This is perhaps the most pivotal period of all human development. The good news is that never before in all of history have so many people been awakening so quickly and seeking to uplift each other. The bad news is that the unconscious momentum of our collective behaviors in our unsustainable industrial civilizations threaten to bring about planetary catastrophe very quickly. Unfortunately, the prevailing institutions, laws, authorities, and cultural norms we often depend on have been making the overall situation worse. So in light of all this, here we stand on the precipice of an indeterminable future with the fate of the world in our hands. We’re faced with the multifaceted challenge of healing, consciously evolving, and holistically re-engineering our lives, both externally and internally.
Are you up to the challenge? It may seem daunting at first, but step by step we can make the journey together.
This is a journey for people with a lot of love and inner fire. This is for those who are humble enough to admit they may need to fundamentally change their concepts of the world, and aware enough to realize the need for gaining knowledge and embodying immediate transformation on all levels. This is for the precious souls that care deeply enough to dedicate themselves to actualizing the best versions of themselves in order to help heal the world with their own unique gifts. If you picked up this book, chances are you’re one of these people, whether you realize it or not, and you’re just seeking the right guidance to blossom in to the fullness of your being.
This book is your guide, and together we will face whatever may come.
While it may seem like a lot to take in at first, this book is mapped out in a concise, yet comprehensive, easy-to-understand overview. You’ll find resources throughout the reading which help to provide deeper insight and understanding. Also, the chapters build upon each other, so it’s best to read them in sequence for optimal understanding.
By the end, you will:
- Identify what personal & social elements create most problems
- See how these problems are connected to those in positions of power
- Go to the core of these problems
- Identify and heal the conditioning which creates and perpetuates these problems
- Break through the beliefs and behaviors that makes history repeat itself
- Learn how true, lasting change is created, both personally and socially
- Be empowered with easy, practical steps to actualize your fullest potential
- Refine your social approach to be more effective at spreading knowledge, raising awareness, helping others to heal, and nurturing community
- Realize what can practically be done individually and on a larger social scale
- Discover practical steps towards living sustainably in harmony with nature
- Understand how society can harmoniously thrive in a healthy way
If we are to succeed in our journey of crossing the unknown in search of better tomorrows, we need to clearly map out the terrain of today. Even if the answer to a particular problem was laid out before us, without knowing WHAT the problems are and how they function, we lack the perspective and discernment to understand WHY a solution would work and HOW it can be applied. Only with the proper foundation of knowledge can we truly understand what the challenges are (both within and without) and, more to the point, see what the “root causes” are so that we stop wasting time and energy “trimming away at the symptomatic branches”, so to speak.
Therefore, in order to effectively map out the social problems we face today, we have to start at the primary social element which largely controls society: Government.
“Please don’t think that I am talking harshly; I am not. But neither am I going to be sentimental or emotional in order to rouse you to action. In fact, I am not interested in rousing you to action; you will rouse yourself to action when you understand. I am interested in showing you what is happening in the world. I want to awaken you to the cruelty, to the appalling oppression, and exploitation that is about you. Religion, politics, society are exploiting you, and you are being conditioned by them; you are being forced in a particular direction. You are not human beings; you are mere cogs in a machine. You suffer patiently, submitting to the cruelties of environment, when you, individually, have the possibilities of changing them.”
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
To understand government, we must first distinguish it from society.
Society, in its essence, is the unification of numerous individuals through a natural, mutually beneficial synergy for interdependent development. From Society, we get culture, which comprises the prevailing collective traditions which, when unexamined or held too rigidly, can become detrimental. One of these traditions is the concept of government.
Government, generally speaking, is an institutionalized authoritarian concept orchestrated by a secretive and privileged cabal within society whose primary alleged purpose is to efficiently and systematically regulate society and the land upon which it depends in order to serve and protect its citizens. As an institution of domination, it is fundamentally based upon the initiation of coercion and violence to enforce obedience.
A government’s legitimacy must be judged solely on the basis of the extent to which it accomplishes its goal of serving and protecting its people and the land upon which it depends. So let’s look at how government measures up to this in order to determine whether government is either good for us or whether it should be dissolved.
When it comes to government protecting its citizens, many statists point to police as the litmus test for necessity. while there are many instances when police help to ensure safety, oftentimes the threat is a byproduct of the very system they’ve sworn to uphold. An objective, unbiased assessment requires considering rampant police brutality, the cost of militarizing a police state, and using taxpayer money to settle lawsuits against police.
, the violent methods by which government asserts its control have fundamentally been in direct opposition to its purported aims (protecting life, liberty, and property), creating an inherent hypocrisy.
Property is essentially stolen through a multi-leveled myriad of coercively imposed “voluntary” taxation and confiscation, all “justified” in convoluted legalese to favor the richest people in society.
“The law is so complex and voluminous that no one, not even the most knowledgeable lawyer, can understand it all. Moreover, lawyers and legal scholars have not gone out of their way to make the law accessible to the ordinary person. Just the opposite: Legal professionals, like the priests of some obscure religion, too often try to keep the law mysterious and inaccessible.”
~ Professor Jay Feinman
Liberty is constrained by endless bureaucracy and regulations greatly skewed in favor to the interests of multinational banks and corporations.
Life is jeopardized around the world by governments poorly managing resources, allowing environmental desolation, and waging perpetual war, trying to “fix” violent problems, often created by government itself, with… (drumroll, please…) … MORE VIOLENCE!
In point of fact, social well-being is constantly threatened by, and paying for, rampant police brutality. Ecological negligence is largely overlooked. Systematic poverty is purposefully created. These few examples among many others indicate that the actions of government are often dictated not by directly informed public consensus, but by a subversive and imposed “rule by force” whose extensive abuses and usurpations are evidence indicating a design to ultimately subjugate the inherent rights of the individual under despotic control in the name of “safety” and “security”, mostly for those in positions of power.
Is this justifiable?
Let’s examine some common assumptions which are used to rationalize this social subjugation, such as “consent of the governed”.
“Today we know that our government has such profound disregard for our natural rights that it tramples them to extremes beyond which even George Orwell could have imagined in “1984”… If Thomas Jefferson was right and St. Thomas Aquinas was right, that these rights come from our humanity and not from the government, things like thought and speech and privacy and travel, how can the government trample them?
Well, the theory of government is that we have surrendered some of our rights to the government so that the government will protect the rights we have not surrendered. That’s the idea of ‘the government derives it powers from the consent of the governed’. Does anyone in this room know anyone now living who consented to the government? The answer is ‘NO’. It’s inconceivable that anybody still living was around when the Constitution was enacted and consented to it. So right off the bat, the idea that “the government derives its power from the consent of the governed’ is, like government itself, a fiction. The FICTION is that we have consented to the surrender of our rights. The REALITY is that our rights have been STOLEN from us because the government monopolizes force.”
~ Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
Government is the institution which claims itself to be the ultimate arbiter for the regulation of society, justifying itself fundamentally on “consent of the governed”. However, ask yourself: Were you ever thoroughly informed on “the law” and formally asked if you consented to it? Probably not. It was imposed upon us. As naive children, we were forced to subjugate ourselves to it through state-sponsored indoctrination and the threat of punishment. We are never encouraged to ask the question: “Is government ACTUALLY good or even NECESSARY for society?”
So let’s continue exploring this question.
If we relate government to parenting, government is the “parent” and society is essentially the “child”. In terms of proper parenting, it’s self-evident that when a parent raises a child well, the parent knows they’ve done a good job (and are therefore legitimate guardians) when the child matures to be responsible, healthy, psychologically-balanced, well-educated, and self-managing. Eventually, the child should no longer need the parent, and, in fact, it should progressively develop to become better than the parent, learning from their shortcomings and mistakes. Government’s function towards society should behave much the same way, but it doesn’t. So what does this say about government?
“No society wants you to become wise: it is against the investment of all societies. If people are wise they cannot be exploited. If they are intelligent they cannot be subjugated, they cannot be forced in a mechanical life, to live like robots. They will assert their individuality. They will have the fragrance of rebellion around them. They will like to live in freedom. Freedom comes with wisdom, intrinsically. They are inseparable, and no society wants people to be free. The communist society, the fascist society, the capitalist society, the Hindu, the Mohammedan, the Christian — no society — would like people to use their own intelligence because the moment they start using their intelligence they become dangerous — dangerous to the establishment, dangerous to the people who are in power, dangerous to the ‘haves’; dangerous to all kinds of oppression, exploitation, suppression; dangerous to the churches, dangerous to the states, dangerous to the nations. In fact, a wise man is afire, alive, aflame. He would like rather to die than to be enslaved.”
The “parental track record” of government is highlighted by the numerous wars it subversively instigates while marginalizing public well-being. It promotes social obedience through indoctrination and threats of violence, keeping society preoccupied and traumatized through a maze of mainstream media distractions, secrecy, lies, manipulation, fraudulent economics, marginalization of education, and rewards for conformity and consumer dependence.
“The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good.”
~ Harold Pinter, in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech
Underneath it all, behind the masquerade of purported goodwill which could easily be accomplished through voluntary free associations, Government mostly delegates palliative social accommodations, such as deploying the National Guard in times of natural disasters, as well as private agencies (UNICEF, Peace Corps, Doctors Without Borders, etc.) to buffer and mitigate the inherent consequences of imperialism and poor management of society. Observing the fundamental conditions of society, we see that government really has one primary motivation: to maintain power and control, justifying, downplaying, and covering up the damage it creates in “keeping the machine going”. Like a sheep farmer, the herd is cared for just enough to harvest its wool (society’s labor/wages) and, eventually, flesh (war/obedience). Government has little care for empowering its citizens to be truly free. Government wants obedient workers, not truly free and sovereign individuals. When analyzing the pros and cons, we find that government essentially breaks the legs of the people and then merits itself a “humanitarian institution” by selling crutches to the wounded.
Government even goes insofar as to manufacture conflict by selling weapons to destabilized regions, and then outright lying about the reasons for war, such as America did with the Vietnam War, the 1953 Iran coup, and the Iraq invasion, to name a few recent major military operations out of a dizzying amount of other military interventions.
“Once a government resorts to terror against its own population to get what it wants, it must keep using terror against its own population to get what it wants. A government that terrorizes its own people can never stop. If such a government ever lets the fear subside and rational thought return to the populace, that government is finished.” ~ Michael Rivero
“When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find that far more, and far more hideous, crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.”
~ C.P. Snow
Government (being a self-invested power structure which, by its very nature, seeks to subjugate anything which it sees as a threat) has a long history of surveying, infiltrating, discrediting, disrupting, subverting, and even assassinating progressive social movements or elements of society which threaten its hegemony. Government has done this on its own, but it also works in tandem with other private institutions (religious and corporate) which contribute to this social degradation. In fact, when you look behind the curtain and start connecting the dots of converging interests, the institutions of religion, corporations, and government are so inexorably interwoven that they form a fundamentally inseparable oligarchy.
Throughout history, government has been intertwined with religion in an attempt to mutually reinforce their mutual control over society. Let’s look at a few of the more predominant examples:
In the early records of written history stretching back to Egypt, formal religious practice centered on the pharaoh, who was believed to possess a divine power by virtue of his kingship. The pharaoh acted as an “intermediary” between his people and the gods, and he was obligated to sustain favor with the gods through rituals and offerings so that they could maintain order in the universe. Therefore, the state dedicated enormous resources to the performance of these rituals and to the construction of temples where they were carried out. In the Dark Ages, the State and the Church worked together to terrorize and murder heretics and alleged witches in the name of “pleasing God” and maintaining their sole authority over all of society. Then, in the last century, the Vatican was awarded national sovereignty with 100% government support by the Italian dictator Mussolini in exchange for the Catholic church giving his totalitarian dictatorship public support.
Nowadays, government no longer needs the church’s public support to rampantly and virulently subjugate people (though the church’s silence to the massive injustices are support enough). The United States government has repeatedly overthrown democratically elected governments and destabilized impoverished regions to install puppet dictatorships which allowed for the exploitation of foreign lands. It has extensively worked to derail both foreign and domestic civil rights movements, through infiltration, spying, propaganda, mind control through drugging and torture, assassination, even largely co-creating and manipulating the psychedelic movement, and most recently, of course, the global spying programs of the NSA and CIA which have created a global web of infiltration and usurpation based on fear-driven, media-spun lies and distortions.
To assume that government will ever be honest, ethical, transparent, and act in the best interests of the citizenry which it purports to serve is to ignore thousands of years of continuous invasion, brutality, enslavement, domination, oppression, exploitation, and destruction of anything that gets in its way or it deems profitable. Since “authority” extols itself to have the right to forcibly dominate others, to think that adding “authority” to society will REDUCE the amount of violent usurpations and INCREASE justice is delusional at best. Since its inception, the worship of “government” has never been rational. It was a faith-based superstition imposed upon the individual to keep them obedient and docile. Thankfully, some of us have outgrown that lie.
Akin to government’s history of conspiring with religion, it’s well known that the government has long been in cahoots with big businesses and corporations. Governmental “powers that be” (judges, police, military, politicians, etc.) are, and have always been, directly and/or covertly influenced and corrupted by corporate, religious, and financial institutions with converging interests. This is typically done through indoctrination, lobbying (bribery) and Revolving Door Politics, which is where governments hire industry professionals for their private sector experience, their influence within corporations that the government is attempting to regulate or do business with, and in order to gain political support (donations and endorsements) from private firms. Industry, in turn, hires people out of government positions to gain personal access to government officials, seek favorable legislation/regulation and government contracts in exchange for high-paying employment offers, and get inside information on what is going on in government. This has created a corrupt Corporatocracy which has run rampant like wildfire throughout the most important agencies in society.
This privately elected form of state officializing of special interests has long led to the systematic manipulation of both government policy and public opinion through the systematically repeated propaganda spun through the distorted rhetoric and unconscious psychological manipulation of corporate mainstream media. Since the days of Edward Bernays- the father of modern propaganda and “public relations”, the systematic manipulation of public opinion has been the underlying method of social control– including the control of dissension in society through infiltration and manipulation, such as Hegelian Dialectics. This insidious system of coercion has been used to subconsciously persuade public interest in all aspects, often at the public’s own detriment, and is largely based on, to paraphrase Edward Bernays, the premise that all humanity is and should be primarily governed by external agencies, since all people operate not by conscious reason but by unconscious impulses, emotions, and desires. Despite his social prowess at the time, he was unable to see the flaws in his own logic: Government is also comprised of very pathological people led by the same “irrational” (and criminal) drives. Moreover, there can be no well-informed democracy when society is awash with government propaganda.
“(People) are rarely aware of the real reasons which motivate their actions. […] Many of man’s thoughts and actions are compensatory substitutes for desires which he has been obliged to suppress. A thing may be desired not for its intrinsic worth or usefulness, but because he has unconsciously come to see in it a symbol of something else, the desire for which he is ashamed to admit to himself. A man buying a car may think he wants it for purposes of locomotion, whereas the fact may be that he would really prefer not to be burdened with it, and would rather walk for the sake of his health. He may really want it because it is a symbol of social position, an evidence of his success in business, or a means of pleasing his wife. This general principle, that men are very largely actuated bv motives which they conceal from themselves, is as true of mass as of individual psychology.
Human desires are the steam which makes the social machine work. Only by understanding them can the propagandist control that vast, loose-jointed mechanism which is modern society.
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. In almost every act of our lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons […] who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.”
~ Edward L. Bernays, “Propaganda”, 1928
With regard to the legitimacy of government, Bernays remarks, “Governments, whether they are monarchical, constitutional, democratic or communist, depend upon acquiescent public opinion for the success of their efforts and, in fact, government is only government by virtue of public acquiescence.” Here within this assertion, we find the crippling crux of all democratic societies, a fundamental flaw which completely negates the efficacy of representative democracy in our society. For a democracy to truly work in society’s best interests, its people must be well educated, healthy, and free from the shackles of coercion. As we’ve seen, society has been, and is continuously, hindered by government in achieving these basic standards. Due to this, any democratic government has not, does not, and will not be a catalyst for society to significantly evolve when its population is largely comprised of poorly educated, unhealthy, and encumbered people. However, if society DOES meet this logical criteria and IS full of sovereign, healthy, well-informed people, the institution of government is completely unnecessary.
See the illogical impasse here?
Given that the present power structure fundamentally seeks to consolidate power for itself at the expense of society, government is not only unnecessary, it is detrimental to the individual, society, and, in fact, all life on earth. Government corruption, abuse, and violence ALWAYS runs rampant, regardless of what form it has taken. Yet, while most people know this on some level, the masses, indoctrinated since birth, surrender their sovereignty to privileged self-promoting megalomaniacs and well-manipulated mob.
“For you fancy that shepherds and rulers never think of their own interest, but only of their sheep or subjects, whereas the truth is that they fatten them for their use, sheep and subjects alike. And experience proves that in every relation of life, the just man is the loser and the unjust the gainer, especially where injustice is on the grand scale, which is quite another thing from the petty rogueries of swindlers and burglars and robbers of temples. The language of men proves this—our ‘gracious’ and ‘blessed’ tyrant and the like—all which tends to show (1) that justice is the interest of the stronger; and (2) that injustice is more profitable and also stronger than justice.”
~ Plato, “The Republic”
Despite all this, some people might still be clinging to some thin thread of rationalization for the justification of government. So let’s examine a practical example in order to determine the legitimacy and motivation of government. One simply has to ask the question: If government truly wants to protect and serve the well-being of society, then why doesn’t it publicly investigate and persecute the most harmful and insidious elements in society? These elements are well known with ample evidence: privatized Central Banking (such as the Federal Reserve) , tax schemes, and criminally parasitic Wall Street brokers, and ESPECIALLY the corporate Military-Industrial-Congressional complex which has instigated and perpetuated the greatest social injustice: systematic global injury and poverty on all levels- personally, socially, physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. With over $52 BILLION in “black budget” financing (and that’s just what’s publicly “on the books”, never mind the “under the table” money made from illegal drug trafficking) to spy on just about everybody on earth through the CIA, FBI, NSA, NRO, NGIP, and GDIP, to name a few, it would be a relatively quick and easy “house cleaning” to investigate, arraign, and correct these criminal elements. So, what’s the holdup?
There are a few reasons behind this lack of investigation and accountability. We’ve already mentioned the bribery and Revolving Door Politics which prevents true accountability and self-regulation. Another reason is that many politicians, judges, military, and police officers are just not sufficiently educated enough in law, history, or the inner workings of government and its manipulation by privatized institutions to understand that it is, in fact, government which creates and perpetuates the pervasive conditions for most social detriment and injustice. Here we see numerous examples of “normalized” abuses of power in direct contradiction to the fundamental principles upon which “the law” is based.
This ignorance by “law enforcement” is not coincidental; it is both systematic and necessary to get police officers to remain unquestioningly subservient to the greatest threats to society: the private banks, corporations, and corrupt politicians who instigate the causal conditions for most global crime and social suffering. The general justification for keeping a maximum limit on the permissible IQ for a police officer is that “Those who scored too high could get bored with police work and leave soon after undergoing costly training”. By applying a little critical thinking, we see underlying facts that make this excuse absurd:
A.) Police officers that aren’t smart enough to study law are far more likely to commit abuses of power and police brutality.
B.) “Costly training” isn’t as expensive as the price the entirety of society pays (financially and psychologically) for having poorly educated police officers.
C.) There are already many long-term veterans in law enforcement with high IQ’s, showing that there is a place for more intelligent people.
D.) More intelligent people would make police work more peaceful, efficient, and less menial.
E.) The amount of public “money” spent on the prison system and the military industrial complex makes the expenses of police training absolutely negligible.
In light of the epidemic of police brutality and lack of police oversight, the response toward creating “oversight” against this abuse has been to equip officers with cameras. As the cases of Rodney King and Eric Garner (among many others) clearly show, cameras do little to maintain that justice will be served. Those in power rarely incarcerate each other, even when their excessive use of force are caught on film. Furthermore, the procedure for releasing footage caught on police cameras is tailored to favor police so that they can see the evidence first and then come up with a story to leverage any public inquiry in their favor. The policy for “public servants” to wear cameras instead of undergoing regular mandatory psychological screening, therapy, and training on empathy, is indicative of government’s ineptitude, preferring to fixate on symptoms instead of causes, perpetually placing the security of its own hegemony over the betterment of society.
By now, it’s evident that the government’s legitimacy is contingent upon maintaining a veil of secrecy, ignorance, disinformation, and rigidly controlled discussion, among both the public and among its own agents. After all, anyone with a conscience who is well-informed regarding the inner workings and transgressions of government would be outraged. To counteract and suppress the increasing knowledge coming out online, the government, now more than ever, goes after peaceful dissidents, whistleblowers, journalists, and reporters who raise awareness of the government’s crimes. It has even gone insofar as to propose legislation which would restrict the very egalitarian freedom upon which the internet was founded upon. In accordance with the majority of evidence, America has become a nation of oppressive tyranny which passes laws in obscurity, convolution, and secrecy, all hidden from the politicians who are meant to represent the people. Secretive, unaccountable agencies are making lethal decisions without due process and oversight which affect our most basic rights. They provide “secret evidence” to courts which cannot be checked and often withhold any such “evidence” even from the judges.
“In a decision signed Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon chided the Obama administration for refusing to provide the documents but said she had no authority to order them disclosed.
“I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules – a veritable Catch-22,” the judge wrote. “I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.” “ ~ David B. Caruso, “Judge: US can keep secrets on targeted killings”
“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification [with government], their trust [in it], made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.
This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised as a temporary emergency measure or Presidential Order associated with “patriotic allegiance” and “social necessity”. And all the crises and reforms so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.”
~ Milton Mayer, “They Thought They Were Free”
Psychologically, another reason for the lack of proper government self-regulation through agencies of mass surveillance is because the purpose of mass-surveillance, at its core, is to instill fear, not protection. While the NSA’s spying programs are allegedly used for “national security”, the apparent purpose of mass surveillance on civilians has more to do with creating an imposing, hostile environment for dissension and truth. Clearly, its primary interest is in protecting the powers that be, and not the people. It consistently drops the ball on its own self-investigation even when thousands of government officials are caught in the rampant purchase and viewing of child pornography. This ongoing ritual satanic child abuse by people in positions of power has been known for decades, but always swept under the rug. Internal investigations typically taper out in pitiful silence and rarely, if ever, lead to convictions and corrections.
In the end, beyond the trite rhetoric used to justify war crimes, the superficial two-faced glad-handing of political constituency, and palliative legislation used to placate the public, politicians are simply pathological corporate puppets masquerading as public servants, elected by a brainwashed, ignorant society, serving the global banking cartel through debt-based, privatized, unconstitutional, and completely fraudulent Fractional-Reserve systems of Centralized Banking which is controlled by an ultra-wealthy, multinational oligarchy hell-bent on controlling every thing and every one, no matter how many lies need to be sold through the corporate media, or innocent people need to be murdered to take over lands, ecosystems need to be irreversibly destroyed to maintain and consolidate control, or societies are put in to poverty through privately manipulated economics.
“A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men … [W]e have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world—no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men. […] Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.”
~ Woodrow Wilson, “The New Freedom: A Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People”, written shortly after signing “The Federal Reserve Act of 1913”
Keep in mind that in our globally connected societies, the egregious consequences of Pathocracy (a system of government created by a small pathological minority that takes control over a society of normal people) affects not just domestic life, but also the entire world. Having lived through the carnage of the the First World War, seeing the political games and profiteering behind the headlines, author and intellectual Randolph Bourne was led to conclude that “War is the health of the State”, implying both that: A.) those who go to war the most often are the most sick and corrupt countries, and B.) those in power within these pathological, war-mongering countries are all intertwined, profiteering on various levels through the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex and the constant brainwashing of the public.
“The State is the organization of the herd to act offensively or defensively against another herd similarly organised. War sends the current of purpose and activity flowing down to the lowest level of the herd, and to its most remote branches . . . The slack is taken up, the crosscurrents fade out, and the nation moves lumberingly and slowly, but with ever accelerated speed and integration, towards the great end, towards that peacefulness of being at war.” -Randolph Bourne
“America [and its allies] lied and ran roughshod over the international community to get that war going [Operation Iraqi Freedom]. If an invasion and ten-year occupation isn’t annexation, then nothing is. Companies like Halliburton/KBR absolutely grabbed Iraq’s resources, because their oil was supposed to “pay for the war,” and there were gas lines in Iraq for years after the invasion, because those companies sat on that oil like it was their own private piggy bank… which it was, as it turns out. And as for the state we left Iraq in, thousands upon thousands of people have been killed in the sectarian strife left in our wake. They aren’t making decisions about their future. They’re running for their lives.
That this president [Obama] dared to attempt to paper over the horrific smash-and-grab war crime that was America’s invasion of Iraq is not merely disgusting and without conscience; it is dangerous in the extreme, because we are doomed to repeat what we allow ourselves to forget.”
~ William Rivers Pitt, “Selling a Lemon”
And collectively, we have forgotten, haven’t we? Not just the lineage of violence and injustice committed in the name of obedience to government, but we’ve forgotten the what it feels like to be truly free. We’ve collectively lost touch with the spirit of sovereignty which strives for higher knowledge, love, and growth to empower ourselves and others. We’ve become so disconnected from reality that we’ve forgotten our inherent social responsibility, not just to those around us, but to everyone around the world. Take a good look at the lives we lead. We have privileged lifestyles that were once reserved only for emperors, kings, queens, and great courts; yet we all too often squander and surrender our creative and intellectual potential by conforming to a fetishized culture of escapism, violence, superficial gratification, drugs, and a bombardment of feel-good disinformation that distracts and holds us back from truth and empowerment.
We must clearly see the system we were born in to so that we can surpass it and evolve. We must awaken more meaningful connections, to ourselves and others. We must be guided not by coercive, violent institutions, but by the light of inextinguishable love, knowledge, conscience, freedom, and the awareness of our amazing collective potential which has been held back for far too long.
So how do we begin to overcome and defend against this system of systematic enslavement now that we’ve identified it? We must fundamentally understand the psychology behind it all.
PSYCHOLOGY, AUTHORITARIANISM, AND STATISM
“A great change of our psychological attitude is imminent, that is certain… we need more psychology, we need more understanding of human nature because the only real danger that exists is man himself, he is the great danger, and we are pitifully unaware of it, we know nothing of man, far too little. His psyche should be studied because we are the origin of all coming evil.”
~Carl G. Jung
In most developed societies, a knowledge of the human body is socially common and an academic necessity. We generally understand how the body’s organs function, and it’s easy to see a physical impairment. Psychological impairment, however, is often much more difficult to detect and, unfortunately, is given far less importance.
Psychology is often overlooked, undernourished, and dismissed in our world. Very little practical education on psychology is provided in most schools to manage one’s own mental landscape or to discern and navigate our social experiences with discernment and empathy. Given the trends created by government and their motives outlined in the previous sections, this should come as no surprise. However, this is a critical flaw in society, as I wrote about in my article, “The Necessity of Psychological Healing and Education”. Without access to proper psychological care, society quickly deteriorates to more desperate, dissociative, crude, and often violent means of expressing their distress.
To understand the psychology behind authoritarian systems, we first need to understand how the psyche develops and functions.
When we are born in to this world, we are completely open and vulnerable, immersed in to consequences beyond our immediate control and consent. Instinctually, as babies, we seek to bond with our caregivers, which is a developmental necessity for the foundation of both our physical and psychological well-being. Being raised as children, our instinctual drive for social belonging is conditioned in to a cultural framework (through classicism, race, religion, nationalism, etc.) which, through both positive and negative reinforcement, molds our sense of self and the values which determine how we interact with the world. Then, as young adults, our new-found sense of individuation drives us away from the familiar “nest” of our childhood, further out in to society as we expand and redefine our sense of self and where we belong in the world. Yet while the surroundings may change, the unconscious psychological mechanisms of socio-behavioral identification remain very similar, and we become further socialized in to subcultures within school (often based on class, gender, race, special interests, etc.). Yet as people grow using these reference points for the actualization of their identity and understanding of reality, they often become not just identified BY them, but identified WITH them, taking on the behavior of others as if it were their own. Due to this primal developmental mechanism, often found in the animal kingdom as well, people within society often create behavioral models through social roles as reference points to dictate personal behavior and identity, for themselves and for others. This is natural and, in certain stages of growth, can serve as an adjunct stepping stone toward self-discovery and the organization of more complex societies.
As we move in to adulthood, the impending necessity of independent survival often compels us further to assimilate to the “security” of society. Here, the government-worshipping ideologies of Authoritarianism and Statism become more deeply entwined with identity beyond childhood conditioning and adolescent sentimentality, and in to the established adult worldview deemed “necessary” for survival. Social conformity, profit, and the comforts of convenience are often given more cultural value than freedom of personal expression, exploration, and personal sovereignty. Many become so thoroughly indoctrinated and so psychologically identified to a certain set of beliefs (religious, scientific, political, spiritual, nationalistic, racial, etc.) that they feel personally threatened and may become hostile when their ideological concepts are questioned. Due to this lifelong psychological imprinting, like a global Stockholm Syndrome, most people adhere to the Authoritarian doctrines and Statist regulations of social domination, even when- upon deeper examination- they prove not to be truthful, healthy, empowering, or sustainable.
Due to this inherently hostile programming, many people simply settle within conventional assimilation for “security” and stop consciously seeking to refine and expand their sense of self. Once they attain a traditionally reasonable comfortable level through assimilation in to society, the focus shifts from self-exploration to status-seeking, material acquisition, and reproduction. Often they lose the propensity to sincerely question their lives, and no longer seek to explore their identity (except perhaps in a mid-life crisis, the very validity of which helps prove the point that people are stunted from full actualization). They become comfortable within the confines of the circumstances they have conditioned in to. While a person may hold a lucrative career, high social status, and think very well of themselves, the liberating actualization of their own sovereign autonomy, free from the dominion of government, often holds little-to-no-interest to them. Having invested so much in to a life and relationships based on a false, external identity, the deconstruction and reconstruction of their paradigm is too frightening for them. Moreover, the construct of “authority” unconsciously serves as the last vestige of infantile security against the harsh realities of the world since they think authority is supposedly here to “Protect & Serve”.
“Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.”
~ Aldous Huxley
Further hindering one’s sovereignty, the social pressure to conform and belong in a hierarchy (and subsequent fear of condemnation) is another primary element which retards independent actualization. In the prior chapter on “Government”, the analogy of viewing government as a “parent” to the “child” of society serves well to illustrate the systematic and subversive suppression of development throughout the world. This tendency toward violence and coercion for conformity is the primary characteristic which differentiates between “Dominance Hierarchies” (like Authoritarianism and Statism) from “Empowerment Hierarchies” or “Wholearchies” (like Voluntarism), where exploration, cooperation, and compassionate understanding are paramount. From birth, the distinction between “authority” and “authoritarianism” is often blurred or altogether ignored in a society conditioned to revere violence.
And in this normalization of brutality and submission to authority, the Authoritarian Follower is created. To the unconscious parts of our mind still rooted in childhood, with its authoritarian programming, confronting and abandoning the normalized beliefs of a perceived authority raises a deeply rooted fear of insecurity, abandonment, exile, and- on a primal level- death. We see this reinforced within more complex social institutions (religion, government, etc.) where dissension has LITERALLY resulted in the brutal deaths of countless millions throughout history. This largely unconscious psychological mechanism is often exploited, consciously or unconsciously, within dominance hierarchies to coerce conformity through the manipulation of guilt, shame, and fear. The persecution of righteous dissension is turned in to a demonized social spectacle, instilling fear using hostility, threats, and violence to reinforce the “legitimate necessity” of “security” in adhering to authority. This ability for seemingly “nice people” to degenerate in to a raging, hostile mob is well seen throughout history, from riots to sports. In fact, numerous scientific experiments revealed that those who are described as ‘agreeable, conscientious personalities’ are more likely to follow orders and deliver electric shocks that they believe can harm innocent people, while ‘more dissenting, less agreeable personalities’ are more likely to refuse to hurt others. In other words, “nice” people who don’t question themselves or “authority” are far more likely to commit violence than those that do.
Throughout history, the socialization of people expresses itself naturally in many ways, from families, clans, tribes, communities, dynasties, towns, cities, states, nations, and many sub-groups therein. The more expansive the group becomes, the more removed and disconnected from being able to change government the people become. When this distancing happens, it creates a greater tendency for several things to happen, most notably of which is the ability for pathological personality types to maneuver their way, lying, deceiving, and killing, through a superficially related society, and also commit violent acts on others, whether it’s police brutality or sending them off to war to kill for some far-off purported “greater political cause”. Historically, with the establishment of more vast societies comes a greater proclivity toward the use of violence, in its many forms, for political purposes (often driven by those in power for profit through industry).
The etymology of the word “violence” comes from the Latin word “violare” meaning “violation”. Indeed, the State is the most violent and violating construct hurting humanity and the environments upon which it depends. The State claims a monopoly of violence in society: wars are justified mass murder, soldiers are legal assassins, systematic poverty in an otherwise abundant society is abuse, birth certificates mark people as property, perpetual and unplayable global debt creates wage slavery, and incarceration for abstaining in the mandatory taxation to fund bloated global militarism while neglecting society’s infrastructure and social wellbeing is the epitome of physical and psychological abuse. Is it any wonder why violent behavioral pathologies are so ubiquitous in the “civilized” world? Socially speaking, Authoritarianism and Statism are the two most prevailing dominator ideologies that infect our world today, and both rely primarily on several forms of violence- coercion, subjugation, abuse, manipulation, and more. This violence, expressed through crime, sports, abusive parenting, violent pornography, rampant suicide, video games, and many other detrimental facets of society, is merely symptomatic of the causal conditions sanctioned, created, and proliferated by government. Just as people normalize prolonged stress in their bodies or prolonged behavioral pathologies (like people saying “I’m just an asshole. Deal with it.”), so too have most people normalized their society’s prolonged sickness. They don’t even stop to consider just how violently abhorrent the controlling elements of society are.
“Our entire life is built on violence or fear of it. From earliest childhood you are subjected to the violence of parents or elders. At home, in school, in the office, factory, field, or shops, it is always someone’s [violently imposed] authority which keeps you obedient and compels you to do his will.”
~ Alexander Berkman
Since virtually all people have been abused since childhood to varying degrees, most normalize this abuse to the point that they often subconsciously act out a sub/unconsciously-repressed emotional revenge by invading and violating others over whom they have power to violate. For example, children are encouraged by coaches to “beat” others in competition instead of appreciating the abilities of others to inspire and empower mutual growth. Instead of seeing all people on earth as beautiful, precious, and deserving of care, Nationalism creates a social narcissism whereby others are marginalized by notions of regional supremacy. Therefore, children are forced to say “The Pledge of Allegiance” daily in school, brainwashing the nationalist authoritarian doctrine daily before children even have the capacity to question the “pledge” they’re coerced to repeat. And so, we have been trained to see “greatness” and “success” as the domination over others, instead of reverence and mutuality. It’s clear that every facet of our lives and society is saturated in psychologically hostile ideologies that are unhealthy to our intrinsic human condition. Consequently, all this often creates the foundation of what is known as an “Authoritarian Personality“.
In a psychological study by University of Manitoba professor emeritus Bob Altemeyer, the Authoritarian Personality is described in detail. Altemeyer categorizes individuals with this sort of behavioral disposition in to two broad categories: “Authoritarian Leaders” and “Authoritarian Followers”. The “Followers” are those who support pathological people in power. They crave an Authority who is dominating and (directly or indirectly) harsh. Altemeyer defines Authoritarian Followers as having three core characteristics:
1) High degree of submission to authority
2) Willingness to attack other people in the name of the authority
3) Highly conventional attitudes
In discussing the submission to authority, lack of independent critical thinking, and the need for approval that characterizes Authoritarian Followers, Altemeyer writes:
“Authoritarian followers seem to have a “Daddy and mommy know best” attitude toward the government. They do not see laws as social standards that apply to all. Instead, they appear to think that authorities are above the law, and can decide which laws apply to them and which do not – just as parents can when one is young… If you ask subjects to rank the importance of various values in life, authoritarian followers place “being normal” substantially higher than most people do. It’s almost as though they want to disappear as individuals into the vast vat of Ordinaries.”
Though they habitually use the rhetoric of righteousness, they tend to be full of hatred, and their behavior quickly turns ugly when they are under stress. Altemeyer explains:
“They get off smiting the sinner; they relish being “the arm of the Lord.”… which suggests authoritarian followers have a little volcano of hostility bubbling away inside them looking for a (safe, approved) way to erupt….“
~ Altemeyer (2003), “What Happens When Authoritarians Inherit the Earth? A Simulation; Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy”, Vol. 3, No. 1.
Sound familiar? Perhaps you may have encountered or know of people like this. Perhaps you have behaved this way in the past?
The same zealous ignorance and Authoritarianism that drove the Salem Witch Trials is mirrored in today’s War on Terror. This impressionability and obedience of people, when provided with a legitimizing Authoritarian ideology (and/or institutional coercion), has long been studied and proven.
From the unconscionable massacres at Waco, Ruby Ridge, and the MOVE standoff, to the inept TSA molesting, abusing, and beating civilians, to an avalanche of unpunished police violence skyrocketing, or the US Military bombing, invading, and torturing innocent civilians around the world, or even just the rampantly predatory profiteering of government sponsored private agencies from insignificant municipal violations, severely pathological behavior has not only been normalized, it has been implicitly deemed “necessary” by Statists and, by implication, the “Powers That Be”. In the cases where subsequent legal action has found the State to be “excessive” (more criminal than it usually is), most punishment involves either A.) using tax money to pay off the injured parties (read: you pay for the State’s crimes) or B.) paid suspension (read: paid vacation).
As George Orwell observed, the State governs and brainwashes its subjects in to Authoritarian Followers not only by naked force but by trying to define reality, even to the extent of manipulating their thoughts through the manipulation of language, systematically lowering the standards of public education, advertising and propaganda, covertly drugging the public at great expense to taxpayers, sabotaging dissension and progressive conversations online, the unfettered bombardment of extremely harmful electromagnetic radiation, the deterioration of public care for psychological dysfunction, and many, many more…
“The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them.”
~ Philip K. Dick
Statist Authoritarianism is a brainwashed condition whose implications cannot be over-emphasized. This manipulation to foster a “love of captivity” is a technique that has been used by governments and companies for centuries. A classic form of reality manipulation/mind control is the insidious Hegelian Dialectic of “Problem – Reaction – Solution”. In the Hegelian Dialectic, a PROBLEM is purposefully and covertly manufactured and manipulated in order to illicit the desired REACTION of public outcry, whereby the public demands a SOLUTION which as already been predetermined and prepackaged for sale from the very beginning by those who created the problem to begin with (who are now seen as saviors for proposing the solution).
“The ultimate tyranny in a society is not control by martial law. It is control by the psychological manipulation of consciousness, through which reality is defined so that those who exist within it do not even realize that they are in prison. They do not even realize that there is something outside of where they exist.”
~ Barbara Marciniak, “Bringers of the Dawn”
“We are currently in the midst of the greatest epidemic sickness known to humanity. Like a fish in water who doesn’t recognize water because it is everywhere, both outside and within the fish itself, many of us don’t realize the collective insanity in our midst, as our madness is so pervasive that it has become normalized.
People taken over by the wetiko virus usually don’t suspect a thing about how they have been “conned,” or more accurately, how they have conned themselves. The wetiko culture offers no incentive for them to self-reflectingly speculate upon their increasingly depraved condition; on the contrary, the nonlocal field configures itself to enable, further cultivate, and deepen their psychosis. When someone is a full-blown, unrecognized wetiko, the field around them torques so as to protect, collude with, and feed into their psychosis in a way that entrances those around them. Similar to how an octopus squirts ink in order to hide, a psychic field gets conjured up around full-blown wetikos which obfuscates their malfeasance.
Once under the wetiko spell, people lose the capacity to recognize the wetiko pathology in others. In a situation of “group narcissism,” wetikos at different stages of the disease assume particular postures and roles relative to each other that protect and shield themselves from their own insanity and darkness. They feed and reinforce each other’s narcissism because it enhances their own.
Anyone who doesn’t buy into the arbitrarily established story is marginalized and demonized, and called either crazy, a conspiracy theorist, or even a terrorist. Such a group consensus about the nature of reality gets increasingly hard to sustain as time passes, however, as, like a house of cards ready to collapse at any moment, its vision of the world is based on the fundamental error of not being true. Strangely enough, people under the collective enchantment of wetiko become fanatically attached to supporting an agenda that oftentimes is diametrically opposed to serving then own best interests.This is an outer behavioral reflection of the inner state of being under the sway of the self-destructive wetiko parasite.
All of the mainstream, culturally sanctioned, corporatized institutions are in the business of indoctrination, telling us what to think and not think, as well as how to think. Our mind is continually being massaged into shape by the prevailing culture, our true face lifted as our spiritual pockets are picked. Our civilization has become the mouthpiece for the propaganda organ of the disease, entrancing us to “buy” into its viewpoint as we are bled to death of what really counts. The culture that informs and forms around wetiko illness is itself a channel of its transmission and growth. If we sign on the dotted line and subscribe to its viewpoint, its life-denying culture will gradually subsume us into itself, enlisting us as its agents who unwitingly do its bidding. This is how the ever-expanding, self-generating psychic empire of collective psychosis works, as it increasingly takes over and approaches “full-employment.”
We are truly in a war. It is not the war we imagine we are in, which is the way our true adversaries want it. It is ultimately and actually not a foreign war against a foreign enemy. It is a war on consciousness, a war on our own minds.“
~ Paul Levy, Dispelling Wetiko – Breaking the Curse of Evil
With society full of Authoritarian Statists unwaveringly protective of their captors, government both perpetrates the tyranny of the majority and the tyranny of a megalomaniacal minority. Like the allegory of Plato’s Cave, many people desperately believe in the “shadows on the wall” which government defines as “truth” and “reality”.
But who are the people creating these “shadows on the wall”? What sort of people comprise this minority which creates so much death and destruction all over the world? To answer this, we need to go deeper still. As the saying goes, “By their fruits shall you know them”.
PSYCHOPATHY & PONEROLOGY
“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”
~ John Lennon
People are fundamentally social beings, and inherent to our experience in relationships, people without deeper knowledge and discernment often identify with others based on their projections and wishful thinking. They often project their own values, assumptions, and expectations on to others. For example, in familiar circumstances, people go about their lives with the assumption that others in their society function much as they do: knowledge of social norms, common definitions for words, and a general moral understanding of right and wrong. However, this isn’t always the case.
For approximately 3-6% of the global population (420,000,000 people), their inner landscape is extremely different due to a distinct psychological and biological difference – they do not have a conscience, nor the neurological capacity to develop one. Despite this deficiency, they are often very good at socially disguising themselves as normal, fully functioning members of society. These people are known as Psychopaths.
Here we find the most sensible and logical answer to the question, “What kind of people would commit these atrocities around the world?”
“Many psychopaths have little difficulty joining the ranks of business, politics, law enforcement, government, and academia. They exist in all lines of work, from executive to blue-collar professions. However, psychopathy often is misread, misdiagnosed, minimized, or explained away by professionals whose jobs require regular interaction with psychopaths, namely in the mental health, judicial, and law enforcement communities. When these professionals encounter psychopathy in the course of their work, their reaction and response to the psychopath may be too little and too late. Their lack of information can lead to serious consequences, ranging from mishandling the strategy for interviews and interrogations to believing a psychopath’s complete fabrications as seemingly plausible explanations.”
~ FBI website
Oftentimes, people misuse the term “Sociopath” when describing wealthy people in power acting without conscience. In this society where “reality creation through the manipulation of language” is rampant, the term “Psychopath” has been subliminally distorted to mean the “axe-wielding maniac” which hides the more subtle, insidious threat that psychopaths actually are.
Let’s briefly describe the difference since, while there is some overlap, Sociopaths and Psychopaths have their own unique behavioral characteristics, and discernment is key.
Sociopaths tend to be nervous or easily agitated. They are volatile and prone to emotional outbursts, including fits of rage. They are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place for very long. It is difficult but not impossible for sociopaths to form attachments with others. Many sociopaths are able to form an attachment to a particular individual or group, although they have no regard for society in general or its rules. In the eyes of others, sociopaths will appear to be very disturbed. Any crimes committed by a sociopath, including murder, will tend to be haphazard and spontaneous rather than planned.
Psychopaths, on the other hand, are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people. Psychopaths are often well educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature. When committing crimes, psychopaths carefully plan out every detail in advance and often have contingency plans in place. Unlike their sociopathic counterparts, psychopathic criminals are cool, calm, and meticulous.
“Psychopaths are conscious of being different. They see normal people as inferiors – “others” – to be used and discarded when they are no longer needed. But like a predator among its prey, psychopaths must disguise themselves to evade detection. If they made their motives known, others would be horrified. So, from an early age they learn to fit in by copying normal human reactions and behaviors. They learn when it is appropriate to cry, show grief, guilt, concern, and love. They learn all the facial expressions, common phrases, and social cues for these emotions they do not feel. And as such, they deceive others with false displays of sadness, grief, guilt, concern, and love, and they manipulate our reactions to get what they want. That’s how a psychopath is able to con you out of money by playing on your sense of pity and compassion. Normal people, unaware of the differences between psychopaths and themselves, assume that these displays of emotion are evidence of actual emotion, and so the psychopath succeeds in going unnoticed, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
~ Harrison Koehli, “Ponerology 101: The Psychopath’s Mask of Sanity”
“The truly talented [psychopaths] have raised their ability to charm people to that of an art, priding themselves on their ability to present a fictional self to others that is convincing, taken at face value, and difficult to penetrate.” –Dr. Paul Babiak, Dr. Robert D. Hare, “Snakes In Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work”
Psychopathy can arise from both nature and/or nurture, and has no known cure. It can be passed down genetically, which may in part help to explain the long history of corruption through mafia-like nepotism throughout religion, business, entertainment, and politics. Additionally, psychopathy can arise through abusive conditioning, whether by malnutrition during the brain’s formative years which retards healthy development, extreme psychological abuse, or physical trauma to certain parts of the brain, an extreme example of which is classically demonstrated in the case of Phineas Gage.
From the perspective of a healthy society, psychopaths can be seen as an intraspecies predator which, depending on their abilities, preys upon individuals or entire societies often through the impersonal and dominating mechanisms of business.
“Just as a disease organism seeks its own survival and to propagate, pathologically deviant persons want power over others and they are not inhibited by considerations of conscience or feeling for others. An analogy of this is that the disease pathogen is totally uncaring of the damage it may do to the organ systems it invades. It only wants to survive and propagate. The bacteria or virus has evolved many unique characteristics that enable it to take over a body when that body is weak. Thus, when societies are weakened for any of a number of reasons, deviant personalities are able to utilize their specifically evolved methods and means to achieve that power that normal people with normal morals simply cannot comprehend because it is not part of their reality and all human beings tend to assume that everyone else is like themselves.”
~ Laura Knight-Jadczyk
“”Likeable,” “Charming,” “Intelligent,” “Alert,” “Impressive,” “Confidence-inspiring,” and “A great success with the ladies”: These are the sorts of descriptions repeatedly used by Cleckley in his famous case-studies of psychopaths.
Psychopaths seem to have in abundance the very traits most desired by normal persons. The untroubled self-confidence of the psychopath seems almost like an impossible dream and is generally what “normal” people seek to acquire when they attend assertiveness training classes. In many instances, the magnetic attraction of the psychopath for members of the opposite sex seems almost supernatural.
This lack of “soul quality” makes them very efficient “machines.” They can be brilliant, write scholarly works, imitate the words of emotion, but over time, it becomes clear that their words do not match their actions.
Being very efficient machines, like a computer, they are able to execute very complex routines designed to elicit from others support for what they want. In this way, many psychopaths are able to reach very high positions in life. It is only over time that their associates become aware of the fact that their climb up the ladder of success is predicated on violating the rights of others. Even when they are indifferent to the rights of their associates, they are often able to inspire feelings of trust and confidence. The psychopath recognizes no flaw in his psyche, no need for change.“
~ Hervey Cleckley, “The Mask of Sanity”
A deeper examination of how psychopathy affects society at large (known as “Ponerization”) is found in the book “Political Ponerology”, written by Andrew Lobaczewski . The following video gives a brief summary:
Are you starting to see just how dire the implications of psychopathy are?
“Imagine — if you can — not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.
And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.
Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless.
If you are born at the right time, with some access to family fortune, and you have a special talent for whipping up other people’s hatred and sense of deprivation, you can arrange to kill large numbers of unsuspecting people. With enough money, you can accomplish this from far away, and you can sit back safely and watch in satisfaction. . . .
Crazy and frightening — and real, in about 4 percent of the population…
The prevalence rate for anorexic eating disorders is estimated a 3.43 percent, deemed to be nearly epidemic, and yet this figure is a fraction lower than the rate for antisocial personality. The high-profile disorders classed as schizophrenia occur in only about 1 percent of [the population] — a mere quarter of the rate of antisocial personality — and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the rate of colon cancer in the United States, considered “alarmingly high,” is about 40 per 100,000 — one hundred times lower than the rate of antisocial personality.
The high incidence [of psychopathy] in human society has a profound effect on the rest of us who must live on this planet, too, even those of us who have not been clinically traumatized. The individuals who constitute this 4 percent drain our relationships, our bank accounts, our accomplishments, our self-esteem, our very peace on earth.”
~ Martha Stout, Ph.D.
Indeed this epidemic of normalized psychopathic behavior in positions of power is simply too shameful and disturbing for ordinary people to acknowledge, so they avert their gaze, just as battered wives of husbands who are sexually abusing their children sometimes refuse to see what is happening in plain view, and even support and defend their abusers. When a person comes to terms with the fact that approximately 3-6% of the world’s population are psychopaths, and that psychopaths stop at nothing to consolidate power and wield it over others to suit their unquenchable narcissism, everything begins to make sense. At the core of society, the problem isn’t gun laws, misogyny, materialism, poverty, or violence, per se; these are all merely symptoms of the roots cause: psychopaths who rule our planet creating an environment of violence and perversion. If we want to prevent these widespread symptomatic maladies, we need to start at the top.
Without understanding the laws of physics, biochemistry, and thermodynamics, we would never have achieved the tremendous improvements in our quality of life through technological developments. Similarly, without understanding psychology and how it affects social systems, we cannot escape from the tyranny of psychopaths in power. Without addressing the cause and questioning our own indoctrinated behaviors, society will become lost in a maze of distractions, traumatizing preoccupations, and pathological conditioning that gradually becomes normalized in society as each generation becomes progressively acclimated to this predatory social influence. Society MUST recognize the importance of psychology and be made aware of Ponerology because it is the domineering social element which instigates, exacerbates, and perpetuates almost all social problems at their core.
PATHOCRACY (n). A system of government created by a small pathological minority that takes control over a society of normal people [and forces them to become pathological through brainwashing].
1. suppression of individualism and creativity.
2. impoverishment of artistic values.
3. impoverishment of moral values; a social structure based on self-interest and one-upmanship, rather than altruism.
4. fanatical ideology; often a corrupted form of a valid viable ‘trojan’ ideology which is perverted into a pathological form, bearing little resemblance to the substance of the original.
5. intolerance and suspicion of anyone who is different, or who disagrees with the state.
6. centralized control.
7. widespread corruption.
8. secret activities within government, but surveillance of the general population. (In contrast, a healthy society would have transparent government processes, and respect for privacy of the individual citizen).
9. paranoid and reactionary government.
10. excessive, arbitrary, unfair and inflexible legislation; the power of decision making is reduced/removed from the citizens’ everyday lives.
11. an attitude of hypocrisy and contempt demonstrated by the actions of the ruling class, towards the ideals they claim to follow, and towards the citizens they claim to represent.
12. controlled media, dominated by propaganda.
13. extreme inequality between the richest and poorest.
14. endemic use of corrupted psychological reasoning such as paramoralisms, conversive thinking and doubletalk.
15. rule by force and/or fear of force.
16. people are considered as a ‘resource’ to be exploited (hence the term “human resources”), rather than as individuals with intrinsic human worth.
17. spiritual life is restricted to inflexible and indoctrinare schemes. Anyone attempting to go beyond these boundaries is considered a heretic or insane, and therefore dangerous.
18. arbitrary divisions in the population (class, ethnicity, creed) are inflamed into conflict with one another.
19. suppression of free speech – public debate, demonstration, protest.
20. violation of basic human rights, for example: restriction or denial of basic life necessities such as food, water, shelter; detainment without charge; torture and abuse; slave labour.
~Andrew Lobaczewski, “Political Ponerology”
So what can we do about this?
In light of the atrocities created by these pathological types and the futility of trying to fundamentally “change the system from within” (as discussed in the section on “Voting”), the righteous anger of most people might seek to simply imprison or kill all the war-profiteering politicians, Wall Street brokers, culpable Central Bankers, parasitic CEOs, violent police, and other government criminals. However, a generalized net of condemnation cannot be thrown over society which demonizes every individual showing anti-social personality disorder since there are numerous conditions which resemble psychopathy, yet have scientifically proven methods of treatment. Andrew Lobaczewski, author of “Political Ponerology” and a foremost expert on psychopathy gives the following suggestion:
“Because we are dealing with a distinction based on conscience, any proposed method for identifying pathological types must be governed by conscience itself. If those who would propose to identify psychopaths and other schizoidal types resort to methods that are cruel and inhuman, then it is an indication that they, themselves, may suffer from the same deviation. To employ vilification of psychological deviants rather than medical and psychological care and understanding of their pathologies is for the slave to take up the whip of his former master. One group of pathocrats cannot be substituted for another which would be the result in such a case.
When the pathologies of these types are understood as a form of disease, then they can be treated, not subjected to revenge or retribution. For those cases that are incurable, humane means of quarantine can be found to prevent them from attaining roles in public life where they can impose their pathological view of reality upon normal people. […] Moreover, with improved education on the existence and dangers of these pathologies and wide publicizing of the nature of the system of pathocracy and how it functions, as well as training in how to spot and respond to the manipulations they use, the normal members of society can immunize themselves against it. Our greatest weakness is ignorance. ”
~ Andrew Lobaczewski, “Political Ponerology”, p.222-223
Aside from the prophylactic measures of widespread education on the subjects of psychology (while being discerning of the distortions within the field of psychiatry), it would behoove society to establish mandatory psychological screening, more comprehensive background checks, and possible MRI testing for public servants such as police officers, judges, politicians, soldiers, teachers, etc. Furthermore, due to the considerable impact that multinational corporations have on the world, be they in banking or commerce, their executive officers should also be held to the same psychological standards of public servants to ensure concern for the common good and prevent the continued unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, human labor, and the psychological vulnerabilities of society for profit.
“There have always been “society pedagogues”, less outstanding but more numerous, who have become fascinated by their own great ideas, which might, sometimes, even be true, but are more often constricted or contain the taint of some hidden pathological thought processes. Such people have always striven to impose pedagogical methods which would impoverish and deform the development of individuals’ and societies’ psychological world view; they inflict permanent harm upon societies, depriving them of universally useful values. By claiming to act in the name of a more valuable idea, such pedagogues actually undermine the values they claim and open the door for destructive ideologies. At the same time, as we have already mentioned, each society contains a small but active minority of persons with various deviant worldviews, especially in the areas treated above, which are caused either by psychological anomalies, to be discussed below, or by the long-term influence of such anomalies upon their psyches, especially during childhood. Such people later exert a pernicious influence upon the formative process of the psychological world view in society, whether by direct activity or by means of written or other transmission, especially if they engage in the service of some ideology or other.
They – psychopath and part psychopath – do well in the more unscrupulous types of sales work, because they take such delight in ‘putting it over on them’, getting away with it – and have so little conscience about defrauding their customers.” Our society is fast becoming more materialistic, and success at any cost is the credo of many businessmen. The typical psychopath thrives in this kind of environment and is seen as a business “hero”.
Politics is no exception, and, by its very nature, would tend to attract more of the pathological “dominator types” than other fields. That is only logical, and we began to realize that it was not only logical, it was horrifyingly accurate; horrifying because pathology among people in power can have disastrous effects on all of the people under the control of such pathological individuals.”
~ Andrew Lobaczewski, “Political Ponerology“
“History in its purest form, is simply a recitation of events, what really happened at a certain point in time and at a certain place. Historians, (and archaeologists, in some instances) do their best in analyzing and trying to sort out causes and effects. Some of them try to figure out what drives key individuals to do some significant thing, and, as far as I have been able to see after reading history for over 40 years, many historians do a rather mediocre job of it (though there are exceptions). The reason for this, as should be clear by this point in the present text, is because they do not take environment and psychology into account, as needs to be done. They also rarely – if ever – take their own psychology into account! Before historians – or anybody, for that matter -write narratives about what they think really happened, they should have already taken their own tendency to lie to themselves all the time into account.
The problem is, I think, a failure to understand that groups, societies and nations ought to be looked at as – more or less – ‘living systems’, with all the problems that a living being is heir to, including birth, growth, maturity, old age, death and, most importantly, sickness. What this means is that the failure of most analysts in this field is that they do not factor in the complexity of human psychology, considering that the human being is the primary unit of any sociological system just as a cell is the primary unit in a body. Most social, religious and governmental systems are predicated on a very simplified view of human beings that does not take into account the complexity, and variety of human types and how they interact together, very much like organs in a body. This applies to any ideology which attempts to over-simplify psychological reality, whether it be one utilized by a totalitarian system or by democracy as well. People are different and whatever is qualitatively different and remains in a state of permanent evolution cannot be equal.
Just as Toynbee noted that empires fall due to internal and external causes, so is it that human beings – very often the pilots of history – act as they do based on internal and external causes as the Stoics propose. A human being is a pattern-seeking and reading organism that seeks its own survival at the most basic level. Added to that is the fact that, as an organism subject to sexual reproduction and the recombination of DNA that this entails, human beings are not created equal or at all the same, by any stretch of the imagination, and some of them seek their own survival at the expense of others or even require the suffering of others to feel satisfied; it’s hardwired absence of conscience, as psychopathy experts generally agree. What is more, those types of individuals tend to rise to the top because there are no emotional considerations to distract them from their pursuit of power. Does that mean they are truly rational, as they like to think? No. It means that they are dominated by their animal drives to the exclusion of true rationality and generally have only the most primitive emotions.
I have written on this topic rather extensively both in print and on the Internet so here I’m going to pass over it rather quickly, with source citatation for the reader unfamiliar with this body of work. According to Hervey Cleckley, Robert Hare, Martha Stout, Anna Salter, Sandra L. Brown, Andrzej M. Lobaczewski, Paul Babiak, and many other experts in psychopathy, a diagnosis of psychopathy cannot be made on the basis of visible behavioral symptoms to the exclusion of interpersonal and affective symptoms because such a procedure essentially makes psychopaths of many people who are simply injured by life or society, and allows the true psychopaths who have a well-constructed ‘mask of sanity’ to escape detection. Based on a growing body of literature, many (or most) psychopaths grow up in stable, well-to-do families and become white collar criminals who, because of money and position, never have thai private destructive behaviors exposed to public view and repeatedly avoid contact with the justice system. These types, who do untold damage to society at large, are not classified under present diagnostic systems. There are others who never break any laws at all, they simply destroy people around them emotionally and psychologically.
In other words, the most dangerous psychopath is educated, wealthy and socially skilled. The issues of nature vs. nurture are a hot topic in psychopathy studies. There is the school that says all people are pretty much the same, and that people who are badly treated as children grow up to treat others badly; they learn from the adult examples set for them; they identify with the aggressors; this is the nurture school. The nature school says there is wide variation in inherited dispositions and that many people who are treated badly do not grow up to treat others badly, that those who do would have done so anyway, even if treated well, because they were born ‘bad’. They also point out the not inconsiderable evidence that there are many psychopaths that do not have the abusive backgrounds postulated by the nurture school. Robert Hare, psychopathy expert, says that there are varying components of nature and nurture involved, but that nature – heritability – is the strongest factor. This appears to be exactly what Posidonius was saying. Opponents of this idea oppose it for the very simple reason that being inherited would mean that there is no cure. Well, there is no cure for a lot of physical and mental conditions, so why should psychopathy be such a bone of contention? Perhaps it is the nature of the beast, an individual who looks and behaves (mostly) completely human, but lacks those very characteristics that are said to be what make humans human, as opposed to just two-legged animals with opposable thumbs. They all look human, so they must all BE human and the same, right? Wrong.
When considering a grown up psychopath, there are highly complex neurological circuits that have developed apace in the process of learning what works to get his needs and demands met. A complex and even brilliant intelligence can be harnessed in service of a dominating animalistic drive-system combined with a restricted, deviant or even absent, human-oriented emotional nature. For all human intents and purposes, psychopaths behave as though the core of their being is little more than a hunger at the center of a bundle of neurological inputs and outputs; just a sort of black hole that wants/needs to suck everything into it. Under the influence of this internal structure – this ever-present, never fulfilled hunger – the psychopath is nto able to appreciate the wants or needs of other human beings, the subtle shades of a situation, or to tolerate ambiguity. The entire external reality is filtered through – made to conform to – this rigid and primitive internal structure, in the service of primitive drives.
When psychopaths are frustrated, i.e. when they do not get what they want, when satisfaction of the hunger is denied or delayed, what they seem to feel is that everything in the world ‘out there’ is against them while they are only good. This may, of course, translate into actual thought loops of being good, long-suffering and only seeking the ideal of love, peace, safety, beauty warmth and comfort that comes with satiation (never mind that they can never achieve it), but the most fundamental thing about it is that when a psychopath is confronted with something displeasing or threatening to his hunger, that object (person, idea, group, whatever) is placed in the ‘all bad’ category and their destruction is thus justified. And, of course, with a psychopath, their rage has numerous possibilities (including utilizing a very complex brain) for sustaining itself for a very long time: as long as necessary for that object of the rage to be incorporated as was originally desired. If the brain of the psychopath is forced to face mounting evidence that some choice or act of his/hers has created a problem or made a situation worse, this must be denied by the brain as being in any way part of the self, and projected as coming from out ‘there’. The internal structure of the psychopath will admit to no wrong (it cannot), nothing bad, no errors, and so, anything that is defined as ‘bad’ is naturally – structurally – projected onto someone or something else. And keep in mind that this is not because they choose to do that; it is because they cannot do otherwise. There is nothing at the core but a hunger connected to neural inputs and outputs, wrapped up in grandiosity and eternal perfection; that is the way they are made.
As a consequence of having such a primitive core structure coupled with a complex – and in some cases, brilliant – brain, psychopaths become masters of projective identification. That is, they project onto and into others everything that is bad (remembering that ‘bad’ changes according to what the psychopath wants at the moment – that’s part of the structure), and seek in manipulative ways to induce in that other person what is being projected, and seek to control the other person who is perceived as manifesting those ‘bad’ characteristics. In this way, the psychopath gains enjoyment and feels ‘in control’ which amounts to getting ‘fed’ or ‘nurtured’ in some way. Keep in mind also that what the psychopath considers to be good has nothing to do with truth, honor, decency, consideration for others, or any such thing, other than what the psychopath wants at any given moment. In this way, any violation of the rights of others, any foul, evil deed, can be perpetrated by a psychopath and he will still sleep like a baby (literally) at night because he has done nothing wrong!
One of the main barriers to understanding psychopathy is due to the fact that psychopaths rise to the top and have done so since time immemorial, and the social structures and belief systems that are inculcated in us from birth are due to their machinations and for their benefit. You could say that it is projective identification at the social level. What is more, we are most like the psychopath when we project onto psychopaths our own internal states of goodness and decency and believe that, because they look human, they are like us; we are conditioned to the belief that all humans are created equal, and “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”, and that just a bit more effort, more forgiveness, and a little repentance means anybody can be saved. It just ain’t so.
The knowledge of psychopathy and ponerology is what ‘opens the cage door’, yet it seems the heavily conditioned psychologists and psychiatrists of the mainstream are too afraid to ‘go there’ – to step out of the cage and really see where this knowledge could lead them.Thus there are endless attempts and theories to fit the square peg of psychopathy into the round hole of ‘humanist dogma’ that insists on the uniform nature of the core self for every single human-looking being. Sometimes this wishful thinking can fuel a more egotistical attitude. Lobaczewski refers to this as the “egotism of the natural world view.”:
“[We] often meet with sensible people endowed with a well-developed natural world view as regards psychological, societal, and moral aspects, frequently refined via literary influences, religious deliberations, and philosophical reflections. Such persons have a pronounced tendency to overrate the values of their world view, behaving as though it were an objective basis for judging other people. They do not take into account the fact that such a system of apprehending human matters can also be erroneous, since it is insufficiently objective. Let us call such an attitude the “egotism of the natural world view”. [… ] Today, however, the world is being jeopardized by a phenomenon which cannot be understood nor described by means of such a natural conceptual language; this kind of egotism thus becomes a dangerous factor’ stifling the possibility of objective counteractive measures. Developing and popularizing the objective psychological world view could thus significantly expand the scope of dealing with evil, via sensible action and pinpointed countermeasures.” ~ Andrew Lobaczewski
What we have here is similar to the old saying about the devil: his greatest defense is that nobody believes in him. Well, we do have a devil in our midst, only he isn’t some kind of supernatural creature, he is an intra-species predator that looks like us and, unless you are able to peel away the mask by close, personal association over time, acts like us. In fact, as Hervey Cleckley points out, the psychopath is so normal with his mask on that he epitomizes all that neurotic, self-doubt plagued normal humans would love to be. Psychopaths seem to have in abundance the very traits most desired by normal persons. The untroubled self-confidence of the psychopath seems almost like an impossible dream and is generally what ‘normal’ people seek to acquire when they attend assertiveness training classes. In many instances, the magnetic sexual attraction of the psychopath seems almost supernatural.
Cleckley’s seminal hypothesis concerning the psychopath is that he suffers from a very real mental illness indeed: a profound and incurable affective deficit. If he really feels anything at all, they are emotions of only the shallowest kind. Cleckley also gives grounds for the view that psychopathy is quite common in the community at large. He has collected some cases of psychopaths who generally function normally in the community as businessmen, doctors, and even psychiatrists. Some researchers see criminal psychopathy – often referred to as anti-social personality disorder – as an extreme of a ‘normal’ personality dimension (or dimensions).
We would characterize criminal psychopaths as ‘unsuccessful psychopaths’! The implication, of course, is that many psychopaths may exist in society who cope better than do those who come to the attention of the judicial and welfare systems.
Being very efficient machines, like a computer, they are able to execute very complex routines designed to elicit from others support for what they want. In this way, many psychopaths are able to reach very high positions in life. It is only over time that their associates become aware of the fact that their climb up the ladder of success is predicated on violating the rights of others. “Even when they are indifferent to the rights of their associates, they are often able to inspire feelings of trust and confidence.”
In a world driven by conscienceless individuals, even those who would otherwise behave in more pro-social ways tend to shut down their conscience in order to survive or protect those they love. An external event can act on a dozen different individuals by inducing in them a dozen variations of organismic response. The external environment is constantly acting on human beings and that environment includes social conditioning from childhood to planetary environment, which may include influences of which science is not yet aware or, if they are aware, do not fully understand, including solar radiation and cosmic rays and EM emanations of all sorts from the planet, the atmosphere and the cosmos. All of these – and probably more – can condition the response of the organism which is already born with particular tendencies to greater or lesser sensitivity to those inputs.
Further, there is a statistically significant percentage of individuals born with damaged or deficient psychological apparatus in the same way individuals can be born with physical handicaps. As many psychologists and neuroscientists of our modern day have noted, and more vigorously in recent years, these types of individuals can have profoundly influential effects on human society, usually negative. Since current events are just history in the making, and we are aware of these factors acting in the social and political environment now, we must take those factors into consideration when reviewing historical events. A historian who looks at a particular development in history and attributes motives to the characters based on inadequate psychological knowledge only confounds the issues.
This idea leads to the primary reason for the failure of such systems of analysis: when considering a human population, what is left out of the equation is the fact that, in every society on Earth, there is a certain percentage of individuals that are extremely deviant from the masses of normal people, and this small group is generally very active in ways that can affect hundreds, thousands, even millions of other human beings in negative ways. The analogy of a disease pathogen in a body serves very well to convey the proper perspective.
Deviant personalities, being in a minority and knowing that they are a minority, feel driven to take power over their environment in order to alleviate the stress of this feeling of being abnormal. This drive enables them ; to easily ‘rise to the top’, and then to interpenetrate the entire social structure with a ramified network of mutual and multiple pathological conspiracies in a way similar to how a disease takes over a body.
It is said that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. What this view does not convey is that power attracts deviants and the corruption of everything else is then a result of pathological persons – who are innately attracted to gaining power over others – spreading their corruption and making it easy for other corrupt persons to join them ‘at the top’. This is the primary driver of all the so-called ‘cycles of history’.
Just as a disease organism seeks its own survival and to propagate, pathologically deviant persons want power over others and they are not inhibited by considerations of conscience or feeling for others. An analogy of this is that the disease pathogen is totally uncaring of the damage it may do to the organ systems it invades. It only wants to survive and propagate. The bacteria or virus has evolved many unique characteristics that enable it to take over a body when that body is weak. Thus, when societies are weakened for any of a number of reasons, deviant personalities are able to utilize their specifically evolved methods and means to achieve that power that normal people with normal morals simply cannot comprehend because it is not part of their reality and most human beings tend to assume that everyone else is like themselves, because they are conditioned to do so by pathologically devised social and religious “norms”.
And so, networks of pathological deviants rise to power again and again, imposing their distortions on the masses of normal people like a disease, until the masses wake up and get rid of the deviants (bring in the therapies), normalize human relations, and begin to take care of the body of society, thus restoring health. For a while.
The problem of deviants coming to power again and again is due to the same factor mentioned above: that human beings tend to believe that others that look like them, talk like them, walk like them, are in fact like them, even inside. They are not. There are vast differences between human beings. All people are not created equal in ability, though they certainly ought to be equal in terms of opportunity and legal rights.
If people would begin to look at various social structures as organic systems and analyze them in the context of a “body”, then there would be greater success in establishing proper social hygiene so as to maintain optimum health. It ought not to be considered a Utopian dream for societies to gain and prolong a state of good health since many people do it in their individual lives.
Just as a few disease pathogens of exceptional virulence can take down a human system and incapacitate it, or even kill it, so can a few deviant personalities and their networks of propagated pathogenic cohorts, participate in the genesis of a kind of evil which envelops an entire nation. The psychological substructure of the deviants, like the evolutionary propagating mechanisms of a pathogen, drives them with dreams of obtaining power and imposing their will upon society. What is worse is that such deviants, like germs, do not realize that they, too, will be buried in the earth or tossed into the fire with the very body they have destroyed. That’s another historical fact, repeated many times, that is there for anyone to see.
We need to remember that psychopaths and other personality-disordered individuals really have no choice but to be what they are; they are like forces of nature. But normal human beings do have a choice as to whether they will abuse others or accept abuse or not. By abusing or accepting abuse, they give power to the psychopaths to abuse others, so it is not just a matter of self-preservation; it is a matter of making sure that our children have a future. It seems that, in a world where the people cannot or will not rise up against psychopathy in power, the Cosmos will do it for them and take them out as well for their silence and acquiescence. The bottom line is, nobody and no event is going to ‘save’ anyone. It is only human beings, individually and collectively, who have the power to BE their own salvation.”
~ Laura Knight-Jadczyk, “Comets and the Horns of Moses”
In summary, if humanity has any chance of surviving through the staggering consequences brought on by the pandemic pathologies created by those in power, its salvation resides first and foremost in the mass-education and healing of its people with regard to the cause of and influence by this ponerized society. We are not engaged in a fight; it is a defense, a defense of conscience. Therefore, the work to expose the parasitic elements can only be done by those who speak in the name of conscience and whose actions are guided by conscience.
“Understanding the nature of macro-social pathology helps us to find a healthy attitude and thus protects our minds from being controlled or poisoned by the diseased contents and influence of their propaganda. We can only conquer this huge, contagious social cancer if we comprehend its essence and its etiological causes. Such an understanding of the nature of the phenomena leads to the logical conclusion that the measures for healing and reordering the world today should be completely different from the ones heretofore used for solving international conflicts. It is also true that, merely having the knowledge and awareness of the phenomena of the genesis of macro-social Evil can begin healing individual humans and help their minds regain harmony.”
~Andew M. Lobaczewski, “Political Ponerology”
Yet despite all the evidence, many people- authoritarian and non-authoritarian alike- feel that they can ultimately just solve their problems by simply voting. But is this actually possible, or just another false indoctrinated belief?
“No matter who “wins”, humanity loses. Every four years, the deck chairs of the political Titanic that is the American empire get rearranged in the choreographed spectacle of another presidential “election”. The 2012 charade is particularly disgusting; the lies more blatant and shrill, as the world continues to burn.
It is critical to focus on the cold, ugly reality facing the world with either prospective White House occupant.
On one side, the Obama administration, and the traditional brand of neoliberal imperialism and international consensus, and false domestic populism. On the other side with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, militant right-wing extremism, an apocalyptic war agenda and the politics of sadism at home.
The interests of the elite (Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderbergers, etc.) is dutifully served with either Obama or Romney in the White House. The question for the elite is purely over style and execution.
Obama has been a servile facilitator and protector of the political establishment; an insidious capitulator and “consensus man”. For Wall Street’s billionaires, the Pentagon’s warmongers, and Washington’s most shamelessly corrupt, there has been no greater gift than Obama and his presidency. But with Romney and Ryan, the agenda simply speeds up and destroys faster, more violently, with true theocratic maniacal fervor.
The final choice will not be made by voters (who will be disenfranchised again, via electronic vote fraud and other manipulations), but by the criminal elements who seize final control of the apparatus over the final month of the “contest”.
The “children” are being allowed to fight it out amongst themselves. The side with ultimate command of the corporate media propaganda, the most effective back door deals, and the most effective dirty tricks and election night shenanigans, will prevail, the pre-determined result promptly encrypted into the software of controlled Diebold voting machines.”
~ “The 2012 U.S. Presidential “Non-election”: Which brand of “fascism” this time?”
“ “Power today resides in control of the means of production, exchange, publicity, transportation and communication. Whoever owns them rules the life of the country,” even if democratic forms remain. Until those institutions are in the hands of the public, politics will remain “the shadow cast on society by big business,” much as is seen today.”
~ Noam Chomsky
If the notion of “consent of the governed” (debunked in the section on “Government”) were to have any legitimacy, it would be found through the act of voting. Despite the avalanche of evidence to show how intrinsically and irreversibly corrupt, corrosive, and outright despotic governments are, many people still cling to “hope” for “change” through casting votes and trusting the electoral process. Even though on some level they know the severe problems which run through government, they have been conditioned since childhood to trust, depend, and defend “authority” that, despite the numerous continued and compounded abuses, like in a “Battered Person Syndrome”, they cling to the ineffectual ritual of “voting” to paint their walls a different color while always remaining in the same prison, happily dumping their tax dollars in to this charade. This isn’t meant to criticize those who vote. I can empathize, because I used to be a Statist, even to the point of almost joining the military after 9/11, but I scored too high on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to realistically see combat. I was told that I was “technician and intelligence material”. Thankfully, it dissuaded me and, upon deeper investigation in to 9/11, I came to my senses. C’est la vie. I was young, impulsive, headstrong (some things never change…), and wanted to prove myself by “not letting anyone else fight my battles for me”. Clearly I was deeply identified, and I thought voting could actually direct “my country”. But as my research ran deeper, and the “war on terror” unfolded, I began to see a recurring theme: the controlling interests of government always get away with murder (literally and figuratively), and typically say and do whatever they want, regardless of votes, campaign promises, the premises of “The Constitution”, the principles of “The Declaration of Independence”, and even regardless of just basic human decency. The special interests were always profiteering off the destruction created in the world.
“Average American: “The system is horribly messed up! The politicians are all corrupt liars and crooks, and they’re ruining the country! Things are getting desperate! We need real change, right now!”
Me: “Maybe you need to reconsider your underlying assumptions.”
Average American: “Nonsense! That’s crazy! No, the way out of this despicable mess is for me to keep believing what I always have, and keep doing what I’ve always done, voting for the same crooks, playing along with the same game, cooperating with my own subjugation and ridiculing anyone who suggests anything fundamentally different!”
Me: “And you think THAT will change things?”
Average American: “Hey, our system ain’t perfect, but it’s the best one possible! And it’s better than all the others! If you don’t like it, get out! U.S.A.! Number one!”
^^^ THAT is what “Battered Citizen Syndrome” looks like. Most people would rather be stomped on by a familiar tyrant, than actually THINK about things. “If not for this jackboot on my throat, there would be chaos!”
The longer society continues to legitimize obviously corrupt politics by participating and remaining silent, the more destructive it becomes. The government cannot fundamentally change: the problems with government are too interwoven in its very nature, the myriad of contradictory laws are purposefully obfuscated with endless loopholes and speculative interpretations, and the government-wide “Blue Wall of Silence” fail-safes to maintain the power structure are so numerous that the old adage rings true- “You cannot disassemble the Master’s house using the Master’s tools”.
“You can’t really take the corruption out of the system at this point because there is nothing else but corruption. If you have a car that is made out of 80% rust and you take the rust away, you don’t have a car.”
~ Max Keiser
According to the premise of democratic governments, the voting process has been the mechanism by which democratic society garners its credulity. However, the standard methods of large-scale voting have repeatedly been shown to be unreliable and easily manipulatable without any public knowledge.
“Once the election is over, and once the winner is declared, everybody forgets about it. […] Most attempts are caught by the system. But there are cases that do slip through. [Voter fraud] undermines public confidence in democracy.”
~ Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted
To assume that voting is a reliable method for determining public consensus in large-scale votes given everything we’ve covered is to not fully grasp the magnitude of corruption inherent in the current global political system. Furthermore, going beyond the unreliability of large-scale voting, and underneath the fundamental futility of democratic government in an unhealthy and uneducated society, a deeper issue is that the entire fundamental premise of society being a “democratic government” or even a “republic” nowadays is a complete fallacy.
Despite the evidence of this overwhelming corruption, the last vestige of hope for most statists is the belief in effecting change through local city government. Assuming that the aforementioned issues are not a influencing factor (which they usually are), in theory, local voting may have a greater chance of creating accommodations for the issues which are the byproduct of dysfunctional government, but do little if anything to fix the greater causal issues still remain heavily entrenched deep within the power structure. There are many overseeing agencies of government which can overturn local decisions for any number of reasons. Therefore, state legislators often complain about an overpowering federal government usurping the rights of the states, while themselves working to increase the power of state government at the expense of city and county governments. The issues of property rights and government regulation, even when legalized on the State level, are frequently subjected to persecution when not legalized by the Federal Government, as has been shown with the issues of marijuana, gay marriage, and immigration, to name a few. To place one’s hope in local government as a reliable bastion for justice and effective social transformation is to try to save a house consumed by flames by throwing cups of water in to the fire; while well meaning and perhaps marginally helpful for a moment, it is ultimately ineffectual against the greater governmental momentum corrupted beyond the wishful thinking of “hope” for “change”. Even those who think “limited government is the best option to strive for” need only take a brief walk through history. America, widely known as the best attempt to create a country with “limited government” which recognizes and respects unalienable individual rights, wound up becoming the most militarized, coercive, imperialist authoritarian empire the world has ever known. The founders of America knew that government was a beast that easily grew out of hand, which is why emphasized the necessity of a system of checks and balances. However, as the times change, those checks and balances become archaic, inefficient, convoluted, obfuscated, obsolete, and thereby no longer work to keep government efficient, virtuous, and honest on all levels. This is the inevitability for all governments.
“Never, in the history of the world, anywhere on the planet, has “government” only PROTECTED individual rights. Instead, it has been the primary VIOLATOR of individual rights. Nonetheless, there are still many [minimal government supporters] who insist that we cannot give up the institution of “government.” Why not? Because, they say, we NEED it to do something that it has NEVER DONE, in order to protect us from injustices that it has ALWAYS itself inflicted on the people. Then they complain when I say that statism is immoral, irrational and faith-based.”
~ Larken Rose
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
~ Albert Einstein
Ultimately, when all things are considered, political parties have long been nothing more than an “illusion of choice” owned by the same converging interests, subject to a myriad of manipulation, and more interested in profit and prestige instead of true social uplift. Any governmentally sanctioned form of “change” will not, and cannot, by all evidence, bring anything more than marginal social accommodations, since anything more would undermine and illegitimate that very power structure.
“The biggest misconception Americans have is that Power will allow itself to be voted out of office.”
~ Emma Goldman
Unable to grasp the situation, many nationalists will dismissively say, “If you don’t like it, then you can just get out!” If only it were so easy and just about one country…
Yet I, like many people living in a sick society, have thought to myself, “Maybe I should move to a different country to escape all this madness“, but let’s be realistic. Given the global control by the international cabal of corporate, banking, and political psychopaths, there really isn’t a place to go where people can be free without the inevitable encroachment and imposition by megalomaniacal institutions. However, some places may be more conducive to support, networking, and co-creating with likeminded individuals, which can be a great strategy! But if simple “avoidance” is the underlying purpose, consider that avoiding this increasingly destructive global situation is like hiding in a closet while your home burns down. You can try to shut it out, but it’s not going away. In most cases, you’ve just temporarily secluded yourself and stopped being able to positively contribute on a larger scale. Furthermore, getting caught up in “3D Survivalist” thinking instead of a more holistic, integral perspective is also a dead-end (as history has repeatedly shown).
But despite the non-stop bombardment of political drama on nearly every media outlet, when analyzing the numbers of votes comparative to the total population of able-bodied voters, you’ll find an interesting trend: nearly half of the population DO NOT VOTE. Analyze the data and you’ll see an overall trend indicating less voters, less care, and, despite the mainstream media’s fervor, less and less confidence in “government”.
^ California Voter Turnout (source)
Pretty indicative of government’s illegitimacy, and its disastrous relationship with society, right?
So, since willful ignorance or running away is selfishly futile, and trying to work within the system is completely useless and delusional, ultimately, we come to the question: What can we do instead of voting?
Since culture is a consensus reflection of many individuals, if we wish to have a more conscious, compassionate, educated, responsible, and healthy society, then we who are awake enough to see, and privileged enough to act, must fundamentally strive- with all our being, in every moment we can muster- to become the change we wish to see in the world.
So, how do we begin to do this?
Get ready for the fun part…
“Inward transformation is not isolation, is not withdrawal from outward action. On the contrary, there can be right action only when there is right thinking and there is no right thinking when there is no self-knowledge. Without knowing yourself, there is no peace.”
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
“There is hope for creating a better world. That hope begins with clearly seeing the truth of the world as it is. It begins with seeing the truth of ourselves, and the part we have all played in supporting the degradation of our world through our continued ignorance of the truth. It begins with working to see beyond the context that has been created for us; to broaden the context of our worldview so that we can begin to see the world as it is rather than how we are told to see it. When we admit the problem and look at it square-on, we become less able to be a part of that problem.
Make no mistake about it: the problems of this world require your cooperation. That is the purpose of COINTELPRO (Counter-Intelligence Program) – to gain your cooperation, without your conscious consent, in maintaining a world that is detrimental to you for the gain of a few who feed on you as if you were cattle. Dreaming that you are something other than cattle will not set you free. Seeing the truth and becoming something other than cattle will.”
All things considered, everyone has their own path and purpose, and regardless of what happens, it’s all ultimately a process of unfoldment in the totality of what is. Everyone has their own particular inherent propensity for personal development, and the circumstances we are met with provide a dynamic, multifaceted interplay helping to shape our opportunities for lessons and co-creation. We help create life as life helps create us. For some, life is lived simply, rooted in their immediate pleasures without much conscious struggle or concern for larger issues. Others embody a certain propensity for a more intense, accelerated growth process, with concerns, interests, and aspirations on many far-reaching levels. This section applies to all types, and everything in between, however it will most likely be more embraced by the latter type of person since it involves a certain degree of what is known as “conscious struggle“. However, it’s not so much a struggle to “DO” or “BE” some kind of perfect, superhuman ideal, but simply be as mindful and present as possible, utilizing various techniques to see ourselves more clearly and provide ourselves the opportunities to be more in alignment with the actualization of our fullest potential.
Due to the necessary intensity, seeming “messiness”, and required honesty of this process, it’s often avoided since most people tend to prefer comfortable, easy-going fantasies instead of challenging, more worldly realities.
“Half the harm that is done in this world
is due to people who want to feel important.
They don’t mean to do harm.
But the harm does not interest them.
Or they do not see it, or they justify it.
Because they are absorbed in the endless struggle
to think well of themselves.”
~ T. S. Eliot
When rubber hits the road, the most overlooked, underemphasized, yet most important aspect of creating a better world is the topic of Self-Work. It seems common sense to say that if we want our society to change, we must change, yet a minority of people sincerely apply this throughout their lives (however, thanks to the spread of information online, a rapidly increasing number of people are beginning to wake up faster than ever before! Woo!). As the challenges of our world become more intricate and complex, so too must we become more multifaceted, well-educated, and refined, within and without, in order to overcome these obstacles. Through the proper cultivation of our personal lives, we better ourselves and our relationships with others by enhancing the quality of our being in every thought, word, and deed.
“To bring about a society that is not repetitive, not static, not disintegrating, a society that is constantly alive, it is imperative that there should be a revolution in the psychological structure of the individual, for without inward, psychological revolution, mere transformation of the outer has little significance … Outward action, when accomplished, is over, is static; if the relationship between individuals, which is society, is not the outcome of inward revolution, then the social structure, being static, absorbs the individual and therefore makes him equally static, repetitive… It is a fact that society is always crystallizing and absorbing the individual and that constant, creative revolution can only be in the individual, not in the outer. That is, creative revolution can take place only in individual relationship, which is society.”
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Up until now, we’ve seen how programmed society has been to believe falsehoods in our society. We’ve seen the gravity of this unhealthy programming which limits us. Once we see just how deeply we have been and can be conditioned to believe lies about our reality and ourselves, it’s just one more step before we realize- despite how well we may think of ourselves- how we STILL ARE conditioned and identified by certain distorted ideas of the world and of ourselves.
“Self-observation brings man to the realization of the necessity of self-change. And in observing himself a man notices that self-observation itself brings about certain changes in his inner processes. He begins to understand that self-observation is an instrument of self-change, a means of awakening.”
Therefore, our fundamental priority must be to de-program ourselves by engaging in constant, sustained self-work. Without constant self-work and education, we not only limit our access to clear, creative, objective reality, both within and without, but we also our effectiveness in reaching and relating to others which then allows us to connect and create a better world. Since everything is inherently connected, we all share an incumbent moral responsibility to help others in danger and who are sincerely working to better themselves. However, helping people who don’t care to improve simply enables destructive behavior… (any fellow recovering “White Knight” sydrome-ers here? Hands up. It’s okay. This is a safe space… and we have free coffee…), and thereby we become culpable to the consequences of their continued harm. As with all things, discernment is required, since some people just require a different approach. Ultimately, though, without mutual care, we cannot grow. We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools.
“The nature of our immortal lives is in the consequences of our words and deeds that go on apportioning themselves throughout all time. Our lives are not our own; from womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness we birth our future.”
~ Cloud Atlas
For too long human development has been polarized and paralyzed by ignorance, fear, hatred, and violence. It has stumbled in the darkness of ignorance without a sufficient spectrum of knowledge to guide it beyond the burdens which collectively anchor us to limiting ideologies. Unless a person is deeply conditioned, disassociated, or ignorant, there is an deep inner knowing that something is terribly wrong in the world and our relationship to it. However, as touched upon previously, most people live lives simply accepting their own counterproductive and unhealthy behaviors as “normal” and “good enough”. Given that our world is a reflection of who we are, the neglect is self-evident and ubiquitous. So when a person chooses to look away and refuses to do anything about these obvious pathologies, they essentially choose to live an indifferent, ego-centric existence, often under the narcissistic fixation with their immediate gratification. After all, this is how most people have been conditioned by society. Oftentimes, people maintain a mask of “normality” to fit in to society under the illusion that everything is fine so long as they remain “positive” and just “obey the rules” to be liked, make money, and avoid anything that might be upsetting. For many, simply “being happy” is good enough, regardless of the crimes and injustices around the world created by their government upon which their standard of living depends.
In this privileged technological age where information is freely accessible and ignorance is a choice, complacency is culpability. If we choose to ignore our social responsibility as a part of the world, distract ourselves with superficial pleasures while avoiding the “negative” aspects of our lives, and abandon our loving courage to seek the objective truth, both within and without, we essentially turn our backs on reality, on true love, our highest potential, and the full richness of life. For the sake of all life on earth, we must nurture the courage within ourselves and others to care about the things that truly matter and move beyond complacency and cowardice.
“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”
~ James Baldwin
“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’
Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’
But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’
And there comes a time when one must
take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular
but because conscience tells one it is right.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
This is not meant to shame cowardice, however, despite how easy it is to be frustrated with it. Underneath cowardice is simply fearful insecurity that has been constantly imprinted in us for our entire lives. When you get upset with people, just remember that THIS PICTURE is what most adults are like inside:
Deep down, underneath the MANY layers of armor and denial, they’re just wounded, frightened, culturally conditioned little children who put on a big show to seem like a tough person by masking and distracting themselves from their fear, sadness, and vulnerability. They often either disproportionately lash out at others, overcompensate in some way, avoid conflict and intimacy, or develop other unhealthy behaviors because they don’t know how to maturely process and express their emotions. Instead, they transfer their feelings through projection or repression. As we see throughout the world, due to this projection and repression, people slip in to the “Victim Triangle” which acts as a vicious cycle wherein people take on the “Protector”, “Rescuer”, or “Victim” role (but cycle through all 3 roles in the process) and are perpetually disempowered due to their own emotional denial and lack of intimacy. No matter what “role” a person identifies with, they will always unconsciously make themselves the “Victim” in some way, which perpetuates guilt, shame, anger, resentment, insecurity, and cowardice.
This is the condition that even the best of us slip in to. Only when we immerse ourselves in the process of psychological healing and self-work can we be more self-aware, responsible, and truly evolve through our distressing, infantile behavior. As adults, we must learn how to nurture and heal ourselves in ways our parents couldn’t, and rely primarily on ourselves, not others, to fulfill our needs. Through our own healing process, we find a compassionate understanding and empathy for others who are still unconsciously reacting, controlled by their trauma and programming. It’s a stage most of us must go through, and it’s not easy.
Beginning self-work, and going beyond our familiar comfort zone into the realm of unknown vulnerability can be terrifying and aggitating. Many lack the support and trustworthy guidance to feel comfortable opening up and exploring in a safe space. Moreover, many people also simply do not have the inherent inclination or capability to “go deeper” in this life time. However, for those with the propensity to awaken, ignoring this call to action will never bring happiness through ignorance. As time goes on, cowardice leads to complacency. Complacency leads to stagnancy. Stagnancy leads to resentment. Resentment leads to animosity and pain, and thereby one has fallen in to the very same discomfort they had initially tried to avoid. The simple fact of life is this: the only way out is THROUGH.
“Whether we use psychological or esoteric terminology, the basic fact remains the same: human beings do not earn free will except through self-discovery, and they do not attempt self-discovery until things become so painful that they have no other choice. If the individual makes no effort to expand his consciousness so that he can understand the nature of his total unfoldment and can begin to cooperate with it, then it will seem that he his the pawn of fate and has no control over his life. He can only earn his freedom by learning about himself so that he can understand what value a particular experience has for the development of his whole self.”
~ Liz Green
“When a man starts to learn, he is never clear about his objectives. His purpose is faulty; his intent is vague. He hopes for rewards that will never materialize for he knows nothing of the hardships of learning. He slowly begins to learn – bit by bit at first, then in big chunks. And his thoughts soon clash. What he learns is never what he pictured, or imagined, and so he begins to be afraid. Learning is never what one expects. Every step of learning is a new task, and the fear the man is experiencing begins to mount mercilessly, unyieldingly. His purpose becomes a battlefield. And thus he has stumbled upon the first of his natural enemies: Fear! A terrible enemy – treacherous, and difficult to overcome. It remains concealed at every turn of the way, prowling, waiting. And if the man, terrified in its presence, runs away, his enemy will have put an end to his quest.”
“What will happen to the man if he runs away in fear?”
“Nothing happens to him except that he will never learn. He will never become a man of knowledge. He will perhaps be a bully, or a harmless, scared man; at any rate, he will be a defeated man. His first enemy will have put an end to his cravings.”
“And what can he do to overcome fear?”
“The answer is very simple. He must not run away. He must defy his fear, and in spite of it he must take the next step in learning, and the next, and the next. He must be fully afraid, and yet he must not stop. That is the rule! And a moment will come when his first enemy retreats. The man begins to feel sure of himself. His intent becomes stronger. Learning is no longer a terrifying task. When this joyful moment comes, the man can say without hesitation that he has defeated his first natural enemy.”
“Does it happen at once, don Juan, or little by little?”
“It happens little by little, and yet the fear is vanquished suddenly and fast.”
“But won’t the man be afraid again if something new happens to him?”
“No. Once a man has vanquished fear, he is free from it for the rest of his life because, instead of fear, he has acquired clarity – a clarity of mind which erases fear. By then a man knows his desires; he knows how to satisfy those desires. He can anticipate the new steps of learning and a sharp clarity surrounds everything. The man feels that nothing is concealed. Every time a man sets himself to learn, he has to labor as hard as anyone can, and the limits of his learning are determined by his own nature. Therefore, there is no point in talking about knowledge. Fear of knowledge is natural; all of us experience it, and there is nothing we can do about it. But no matter how frightening learning is, it’s more terrible to think of a man without knowledge.”
~ Carlos Casteneda, “The Teachings of Don Juan”
“If you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A person must constantly exceed their level.”
~ Bruce Lee
Again, it’s important that we not demonize those around us who do not have the same propensity to awaken. We all have our own lessons to learn at our own pace. As we too were once unaware or uninterested in gaining deeper knowledge and undertaking the process of awakening, we must find patience, external consideration, compassion, and understanding for those who don’t yet strive to embrace objective reality, for all its beauty and its burdens. Projecting our frustrations on to others and trying to force others to grow only creates animosity which drives others further away from awakening and in to defensiveness, away from the openness, inspiration, empathy, and compassion which the world so desperately needs.
To find true empathy, we need to understand. In understanding why people shy away from truth, we find a number of reasons many choose not to deeply research or even look at the more challenging aspects of our reality. On a very basic, animalistic level, people are naturally wired to be attracted to things that bring pleasure and security. Among the other circumstances discussed earlier, there are also endless pressures, distractions, and temptations in the external world which divert the attention of people, from the social pressures of friends and loved ones who don’t care to “go deeper”, to glamorized superficial materialism, to simply making enough money to maintain a materialistic lifestyle; all of which may drain a person’s life energy and detract their ability to dedicate and focus themselves. These pressures affect all of us at some point, so being mindful of our own struggle when confronted with the unconscious behaviors of others helps us understand, find empathy, and perhaps offer the opportunity to explore a more healthy and conscious way of being.
“In Western civilization the interior life of the individual, with all its richness, finds itself relegated to a minor role in existence. Man is so caught up in the toils of mechanical life that he has neither time to stop nor the power of attention needed to turn his mental vision upon himself. Man thus passes his days absorbed by external circumstances. The great machine that drags him along turns without stopping, and forbids him to stop under penalty of being crushed. Today like yesterday, and tomorrow like today, he quickly exhausts himself in the frantic race, impelled in a direction which in the end leads nowhere. Life passes away from him almost unseen, swift as a ray of light, and man falls engulfed and still absent from himself.”
~ Boris Mouravieff, “Gnosis”
Internally, the landscape can be a bit more tricky. There are several psychological constructs which inhibit us from researching and being open to exploring things that are more uncomfortable, of even more worldly depths of reality. A few of the most common psychological hurdles are Cognitive Dissonance, Transmarginal Inhibition, the Dunning-Kruger Effect, Disassociation, and Spiritual Bypassing, all of which are different coping mechanisms by which people avoid the pain of their false ideas and identifications being removed. While too extensive to fully explicate here, it would be well worth your time to research each of these issues to see how they affect us and those around us. But again, by recognizing the challenges we face within ourselves, we find empathy and compassion for those still struggling with theirs.
For those who have the courage, fortitude, and love to embark on the path of accelerated conscious evolution via self-work, here’s a general overview of the various aspects to be mindful of in the process. Self-work (like maintaining one’s health) is holistic, having many facets which can vary depending on each individual’s needs, but there are common aspects for everyone which must be attended to if we are to address the entirety of our being. After all, what right do we have to ask others to become more conscious if we, ourselves, are not actively engaging in, and dedicated to, conscious, holistic self-work?
“There is a wisdom in the body, a wisdom in feeling, that when accessed and allowed to operate in conjunction with our cognitive capacities, leads to a deeper, wiser, more integrated life. So we need to get back to the body, which involves much more than just dropping it off at yoga classes or fitness facilities or medical offices. We can get our body more flexible, more fit, and more powerful, and we can load it up with the finest supplements and organic fare, and still be out of touch with it.
Getting back to the body means doing whatever is needed to cut through our disembodied experience, which in part means a journey into and through the very pain that first drove us to dissociate from our body.
In permitting a fuller, saner embodiment of our essential nature, we make possible a deeper life for ourselves, a life in which we cannot help but breathe integrity into our stride, and develop a deep intimacy with all that we are.”
~ Robert Augustus Masters
The body and mind live in a deeply connected psychosomatic relationship, as is evidenced with both A.) the body’s physical responses to emotional stress, and B.) the mind’s capabilities being largely dictated by the condition of our bodies. The degree to which we can optimally care for our bodies is the degree to which our consciousness is supported in its growth. As your physical vehicle through the phenomenal world, it is essential to care for your body and be “in touch” with it. Even though people HAVE a body, most are not actually “embodied”. Nowadays, most people are SO disconnected from their bodies, adrift in cyberspace, fixated on their phones, surfing the web, playing video games, watching TV, sitting for hours on end, day after day, driving instead of walking, taking the elevator or escalator instead of the stairs, doing manual labor, and rarely, if ever, exercising regularly. While it is possible to engage in sincere self-work without a fully functional body (as in the case of amputation, disease, disability, etc.), the degree to which we have a connection to our bodies, whatever condition they may be in, is essential.
“We cannot begin to reign in our madness until we recover what the body knows and learn to accord with it. To root ourselves in that accord is to flood the emptiness of our lives with the experience of the present – the only true way to begin to harmonize with reality. This embodiment revolution begins with the honest recognition of the extent to which we have internalized the hierarchical message – the extent to which its top-down power structure currently lives in us and rules us…
Think about it: you cannot reason your way into the present; you cannot reason your way into love; you cannot reason your way into a harmony of being. More than that, though, as long as the head rules, it keeps you from truly feeling and answering to the currents of your own being; it fragments you on the most personal level, so that even as you obsess over refining your ideas about how best to supervise your progress, you sabotage any possibility that you might respond to your circumstances with your full and unified being – because this inner tyranny obliterates being and silences the body’s wakeful attunement…
The challenge we face is great, because we are starting from a disadvantage: we are divided within ourselves and have been relentlessly habituated to that state by the story that surrounds us – a story communicated by the language, the architecture, the hierarchies, the customs and even the icons of our culture.
Facing the challenge before us is made easier, though, by its sheer necessity – and by the keenness with which each of us feels that necessity in our own lives. We feel estranged from the unity of our own wholeness, and that ignites within us a smoldering anxiety. Such anxiety is the foothold by which those who wish to wield power keep others off balance. That is why they stoke anxiety so deliberately: the more anxiety we feel, the more control we feel we need…” ~ Philip Shepherd, “The Embodiment Manifesto”
In the body, as with the mind as we’ve discussed earlier, we have a tendency to “normalize” physical pathologies that are prolonged. In the bodymind relationship, our body’s tight patterns contribute to our locked-in mental processes. People live with chronic tension, obesity, and poor posture, never truly considering that they have unhealthy aspects that require dedicated attention to understand, process, and heal.
For example: Observe your body right now. Feel what muscles are unconsciously constricted. Perhaps your back, jaw, neck, legs, or stomach muscles causing you to take shallow breaths? All of these are physical responses to psychological stress. But are you in any immediate danger now? Probably not (unless you’ve been glued to reading for hours, letting your butt slowly pancake to your seat, causing your legs to atrophy. In which case, take a walk and come back…) Now, feel your body and sit silently with yourself for a moment. Are you carrying any unresolved stress inside you? Probably. Even sitting in front of the computer for long periods of time causes stress on the body. Now relax your body, take a few slow, deep breaths from your belly, and feel the difference as your body realigns itself to be more comfortable. Feel the difference? Chances are that when you started you weren’t even consciously aware of how tight and uncomfortable your body WAS until you were encouraged to stop, observe, and let it unwind to come to a more harmonious place of balance with gravity, structural alignment, and breathing. Proper bodily posture, alignment, and function has numerous remarkable benefits, all of which are imperative for our physical well-being.
“The character of the individual as it is manifested in his typical pattern of behavior is also portrayed on the somatic level by the form and movement of the body. The sum total of the muscular tensions seen as a gestalt, that is, as a unity, the manner of moving and acting constitutes the ‘Body Expression’ of the organism. The body expression is the somatic view of the typical emotional expression is seen on the psychic level as ‘Character’”
~ Alexander Lowen, M.D.
“An individual experiencing temporary fear, grief, or anger, all too often carries his body in an attitude, which the world recognizes as the outward manifestation of that particular emotion. If he persists in this dramatization, or consistently re-establishes it, thus forming what is ordinarily referred to as a `habit pattern`. The muscular arrangement becomes set. Materially speaking, some muscles shorten and thicken, others are invaded by connective tissue, and still others become immobilized. Once this has happened, the physical attitude is invariable;it is involuntary; it can no longer be changed by thought or mental suggestion. Such setting of a physical response also establishes an emotional pattern. Since it is not possible to establish a free flow through the physical flesh, the subjective emotional tone becomes progressively more limited and tends to remain in a restricted, closely defined area. Now what the individual feels is no longer an emotion, a response to an immediate situation, henceforth he lives, moves and has his being in an attitude.”
~ Ida Rolf, creator of “Rolfing“
This same “normalizing of pathologies” principle applies not just to the body, but also the mind and society. Collectively, we have been both consciously and unconsciously influenced to assimilate to unhealthy ideologies and behaviors since childhood. Our bodies are amazing biological creations constantly communicating with us, giving us immediate feedback regarding our thoughts, behaviors, and environment. Yet we live in a violent society that emphasizes rational intellect and subjugates our body, its “gut-instincts”, and the impotence of being “in touch”. Because we are frequently disconnected with our bodies, and all the feelings therein, we often act in disconnected ways toward others. Human touch and physical care is as vital to our health and happiness as food and water.
There are a few essential ways in which to correct and heal these harmful somatic cycles. Regular massage and bodywork (Rolfing, Craniosacral, Polarity, Sensory Repatterning, to name a few) are very powerful and immediate modalities through which a trusted practitioner can help the body to release stress, increase flexibility and circulation, and restore balance on all levels. These therapies can deeply rejuvenate the body’s neuromuscular system and its orientation to itself and the world. Having gone to massage school and seen many certified massage therapists, I speak from experience in saying that the journey in connecting through healing touch is so amazing, it’s beyond words.
Other ways to get in touch with our bodies which don’t require another person include Yoga, Dance, Qi Gong, Tai Qi, etc. Combining these practices in our lives, even for just a few minutes each day, with other aspects of self-work serves to exponentially accelerate their effects. The scientific research and explanations describing the numerous amazing benefits these practices provide is far too extensive for the purposes of this article, but is readily available online. For the benefit of ourselves, our friends, society, and the world, the holistic care of our bodies is one of the essential pillars of self-work.
“Looking at the entirety of existence, everything is made manifest through the ‘latticework’ of universal energy. Our muscles, tissue, organs and bones are carriers of energy and memory, all of which are interrelated and connected to one another. The body is a holistic organism, where nothing is isolated – everything affects us, both physically and energetically, on some level. Any experience we have ever had – even things that happened to us in the past but were forgotten about or we weren’t even aware of – is still held in the body, be it grief, a broken relationship, emotional pain, everyday stress, childhood wounds, injuries and accidents, trauma, etc.. The body stores the experience and does not “forget” about it until the pattern is released through holistic treatment.” ~ Bernhard Guenther, “Individuality, Embodiment, and the Anchoring of a Higher Frequency”
Another often marginalized aspect of physical well-being is regularly being in nature. Nature, being the foundation of all life, provides holistic benefits which work on ALL levels of our being; however, seeing as how physically BEING in/ with nature is the fundamental prerequisite, we will associate it with the body. In the densely-packed, aggressively linear, high-stress atmosphere of urban areas, our entire being is disconnected and compartmentalized, internally and externally. We are bombarded with non-stop cell phone and WiFi radiation which is known to have negative health effects. We are over-run by unhealthy, processed, factory farm foods. For those of us who are more sensitive and empathic, we easily take on the “feelings” of others which may drown out our ability to remain centered, relaxed, and embodied. So when we allow ourselves to be in the open, expansive, quiet serenity of wilderness, we allow ourselves the natural conditions to decompress, reconnect, and allow the fullness of our being, unburdened by the pressures of cultural conventions, expectations, and obligations.
“The most effective paths to soul are nature-based. Nature – the outer nature we call ‘the wild’- has always been the essential element and the primary setting of the journey to the soul. The soul after-all, is our inner wilderness, the intrapsychic terrain we know th least and that holds our individual mysteries. When we truly enter the outer wild – fully opened to its enigmatic and feral powers – the soul responds with its own cries and cravings. These passions might frighten us at first because they threaten to upset the carefully assembled applecart of our conventional lives. Perhaps this is why many people regard their souls in much the same way they view deserts, jungles, oceans, wild mountains, and dark forests – as dangerous and forbidding places.
Our society is forever erecting barriers between its citizens and the inner/outer wilderness. On the outer side, we have air-conditioned houses and automobiles, gated communities and indoor malls, fences and animal control officers, dams and virtual realities. On the inner side, we’re offered prescribed “mood enhancers”, alcohol, and street drugs; consumerism and dozens of other soul-numbing addictions; fundamentalisms, transcendentalisms, and other escapisms; rigid belief systems as to what is “good” and what is “bad”; and teachings that God or some other paternal figure will watch over us and protect our delicate lives.
But when we escape beyond these artificial barriers, we discover something astonishing: nature and soul not only depend on each other but long for ear other and are, in the end, of the same substance, like twins or trees sharing the same roots. The individual soul is the core of our human nature, the reason for which we were born, the essence of our specific life purpose, and ours alone. Yet our true nature is at first a mystery to our everyday mind. To recover our inmost secrets, we must venture into the inner/outer wilderness, where we shall find our essential nature waiting for us.”
~ Bill Plotkin
“We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.”
~ Anais Nin
“If you can try to live with your own nature, as a preliminary step, in order to find out what that nature really is, it might be more rewarding than trying to control it or fight it at this stage. It is necessary to know what you are trying to control before trying to do anything about it.”
~ Fritz Peters
“To the degree that we’re willing to see our indulging and our repressing clearly, they begin to wear themselves out. Wearing out is not exactly the same as going away. Instead, a wider, more generous, more enlightened perspective arises.”
~ Pema Chödrön
To live is to feel, and to feel is to experience emotions. Whether strong or subtle, light or heavy, upsetting or uplifting, emotions act as the barometer to our well-being. The more connected we are to our emotions, the more meaningful and rich our lives become. Emotions are central to our communication, relationships, intimacy, and motivation. They are largely an untapped and unfathomable source of strength, freedom, and connection. Yet, much like our bodies, they are so much a part of us that we often take them for granted. All too often they are ignored, distorted, and suppressed in our society. Yet despite the common conception the “we have emotions”, when our emotions are suppressed, it is our “emotions that have us” in unconscious and often damaging ways. Developing a healthy and mature relationship to our emotions through cultivated psychological knowledge and emotional processing is essential aspect of self-work and truly connecting with others.
“Because feeling emotional pain or discomfort, by it’s very nature, does not feel good, so many of us automatically resist what we are feeling. In doing so we send the message to this feeling, “bad, wrong, no, I don’t want you, go away”. We shoot the messenger. That’s what negative emotions are, they are reflective feedback, a message, a temple bell, alerting us to something within us that is out of alignment. Instead of allowing the message, we shut it up, and never get to the deeper understanding of what it was trying to show us. Until we make friends with our negative emotions, see them as assets instead of burdens, we will constantly be running from ourselves, we will never find true peace, and we will never be whole people.”
~ Jen Thomson
Neglecting our emotions comes in many forms, whether it be over-working, constantly exercising, being lazy, overeating, addictions, disassociating by watching TV or constantly being on the cell phone, trying to always “be positive”, acting tough, nitpicking, fixating on external events, or hiding ourselves away from interacting with others. These continued behaviors, while perfectly natural in occasional contexts, often lead to our deeper, unaddressed emotions acting out in other ways when they are prolonged, such as habitual drug indulgence, violent behavior, irresponsible promiscuity, depression, O.C.D., and other neurotic behavior. By ignoring our own suffering through distractions, we not only limit our ability to be present with ourselves, but to also fully connect with others.
“Most people think of love as a feeling, but love is not so much a feeling as a way of being present.”
~ David Richo
In being present and loving with ourselves and others, psychotherapist David Richo Ph.D., M.F.T., illustrates in his book “How to Be an Adult in Relationships” a simple yet powerful method known as “The 5 A’s” which help us to acknowledge and care for the emotional well-being of ourselves and others:
- Attention to the present moment; observing, listening, and noticing all the feelings at play in our relationships.
- Acceptance of ourselves and others just as we are.
- Appreciation of all our gifts, our limits, our longings, and our poignant human predicament.
- Affection shown through holding and touching in respectful ways.
- Allowing life and love to be just as they are, with all their ecstasy and ache.
“To go truly deep in an intimate relationship, we need to feel safe with our partner. We need to know — and know with our whole being — that we can trust them, and not just when we are physically with them. This trust is based not on thinking that we should trust them, but rather on consistently sensing in our core their trustworthiness—their integrity, their reliability, their commitment to being present under all conditions, their passion for accessing love, depth, and freedom with and through us.
If we cannot count on our partner to consistently take good care of the container of our relationship — as when energy is leaked through cracks created by erotically wandering attention — then we will find that we can go only so deep with them.
If one partner is chronically calling the whole relationship into question every time there’s a fight or conflict, then the other is probably going to become wary of opening fully. Less safety means more shallows. Making the ground of a relationship unnecessarily unstable — as when certain boundaries are overridden or trivialized in the name of “freedom” — keeps our relationship from being as deep and fulfilling as it could be. The point isn’t to create a fortress of security, but to literally be a safe place for our partner to let go of playing it safe. Feeling safe is much more than just feeling secure!
Real safety creates an atmosphere in which we can give our all without giving ourselves away. Real safety makes room for a radically deep sharing of all that we are. Without it, we may seem to be free to go where we could not otherwise go, but such freedom — in its relative superficiality — is actually far more limiting than is the freedom that arises in the presence of genuine safety between intimates.
The safer I feel with you, the deeper I can go with you. The safer I feel with you, the deeper the risks I can take with you. The safer I feel with you, the deeper and more fulfilling the passions are between us. Real safety gives us room to show up in all our colors.
Such safety gives us permission to be in as much pain as we actually are, thereby making possible the healing we need in order to come fully alive, the healing through which we are, to whatever degree, awakened by all things, including our pain. What joy, what benediction, what grace, to share this in the dynamic safety possible in an intimate relationship!”
~ Robert Augustus Masters
Most people have a lot of “armoring” from past, unhealed wounds, and we don’t drop our armor until we feel safe. Emotions need to be validated with our loving non-critical presence as they are in order to process and transmute. This is the essence of “unconditional love” in our subjective experience (since subjectivity is inherently conditional). Allowing presence does not imply passivity or that “anything goes”, but simply being as lovingly present with the total experience as possible. Notice any judgements that come up around your feelings, whether they be shame, guilt, criticism, or avoidance. Through our continued ability to mindfully embrace these difficult, often fragmented aspects of ourselves, our suppressed emotions are met with a safe openness, becoming able to express, fully actualize, and thereby transform themselves in to a healed wholeness of awareness. There is an astonishing amount of beauty, richness, and empowerment to be found by exploring the depth of our being.
“We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”
~ Carl Jung
The longer we avoid and deny these aspects of ourselves, the longer we perpetuate, in our minds and our actions, our own suffering and the suffering of others. For example: have you ever seen a person repeatedly getting in to abusive or otherwise unhealthy relationships? Perhaps even in yourself? Underneath the unhealthy relationship we often find an imbalanced dynamic caused by unacknowledged, unhealed aspects of ourselves. This imbalance acts itself out as as insecurity, co-dependence, recklessness, violence, jealousy, guilt, paranoia, infidelity, addiction, and depression, to name a few. Until denied feelings are felt, and emotions are allowed to fully express, we will continue to unconsciously attract experiences to us which re-trigger the same conditions we avoid. But with self-awareness and the guide of methods like “the 5 A’s”, we can begin to confront them and work through them.
“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.”
~ Carl Jung
Given this perspective, it’s clear to see that the suppression of our emotions is at a pandemic level throughout the world, as indicated by skyrocketing anti-depressant prescriptions and overall drug use, obesity epidemics, and even aspects of culture that have been normalized, such as violent pornography, brutal sports, and war. These behaviors often act as indicators of deeper unacknowledged and unconscious emotional wounds which have not yet been healed and integrated in to the fullness of our being. This largely unconscious aspect of our psyche, composed of repressed ideas, feelings, weaknesses, desires, instincts, and shortcomings, has been termed “the Shadow” by Dr Carl Jung. The shadow is an archetype that consists of aspects of oneself that exist, but which one does not acknowledge or with which one does not identify. This archetype is often described as the darker side of the psyche, representing wildness, chaos, and the unknown. These latent dispositions are present in all of us in our own unique way.
Shadow Projection is the involuntary transfer of our own Shadow on to others, so it appears to us that these qualities actually exist only in the other people. This defense mechanism arises when we have anxiety about our deeper emotional response that we’ve deemed “unacceptable”. When we have little tolerance for our own emotional authenticity, we have little tolerance for others and we are likely to attribute the sense of our own inferiority to them.
“Of course, there’s always a “hook” that invites our projection. Some imperfect quality in other people activates some aspect of ourselves that wants our attention. So whatever we don’t own about ourselves we project onto other people. We instinctively draw back from our own negative projections. It’s easier to examine what we are attracted to than what repels us. If I am offended by your arrogance it is because I’m not embracing my own arrogance. This is either arrogance that I am now demonstrating in my life and not seeing, or arrogance that I deny I am capable of demonstrating in the future. If I am offended by arrogance I need to look closely at all areas of my life and ask myself these questions: When have I been arrogant in the past? Am I being arrogant now? Could I be arrogant in the future? It would certainly be arrogant of me to answer no to these questions without really looking at myself, or without asking others if they have ever experienced my being arrogant. The act of judging someone else is arrogant, so obviously all of us have the capacity to be arrogant. If I embrace my own arrogance, I won’t be upset by someone else’s [because I have developed understanding and compassion]. I might notice it, but it won’t affect me. It is only when you’re lying to yourself or hating some aspect of yourself that you’ll get an emotional charge from someone else’s behavior.”
~ Debbie Ford, “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers”
This defensive mechanism also collective applies to small social groups and, ultimately, the entire collective of humanity. We often tend to think relatively well of ourselves, considering ourselves to be generally honest, loving, tolerant, strong, hard working, responsible, and overall pretty good. On the other hand, we consider those we dislike as dishonest, judgmental, hateful, weak, lazy, irresponsible, and evil. Throughout history, this psychological tendency has been exploited and exacerbated to stir up societies, often with nationalistic, patriotic fervor for war. Seeing this allows us to understand how conducting dedicated self-work on our emotions is crucial not only for our health but for our relationships and, therefore, the world. It is only when we integrate these shadow elements within ourselves through conscious psychological self-work that we can begin to see ourselves, others, and life more clearly as it is. The degree to which we are able to find understanding which embraces the totality of our being is the degree to which we can hold others with empathy, fairness, compassion, and love.
“Generally speaking, we regard discomfort in any form as bad news. But for practitioners or spiritual warriors—people who have a certain hunger to know what is true—feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.
Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape; all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain. In fact, the rampant materialism that we see in the world stems from this moment. There are so many ways that have been dreamt up to entertain us away from the moment, soften its hard edge, deaden it so we don’t have to feel the full impact of the pain that arises when we cannot manipulate the situation to make us come out looking fine.”
~ Pema Chödrön
“Not until we are lost do we begin to find ourselves.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
This integration process, where the ever-righteous ego is forced to let go of the lies it has identified with, may feel like one is “breaking down” but this is really “breaking through”. It is a psychological necessity for conscious human development as illustrated in Dabrovsky’s “Theory of Positive Disintegration” (TPD) which views psychological tension and anxiety as necessary for growth. These “disintegrative” processes are therefore seen as “positive” for bringing about new aspects of conscious awareness, whereas people who fail to go through Positive Disintegration may remain for their entire lives in a state of “primary integration”, or, in other words, less self-actualized.
Integrating, and thereby healing, our emotions can feel scary and awkward as we delve in to the dark, neglected, and vulnerable aspects of our inner world. Thankfully, there are a myriad of amazing methods which allow us the ability to explore, navigate, and integrate these aspects of ourselves that are wounded and in need of integration. Some modalities for emotional processing I can personally recommend are: Gestalt Therapy, massage/ bodywork (discussed above in the section about “The Body”), creative outlets (music, art, dance, singing, etc.), journaling, “stream of consciousness” writing, shamanic healing, weight training and exercise, as well as emotional analysis (such as “The Work” of Byron Katie), among many others. For deeper insight, I strongly recommended reading my other article “The Necessity of Psychological Healing and Education” which covers how to find the right therapist, awareness of the corrupted aspects of psychology, and a more personal, yet big picture perspective on the topic of psychology. Another excellent, highly recommended resource is the article “Spiritual Bypassing, Relationships, and the Shadow” by Bernhard Guenther. Keep in mind that a little reading now could spare you a LOT of hassle in the future.
As we go through the process of emotional exploration and healing through these modalities, be loving and allowing of yourself. Give yourself the time, space, and quiet to really tune in and listen to yourself the way you’d want someone to care for you. Love yourself. Don’t push yourself to “do” anything. Set aside the business of society and all that baggage for the time being. Just allow yourself to BE, and be conscious of it. Observe your feelings and allow them to guide your experience. Don’t be too hard on yourself if things “don’t make sense” or the process is “weird”. Release judgement and simply allow it in to your awareness. Nobody is born with an instruction manual specifically for them; it’s a process of exploration through lessons learned as we g(r)o(w). Don’t compare yourself to others, because the nuances of your process are uniquely yours. Honor that. Set aside impossibly unrealistic ideals of “self-perfection”, because there is no such thing as “perfect”. The more we let go of those ideals, the more clear and sensitive we become in loving our perfect imperfections. Everybody has “stuff” to work on, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Give yourself a break. Often. Gently. Patiently. Appreciatively. A little self-love goes a long way.
“Correction does much, but encouragement does more.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
By allowing ourselves the grace and compassion to heal our emotional wounds, we also enable the full richness of our relationship potential. In connecting more deeply with ourselves, we are thereby able to connect more deeply with others, able to detect and access the hidden layers beneath the surface appearances. Since we are beings driven primarily by feelings and emotion (psychopaths aside), emotional/ psychological well-being is the key to understanding the core of all problems in the world and healing them.
“The healing of our present woundedness may lie in recognizing and reclaiming the capacity we have to heal each other, the enormous power in the simplest of human relationships: the strength of a touch, the blessing of forgiveness, the grace of someone else taking you just as you are and finding in you an unsuspected goodness. Everyone alive has suffered. It is the wisdom gained from our wounds and from our own experiences of suffering that makes us able to heal. Becoming expert has turned out to be less important than remembering and trusting the wholeness in myself and everyone else. Expertise cures, but wounded people can best be healed by other wounded people. Only other wounded people can understand what is needed, for the healing of suffering is compassion, not expertise.”
~ Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
~ Nelson Mandela
“What you can imagine depends on what you know.”
~ Daniel C. Dennett
Of all the aspects of ourselves, the intellect is often the most emphasized. It’s been the conceptual toolbox by which humanity has crafted some of the greatest innovations which allowed us to protect ourselves from the elements, scientifically explore our world, and manifest our inspirations in to a tangible reality. However, as remarkable as the legacy of the intellect has been, a deeper look at the hyper-intellectualized industrial civilizations will illustrate that the notion of the “supreme intellect” has fallen short of being a saving grace for humanity for 3 primary reasons: 1.) Intellect over-emphasized at the expense of everything else (emotions, body, environment, etc.) creates an unavoidable imbalance and, on a long enough time line, cannot sustain healthy relationships and holistic well-being, 2.) There are several other types of intelligences which are often subjugated for the mainstream “linear & empirical” method of reasoning, and 3.) In the formation of the intellect, most people are taught WHAT to think, but never HOW to think critically. They are mostly taught and judged on how well they are able to retain and recite information, as illustrated in the following video:
In examining the subject of the intellect, we must examine education. It’s well known that mainstream public education subjugates the creativity and idiosyncrasies of students by forcing them to conform to a standardized method of compulsory subjects which frequently have little to no impact or importance on life in “the real world”. It often leaves kids under-educated and unmotivated, unquestioning of their reality and either seeking to appease authority or withdraw from anything involving “education” at all. It’s no surprise that most people never consider becoming self-educating autodidacts, and instead relegate themselves to a life of wage slavery and escapism through superficial pleasures. This is indicative of an induced somnambulistic slavery of the mind.
In understanding what intelligence is and how it works, Howard Gardner, Ph.D., Professor of Education at Harvard University, offers a compelling insight. Gardner’s early work in psychology and later in human cognition and human potential led to the development of what is now 9 different types of intelligences, with the possibility of others which may eventually expand the list. These intelligences (or competencies) relate to a person’s unique aptitude set of capabilities and ways they might prefer to demonstrate intellectual abilities.
This theory has emerged from recent cognitive research and “documents the extent to which students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways,” according to Gardner. “Where individuals differ is in the strength of these intelligences – the so-called profile of intelligences -and in the ways in which such intelligences are invoked and combined to carry out different tasks, solve diverse problems, and progress in various domains.” Gardner claimed that the eight intelligences rarely operate independently. They are used at the same time and tend to complement each other as people develop skills or solve problems.
“[The varying intelligences] challenge an educational system that assumes that everyone can learn the same materials in the same way and that a uniform, universal measure suffices to test student learning. Indeed, as currently constituted, our educational system is heavily biased toward linguistic modes of instruction and assessment and, to a somewhat lesser degree, toward logical-quantitative modes as well. […] Students learn in ways that are identifiably distinctive. The broad spectrum of students – and perhaps the society as a whole – would be better served if disciplines could be presented in a numbers of ways and learning could be assessed through a variety of means.”
~ Gardner, 1991
The learning styles are as follows:
- Visual-Spatial – think in terms of physical space, as do architects and navigators. Very aware of their environments. They like to draw, do jigsaw puzzles, read maps, daydream. They can be taught through drawings, verbal and physical imagery. Tools include models, graphics, charts, photographs, drawings, 3-D modeling, video, videoconferencing, television, multimedia, texts with pictures/charts/graphs.
- Bodily-kinesthetic – use the body effectively, like a dancer or a surgeon. Keen sense of body awareness. They like movement, making things, touching. They communicate well through body language and be taught through physical activity, hands-on learning, acting out, role playing. Tools include equipment and real objects.
- Auditory-Musical – show sensitivity to rhythm and sound. They love music, but they are also sensitive to sounds in their environments. They may study better with music in the background. They can be taught by turning lessons into lyrics, speaking rhythmically, tapping out time. Tools include musical instruments, music, radio, stereo, CD-ROM, multimedia.
- Interpersonal – understanding, interacting with others. These students learn through interaction. They have many friends, empathy for others, street smarts. They can be taught through group activities, seminars, dialogues. Tools include the telephone, audio conferencing, time and attention from the instructor, video conferencing, writing, computer conferencing, E-mail.
- Intrapersonal – understanding one’s own interests, goals. These learners tend to shy away from others. They’re in tune with their inner feelings; they have wisdom, intuition and motivation, as well as a strong will, confidence and opinions. They can be taught through independent study and introspection. Tools include books, creative materials, diaries, privacy and time. They are the most independent of the learners.
- Linguistic – using words effectively. These learners have highly developed auditory skills and often think in words. They like reading, playing word games, making up poetry or stories. They can be taught by encouraging them to say and see words, read books together. Tools include computers, games, multimedia, books, tape recorders, and lecture.
- Logical -Mathematical – reasoning, calculating. Think conceptually, abstractly and are able to see and explore patterns and relationships. They like to experiment, solve puzzles, ask cosmic questions. They can be taught through logic games, investigations, mysteries. They need to learn and form concepts before they can deal with details.
- Naturalist intelligence – Ability to recognize and categorize plants, animals and other objects in nature. Naturalistic intelligence allows people to distinguish among, classify, and use features of the environment. Farmers, gardeners, botanists, geologists, florists, and archaeologists all exhibit this intelligence. This area has to do with nurturing and relating information to one’s natural surroundings. Examples include classifying natural forms such as animal and plant species and rocks and mountain types; and the applied knowledge of nature in farming, mining, etc.
- Existential intelligence – Ability to use collective values and intuition to understand others and the world around them. Individuals who excel in this intelligence typically are able to see the big picture. Philosophers, theologians, and life coaches are among those that Howard Gardner sees as having high existential intelligence. Sees the big picture. Interested in questions about life, death, and beyond. Able to look beyond the senses to explain phenomena. Likes to be outside. Strong interest in society and those around them. Sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence such as: What is the meaning of life? Why do we die? How did we get here?
At first, it may seem impossible to appeal or even teach to all learning styles. However, as we move into using a mix of media and learning dynamics, knowledge becomes more easily accessible to all involved. As we begin to understand learning styles, it becomes apparent why multimedia is typically most effective, appealing to a broad spectrum of learners. It satisfies the many types of learning preferences that a class embodies, keeping the information engaging and applicable for optimal absorption.
In tandem with mainstream education’s inability to appeal to the variety of learning styles, students of the public educational system also typically miss out on the most classically renown, fundamentally essential, and important method of critical thinking: The Trivium. It has been suggested that the Trivium has been purposefully removed from public education since students who have the capacity to truly think critically will quickly question and see through the propaganda and shortcomings of the educational system (and authoritarian institutions on the whole). Indeed, the Trivium provides a way to systematically cut through lies, remove contradictions, and navigate through logical fallacies (such as strawman arguments, red herrings, ad hominem attacks, appeals to emotion, appeals to authority, etc), thereby helping the intellect to operate clearly and effectively with discernment.
The history of the Trivium, and its corresponding aspects of the sensory perception, Quadrivium, and the 7 Liberal Arts, is extensive and worth researching on its own, but for the sake of brevity as an overview, we’ll present a synopsis to get a basic understanding. The Trivium, in its most commonly known form, was primarily developed by Aristotle but originates in antiquity, and is comprised of 3 aspects: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric- specifically in that order.
1.) Grammar (Knowledge of that which exists) answers the question of the Who, What, Where, and the When of a subject, discovering, researching, and ordering facts of reality to acquire Knowledge.
2.) Logic (Understanding of the interrelationships of that which exists) answers the Why of a subject, finding the conclusions based on Grammar/research leading to Understanding.
3.) Rhetoric (Communication of Grammar and Logic) provides the How of a subject, applying Knowledge (grammar) and Understanding (logic) leading to the transference of Wisdom.
As an analogy, if we think of knowledge like building a house, Grammar acts as the building blocks of Knowledge, Logic is the house completely built with all contradictions removed to create Understanding, and Rhetoric is the architect explaining how the house was built so that others can also understand and build their own house through Wisdom. By learning and applying the Trivium, we begin to stop wasting time and energy in unproductive actions and discussions which often hold us back, personally and collectively.
However, no one system is a perfect panacea unto itself. The Trivium has its limitations which must be understood and taken in to consideration, such as constraining “reality” to only that which can be observed through the 5 major senses (ignoring several other senses of introception and forms of ESP), or using incorrect definitions to define the terms of one’s Grammar, thereby falsifying any subsequent “Logic”. Regardless, the Trivium, applied correctly with mindful consideration for its limitations, is an extremely powerful tool which helps us sharpen our minds and navigate through life.
Due to the lack of these techniques for critical thinking to detect logical fallacies, lies, and distortions, the general public has been repeatedly led into disastrous circumstances through manipulations of the mind. For example, we see the “Hegelian Dialectic” (as also discussed in the section on “Psychology, Authoritarianism, and Statism”) to often rationalize abuse, as is seen in the political “justification” for the “War on Terror”.
Step 1.) Demonize, polarize, and exaggerate “the evil, foreign terrorists” to scare society.
Step 2.) Manipulate the fear in to a frenzy with lies, rhetoric, and appeals to emotion and authority with little to no basis in factual reality.
Step 3.) Propose a pre-packaged solution (usually violence) which preys on society’s suggestibility to further a predatory, subversive agenda while deeming themselves the “good guys” looking out for you.
The same goes with religion and its “original sin”, whereby people are coerced through guilt and social pressure to subjugate themselves for “salvation” through a contradictory system which condemns anyone who doesn’t conform and obey. Another example lies within the fundamental premise of government, whereby people are told the world is a dangerous place full of criminals, so in order to be protected, they must subjugate themselves, under force of punishment for the “common good”, to government which lies, steals (taxation), extorts, enslaves (wage slavery, serfdom, or otherwise), assaults, and murders, which ultimately creates the violence it purports to protect from. Quite the hypocrisy, isn’t it?
Systematic methods of critical thinking quickly see through these sorts of manufactured problems, exacerbated reactions, and narrow, self-defeating solutions.
The history of the Trivium and its application is extensive and well worth investigating. For a deeper explanation, watch the following video:
Once we have the proper foundation upon which to build our intellectual “house”, the mind has an incredible capacity to learn HOW TO LEARN even more quickly through accelerated learning techniques. Through utilizing these accelerated learning techniques which incorporate various modalities depending on an individual’s preferred learning style, we can learn to absorb knowledge more quickly, retain more knowledge, recall information more clearly, manage our time more effectively, and become more efficient, productive, and conscious than ever before. By accessing ever greater information, we can gain more knowledge to overcome obstacles and unlock our potential (and help others unlock theirs!).
Let’s address some of these Accelerated Learning Techniques:
- Self-esteem & Willpower play a crucial role in one’s motivation and abilities in learning. This may seem obvious, but it’s so simple that it’s often overlooked. Getting prepared by setting the proper preconditions for learning is like providing nutrients to the soil of your mind’s garden. The more optimal the conditions for growth, the better we can flourish. This doesn’t mean one should inflate their ego and be self-absorbed, but, rather, it’s best to simply have a healthy self-esteem (which ties in to the “Body” and “Emotion” aspects of this section).Compared to people with low self-esteem, people that are more self-confident are often more open, enthusiastic, determined, focused, and willing to take risks, all of which are imperative for accelerated learning. Even in childhood, those whose self-esteem is validated and encouraged through exploration of games and cooperative projects tend to develop much faster, be more well-adjusted, and are generally more capable than those who aren’t. Having a healthy psychological self-image is conducive to having a positive, optimistic, and enthusiastic outlook on one’s abilities.However, if you’re shy and going through a difficult period, lacking confidence and a healthy self-image, fear not. When a person has the willpower and determination to improve one’s circumstances, it can ignite a fire that propels them toward learning in order to make sense of things and overcome their challenges. The steps taken toward knowledge and the marked improvement gained along the way will build a person’s self-worth, especially when they share their experience and knowledge with others, helping those in similar circumstances thereby gaining external validation. The personal connections made through personal sharing and gratitude, especially in times of hardship, are some of the most powerful sources of motivation and support.
- Identify what your preferred learning styles are by taking a look at the list of multiple intelligence above. Do you prefer music or silence when learning? Do you prefer learning in a group experience or being alone to focus? Perhaps the styles could vary depending on the context. Perhaps engaging multiple methods of learning can help increase your ability to retain and apply information. Examples of this are:- Reading, visualizing, taking notes by putting the thoughts in to your own words, and then highlighting the major points.- Creating questions and answering them aloud, while gesturing to physically emphasize the points.Becoming familiar with your natural strengths, and applying them to learn more skills, is the first step to accelerated learning. You may find that new learning styles may develop over time, but don’t force it. The point is to utilize your strengths, your natural inclinations, your talents as a springboard for processing information more rapidly. There’s no point in trying to teach a fish to climb a tree when a fish is meant to swim. So don’t fight against your inherent nature; use it to your advantage. Stick with your natural strengths (but feel free to explore other learning modalities on occasion as well).
- Getting prepared to learn can be just as valuable as what one does during the learning itself. Have you noticed that many of your earliest memories, whether positive or negative, are directly connected to a strong emotion you were experiencing at the time? This amazing feat of recollection illustrates the direct correlation between emotional triggering and the retention of memory in the hippocampus and the amygdala. Since people are naturally inclined toward positive feedback mechanisms (things that bring pleasure), we’ll incline toward more positive emotional triggering as well. Get excited about learning a particular subject by thinking about WHO you will become by learning it, WHAT you’ll be able to gain and give, WHERE you will go by applying the knowledge, WHY it’s important, and HOW it can transform your life and the lives of those around you. Education shouldn’t be a chore; it is an opportunity that opens us up to infinite possibilities! Like athletes before a game, it helps to get yourself “psyched up” (while remaining focused and clear), feeling empowered and making strong emotional associations to the material you’re about to learn.
- If you learn better in a calm, relaxed state, regular meditative practices (meditation, qi gong, tai chi, yoga, etc.) have also been proven to provide a remarkable array of mind & body strengthening benefits which literally increase brain size and create new connections.
- Find your optimal time to learn. Some people learn better in the mornings when they’re freshly awake. Others learn best before bed, finding that they retain information better since the mind is reviewing and organizing itself during sleep. Some people need to specifically set aside time to concentrate on what they’re learning. Explore and discover what strategy works best for you.
- Time Management is an essential organizational tool to effectively handle our busy lives by organizing a broad array of objectives in an efficient manner. While some people have the luck, privilege, or natural proclivity to sail through life doing “whatever they feel like, whenever they feel like”, others recognize that great accomplishment takes great effort, and not everything in life that needs doing will be fun and enticing. Our ability to DO what NEEDS DOING, regardless of whether we want to or not, is a key component to achieving long-term goals, whether it be setting aside the time to practice a musical instrument, read a book, or work out for a half hour every other day instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media websites.Some people quickly get bored with repetitive menial tasks, prefer to fixate on the “fun stuff”, or are so obsessed about detail that they lose the ability to effectively prioritize their time. The habit of procrastination hinders our lives and our abilities to achieve, but thankfully, there are ways to overcome procrastination. Taking 5 minutes at the beginning of your day to organize your priorities in a daily planner (paper or digital) can potentially save you HOURS of deliberation, travel, distraction, and self-doubt. The following video illustrates the power of prioritization in time management, focusing on the bigger issues first, and then taking care of the smaller ones afterward.
- Multitasking is another great way to accomplish more than you thought was ever possible. No time for reading? Listen to audiobooks while cleaning the house or commuting. No time for yoga class? Stretch your body while at the computer or taking a shower. A little mindfulness and creativity transforms our obligations into fun opportunities to maximize our potential.
- Take regular breaks. If you’ve ever rapidly poured water on the ground, you’ll notice it eventually pools and then some of it trickles away. Your mind, much like the soil, has a threshold for what it can efficiently process in a given period of time, and therefore needs a period of absorption to allow new information to soak in. There is a good deal of evidence to show how taking breaks actually increases your productivity. Honoring our mind’s threshold for processing new information by taking regular breaks not only keeps the experience highly productive, but enjoyable, which ensures a bright educational future.
- Stay active. Regularly caring for your body by getting up to walk around, stretch, and go outside is important. Getting in to the body and relaxing allows us to be more physically and mentally free-flowing. When we relax, we take deeper breaths which oxygenizes the blood, which nourishes the brain, which, in turn, creates a supercharged state of awareness and enhanced well-being.
- Learn to read faster and more efficiently. The reasons for doing this are obvious and apply throughout all our lives. Think of how often we read during the day (from the computer to the supermarket) and how much time learning how to read faster would save us. There are numerous proven methods for accomplishing this available online, so we don’t need to list it all here.
- Take creative notes. Putting information in to your own words/ symbols through note-taking/ making pictures combines many aspects of learning in to one practice. Not only will it make review more fun and efficient, but you will learn more quickly since information tends to be retained more easily when it holds a greater personal significance and appeal for you. There are several methods of note-taking which can appeal to the varying styles of learning and help with review later on, such as:- Creating “Mind Maps” to synthesize, distill, combine, and connect core ideas in a holistic, fast, and easily understood diagram.- Making notes in the margins of books, doodling, underlining, using colorful highlighting, or verbally recording your thoughts and passages.- Making funny or memorable mnemonic devices, rhymes, and creative visualization to remember lists or specific details.The human mind is designed to notice things that stand out, that are “unusual”, things that break up the pattern. Adding funny, strange, colorful, or otherwise exciting elements to your learning process will help reinforce your ability to quickly and clearly recall information later on.
- Review often. If it’s worth learning in the first place, it’s worth reviewing it to retain it. To really anchor information in our minds, briefly review your notes after an hour of reading it, then before you go to bed, then after one day, after one week, one month, then after 6 months. Just take a minute or two, grasping the key points. Overall, the total review time will probably take less than 30 minutes in the 6 month period of time, getting progressively easier. To further help, read the words aloud dramatically, even getting in character and using a fake accent to make it more memorable.
- Consistency & Variety keeps us engaged. The more diversely you use your brain, the more connections are made, allowing us to learn more rapidly. Gradual, consistent increase with new exercises, like weight lifting, keeps our minds in shape. Studies have shown that challenging your mind like this can keep it fresh, sharp, and flexible at virtually any age. So keep in mind that dedication to these accelerated learning techniques is the only way to make them work. If you’re easily distracted or procrastinate, keep reminding yourself why this is so important. As the old adage says, “Use it or lose it”. In a very real sense, you are the architect of your own brain.
- Get a learning partner. Engage in question & answer, review, and planning with each other. To communicate, we must put our concepts in clear, concise terms, which helps us reiterate and remember. As one finds in study groups and book clubs, the more perspectives that are engaged, the more windows are opened to flood our minds with the light of new facts and the breeze of fresh concepts. By creating relationships which support this mutual interest in self-work and education, we find support and motivation which can fuel us on all levels.
Furthermore, by learning and applying it with others, we more quickly turn knowledge in to understanding, which is deeper, wiser, and embodied.
“Knowledge is one thing, understanding is another thing. People often confuse these concepts and do not clearly grasp what is the difference between them. Knowledge by itself does not give understanding. Nor is understanding increased by an increase of knowledge alone. Understanding depends upon the relation of knowledge to Being. Understanding is the resultant of knowledge and being. And knowledge and being must not diverge too far, otherwise understanding will prove to be far removed from either. At the same time the relation of knowledge to being does not change with a mere growth of knowledge. It changes only when being grows simultaneously with knowledge.
In other words, understanding grows only with the growth of being. In ordinary thinking, people do not distinguish understanding from knowledge. They think that greater understanding depends on greater knowledge. Therefore they accumulate knowledge, or that which they call knowledge, but they do not know how to accumulate understanding and do not bother about it.”
~ Gurdjieff, “In Search of the Miraculous“
Never underestimate the power of the mind. Your intelligence is one thing that can’t be taken from you, except by severe injury, illness, or sometimes being with someone who you find extremely attractive (you know it’s true!). You could lose all your possessions, all your money, and go through some of the most devastating circumstances, yet your most valuable asset to rebuild in society will always be your mental faculties of knowledge, understanding, and skill. Knowledge is a primary factor that allows you to do almost anything you want to do in life, and it is practically limitless.
It took humanity thousands of years to pass from the Agricultural Age to the Industrial Age. The industrial Age passed more quickly than any other age before in history, starting in 1815 and ending just a few years ago as we moved in to the Information Age. Humanity is moving with exponential expediency from emphasis of physical muscle to mental muscle. Now, due to the consequences of globalized industrialization, we are living in the most opulent yet turbulent time in all of human history with change happening more frequently, more rapidly, and more unpredictably than ever before. If we can say one thing for certain about the future, it’s that it will change even more rapidly and unpredictably than the present. The demand for skills will change with the times, but the ability to rapidly learn is timeless. Therefore, to thrive in the future, we too must change and learn more quickly in order to adapt. We must learn how to learn more quickly and strive to continue learning throughout life for greater awareness, communication, creative potential, expression, self-confidence, income, security, and the ability to overcome obstacles in our path toward wholeness.
“Our science is but a drop, our ignorance a sea. Whatever else be certain, this at least is certain: that the world of our present natural knowledge is enveloped in a larger world of some sort, of whose residual properties we at present can frame no positive idea.” ~ William James
As humanity has evolved, religious, cultural, and scientific dogma has continuously fallen away, and technological innovations have become increasingly sophisticated enough to perceive previously unknown aspects of our reality, such as the discovery of the electromagnetic spectrum over the past few centuries, of which we can only perceive 0.0035%
of with our vision. Technological instrumentation and scientific experimentation with anomalous results have shown that there is far more to our reality than our five senses can perceive, and undoubtedly far more still yet to be revealed.
An extensive history of recorded paranormal and mysterious observations such as UFOs and crop circles, reincarnation with accurate recollection of previous lives, premonitory dreams, channeling, divination, psychic phenomenon, thousands of ancient monoliths around the world with unexplained origin, and other anomalies which are yet beyond the capabilities of science to conclusively determine, have repeatedly suggested to us that:
- humanity’s anthropocentric notions of being “nature’s ultimate creation at the peak on the evolutionary ladder” is dubious at best.
- our materialistic world view and concept of the “evolutionary ladder” is not an accurate representation of developmental sophistication.
- our world and its history, of which we have an extremely limited understanding, is embedded within a complex system of unseen dimensions and densities, with methods of manifestation, channels of communication, and avenues of awareness not yet understood by science.
While the scientific method is an extremely helpful process, it has its limitations. One such limitation is the often-overlooked control variable called “the restoration of initial conditions”. Since we exist in a multidimensional sea of constantly fluctuating fields that we don’t fully understand (even something as fundamental as GRAVITY, as Rupert Sheldrake’s talk on “The Science Delusion” above explains), the implications of unknown causal and correlated interactions are far-reaching. As fundamental as gravity, our consciousness is also not understood, nor the totality of its effects, such as the “Observer Effect“, whereby the outcome is altered by perception . When studying anomalous, unpredictable phenomenon, or even social circumstances in the social sciences- psychology, sociology, anthropology (which are considered “softer sciences” by more hard-nosed scientists), the potential for ascertaining absolutes is not yet possible due to several reasons including an inability to completely establish these “restoration of initial conditions”. This is one basic, yet far-reaching example, but there are many more limitations of science. To explore beyond the boundaries of scientific certainty, we must instead look for alternative methods of verification which provide a high probability to find threads of truth nestled within our collective experience.
Therefore, in order to more comprehensively ascertain the fullness of our being, it is incumbent that we be willing to delve in to alternative/ metaphysical systems of knowledge, such as Astrology, Human Design, clairvoyance and other forms of ESP, dream work, the I Ching, tarot, palmistry, numerology, graphology, and other esoteric systems and studies which have been utilized for thousands of years, all offering us inspiration and insight to our developmental relationship correlating to the greater macrocosm. Being highly skeptical and stone-faced while having personally studied many of these systems for years among professionals has proven the legitimacy of these methods to me. Given the proper expertise, these systems all act as various facets of knowledge through which we can piece together a more holistic understanding of ourselves, such as our inherent strengths, challenges, transpersonal strategies, inclinations, and proclivities towards the fulfillment of our purpose. Of course, as with all aspects of self-work, knowledge and discernment is required since there may be distorted interpretations, and a person’s own prejudices and biases often cloud one’s ability to clearly receive and interpret otherwise reliable information. However, when utilized properly, the process of continuous and sincere in-depth self-work through these various methodologies increasingly clears the obfuscations clouding our perceptions, and, in turn, the accuracy of our inner knowing and intuition tends to grow in direct proportion. It is important to not take any one teaching as “the truth” but as information to create a more well-informed method by which to access otherwise occluded paths toward objectivity. After all, in our subjectivity, our perception is limited, our knowledge ever-growing, and the conclusions we draw often have misunderstandings or gaps, no matter how well-meaning they may be.
Keep in mind that before opening ourselves to this domain and the experiences therein, it’s important to have sufficiently done the prerequisite self-work of embodiment, psychological healing, and research before delving in to unknown realms. If a person cannot effectively deal with the challenges of everyday life, how can they possibly trust themselves to successfully navigate the long, difficult labyrinth of paranormal/ esoteric study with even fewer points of reference to guide them? As one gets in to these studies, this warning is repeated throughout, from Gurdjieff’s “self-remembering”, Mouravieff’s “introspection”, and Castaneda’s “recapitulation”, to name a few. Before embarking on this journey, the importance of first knowing your “vessel”, cleaning it, and adjusting it so that it works properly (a.k.a. Self-Work) cannot be understated.
Going deeper, since the metaphysical realm taps in to the “spiritual” realm, it opens up doors to the “Hyperdimensional Matrix Control System”, which various esoteric teachings each refer to in their own way. Don Juan in Carlos Castaneda’s work called it “the topic of all topics”, warning of “the flyer” and “the predator” which uses humanity for energetic “food”. Gurdjieff refers to it as “The Evil Magician” using humanity as “Food for the Moon”. The Gnostics warned of “The Archons”. “The Shaitans” of the Sufis and “the Jinn” in Arabian mythology are supernatural creatures who inhabit an unseen world in dimensions beyond the visible universe and interfere with humanity. Boris Mouravieff writes about “the General Law” in his trilogy “Gnosis”. All these teachings describe forces which manipulate humanity and keeps it in its place as a source of “food”, much as humanity farms and genetically manipulates plants, and herds animals for food and their skins. These teachings offer us ancient yet advanced insight for how to “break out of the herd” in a spiritual sense. They espouse that it takes tremendous super-efforts, awareness, and prolonged sincere self work to “escape” these influences. On the path of self-work through exploring these unseen realms, forces arise acting through people around us which create drama, temptations, and senseless preoccupations to dissuade the seeker from striving to awaken, distracted often by those around us who are not interested in awakening, which is the basis for the admonition “A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”
When breaking beyond conventional limitations, especially through metaphysical research and esoteric study, people will always try to mock, guilt, and shame you for being the bearer of new knowledge and uncomfortable realizations. They will distort your expanded perception through their tiny lens. They will try to make it seem as though you are wrong for being who you are and they’ll try to make you feel small. Your playing small does not serve your greater purpose. There is nothing enlightened about limiting your path in life to comfort the illusions of others. Those who seek Objective Truth are bringers of light in to a very uncomfortable darkness, and it will seek to stop you in any way it can. We must not give in to the darkness that tells us to dim ourselves. Every courageous step toward Objective Truth is what liberates others to do the very same. This is the battle to awaken and we must not lose sight of this objective.
“There are a thousand things which prevent a man from awakening, which keep him in the power of his dreams. In order to act consciously with the intention of awakening, it is necessary to know the nature of the forces which keep man in a state of sleep. First of all it must be realized that the sleep in which man exists is not normal but hypnotic sleep. Man is hypnotized and this hypnotic state is continually maintained and strengthened in him. One would think that there are forces for whom it is useful and profitable to keep man in a hypnotic state and prevent him from seeing the truth and understanding his position.”
~ G. I. Gurdjieff
In modern times, the UFO abduction phenomenon seems to be a manifestation of the very same Hyperdimensional Matrix Control System, as an in-depth investigation will conclusively show that the phenomenon goes well beyond the ordinary physical aspects of “flying saucers and grey aliens” into paranormal and metaphysical realms. I’ve experienced it in my own life, having been abducted with physical scars to show for it, as well as having my ex-girlfriend (who knew NOTHING about the hyperdimensional/ extraterrestrial phenomenon) have her first abduction, describing things only a person who had researched the subject would have known. The relationship also ended on sudden, mysterious, and distressing circumstances as well, which is a common theme throughout numerous testimonials of abductees. It’s also very indicative that these phenomenon are often ignored, ridiculed, and even attacked. Could it perhaps be due to the fact that the Hyperdimensional Matrix Control System that works through humanity does not want to be revealed, thereby losing its “food”? After all, if cattle knew what was to be done to them, they would stop at nothing to break out of their cages and refuse to be under control within the rancher’s herd.
For further insight in to the Hyperdimensional Matrix Control system, watch this video, produced by Bernhard Guenther and I, which explores the secrecy surrounding the greatest cover-up of all time, presenting an overview of the UFO phenomenon, aliens, abductions, disclosure, hyperdimensional realities, and what can be done to help protect oneself:
“If we look at the world from an informational point of view, and if we consider the many complex ways in which time and space my be structured, the old idea of space travel and interplanetary craft to which most technologists are still clinging appears not only obsolete, but ludicrous. Indeed, modern physics has already bypassed it, offering a very different interpretation of what an “extraterrestrial” system might look like. I believe there is a system around us that transcends time as it transcends space. The system may well be able to locate itself in outer space, but its manifestations are not spacecraft in the ordinary ‘nuts and bolts’ sense. The UFOs are physical manifestations that cannot be understood apart from their psychic and symbolic reality. What we see in effect here is a control system which acts on humans and uses humans.“
~ Dr. Jacques Vallee
“The scope, frequency, and distribution of the sightings make the popular extraterrestrial (interplanetary) hypothesis completely untenable… Many flying saucers seem to be nothing more than a disguise for some hidden phenomenon. They are like Trojan horses descending into our forests and farm fields, promising salvation and offering us the splendor of some great super-civilization in the sky. Do the ultraterrestrials really care about us? There is much disturbing evidence that they don’t. They care only to the extent that we can fulfill our enigmatic use to them.
The real UFO story must encompass all of the many manifestations being observed. It is a story of ghosts and phantoms and strange mental aberrations; of an invisible world which surrounds us and occasionally engulfs us; of prophets and prophecies, and gods and demons. It is a world of illusion and hallucination where the unreal seems very real, and where reality itself is distorted by strange forces which can seemingly manipulate space, time, and physical matter—forces which are almost entirely beyond our powers of comprehension.”
~ John Keel
“In the case of the idea of man being “food” for hyperdimensional beings, there is an enormous amount of both vertical and lateral corroboration of all kinds. So much so that, in fact, it is almost impossible to understand why it is not generally known. Clearly, there have been deliberate efforts to “hide this fact”. And, the fact that it is hidden may itself tell us something.
The point is, when Don Juan and Gurdjieff and the Cassiopaeans (and others) tell us that our religions, our social structure, our values, our beliefs about our spiritual nature and condition have been deliberately created to perpetuate the illusion that we are free; that we are (or can be) “special and adored children of a loving God”; that we are or can be “co-creators” with God, that we can do anything at all of a positive and powerful nature, we need to carefully examine this issue!
But it is work to examine it objectively. It is hard work because it consists of long and difficult self-examination in order to be able to overcome the emotions that prevent us from discovering what illusions we are hanging onto, what illusions are preventing us from seeing and acting in such a way as to become free.
As we continue to think in these terms, it becomes more and more apparent that this Great Work of the alchemists was essentially the process of becoming “free of the Matrix”, described in alchemical and allegorical terms.
This hyperdimensional world is all around us, yet we are unable to see it because it is beyond the range of our senses. All the objects of our world are very likely just our limited perceptions of what is happening in this total reality.
Since those forces that create and maintain the Matrix have so much to lose, they exert a great deal of energy to keep the Matrix of lies and false beliefs in place. And doing it from a state of hyperdimensional reality enables them to work from a state of timelessness, so as to be able to produce all the perceived effects that support their agenda; the Evil Magician of Gurdjieff; the “Flyer“ of Castaneda; the Shaitans of the Sufis. And the reality has been manipulated for so long that it seems natural. It has become a comfortable prison in which Stockholm Syndrome reigns supreme, and the inmates love their captors.
Thus it is that we may find that our religious myths and rites are remnants of narratives – a message in a bottle – designed to explain these phenomena, and that the monotheistic versions, declaring a Final End, or a Judgment Day of a final end, are merely distortions of the myth designed to establish a Control System on our planet. These distortions are beneficial to those who seek power and wealth, who are under the control of archetypal forces of another realm of which our own reality is but a shadow or a reflection. Let me reiterate: I do not mean, here, to suggest that this other realm is “astral” or ephemeral or non-material. I am suggesting that it is an intermediate realm of para-physical, hyper-dimensional beings whose existence and nature has been carefully concealed from us for millennia – for a reason that is not to our benefit.
And as we have learned from Jesus, Gurdjieff and the Gnostic Sufis, Castaneda, and the Cassiopaeans, the rules of this World in which we live were set up and are controlled by this STS (Service to Self) hierarchy and have been for a very long time. Each and every time the revelation of this Control System is attempted, the Matrix goes into overdrive to destroy it. And it is clear that this is the present situation….It is in “seeing the unseen” that we become aware of higher levels of being; it is in ordinary human interactions that we experience the “battles” between the forces of STS (Service to Self) and STO (Service to Others)! And it is most definitely this factor that the Matrix Control System vigorously attempts to conceal!… In other words, we are not just talking about a “petty dispute,” we are talking about a battle of forces at other levels, manifesting – as ALWAYS – in human dynamics.”
~ Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Having covered these various aspects of self-work, hopefully reflecting upon our own lives throughout reading, one may feel a bit overwhelmed with some resistance, especially if they are new to these concepts. This is entirely normal; it’s a lot to take in. Even along the path of of uncovering and integrating these previously unknown aspects of reality, there will probably be discomfort, sadness, and anger as the old ideas upon which we based our understanding and our lives begins to crumble around us. This is known as the natural and necessary process of “Disillusionment”.
“When a person has lied for a long time, the time comes when he can no longer distinguish between what is false and what is true. People convince themselves of their own lies, becoming victims of their own inventions as they begin to direct their lives by standards of behavior, ideas, feelings, or instincts which do not correspond to their inner reality. What is truly serious in this matter is that the individual loses all points of reference regarding what comprises truth, and what comprises lies. He becomes used to considering as true only that which is convenient for his personal interests; everything that is in opposition to his self-esteem or in conflict with already established prejudices, he considers false.
A person lies in order to avoid difficult problems, to evade responsibility, or to avoid damage to his self-esteem. So the individual constantly lies to himself and to others, and becomes entangled in an illusory world born out of his personal fantasy. He forms concepts, ideas, judgments, aversions, and attachments that have no relation to actual events, but are only the reflection of a life full of lies and listening to lies.
One of the most powerful reasons for lying is to create a good image of oneself, and to prevent others from seeing us as we really are beneath the mask of appearances. Each mask is a lie, and there are thousands in each individual’s collection of disguises. It is necessary to be conscious of this phenomenon of lying, and to realize its magnitude and frequency, as well as the enormous damage it causes.
People are always infused with all kinds of fantastic ideas about themselves, the world, people, love, idealism, society, etc. Led by his eagerness to evade a disagreeable reality, man gives free rein to his imagination and is inclined to believe the first agreeable lie he encounters along the way. The individual projects his personal illusions onto a cold and immutable reality, and thus deceiving himself, he endeavors to contemplate reality through rose-colored glasses.
“Disillusion” is a painful process and can be prolonged, depending on how much time the individual takes to realize he is living artificially and that this condition is a product of his internal dreams. Great courage is required to face reality and to destroy the mirage of a pleasant dream.”
~ John Baines, “The Stellar Man”
As we begin down the path of self work, the old life we once knew begins to fall away in a process known as “disillusionment”. As lies crumble, the connections and circumstances which we once considered home begin to lose their comfort and become constraining, like a nest that becomes too small for a bird learning to fly. Conversely, those foreign aspects of life we once saw as strange and unappealing may begin to compel our curiosity as we see the world through an ever-wider, more worldly, and loving lens. At first, it can be very painful and intense as certain realizations shatter our preconceived ideologies and self-identity. As time goes on, however, and we become more familiar with disillusionment, it becomes easier to recover and reorient oneself with the drive toward Objective Truth as an unwavering compass point on our lifelong journey.
“The way (esoteric, spiritual self-work) is a one-way street. Meaning that whoever begins to walk it is forbidden to turn back. This is not because of some kind of external imperative, but due to the fact that each step forward on the Way irrevocably modifies the content of whoever has started walking it. It follows that he will become more and more of a stranger to his surroundings; that he will lose more and more interest in exterior life, in which only yesterday he participated fully. The appearance of things, and especially of beings, undergoes a deep change in his eyes. He will one day be surprised to constate that certain faces which only yesterday he found very beautiful now reveal to him marks of bestiality behind their features: not all, but many of them!
The more man progresses on the Way, the more his feeling of being a stranger is intensified. Soon he will become boring: later still he will become unbearable, and finally, odious. That is why ‘the prophet is despised in his country, among his close relations and in his own house.’ That indication is precise and leaves no room for doubt. He who wants to start esoteric studies is invited to think it over twice, and weigh it all, before he rushes to cross the moat-threshold. We repeat that it will not be possible for him to return to exterior life and to find his place, his pleasures and his satisfaction there as in the past. However, as well as the difficulties which are the first results of his evolution, such a man will receive comforting impressions, especially in his human relations. He will be surprised to perceive one day that certain faces which only yesterday appeared to him ordinary, today shine in his eyes with a bright beauty. It is because his sight, sharpened by esoteric work, has acquired the faculty of penetrating beyond the external crust. It is amongst these brighter beings that he will find his new friends.”
~ Boris Mouravieff, “Gnosis”
While disillusionment is often an intense process, the pain can be mitigated by keeping our objectives in mind and having support from friends who are also engaged in sincere self-work, whom can provide honest, constructive, and loving feedback. Having a diverse network of friends from which to have feedback and support is essential since life can be increasingly difficult on the path toward awakening, and the more positive influences that help reinforce productive self-work, the better! Furthermore, nobody can see themselves objectively, so the more points of reference from others who can hold themselves in the position of being a neutral observer providing feedback while striving toward objectivity, the more well-informed our perspectives and decisions become.
This aspect of helping one another is crucial. Aiding others in the process of disillusionment from one’s false conceptions of life is called “mirroring”. This is often a tumultuous aspect which must be guided with great care, otherwise the new foundation may be worse than the original one, and to re-correct a re-built view of the world after an initial disillusionment can prove to be even more difficult. Mirroring is an essential skill to develop. Receiving a mirror for objective feedback is a very powerful thing and an extremely profound and powerful way to learn for those capable of withstanding the shock and utilizing that heat in a beneficial way. For other people, however, it can ‘shut them down’, even to the extent of preventing further progress. It’s important to consciously adapt one’s approach by whatever means is needed to reach and help a person more deeply, since there is no “one method of communication fits all”.
When it applies to interacting with others who are all in different stages of awakening, taking a more comprehensive and empathic approach that will allow for these differences in sensitivity (while not compromising the truth) is essential. This is especially true for activists, and it’s worth exploring how this applies in practice.
“This hour in history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists. Our planet teeters on the brink of annihilation; dangerous passions of pride, hatred, and selfishness are enthroned in our lives; and men do reverence before false gods of nationalism and materialism. The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
“All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him. […] The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.”
~ H.L. Mencken
When it comes to the evolution of humanity, activism is perhaps the most important yet most controversial element in society. Activists are the free thinkers, the system busters, the loving Warriors, the boat-rockers, and the truth tellers. These visionaries are the vanguard of social reform, acting as the warning system for a society out of balance. Activists are often criticized, ostracized, and even killed, yet their legacy stands among the most virtuous of contributions throughout history.
Against the bloodstained backdrop of human history, activists proactively put themselves on the front lines, advocating social awareness to bring justice and peace through diplomatic, philosophical, and non-militaristic resolutions of territorial or ideological disputes through nonviolent means whenever possible. They initiate and facilitate public dialogues in order to reform various irrational, violent, habitual, and historically fearfully thought-processes residing at the core of conflicts with the intention of bringing about a peaceful, more enlightened resolution. Whether in the form of social media outcry, boycotts, protests, public art (Banksy), sit-ins, or armed insurrection, activists, often exercising righteous anger, have undoubtedly been a major driving force of progressive social change.
Yet despite the intensity of external focus typical in most activists, honorable and necessary though it is, internal focus for the purposes of self-work (as described in the previous section: “Self Work”) tends to be lacking in the majority of activists which may explain why there are social REVOLUTIONS (revolution = revolve = circular spin = going in circles) instead of EVOLUTION. If activists integrated self-work as part of their transformative process, not only would they be more effective, but their impact on society would move beyond minor accommodations to a deeper paradigm shift. Due to this deficiency of self-work, many “well intentioned” activists, swept away by their righteous anger in the “revolutionist mindset” become just as aggressive and as the aggressors they vehemently oppose. Violence is all too often met with violence as police brutality is met with rioting (an understandable yet self-defeating reaction), and “in-fighting” by activists against other well-intentioned activists exacerbates our challenges just simply having a difference of opinion. This hyper-aggression only serves to perpetuate violence which could otherwise be resolved with responsible self-awareness, compassion, critical thinking, and a broader perspective. This is the obstacle humanity has yet to overcome, and, as the saying goes, “When people do not learn their lessons, history repeats itself.”
There are many people speaking out about the atrocities and injustices of the world, and oftentimes it comes with a lot of finger-pointing and hostility. Understandable. Who wouldn’t be upset? The problems of the world often seem insurmountable and sometimes the weight of life wears down even the best of us. As important as honoring our healthy boundaries and anger is, dwelling in anger causes us to miss out on the richness of higher understanding.
It’s important to keep in mind that the moment we demonize or vilify those who disagree with us or do things differently, we commit an act of violence by severing an opportunity to learn and find loving empathy and compassion to resolve conflict. We cannot hold on to spite and vengeance, for the problems of the world are too enormous, and hostility, no matter how small, simply creates more violence. We must become more mindful, understanding, and conscious in our behavior if we are to ask others to do the same.
Time shows us that even in the most dark of circumstances, there is understanding and love to be found, within and without, for all things serve a purpose in objective reality. As difficult as it can be to come to terms with, all moments of life are like lessons in the school of Earth. It is rightfully natural to be angry, afraid, sad, and defensive, passively or aggressively, but for the sake of transformation and growth, we must not stop there.
Justice is neither avoidance or vengeance; it is taking responsibility by utilizing the opportunity to see things clearly through gaining knowledge, healing, and, ultimately, understanding and finding forgiveness by seeing the greater context, which ultimately leads to compassion. With communication comes new perspective. With new perspective comes new understanding. With understanding comes connection. With connection comes love. And in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
If activists ever want to realistically live in a world wherein people are well-educated, empathic, and responsible enough to be sovereign and easily resolve (or avoid altogether) social injustices, activists must embody the very maturity and virtue they ask from others. They must strive to be a living example of the principles and ideals they uphold.
However, some people give activism a bad name, over-generalizing and over-emphasizing issues by expanding a conspiracy (from the small clique which it is) to include every person who may have some association. Because of racial or religious bigotry, they will take small fragments of legitimate evidence and expand it into a conclusion that will support their particular prejudice, i.e., the conspiracy is totally “Jewish”, “Catholic”, or “Masonic”. These people do not help to spread knowledge and raise awareness, but sadly play into the hands of those who want the public to believe that all activists who recognize legitimate conspiracies are over-generalizing, prejudiced “screwball conspiracy theorists”. In fact, there is a long history of government-sponsored disinformation agents known as “COINTELPRO” (Counter-Intelligence Program) through which agents are implanted to, in the words of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, “disrupt, misdirect, discredit, neutralize, or otherwise eliminate” the activities of progressive social movements and their leaders. Sometimes these agents are purposefully planted, and sometimes they are “useful idiots” who have been influenced by the disinformation program and carry on the propaganda zealously through their own misguided ambition to derail others who are associated. Al always, discernment is key. The importance of understanding how subversive government manipulation works is an absolute necessity for any activist to defend against disinformation and disruption. It’s CRUCIAL that each one of us recognizes the necessity of researching for ourselves, taking nothing at face value by cross-referencing and networking with others to gather further information.
Conversely to this prejudice, some people go the opposite direction, mistaking “political correctness” with being polite and kind, which is something completely different.
“When we talk about compassion we talk in terms of being kind. But compassion is not so much being kind; it is being creative [enough] to wake a person up”
~ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Political correctness keeps the power structure secure by stultifying conversation, which is perhaps why it’s been pushed so much in “polite society”. Political correctness is the new bandwagon. It’s the new religion that prefers bland, shallow, “safe” contrivances over the deeply passionate outpouring of genuine expression needed to grab someone’s attention and rouse them to take action. Sitting on the fence has become very desirable in today’s society, especially since employers have the ability to discriminate over the basis of a person’s opinions on social media. People are hesitant to admit to even having an opinion in this culture of imposed insecurity. People hold back out of fear of confrontation and its consequences, as if apathy were better.
Political Correctness doesn’t support social progression or individuality. If anything, it accelerates the attainment of mediocrity by an obsessively herd-minded society. We’re beginning to pursue neutrality and indifference to such a degree that we’re becoming a very meek, paranoid, knee-jerking bunch of people. We’re taught everywhere to avoid conflict for fear of being wrong, for fear of putting ourselves on the spot. In our “culture of cool”, where expression-less celebrities and models are idolized, complete emotional withdrawal has been sold as a virtue. How can we learn and develop character without experiencing feelings, failure or fault? How can progress be made without putting ourselves on the spot? Without risk and exploration? Do yourself a favor: have an opinion, take time to read, respectfully network your thoughts, get feedback, express yourself, inspire, provoke thought, get off the fence, and help weave the fabric of history! A society too afraid to express itself and hear the voices of others is a society that will never be free.
“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Some may not see themselves as “activists” simply because they aren’t constantly gathering information, publicly expressing themselves, or going to protests since they have jobs, children, and other obligations. Regardless of the reasons, there are numerous ways anybody can practice activism, from donating food and goods to families in need, to financially funding independent researchers and organizations that do good work and won’t squander your money on the bloated overhead of managerial expenditures, like many large scale “charities” do. However, before donating, it’s your right to inquire the deeper intricacies of the cause you’re donating to, knowing how that money is truly spent. It’s your responsibility to ask for information. Administrative costs and advertisement, while understandable, should be extremely marginal in comparison to the direct donations being made for a specific cause.
An increasingly popular form of activism is social media. Spreading important information to raise awareness IS activism, no matter how many “likes” it gets, because there are always “the watchers” who don’t feel comfortable “liking”, commenting, or sharing, yet are in the process of gathering information. Providing others with clear, concise information to streamline their education is extremely powerful, because, as stated in the introduction, until a person truly understands the problem, they will never present a good solution, nor will they understand one if they see it. Without researching history and understanding “how the game works”, the same problems will eventually pop up in different ways. So don’t be discouraged simply because you’re a keyboard crusader for now. Great ideas are how great movements begin. Keep educating yourself, sharing with more people, and come together under common cause to redefine community outside the status quo in ways which empower healthy people. Like many great architectural accomplishments, most of the important work is underground and internal, so keep building and striving. One day, brick by brick, the greatness of these efforts will be self-evident with time, effort, and proper preparation.
“The modern hero, the modern individual who dares to heed the call and seek the mansion of that presence with whom it is our whole destiny to be atoned, cannot, indeed, must not, wait for his community to cast off it’s slough of pride, fear, rationalized avarice, and sanctified misunderstanding. ‘Live,’ Nietzsche said, ‘as though the day were here.’ It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse. And so every one of us shares the supreme ordeal––carries the cross of the redeemer––not in the bright moments of his tribe’s great victories, but in the silences of his personal despair.” ~ Joseph Campbell, “The Hero With A Thousand Faces”
There’s no reason to wait and no time to waste. Now more than ever, peaceful personal secession, sovereignty, and sustainability can be made a reality. We have the vision, the knowledge, the resources, the technological innovation, the environmental understanding, and the love to create an incredibly new way of living- if only we first have a solid foundation within. Make no doubt about it, there are ways that the darkness can be transmuted with light. For too long humanity has been polarized, paralyzed, and self-interested. It has been struggling to heal, fumbling in the dark without the light of greater knowledge to guide it. Society has relied on institutions run by sick people in government and religion to guide it through destructive means. Humanity, wounded and confused, has consequently stumbled through history in to a legacy of authoritarianism, anger, and self-righteous destructiveness. But life always offers an opportunity to create change, and if you’ve been paying attention, you can see that the world is screaming for change.
And when we speak of “the world”, it’s not just the people that need to be considered, but something far more fundamental to all life…
“The arrogance of man is thinking nature is under our control, and not the other way around.”
~ Daisuke Serizawa
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over civilised people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
~ John Muir, 1901
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”
~ Chief Seattle
Over the past few decades, as satellite imagery has become increasingly able to observe the depletion of various ecosystems around the planet, environmentalism has increasingly come to the forefront to humanity’s concerns. The rampant consumption of natural resources which drove the Industrial Age has hit a wall as the demand for resources continues to grow exponentially, yet also become increasingly difficult and harmful to extract, leading to disastrous extraction and transportation methods like fracking and oil pipelines which have caused hundreds of horrendous spills since 2000 in the United States alone. The overwhelming number of subsequent ecological disasters that have injured countless people and wildlife have made it abundantly clear that if humanity is to have any future AT ALL, the land base upon which it depends for its very survival must take foremost priority. The consequences of neglecting our relationship to natural living not only affects us, but it damages the growth of our children both directly and indirectly, compounding the problem for future generations. We must rid ourselves of the ridiculous, sycophantic Stockholm Syndrome, believing that the wealthy are entitled to perpetually increase their power, ownership, and wealth at the expense of everyone and everything that they deem subservient to their own interests- especially nature.
“According to official history, this grid [industrialized authoritarian social system] is the natural outcome of an inevitable evolution. Thus natural history is not a multiverse of potentialities but rather a linear progression from Prometheus’ theft of fire to the International Monetary Fund. A million and more years of species life experienced in organic communities are dismissed as a kind of waiting period in anticipation of the few thousand years of imperial grandeur to follow. The remaining primal societies, even now being dragged by the hair into civilization’s orbit along its blood-drenched frontier, are dismissed as living fossils (“lacking in evolutionary promise,” as one philosopher characterized them), awaiting their glorious inscription into the wondrous machine.
Thus, as Fredy Perlman argued, imperialism is far from being the last stage of civilization but is embedded in the earliest stages of the state and class society. […] The instability and rapidity of change as well as the violence and destructiveness of the change both belie empire’s claim to natural legitimacy, suggesting once more an evolutionary wrong turn, a profoundly widening disequilibrium.
The frontier expands along two intersecting axes, centrifugal and centripetal. In the words of Stanley Diamond, “Civilization originates in conquest abroad and repression at home. Each is an aspect of the other.”
But the process is replicated internally on the human spirit: every [pathologically programmed person] finds
an empire in miniature “wired” to the very nervous system.
So, too, is repression naturalized, the permanent crisis in character and the authoritarian plague legitimated. It starts with frightened obedience to the archon or patriarch, then moves by way of projection to a violent, numbed refusal of the living subjectivity and integrity of the other — whether found in nature, in woman, or in conquered peoples.
At one end of the hierarchic pyramid stands unmitigated power; at the other, submission mingles with isolation, fragmentation and rage. All is justified, by the ideology of Progress — conquest and subjugation of peoples, ruin of lands and sacrifice zones for the empire, self-repression, mass addiction to imperial spoils, the materialization of culture. Ideology keeps the work and war machines operating.
Ultimately, this vortex brings about the complete objectification of nature. Every relationship is increasingly instrumentalized and technicized. Mechanization and industrialization have rapidly transformed the planet, exploding ecosystems and human communities with monoculture, industrial degradation and mass markets. The world now corresponds more closely to the prophetic warnings of primal peoples than to the hollow advertising claims of the industrial system: the plants disappearing and the animals dying, the soils denuded along with the human spirit, vast oceans poisoned, the very rain turned corrosive and deadly, human communities at war with one another over diminishing spoils and all poised on the brink of an even greater annihilation at the push of a few buttons within reach of stunted, half-dead [pathological people] in fortified bunkers. Civilization’s railroad leads not only to ecocide, but to evolutionary suicide. Every empire lurches toward the oblivion it fabricates and will eventually be covered with sand. Can a world worth inhabiting survive the ruin that will be left?”
~ David Watson, “Civilization in Bulk”
Industrial civilization, when guided by pathological people for profit and control, depends on imperialism- the invasion of foreign lands, the mass-murder and brainwashing of indigenous people, the brainwashing of its citizens, the perpetual consumption of resources, dehumanizing people as resources as well, ever-invading, ever-consuming with no regard for symbiosis, like a deadly virus. Clearly, the needs of the environment are more important than the needs of any fraudulent economic system which relies on perpetually increasing consumption. Therefore, any economic model or society that harms the environment upon which it depends is unsustainable, unethical, and, simply put, stupid. Any such system, therefore, must be either dismantled or reconfigured to harmonize with nature. Civilization (if such it can be called at this point) must be rapidly modified to become as sustainable on all levels. We have the capabilities to, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either underestimating the human potential to change or trying to make money off the perpetuation of an obsolete paradigm.
“The US Military spends well over a billion dollars per day to kill people “fighting the war on terror” and expanding US Imperialism. A billion dollars could pay for 5 million Third-World children to attend school for a year. For what the US spends to kill people people in 5 days, potable water could be provided to every human on the world who lacks it. Excluding land acquisition, the US government spends less on recover efforts for all endangered species than it spends on the military in 12 hours.”
~ Derek Jensen
We as privileged consumers are culpable in contributing to this mess, and if there is any conscience within in us, we must face this mess ourselves and strive to fix it in any way we can. Anything short of this is to tell lies to each other, and especially to ourselves, in order to maintain our predatory, unconscious, and violent way of living. It is a mistake to base our social priorities on profitability, convenience, or whether it is popular or offensive to complacent, politically-correct fence-sitters. Remember that we are led by psychopaths in power, and consequently the conventional culture is deeply ponerized, unable to judge right from wrong (see the section on “Statism & Authoritarianism”), deeply conditioned to fetishize superficial pleasure, violence, death, and retribution.
“There are periods in the life of humanity, which generally coincide with the beginning of the fall of cultures and civilizations, when the masses irretrievably lose their reason and begin to destroy everything that has been created by centuries and millenniums of culture. Such periods of mass madness, often coinciding with geological cataclysms, climatic changes, and similar phenomena of a planetary character, release a very great quantity of the matter of knowledge. This, in its turn, necessitates the work of collecting this matter of knowledge which would otherwise be lost. Thus the work of collecting scattered matter of knowledge frequently coincides with the beginning of the destruction and fall of cultures and civilizations.
This aspect of the question is clear. The crowd neither wants nor seeks knowledge, and the leaders of the crowd, in their own interests, try to strengthen its fear and dislike of everything new and unknown. The slavery in which mankind lives is based upon this fear. It is even difficult to imagine all the horror of this slavery. We do not understand what people are losing. But in order to understand the cause of this slavery it is enough to see how people live, what constitutes the aim of their existence, the object of their desires, passions, and aspirations, of what they think, of what they talk, what they serve and what they worship.”
~ Gurdjieff, “In Search of the Miraculous”
In the end, it comes down to priorities. Regardless of what the mass of humanity says or does, are you aspiring to live in ways which are more ecologically conscious? Are you walking or riding your bike for short trips, or do you drive your car? Are you consciously spending money supporting sustainable local farmers’ markets, or eating over-priced, pre-packaged, mass-processed, nutrition-less “food” stuffed with additives by corporate conglomerations that ruin the earth through chemically-induced agriculture and the horrific industrial torture of animals? Do you know how to grow your own food, and are you doing it now, perhaps in a community garden? For those whose time and money is obligated to raising children, dealing with a disorder, or just trying to make ends meet, are you at least taking some time out of your day to research and make more well-informed decisions? In this culture of convenience, most people waste a lot of time with superficial preoccupations and their own immediate pleasures. Are you willing to make necessary changes in your life? When self-work meeting practical application in our lives for the betterment of all life on Earth, we must be consciously developing ourselves to become more aware, more capable, more educated, more resourceful, and more loving, so that we become a benefit to the world and not just another bystander.
“The system is designed to harvest all of our energy and that’s why we have to step away from it. We’ve got to realize how much we are being played and open our eyes and begin to realize that everything we are facing comes down ultimately to the simple choice between right and wrong. The simple choice of the actions you take every day, the decisions that you make, the way you interact with people that is the simple fact of the matter.
And that’s why the situation could be changed so easily. Because it is a simple matter of people changing their perspective. Getting the information to a large enough amount of people for them to see the reality of it. Of course, breaking through the programing is also very difficult. The amount of social, economic and religious programming that people have been subject to is a huge problem. But again, even these types of programs can be overcome once people find themselves in a place of absolute hardship and scarcity, which is where we are going. That’s what is waking the world up by default . There are so many measures being used against us right now, the system is coming to people’s backyards. And so they are actually beginning to see the control routes for themselves, and that’s a good thing. It’s just a shame its got to a point of absolute hardship before they have actually seen it.
If we have strong supportive communities around these people then we can show them. There are people that care and that there is a better way we can do things. But its got to come down to the individual, by you making the correct moral choices in your actions. And don’t comply with anything that cause you to deviate from your moral compass. Just that action is enough to create huge ripples in reality. Imagine if the whole world started doing that. We could quite literally change the world in one day. That’s how simple it could be. It’s just getting the information to enough people. Not only getting the information to them but helping them to apply it to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, most people like to follow. To see that other people have done things and it didn’t get them in trouble, and say, “He got away with so maybe I will have a go too.” This is the way people think. And this is part of the fear program instilled in their minds, unfortunately.
Fear is the underlying mechanism of this whole system. Its all about fear based mind control. Fear based mind control is what prevents people from doing the right thing. It’s what prevents people from disobeying legislation. What prevents people from speaking out, speaking the truth, to their neighbors and friends, fear of what these people might think of them. So we police our own thoughts. We say what we believe people will want to hear. We say what people might perceive to be clever. We just want to say that which will make us popular, which is really unfortunate.
Truth is not a popularity contest. Life is not a popularity contest. Its about doing what you can with the potential that you have been given. We have enormous potential as a species. We each do individually. But combined as a species, we have unlimited potential. And that what I’d like to see us embrace. And that is everything that the system is designed to prevent us from realizing. The powers that be are desperate for us to never realize our own potential. They are desperate to keep us believing that the fiction they use to enslave us is real. And all this fiction does is keep us doing the wrong thing by each other. And its time we stopped that and question the morality of the system.
The system that is in place was apparently created by mankind to service our needs. So why is mankind the most expendable thing in the parameters of the system? Why does the system work so hard to balance the books rather than balance human consciousness? Balance the state of our societies. Balancing so that the people are living in their natural state of abundance, being in balance with the planet that we live on. What we got here is a massive state of imbalance. Because we have a very small group of people who have taken responsibility for everybody else and have done this by taking responsibility away from everybody and training the vast majority of society to give their responsibility and give their power away, and done that with the promise of trinkets, little games and little things to keep us happy, little designated entertainment zones we can go to, entertainment we can watch on the television or in the movies, different levels on the social ladder that we can attain, and when we get to these levels they give us little trinkets and toys to play with. And all at the expense of the earth.”
~ Max Igan & TheCrowhouse, “Creating the New Tribe”
Thankfully, despite this lack of consciousness, there is rapidly increasing awareness for ecological concerns, small-scale, decentralized, local solutions to sustainable food production, and the widespread implementation of alternative energies.
One might think that humanity is so fundamentally opposed with living in nature that, despite having their basic needs fulfilled in a more rural and natural lifestyle, they would run back to their conveniences given the slightest opportunity. Actually, evidence shows that the opposite is true. Having been present during an exchange of prisoners in upper New York between the Iroquois and the French in 1699, Cadwallader Colden in his book “The History of the Five Indian Nations” observed:
“Notwithstanding the French Commissioners took all the Pains possible to carry Home the French, that were Prisoners with the Five Nations, and they had full Liberty from the Indians, few of them could be persuaded to return. It may be thought that this was occasioned from the Hardships they had endured in their own country, under a tyrannical Government and a barren Soil: But this certainly was not the only Reason; for the English had just as much Difficulty to persuade the People, that had been taken Prisoners by the French Indians, to leave the Indian Manner of living, though no People enjoy more Liberty, and live in greater Plenty, than the common inhabitants of New-York do. No Arguments, no Intreaties, nor Tears of their Friends and Relations, could persuade many of them to leave their new Indian Friends and Acquaintance; several of them that were by the Caressings of their Relations persuaded to come Home, in a little Time grew tired of our Manner of living, and run away again to the Indians, and ended their Days with them. On the other Hand, Indian Children have been carefully educated among the English, cloathed and taught, yet, I think, there is not one Instance, that any of these, after they had Liberty to go among their own People, and were come to Age, would remain with the English, but returned to their own Nations, and became as fond of the Indian Manner of Life as those that knew nothing of a civilized Manner of Living. [This] has been found true on many other Occasions.”
Mirroring this natural inclination to reject “civilization” when allowed to live peacefully and enjoyably in nature, Benjamin Franklin, in his correspondence to Peter Collinson, wrote:
“When an Indian child is raised in white civilization, the civilizing somehow does not stick, and at the first opportunity he will go back to his red relations, from whence there is no hope whatever of redeeming him. But when white persons of either sex have been taken prisoners young by the Indians, and have lived a while among them, tho’ ransomed by their Friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a Short time they become disgusted with our manner of life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support it, and take the first good Opportunity of escaping again into the Woods, from whence there is no reclaiming them. […] There must be in the Indians’ social bond something singularly captivating, and far superior to be boasted of among us; for thousands of Europeans are Indians, and we have no examples of even one of those Aborigines having from choice become Europeans! There must be something very bewitching in their manners, something very indelible and marked by the very hands of Nature. For, take a young Indian lad, give him the best education you possibly can, load him with your bounty, with presents, nay with riches, yet he would secretly long for his native woods, which you would imagine he must have long since forgot; and on the first opportunity he can possibly find, you will see him voluntarily leave behind all you have given him and return with inexpressable joy to lie on the mats of his fathers.”
~ J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, in his “Letters from an American Farmer” in 1782
The fact is that the authoritarians dominating society have conditioned people to fear the unknown, imagining they need government to happily and peacefully survive. That might have been true in certain circumstances in the past, given the lack of consciousness and harsh conditions, but is that true anymore? The promising, liberating prospect of returning to a more localized agrarian society, given the advances in sustainable permaculture designs and technologies, could be a readily integrated reality even in urban environments. There are so many ways to change our local collective momentum in order to evolve ideas. Change starts closest to home since society at large is slower and more reluctant to change.
Thankfully, however, evolution is not a democracy. Truly transformative change always begins at the margins of society, and, regardless of the opinions of the mainstream, inevitably finds its way in to the mainstream in some way, shape, or form. Much like the naturalists and environmental activists of the early to mid-20th century that were dismissed as “crazy tree-hugging hippies”, today we see the global establishment of numerous organizations for wildlife preservation, ecological conservation, and alternative energies, and even a widely known political “Green Party”. In the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
No government, nor any mainstream institutions, will ever bring about the necessary creative solutions for the problems society faces. In fact, government has made living self-sufficiently off the grid ILLEGAL since it effectively removes government’s ability to directly control and regulate you. And if one well-known group of people do it it’s allowed to flourish and prosper, others will catch on and ask, “Why not us?” Therefore, it depends on the rebels, the innovators, the creative minority willing to forge ahead as quickly as possible, even at the risk of non-violently breaking the law, to establish new, more conscious, innovative, increasingly sustainable, scalable, and easily reproduced means of living.
But how might that look, and what are some simple steps we can tangibly apply?
Within the past century we have developed the necessary technological innovations and ecological understanding to efficiently provide healthy food, clean water, and reliable shelter for all people while sustainably operating within the natural dynamics upon which the entire world depends. Obviously, however, the emphasis on militarism and profiteering has overshadowed this potential. However, this radical change in living is an inevitable necessity. The real social struggle won’t be fought with weapons of mass destruction. It will be fought with acres of land, solar panels, rain collection, and off grid solutions. The goal is to stop participating in the obsolete authoritarian system and create our own. We can’t wait for Monsanto to build a nicer plant for us. We have to turn every inch we have into a productive landscape, and use our resources wisely to change the world in front of us. If you want a more peaceful world, if you dream of a better way, if you want to become more empowered, then it’s time to embrace domestic change and reoccupy your house. Free yourself step by step from shackles to their world and become truly sovereign. Teach each other ways to evolve. Learn from each other. Help each other. Build a different possibility. Granted, every environment has varying parameters for resources it can provide, so the following examples are meant to be taken as concepts for inspiration, not necessarily as solid solutions. Some modification may be required.
Year-Round Underground Gardening
Bee Hive: Collecting Honey Without Disturbing the Hive
How to Build a Vertical Garden from Soda Bottles
Grow an Acre of Food in a Shipping Container
DIY $50 Greenhouse w/ Plans
6 Vegetables That Can Grow from Scraps
Open Air Well
Advertisements turn air in to water
Makeshift Condensation Well
Air Wells, Dew Ponds, Fog Fences
Solar Seawater Distiller Turns Salt Water into Drinking Water Using Only Sunlight
Portable solar powered desalinization device
Thermosiphoning: Distribute Hot Water Without Electricity
Water Conserving Faucet Designs
Electrodialysis: Solar Powered Desalinization
TED Talk: Reversing Desertification
How to Restore Rainforests
Restoring Natural Balance – “How Wolves Change Rivers”
Magnet Driven Energy System
Hydroelectric Power from Turbines in Pipes
Portable Photocatalytic Electricity Generator & Water Purifier
Transparent Solar Cells
DIY Solar Power Generator
Improved Efficiency Interlocking Windmills
Electricity-Generating Tidal Lagoons
Urban Algae Canopy Produces Oxygen And Fuel
Glass Sphere Solar Energy Enhancement
Phoenix Towers: purify air and water, collect solar, wind, and hydrogen power, vertical gardening, rainwater harvesting, and harness biomass
Singapore’s Greenest Energy Efficient Hotel
Urban Community Vertical Farm Housing
Environmentally Friendly Houses Using Efficient 3D Printing
How To Build Your Own Inexpensive “A-Frame” Home
NexusHaus: Solar Powered, Water Conserving, Eco-Efficient House
Solar Powered Ecocapsule
DIY Modern Off Grid Tiny House
Unbelievable House Truck Transforms in to Eco-friendly Fantasy Castle
Gardening in Los Angeles’s 26 Square Miles of Vacant Lots (the equivalent of 20 New York Central Parks)
Precision 3D Printing
Multiple Uses for Hemp
Glass Roof Tiles
Light With No Energy
Self-Sustaining Floating Grid Island
Airless Tire Technology
Solar Powered Bicycle
Humanure Composting Toilet
Large Scale Natural Waste Management Methods
Energy Efficient Ocean Cleanup Systems
Eco-Friendly, Reusable Feminine Hygiene Products
Tangible Survival Skills
Living off the Grid
6,000 lbs of Food on Just 1/10 an Acre in the City (self-sustaining and profitable)
The Importance of Naturally Raising Animals
At this point, you may be wondering, even if we got rid of government, engaged in group self-work, and implemented these kind of alternative living strategies, what would that kind of society look like? How would it function? Let’s take a look at what would a government-less, psychologically-well adjusted, voluntary society in harmony with nature could realistically look like, and how can we feasibly begin to create it, shall we?
“In this century, the human race faces, once again, the virulent reign of the State—of the State now armed with the fruits of man’s creative powers, confiscated and perverted to its own aims. The last few centuries were times when men tried to place constitutional and other limits on the State, only to find that such limits, as with all other attempts, have failed. Of all the numerous forms that governments have taken over the centuries, of all the concepts and institutions that have been tried, none has succeeded in keeping the State in check. The problem of the State is evidently as far from solution as ever. Perhaps new paths of inquiry must be explored, if the successful, final solution of the State question is ever to be attained.”
~ Murray N. Rothbard, “Anatomy of the State”
“All experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
~ The United States Declaration of Independence
Obviously our ultimate goal is a free, prosperous, healthy, and loving society, but how do we get there? As said in the introduction (if it’s important, it bears repeating), in order to understand HOW, we must first understand the WHAT and WHY. So let’s begin with explaining why most people automatically think of terrible things at the very mention of the word “Anarchism”.
THE DEMONIZATION OF ANARCHISM
“For those who thought they joined a club, wherein Anarchy serves as some personality trait that sets a person apart in their identity, they’ll soon find themselves disappointed and disillusioned. Anarchism isn’t an active hobby, personality trait, club, or attribute. It’s not a solution to anything. It is not a lifestyle, nor is it a rubric for how to live. It isn’t an answer to your everyday problems. Anarchy is the lack of a problem. It is the lack of someone trying to use the threat of death to make you do what they want.”
~ Amanda Rachwitz (Strunmah Fahliil), “Anarchy is Not a VIP Pass, Not a Church, Not an Identity”
The philosophy of Voluntarism/ Anarchism is an ancient concept that has always been purposefully demonized by the “powers that be” so as to deter people from ever giving it sincere thought or study. Why? Given the prior analysis showing government to be an institution based on violence, interested first and foremost in its own power and control, it’s easy to understand why the liberating philosophy of Anarchism has been targeted. It is often linked in mainstream culture with “violence and chaos”, with the cliché image of young, masked desperados dressed in black, smashing windows firmly etched in to fears of society. The mainstream narrative reduces a richly liberating concept to a marginalized parody due to the fact that Voluntarism/ Anarchism threatens the status-quo and the self-granted authority of the State by asking it to rationally justify itself and prove that it is legitimate, which of course it fails to do in every way under thorough examination (addressed in the sections on “Government”, “Statism & Authoritarianism”, and “Voting”).
“When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find that far more, and far more hideous, crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.”
~ C.P. Snow
Throughout history, Anarchists have always just been people who wanted the freedom to live without the oppression of mandatory government, to live peacefully on their own, to live without being robbed, forced, or brutalized by government. But despite the numerous attempts to put the Anarchist ideal in to practice, notably in the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the Spanish Revolution of 1936, the embryonic experiments were ruthlessly crushed by government and institutions with a vested interest in supporting the State. Due to the State’s refusal to simply allow free and unregulated sovereignty to people (even Native American tribal sovereignty is only partial), throughout history, some anarchists (much like governments targeting foreign countries) have felt that the only way to speed up the collapse of the oppressive State and bring about a regime change was to go on the attack. They felt justified with a sense of retribution in opposing State Terrorism with acts of individual terrorism against agents or property of the State, as well as the owners and products of state-controlled industry. To them, as the saying goes, “Terrorism is the war of the poor and oppressed, and war is the terrorism of the rich and privileged.” They contested that the force which maintained the existing order MUST be overthrown by force. Given the EXTREMELY arduous conditions of those times- limited technology and communication, limited education, virtually no social mobility, highly regulated and distorted public information, overt socially accepted sexism and racism, religious domination, caught in the crossfire of wars- it’s understandable that people, driven to desperation, would lash out utilizing violence in the absence of effective, non-violent methods to defend against the tyranny of the aristocracy.
The anarchists of the nineteenth-century were undoubtedly driven by the tradition of revolutionary violence forged by the “success” of both the American and French Revolutions. From a causal perspective, history clearly illustrates that when disinherited and disillusioned masses have been conditioned to revere violence, the responsibility intrinsically lies not with the masses, but with the pitiless ruling classes who have conditioned them in this direction for centuries. The aristocracy and bourgeoisie, upheld in some cases by the last vestiges of the feudal system, are primarily responsible for fueling the wheels of influence with the romanticized fetishism of violence throughout all of society. They’ve coerced hundreds of millions of impoverished youth to undergo military training and pour themselves out on to the battlefields. They are responsible for dividing the entire world into nationalist camps, inherently at odds with each other. They have endorsed, exacerbated, and profited from belligerent warfare for generations. They have corrupted the very spirit of humanity through a mechanized disciplinary system in schools, churches, factories, barracks, and prisons.
“If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.”
~ Victor Hugo, “Les Misérables”
“If countless numbers of the disinherited and the disillusioned have been brought to take up those very arms which were legally imposed on them against their own private “enemy at home “- the ruling class- the responsibility Iies less with them than with their pitiless masters, who have educated them in this direction for centuries past.
It is the bourgeoisie, too, who, upheld everywhere by, the last vestiges of the feudal system, has spread the romantic ideology of violence right down to the lowest strata of the lower middle classes and proletariat. They are the ones who, ever since the French Revolution, have forced the sons of the poor to undergo military training by the millions and who poured them out into the trenches in 1914. They have divided the entire world into national camps, ready to tear each other to pieces at any moment. They have developed scientific warfare, beginning with the powder and shot which was used against the armour and the castle-walls of the nobility, until they have now come to the point of throwing gas and incendiary bombs on defenseless crowds, women, children, sick people, animals. They have corrupted the people’s spirit by a disciplinary system unworthy of human beings, in factories, barracks, prisons, etc. They have introduced, with the Church’s consent, warships, cruisers, submarines, bombers and military airships, and have carried the art of murder into the very stratosphere. And so it is the bourgeoisie, helped always by those representing the ancient spirit of the nobility and clergy, who have given the proletariat a taste for using these tools of destruction, encouraging them to employ them more and more in civil and revolutionary wars against their real social enemy, the ruling class. If the white working-class and the coloured peoples believe in the efficacy of violence to further their own noble cause, the blame must be put on the international bourgeoisie, who, what is more, are still attacking all who fight for justice and liberty with the most fiendish weapons.”
~ Bart De Ligt, “The Conquest of Violence: An Essay of War and Revolution”
The Spanish and Russian Revolutions demonstrated the last great outbursts of violence by anarchists on a large scale. Since World War II, the anarchist movement, inspired by Proudhon, Tolstoy, Gandhi, and de Ligt, has become ever more non-violent and constructive. The majority of anarchists understand that not only do “the means influence the ends”, but “the means are ends-in-the-making”. Violence always results in more violence. In the victim, violence creates lingering resentment and hostility leading to either counter-violence, or trauma leading to further destructive behavior. In the perpetrator, violence encourages the habit of brutality, enforcing pathological justifications, and a knee-jerk readiness to resort to further violence. A violent revolution in the name of Anarchism is therefore self-defeating and demands the impossible when attempting to bring about any fundamental transformation in human relations.
In recent times, due to the increasing ability to more easily communicate, innovate, and thereby live outside the regulations of the system, the tendency toward violence by Anarchists/ Voluntarists has virtually disappeared, returning to the core principles of non-coercive free association. In fact, looking at the history of riots, from general outrage due to police brutality (the L.A. Riots and Baltimore Riots to name a few modern American examples) to the drunken sports-related frenzy of the mob, these violent demonstrations are far more likely to be done by those who aren’t anarchists. Anarchists, by comparison to Statists, are extremely peaceful and just want to live freely in cooperative harmony.
Many Statists (who are all too often woefully unfamiliar with the history of Anarchism) proclaim that any time people try to live without government, it turns in to mayhem! Yet they never have any legitimate examples to reference since the notion is a complete fabrication. There are, in fact, numerous unincorporated areas that exist with little-or-no government and smaller, predominantly peaceful, societies (some with modern comforts) with no government. Yet there are literally MILLIONS of examples of conflict, violence, oppression, injustice, and murder which have occurred as a direct result of the belief in “authority”. Perhaps Statists will point to a once-government-less example like Somalia, but violence in these types of circumstances are due to people fighting over “who gets to be the new authority,” which , of course, is not Voluntarism/ Anarchism.
Like any ideology, Anarchism has its share of psychologically imbalanced or desperate individuals who seek to channel their personal problems into some kind of apocalyptic revolution. But unlike other social philosophies, these are exceptions. The great majority of anarchists are driven by a voluntary vision of freedom, love, and peace. For this ideal, they have often been prepared to give up their privileges and comforts, living on the margins of society in a state of permanent protest and open rebellion.
The fact is that violence by anarchists pales in comparison to the atrocities committed by Statists, but both stem from the same reasons:
- the developmental cultural conditioning of violent Statist upbringings
- the inability to maturely and respectfully deal with distress (as addressed in the section on “Self-Work”)
- lack of broader perspective and intellectual efficacy to resolve problems through higher education (also addressed in the section on “Self-Work)
- lack of clear, non-violent social avenues through which to effect transformative social reform (addressed in the sections on “Government” and “Voting”)
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
~ John F. Kennedy
The famous anarchist Peter Kropotkin was repulsed by any “terrorist acts”, yet he saw these acts with compassion and empathy, as the inevitable outcome of oppressive social conditions, with the people having lost confidence by any other means. In correspondence to a friend, he wrote, “Personally, I hate these explosions, but I cannot stand as a judge to condemn those who are driven to despair.” In Kropotkin’s commemoration to the Paris Commune of 1871, he recalls a firsthand account:
“On March 18, 1871, the people of Paris rose against a despised and detested government, and proclaimed the city independent free, belonging to itself. This overthrow of the central power took place without the usual stage effects of revolution, without the firing of guns, without the shedding of blood upon barricades. When the armed people came out into the streets, the rulers fled away, the troops evacuated the town, the civil functionaries hurriedly retreated to Versailles carrying everything they could with them. The government evaporated like a pond of stagnant water in a spring breeze, and on the nineteenth the great city of Paris found herself free from the impurity which had defiled her, with the loss of scarcely a drop of her children’s blood.
However, a few days later the French government rallied its armies against the barricaded uprising and, without any mercy or diplomacy, mercilessly and indiscriminately killed over 20,000 men, women, and children.
After having shut in the people of Paris and closed all means of exit, the Versailles government let loose soldiers upon them; soldiers brutalized by drink and barrack life, who had been publicly told to make short work of “the wolves and their cubs.” To the people it was said:
“You shall perish, whatever you do! If you are taken with arms in your hands, death! If you use them, death! If you beg for mercy, death! Whichever way you turn, right left, back, forward, up, down; death! You are not merely outside the law, you are outside humanity. Neither age nor sex shall save you and yours. You shall die, but first you shall taste the agony of your wife, your sister, your mother, your sons and daughters, even those in the cradle! Before your eyes the wounded man shall be taken out of the ambulance and hacked with bayonets or knocked down with the butt end of a rifle. He shall be dragged living by his broken leg or bleeding arm and flung like a suffering, groaning bundle of refuse into the gutter. Death! Death! Death!”
And after this mad orgy, these piles of corpses, this wholesale extermination, came the petty revenge, the cat o’nine tails, the irons in the ship’s hold, the blows and insults of the jailers, the semistarvation, all the refinements of cruelty. Can the people forget these base deeds?”
~ Arthur Arnould, “Histoire populaire et parlementaire de la Commune de Paris”, 1878
In the end, Kropotkin saw a justification for violence only as a last resort in self-defense in the absence of any non-violent alternatives. Kropotkin’s conclusion mirrors a sentiment shared with one of the most influential activists of the 20th century:
“When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you – pull your beard, flick your face – to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor.”
~ John Lennon
All things considered, from theory, practice, history, and the present day: Voluntarism/ Anarchism is THE most peaceful means of social cooperation.
WHAT ANARCHISM/ VOLUNTARISM IS
“Anarchism recognises only the relative significance of ideas, institutions, and social conditions. It is, therefore not a fixed, self enclosed social system, [with answers to all the various multifaceted problems] but rather a definite trend in the historical development of mankind, which, in contrast with the intellectual guardianship of all clerical and governmental institutions, strives for the free unhindered unfolding of all the individual and social forces in life. Even freedom is only a relative, not an absolute concept, since it tends constantly to broaden its scope and to affect wider circles in manifold ways. For the Anarchist, freedom is not an abstract philosophical concept, but the vital concrete possibility for every human being to bring to full development all capacities and talents with which nature has endowed him, and turn them to social account. The less this natural development of man is interfered with by ecclesiastical or political guardianship, the more efficient and harmonious will human personality become, the more will it become the measure of the intellectual culture of the society in which it has grown.”
~ Rudolph Rocker
Anarchism is a social inevitability. Notice that Libertarian ideals, which Anarchism represents in its fullest, continue to shift the sociopolitical dialogue further towards individual rights, generally gaining ground incrementally throughout history (certain setbacks aside) shaping the world as we know it in a rapidly increasing trend. Notice that the general political trends throughout history in principle have gradually been getting closer and closer to the individualism of Anarchism; progressing from Feudalism, to Dictatorship, to Fascist Autocracy, to Republic, to Communism, to Federalism, to Democracy, and now to modern day Libertarianism and Agorism. Now more than ever, people are beginning to free themselves from the unquestioned pigeonholing of religion and authoritarian programming in numerous ways. The growth towards decentralization and freedom is seen furthermore in developing modern trends such as Tor, I2P, Mesh Networking, ever more sophisticated encryption, Bitcoin, torrenting, the Silk Road, OpenBazaar, open-source 3D printing, Defense Distributed, and the increasing demand for independent alternative energy systems. Rather than initiating violent confrontations with the State (which only instigates more repression), anarchists strive, akin to concepts of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Gustav Landauer, to make the State and other oppressive institutions obsolete by founding new innovative methods of commerce, economics, and influencing culture through personal empowerment. This is the essence of the tactic of Agorism.
As a movement, Anarchism has only partially actualized on a large scale for brief periods during times of social upheaval, yet its principles have gone a long way in creating and influencing alternative institutions, as well as transforming everyday life of many individuals. Anarchism has historically achieved popularity throughout various parts of the world and continues to this day. For example: In India, the Saroodaya movement strived to develop a decentralized society of self-sufficient, autonomous village republics. The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 resembled the Anarcho-Syndicalist tradition, fighting for self-determining workers’ councils against Soviet Russia’s Communism led by Stalin’s regime. There are numerous examples (which would require an entire book on their own) but none quite so revealing as the “New Left”, a Western political movement throughout all walks of life in Europe and America in the 60’s and 70’s which stood for participatory democracy (instead of representative democracy), decentralization, workers’ control, self-managing sovereignty, and freedom from the constraints of coercive conformity – all of which are central Anarchist themes.
Even though Anarchism has no specific “class base”, its universal and self-evident truths have appealed to the most brilliant minds and remarkable workers around the world. In the last century alone, Anarchism has found its most famous proponents across all classes: within the aristocracy like Bakunin, Kropotkin, and Tolstoy, in peasants like Proudhon and Goldman, and with landowners like Malatesta. In the post-modern era, Anarchism has found its strongest support among ‘white collar’ workers: students, activists, teachers, doctors, architects, entrepreneurs, artists, and other intellectuals. Anarchism is far more than a revolt of oppressed and underprivileged visionaries, but also an evolutionary transformation of the affluent who are not satisfied with the status quo of consumerism and spectating, and see the greater potential within society to become more prolific, loving, and conscious.
We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.” ~ Henry Thoreau
Anarchism stands for several things:
- direct, individual, voluntary autonomy instead of remote, coercive bureaucracies
- the organic community instead of imposed mass-society
- the harmonious integration of town and country instead of rural deprivation and urban anomie
- and, fundamentally, relationships inspired by trust and solidarity instead of social predation rooted in self-interest and fear
Anarchists recognize that there are many rooms in the communal house of sovereignty and therefore support a diversity of movements which do not legitimize government and work in an anti-authoritarian direction, regardless of which particular branch of Anarchism suits the community (so quit your in-fighting, fellow anarchists, or we’ll turn this evolutionary bus around so fast it’ll make your head spin!). Anarchists avoid power pyramids and instead develop networks of co-operation. They create alternative institutions: free schools which encourage a multifaceted approach, learning by desire and responding to individual needs (covered in the section on “Education”), farms and factories founded in the principles of self-management and workers’ control, as well as housing associations and cultural communes that pool resources to varying degrees, trading skills and conviviality. Anarchists work to develop creative counter-cultures which reconcile the seeming rifts between science and art, reason and imagination, as well as the foundations of mind and body. They are rooted in the here and now, yet hold a visionary gaze toward the future, effectively streamlining and innovating their lives to run as healthily, sustainably, and consciously as possible.
By changing oneself, people transform the character of social relationships. Since the consensus delusion of “government’ is largely founded on personal opinion, as Godwin and Tolstoy observed, the most expedient way to wither it away is when enough people recognize that it is both harmful and unnecessary, and thereby withdraw their support (as is already happening more and more). This process may be long and gradual, but a free and voluntary society can only be achieved when society consists of well-informed people (hence the primary necessity for Self-Work). Liberation can only occur when individuals have liberated themselves. Hence, Anarchism is not necessarily for everyone, and cannot be forced upon anyone by its very nature.
“That government is best which governs not at all’; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
The only “laws”, if such they can be called, which Anarchism upholds are the “Laws of Nature” which are self-evident to sustain the ecological systems upon which humanity depends upon to survive (discussed in the section on “Environmentalism”).
Nature does not make “mistakes” (although the koala is suspect…). Therefore, identifying the accelerating trend of complexifying consciousness throughout the entire history of evolution points us to a crucial aspect regarding a unifying purpose. In light of the trend toward accelerated, complexifying consciousness, Anarchism sees humanity as an extension of nature, not opposed to nature, generally with an added unique capacity for self-reflection, higher knowledge, and spectacular rapid creativity. With this remarkable array of abilities, coupled with the natural proclivity towards social unity, Anarchism is capable and confident that humanity’s creativity, intelligence, and self-reflective empathy will communally coalesce in to a natural harmony of interests. Anarchism rejects authoritarian organization and dominance hierarchy, but not organization and hierarchy, per se, since both are inherent to nature. Natural organization (also known as “Spontaneous Order”) dictates how elements interact in balance to find a dynamic equilibrium. This aspect of nature operates on all levels, dictated by the Laws of Nature; our understanding of which comprises the Natural Sciences, including: physics, biology, chemistry, geology, the atmospheric sciences, oceanography, and astronomy.
Hierarchy is simply a model used to distinguish by contextual importance or ability, and has two primary sub-categories: “Dominance hierarchies” and “Empowerment hierarchies”, both of which are naturally occurring for organizational purposes, but not equal. In its most basic terms, Dominance Hierarchies use violence and coercion to dictate order of resources and control others. It is a “Service to Self” oriented worldview, essentially treating others as either resources or competition at the bottom line. We see this throughout the animal kingdom, from fish, to birds, to chimpanzees, one of humanity’s closest relatives. Empowerment Hierarchies, on the other hand, prefer to see things as a “Wholearchy” where compassion, non-coercive cooperation, and empowerment mutually strengthens the inherent interdependence within social groups. This is a more “Service to Others” oriented worldview which not only benefits both self AND others simultaneously, but also has an inherent respect and balance for the environment upon which it depends. We see examples of this with bee and ant colonies, the cells and organs in our bodies, and Bonobo monkeys- humanity’s other closest relative. Since humanity has tended much more toward Dominance Hierarchies, it’s no wonder that many people see the terms “hierarchy” and “order” with an oppressive, rather than empowering, natural connotation.
But then, even if all individuals lead themselves, who “leads” society? Depending on whether in a Dominance or Empowerment Hierarchy, the distinctions of contextual importance and ability which distinguish the hierarchy naturally inherently bestow a dynamic of power which is then construed as either “Authority” in the dominance model, where authority gets to boss people around, and “Leadership” in the empowerment model, where cooperation to empowering leadership is voluntary, seen as advise, and people retain their autonomy. Also, people freely have the right to opt-out and leave a voluntary, society if they disagree with it. So, essentially, the worst thing that could happen from no longer having violent thugs (government) violently ruling over people is that circumstances don’t work out and the community decides it wants to re-instate a government. The worst thing that could happen is that things stay the same (which really says a lot, when you think about it). So what’s the danger in striving for an empowering, voluntary society and allowing it to happen?
Discussion of social order implicitly raises the ever-shifting consideration of “Human Nature”. In Anarchist literature, there isn’t a consensus of what “Human Nature” is. Instead of discussing the philosophical distinctions throughout the many notables of Anachism – Godwin’s rational benevolence, Bakunin’s destructive energy, Stirner’s conscious egoism, and Kropotkin’s calm altruism – the overarching theme most Anarchists can all agree upon is the importance of Self-Work and Education, with great faith in the creative energies of humanity. After all, “Human Nature” is not a fixed essence, but a constant transformation to whatever degree we can embrace it. In terms of “Nature vs. Nurture”, Anarchism largely considers people both as products of their circumstance, but also having a varying capacity to change it and themselves, which is exponentially liberated when the burden of the State is removed and people are allowed to develop in creative and voluntary relations with others. While there are those with severe anti-social, violent personality disorders, often the conditions that create them come as a direct result of living in a sick society. However, there are ways of healing and co-existing with these rare conditions. Anarchism sees the accomplishments of society, and its potential capability to wisely overcome any obstacle, peacefully organizing itself with nature.
Ultimately, sovereign people must decide for themselves how to live. Therefore, it’s worth offering outlined glimpses of how a free society could organize based on the principles of sovereign self-management, free association, and solidarity. Let’s explore how this might apply in various aspects of society.
“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity, or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” ~ Paulo Freire, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”
The degree to which we are educated is the degree to which we are better able to improve the lives of ourselves, our friends, and the world. Compared to any other time in recorded history, we are remarkably privileged to have knowledge more easily accessible to those who want to learn. Think back in your life and consider how amazingly knowledge has improved your life. Due to its increase over time, we become more aware, savvy, strong, self-reliant, eloquent, helpful, and generally capable of navigating life with greater ease and insight. It is the cornerstone to the evolution of consciousness. Knowing this, one has to wonder why people wouldn’t voraciously strive to become as well-educated as possible throughout their lives!
Education is far more than school, it’s a lifelong process that never ends. Yet for many people, the word “education” has become synonymous with “school”, carrying the same dreaded associations: fear-based obedience and conformity, mind-numbing repetition, and the revolving door of bitter, underpaid teachers teaching bitter, uninterested children through a narrow, archaic, perfunctory curriculum. Going deeper, the educational system acts not as a pathway to an open horizon of inquiry, but a surreptitiously monitored and heavily regulated corridor where students are herded and corralled in to a governmentally-sanctioned inlet of inquiry. With such negative associations, it’s no wonder that the impetus to learn in many young adults, once let loose from the obligatory confines of academic institutions, becomes increasingly relegated to the margins of importance and enjoyment.
Anarchists understand that people are naturally inclined to learn, whether by inspiration or necessity, otherwise humanity wouldn’t have evolved. Since the dawn of our ancestors, we’ve self-educated, seeking to overcome obstacles, limitations, and make life better for ourselves WITHOUT government regulations and compulsory scholastic demands. While there are positive aspects to traditional schooling (not to throw the baby out with the bathwater), overall, Anarchism finds the mandatory, impersonal monotony which comprises much of the “standardized educational system” to be counterproductive to self-actualization. Anarchism sees it to be illiberal and immoral to coercively condition children against learning freely with the rhythms of their own intrinsic curiosity, intelligence, learning style, and proclivities, but, instead, simply for the sake of grades and approval from authority. In such a case, because the education does not stem from voluntary participation and inquiry, it’s often quickly forgotten. Education is best applied when designed to encourage voluntary, unabashed creativity, unyielding curiosity, critical thinking, and a worldly perspective- the opposite of what’s happening today.
“Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci
“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” ~ Plato
This liberated educational perspective is not some utopian fantasy, but is deeply rooted throughout history. One of the most historically notable and influential expressions of this is the Socratic Method, which was perhaps Socrates’ most important contribution to Western thought. It was originally “largely applied to the examination of key moral concepts such as the Good and Justice. It was first described by Plato in the Socratic Dialogues. To solve a problem, it would be broken down into a series of questions, the answers to which gradually distill the answer a person would seek. The influence of this approach is most strongly felt today in the use of the scientific method, in which hypothesis is the first stage. The development and practice of this method is one of Socrates’ most enduring contributions, and is a key factor in earning his mantle as the father of political philosophy, ethics or moral philosophy, and as a figurehead of all the central themes in Western philosophy.
To illustrate the use of the Socratic method; a series of questions are posed to help a person or group to determine their underlying beliefs and the extent of their knowledge. The Socratic method is a negative method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions. It was designed to force one to examine one’s own beliefs and the validity of such beliefs.”
Much like the classical method of critical thinking via the Trivium (discussed in the section on “Self-Work”) which allows one to efficiently discern logical fallacies and question one’s beliefs and identity, it’s no wonder that the original essence of the Socratic Method has been greatly suppressed and co-opted to appease the prerogatives of a largely authoritarian, conformist society. A look in to the history of the American public educational system shows that the public education system is predicated upon meeting the needs of industrialism, and it’s very much the same around the world. It has harvested the minds of youth for generations, breaking down and conforming potential genius in to easily categorized economic commodities, stripping away creativity and independent thought. It overwhelms delicate minds with crippling amounts of homework which has been proven to be counterproductive and damaging in many ways to children (I’m sure the teachers don’t like it either, since it makes more work for them). It precariously places academic achievement over psychological health and personal expression, perpetuating developmental prejudices, dismissing the resulting depression, anxiety, disinterest, and anger as merely “teenage angst” or “ADHD”. Clearly this limited education system, established way back in the 1800’s, have proven to be in need of radical rethinking.
The future is changing in ways we cannot imagine, and in the 16 years it takes to raise a child, it will only continue to accelerate bringing about ever more unforeseeable challenges. The best way to overcome the challenges we face is to utilize creativity to its fullest potential to solve these issues. Anarchism seeks to fully support the individual’s totality of potential through nourishing their creative capacity and thinking outside the rigid confines of archaic traditions. To educate solely within the framework of a bygone era is like trying to drive a car forward by only looking at the rearview mirrors. To try and help a society using the same self-destructive culture that fuels the problems is, at best, nonsensical and counterproductive, and, at worst, insane. We owe children the best we can provide, and in order to do that, we need a massive change. On the whole, the State-run, industrially-inclined educational and professional training system is, in the words of Noam Chomsky, “a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on — because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions.” To free ourselves of the political shackles acting as an anchor to human evolution requires that we fundamentally free ourselves of the mental shackles imposed upon us from childhood.
“To help [the child] understand the ways of authority and not be caught in the net of society is education.”
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Thankfully, despite the trend of conventional public education, there have been an increasing amount of alternative schools throughout modern history, most notably beginning with “The Modern (Ferrer) Schools” in the early 20th century. Presently, there are hundreds of alternative schools moving toward the ideals of Anarchism which utilize more expansive educational modalities to fit the idiosyncratic, holistic needs of both parents and children. To name a few:
– Waldorf (Steiner) Education and its subsequent Camphill Movement for the disabled
– Contemplative Education which combines Western Scholarship with Eastern Wisdom.
– Integral Education which facilitates the interdisciplinary integration of body-mind-spirit, valuing the emotional, spiritual, intellectual, creative, somatic, and social dimensions of human potentiality.
– Team Education which combines community service, personal exploration, wilderness adventure, and team building ropes courses.
These schools and methods are simply a few examples of many which illustrate the profound and prolific alternative avenues which could more easily proliferate through the decentralization, streamlining, and holistic innovation of Anarchism through society’s conception of education. Fundamental subjects like Math, Science, and Language can be introduced to students in ways that are appealing and applicable, though not compulsory. This places the sole responsibility on the educators to appeal to the child’s interests and needs, while caring for its natural self rather than repressing the child through coercion and condemnation to conform. This method not only exponentially increases the child’s desire to learn, but also mitigates the harmful psychological byproducts caused by the variations of authoritarian child abuse.
The harmful psychological side effects are worth briefly mentioning, since the consequences of education are not only intellectual, but deeply psychological as well. Among the many possible side-effects of coercive childcare (which is an oxymoron) during the formative years is a condition termed “Narcissistic Wounding”. Those who suffer from “Narcissistic Wounding” are raised within a parental/ guidance system that is, to varying degrees and for whatever reason, largely involved in getting its own needs met, with the emotional needs of the guardianship often superseding those of the child. The children in such “narcissistic family systems” try to earn love, attention, and approval by satisfying their guardians under threat of condemnation, neglect, or punishment, subsequently suppressing and subjugating their own needs, feelings, and emotional expression. This chronic emotional suppression developed early on creates numerous consequences later on in life, such as dysfunctional relationships with little emotional depth, as well as repressed sadness, anger, and anxiety creating psychosomatic issues later on in life, and, if heavily compounded on a sensitive psyche, an inability to healthily function in life due to post-traumatic stress disorders. Not only do these children have difficulty talking about their feelings, but they have difficulty even knowing how they feel since this trauma triggers a chronic defense mechanism known as “armoring” which numbs against repressed painful emotions. These children often become either physically disembodied and/or emotionally disassociated (as we see with many adults today), and are subsequently forced to take pharmaceuticals at an alarming rate. As these children grow with the habit of marginalizing their emotions, the discarded emotions fester beneath a mask of “well-adjusted” productivity, and as they grow in to adults, eventually the unconscious inner world spills over in to the conscious reality as behavioral pathologies, like neurosis, chronic anxiety, depression, codependent relationships, or they begin to take their toll on the body as chronic illness, ulcers, grinding of teeth, tight muscles, poor posture, drug abuse, and weight gain resulting in heart disease- the leading cause of death in America.
In summary, the importance of educational reform, which implies our relationship to children, goes much deeper than one might imagine for all walks of life. By emphasizing the importance of the sovereign, aesthetic, somatic, and environmental experience in our education, we rekindle the healthy connections, both within and without, that have been disembodied and estranged throughout the process of industrialized academic assimilation. Insight in to the multiple intelligences and learning styles (covered in the section on “Self-Work”), combined with recent studies on the numerous beneficial effects of alternative healing modalities like meditation, especially in schools, shed light on the transformative potential to be found in this deep reservoir of untapped human potential that must be vigorously explored in order to expediently reform the methods by which our children are nurtured and shape the future.
“Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.” ~ H.G. Wells
Many statists don’t really care about education though (perhaps in theory, but often not in practice) and their genuine, deeper concerns rest in their possessions and desire to feel safe At the core of the justification, Statists will attempt to rationalize the necessity for government to exercise ultimate control and regulation in the economic sphere, to ensure a just system of distribution, to maintain peace between rivaling interests, to settle disputes, and care for its disadvantaged citizens. In the words of Noam Chomsky on Anarchism: “Anarchism is a tendency in human development that seeks to identify structures of hierarchy, domination, authority, and others that constrain human development, and then it seeks to subject them to a very reasonable challenge: Justify yourself. Demonstrate that you’re legitimate. […] And if you can’t meet that challenge, which is the usual case, the structure should be dismantled. Not just deconstructed, but reconstructed from below.”
Let’s deconstruct and reconstruct these flimsy and illegitimate pretenses for necessitating government and show how they could be accomplished in a Voluntary society just as well, if not better.
This efficacy of the State in regulating the wellbeing of economics has fallen woefully wanting, repeating throughout history for various reasons, most of which has to do with the fraudulent, debt-based foundation of the monetary system and the subsequent systematic subversion caused by private banks, stock market trade, and other private interests (previously discussed in the section on “Government”). The destructive financial and resource inefficiency (a nice way of saying “despotic opulence”) of the State, exemplified by the lavish personal spending by politicians, their security, the Pentagon, frivolous global funding, its police spending, Military-Industrial-Congressional complex, and Prison-Industrial complex has proven itself to be invariably greater than its protective potential, creating far greater harm than help in maintaining financial fairness and stability. The ridiculously wasteful nature of government, evidenced by the illegitimate fraudulence of the entire financial system, the poor oversight and mismanagement of finances has allowed for over $11 TRILLION to go unaccounted for (approximately $35,000 for ever man, woman, and child in the US), all illustrates that government is parasitic, unqualified, unethical, and dishonest in regulating economics, and is therefor more than a danger- it is completely unnecessary.
“Workers should be the masters of their own industrial fate. Not tools rented by employers, not directed by state authorities.” ~John Dewey
So what would an economy built on the principles of truth, fairness, and sustainability look like? What is the model? From where is it emerging? How do we strategize to fully implement it? After all, simple alterations have been proven never to solve these problems. The current “solution” (in a nutshell) is to print more money, which leads to the downward spiral of debt, inflation, and the devaluation of currency. Under the current system, if we hit the economic brake, unemployment and inequality will continue to increase. If we hit the economic accelerator, we’ll continue irreparably destroying ecosystems and run out of planet. In a situation that seems like a double-bind, amid the tangle (a veritable Gordian Knot) of economic, social and ecological interests and challenges, Anarchism is acutely aware of the great effort required to design, communicate, streamline, coordinate, and agree upon detailed social policies and programs. Therefore, considering the mistakes of the past and the brightest vision of the future, there are various valuable initiatives and principles which can serve as a guideline for a rapid transition to a just, sustainable, and prosperous economic future.
1. Replacing secretive, corporate control of key financial and economic decisions with completely transparent, community based, democratically accountable institutions and processes.
2. Reprioritizing sustainable local production and distribution systems, especially in relation to finance, energy, and food, instead of being dependent and indentured to global corporate oligarchies.
Relevant Links: http://www.intervale.org/
3. Implementing an immediate and sweeping shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy systems, prioritizing energy efficiency and management measures needed to conclusively understand and reduce the likelihood of runaway climate change and ecological instability.
4. Shifting developmental priorities from the consumption of energy and materials toward environmental sustainability, education, health, and wellbeing.
Through these kinds of alternative systems, production, distribution, and consumption is organized through coordinating groups at local, regional, and even larger levels, seeking to harmoniously balance regional differences. Though this may seem utopian to pessimists, anarchists, taking one modern example, point to the history of highly complex coordination and agreements among international airlines and expansive railways reached through compromise, understanding, and negotiation, without a centralized authority imposing its will. It’s against the principles of anarchism to impose a “one size fits all” system of exchange, but there are many ways to conduct business and wisely reconfigure social structures, and seen in the links above. In comparison to economic systems of past and present, it’s evident that there none are quite so prolific as those that would flourish utilizing the principles of Anarchism, as evidenced by influence of Anarchism further spreading gradually, but increasingly throughout mainstream.
“State communism and international capitalism are failing to achieve their stated aims. The New Left and the growing Green movement have all taken up the classic anarchist demands of a decentralized economy with small-scale units and a harmonious balance between field and factory. Anarchism extolled the virtues of ‘ Small is Beautiful’ before it became a popular slogan, and has long stressed the benefits of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. It has always put human beings before things, and seen no value in economic growth for its own sake. As the twenty-first century approaches, anarchists are no longer idealists swimming against the economic current. Indeed, their recommendations may well prove prerequisites to survival.” ~ Peter Marshall
In terms of social organization, aligned with the principles of sovereignty and decentralization, anarchists encourage an organic and voluntary grouping of people based on cultural, geographical, and ecological regions. They work in harmony with ‘bioregions’, areas shaped by natural boundaries with their own natural ecology, rather than the arbitrary lines on a map drawn by a bureaucrat. Whether cosmopolitan by nature or necessity, given the inevitability of international interests, Anarchists would like to go beyond the narrow ties of tribe, class, race, and local landbase. They see no virtue in xenophobic nationalism. However, Anarchism is not opposed to a nation comprising a community of communities based on the aforementioned principles, as it would be seen as a natural part of the ever-widening, inherent interconnectedness of humanity.
In a voluntary society of free-association, no centralized authority would exist to impose its orders with coercion. With the disbanding of the State, society would most likely organize into decentralized federations of autonomous districts comprised of sovereign communities. The fundamental unit of society varies depending on the collective importance, for example: Godwin’s idea of the parish; Proudhon’s idea of the workers’ association; and Bakunin and Kropotkin’s idea of the commune. These would coalesce not as a hierarchical pyramid, but as a net, with the communities forming the knots. Free from the centralization of the State, along with its imposed authority and inequalities, society and its people would thereby be able to grow more befittingly with the immediate needs of life, unencumbered by endless bureaucratic restrictions. The social solidarity of collective interests, coupled with the advantages of a free and communal life, will ensure social cohesion and order.
While there are also various economic arrangements for a voluntary society, some anarchists like Malatesta accept, under certain circumstances, that some forms of collectivism are befitting for a transitional period. Mutualism, voluntarism, collectivism, and others are not incompatible, since they provide different means for the same end. It is up to each community to freely decide the kind of system it implements, which, of course, depends on the society’s degree of economic development, ecological conditions, and social consciousness. However, regardless of the overarching particularities, all these models of society entail that decision are made in local general assemblies of sovereign individuals. Anarchism recognizes that to maintain a system of representative democracy instead of direct democracy, is to perpetuate the perils of parliamentarianism, inviting ease of corruption and crushing public initiative.
Historically in practice, anarchists have utilized various systems, at times simultaneously, to create a free and equal society. For instance, during the Spanish Revolution, collectives emerged during the early period of the civil war. It then rapidly developed in to a type of communism, collectively pooling the land and creating common storehouses for supplies. Based on solidarity and mutual aid, the collective included all who wished to join, whether producers or not. Money was collectively abolished at times and any surplus food and goods were exchanged with nearby collectives. Meanwhile, in the nearby highly industrialized region of Catalunya, many factories were organized and run by workers’ committees, retaining the wage system and changing managers instead in to “advisors”. This surprisingly resulted in a functionally diversified form of economic collaboration.
These collectives demonstrate that workers, resources, farms, and factories can be successfully operated through the principles of self-ownership and workers’ control, not by increasing wages. Many people in Catalunya were astounded by how factory production increased and how many public services improved, showing no discord between liberty and efficiency, proving George Orwell wrong when he defended the “repressive apparatus” of authoritarianism, “Unless there is some unpredictable change in human nature, liberty and efficiency must pull in opposite directions.” Thankfully, some far-fetched “unpredictable change” is unnecessary when, instead, inspiration, pride, and purpose is nurtured when encouraging people to voluntarily participate at work and the overall decision-making. This new transformation of social organization was merely a start, but the rapid shifting of circumstances proved to be sufficient for growing in the direction which fostered of a deeper change in human nature, through all levels of society. Even though collective decisions took longer than some “authority” issuing orders, inevitably the decisions and procedures were far better implemented since they were clearly understood, and everyone affected felt involved, committed, and meaningful. This Spanish example, along with others throughout history, serve to refute the misunderstanding that anarchists are against organization and progress. While they are certainly antithetical to hierarchical and centralized organization, they understand the legitimacy of organization reached through negotiation and fair, mutual agreement.
As would be expected, some individualists may prefer to remain aloof from all social organization, which is their just and sovereign prerogative so long as they do not infringe upon the well-being of others or the environment. In the case of Catalunya during the Spanish Revolution of 1936, smaller, private farmers who wished to remain independent and uninvolved peacefully coexisted alongside the collectives. However, the vast majority of anarchists found they worked most efficiently and enjoyably within voluntary associations, maintaining small and functional workforces which comprised at the greater network. Whether social or secluded, nowadays, with the technological capacities granted by technological and environmental innovations (see the “Eco-friendly Solutions” in the section on “Environmentalism”), coupled with the sustainability and oversight of environmental consciousness, Anarchism would provide a bountiful, far more healthy standard of living the likes of which would bring about a new Renaissance!
The question most proponents of authority raise in terms of work is, “Who will do the dirty work if nobody if forced to? In fact, why should anyone bother to work at all?” Aside from the fact that this question says more about the questioner than the principles of Voluntarism, this relies upon the supposition that only coercion, economic or otherwise, can motivate people to participate in work and fair trade.
Anarchism has numerous means of incentivizing tasks, many of which transform “work” in to play, social bonding through mutual purpose, and creative expression. People able to do work that might seem unenjoyable to others would be revered, compensated, and deeply appreciated when the work is socially useful and worthwhile. Where work isn’t attractive, and where machines are unable to handle the task, there would inevitably be enough good-spirited, community-minded people willing to share the work. After all, Anarchism emphasizes that in a free society, mutual aid based on morality and solidarity would naturally develop, providing an individual and collective sense of reciprocity, trust, camaraderie, and satisfaction. There would also be an underlying moral incentive of social approval for people who helped others, and disapproval for those who tried to reap the benefits of the collective without contributing justly.
Going deeper, the discussion of “work” goes well beyond “material vs. moral” incentives since the very nature of labor would radically change in a voluntary society. Anarchism promotes efficiency, therefore negating useless toil, leaving only work that is necessary. Furthermore, since Anarchism strives to allow the individual to make greater use of their mental and physical abilities, the division of labor would subsequently be voluntary and limited which further emphasizes the subtraction of the superfluous. This streamlining of labor would also lend itself to more leisure and a greater, more prolific variety of personal expression which makes both life and work far more fulfilling and exciting! This would help balance one’s contributions to the needs of society while caring for their own individual needs as well.
But what about “laziness”? Some people think laziness is inherent to humanity, completely missing out on the context. Many people find little pleasure in work, and the explanation why can be distilled to 2 basic reasons. Either A.) the person is depressed and unmotivated, often due to a unmet personal needs, and/or B.) the activity in question is not in alignment with their natural proclivities.
“There is really no such thing as laziness. What we call a lazy man is generally a square man in a round hole. That is, the right man in the wrong place. And you will always find that when a fellow is in the wrong place, he will be inefficient or shiftless. For so-called laziness and a good deal of inefficiency are merely unfitness, misplacement. If you are compelled to do the thing you are unfitted for by your inclinations or temperament, you will be inefficient at it; if you are forced to do work you are not interested in, you will be lazy at it.” ~ Alexander Berkman
“The modern proverb “Use it or lose it” is very wise. If we don’t exercise our muscles, they waste away. If we don’t exercise our minds, they begin to close. If we don’t use our God-given gifts, we become depressed and dam up the flow of life energy, which is meant to fill our lives and bring us into full creative bloom.” ~ Joan Borysenko, Ph. D
We live in an age of innovation where abundance is easily attained and forced labor is detrimental to individual and social health. When individuals have the opportunity and support to actualize their full potential, balancing labor with leisure, without the stress imposed by rigid hierarchical authoritarianism, people are able to freely undertake the tasks which best suit them, and are willing to help out with tasks that serve the basic needs and comforts of community. This inherently ensures health and well-being to all levels of society.
JUSTICE AND DEFENSE
The next justification for government is the protection of its citizens from all threats, both foreign and domestic. However, injustices on innocent people far outweigh any protection it’s provided, especially given its continuous police brutality, committing war crimes and funding war crimes on innocent populations all around the world, the United States FBI funding, encouraging, and molding underprivileged, mentally unstable people in to potential terrorists in order to arrest them, incompetence in humanely helping mentally unstable civilians and soldiers resulting in countless deaths, the convoluted and purposefully obfuscated legalese comprising law, the corruption of courts and judiciary elections, incarceration for business and judicial profiteering, and the network of spy agencies- NSA, CIA, FBI, DIA, Homeland Security, Mossad, MI5, KGB, INTERPOL to name a few- freely collecting and infiltrating personal information with little, if any, oversight or regulation.
Rationalizing its inherent, self-consuming violence and subjugation, the common assumption is that a government protects against rampant domestic crime. Interestingly enough, in one of the largest cities in the world, the New York Police Department stopped patrolling the streets after a vengeful attack on police officers. In the words of Justin King, “something interesting happened: nothing. The city didn’t erupt into riots, there is no reported crime wave, super villains have not taken over the streets of Gotham”. Perhaps society isn’t so inherently evil after all! Furthermore, government purports to protect against large-scale, militarized invasion. However, The State is not essential to the protection of society from threats, foreign or domestic, for a number of reasons:
1.) Notice that it has always been government that does the invading and killing, sending the young and poor to die for the rich elite.
2.) Centralized authority incentivizes a takeover by another large-scale militarized force due to the ease of social assimilation once defeating the central authority. The structure of a centralized state is so rigid, with everyone so dependent on centralized lifelines, that once the heart is pierced, the rest of the social body soon falls, like in the instance the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893, where the whole island chain fell once the Queen of Hawaii was intimidated to surrender under threat of force, trapped in her house essentially by an American coup. In a decentralized, stateless society, an invading force would be a faced with constant, unpredictable moving targets with no possibility of checkmate to the central nucleus.
3.) A diverse nation comprised of decentralized communities who are free to utilize military-grade weaponry would present a dizzyingly multifaceted defense, utilizing attrition with great tactical advantage of terrain and would therefore be formidably difficult to conquer, especially when essential supply lines are cut off to an invading force. As examples of a less militarized guerrilla force strategically defeating a greater one in asymmetric warfare, we need only look back to the Vietnam War and Bay of Pigs for modern examples. In the absence of a professional police force, communities are quite capable of maintaining public security for themselves and have done so for centuries.
4.) Decentralized communities would not be severely afflicted by the destruction of transportation lines or centralized hubs of industry due to their localized, self-sustaining production of food, medicine, weaponry, and other necessities.
5.) The greatest form of defense is non-violent action which dissuades the enemy rather than kill. In light of the sustainable solutions humanity has as its fingertips (see the section on “Sustainable Solutions”, the ease by which people could transform their lives to a more efficient, connected, caring, educated, and passionate community would be far more appealing than violently brutish service based upon perpetual violence and authority. Given the option, would you rather A.) unsustainably trudge for hundreds of miles with violent strangers, killing, under constant fear of being killed, far away from your loved ones, or B.) be among fellow informed and empowered community members to live peacefully utilizing the examples of self-sufficient communities (see examples above in the section on “Economics”) to prosper and flourish in your own land base, leisurely co-existing with loved ones without being bossed around?
…The choice is obvious.
Moreover, in a voluntary society, a society’s defense would not be imposed upon the young and fragile youth which carry our future. Conversely, in places such as the United States, registering for the selective service is mandatory for males aged 18-25, with cripplingly enforced (litterally and figuratively) dire consequences.
CONSEQUENCES FOR NOT REGISTERING
The maximum penalty for failing to register with Selective Service is a $250,000 fine and up to five years in prison. Failure to register will cause ineligibility for a number of federal and state benefits including:
FEDERAL JOBS– A man must be registered to be eligible for jobs in the Executive Branch of the Federal government and the U.S. Postal Service. This applies only to men born after December 31, 1959.
STUDENT FINANCIAL AID- Men who are not registered with Selective Service cannot obtain Federal student loans or grants. This includes Pell Grants, College Work Study, Guaranteed Student/Plus Loans, and National Direct Student Loans.
CITIZENSHIP- The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) makes registration with Selective Service a condition for U.S. citizenship, if the man first arrived in the U.S. before his 26th birthday and was required to register.
FEDERAL JOB TRAINING- The Workforce Investment Act (formerly JTPA) offers important job-training opportunities. This program is only open to those men who register with Selective Service.
STATE JOBS, LOANS, AND TRAINING- Most states have added additional penalties for those who fail to register with Selective Service.
STATE DRIVER’S LICENSE LEGISLATION- As of May 16, 2002, 19 states, 2 territories, and the District of Columbia have enacted driver’s license laws supporting Selective Service registration. They are Oklahoma, Delaware, Arkansas, Utah, Georgia, Hawaii, Alabama, Florida, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, Ohio, South Dakota, Mississippi, Idaho, Virginia, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands.
In terms of local disputes or injury, it would be naive to expect a world where all desires for security and happiness were met 100% of the time, exactly as we want them. However, in a well-educated, well-sustained, communally cohesive yet voluntary society, the desire and incentive to commit purposefully harmful acts practically disappears. For the relatively few cases where accidents happen, or where genetic antisocial personality disorders exist, or when circumstances otherwise operate outside our ability to compromise, there are many ways to organize a system of fair settlement, whether in personal, private, or public affairs. And it wouldn’t impose increasingly burdensome indemnities disproportionately hurting the poor. Given the Anarchist emphasis on self-work, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence, disputes would often naturally result in socially agreeable ways to rationally litigate and compensate in accordance with the principles of reason and fairness. After all, the core of Anarchism aims to encourage people to think and act independently, with respect to others, but never to reply or pander to “authority”, intellectual orthodoxy, or irrational conformity. Fundamentally, Anarchism/ Voluntarism means that all “rules” will simply act as suggestions for the consideration of local juries (or whatever means of arbitration are socially agreed upon) since “rules” are dependent upon context and its applicability to the given circumstances which thereby determines “justice” and what is right and fair.
Presently, the “Rule of Law” is primarily patched together (with vague or convoluted loopholes), interpreted (by the prevailing political prejudices of the privileged class), and enforced (selectively with more prejudice) by the agents of the State. Yet, bafflingly, it is considered by Statists to be “essential” in maintaining “order” and preventing crime, even though the State, itself, is the largest purveyor of crime, misery, and oppression. What most people fear in the absence of government is what Bertrand Russell calls “primitive anarchy”, which equates to “might equals right”. This primal, irrational fear assumes that without a centralized authority, humanity would simply regress back to violent, myopic neanderthals, in a Hobbesian condition of permanent, global war (isn’t this essentially what we have today WITH government?..). But as Kropotkin’s research in his book “Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution”, along with numerous other anthropological studies and examples (discussed earlier), have evidenced, there are several preindustrial and modern societies peacefully coexisting without written laws. Their affairs are generally managed through peaceful customs and disputes are solved often through non-lethal, mutually agreed upon convention resembling “Restorative Justice“, which is defined as:
“…a process where all stakeholders affected by an injustice have an opportunity to discuss how they have been affected by the injustice and to decide what should be done to repair the harm. With crime, restorative justice is about the idea that because crime hurts, justice should heal. It follows that conversations with those who have been hurt and with those who have inflicted the harm must be central to the process.”
“…a growing social movement to institutionalize peaceful approaches to harm, problem-solving and violations of legal and human rights. These range from international peacemaking tribunals such as the South Africa Truth and Reconciliation Commission to innovations within the criminal and juvenile justice systems, schools, social services and communities. Rather than privileging the law, professionals and the state, restorative resolutions engage those who are harmed, wrongdoers and their affected communities in search of solutions that promote repair, reconciliation and the rebuilding of relationships. Restorative justice seeks to build partnerships to reestablish mutual responsibility for constructive responses to wrongdoing within our communities. Restorative approaches seek a balanced approach to the needs of the victim, wrongdoer and community through processes that preserve the safety and dignity of all.”
To understand the proper perspective for “justice”, let’s consider where crime comes from. Aside from psychopathy and other anti-social personality disorders, crime does not simply emerge in a vacuum simply because humans are “inherently evil” and have “original sin”. Crime, for the most part, is caused by detrimental social conditions such as poverty, poor education, homelessness, unemployment, and alienation- all of which inherently exist under Statism. These socially atomizing and psychologically degrading conditions force people at each others’ throats, destroying the positive social connections that are required from any ethical society to function, creating massive wealth disparities, and replacing the tendency toward critical or independent thought with the fear-based desire to frantically and mindlessly accumulate more commodities, often ignoring the consequences, to bolster one’s concept of their self-worth, albeit only temporarily.
Embedded within the premise of dominance for legitimacy in an authoritarian society is an inherently repressive influence which suppresses and sublimates the natural inclinations of humanity. Often it fosters both physical ailments and psychological disorders, including those which lead to assault, theft, rape, and murder. Moreover, punishment within this system primarily alienates and embitters both captive and guards, rather than utilizing compassion to understand, empathize, reform, and deter. Rather than punishing those who desperately act in response to these contributing social factors, Anarchists seek to prevent antisocial behavior by eliminating the oppressive social conditions which give rise to it in the first place, thereby drastically reducing crime, if not eliminating it altogether. In a society that does not impose social conformity or authority, where individual and social freedoms are given utmost respect, there is nothing to rebel against and no reason to injure others. The vitality and virtue of a voluntary society is dictated by degree of diversity of individuals and lifestyles that are reasonably accommodated without harm to others. With basic needs satisfied for all in a more free and equal society, where communal luxuries are shared, crimes of repression and desperation would be negligible if not eliminated. Overall, justice would be a matter of cause and effect, since people who regularly fail to maintain their agreements will inevitably have a difficult time finding community cooperation and support. As the saying goes, “people are not punished FOR their transgressions, but BY them.”
But what about those with severe personality disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia, Sociopathy, Psychopathy, etc? How would these people fit in to a reasonable voluntary community without coercive authority? The overarching social basis for detecting and treating these conditions is generally covered in the section on “Psychopathy & Poenology”, but what are the immediate measures to be taken if the aberrant behavior involves belligerent injury to others or to themselves? If people are intent upon injuring themselves, they have the right to. If it involves hurting others, however, it would be permissible only if reasonable mutual consent were obtained. However, if non-consensual, even a free society would necessarily restrain (to the minimum degree necessary) violent offenders such as child abusers, murderers, the grossly intoxicated, or the insane, and, whenever possible, rehabilitate the residue of pathological behavior with supportive supervision and utmost compassion.
For resolving social disputes, randomly rotated juries could be selected from those who wish to be involved in the local community. Each jury would consider the entirety of circumstance for each particular case, not to cast blame or punishment, but to restore social harmony through fair compensation and healing, productive, creative rehabilitation, perhaps even finding the primary fault in the oversight of the community as a whole! In terms of preventative action, social pressure of public opinion through mass-education would function as deterrents, including sanctions such as boycott or ostracism. However, these should be used carefully in extreme circumstances since such behaviors harbor the seeds of intolerance.
Where critics of Anarchism praise order based on penalty and punishment, Anarchism instead prioritizes the emphasis on social morality and creative connection which gives rise to new social standards and customs, holding society together from the bottom up, not the top down. Anarchism understands that people are capable of acting decently and cooperating without authoritarian institutions, especially given the modern capabilities of technological innovation, the understanding of human behavior, and the guidance of scientific insight. With all these elements (and more), guided by the principles of anarchism, with its social solidarity, universal love, higher reason, and the inherent good will within most people, enable them to live in relative harmony.
Another argument used by Statists is that government, and its collusion with corporations, is necessary to provide for the welfare of its disadvantaged citizens. This too is a fallacy. These social provisions can be best supplied by voluntary associations rather than State agencies. Without top-heavy State and Federal bureaucracies, such organizations will directly satisfy the needs of the people while involving them in their management, encouraging personal initiative and mutual aid. In fact, there are studies which show that well-adjusted people, as naturally social beings, are driven toward doing good deeds by virtue of the “helper’s high”, not to mention the social commendation. While there are some charities that do good work, there are also charity agencies with excessive expenditures and managerial overhead, and it’s oftentimes more effective to nurture solid community care and fellowship that care for our brothers and sisters.
Medicine and education do not require State control, and, in fact, government dependance been shown to be detrimental in many ways, especially when forced upon people. Creating a social welfare state within a system deficient in meaningful uplift and empowerment has proved to encourage laziness among some members of society and, through robbing everyone else via taxation, imposes a far-reaching financial constraint which places a hindrance on the average person’s ability to properly invest in their own health. Furthermore, in self-managing communities which by their very nature necessitate its citizens to be responsible with their overall health for the sake of well-being and efficiency, healthcare would be holistically integrated in the overall lifestyle instead of relegated as an emergency measure to compensate for the consequences of years of personal neglect.
The various potential for “what if” scenarios are too numerous to be listed here, but there’s one inevitability that everyone gets concerned with at a certain point- growing old. In terms of caring for the elderly, alternative systems like those described above would be far more able to care for the elderly than the present “social security” system. It’s obvious that a more healthy, supportive, empowered lifestyle will increasingly mitigate the majority of disorders that arise as a result of living in a largely dysfunctional society, including the major causes like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. Moreover, when a person is no longer suited for more rigorous activities, there is a great deal of skill and wisdom which the elderly can provide, exemplified by numerous cultures where the cooking, cleaning, child care, teaching of certain subjects, gardening, simple home repair, and other essential activities have been fulfilled, contributing as a revered, loved, and essential part of the family unit. It’s evident that all these fundamental concerns can be well taken care of in the mutual aid and solidarity of the producers and consumers in well-educated, empowered, directly-democratic communities.
PROPERTY AND RIGHTS
The premise of property and privacy is contingent upon the notion of “rights”. However, rights are simply concepts which are granted social legitimacy from the fundamental principles of morality and self-ownership. A general right is the Golden Rule which says “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”. For example, I don’t have a right to violate or control your body, and, reciprocally, you don’t have a right to violate and control mine. The only exception around one’s rights is by justified consent, like when one signs up for the military and essentially becomes “government property”, or if someone unreasonably infringes upon your rights. However, the spectrum of “self-ownership” also expands when material goods are created or otherwise justly obtained through one’s labor, such as making clothes or cultivating land, raising the broader considerations of “Property”.
With an ubiquitous and multifaceted scope of application, it’s no wonder the subject of Property has created so much contention throughout history. There are always numerous circumstances that arise in which basic agreements or, in some cases, arbitration over property is needed. Most of these settle themselves among rational people willing to logically negotiate and compromise. However, regardless of what branch of Anarchism one leans toward, there’s applicability agreement throughout all points of view. For example, Anarcho-Communists support “personal property”, a right not to be violently dispossessed of property so long as a person is using it or otherwise provides legitimate justification for ownership, but not “private property”, which is distinct from “personal property”. Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, Anarcho-Capitalists support “public property” and “common property”, meaning that no individual may appropriate it as their own. Ultimately, the parameters comprising property are their subsequent rights will inevitably vary depending on the capabilities, circumstances, and social evolution of a community.
As a general reference point, I feel Martin Luther King had a valuable perspective to consider in this regard:
“I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.
A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, “Beyond Vietnam” speech
In the end, regardless of which end of the spectrum the circumstances may be in a voluntary society, by comparison, government has been and always will be a greater threat to human rights and property than Voluntarism/ Anarchism:
“Every version of a “government” requires one group of people to claim rights over others that they don’t have: the right to tax (steal), the right to imprison (kidnap), and the right to ban and mandate behavior (enslave), just to name a few. There is no legitimate way for them to obtain these rights other than by permission, by consent of the governed. But if it is consensual, then it is not “government”. To “govern” means to rule by force. It’s not optional. Government can’t both serve the people and be it’s master. Even the idea that we need government to defend our rights is contradictory, since it must first violate our rights in order to exist. Government is and always has been the largest violator of rights.”
~ Don Tuatha, “5 Reasons Why I’m Not a Statist”
“When they lose the moral/philosophical argument (which takes about ten seconds), statists love to fall back on “What’s the alternative?” Then they expect anarchists to describe how every aspect of everyone’s lives, until the end of time, will all work perfectly without a ruling class. But statists are so comfortable with the authoritarian mindset that it takes a while for them to even comprehend what is being suggested.
The belief in “government” is the belief that some people should have an EXEMPTION from morality and should have the RIGHT to forcibly rob and dominate everyone else. The answer to such a horrendously bad idea is very simple: the “alternative” to imagining that some people have the right to be violent bastards is……… NOT imagining that some people have the right to be violent bastards. Nothing else needs to change. We still have all the technology, all the resources, all the cooperation and organization. The only thing we lose is a gang of parasitical crooks getting societal permission to victimize everyone else. Now, if some statist wants to point me to any problem which is IMPROVED by giving some people permission to violently victimize innocents, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise, the whole “What’s the alternative?” thing is as silly as saying, “But if we get rid of car-jackers, what will we have instead?””
~ Larken Rose
As this treatise has elucidated, Anarchism, when combined with sincere, embodied, and holistic self-work to anchor a higher consciousness, is far more than a peaceful fantasy, inclination, or philosophy. It is a profound inevitability which can liberate every facet of life. It removes the cancerous, unnecessary overgrowths within society and offers a spectrum of strategies to actualize the better life which awaits us, starting here and now, within you, within all of us who can rise to the challenge of awakening our fullest potential. Inspired by the self-regulation of nature, the spontaneous organized harmony of disparate interests in society, and the remarkable potential of humanity, Voluntarism/ Anarchism has been a map guiding human evolution for two and a half millennia, awaiting our wisdom to bring it fully in to fruition. Yet at the rate humanity is consuming the planet, we have precious little time, but ample ability to turn it all around. All the signs show that Anarchism/ Voluntarism will continue to grow as a vibrant social movement, as a pathway to our redemption, to transform us in ways beyond our wildest imaginings.
“Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners. Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.”
~ Edward Abbey
Even after reading all this, there may be still those unable and unwilling to remove their minds from the confines of their conditioned captivity, seduced by the “securities” of privilege within a predatory society. Obviously this path isn’t for everyone, nor should it be given that it’s entirely voluntary. However, given the opportunity, even a small, peaceful, sufficiently developed nucleus of people may peacefully pioneer in to this evolutionary endeavor at no risk to the rest of society. There is only unlimited potential to be demonstrated, and the only risk is to those in power who seek to control everything and everyone they can. But humanity is awakening to the consequences of their continuous tyranny. More importantly, it is also awakening to its potential, now, thanks to the internet, more quickly than ever before. All things considered, it cannot be said that Anarchism is impractical, implausible, or impossible. While presently this vision may seem to be a relatively minority aspiration, keep in mind that evolution does not require a majority rule, and when it takes ahold, as it already has, it naturally grows beyond our capabilities to conceive. And where it cannot yet be fully actualized, its brilliant light acts as a beacon for visionaries to aspire toward.
There are already numerous intentional communities striving to launch forward in this direction in their own ways. As I previously wrote in my blog, “How and Why ‘Conscious’ Festivals Need to Change”, the funding and community to enhance these endeavors is readily available, requiring only the aid of greater attention and participation by more conscious individuals who recognize their importance. The possibility to begin the endeavor towards a free society is very real, and already under way. Its full harmonious bloom awaits only our sincere desire to transform our lives and co-create with others in kind. The potential prospects are numerous and promising. With proper support and the more people sincerely engaged in self-work willing to pioneer in this direction, there are peaceful, sustainable, scaleable models of physical sustainability which can be demonstrated, thereby inspiring others to similarly, yet diversely, create more consciously.
A potentially phenomenal crowdsource funding campaign could be started in this direction. Through global advocacy and support, with proper social media outreach, all progress and information would be shared with a world that would be watching intently, supporting and influencing its development (but not controlling it). Due to the enormity of its purpose and potential, it would undoubtedly attract global media attention, celebrity endorsement, as well as considerable material contributions and sponsorship from leaders and pioneers in alternative technologies help to further aid its development. A large-scale community of this magnitude would undoubtedly utilize a spectrum of educational and self-improvement strategies. A call for collaboration would assemble a cutting-edge team of engineers, eco-friendly manufacturers, information technology experts, permaculturists, teachers, doctors and other caretakers, therapists, and land management specialists, all on an optimal private property that could sustain a pioneering model community! It would utilize the most innovative and easily created open-source, eco-friendly technology, efficient landscapes and architecture, optimized communal living, and clean, renewable energy. Even though it would be initially under the control of government (and its subsequent agencies), upon its successfully continued proliferation throughout a region (which would be mind-bogglingly rapid, no doubt), the proportion of government control to autonomous communities which effectively regulate between themselves, continually reducing the collective desire for “government” to ever-smaller degrees until it is just another footnote in the evolution of humanity. Think of the BILLIONS in funding poured in to entrepreneurial projects, “conscious” festivals, movies, and various other private and public grants allocated to simply address the symptoms of social suffering. The resources are obviously available! Thousands of volunteers would gladly help! And it would be AMAZING and INSPIRING to even just watch people process through self-work, creatively collaborate, and develop entirely new ways of being! Why WOULDN’T we want that?
Considering the conditions we’ve collectively created, the lives of all earth’s inhabitants and its descendants rests upon our loving shoulders. If humanity is to avert consuming itself with greed, hatred, war and ecological disaster, those who are up to the task must forge boldly in this direction, starting with ourselves. Only then can it bring about a free society of egalitarian abundance, existing harmoniously with nature, where the needs of the individual find harmony in the loving embrace of social solidarity. The journey toward this great step in conscious evolution will take great time, effort, and support, individually and collectively, but together we can accomplish miracles.