it, as well as our technology of mind, which has us supposing that educators and psychologists will find a way to make us all productive citizens somehow.

Yet there’s nothing obvious we can point to (like a clock counting down the sky) and claim it is proof for all to see that our society is failing. All will never see, even if a giant rubber monster attacks North America, because they will revert to non-logical behaviors; this is the brain’s way of avoiding kernel panic and shutting down in disbelief (interestingly, many who faint at disasters first become irrational). They turn to religion, or focus on irrelevancies, and this enables them as peaceful a demise as can be engineered. But the demise we face is not a fast one, but a slow decline into irrelevance, and it is both far off and close by in that we are now in the last few decades in which we can reverse it.

Societies that collapse slowly do not explode. They stagger, through a series of failures and incompetent compensations, into a third-world state where a mass of lumpenproles — dumb, grey/tan, and devoid of all higher culture or philosophy — are ruled by a pompous elite who got the position through a single qualification: immense wealth. Eventually this decadent elite consumes itself through infighting and inbreeding, and what is left is a burned-out shell of a society staffed by dumber, fatter, sicker, more generic versions of its previous occupants.

There is a point where this course cannot be reversed, because culture has been destroyed and the elites are too powerful and the masses too dumb to oppose them — usually distracted by “panem et circenses” or technological equivalent (fast food, TV). At that point, there is so little consensus among the people that they can literally be bought off for a single issue: gay rights, legal marijuana, recycling, more churches. We are not yet at that point but it approaches rapidly, and if “the people” were able to unite behind a single impetus toward change it would be easily reversible. However, they seem more concerned with “personal” issues, meaning political change that benefits them and to hell with the rest, than they are with holistic fixes to an otherwise suicidal system.

This condition arises because just as most people are specialized to a certain level of thinking, few are capable of using what F. Scott Fitzgerald reference to as “cynical” thinking but which might be better called by the name used in American colleges before it became taboo: “critical thinking.” Critical thinking means the ability to compare a stated goal to the method used to reach it, and to separate the actions which will be successful from those that are pathological. Critical thinking allows one to predict enough of the levels of consequence of any one method to project its effects in the future, no matter how popular it is, and critical thinking is a rarity in society today.

Sage observers refer to modern society as pathological because despite knowing that much of what we do is wrong, we persist in repeated patterns, if for no other reason because because we’re overwhelmed. Still, it is not logical behavior, and should be seen as on par with children who refuse to eat their vegetables because they prefer ice cream. Not everything we do in life corresponds to our wishes. Much of it is a matter of “work,” or overcoming resistance to put things into a better organization so they function beneficially.

If we are to trace the roots of this pathology we will find a simple root cause. After sorting through all of the details and problems and intermediate causes, we come to an original error: what philosophers call “consequentialism,” or the idea that what most people think they prefer is the best course of action. This can be seen in our democratic system of leadership, our belief in personal ownership of stock and businesses, and our social system that replaces culture with what is popular to the mass taste. All of these ideas, which we disguise with materialist and humanist rhetoric, originate in the idea that what we prefer as a group is the best course of action.

Anyone who has chaired a committee, or tried to achieve consensus even in a small group like a family, knows that a direction can only be found when every individual considers it not in context of themselves but in the context of a task which includes them but is not limited to them. If left up to their own concerns alone, individuals pick what benefits them, and since the rest of the question — overall direction for all individuals — is a distant second, they consider it barely and conclude it will be addressed by what they summarize in partial witticisms and homilies. “It’s all good”; “It’ll work out”; “The People will rise up and fix it.”

However, the middle class in America and Europe is beginning to see that they, the professionals and leaders of the layer beneath politicians but above workers, have become an endangered species. An influx of cheap labor has made the rich richer, and products cheaper, but the socialized costs of a society without consensus as to direction (something achieved through agreement on values, which are passed down through generations in a form we call culture) make it harder to find respite from the madness. The middle class sees a future in which more money is required to have homes away from the ghetto, more time must be spend on the road commuting, and more effort must be spent in bypassing now-ruined public services for private offerings.

And the workers? Most of these will acknowledge some degree of incompetence in managing their own affairs. Fodder for the workplace, they either walk the straight and narrow or try a way around and in all cases but a few get busted and re-introduced to society as even cheaper labor. The stockholders and CEOs laugh and dumb down the job requirements, making them as simple as pressing buttons on different machines, but the group of violent, stupid, alienated people grows and with it the costs to the middle class. Who gets penalized by crime and unrest? Not the elites behind private security walls. The middle class and the working people pay the price for society’s decay.

In a sensible system, it would be recognized that true leadership (and not just parroting back what the poll figures suggest will be popular) is as rare as the ability to design rockets, do higher math, write philosophy or compose symphonies. A leader is one who intervenes between what the people think they want and what they must do, and either explains to them the logical course or forces it upon them. Whether justification or oppression is used is irrelevant, because if what is logical becomes law, the people are better off even if they had to sacrifice some personal demands for the whole. When the whole becomes sick, we all pay. When we sacrifice for a better whole, we all benefit.

None of our current political solutions are sufficient. It is too easy to promise a pleasant illusion and ignore real problems or opportunities, and so our leaders do it. They, after all, only want to crawl their way out of the morass of poverty that is ensnaring the middle class. Even non-mainstream political solutions fail. While the environment is part of what must be addressed, it is not all of it, and so Greens are left as partial solvers of a detail whose root is the cause described. While a failing of traditional values is part of the problem, it is not all of it, so Conservatives become marginalized with the religious fanatics in a mire of abortion, gay marriage and drug laws. While racial decline and loss of homogeneity are part of the question, they do not complete it, which leaves nationalists further isolated from a solution.

The answer is relatively simple: there is one truth, and we call it reality. Many voices describe it and in any genre there are those who understand most of it, but to see it requires putting our personal interests and egos second to finding truth and enacting it. None of us are god; all of us have some position in the hierarchy of nature, and not all of us can lead and thus not all of our opinions are important in a leadership context. But when we stop concerning ourselves with consequentialism, and look instead toward finding a correct path, we are suddenly less likely to lead ourselves down a path which destroys the whole. As the whole is the provider for the fulfilment of individual wishes, at that point, we also lose our personal concerns.

What we think we desire is contingent upon a healthy whole. When you ask a group of people their concerns, they will pipe up about details, but it is unlikely they will focus on that whole. For humanity to survive as something other than a degraded society where the rich rule the stupid, we need to instead find consensus by targetting reality in recognition of how nature, a healthy civilization, and culture as a reservoir of social learning are essential to our individual futures. Should we wish to survive, and all healthy people do, this is the time to set aside our personal fears, selfish desires and confusions and to enact, finally, a better system of human self-government — before it is too late.

Unreal

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

world_socialist_conference

With apologies to William S. Burroughs and Jonathan Swift

An idiot twitches on the sidewalk: he could not predict that antifreeze is not the soothing lime soda that it resembles, but he saw the TV ad. Limited intelligences narrow the world through simplified interpretations that often result in such “unpredictable” conclusions.

On a hypothetical island, the Crowd surges forward with a morbid demand to have what the wealthier do, much like we give children toy kitchens and firetrucks. They bring in exchange a dubious gift: unreality considered to be real because the limited world of inaccurate symbols is easier to understand than the whole of reality.

Punji is a small island in a vast ocean with a single large city upon it. The inhabitants make their living by harvesting the delicious meat of the giant aquatic centipede, which requires submersible diving platforms hand-cranked by five people.

A common lament of employees: “If I could just get a five-hundred dinar submersible, man, I’d be set.”

One season Roger Employee — a young man with a curious blank stare — does exactly that. “I’ve connected the innovative engine of Professor Gottsteinblitz, that runs on human flesh, to an inverted chrome toilet. Five hundred dinars and it’ll take you up and down; the rest is up to you.”

The population of people so simple they had been used for daily tasks raises its collective head. Five hundred dinar — wow, I could afford that. The next day no one shows up at work. They’re all proud owners of their own submersibles.

Former owners centipede-diving teams, now obsolete, retire to sprawling mansions in the hills where they concentrate on being rich and marrying off their children to inoffensive, useless people (usually genteel drug addicts and clergymen).

Great Aunt Martha dies, and her niece, Angie, starts the Five Hundred Dinar Loan agency, becomes rich as a king and retires to the hills with a drug addict. A cottage industry in servicing the five-hundred dinar submersible springs up around the city.

Of course, the idea of a cheap submersible has some flaws… like leaking and in its quick dives, giving its operators a subtle form of the bends that doesn’t kill them but gradually erodes their minds and leaches calcium from their bones. Hunched, incoherent cripples swarm the island with mumbled curses.

A new deluge of Doctors rush to the island to treat this new gold rush of patients. Of course, there’s no cure, only symptomatic treatment, but that’s actually more profitable. Quack remedies and voodoo charms are sold to the remaining divers who awake with teeth grinding at night in fear of the “brain bends.”

Overnight the economy redefines itself. Its previous slow, ponderous motion guaranteed the worker a decent but sparse life, but now there’s the chance of — like winning the lottery — getting rich. Many do, the rest become a permanent underclass who and thrown from job to job like rag dolls.

Businesses last like cut flowers. One day successful, the next day worthless. Citizens in paranoiac neurosis shuffle between investments with the fear that they could lose it all, and consequently, keep their criticisms to themselves. Wouldn’t want to miss out on that next insider trading tip and end up in the poorhouse.

Government throws out its grandfatherly wise men — philosophers, shamans, old warriors — and replaces them with a hair-gelled salesman. “We can have it all,” he says, “and we can have it cheap. It’s the Five-Hundred Dinar Regime and it will last forever.” The voting card each election has five options for what will cost five hundred dinars, and “immortality” and “beauty” always head the list. “Haven’t figured that one out yet,” said Professor Gottsteinblitz, laboring with fingernail scissors on a nuclear reactor.

Mr. Employee sells his stock and flees to the hills, where he lives alone in a grotesque mansion of clashing colors and gold leaf. When he dies, his money goes to a foundation that teaches quantum physics to the retarded.

Taxes are lower than ever. The government has become part of the marketplace. Products are also cheap. What’s not are the services which absorb the costs of these discounts: education, medicine, construction. Watching another house made from popsicle sticks and plaster of paris go up in the ruins of the old, one wise citizen exclaims to another: “Sure is good we have these five-hundred dinar houses… don’t know how people did it in the old days.” They replace them yearly after the rains.

Corporations (the only people with enough money left to do anything big) buy up the entire centipede industry, bcause it takes big money to prospect for these increasingly rare creatures. In fact, the population is declining, having fallen below replacement levels. “The concept of centipede depletion is liberal nonsense,” proclaims the president. “There’s plenty more hiding under whale turds out there.” He bows his head. “Let us pray.”

The nearby island of Ganji, whose inhabitants are known for being lazy and smoking the flower of the polyglot hibiscus, is tapped for its reserves of human flesh to run submersibles. At first, they buy up the retards, pedofiles, and cripples to grind up in the machines, but soon more is needed. “How am I gonna pay your taxes when I can’t run my sub?” goes up the cry, and Punji goes to war against Ganji, quickly subjugating its opponents with superior firepower. Now they feed them wholesale into the machines after war crimes trials conducted using bingo cards.

“You, Marko Vesuvius — or however you primitives say it — are charged with willfully firing on the peacekeeping force with intent to kill,” says the judge. “Harrumph. Sentence: guilty. Immediate execution.” He keeps a boombox blasting Eminem to drown out the cries of the families, who he notes snidely, are also guilty via section 666fu(k). “Justice…is…served,” he bleats between lines of cocaine.

Most Ganjis are simply hired as discount labor, which makes cheaper products. “Delighted!” screams the bored housewife, entering her security code to lock the house against intrusion by impoverished, angry Labor. Her husband, bored and depressed from a day of moving piles of paper between inboxes, grunts and reads his newspaper.

The needs increase, and the population of wealthy and poor alike breeds constantly, necessitating a series of foreign wars. Since taxes cannot be raised, they are funded by selling bonds made of human skin. “Used to be I had to plough a field,” says one sharp young businessman. “Now I move one fund to another, pick up an interest loan here and there, and — well, it’s a Punji success story.” He drives his BMW to his mansion in the hills, finds his cocktail-waitress wife boning the pool man, shoots them both and then himself. “Maybe the other side has some prospects,” he says. “Sell reincarnation insurance to wandering souls.”

Indeed most of the population now make their money from owning things. They import cheap labor from Ganji and breed it with their children: “With their laziness and our smarts, we’ll produce the perfect businesspeople.” Then they go back to worrying about which investments will retire them and which will make them part of the permanent indebted illiterate underclass.

A young activist ponders that, if the smarter elements of the upper middle class were simply to agree on a course of action, they could buy out government and stop the insanity. He is shot in the forehead by an anarchist with sharpened teeth: “Can’t have him wrecking my garbanzo bean futures” (the garbanzo bean market, like every other on the island, varies entirely with the fortunes of the harvest of near-extinct aquatic centipedes).

Nationalists shoot Ganjis outside churches and then turn guns on themselves, liberals educate morons that laziness is evil and then hire them at minimum wage, preachers shrilly dictate how love will bring us together or at least sell enough books so that the question is moot for them personally. Nuclear silos and prisons decorate the hills.

At night the entire island vibrates with the grinding of teeth. The philosopher sips hemlock at a cocktail party. “Dunno,” he said. “The truth — words representing reality — aren’t popular these days. Are you sure you haven’t conquered yourselves?”

A visitor five hundred years later finds an island packed with starving illiterate people, their eyes curiously blank, amidst the ruins of a great enterprise for harvesting extinct beasts. These visitors do what is natural when encountering lower intelligences, which is to subjugate them and use them for menial labor. Eventually their society, too, collapses, and with it the world economy; when aliens arrive five hundred years later, they find a planet packed with starving illiterates, and harvest their flesh to feed the intergalactic engines of their spacecraft.

The Big Silence

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

right_back_at_you_with_hollow_points

It would be convenient to have a rug under which to sweep Cho Seung-Hui, preferrably a metaphysical one so we could banish the image and significance of what the 32 dead at Virginia Tech. We could then go on with our distracted, neurotic lives and salve those nerves with television news about people faraway dying and how our way is right, because we’re bringing them freedom, the same freedom that hippies and large corporations alike endorse.

Most of us have already swept him under a carpet of oblivion, and we peek under it only when a news agency grateful for a story that’s “significant”-sounding — weepy, angry, indignant or cloyingly uplifting — pumps it through the incessant firehose of mass media. Since media is a product, they have to keep the machines running, and if the soup is thin, we can add chicken fat and stale grain until it thickens. Next up: an interview with Cho’s boyhood pet dog.

Our nonsleeping back brains keep us from entirely sweeping him away. Some of our best thinking goes on there, because we’re accustomed to a society where reality is split from public reality, and so we cynically consume media but get our most valid data from trusted friends or sage commentators. It resembles our jobs where bosses assign work based on the published capabilities of products, and we have to patch it together in the real world with duct tape and spit. We receive grand proclamations from government and media, and translate them through a filter of lowest common denominator motivations: business as usual, each person claiming whatever it can to enrich itself.

In these ancient animal parts of our brains, where survival calculations occur that are so fundamental even a media onslaught cannot fully dim them, we are aware of a fundamental archetype that Cho fits. We see him outside of the hand-wringing moralizing of our liberal TV anchors, outside the fat flaccid contentment of our wealthy overlords, and outside the scientific salad of psychological phrases that makes it seem like his condition was diagnosable, and not the choice of a desperate man. We realize he is the predator that arrives when the prey-species becomes too fat.

Much as in nature, when a species becomes prosperous and overpopulates an area to the point where it cannot feed itself, and predators arrive, when humanity has grown past all logic and is heading for a massive fall, the predators like Cho appear, driven by the rage of immersion in too many useless people. We bemoan how humanity is the only species that makes war against itself, but a phantom thought flits through our brain: if we are not pruned, might a worse fate await?

Cho’s predation is distinctive in that he was not hungry physically, but metaphysically. He was far from a culture that understood him. He had been denied the status others had, told to “go back to China” when he was young, and found himself in a school surrounded by the idle children of America’s middle class. This middle class is composed mostly of people who rose from poorer origins, found a way to take wealth out of society with some business or another, and now live in comfortable oblivion because they lack the foresight that people of education need.

They’re fish out of water as much as Cho was, and their indolent drug-abusing, product-buying, promiscuous and vapid behavior disgusts us when we see it — but they count on us not seeing it. This is why people are secretive, knowing a back-brain shame not from moral reasons but from awareness that their behaviors and lives are products of inertia and nothing useful, when they commit their little sins. They seem brazen, but they’re counting on us defending their freedom to act stupidly and our constant distraction so we do not add up all the incidents. Predators like Cho did the math however.

Perhaps this is the reason that so few acted against him. One student barricaded a door with a table, and was called a “hero” for what other healthier generations would consider the minimum acceptable response to the situation. No one challenged him. When the cops arrived, they took their time to clear the scene before moving in. No one wants to get killed for what is just a job, and what makes it just a job is that we distrust our weak and vapid fellow citizens. Would you die for an idiot?

The yammering voices of media and neurotic, empty-headed people will fill the next few weeks with “insightful” hand-wringing over the event but come up with no answers, because the real answer is so obvious it both does not need saying and is violently taboo. They will talk about how he was depressed, or perhaps psychologically unhinged, but if we look at humanity like a natural species, we see the situation was one of too many sheep and not enough wolves. Sometimes the sheep birth a wolf among them at such times.

It might be preferrable to have honest predators again. A predator knocks down your door and consumes you to feed a normal amount of children. A parasite worms its way into your life with kind words and marketing diagrams, then sits at your table and takes a little every day, but breeds an exponential amount of parasites. Predators are fast kills, and parasites, a slow death. We are surrounded by parasites who use social abstractions like economics and morality to contribute nothing but take wealth and energy out of our civilization. Predators trim these, just as in nature they remove the old and sick.

Of course, no one wants to see it this way, and admit we’re organic (thoughts of death and defecation ring in the mind). They would rather blame the gun lobby, who are up in arms about this shooting claiming that people kill people, not guns. They’re right. Guns just made it easier. The gun lobby’s dirty secret is that in their back brain they know a government of the people can’t be trusted, because most people barely have the judgment to live as individuals, and in a group, they make the worst kind of well-intentioned poorly-designed committee logic decisions that mainly help to suffocate independent thinkers. They want guns so when the time comes they can defend themselves against the dictatorship of the masses.

Koreans are afraid that retribution will occur. They are probably remembering the response of black and Latino communities in Los Angeles during the riots, who instead of marching on their wealthy overlords in the Hollywood hills, attacked their local convenience stores because the prices were high. Their biggest political statement was to loot recklessly. The high prices came from high insurance costs owed to the people in the hills, but that did not make it into the mind of the angry crowd armed with fire.

The Korean community should probably worry, but not about this incident, since our media has explained to most Americans that to be a good and fair person means not blaming the community for what one of its members did. That alone is fair. It’s not like Koreans are conspiring to produce excellent school shooters so they can claim the highest body count (remembering No Gun Ri, perhaps). The Korean community should worry because history shows that no multi-ethnic nation has ever emerged with a culture intact, and all have immediately descended into third-world status. Their choice is to be a target or be assimilated in a once-wealthy nation whose future is much less profitable.

And the usual pundits in Washington and New York are afraid that somehow, despite our elaborately concocted mechanism of morality and the “official” psychological studies that followed it, we cannot fully explain what happened at Virginia Tech. They’re right: psychologists have offered scenarios and conjectures but no clear reason why. We fear what we cannot explain away, because it implies that those cracks in our sciences might extend to our society itself. Given how useless our response to it has been, that looks very likely.

In the meantime, the slow gradual decline that has been evident since the Roman empire continues. We stopped trusting our genetically-capable leaders, natural geniuses like Socrates and Aristotle, and began to define our lives in material terms for the convenience of the individual. Truth vanished because we could choose whatever truth we wanted, if we could afford it. After our species labored for millennia to get to a point of wealth and comfort, those who came along for the ride used that wealth and comfort to secede into personal worlds, and used political force to make sure that rule applied.

Consequently, we get dumber and not smarter as the years pass, and more complacent because our lives lack any real meaning. We are here to make ourselves comfortable, and to create a comfortable metaphysical reality, not to explore the world and challenge ourselves. We are prevented from pointing out stupidity by the rules of the herd. We expand recklessly, while the population of intelligent people proportionately (and literally) decreases. Humanity is a headless stomach eating up earth and propagating itself in dumbed-down, vapid form.

This is why we get predators, and why when you turn on the news lately it is full of endless debates about the obvious. Global climate change may or may not be true, but it’s obvious that if you cover a planet in concrete and fences, you kill its natural life at a time when you can’t replace it with something better. Our brief detour into humanistic justification has been replaced by a grim reality of future ethnic, religious and territorial conflicts. We’re returning to what we were, as if nature just rebooted to see if it couldn’t get rid of the junk in memory.

Cho Seung-Hui is part of this rebooting. If we knew what was good for us, as a species, we would clone a hundred thousand Cho Seung-Huis and let them loose on society at large. Maybe we would give them hammers instead of handguns, but we would let these predators claim those whose vapidity precludes any real direction in life and thus endows them with a lack of will to live. They will preserve themselves passively if given the choice, but lack the creative ability to struggle for survival. Put in unbroken forest overnight, they would starve and freeze because their personal lifestyle choices don’t lend themselves to the hard work of making fire and finding food.

The mindless chatter comes from such voices who are afraid that the obvious might be seen, and those who still have the potential for wolfhood might wake up to see how many need cleansing. If we want to avoid this kind of incident in the future, we need to stop blaming Cho and analyzing him with effete meaningless rhetoric, and look toward why this happened. We can ban all handguns, cover the world in padded foam, and put warning tags on every door, but we cannot escape the inertia within. As we escaped reality, we brought it back on ourselves, and if we do not face it with a bolder and braver outlook, soon it will consume us.

Taken for Granted

Sunday, November 19th, 2006

we_the_people

Uncharacteristically, I watched “60 Minutes” last night and got to observe the brain stem activity of my fellow citizens. I say brain stem because their thinking was localized to replication of existing events, with some comparison to previous results but not much. The scope of their thinking never made it past that repetition. This reminds me of drunken people trying twenty times to insert a key in their door before the occupant behind the door patiently reminds them they’re at the wrong house.

The subject was politics, one that I’d like to enjoy if it were not so repetitive. To some degree, once you’ve done your research, thought about the topic, and come up with solutions, there’s not much to debate or talk about. Yet these people natter on as if discovering that a fetus can fart at 3 months will somehow mystically debunk abortion, or that scientists think we’re 99.6% genetically similar to chimps instead of 99.3% somehow makes us all the same.

And so the chatter goes on about the election, but very rarely do you see deep engagement of brain — it’s unwise to do that in public, because it reveals how smart you really are, having to actually think on your feet like that — and so the answers are like hands of cards dealt at a poker game: recombinations of what is expected, with some pattern or another hinted at and so we hang our hopes upon it. At some point, I wandered outside for an extended break and was glad for the lonely silence, because at least it was not innocently deceiving.

My point of view at this point in my life is that most people are misguided, and because their brains are overwhelmed with the sheer amount of data and emotion that modern life generates, they are unlikely to out think that misguidance. They are able to look at ten sheets of paper on a desk and pick the right solution, whether a software implementation or purchase of a new car, but beyond that they drift inward to a place of stability. This place is insulated in repetition, and usually consists of enough ways to bolster their self-confidence so they can make it through the day. Constantly assaulted by demands, and questions beyond their scope, they revert to what they know and take it unseriously, because to really get involved with it on an intellectual level would reveal limitations.

There are exceptions, of course, but when one lives in a time where popularity is more important than intellectual accuracy, politics becomes a necessary defense. For this reason smart people chip away at the truth through oblique angles and the management of details, ensuring that their work is rarely interpreted in anything approaching the scope it deserves. It’s hard to blame them when one sees what happens to truly controversial college professors or corporate leaders, and the witch-hunt mentality that is used for those who violate society’s sacred taboos. And the list of those is lengthy, and not relevant to this article.

When dissidents squawk that society is headed in a bad way, the underlying assumption they’re addressing is this lack of ability to face the truth. We live in a schizoid time. One level of “reality” is the publically-accepted truth, which suffers under two faults: (1) finding consensus among people of varied inclinations produces a lowest common denominator compromise and (2) given a choice with no immediate consequences, most people choose what they would like to believe over what they fear to be true.

The other level of reality, the world as an interconnected and functioning phenomenon, is never fully experienced or understood because we are in it and part of it and so can only know what we perceive. But when we compare what we perceive to the results of tests we design to verify the accuracy of our beliefs, the response from “reality” or “the universe” or “the world” is consistent. So to what detail do we need to know it to know what is right? Even knowing little, if we work upward from the verifiable principles we discover, we can know enough to predict our future. That knowledge is what we in the vernacular call “reality,” and although it is not reality, if the data is close enough, it is for us as accurate as it needs to be.

But in a time where popularity, and by extension product-buying perception and democratic voter perception, are more important than accuracy, the value of truth is questionable. This op-ed calls into question our valuation of truth, and points out a simple fact: truth is unimportant until you stop taking survival for granted, and realize that statistically our species is more likely to fail and die out than to survive and go on to greater heights. “Who wants truth?” a philosopher once famously asked, in his way of saying that we cannot “prove” truth to people not inclined for it, so stop wasting the effort and start applying what we find beautiful, which since we are born of a mathematical universe often corresponds to the union of form and function that we call beauty.

We live in a schizoid time because what people think they want is more “real,” in our interactions with others, than reality. Our current dysfunction originates in this attitude, which comes about when a large numerous group overwhelms those of higher intelligence and, thanks to the head start and infrastructure set up by those of greater ability, is able to rule itself for some time before decay catches up. We can call it crowdism, or selfishness, or even mass revolt, but at its core the crowd is composed of individuals sharing this same delusion: that what we want to be true is more true than what is true. Does humanity’s error come down to a simple lack of maturity, like a six-year-old confronted with a choice of dinner between broccoli and ice cream? Nature does replicate its structures.

What allows us to continue is that we take our survival for granted. We see this vast society around us, with its machines and sciences, and we assume that it can never fail. What is left to do but divide up the spoils, and to argue endlessly over who gets what while the few who don’t care about such moral concerns amass great fortunes at our expense?

We cannot take our survival for granted, and stagnate, without facing problems when the events set into motion by our (in)action culminate. These things take time, and over the past centuries our great-grandparents and beyond have been content to ride out the problems, brushing them off with the knowledge that facing the music was far off. It is no longer so far off. In the past century, as technology has expanded beyond Europe to the world, the population of the globe has shot skyward with few breakpoints in sight. The stakes are further raised by the environmental damages created by this technology and the new weapons it allows. Our problem, environmentally, is not a place to put all these people but the space and resources required by the support systems needed for them to have modern lifestyles. And of course the waste it generates: landscapes of compressed discards decaying in the slow abrasion of time and corresopndingly leeching breakdown products into the soil.

It is pointless to complain without a contrary vision in mind, and what forms as concept after thought is what might be called a naturalist futuristic society: a civilization that recognizes technology as a tool and not a goal; can differentiate between wants and needs; separates tokens from reality carefully. Such a civilization will inevitably be opposed by those it would save from themselves because it imposes limits upon their economic and social freedom, including their ability to buy and discard technological junk. Instead of being based on the idea of consequentialism, a big brother to utilitarianism which supposes that the actions which most people think make them happy are the best for society at large, this society would be based on leadership. In doing so, it would fuse the wisdom of the past with the abilities granted us by technology.

Imagine a small town in this society, which would probably have more small towns and fewer large cities. The goal of a job is to be a contributing member of a community, and to get home as soon as possible. Consequently, people work harder and faster, and are often done in six hours or fewer and home with their families or out with friends. The inside of their homes are mostly wood, cloth and stone. Technology might be visible, a computer in the corner and a few electric appliances, but the general rule is that there’s not much of it. Devices like clocks or cooking implements are made of metal and glass and designed to last a lifetime. There is no car, but there might be a golf cart. Air fresheners, televisions, plastic packaging, digital displays and things that beep have gone the way of the Dodo bird.

Naturalist futurism is so called because it does not give up on technology and return us to mud huts. It simply seeks a place for technology, and recognizes this happens through the death of preference-based reality. It would resurrect the ancient Indo-European concept of vir, or seeing more than individuals a single consciousness of which we are all vectors, and thus in unhesitant love for the whole not hesitating to nurture or prune where a higher level of organization could be offered. Naturalist futurists do not bulldoze forests, but build selectively in them. They do not blindly slather the world in iPods, billboards, screaming cars and televisions, but find the function of each device and apply it — or deny it.

They tell us, these modern sages with the intellectual responsivity of brain stems, that people are made happier by our society but I have yet to see the evidence of it. They are made wealthier, surely, and life is easier, but surveys routinely return a majority who would opt for a simpler less lucrative lifestyle if they had more time for family and other pursuits. The reason more do not pursue this is as simple as the reason it cannot be discussed: what motivates normal people toward wealth is fear. Fear of having a home enveloped by ghetto. Fear of not having health insurance, of being broke in the face of legal problems, of being unable to buy their children the luxury day care and private schools required to keep them out of the morass of hopelessness. Fear of not having money and being old, in the ghetto, surrounded by toxins with no money for cancer care or even euthanasia.

Yet when people are given space to talk where the taboos are not so vicious, and prodded as to the things that they value in such an idealized state that we modern functionalists categorize them as (waking) dreams, the answers are similar, if the people are of reasonable intelligence. They speak of romantic, idealistic, hopeful things. Marriage is dead, yet everyone dreams of that perfect match and a life mostly happily ever after. Fidelity to friend or nation is dead, but something stirs our soul at the thought of a cause worth dying for. We speak of the death of culture, and its obsolescence in a time of instant messages and 500 cable channels, but hearts melt when they speak of rituals of grandparents, ancestral lands, things we value… in a time where preference is king, and disposability the norm, people long for something that motivates them more than convenience alone. When asked bluntly if we want convenience or reality, we stumble, because the question in itself is like a machine: input/output. Given a chance to draw outside the lines, people give us not just wants but soul-desires.

Now that the path on which humanity has embarked makes clear its endpoint in ecocide, culturecide, urban decay, endless petty wars, loud cancerous cities and lonely isolated paths apart from others who understand our dreams, people are reconsidering this modern society option. Perhaps there is a way to retain the benefits without the ills, they are thinking, because modern society is more a “design” than it is a tangible thing. We can motivate ourselves another way. It is fortunate they do this, in the last pit stop of a race to head off our corruption before it becomes final, because with the realization of what we desire instead of want, we have the potential for change. Someday people may understand; humanity is not yet doomed. Despite all the negative signs, and the presence of mostly talking brainstems, I see a new future unfolding: one where do not take survival for granted and struggle instead for dominion over ourselves before the world.

Cynicism

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

darkmoon

How nice it would be to be numb, we think sometimes, as in the current era, those who notice more and can think farther into the future are punished for this ability. To be aware, and to connect the dots on the map of this society’s future, is to notice an oblivion into which we inexorably walk. Even more, it is to be aware of history as at least recently a giant chronicle of failures.

Even more, it is to note how in nature, there is never “freedom” from competition for survival. Species wipe themselves out all the time. And even if we are the only life in our corner of the universe, there is nothing to say life is not developing elsewhere. We are expendable; there is no religious, moral or historical reason why we, humanity, or we, any specific group within humanity, must survive.

This of course plays into our observation that in recent history most ideas start out healthy and rapidly degenerate into either nothingness or a pale shadow of themselves. To know things is to be a bit cynical, in the modern meaning of the word, which signifies a distrusted of all stated motives and a doubtful glance cast at the survival prospects of those doctrines and groups that state them. Cynicism does not require an exact prediction of our future, only a certain degree of detection of illusion.

For example, it may be that most people were caught unawares by the sudden rise in gasoline prices, but to many among us, it was a matter of time before something drove up the price – after all, it’s a finite resource. Do the math. At some point, all finite things run out. Yet if you had watched our media, politicians and the conversations of most people from a neutral vantage point, up until very lately there would have been no indication of such a thing. We were in denial.

This principle extends toward society at large. Turn on a television, or talk with the average person, and you’re barraged with possibilities and advantages within the world order we have. Yet there’s an autumnal sadness to this, also, in that it is immediately obvious that the speakers see only tangible advantages, and have no idea of the direction of the system as whole. Even collapsing empires have advantages. No one will articulate these possibilities.

From the perspective of parents, of course, there are questions that keep one up at night. If our society is moving ahead so swimmingly, why do so many fundamental problems endure? In other words, what are we leaving for our children to inherit – promise, or the labor of cleaning up the past? And there’s always the disturbing thought that we’ve finally pushed over the line, and done something so destructive that we thrust them into a world where they fight for their lives, possibly against something as undefeatable as climate change or cancers from nuclear fallout or international combat over water supplies.

To have awareness in this world is to have a sinking feeling in the pit of one’s stomach, noting that while right now everything seems okay, if we were to plot this society’s trends on a graph we would find that – absent the arbitrary factors of measurement like economy, morality, politics and entertainment – the curves we see point toward eventual failure on the scale of sooner more than later. That no one discusses this, and that many of these topics are actually taboo and mention of them brings covert recrimination upon the speaker, affirms a sick reality: our society is violently in denial of its own future.

This has gone on for many years, and no one has really spoken up because the majority of the people in our society would be offended by that, and would work hard to shut that person down. We’re familiar with religious executions, political instability, Alien and Sedition Acts. We know people languish in prison for thought crimes; this is a country where in the same year you could get thrown in jail for being extreme right or left. The law is don’t rock the boat; it’s bad for business and upsets people. Thus for years those with intimations of the future have kept quiet. Speak up and be destroyed? Well, then, do the best you can for yourself and your kids.

In other words, this one will have to run its course. However, the psychological damage of that outlook is massive, because in assuming it, one invites despair into one’s house. Cynicism takes two forms in human beings. The least profound of the two is a somnolent depression by which one comes to see no future, and to embrace futility, including a negative faith in oneself and others. It is bitter, but self-reflexive; this cynicism creates nothing but an unhappy, silent person. The other cynicism reaches deeper by forcing the person to give up on value, instead of merely assuming negative value.

This other kind of cynicism takes for granted that nothing can be done about the situation, and thus justifies the kind of aggressive self-enrichment that in previous years was thought to be immoral. However, this behavior is now the standard, from corporate boardrooms to presidential candidates to people working counter at sandwich shops. There is no solution, goes the logic, therefore, take what you can and have a good time, because it will all come crashing down someday. While it’s hard to logic against this point of view from the perspective of personal benefit, one wonders: what damage does this do to our minds and the regulator of our emotions and hopes, the soul?

Probably science has “proven” that the soul does not exist, but it seems to this author that the soul is a property of the mind. Much as emotions are a form of logic, the soul is a type of organization, something that assesses all of what makes us alive at once and uses it to posit a direction. Do we have personalities? The grandfather of personality is the soul: it is what ultimately we value, and therefore, how we know for what we’d give our lives. It’s the part of us that understands the necessity for love and thus is capable of it. It’s the part of us that appreciates life enough to want to give back, during healthy times.

The soul is what gives us reason to understand a classical symphony, and to parse our own feelings to draw a conclusion, and to apply it to our life. That is what the soul is, perhaps: a conductor of our Will, of our capacity to see the possibilities of life even when in dire situations. Our ancestors, living out endless winters in Arctic caves, doubtless had quite a presence of soul. The greatest among us have a single quality that unites them, and that is the ability to hold on to an idea and to labor against all odds and without praise until it is accomplished; in that there are the stirrings of soul. If science proves there is no soul, we should fund research to find out what “acts like the soul.”

It is in this area that our cynicism is damaging. The first kind of cynicism is depression; the second kind is opportunism. Both afflict us unduly, as populations, in that half of us are mutely watching the disaster unfold and the other half, long having given up on doing anything positive, are acting as agents of its decline. Perhaps this is why to many our society seems demonic and threatening; it lacks a soul, thanks to its inherent cynicism, a spiritual darkness reflected in its materialism and callousness toward all finer things, including our natural environment and heritage. We cannot prove those have monetary value, so they are solely the province of the soul.

Cynicism is oddly comforting because it gives us a clear statement of what we’re doing. “There is no hope, so enjoy what you can,” terminates the question of whether or not we should be trying. Although the message is negative, the ability to pronounce judgment and thus stop struggling with the question is comforting. It is like deciding that there are or are not monsters under the bed, as a child; either way, one goes to sleep, either accepting sure death or trusting in solitude. The power of cynicism is that it ends the constant mental dialogue over whether or not there is hope.

If I could give one gift to my people, it would be for even a moment to free them of this pervasive cynicism; to show them that while the situation may be dire, and while most do not see it, nothing is yet lost. We are still here and we still strive for something better, something that can be measured only in the soul. Although history has treated us badly, and affliction from within has diminished our strength, we can reclaim the greatness of past if we concentrate and work toward the ideal that we see. The future is ours if we choose to inherit it. The first step toward that, however, is abandoning our cynicism.

Inward

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

frozen_mountain_pass

There’s a difference between being your own person and being obsessed with yourself. I was unfortunate enough to witness a debate in my favorite coffee shop between several groups of people, and was reminded again how this world is divided into leaders, and then followers, with the latter subdividing into outright submitters (follow the dominant paradigm) and self-style “iconoclasts” who derive their identity and self-worth from being “different” in appearance while bleatingly repeating the same silly ideas.

The latter will tell you until their dying breath that “being your own person” equals being obsessed with yourself; they talk a good game about how everyone is wrong, and only they and others of a certain elect have the truth, but their basic message is this: repeat the right ideas, and be “different” and “unique” in your lifestyle, and you’re one of the right ones and everyone else is wrong. Their message is identical to that of the corporations they detest and the Republicans they loathe: show up, sign up for some idea, and then keep being selfish and somehow you’re an “individualist.”

Whatever. I say this not with a sense of acceptance, but in the knowledge that followers pretending to be leaders always blurt out the same nonsense message, which is that we can all be included if we just repeat the same thing. Because their modus operandi is that of a follower, their message is follower-friendly. They are telling you that what is most important is your own comfort and your personal drama, regardless of what is true or a higher ideal that just being a sheep. The message of crowds everywhere is that each of us is our own little world, and that no one should take that from us, so we should band together and start preaching about how we must protect these little worlds regardless of the effect of detaching ourselves from reality.

Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself.
— C.G. Jung, The Undiscovered Self (1957)

Really, that’s what it is. Whether you’re a Bush-can-do-no-wrong sheep or a beret-wearing iconoclast who’s the only person in the world unique enough to prefer horse semen in your mocha java, their belief is that we should all exist as inviolable sacred personal worlds and be obsessed with ourselves. Damn reality! Go deeper into being You, be a God unto yourself, and find meaning in life in your conflicts, your fears, your clothing and product preferences and the expanding cult of You. If all of us together demand this same thing, we can all be “individuals,” together!

The scene queens like to think that having the world’s most diverse CD collection, the right combination of thrift shop clothing that no one else has, and a “unique” take on the world through a “different” sequence of popular thoughts is the way to be an individualist. These people fundamentally hate the order of nature, in which those who adapt best to reality are rewarded, and want to replace it with an order where those who are the most popular are rewarded. And we all know how easy popularity is. Make yourself into a product that’s distinctive from others, then dress up the same old line in a new way, and tell people that they can be as cool as you for repeating what you’ve said or done or how you’ve dressed, and you’ll be popular. Even if what you’re preaching is “iconoclastic” and against the grain, it’s basically the same old line.

I call this Crowdism, because it rewards followers disguised as leaders, and excludes real leaders. Its message is that you can get ahead in life through appearance, and not through discipline or by doing anything of real importance. Whether you’re the local scene queen at the coffee shop, or the guy who repeats exactly what he reads from government news sources, it’s the same psychology. Don’t go inward; go outward. Be part of the crowd, but in order to do that, you must be “unique.” Those who like our government claim they do so because it gives them the best chance to pursue their personal lifestyle, where those who hate our government do so because they feel it oppresses their uniqueness. These people have no philosophical statement, because their only idea is that they want to worship themselves, and they make up 98.6% of our population.

The only way to be your own person is to go inward and to find out what you value. No amount of external “rights” or the ability to be dramatic with your CD collection and mocha java can do this for you. Tackle your own fears, get better at doing whatever you love, and most of all, stop being a world unto yourself and reconnect to reality. Make changes where change is good, and don’t try to define yourself by external things where no change is needed; simply appreciate them. You don’t need a forest that’s unique because it has pink cacti growing next to evergreens; you need to discipline your spirit and soul to appreciate the genius of the forest as it is. No amount of external reconfiguration can do that for you.

Crowdism

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

crowd_psychology_during_french_revolution

History may run in cycles, but each era has its distinctive flavor, and those form the methods by which its part in the process of history is fulfilled. In our modern time, we have uniquely united the world through centralized media, by which someone in one location produces what comes to be known as the official “truth,” and it is then distributed throughout the globe almost instantly. The people of earth, conditioned to require the absolute “truth” from central agencies on matters of commerce and governmental regulation, promptly extend the same courtesy to political and social truth as conveyed by the “official” media.

The result of this is that a small group of people create our public perceptions of events; the events happen, and the rest of us, who are fated to find out about them second-hand in any case, rely on the descriptions of those events relayed to us by this centralized source. In such a climate, it is not surprising that there are errors in our perception of reality, as all that is required is for those in the “official” truth-telling capacity to miss a detail or, more likely, be convinced for social reasons that they need to hush that detail. It will put people out of jobs; it will make people feel bad; they don’t need to know what they can do nothing about; it will not benefit your (you, personally, the guy responsible for putting out the news) career.

Who Owns Truth?

Another way of saying this is that if fifteen people witness an event and give roughly similar testimony, barring any prior agreement to collusion among them, it’s a lot more accurate than if there’s only one eye-witness who also has a vested interest in how the outcome is viewed. If the landlord of a building is the one person to witness its burning, and he claims it was the reckless conduct of the tenants and not shoddy construction that allowed the blaze to devour the complex entirely, how likely are we to wholly believe him? After all, he has a reason to lie that directly benefits his livelihood. The same can be said of our media, who eat based not on the degree of truth to their stories, but the degree of human interest. They sell drama, but not difficult truths, as those will make one unpopular enough to be bankrupt.

For this reason, it has been very slowly that discontent has built in our society, because for most people, there was never any reason to trust the official version of events until now. We were told foreign dictators were bad, so we all banded together and crushed them. We were told that we needed to buy certain products, so we did, hoping to keep our families safe and futures secure. We were told that it was important to believe certain things, as they were ideologies of the future, and through this “progress” we got to a better life; who doesn’t want that? Most of us live in small worlds, focused around family and friends and local social community, and we don’t want more than that. Nothing is more admirable, since this is a view of life that negates fear of death and embraces what life offers the individual outside of social and monetary absolutes. It’s a healthy, normal existence.

Yet these small worlds have been shattered, as despite our armies of scientists and reporters and researchers, these problems crept up on us: global warming, terrorism, mass immigration, economic collapse. It’s well and fine to have missed a few fragments of information here and there, and to be surprised by a shortfall in a government program or a new population trend, but how does something as big as global warming sneak up on us? That’s like getting ambushed by a glacier. Undoubtedly, the thought that hit many minds when after years of fighting the story, our news media and politicians finally gave in and said, “Aw shucks, this global warming thing is real,” was quite simply that either we’re being told a partial story or, more ominously, that these people do not care enough about reality to get the whole story. This puts an image in our minds of, instead of diligent and honest guardians, profiteers running the show who leave it to us to survive as we can.

With this sudden distrust of the “truth” upon which our society is based comes another sobering thought: for things to get this out of control, where we are controlled by predators who seem oblivious to our future, something must be fundamentally wrong about the way we’re governing ourselves. As said before, most people are content to lead local lives, but our world is now so interconnected that government rarely stops at the town, city, parish or county. If people in distant nations screw up and dump uranium into our oceans, we get the cancers here just as fatally as anywhere else. Should negotiations fail and nuclear war rain death upon us, our localities – which have been quietly going about life – are no longer autonomous, but targets belonging to whatever political entity incurred ire. Our lives are bound up in the fortunes of the collective, and when it errs, we are the ones who pay. How do you hold a government, or a corporation, or a world governing body responsible? You can haul out the people in office and shoot them, but that is little recompense for the vast amounts of good things destroyed by the errors of such leadership entities.

If we follow this chain of thought to its logical conclusion, then we are – as a species – ruled by distant forces who have little accountability for the decisions that affect us, and may be motivated by self-interest more than the best interests of the species as a whole. Modern people are so used to long strings of words that mean nothing, so this is restated in the vernacular: you are under the control of people who are leading you to their profit, not yours. Even more, if you resist, other people – well-meaning, normal, healthy people – will do their best to kill you, believing that they are destroying a dangerous deviant and not someone with a rational objection to the system as a whole. In other words, the world is turned upside down; truth has become a fabrication, the predators are in control, and dissent is not tolerated in any way that will have actual effect. If one were paranoiac, it would suggest an evil force in control of this world.

Deflection

Yet it is the demonic nature of this process alone that provides us a clue to its origin. No human organization in history has been so well-managed that it could pull off a conspiracy of this nature without revealing itself or collapsing in infighting. Whatever engendered this particular mess did not have a leader, or a central organizing principle, although it has manifested itself in centralized authority. A systematic change to this kind of order comes through a shared assumption, much like when a group of friends, upon perceiving their favorite bar is closed, meet at the next most likely place without having to communicate the name amongst themselves. More than a leaderless revolution, it was an unconscious one: those who brought it about had no idea they shared an ideology, or no idea what its name might be, or even why they did it. They simply did it because it was natural to do, and because nothing has since opposed it, it continues to this day in grossly simplified form.

We are tempted by the opposite conclusion, because if we were able to find a single easy cause, like removing a jam from a machine we could yank it out, and by mathematical simplicity, would have all of the good in society with the negative removed, thus an all-good society. When was the last time life was that simple? Any infection on the level of our assumptions has pervaded our society at its lowest level, that of its values and worldview. We could blame language, or x=y thinking, or sin waves of emotion, or any of the other detours that have absorbed our best liberal thinkers looking for a symbological fix to our problem, but really, these are just the devil’s messengers. What’s wrong isn’t us; it’s what we think we believe, and even if we say we want to fix it, our minds have become mesmerized by a certain outlook on the world and are unwilling to leave it. Thus our disease remains, since even when trying to excise it, we re-affirm the infection by assuming the necessity of its component parts.

It’s like the mafia boss who’s determined to root out the informer in his organization. He and his personal secretary interview all of his department heads, and after some theorizing, they put the worst of them into the bay. But the next time a bust happens, the boss realizes he’s still infected. He goes after every person he can think of, but can’t ever clear himself of the informant, until one day he’s put into jail. You can imagine his shock when the star witness comes out to confront him: his personal secretary! In our case, as moderns, the disease is worse than an informing secretary; it’s within us. There is no clearer evidence of this than our mania for deflection. Is it the Communists? Then the other side whispers: it’s the Capitalists. Is it the drug-users? The hackers? The terrorists? The Nazis? Who else can we blame – what do we do when we finally run out of people to blame? (It’s not fair to let the right off the hook either: it’s not the Negroes or the Jews that are the root of your problem, although their presence can be argued to be a symptom!)

All of these futile attempts have failed, since even when these demons have been exorcised, the disease has remained. That is not to say that these attempts have not improved the situation, only that they haven’t gotten to the core of it. Think for a moment: what sort of problem is it that one cannot identify and root out? The simple answer: one you cannot tell to another person, and therefore, even if you know it, no one else can work on the problem – and in modern society, every problem is too big for one man. Imagine working with another police inspector on this case. You can tell the guy everything except that which might potentially hurt his feelings. So the investigation goes on, and despite your partner being slower than you are, he puts his heart into it. At the end you have no answers, because both of you don’t know the answer, even though it’s in your knowledge.

The dirty little secret of the West’s collapse is that it has come from within. The extent of our modern disease is revealed by the fact that when we think this, we immediately try to blame either everyone, or no one. We are afraid to blame a process and implicate certain people as its methods. And why not? We’re not passing moral judgment, claiming them to be the spawn of Satan, as our leaders do to enemies during wartime. All we are saying is that they, by what they do, have caused a massive problem. The real social taboo broken here is the unstated obvious: in order to fix the problem, we have to limit their sainted “freedom.” Nevermind that few people actually need freedom. What they want are normal, comfortable lives, without other people intruding in upon them and telling them what to think. That’s not freedom; it’s common sense and common decency. People like to conceive of “freedom,” however, as a limitless absolute. “I can do anything I want,” they say, forgetting that most of what they actually want falls within the narrow sphere of what benefits them in a practical sense. You could make sculptures out of your own mucus… but do you need that “freedom”?

Yet any person who advocates breeching that “freedom” is portrayed to be a bad guy, which is interesting, since in times without freedom, there was not such widespread deception where a few people could control “truth” for an entire planet, even if through the quasi-voluntarily methods of television and entertainment media. To a thinking person, the fear of losing “freedom” is another type of deflection: finding something irrelevant to the cause to blame. It’s psychologically very easy, actually: to blame something external divides the world into two segments, the desired and the undesired. In actuality, it makes no sense to divide things that already exist into desired/undesired, because the only thing that can be desired is an outcome and by definition anything but that outcome is undesired – yet outcomes usually occur in partial degrees, or with modifications, so that kneejerk response makes little sense. When manipulating the masses, however, it makes sense to tell them that the world is divided into “freedom” and those who hate freedom, as they react more quickly to the positive feelings associated with “freedom” and only more slowly to the logic trap into which they fall. Heart first, then brain – even with very smart people.

Crowdism

This emotional process of trying to solve logical issues is obviously paradoxical, but it is the foundation of our modern morality, which is derived in part from Christianity but has previous antecedents; this means that while Christianity (as practiced by most, not the happy few who’ve made a real religion of it!) embraces this ambient quasi-ideology we are describing, it is not the sole origin of it. Rather, morality of this type has been with the world since its earliest days; it is not a new invention, merely a less successful one, thus one that was until recently alien to our societies because many generations ago we transcended it. It is a belief system based on appearances: emotions come before logic, personal boundaries come before the necessity of doing what is right for all, and abstract divisions of “good” and “evil” regarding intent come before a realization of the effect of any action. In short, this is a belief system which manipulates by preventing certain actions rather than by recommending others, and it attacks before any action is ever committed.

When we remove all the irrelevant theory, what becomes clear is that this is a belief system designed to protect a type of person; that is why its negative, preemptive assessment. It does not have a goal. It does not have an ideology. It is wholly negative in nature, in that it identifies certain things that are destabilizing to those who find it important, and it attempts to censure and criminalize those. It in fact replaces the idea of having a goal with the idea of not doing wrong, and thus restricts what can be done to those whose actions might be so selfish that any sort of goal would conflict with them. These sort of people might be described as passive criminals, then, since what they do is not outright criminal, but by being what is done instead of pursuing a healthy goal, and by requiring a morality that prevents others from interrupting it, it supplants the seeking of a healthy goal. It is thus a crime of omission if nothing else.

Another way to look at it is from this angle: imagine that something needs to be done for the good an entire community. Healthy people are willing to make sacrifices for this. But some would prefer to rigidly negate that proposal because it interferes with their personal fortunes or convenience. By doing this, they are dooming the community in the long run, even if it means they get to keep whatever it was they desired in the short term. These people need some kind of protection that, no matter what the overall goal is, justifies their selfishness. Even better, it should eliminate the concept of overall goal, and focus only on the individual. To do that, a morality was created which banned actions and not goals, effectively hobbling any goal-setting because any real change will always infringe upon someone’s little world. Morality is the assertion of personal reality as a higher value that physical, this-is-the-real-world-pay-attention reality.

We can diagnose it: solipsism, or perhaps a low grade sociopathy, or even in the simplest terms, selfishness. It could even be described with fancy academic terms like materialism, meaning a focus on material comfort that places all ideological concerns at distant second, or absolutism, meaning a creation of a false abstraction that governs how we see reality. What reveals its nature the most however is understanding the type of mentality that produces it. To do this, we must go to folk wisdom, in which it is recognized that what people would not do as individuals they will do as a mob. Under social pressure, people will take drugs, torture one another, steal, lie, cheat and delude themselves. If they internalize that social pressure, they will do these things without the presence of others because they are aware of the eventuality of having to interact with those others. In this sense, the mob mentality can extend to those who are alone, because in their minds the rest of the mob is always there.

This behavior transcends ideology. One can as easily assume the identity of a Green, or a modern Republican, or a radical neo-Nazi, or a harmless Democrat, and still wield this belief system. It can strike any social class, any intelligence, at any age, although it tends to be supported among the lower middle class young of moderate but not genius intelligence. It does not require awareness of its own presence; those who are its carriers never would know it by name, and most commonly believe they are fighting for something else when they strike out with it: justice, “freedom,” equality, love, peace, happiness, wealth. Even more tenacious, it is based in the emotions of the individual, so it does not succumb to rational argument. It is there because it is the intersection of a person’s emotional need and their lack of higher reasoning to keep it in check. In this sense, it is part ideology — and part pathology, or disease.

It makes the most sense however to give it a unique identification, since it is so prevalent that any other reference would be ambiguous: Crowdism. The belief, whether known in language to its bearer or not, that the individual should predominate over all other concerns is Crowdism. We name it according to the crowd because crowds are the fastest to defend individual autonomy; if any of its members are singled out, and doubt thrown upon their activities or intentions, the crowd is fragmented and loses its power. What makes crowds strong is an inability of any to criticize their members, or to suggest any kind of goal that unites people, because what makes for the best crowds is a lack of goal. Without a higher vision or ideal, crowds rapidly degenerate into raiding parties, although of a passive nature. They argue for greater “freedom.” They want more wealth. Anything they see they feel should be divided up among the crowd.

Crowdism strikes anyone who values individual comfort and wealth more than doing what is right. People of a higher mindset leave situations in a higher state of order than when they were found. This requires that people form an abstraction describing how organization works, and create in themselves the moral will to do right, and thus embark on a path that is not accessible to everyone: the smarter and more clearsighted one is, the greater likelihood exists that one is realizing things that an audience of average people have not yet comprehended. For this reason, Crowdists hate people who leave situations in a higher state of order than when they were found. These people threaten to rise above the crowd, and thus fragment the crowd by revealing individual deficiencies again, and that steals the only method of power the crowd has: superior numbers and the illusion that everyone in the crowd is in agreement as to what must be done.

In short, a crowd does not exist except where underconfidence unites people who, being unable to lead on their own, find solace in the leadership and power of others. They want to be in control, but they are afraid to lead, and thus each person in the crowd delegates his authority to others. The crowd therefore moves not by choices, but by lowest common denominator, assessing each decision in terms of what all people in the crowd have in common. Predictably, this makes its decisions of such a base nature they can be guessed in advance. A crowd derives its momentum from the need of its members coupled with their fear of their own judgment. Taking impetus from the need, it asserts itself violently, but because its only mechanism of decision-making is radical compromise, it moves passively toward predictable resolutions.

Crowdists love “competition” of a fixed nature, where a single vector determines the winner. They do not like real life competition, including evolution, as it assess the individual as a whole and does not simply rank individuals by ability. For this reason crowds love both sports events and free market capitalism, as each allow people to gain power according to a linear system. The more time you put into the system with the sole goal of making profit, excluding all else, the more likely it is that you can get wealth – and it can happen to anyone! That is the promise that makes crowds flock to these ideas. It is like the dream of being a rock star, or a baseball hero, or a billionaire: what makes it attractive is the idea that anyone can do it, if they simply devote themselves to a linear path of ascension – one that is controlled by the whims of the crowd. The crowd decides who is a baseball hero, or what to buy and thus who to make rich. Control without control.

Of course, since the crowd has disclaimed all true idealism, its only ideology is that of personal gain. It is by nature opposed to culture, since culture establishes a values system against which one can refer any potential choice to determine its viability in the community’s preference. Crowdists like to replace culture with the grandfather of multiculture, which is the idea of a facilitative society, or one in which the only goal is to satisfy its members. In this vision, a common goal or even standard of society is not needed. Society exists for its members to fulfil their personal needs, and it explicitly disclaims the ability or need to oversee those, unless they violate the basic tenets of Crowdism, of course. Crowdists naturally embrace both internationalism, which denies local culture in favor of an international culture of novelty, and multiculture, which mixes cultures with nothing in common and claims to be satisfied with any result. Crowdism is not a decision any more than cancer is a design for a new organism; it is the lack of decision, of goal, of design. It is not random, however, so unlike chaos, it is a predictable and rarely-changing order. Some would call it entropy.

Any ideology is automatically dominated by Crowdists. They were at home as Marxist radicals, but equally happy as conservative American capitalists. Crowdism is not an ideology, but an emotional response. They view any ideology as a means to an end, and that end is Crowdism itself, although Crowdists cannot put this in words – they’re part of a Crowd, remember, which means they don’t make choices as much as force compromise, and by the nature of something akin to dialectical materialism, compromises always move “forward” although toward eternally the same goals. They will dominate any democracy, and turn it away from encouraging excellence toward subsidizing weakness. They will dominate a totalitarian state, humbling it by making its appeals to its proletariat and winning their allegiance through unreasonable concessions. They will use corporations to dominate a culture, producing products that reward those of a Crowdist mentality, while ignoring the needs and desires of those of a higher mentality. Even a non-ideology will be dominated, as Crowdists will use social pressure where there is a lack of decision-making.

Characteristics

Among all human phenomena, Crowdism is unique in that it turns timorous individuals into a dangerously assertive group. Crowdism appeals to those who are underconfident. They’re unsure of their abilities and fear that, in a competition like that of evolution, where many factors at once must be measured and one’s judgment and character are essential, they might not come out ahead. In fact, they have a sneaking suspicion they’ll come out behind. This is only logical, since those with such abilities have no need of a crowd, and therefore only very rarely become Crowdists (usually in cases of: drug addiction, child abuse, mental illness). The average Crowdist needs a crowd to do what he or she could not do alone, including not in the least the process of making decisions. The crowd provides anonymity and the illusion of a cause. Crowdists are underconfident, thus incapable of the kind of assertive and creative action by which one glances at a situation and calls the shots; therefore, all of their modes of action are passive. They cannot strike without first having been struck, but it’s perfectly acceptable for them to provoke others with a thousand small irritations until the other responds, then to retaliate with full force. Notice how America has entered her wars: placing ships within range of Spanish saboteurs, sending passenger liners full of weapons to be torpedoed, cancelling steel shipments while giving a fortune in weapons to an enemy. It is a brilliant strategy, in that one never has to make a decision: one is always the injured party and therefore justified in responding, even if it ends up being to one’s advantage.

Crowdists have a great fear of mortality, which is linked to their fear of evolution. They do not have a value higher than their own lives; there is nothing for which, unbidden, they will give their lives (although they will gladly give them, in anger, when having provoked an enemy, they are able to embark upon their “justified” response). This shirking personality and lack of self-confidence manifests itself in a form of cognitive dissonance that creates an inverse response to the failings of confidence: the less the person feels confident, the more egomaniacal they are, at the expense of being able to accurately perceive external reality. As a result of their need to supplant underconfidence with ego, they turn off any external feedback which could prove critical of their selves, and therefore lock themselves into a world composed entirely of the self. This creates a crowd of little queens. They demand “proof” – someone must hold up something tangible and show it to them, and have it be simple enough that everyone in the crowd yes even the deaf mute hunchback can appreciate its significance; this is why crowds do well with butchered babies, torpedoed ocean linears, gas chambers and gassing Kurds, but do poorly with concerns about global warming, genetic fragmentation, or pervasive ignorance. In fact, they seem to treasure their ignorance in the same way that higher people treasure their innocence. Crowdists like to keep things simple so as not to distract from the basic focus (themselves).

The term “lowest common denominator” has almost become a cliche in our society in that it explains so much. A group of people – an electorate, a committee, a mob – gets together, and soon a once-promising idea has through compromise and censorship (the removal of that which might offend, or shock, or be contrary to already-well-established tastes) become distilled down to something completely acceptable to every member of the crowd. The only problem is that, in the process, it has come to resemble every other action that the crowd has been known to take. No matter – the same old thing dressed up as something new serves a dual function, in that it both provides novelty and, by virtue of being essentially similar to everything else, avoids presenting people with stimulus they cannot recognize and thus immediately know they can handle. Low self-confidence reveals itself in situations where the unexpected occurs. Crowdists like to minimize that by dumbing everything down to the lowest common denominator, at which point they feel they dominate it and in that state of control are no longer threatened by it.

The paradox of crowdism is that because these people refuse to have a long term vision, they have nothing worth dying for, and therefore their lives are empty of meaning and they respond with the hollow attempts to control that comprise Crowdism. It is as a pathology much like overeating, in which case one confuses the signal for being full, which eliminates psychological doubt, with the process of eating, and hopes that by eating again and again to banish doubt (which increasing doubt in direct proportion to girth!). If they had faith, or belief in doing something which does not immediately reward them, or the vision to see the benefit in doing things which help the community as a whole but in the distant future, they would not have this gnawing emptiness. Civilizations in the past saw fit to make such people into serfs and servants, such that others could give them causes, and they could both be kept from being destructive and given a raison d’etre which would sustain them for their natural lives. Crowdists will never admit it, but secretly, they have a desire to submit to authority because they do not trust their own judgment.

Indeed, there is somewhat of a sadomasochistic nature to Crowdism. For every crowd that exists, there will be some who manipulate it expertly; as in a microprocessor, most of the circuits do the mechanical work of computation while a few are responsible for at key moments switching the flow of data. Such is it that some of the voices who shout out at opportune times are to redirect the crowd, such as the classic “He’s getting away!” screamed by an anonymous crowd member and provoking a stampede to bring down the suspect. Others simply profit from the crowd. By far the best way to profit from a crowd is to pretend to be its servant, as its memory is short and being underconfident it loves to be flattered, and therefore rarely notices that its servants are robbing it blind until it is too late for anything but revenge; the thief is killed, yes, but the money has been spent, and the crowd feels even less confident when its blunder comes to life, so it rages on to the next event in a search for something of substance to occupy it. Always eating and never full. But the manipulators of a crowd eat well.

If one were to divide up a population according to “Crowdist theory,” there would be many sheep, a few born leaders and a larger group of shrewd people who lack the capacity of a true leader, but are mentally agile enough to manipulate the crowd and make a profit from it. These are your Josef Stalins, Ken Lays, Ivan Boesky, George W. Bushes. They are cynical enough to realize that the “ideology” of the crowd is nothing but lies, and its actual agenda is power. They recognize that the crowd loves gaining power through revenge on those with more talent, intelligence, beauty and character than itself, and these manipulators create bogeymen and justifications faster than the crowd can decode them. However, to be a manipulator in a crowd is to be acutely conscious of belonging in the crowd; after all, if one did not need the crowd, something else would have been the path. Thus manipulators both love and loathe the crowd, appreciating it for being the vehicle of their own greatness, but hating it for being necessary and thus constantly forcing them into the role of gentle servant when their inner wolf-personality seeks to escape and manifest itself. Manipulators are like drug dealers: they realize too late that their profession will consume them by forcing them into a function, and thereby eliminating any hope they ever had of making decisions about their own lives. They follow the function, and therefore, all of their choices are reactions; there are no independent choices to be made.

The dominant characteristic of a crowd, as mentioned by F.W. Nietzsche, is the desire for revenge: they detest anyone gifted by nature with more than they have, whether it is wealth or natural traits. Much like ancient tribes who believed that eating the organs of an enemy would transfer his power to the eater, Crowdists believe that destroying others raises the Crowdist’s own stature. Their primary weapon is equality. By insisting on one level for all people, they have an excuse to curtail the higher abilities of those who rise above the crowd. Further, they have the ultimate weapon, in that since equality sounds good on an emotional level, it is perceived as a good, and thus anyone who resists its advance (“progress”) is automatically a bad guy who has transgressed, and thus against him or her retaliation can be launched. This is the ultimate threat of a crowd, which is expressed in a simple syllogism: I. Our way is the path of good intentions, equality. II. If you are not for our path, you are against good intentions and will attempt to destroy us. III. Because you will attempt to destroy us, we will destroy you first. It is a mental trap of epic proportions: if one joins the crowd, one has agreed to limit one’s own abilities to the lowest common denominator; if one resists the crowd, one is styled as the aggressor and destroyed by direct force. At the point when the question of with-us-or-against-us has been asked, the battle is already lost, as the Crowd have gathered behind the questioner with torches that could just as easily be applied to the dwelling of the questioned as toward a feast in her honor.

Effects

The effects of Crowdism take many generations to fully permeate a society. Indeed, Crowdism is like the effects of aging on each of us: we start aging the instant we are born, but at some point, the effects of years have piled up enough to carry us off. Crowdism exists in every society, but to varying degrees, and as societies age, it increases. Almost all societies on the brink of death are totally dominated by Crowdism, which helps carry them off as it paralyzes the decision making capability; if your population sees only its own gratification, who is going to mobilize it to fight an enemy while the enemy is still distant? By the time the Vandals reach Rome, the battle is lost, but the Crowd will never respond until directly attacked, so will blissfully ignore the assailants until the battle has begun. Disorganized, the crowd responds slowly and then panics, abandoning the empire to its lessers, who promptly destroy it. It is for this reason that everywhere a great society once stood, there is now a barely technological, semi-literate society distinguished mostly by its lack of ambition. These are people soul-weary with combat and with power, and they have opted for the stage after Crowdist, which is a form of highly granularized apathy. (There’s no point studying this in America until after the Chinese, sensing our distraction and inner weakness, invade and crush our centralized authorities, at which point those less-fortunate populations within and surrounding us will consume the spoils.)

In fact, throughout its life span, Crowdism promotes apathy by forcing inane decisions on people and threatening them with passive aggression if they refuse. This could be seen most clearly in the former Soviet Union, where people quietly worked around any number of absurd proclamations and dysfunctional government agencies. They realized that things were hopelessly broken, but that the first person to speak up about it would be torn to pieces by the crowd, thus these things had to be tolerated. And what a disgusting word “tolerance” is – it means to recognize something’s inaptitude, but to ignore it and even accept it. Accept mediocrity. Accept failure. Accept the lack of a goal. This beats people down into a state of submission which periodically polarizes itself and becomes violent, as if all of the psychological energy kept suppressed when given an outlet explodes to the surface in a form beneath rationality or even an organized emotional state. It is this form of passivity that is idealized by religions such as Judaism, which clearly arose in a civilization which had already reached this degree of apathy, and therefore was little more than a survival guide. Some would say that Asia went down this path thousands of years before the West, and thus through submission achieved the uniformity for which Asian culture is famous.

The “morality” of the Crowdists affirms the importance of the individual over doing what is right. A society based on this lack of choice, and lack of goal, is inherently frustrating, and thus breaks down all but that which Nietzsche called the “last man.” The last man is someone who cares about nothing but his own material comfort. Does he have an expensive car? Enough to watch on television? Get to go out to the clubs that others covet? And have a trophy girlfriend? — if so, he is happy. No plan for the future, and no significance to these things, other than that he owns them and therefore can construe his personality – that externalized “ego” that we insist is a social construct, a form of personal marketing – as a success as a result of them. The last man does not fight the good fight; he instead does what benefits him. He looks upon ideological conflict as silly, because he is inherently submissive to the external order and thus never thinks of changing it. His revenge upon it is to profit from it, and to consider himself smarter and better than all the others for not having been fooled by value, and possibly having given up his life or his career in some crusade to do what is “right,” instead having been more competitive and shrewd and enriched himself while others fought ideological battles. The last man is an opportunist, a profiteer. He is like a Satanic Zen monk, in that none of his energy is wasted on emotional display. It all goes toward The Bottom Line, a.k.a. making him feel better about himself (an intangible state) through an increase in tangible things like wealth, prestige, and power.

Last men are the type of people who are manipulators of the Crowd, only a more advanced version than the somewhat masochistic “leaders.” A last man simply takes and has no emotional reaction. Where a leader like G.W. Bush or Kim Jong-Il is cynical, and kleptocratic, he still has some degree of emotional response in him; in contrast, a Stalin is without emotion entirely and feels no reason to respond to his changing fortunes, as he is busy focusing on the only thing which matters, which is increasing them. When things go badly, he schemes for recovery, wasting no time on reaction or indulgent displays of emotion. A Bush might have some days of depression, or stumble in public, but a Stalin remains impassive, his iron grip unchanging, knowing that only discipline and a lack of emotions will restore his power. Over time, the last men rise in power through their lack of response, and those with emotional excess descend through an inability to stay focused on the goal. When one descends, one becomes part of the crowd. We call those who have descended Undermen, because they have viewed the challenges of life on several levels and opted to run away or take a course of profiteering, yet have not succeeded even in that through their lack of discipline, which is essentially the ability to see that events distant in time are as important as events proximate in time, because time is continuous and for plans to succeed one must unite the moments in an ongoing series of planned developments. Undermen do not plan. They do not think. They react; where the last man is deliberate, the Underman is impulsive and fired with a consumptive desire for revenge, since to an Underman the world is grossly unfair: because his reactions are out of control, he cheats himself out of everything good that comes his way, and therefore always feels that others have been gifted where he is deprived.

Undermen are sabotage incarnate. Like other Crowdists, they are passive in nature, and therefore will never directly assault an enemy. To live among them however is to constantly clean up after them, and to double-check anything they do, knowing that more often than not they will subconsciously leave things in defective and dangerous states, hoping in their inner minds that others who are more fortunate than them will be destroyed. Where true last men plan their pillaging and execute it with detail, Undermen execute clumsy and violent thefts. Undermen like to live in their own filth and keep others out of the clubhouse of their filth, associating around them others that they can dominate. Undermen exist at all stages of the Crowdist process, but it is most revelatory to point out that a successful Crowdist revolt will after many generations have converted the entire population into Undermen, and thus have plunged the civilization into disorganized, self-afflicted third world status for the next thousand or more generations. Undermen are saprophytes. They compensate for lack of higher function in themselves by destroying those who do have it, or the works of those who did, under the assumption that if it cannot be seen it will not exist to remind them of their essential spiritual hollowness.

Back to Now

The Crowdist dilemma puts us modern humans in a bad situation. As the reader may recall from the first paragraphs of this document, we are manipulated by centralized reality representations that are subject to the same influences Crowdism places on all other reality. The weapon of Crowdists is passivity; if they are “offended,” their retaliation is justified, because they are the blameless ones bringing us the progressive and superior doctrine of equality. Equality of course does not allow us to tolerate offense, because if anyone feels less than equal, the crowd falls apart and cannot protect equality. The logic behind crowdism is like a musical scale, in that if one starts on any note and runs through the logic, soon one has followed the scale back to its origin in a repeating, endless pattern. The crowd in its view is always right, and its goal is to remove those who would prove it be a paper tiger, e.g. only a crowd of underconfident people and not the ultimate authority on morality it would like to pretend to be.

Looking at our situation practically, we who are not yet absorbed by the Crowd are in a rough place: we cannot strike out against the crowd, and yet we cannot continue to tolerate it, or it will eventually reduce our civilization to third-world status through backhanded destruction of all things higher than its non-goal intentions. Even more, as it has crept within our society, it has spread its agenda of destruction against any higher ideas or ideals. Crowdists triumph through greater numbers, and with each generation of Crowdist control, more people submit out of exhaustion, and thus swell the numbers of Crowdists. It is not a conspiracy; it is a cancer. Since Crowdists have the purchasing power in our society, and the popularity, they ignore any higher visions. A product designed for those who are not Crowdists will not be boycotted, only bypassed. Those who speak up about the truth of the situation, or any of the details associated with the truth that can be construed as offensive (women and men are not equal, races are not equal, individuals are not equal, decisions are not all equal) will be branded a heretic and, while no overt action is taken against them, they will passively be denied opportunity until they accept their destiny as a janitor or in rage against the injustice lash out, become an aggressor and are killed. Remember, Crowdism is negative logic. It does not set out to establish an ideal as much as remove those with ideals, as those conflict with its paradoxical worldview, which is that of facilitating individuals rather than uniting individuals with a goal. Crowdism is anti-aspiration, and anti-organic. It only approves of systems where one individual is in power, or all are equally in power, and thus nothing gets decided.

Yet society continues its decline, and with the appearance of Really Bad News like global warming and economic instability, there is again chance for change. During the Great Depression, America could have easily swung into a Communist state; during the Viet Nam war, political instability led to directional changes (unfortunately, both options were and are Crowdist to the bone). We are heading toward another such nodal point in the neural net of details that determine whether our civilization heads in an ascendant way, or descends back into third world status, from which we all came and toward which all societies fall. With each failure of our trusted information sources, and with each incontrovertible proof that our “truths” are not reality, we get closer to radical alteration in course. The problem is of course that, as in most revolutions, ours is mostly likely to take with it the assumptions of its previous masters, and thus to re-create their reign with new faces. This is why accurate diagnosis of Crowdism is essential. One can switch to Communism, to Tribalism, or even to Anarchy, but as long as the assumptions of Crowdism remain, the path is barely altered and the end result is the same. If we wish to transcend Crowdism, we must first restore our heroic outlook, by which there are things for which we’re willing to die, ideals we hold more precious than life itself. By thinking in parallel, and not in terms of organizing everybody as equals to undergo the same mechanical process and thus cure us all at once, we can move the best people among us to greater heights and slowly bring the rest of us to our respective places. We can deny equality in all of its forms, as it is a crazy doctrine that ends in the norming of us all. Localizing government and turning away from single points of informational “truth” helps as well. Even more, we can finally break the taboo barrier and tell individuals that they cannot have it their way and also participate in a non-failing society.

All of these methods will help defeat the Crowdist disease, but it is not defeated by method alone. It requires that we take on a reorganization of our own minds so that we avoid falling into the underconfident, anti-heroic thoughts of Crowdist. It requires that we value actual truth above any socially convenient illusion, or friendly distortion of the truth. We must face facts and stop taking them personally. To an awakened mind, our faults and strengths are visible, and so what we think of as hidden will soon be no secret to the post-Crowdist people who will rise if we succeed. For this reason, we must transcend our personal pretense and ability to be offended. The truth will set us free – perhaps not, but the pursuit of truth for its own sake will free us from the cancerous plague of Crowdism and its millennial reign over our society.

The Conquering

Friday, May 27th, 2005

sundown

When the sun goes down, and there’s nothing left we have to do, it becomes time to sit around the fire and tell stories. As I see from your faces that your yarns are spent, your bodies tired and minds at ease with exhaustion, it must be my turn, so I’ll tell one. Like most of my tales, this isn’t fiction; it really did happen, although I fictionalize it in the telling, because for one who has seen what I have seen the details blend together and become symbols, the names and places settings for the story, which is how what happened happened, and what it means to us now.

This story starts a long time ago, when life was easier, and there was a young man getting off a boat in a new country. He had enough money with him to live for a few weeks, and was proud of this, but when he stepped off that pier he saw suddenly how much bigger this place was, how people flooded around him like the waters he’d just quitted. He stopped for some moments there, like you do before you take a drink, but longer, and then began to walk. He went from pier to station, from boulevard to avenue, from store to restaurant, his mind drinking in all that passed before him. He tried his new language, aware of the bemused smiles at how haltingly words came to him, and how much was unknown to him. Everyone spoke so fast, in an accent he didn’t recognize.

There were new words, too, that rolled off the lips of those fortunate to be born there with an ease he could only envy. That cock of the head, toss of the hair – you do know what a W.C. is, don’t you? And then the little men with thick dark hair and moustaches who came up to him with offers. Look, all you gotta do is — but something in him sniffed them out, knew these offers would turn out badly, whether them disappearing around a corner with his money or him ending up in a foreign jail, sent to the country to do labor no one would take for any price. He passed the smells of rich food, the comfortable hotels, and when it was too dark for him to be seen wandering without being stopped by the police, he found a shady spot under a secluded awning and shivered himself to sleep.

We’ve lost tracks of his days now, because they passed for him as in a dream. He took small jobs, learned to speak without the awkwardness of an immigrant, and found some lodging better than the transient hotel that had been his option before. He didn’t go out drinking like the other young men, and he didn’t spend his money on presents for young ladies; he worked and when he got off of his job – he forgot quickly, and so do we, what it was, but rest assured it was menial, a starting position – he read newspapers until he fell asleep, running his finger under the words and puzzling them out, finding new ones and committing them to memory. So it was for several years, until he grasped the basics of his trade. In the case of this young man among millions, it was printing.

His fingers calloused and his mind sharpened to the job, he rose from paper-baling to typesetting to managing one wing of the plant, giant machines below thrashing with a blast of metal and steam. He was older now and spoke less than he did even in his home country, a place he was willing his mind to forget, since it was no longer part of his life and would not be again. When he went to file his taxes, he changed his name, rounding out the difficult consonants and dropping extra vowel endings, so that in a page of names his would not stand out as different from those of the language of his adopted country. He saved all of his money, made some partnerships, did not get drunk when he dined with his superiors and finally, after nearly a decade, took out a loan against some assets he did not exactly have, and bought the plant.

The next day the changes started. The secretaries who had spent most of their days idle were gone, as was the old drunken nightwatch. Several people whose output was less than optimum were replaced by men he knew from his days on the piers, tough and determined faces. Knowing how he had done jobs in half the time that others did them, he sent out new instructions and cleared out the old and inefficient ways of doing things. Any worker who had some problem, like spending too much time drinking or chasing young women, was out, and eating on the job was forbidden. He wanted only hungry men in his new plant, and within years, he had realized the dream: money flowed into his bank account like the waters he had not so distantly in memory left pooling around the boat that brought him here.

He could afford a small house, and he bought it, and he could afford better clothes, and he bought those too. But that was it: he wouldn’t spend more than he had to, and while the ink-smeared underlings at his plant griped about his tight fists, they even had to admit they were grateful when times were hard and they still got paychecks. In these bursts of hardship, other plants closed, and soon he was there, a small paunch riding his hips, cutting the ribbon on another plant, and then another. Soon the same faces who sneered at him when he was fresh off the boat, in another time, were people coming to him for money and often, leaving without jobs. The parties reserved for the native born were open to him, as were the ladies ten years younger, and by now, his speech resembled that of those who had been there their entire lives, even if sometimes a word came out slightly too stiff or vivid for the colors of pronunciation there. He took a wife, and two small children came of it.

At this point, his neighbors knew him only as a prosperous man, an important person to whom it was important to be cordial, because with a few dips of his fountain pen he could change the course of a life in ways for the better, or almost destroy it. When the Mayor of the city threw an important function, the man was there, too, because he had carefully spread his money around to ensure he would succeed. Charities, bribes, gifts, celebrations. Within another decade it was impossible to pick up a newspaper without seeing somewhere in its pages a mention of him, if only on the masthead, since now he was powerful in the press as well as in its printing. The house was tidy, and clean, and had that air of money spent carefully which guaranteed it a prolonged stability. His children went to the best universities that the country could offer, and took on important jobs high in its power structure; he was, in short, the best any immigrant could hope to be, and on the docks many recognized in his new name fragments of the old, and took to imitating his gestures and ideas.

The daughter, who had come first, married well and soon her greying father could count upon being called to the social functions of those who were mining black gold out of the earth, first coal and then oil. Over cigars and whisky, talk was made of some new things turning up, and well, his checkbook was handy; soon you could read about him in every newspaper across the country. His son married well also, and as a loan officer in the biggest bank, he was fond of looking over proposals and if he liked them, closing his office door and making a new deal: the bank can only loan you some of the money, but this looks like a good prospect, so I know how to get the rest. His investments, and those that his father made in his name, paid off, and soon the son had an estate down the hill from the new family house, a place which required no street number when mail was sent to it by name. In turn, these fortunate children brought forth a handful of their own, which is where our story really starts.

At that point, talk was brewing of war in the old countries, and then, there was poverty throughout the land. The man and his children were untouched by it, of course, since while others were out drinking and chasing girls, they had sacrificed those years, married for sense and not passion, and owned not as much physical things as promises of things: money in banks, investments in companies, and the like. Some days, the old man would go to the park and watch the jumpers quitting their high tower offices with final jumps; as the bodies landed, he would comment to those around him, “And that’s why I gave all those years, why I gave up so much so I could have this. Someday, you might, too.” His grandchildren came of age into this time and were told to be quiet when in public, because most people did not have what they had come to take for granted. Still, they would never forget the scenes of that time: mothers selling their bodies out of battered cars that served as home for their children, men in once-fine suits now greased by time and wear selling apples, the people who lived in shanties made of garbage outside of the city, raiding the garbage of the wealthy for their living. These things cannot be forgotten.

The first grandchild, against his family’s wishes, joined up for the army before the war. Since his eyesight was not good, and his aim even worse, he was sent to the worst of the jobs possible, in the kitchen. Soon he learned, as his grandfather had, to do the jobs others would not, but to do them in half the time, and so after two years of hard work, he was promoted to quartermaster and was responsible for buying food and supplies. Coincidentally, his cousin operated a grocery and wholesale business, having wisely taken the position offered by his father in one of the family-owned interests, and soon the cousins were partners in business as well. They had different last names at this point, neither of which betrayed origins in a far off country smirked about by the native-born, and no one suspected a link. The money flowed in while the nation starved, and then while its native-born sons died in distant war, and by the time the war was ending, these two favored sons were as established as their grandfather, and had bloodlines which enwrapped those of the most favored families in the most powerful part of the nation.

What they did was second nature; much as their grandfather had crawled over the others who had become distracted by drink and young women, they crawled over those who had not been sensible enough to not only get the house and job, but also make investments – the right investments. This was a country where one did not matter until one owned things, business and drafts of paper, which would return income to their accounts. Having money from a paycheck meant nothing; even owning a smattering of stocks and bonds meant little; but having part of a business, connections and the right marriages, this made all the difference. The granddaughters also married well; each had a career, one running the best catering business in the capitol city, another starting the last independent publishing house to really score big with the new writers coming from overseas, and then they married well too, taking names which were also engraved in the oldest cemeteries in the new country. Now the grandfather’s family name was as much part of the language as those he had sought to emulate when he rounded out its sounds, and his offspring were well-known in the social pages of the newspapers in which he did not even have a controlling interest. He died surrounded by servants, children and grandchildren, and his passing was noted in the financial community as much as the socialite one.

The quartermaster, when he retired young after the war, had reached a rank that astounded any who knew his inability to fire a rifle when he had first joined, but to all who were assembled the proof was irrefutable, as those who spoke highly of him were the most decorated soldiers and most successful men in the land. Calling some old friends from the service, he went off to California, and created for himself a business making weapons for the finest services the country had to offer. When he built his house, he – taking a cue from the rising sentiment of the time against the old money and its power – bought not in the popular glittering neighborhoods of the city, but in its countryside, where he put a modest home in comparison with those of his grandparents. His children ran wild, growing up under the care of a nanny who had been schooled in the new theories of how a nation should run itself in respect to its working poor, and experimented with marijuana, LSD and the new cosmopolitanism. As a result, they were popular with their classmates, but were distracted much as those over whose knees their grandfather had crawled to build his wealth. And why should they worry? They had wealth, enough to never want for it, so their decisions had no impact on any but themselves.

If I haven’t put you to sleep already with this familiar tale, it is fortunate, as the meat of the story occurs here: these children were witness to a father who was rarely home, at work in distant lands or vacationing in the paradise of casinos and brothels. Their mother took her first lover when they were infants, and the nanny made sure they never strayed toward the wing of the house where champagne glasses and fallen clothing mingled to the throbbing beat of the music they played in the fast clubs in the city. When these children came of age, there was a messy divorce, and money traded hands; their father never returned from one of his trips abroad, and their mother now lived in a foreign nation. The house was theirs, as were the checks that came from banks whose very seriousness they mocked even as cashing them. Money – it did not matter – pleasure did.

The old house changed; new decor came in, in the peasant style now fashionable in the cities, and parties happened every night, long into the night. Cars pulled up and left many hours later, if at all, as the wine and drugs continuously flowed into the veins of the revelers. The girl took several lovers, then stopped making such formal distinctions, and offered herself as the whim might take her, the fine features of her grandmother present and enjoyed by all who knew her. The boy at first confined himself to women, but then opened his mind to new possibilities, and soon was a favorite among both sexes, from whom he selected at seeming random and in abundance at the end of each night. Never a dull moment? Hardly. After a decade of this, these children were bored, dark circles under their eyes, and lines prematurely crossing faces which had seen the most youthful, carefree, and hedonistic lifestyle possible.

These children – even though they were at this point far older – are the core of our story. They grew up without much suffering, although clearly they’d earned the right, and had come to believe, as in the books of an ancient middle eastern religion, that any excess wealth a person earned was stolen from the mouths of others. Crawling over the befuddled and distracted to gain wealth would not have occurred to them, but since they owned it in abundance and could not conceive of a life outside of it, they did not abandon it. Instead, they put it to good use, as they saw it should be. Checks flew from the large house between parties, going to the salvation of the impoverished, aid for the diseased, protection of those who were not favored by the privileges of being “normal.” The newspapers delighted in these children, as did the magazines and the television stations, praising them for their selflessness. No party on that half of the country could occur without their presence, and many hung on their words as they did on the ideas of other celebrities, people who formed a presence outside of that which was accepted by the conservative public front of the time.

As they aged, the grandchildren found new outlets for their time. The son became the most prominent disciple of a new religion, and the daughter, the most vociferous spokesperson for the new empowerment of women, of the disregarded, of the impoverished. Where their grandparents and parents had been money-earners, these offspring of that now illustrious line were heroes: they gave, not took, and brought the new doctrines of a more enlightened time to a society oblivious to its importance. While most slaved away at jobs, for the privilege of someday owning things, it seemed to them as they read the papers that the grandchildren had transcended that state, and had become like angels, from a more pure state of humankind. The granddaughter had a short marriage to a popular musician, and bore him a child who looked nothing like those of her family before, but loudly took him everywhere she could have gone and asserted his equal privilege. The son took on beliefs his grandparents would have found irrelevant, and toured the country leaving behind wisdom and on many occasions, offspring left to the care of lawyers who sighed and wrote monthly checks from lengthy lists of names.

The world belonged to them, and their children grew up in much the same way: the best schools, the best opportunities, and the most prominent social existence. This was, to them, the culmination of their grandparent’s story, but for our purposes, it is where the story begins. In their children – the great-grandchildren of the man who had crawled over others to build an empire in his new country – there was much promise. The old wealth was only partially diminished, and they had social credentials unlike anyone else, and nothing to stop them. They were like kings, in a time without kings. And so the party rolled onward! Anyone who was important was at their door, or driving home unsteadily from their parties in the misty early mornings, or at least had seen them on cable television news or the internet. Even after their four divorces and three children each, the grandchildren were luminous in the public eye. And to mere popularity they added heroism, as said before, by being the kindly hand that reaches out to those who are being crawled-over, and grants them safety. All of this was bestowed upon their own offspring. It was in all respects a modern fairytale.

The storyteller pauses at this point, unsure of how much to simplify, how much to render into symbols and meaningful phrases, the vast amount of time that passed in that state. Well – to make long and short of it, the children of the grandchildren grew up in great favor as well, and continued to live much as their parents did. After sexual initiation at an age well inside the confines of childhood, they granted themselves much as they did their money to all, one for all and all for one. They were more popular than popular, names so well known they were part of the language, much like in our minds we could see some guy named “story” giving rise to the term “storyteller.” They lacked nothing, and held back nothing. On every continent they were famous, wealthy, well-received. And then —

And then?

And then the wealth gave out. Not as much their personal wealth, but the wealth of their nation, which had made them native in the short course of a century and a half. It had been a conquering nation, and had become the first in the world, in military strength, in the power of its newspapers and television, in money and economics. All other nations were second to it, and most of the big ones had been beaten by it in battle, although there had been a few failures that shocked all but the most learned historians worldwide. Its wealth, however, no longer came from the hands of those who crawled over fields putting seeds in the ground, or from those who manufactured. Its wealth came from ownership, from selling things, from expanding in every direction. And there was no one day where it ended, but a series of days where it slowly to the point where like a heartbeat, it had fallen beyond the point of health and the only remaining direction is downward, a collapse. Since this was a slow collapse, and since no one makes any money by preaching the obvious doom, only dooms of a fantastic and unreal nature, it wasn’t noticed until of course there was little that could be done about it.

The walls caved in around them, but slowly. The sources of energy that had made them great profit got more expensive, and profits waned; to compensate, they sold things that they had owned for years as, on the advice of their counselors, these things had no future in them. Their income consolidated, and then dwindled, and they started to cut into that which they owned in order to live. This upset the balance their grandfather had established, where what they owned brought in money, and the owned things themselves stayed intact. It seemed the days of easily farming that wealth had passed them by, and thus they were getting less wealthy. Of course, so was everyone else around them – poverty unseen since their grandparents’ time was visiting the land, everyone equally having less of what they once did. The cars slowly went away, except for a wealthy few; the cheap products and abundant food dwindled; again, mothers sold their bodies out of makeshift housing, and suicides littered the streets as promising almost-fortunes were lost. In the times that followed, people referred to this as The Conquering.

Unlike most conquering, it did not come from across the seas, or the skies, or even the limitless space above. It came from within. When conquerors come from far away, people can run into the forests and hide, but at this time, the conqueror was all around, and there were no forests in which to hide. It laid waste to everything, even the rich. Such it was that the great-grandchildren of a successful man found themselves rapidly approaching a level where they could not live. Surely, if they’d sold the great house, and most of their assets, at once, they would have been permitted a normal life, but this was something they had never had nor wanted. So they did not, and thus came to an end like the rest, which was not a terrible end, but it had large consequences for their lifestyle.

The rest of them had been living off the past as well. Wealth had come, and then a certain amount of lazy time with nothing to do, so instead of telling stories and relaxing they had invented things that had no purpose. Desperate things. But these things were so normal and innocuous that no one thought about how desperate they really were, and so no one noticed. Not only that, but these were good things, like helping out those who had been crawled-on and not crawling, and this distracted them while their downfall gathered around them. They started to think that nature had been conquered, and that the only world that was important was the world they shared when they talked, made money or were seen in the society pages.

You know why they say storyteller is a full-time job? It is because really, there are few stories to tell, since most things are obvious if you just think about them. There is not a need for stories, except that it’s how we pass on what we’ve learned. When we live every day in the world, we don’t really need to invent replacement worlds, but we talk over what we’ve seen and done so that we have something we can say we have learned. It’s the opposite in diseased times, when storytellers are there like cheap opium, to make up something distracting. That’s not actual work, because there’s no part of it that makes you make sense of things. When you don’t have to make sense, any turn in a tale will do, and so it becomes an easy tale to tell. When people start needing distraction, you can tell you’re in a diseased place and time. That’s the type of place the original man in this story found, but for him, the questions of life were simpler. Eat or don’t eat. Soon you’re crawling over other crawlers.

You know, we really could have had so much. If we’d grown upward instead of outward, getting taller instead of getting fat, we’d have had something there. Instead we got fat. That immigrant son ate up the fat and grew himself, but eventually, the fat ate him up through his family. Since nature has no need for time or memory, its only determination of success or failure is whether you endure through the generations. You might be a rich or powerful person, but if you’ve gotten that way on unsteady ground, it doesn’t last too long. That’s why they don’t pay storytellers much, because if we get excess, our stories get poisoned with laziness and stupidity. It has nothing to do with that old story that wealth is theft from the mouth of others. There’s nothing wrong with wealth. But too much of it will make you lazy, and take it for granted, and it might afflict your future generations. Might make you die out, even.

Like I said, we could have had so much. With the oil and gas resources we had, if we’d spent them wisely, we could have built to the stars. Stories are simple, and this is no exception. We got our wealth and instead of putting it to some good use, we drained it away into the greed of individuals. Whether they were poor and impoverished, or rich and ruthless, it didn’t matter, because they took what they could get with no thought for the whole, the big picture. So most of our gasoline went into cars and private travel, and very little went into building a society that could outlast gasoline. We bred recklessly, and people grew fat and lazy and stupid, and then we couldn’t control our own society. We bred badly, too, and so even our own people changed, not just in appearance but inside. They didn’t care about anything, and they didn’t know any world but one where the wealth was already waiting there for them to take.

All of this changed of course when the oil wells started drying up. At first it was just more expensive, then it was too expensive, and pretty soon whole parts of the world we’d built up for ourselves started just disappearing. Our ability to travel through the air, or drive vehicles. Our food supplies. Even more, there were so many of us we’d started eating up the forests and swamps and plains, until what was left was like a shadow of what had been before. Every aspect of the world had fallen under human control, and that control was looking to make more, not make better, humans. Because there were too many of us, and we’d built this whole thing on selfishness, soon you had to get everyone to agree in order to make changes. Well, fat chance of that happening. So it all fell apart, at least, any attempt to put reason into the process did.

With that giving up, everybody went out and got selfish. Bought cars, drove them all the time. Took lots of trips, bought lots of things, threw out even more, it seemed. We were all caught up running around trying to find things to sell to each other, or ways to make money off each other, and we’d forgotten about reality. It got worse and worse, and those who could see the disaster were ignored time and time again. It was as if we were reading out of a rule book, and forgot that the rule book isn’t reality. Only reality is reality, and the only things that matter are what you actually can make happen in that reality. We didn’t lift up the impoverished, and the rich all came to bad ends. We didn’t really help anyone go where they weren’t going already.

Really, looking back over it, the whole thing was a failure. We conquered ourselves. It was selfish, each of us trying to make his own world with money, so he didn’t have to listen to the others, or listen to nature. The only time we came together was when anyone challenged that selfishness, and threatened to make us behave, and then we lashed out and killed them and raped their women. So no one could stop the disaster because we’d slaughtered the only people who saw it, wondering why they died with mocking smiles on their lips, as if to warn us of something we couldn’t outrun. Our lives became hollow and foolish, and like slaves we spent our time caring about what other people might think, how we’d sell an idea to any idiot on the street. Soon the selfishness, which could take any form it wanted whether government or religion or economics, had us beat. We didn’t stop until we’d run out of oil and, because we’d spent what oil we had on selfishness, run out of dreams. We conquered our dreams, and drove them away, but it took awhile before that caught up to us.

That’s why I’m telling you this story tonight, after the cattle are in the pens and the fires are stoked down. All of us here, we’re just one tiny tribe in the north. I don’t know what happened to the rest. Calling what went on then a war is silly, because it wasn’t a war, more like everybody just turned on each other trying to gobble up what was left. I’m glad we’re out of that time because now reality is reality again; if you don’t lock up the pen at night, your cattle go away and you starve. I sort of miss the big cities we had, the architecture and arts, all the nice things in life… but I guess they made us fat and stupid, and were part of our downfall. Once we went down that path, there was no other way it could work out. So now we tell stories by the fire, and remember to keep our dreams close by us.

The Sleepwalkers

Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

tsa

A healthy organism will adapt to its surroundings. In the wisdom of nature, an adaptive animal will survive even when its customary surroundings are drastically altered. This is both a blessing and a curse, for self-reflective animals such as humans: we can endure anything, but our curse is that because we can endure, we often do not think to wake up and change the negative elements of what we are enduring.

Such is the case in modern society, where a population of otherwise smart people lives in ecocidal and self-genocidal circumstances because of the bizarre psychology of adaptation. Their primary goal is to adapt, thus they tolerate the insane circumstances around them and are quickly lulled into a kind of sleep where nightmares are the norm and thus, like a drunk walking down an icy street, one becomes numb to pain and illogicality while focusing on putting one foot in front of the other.

These sleepwalkers form the majority of the people around you, and there is nothing “wrong” with them, but they have not yet realized that what they accept as “reality” is a dream, and a bad one at that. They simply endure. To their minds, any thought of long-term planning is impossible, because if they look too closely at the direction society is inevitably heading, they see only disaster. Thus they limit their focus to the immediate patch of sidewalk in front of them, and make the best of it that they can. It is nothing new, as this is the process by which people have survived a succession of disastrous governments,wars, plagues, famines and internal crises since the dawn of time.

What is most alarming about their condition is that, by its tendency to limit their focus to the immediate, it prevents them from any thought of structural change to the society in which they live,including its governments and social agencies, but most importantly, its values.They survive by free enterprise, and thus the idea of being accessible to all people equally — since they equally might be customers — is sound logic. Their income is derived from an economy that functions only when it is constantly expanding, so loss of natural ecosystems and traditional cultures is something they accept as necessary.

Those who succeeded the most as ancient civilizations were those for whom the long-term goal eclipsed short-term gratification; the ability to accept delayed gratification, and to work even for an entire lifetime for a goal that may occur beyond that lifetime, was natural to them: this is how epic civilizations are built, and great works of learning produced. When it became easy to survive in modern civilization, especially after the internal combustion engine removed the importance of efficiency and harmony with nature from our lives,this long-term focus was nearly entirely obliterated. If a modern person were suddenly granted with this vision, they might go into shock, having realized the dream created by focusing within the boundaries of a reality defined by society and its media, limited in scope by fear of the future.

Sleep enforces an iron inertia on us. Even though the dreams are terrifying, if we see them as predictors of the future, awakening means having to face the possibility of doing something about it, which puts one in direct opposition to the society of sleepers. No one likes to be awakened rudely, and the vast majority of sleepers would prefer to quash the messenger than address the message. Thus the awakened individual must either ignore the truth and attempt to get back to sleep, or know the truth and try to survive in an empire of death. The latter being a disagreeable proposition, especially for the majority of us who breed by instinct and later justify the act in the light of what we know of our children’s future in a death-age, it is most commonly denied.

Much as denial on a personal level causes instability in the individual, the division of our modern time into public fantasy and private reality has made the psychology of society as a whole unstable,lending this schizophrenic outlook to the individuals enwrapped in its grasp as well. Most people are subliminally depressed, probably a result of their realization at a level simpler than words that something horrible awaits; we are like Temple Drake in Faulkner’s visionary “Sanctuary,” screaming out to the deaf ears of those who don’t care, “Something is happening to me!” Instability, coupled with depression and the relinquishing of control to an impersonal bureaucratic society, results in people with low self-esteem, meaning that even if many were to awake tomorrow, they would “instinctively”trust the prevailing social wisdom over their own.

The collusion of low self-esteem with a society based on denial means that reality needs to be explained away, or denied via any number of glib evasions; in any degenerate age, the most popular philosophies are either those that justify inaction, or those that encourage such a granular action (“if we just ban abortion, everything will be all right”) to amount to inactivity on the larger balance sheet of societal homeostasis. The most common denial is a sidestep of the principle of inevitability: increasing demand confronted with a fixed amount of resources will eventually end in total resource depletion; this applies as much to fossil fuels as it does to remaining natural land, or to the ethnic populations required to maintain each unique culture: our illusion requires we believe they are infinite resources, as otherwise,we must face the paradoxical nature of the long-term “plan” on which our civilization is currently embarked.

Clearly this collision is something beneficial for any thinking people to induce in themselves and others, as it casts aside the thrall of sleep and replaces it with an alertness that is vigilant if nothing else. However, by the nature of rejecting every assumption one has been taught is required for social membership, one can become paranoid; this is not a productive event. The sleepwalkers, if awakened, need to be offered a complete philosophy to replace the illusion, or they will lapse into self-destruction. Such a philosophy would not tackle granular issues within the context of the status quo, but would suggest a replacement civil design that exists outside the (erroneous)assumptions of the current convention. It would have to be a cohesive philosophy with a single central principle, and would have to include all granular issues under that hierarchy of values.

Conservative politics, as currently defined, cannot do this, because the nature of conservatism is to preserve elements of traditional values still found within the status quo. It does not aim to remake society in a new form, and because of that aspect of its outlook, it cannot stop the long term collision with inevitable resource depletion and cultural loss that is incipient. Since right-wing politics is not awakened, it slumbers on and attempts to preserve something that will inevitably decline unless the system is fundamentally altered. For this reason, conservative politics is not an answer for a dreamer interrupted.

A political philosophy restricted to a single issue, such as environmentalism alone, or race alone, will doom the political movement of that tendency to a defensive battle, and this leads quickly to reactionary politics where, unable to achieve the main objective, one defends turf as if that will accomplish something. By definition, it cannot, as when one is limited to defensive action only, the principle of inevitability states that one will eventually be worn down, and will then defend increasingly smaller spaces until internal collapse occurs.

There is nothing within the current political framework that will support what needs to be done. This is an ideological statement, and not one of method, as it is fortunate that every system has some means of changing itself, even if it wholly lacks the ability to come to awareness of what that change might be. What holds us back is not an enemy, or anything inherent to the mechanics of a democratic system,but the lack of a unified philosophy which will address all of the issues in error in a modern time. To a sleepwalker, fixing one problem alone means nothing; the only impetus to awakening comes when there is something better that can replace what is. We cannot substitute a dream for a dream, as they will always choose the dream that is already in power.

To awaken a sleeper, one touches them gently on the shoulder, and informs them of a good reason to start their day. In our case, the attitude should be that we have infinitely better futures to gain, and our method of waking them should be a call for a general Indo-European cultural revival. Our culture has been replaced by money; our strength,by machines; our soul, by morality. We cannot attack these directly. If we emphasize however that our cultural values apply in any era of history, and that they include a better way of leadership, a way of fixing and reversing our damage to nature, and an enduring system of belief that sidesteps the pitfalls of a modern time, we address what is wrong in the current system by suggesting its replacement. Our task starts in resurrecting our culture and deriving consensus on these values, because in doing so, we give the sleepers something better than the stupor of a dream: we give them hope.

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