On the dual strivings of human nature and power — an excerpt from “The Heart of Man” by Erich Fromm

I’m still in the mood to reflect back on Erich Fromm’s writings, so I’ll continue on with transcribing, this time picking up his book The Heart of Man: Its Genius For Good and Evil (1964), beginning on page 7:

Man—Wolf or Sheep?

There are many who believe that men are sheep; there are others who believe that men are wolves. Both sides can muster good arguments for their positions. Those who propose that men are sheep have only to point to the fact that men are easily influenced to do what they are told, even if it is harmful to themselves; that they have followed their leaders into wars which brought them nothing but destruction; that they have believed any kind of nonsense if it was only presented with sufficient vigor and supported by power—from the harsh threats of priests and kings to the soft voices of the hidden and not-so-hidden persuaders. It seems that the majority of men are suggestible, half-awake children, willing to surrender their will to anyone who speaks with a voice that is threatening or sweet enough to sway them. Indeed, he who has a conviction strong enough to withstand the opposition of the crowd is the exception rather than the rule, an exception often admired centuries later, mostly laughed at by his contemporaries.

It is on this assumption—that men are sheep—that the Great Inquisitors and the dictators have built their systems. More than that, this very belief that men are sheep and hence need leaders to make the decisions for them, has often given the leaders the sincere conviction that they were fulfilling a moral duty—even though a tragic one—if they gave man what he wanted: if they were leaders who took away from him the burden of responsibility and freedom.

But if most men have been sheep, why is it that man’s life is so different from that of sheep? His history has been written in blood; it is a history of continuous violence, in which almost invariably force has been used to bend his will. Did Talaat Pasha alone exterminate millions of Armenians? Did Hitler alone exterminate millions of Jews? Did Stalin alone exterminate millions of political enemies? These men were not alone; they had thousands of men who killed for them, tortured for them, and who did so not only willingly but with pleasure. Do we not see man’s inhumanity to man everywhere—in ruthless warfare, in murder and rape, in the ruthless exploitation of the weaker by the stronger, and in the fact that the sighs of the tortured and suffering creature have so often fallen on deaf ears and hardened hearts? All these facts have led thinkers like Hobbes to the conclusion that homo homini lupus (man is a wolf to his fellow man); they have led many of us today to the assumption that man is vicious and destructive by nature, that he is a killer who can be restrained from his favorite pastime only by fear of more powerful killers.

Yet the arguments of both sides leave us puzzled. It is true that we may personally know some potential or manifest killers and sadists as ruthless as Stalin and Hitler were; yet these are the exceptions rather than the rule. Should we assume that you and I and most average men are wolves in sheep’s clothing, and that our “true nature” will become apparent once we rid ourselves of those inhibitions which until now have prevented us from acting like beasts? This assumption is hard to disprove, yet it is not entirely convincing. There are numerous opportunities for cruelty and sadism in everyday life in which people could indulge without fear of retaliation; yet many do not do so; in fact, many react with a certain sense of revulsion when they meet cruelty and sadism.

Is there, then, another and perhaps better explanation for the puzzling contradiction we deal with here? Should we assume that the simple answer is that there is a minority of wolves living side by side with a majority of sheep? The wolves want to kill; the sheep want to follow. Hence the wolves get the sheep to kill, to murder, and to strangle, and the sheep comply not only because they enjoy it, but because they want to follow; and even then the killers have to invent stories about the nobility if their cause, about defense against the threat to freedom, about revenge for bayoneted children, raped women, and violated honor, to get the majority of the sheep to act like wolves. This answer sounds plausible, but it still leaves many doubts. Does it not imply that there are two human races, as it were—that of wolves and that of sheep? Furthermore, how is it that sheep can be so easily persuaded to act like wolves if it is not in their nature to do so, even providing that violence is presented to them as a sacred duty? Our assumptions regarding wolves and sheep may not be tenable; is it perhaps true after all that the wolves represent the essential quality of human nature, only more overtly than the majority show it? Or, after all, maybe the entire alternative is erroneous. Maybe man is both wolf and sheep—or neither wolf nor sheep?

The answer to these questions is of crucial importance today, when nations contemplate the use of the most destructive forces for the extinction of their “enemies,” and seem not to be deterred even by the possibility that they themselves may be extinguished in the holocaust. If we are convinced that human nature is inherently prone to destroy, that the need to use force and violence is rooted in it, then our resistance to ever increasing brutalization will become weaker and weaker. Why resist the wolves when we are all wolves, although some more so than others?

The question whether man is wolf or sheep is only a special formulation of a question which, in its wider and more general aspects, has been one of the most basic problems of Western theological and philosophical thought: Is man basically evil and corrupt, or is he basically good and perfectable? The Old Testament does not take the position of man’s fundamental corruption. Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God are not called sin; nowhere is there a hint that this disobedience has corrupted man. On the contrary, the disobedience is the condition for man’s self-awareness, for his capacity to choose, and thus in the last analysis this first act of disobedience is man’s first step toward freedom. It seems that their disobedience was even within God’s plan; for, according to prophetic thoughts, man just because he was expelled from Paradise is able to make his own history, to develop his human powers, and to attain a new harmony with man and nature as a fully developed individual instead of the former harmony in which he was not yet an individual. The Messianic concept of the prophets certainly implies that man is not fundamentally corrupt and that he can be saved without any special act of God’s grace. But it does not imply that this potential for good will necessarily win. If man does evil he becomes more evil. Thus, Pharaoh’s heart “hardens” because he keeps on doing evil; it hardens to a point where no more change or repentance is possible. The Old Testament offers at least as many examples of evil-doing as of right-doing, and does not exempt even exalted figures like King David from the list of evil doers. The Old Testament view is that man has both capacities—that of good and that of evil—and that man must choose between good and evil, blessing and curse, life and death. Even God does not interfere in his choice; he helps by sending his messengers, the prophets, to teach the norms which lead to the realization of goodness, to identify the evil, and to warn and to protest. But this being done, man is left alone with his “two strivings,” that for good and that for evil, and the decision is his alone.

The Christian development was different. In the course of the development of the Christian Church, Adam’s disobedience was conceived as sin. In fact, as a sin so severe that it corrupted his nature and with it that of all of his descendants, and thus man by his own effort could never rid himself of this corruption. Only God’s own act of grace, the appearance of Christ, who died for man, could extinguish man’s corruption and offer salvation for those who accepted Christ.

But the dogma of original sin was by no means unopposed in the Church. Pelagius assailed it but was defeated. The Renaissance humanists within the Church tended to weaken it, even though they could not directly assail or deny it, while many heretics did just that. Luther had, if anything, an even more radical view of man’s innate evilness and corruption, while thinkers of the Renaissance and later of the Enlightenment took a drastic step in the opposite direction. The latter claimed that all evil in man was nothing but the result of circumstances, hence that men did not really have to choose. Change the circumstances that produce evil, so they thought, and man’s original goodness will come forth almost automatically. This view also colored the thinking of Marx and his successors. The belief in man’s goodness was the result of man’s new self-confidence, gained as a result of the tremendous economic and political progress which started with the Renaissance. Conversely, the moral bankruptcy of the West which began with the First World War and led beyond Hitler and Stalin, Coventry and Hiroshima to the present preparation for universal extinction, brought forth again the traditional emphasis on man’s propensity for evil. The new emphasis was a healthy antidote to the underestimation of the inherent potential of evil in man—but too often it served to ridicule those who had not lost their faith in man, sometimes by misunderstanding and even distorting their position.

As one whose views have often been misrepresented as underestimating the potential of evil within man, I want to emphasize that such sentimental optimism is not the mood of my thought. It would be difficult indeed for anyone who has had a long clinical experience as a psychoanalyst to belittle the destructive forces within men. In severely sick patients, he sees these forces at work and experiences the enormous difficulty of stopping them or of channeling their energy into constructive directions. It would be equally difficult for any person who has witnessed the explosive outburst of evil and destructiveness since the beginning of the First World War not to see the power and intensity of human destructiveness. Yet there exists the danger that the sense of powerlessness which grips people today—intellectuals as well as the average man—with ever increasing force, may lead them to accept a new version of corruption and original sin which serves as a rationalization for the defeatist view that war cannot be avoided because it is the result of the destructiveness of human nature. Such a view, which sometimes prides itself on its exquisite realism, is unrealistic on two grounds. First, the intensity of destructive strivings by no means implies that they are invincible or even dominant. The second fallacy in this view lies in the premise that wars are primarily the result of psychological forces. It is hardly necessary to dwell long on this fallacy of “psychologism” in the understanding of social and political phenomena. Wars are the result of the decision of political, military, and business leaders to wage war for the sake of gaining territory, natural resources, advantages in trade; for defense against real or alleged threats to their country’s security by another power; or for reason for the enhancement of their own personal prestige and glory. These men are not different from the average man: they are selfish, with little capacity to renounce personal advantage for the sake of others; but they are neither cruel nor vicious. When such men—who in ordinary life probably would do more good than harm—get into positions of power where they can command millions of people and control the most destructive weapons, they can cause immense harm. In civilian life they might have destroyed a competitor; in our world of powerful and sovereign states (“sovereign” means not subject to any moral law which restricts the action of the sovereign state), they may destroy the human race. The ordinary man with extraordinary power is the chief danger for mankind—not the fiend or the sadist. […]

[Bold emphases mine]

Stopping on page 14.

[Edited for typos on Dec. 11th, 2014. Apologies for the delay in re-proofreading.]

Individual growth versus group dynamics (an excerpt from “Psychoanalysis and Religion”)

Picking up again in Erich Fromm’s book Psychoanalysis and Religion (1950; 1971 edition), beginning on page 80:

To cut through the navel string, not in the physical bu in the psychological sense, is the great challenge to human development and also its most difficult task. As long as man is related by these primary ties to mother, father, family, he feels protected and safe. He is still a foetus, someone else is responsible for him. He avoids the disquieting experience of seeing himself as a separate entity charged with the responsibility for his own actions, with the task of making his own judgments, “of taking his life in his hands.” By remaining a child man not only avoids the fundamental anxiety necessarily connected with the full awareness of oneself as a separate entity, he also enjoys the satisfactions of protection, warmth, and of unquestioned belonging which he once enjoyed as a child; but he pays a high price. He fails to become a full human being, to develop his powers of reason and of love; he remains dependent and retains a feeling of insecurity which becomes manifest at any moment when these primary ties are threatened. All his mental and emotional activities are geared to the authority of his primary group; hence his beliefs and insights are not his own. He can feel affection but it is animal affection, the warmth of the stable, and not human love which has freedom and separateness as its condition. The incestuously orientated person is capable of feeling close to those whom he is familiar with. He is incapable of relating himself closely to the “stranger,” that is, to another human being as such. In this orientation all feelings and ideas are judged in terms not of good and evil or true and false but of familiar and unfamiliar. When Jesus said, “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law,” he did not mean to teach hatred of parents but to express in the most unequivocal and drastic form the principle that man must break incestuous ties and become free in order to become human.

The attachment to parents is only one, though the most fundamental, form of incest; in the process of social evolution other attachments in part replace it. The tribe, the nation, the race, the state, the social class, political parties, and many other forms of institutions and organizations become home and family. Here are the roots of nationalism and racism, which in turn are symptoms of man’s inability to experience himself and others as free human beings. It may be said that the development of mankind is the development from incest to freedom. In this lies the explanation for the universality of incest tabus. The human race could not have progressed had it not guided the need for closeness into channels away from mother, father, and siblings. Love for a wife is dependent on overcoming the incestuous strivings; “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife.” But the significance of the tabu on incest goes far beyond this. The growth of reason and of all rational value judgments requires that man overcome the incestuous fixation with its criteria of right and wrong based on familiarity.

The integration of small groups into larger ones, and its biological consequences, would have been impossible without incest tabus. No wonder that an aim imperative from the standpoint of social evolution has been safeguarded by forceful and universal tabus. But while we have traveled a long road toward overcoming incest, mankind has by no means succeeded in its conquest. The groupings to which man feels incestuously tied have become larger and the area of freedom has become greater, but the ties to those larger units which substitute for the clan and the soil are still powerful and strong. Only the complete eradication of incestuous fixation will permit the realization of the brotherhood of man.

To sum it up, Freud’s statement that the Oedipus complex, the incestuous fixation, is the “kernel of neurosis” is one of the most significant insights into the problem of mental health when we free it from its narrow formulation in sexual terms and understand it in its broad interpersonal significance. Freud himself has indicated that he means something beyond the sexual realm. In fact, his view that man must leave father and mother and grow up to face reality constitutes his main argument against religion in The Future of an Illusion, wherein his criticisms of religion is that it keeps man in bondage and dependence and thus prevents him from attaining the paramount task of human existence, that of freedom and independence.

It would of course be a mistake to assume that the foregoing remarks imply that only those who are “neurotic” have failed in this task of self-emancipation, while the average well-adjusted person has succeeded in it. On the contrary, the vast majority of people in our culture are well adjusted because they have given up the battle for independence sooner and more radically than the neurotic person. They have accepted the judgment of the majority so completely that they have been spared the sharp pain of conflict which the neurotic person goes through. While they are healthy from the standpoint of “adjustment,” they are more sick than the neurotic person from the standpoint of the realization of their aims as human beings. Can theirs then be a perfect solution? It would be if it were possible to ignore the fundamental laws of human existence without damage. But that is not possible. The “adjusted” person who does not live by the truth and who does not love is protected only from manifest conflicts. If he is not engrossed in work he has to use the many avenues of escape which our culture offers in order to be protected from the frightening experience of being alone with himself and looking into the abyss of his own impotence and human impoverishment.

All great religions have proceeded from the negative formulation of incest tabus to more positive formulations of freedom. Buddha had his insights in solitude. He makes the extreme demand that man rid himself of all “familiar” ties in order to find himself and his real strength. The Jewish-Christian religion is not as radical as Buddhism in this respect but it is not less clear. In the myth of the Garden of Eden man’s existence is described as one of complete security. He is lacking in knowledge of good and evil. Human history begins with man’s act of disobedience which is at the same time the beginning of his freedom and the development of his reason. The Jewish and particularly the Christian traditions have stressed the element of sin but have ignored the fact that it is the emancipation from the security of Paradise which is the basis for man’s truly human development. The demand to sever the ties of blood and soil runs through the entire Old Testament. Abraham is told to leave his country and become a wanderer. Moses is brought up as a stranger in an unfamiliar environment away from his family and even from his own people. The condition for Israel’s mission as God’s chosen people lies in their leaving the bondage of Egypt and wandering in the desert for forty years. After having settled down in their own country, they fall back into the incestuous worship of the soil, of idols, and of the state. The central issue of the teachings of the Prophets is the fight against this incestuous worship. They preach instead the basic values common to all mankind, those of truth, love, and justice. They attack the state and those secular powers which fail to realize these norms. The state must perish if man becomes tied to it in such a way that the welfare of the state, its power and its glory become the criteria of good and evil. The concept that the people must go into exile again and can return to their soil only when they have achieved freedom and ceased the idolatrous worship of soil and state is the logical culmination of this principle which underlies the Old Testament and particularly the messianic concept of the Prophets.

Only if one has outgrown incestuous ties can one judge one’s own group critically; only then can one judge at all. Most groups, whether they are primitive tribes, nations, or religions, are concerned with their own survival and upholding the power of their leaders, and they exploit the inherent moral sense of their members to arouse them against outsiders with whom there is conflict. But they use the incestuous ties which keep a person in moral bondage to his own group to stifle his moral sense and his judgment, so that he will not criticize his own group for violations of moral principles which if committed by others would drive him into violent opposition.

It is the tragedy of all great religions that they violate and pervert the very principles of freedom as soon as they become mass organizations governed by a religious bureaucracy. The religious organization and the men who represent it take over to some extent the place of family, tribe, and state. They keep man in bondage instead of leaving him free. It is no longer God who is worshiped but the group that claims to speak in his name. This has happened in all religions. Their founders guided man through the desert, away from the bondage of Egypt, while later on others have led him back toward a new Egypt though calling it the Promised Land.

The command to “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is, with only slight variations in its expression, the basic principle common to all humanistic religions. But it would indeed be difficult to understand why the great spiritual teachers of the human race have demanded of man that he should love if love were as easy an accomplishment as most people seem to feel. What is called love? Dependence, submission, and the inability to move away from the familiar “stable,” domination, possessiveness, and the craving for control are felt to be love; sexual greed and the inability to stand solitude are experienced as proof of intense capacity for love. People believe that to love is simple but that to be loved is most difficult. In our marketing orientation people think they are not loved because they are not “attractive” enough, attractiveness being based on anything from looks, dress, intelligence, money, to social position and prestige. They do not know that the real problem is not the difficulty of being loved but the difficulty of loving; that one is loved only if one can love, if one’s capacity to love produces love in another person, that the capacity for love, not for its counterfeit, is a most difficult achievement.

[Italicized emphases his; bold emphases mine (if this Mantra theme will quit jacking with my stylesheet changes anyway)]

Stopping on page 86.

“Yes All Men”

Was invited by a buddy to check out a post on a blog I’ve never been to before where the male blogger was chastising men in general for not sticking up for women who feel threatened by men. He titled his post “Yes All Men,” and a relevant excerpt from him follows:

Yes, it’s all men who are responsible. Let’s face it: we live in a culture where we are the dominant group. If we got together, stood up, and said “We’re not going to tolerate this shit anymore” – if even a decent-sized minority of us were willing to stand up and say it – the hateful assholes would be driven underground. If we stood up and said “No”, and made sure that any shit-headed bigoted woman-hater actually paid some price in standing in our communities, the threats would end.

If we acknowledged that the violent hatred of women was not just a sickness; that a threat to women is a real threat to other human beings that was serious; that those threats are crimes. That the everyday threats against women are more serious that the threats of terrorism that we’ve used to justify war. If we did that, we’d have to admit that we need to do something about it.

But we don’t. We sit and watch, and downplay the threats. We say that they’re not really serious, that’s just how people act on the internet. We say that the threats don’t matter – those fragile women just need to “man up”, and grow thicker skins. And when women die – as they do every day – we just say it was a crazy person, there’s nothing we can do about it.

So I jumped into the comment section to share my views and was swiftly dismissed as a “sock puppet account.”  lol  Because, heaven forbid, one woman out here might not be dealing with constant threats of violence every time she logs online. Apparently impossible to comprehend that. So I’m posting this here, after already linking them to my youtube channel and still being referred to yet again as a sock puppet.

What is up with all the dismissiveness people show toward those who happen to disagree with them? Also accused me of being an MRA for not toeing their feminist line, and I find that quite laughable. Then told my buddy who for a long time has considered himself sympathetic to the feminist cause to “check his privilege” because he said something one of them didn’t completely agree with — how flippin’ typical. Geez…

So anyway, here I am and I am a real-life woman.  If this doesn’t satisfy, then I just don’t know what it will take.

Problems with Socialism (lecture excerpts)

Carpo719 posted up a couple videos of a lecture from Jeremy Shearmur discussing the problems with socialism:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Interesting as food for thought.

Talking about secession

Thought just went through my mind that I probably should share to help better clarify my position on secession in the United States. I’ve come to the point where I think we’d be better dissolving the Union into however many factions it takes to get most of us off of each other’s necks. We need some breathing room. And there I’m mostly thinking about physical space, our present environment and those we interact with daily. When it comes to locality, we need to be able to agree on at least a few things. We need some sense of unity and belonging within groups we can navigate in effectively, unlike how we have it today with a national population stretching toward 300 million. Even in our states we have, what, a couple million at least? In our cities and towns we’re up against thousands if not a million or more people, and this creates the situation we have now where we have lost political control.

Can’t hold onto the reins anymore. Not under these conditions. At present, we’re screwed. I’ve thought about all of this for a long time and can’t figure out how to get the majority of Americans to embrace truly life-affirming principles that we can practically all agree on, not when these contradict and threaten the current political setup and its financiers. Most people are too invested in this Game — they’re not willing to turn tail and try something radically different. BUT, I personally think the risk could pay off if we can start laying the groundwork for producing the basics we need to survive. If we can’t break free from our dependence on major corporations and government aid and subsidized goods, we’re in no real position to bargain with the powers-that-be because we have no alternative to retreat to. We’re growing increasingly dependent on this system, plain and simple.

So there I see physical and legal secession as useful to break apart from the stranglehold of federal power. I also see it useful for separating ideologically opposed groups so they can cease fighting incessantly and just go live how they think is best. This is real diversity — tolerating people going their own ways. Some folks will never reconcile their differences and preferences, so I say let’s see what happens when ideologies and social theories hit the pavement. I want to know how various groups will fair if left to do so. Trade relations and cooperation across groups is fine and dandy, but maybe we don’t all need to live right next door to one another. Maybe this violation of our sensibilities can never be fully cured because some people will remain bigoted or otherwise opposed to others no matter what. How else can we ends these useless political feuds? They’re turning out to be competitions to nowhere.

With all that said, I think the internet is fantastic for allowing various people to observe, listen to, or read the works of people we are curious about. This is where we can really come together on some level because we’re each at a safe distance from one another and can take time with one another’s inquiries and arguments. This is a wonderful medium for allowing people who otherwise wouldn’t come into contact in a candid setting to be able to consider and express ideas. This is where we shouldn’t all divide off into separate tribes but instead come at it with our own questions, concerns and thoughts. In a sense, the internet is a good place to get real. Anonymity aids in that as well. Unfortunate that we so often waste this opportunity by spending our time provoking and jabbing one another, because we are provided a safe distance. This medium can allow for so much more than that, and I see so many smart people reaching out to interact. Would be nice if we could turn our attention to more important matters than popularity contests of opinions and cutting others down to make ourselves feel better.

There appears to be a yin and a yang to human needs. On one hand, we need physical space and separation. On the other, we need community support and identification. We require both respect of privacy and freedom of expression in order to be fulfilled. We need a place to rest our weary souls and be loved, and we need a place for intellectual stimulation and interaction with a wide assortment of people and ideas. Maybe if we could get the fuck up off each other’s necks, we’d be in a better space to community more openly and honestly. But as it stands now, we’re all turning neurotic, all jammed up under one big umbrella together, trying to drag one another in the direction we think the whole society should go in. There is no one-size-fits-all that people will be satisfied with, so we’re guaranteed to feud forever. What’s the point in that? We get to where we can’t discuss anything since we’re so much in opposition and projecting onto—to where we wind up mirroring—competing groups. These aren’t all matters we can compromise on. People’s principles are involved and idealized visions vary. Just a fact of life.

This experimental melting pot has been useful in showing us new ways of relating and exposing us to people we otherwise might not have bonded with. This has allowed people to expand beyond old tribal thinking where racial homogeneity was typical. We now have the power and insight to redefine how we shape tribes, if that is to be desired. But we have to keep in mind that humans have evolved the entire time up until fairly recent history to be tribal peoples. Our psychologies are adapted to handling clans and tribes. Confederations proved valuable as well over time. But where we’re headed now with our civilizations is proving destruction and unsustainable — ecologically, socially, and psychologically. In short, our current path is fucking us up. And we know this. And I’m not convinced we can navigate effectively in this massive of a system as we have today. That’s my own opinion.

But we can faction off, theoretically anyway. We possess that power as both citizens and human beings. But we must create sustainable alternatives in order for this to be feasible.

We’re not all going to get along, no matter how small the group we associate with, but when it comes to shared values, we do need a community on board with us. That’s social empowerment, and it helps us stay in line with our key moral beliefs when others we interact with share them enough in common that we can coincide in relative harmony (as compared against the chaos of today in our neighborhoods and cities). We want different thing in life,  and we can’t coerce all others into accepting our way of looking at things.

This is just my dream. I don’t expect it to occur, but this is where my imagination keeps taking me. I wish there were a way, because I think we’d be happier and more tolerant of differences if exposure in some cases could be more limited. We’re currently locked in moral/legal competitions that getting us nowhere other than in hotter water. While we stay distracted with that shit, those who do possess great amounts of power continue sealing a deal that most humans won’t be better off with. Because that’s the nature of power. This is how it can and usually does roll if left unchecked. And we’re way past the point of controlling the reigns through the legal “proper” channels.

Care to hear a song that captures my attitude about those who wish to live 180° differently than some other group? Here ya go:

You can move
You can move to the moon
If I don’t see you again for 20 years
It’ll be too soon

That was “Time To Let It Go” by Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm. Pretty much sums up my sentiments at this juncture.

Clans are what we make of them. We’re always going to face disagreements, but as it stands today we can’t avoid them bombarding us. At what point do we let it go and turn in another direction?

“Awaken from the Culture Time For Change (Terence Mckenna, Joe Rogan)”

YTer Carpo719 linked the following video so I’m watching tonight:

Food for thought…

I’m actually rethinking my past dismissal of Joe Rogan. Didn’t give him enough of a chance and haven’t listened to his podcasts beyond a few minutes. Will have to look deeper into what he’s put out into the world, out of curiosity. Because I completely agree with his trouble accepting the official story of building 7 on 9/11/01 — it’s bothered me since the first time I watched the footage. I’ve listened to countless arguments attempting to support how a building could fall like that without controlled demolition, but I remain unconvinced by all of these arguments.

We’re being lied to, that much I do know. What actually happened on 9/11? I don’t know, but I know enough to clearly see that the official story put out by the government is bullshit. Felt this way for a looong time now and looked far and wide for explanations, but all I keep coming up with are desperate attempts to deny the reality presented in the visual footage that originally aired. I can’t even bring myself to debate these lies anymore. It’s just a bunch of wishful thinking on the part of people who can’t cope with the idea of how thoroughly we’ve been duped. But it’s not the first time and won’t be the last. This is the way governments function once they get massive. History on up to the present continues teaching us this. It’s too big to where it’s guaranteed to fail. This has so far always been the fate of empires.

So many lies and cover-ups. I don’t like to call it “conspiracy theory” since that term’s been used to death. I personally refer to it as an “inquiry into collusion” because collusion is absolutely known to us to be going on. Those with the most power aim to keep it and grab more, so they collude with one another to do so. That factors into this situation, whether we want to accept it or not. It’s a fact. For one prominent example, look into the meeting on Jeckyll Island that concocted the formation of the Federal Reserve. This information is confirmed, right from the mouths of the men present at the meeting, documented in news reports years after it was a done deal. No one can deny the humongous impact that one decision has had on American life ever since. And it was born out of collusion. No theory needed.

Just the last 150 years alone have brought us into a whole new world. And it’s asking of us to come up with a unique way of navigating in it.

Though, I should state, I’m not a psychedelic substance user. Always felt I’d need to do stuff like that with a knowledgeable guide and in a comfortable setting where I felt safe and free to explore. And that opportunity didn’t present itself. Instead I was surrounded by wannabe-hippies, apathetics, rebellious young people seeking any kind of escape from reality, and loons (at least when it came to drug users I’ve met). I’ve never dropped acid before. Had a handful of microdots given to me randomly at a rave down at the State Palace Theater in New Orleans once upon a time, and I handed them back. Just not my deal, not so far. Tried a little bit of shrooms a couple times, once as a teen in shroom-aid though I barely drank any, and then a couple years ago with a gal I met at the bar and her boyfriend in a shady hotel room. Needless to say, I didn’t take much and immediately returned home a short ways away to lie beside my partner where I did feel safe. Laid in the dark and observed colorful designs pretty much reminiscent of tie-dyes and fractals. Then fell asleep. Can’t say I regret the experience, but also can’t claim to have gotten much out it. So I’m left listening to what others have to say about psychedelics and observing those I know who’ve had a lot of experiences with them. One thing I’m sure of is that acid can be overdone. Met several people a few hits over the line. Messed them up.

Always been skittish toward that kind of shit. Context and environment really seem to matter when partaking in those sorts of experiences. The dreaded “bad trip” sounded like something to seriously avoid at all costs.

Anyway, just not my cup of tea. And I think many of us are overdoing mary jane too. Overuse isn’t consequence-free, I don’t believe. Or maybe not all people’s brain cells are created equal. Pretty sure mine would benefit from no more than low exposure. Some folks I know who are into the ganja make it the center of their lifestyle. Smoke it morning, noon, and night. That’s one way to totally tune out, if you can function like that. Observation demonstrates most of those don’t fair terribly well past age 50. Get loopy, really lazy, dampened ambitions, less able to clearly track complex conversations and inquiries and then articulate meaningful insight in response. That winds up hindering them.

Things worth thinking about.

I took to beer and cigarettes and am obviously not claiming to be operating at an optimal level. LOL  I tune out/chill out in my own ways more than I probably ought too. Because it dulls us down, robs us of ambition, allows us to care a little less. Has it’s definite upside too, at least in the beginning. Consequences there tend to be cumulative.

Just sharing things that go through my mind…

Interesting video nevertheless.

Once again: Some leaders are NOT worth following!

Was just listening to this video uploaded today by Bernard Chapin titled “AVFM Sacrifices Young Men”:

Then went and read the article written by Dean Esmay on AVFM: http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/please-sign-this-white-house-petition-to-declare-a-voice-for-men-a-terrorist-group/

Then went and checked out the White House petition in question: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/classify-mens-rights-movement-terrorist-group/W5018W63

[The diatribe that follows might not differ much from the video I created after typing it up, posted at the bottom.]

Gotta say that I am really surprised by Dean Esmay’s stance on the matter and completely oppose what he is suggesting. Like Chapin explained in his video above, in a post-9/11 America you would be a DAMN FOOL to announce to the U.S. government that you are a terrorist or are affiliated with what’s being accused of being a terrorist organization. Doesn’t matter that it’s all a bunch of hogwash and that the Rodger kid had nothing to do with the MRM — Dean’s article is still encouraging their followers, many of whom are young men, to sign a petition agreeing that the men’s rights movement is a terrorist group. Do you understand how serious that could be? This is the land of the NSA, the FBI, the CIA, Homeland Security — all of which would love more domestic targets for them to focus their time and resources toward so as to look like they’re actually accomplishing something. And we live in a society that we already know is pretty damn sympathetic to the feminist perspective.

Not too bright, fellas. You think this will attract attention toward your organization, but not all attention is created equal and not all will wind up helping your cause. Looking back on some of the things stated on the AVFM forum, I’m willing to bet their overarching message could be drowned out when people only look at excerpts and find them sufficient for forming opinions against a site like that. Because that’s how people are. Most aren’t going to take the time to read on there for months and months before reaching a conclusion. I did, but I am rare, and I still came to the conclusion that it’s not a movement I can get behind, largely because I take issue with its leaders, and Dean unfortunately just further cemented that stance.

The U.S. government isn’t known for its sense of humor, and the general public isn’t likely to be open-minded toward the “satire” popular within the “manosphere.” This is why I’ve been speaking up, despite it irritating people, and encouraging folks to act with integrity if they really want to see improvements made to the benefit of men. Because these tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, feminist-prodding jokes of an attempt to be taken seriously aren’t going to accomplish what all you’re hoping to accomplish. I pretty much promise you that. But don’t take my word for it — go on and stubbornly find out for yourselves.

Paul Elam, John Hembling, and now, sadly enough, Dean Esmay obviously do not have your best interests at heart. You’d be better off ignoring the petition than signing it and passing it around and encouraging others to sign it, for god’s sake. Bad fucking idea, guys. Totally unnecessary and not smart. You really have no idea what ramifications that could turn out to have on down the road. And what if eventually someone affiliated with the MRM does go nuts and shoots a bunch of people? What then? After you’ve already laughingly gone along with the notion that you guys are indeed supporting terrorism? You’re not, so DO NOT play as if you are. Don’t even joke like that, not in these times.

I’m very disappointed in Dean on this one. What kind of leadership is that? This whole matter makes me uncomfortable. The petition already has nearly 10% of the signatures it needs to reach its goal and there’s still a month left for it to do so. Obama mentioning you guys is no prize. Is this intended as some sort of martyr strategy? Because I’m willing to bet it may backfire if ya’ll insist on poking that bear.

Created my own video in response to this nonsense:

Videos on people, communication, modern life, history, and ideas on where to go from here

While I’m on here tonight, I wanted to post up a couple recent videos created by Eric Orwoll, the first titled “Dealing With Otherness”:

Watched that a few days ago and it gave me a lot to think on. Been wanting to write about it on here, but it’ll have to wait to another night.

The second one is titled “Wake up, you idiots, wake up”:

That one was especially good and I relate to a lot he said in there.

Can’t do any justice on those topics tonight, so I’ll leave them here to be taken up another day.