“Marxism 101: How Capitalism is Killing Itself with Dr. Richard Wolff”

A very interesting explanation of Karl Marx’s analysis of Capitalism:

Yes, I very much understand these critiques about modern life. Marx was a Luddite of sorts, which I can relate to. Let me pause to state this. THIS is why I get defensive when people categorically dismiss “Marxist teachings” and lay all blame for the Leftist political ideologies we’re experiencing/witnessing now squarely on his shoulders. As if he’d likely be in full support of what’s become of the so-called Left.

People like to say they’ve read his “teachings.” Yeah? How much really? Most of us haven’t directly read a whole lot from the man, especially considering how incredibly much he wrote. Letter after letter between Engels on him, on top of lengthy books on these topics. Not easy reads, hence why many aren’t directly acquainted with what Karl Marx actually said. Including plenty who claim to be fans of him. And the information and ideas bandied about in his name can drift straight off the plantation of he ever appeared to have in mind. The man wasn’t terribly pro-technology and he couldn’t foresee the industrial explosion of unprecedented proportions that the next century ushered in. People didn’t even have an imagination for what was in store on this level or in detail. How could they? UNPRECEDENTED times we now live in in terms of technological innovations and global economics.

This is truly an interesting time to be alive.

But the man added to the mix his own views and analysis. So be it. I have no problem with him doing so. Though I do take issue with what’s being done in his name. Leftism =/= “Marxism.” The political Left is puppetry, neo-liberalism, just as the political Right is as well with its “neo-conservatism.” Different teams competing for global jockeying positions. We see this. We know our political systems are ALL rigged around the globe. And money does obviously factor into how it’s carried out.

We don’t want to be slaves to a new kind of slave-owner. And this is precisely why I say that slavery never truly ended, it just changed shapes. More inclusive now.

The threat of Communism is similar. Different strategy employed but in the end you still wind up with a ruling class and a bunch of serfs under their thumb, only to a more extreme degree. Personally, I find Communism as it’s ever been practiced detestable. BUT, I don’t conflate Communism with socialism. Based off the idea, yes, but then taken to a crazy extreme since the concept was applied to a huge society and carried out in a top-down manner. Socialism doesn’t quite work that way. It’s a bottom-up approach, by and large, though wider federations may be possible. But it doesn’t translate (apparently) when applied to a massive nation-state setup. Turns into totalitarianism when attempted, so history has demonstrated thus far.

Rulers. Everywhere we look. And perhaps that we be okay if they were benevolent and actually committed to protecting our wider interests. But that won’t ever happen if the people can’t hold them accountable, which we seemingly can’t currently. We’re rendered at the mercy of what’s unfolding, and we see it and feel the earth shifting beneath us. Life has gone into hyper-drive over this last century, and now we embark on a new one. One where likely middle-classes will begin blooming in China and India and elsewhere outside of the West where we have been abandoned by a good amount of our manufacturing jobs and are experiencing record debts, printing money nonstop backed by virtually nothing. We do see this. No secret here. And what will become of the U.S.? We don’t know, but it doesn’t look very good. And the politicians running are caught up in a game that’s beyond most of us in terms of making much of a lasting impact.

While I can understand the shift in people’s hearts, I wish we’d use our minds all the more. Exercise them. Explore ideas, particularly those we may have a knee-jerk reaction away from.

I don’t see socialism and libertarianism as necessarily incompatible. Perhaps they are the new political “right” and “left” down here on the ground. Reckoning with the philosophical conundrums arising between individual vs. collective or “societal” interests. So many buzzwords make it to where discussing these matters feels cheap, like people’s eyes glaze over when they peruse them. I get it. Really do. But we have to somehow come to terms with the fact that we are both social beings and individuals in our own right. There’s a balancing act needed here, yet different people will likely opt to attempt it in different ways. Hence why I like to talk about my dream of 10,000 communities going their own ways. Let the social experiments begin…

Pipe dreams, I know. Because now we appear locked into this trajectory, whether we like it or not. Jumping in a political “camp” or movement won’t likely improve a thing. Especially not when so many are so divided. Few of us can agree on anything anymore it seems. If ever people did. But some of us must find a way and group up with those we’re capable of living and working with to the best of our ability, if only to find solace and cooperation in whatever lies in times to come.

I don’t have any answers. But I do understand the concern and always have. Can also understand our Western concerns and how it may look to those most well-adapted and proven successful in our current setup. But times are a-changin’ whether we like it or not. And whether we try to prepare or not.

Crime will likely increase. We’re a very materialistic culture. Entertaining ourselves to death. I’ve heard Yugoslavians basically fell prey to the same lure.

After listening to the audiobook for Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature, and appreciating it to an extent (final chapter aside), I’d argue that he spoke (and wrote) prematurely. Comforting as it would be to agree with his analysis.

Lately this eerie feeling has been coming over me. Listening to all the propaganda and watching how race relations are being ramped up in our society, I get to wondering if it’s possible if there’s an economic breakdown if the U.S. may go the way of South Africa. At least in essence, though in our case it’s not simply two or three races/ethnic backgrounds against one another. It’s become fashionable to talk shit about “white” people today, yet the reverse is deemed intolerable. Hmm. If we’re honest with ourselves and set aside our excuses and rationale and just pay attention, observe — we see this going on. It started with jokes and has grown noticeably more vicious with time.

Increasingly not a secret.

We should be able to examine these matters without being pigeon-holed as belonging to the political Left or Right as a result. Screw all of that nonsense. And to hell with devoting ourselves to ideologies of any sort. Better to keep an open mind since not a one of us has it all figured out. Explore. These ideological cages are just that — utopian traps sold to us by people who don’t give a damn about us, who simply rely on us and the money we spend, pandering to our psychologies so that we don’t revolt and remove them from power. But then another of a similar caliber would surely take their places since we don’t understand the process of power and how it can accumulate. Forming hierarchies is in our nature, but what we’ve constructed are so big that they’re guaranteed to fail us. We can’t reach them anymore. Just have to accept the dictates sent down the ladder in the form of laws. Can fight them and sometimes win, but eventually they plow on through while claiming to have enough popular support. Pandering and pretending — that’s American politics at present.

It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of all of this. But we only have one life to live, so far as we know, so we might as well make it interesting and do something with ourselves that isn’t a complete waste. Was watching another talk with Dr. Jordan Peterson earlier today (see last post) where he goes into all that and highly recommend others hear the man out. Aligning with ideologies is a way to shirk individual responsibility and hide within a crowd. Best to opt to do something more courageous than that at least. That is too easy.

There are plenty of thought-provoking thinkers on any and all “sides” who are worthy of hearing out even if we wind up disagreeing. Suspend judgment for a while and just let it in and ponder. Helps to better flesh out our own beliefs and ideas, to challenge them and thereby alter, deepen and expand them. No shame in exploring far and wide.

Admittedly kinda surprised me initially to stumble across Abby Martin conducting that interview. Proved to be worth taking in as more food for thought. The professor explained his position very articulately, though I still don’t see a top-down approach winding up ultimately resolving this dilemma, at least not how the globally-minded may envision it. We shall see.

“Harvard Talk: Postmodernism & the Mask of Compassion”

Another great talk from Dr. Jordan Peterson:

Videos on 9/11 by Lionel Nation

This man’s expressed views are closest to my own in regards to the needed skepticism and critical thinking when assessing the 9/11 attacks.

Don’t refer to myself as a “Truther” either since so many jumped on that bandwagon over time and began drawing conclusions that we also have no proof for. All I know is the official story makes no damn sense. Never did and never will. We all remember the news that day and can recall citizens and reporters describing hearing explosions in or near the basements of the twin towers. And no plausible explanation has been offered for why Building 7 (a.k.a. World Trade Center 7 which housed various tenants including offices for the IRS, CIA, Department of Defense, Securities and Exchange Commission and many others) fell into its own footprint when the only damage it sustained was due to an internal fire, making it THE only steel skyscraper in the world to have ever collapsed due to fire. I watched it go down and heard the news guy say something about the building being “pulled” — never forgot that man saying that at the time. Made no sense. Still makes no sense what we’re being told on this matter.

So people can go ahead and believe whatever they wish. Obviously can’t stop them. And they can rail against those of us who remain very skeptical and dismiss us as “conspiracy theorists,” as they always do. It’s aggravating to me that so many people aren’t more curious about such matters, especially when it pertains to domestic defense.

And I’ll leave it to Lionel to question the incredulity of the official narrative when it came to the Pentagon and the other plane supposedly going down in Pennsylvania (United Airlines Flight 93) that somehow, inexplicably, vaporized on the spot. Makes not a lick of sense, not when we’ve seen portions of spaceships and the like return to earth at extremely high speeds and still leave recognizable debris.

Blows the mind that so many people still refuse to question what the heck happened that day. Some people even get angry at you for refusing to accept the official story as true. They’ve laced into me on several occasions, of course calling me a “conspiracy theorist,” and I always tell them clearly and directly that I won’t pretend to know what really did happen or who’s behind it, but the official story itself doesn’t make sense. I have to draw the line at accepting claims that are illogical and physics-defying. What sane person wouldn’t? And if that makes me and so many others crackpots on that account alone, well, then we have an even bigger problem as a nation. Sounds like it’ll just be a matter of time before we start denying scientific evidence altogether in favor of our preferred politics, and THAT IS DANGEROUS. Don’t go down that road, folks. Read for yourselves. Look into explanations and research from experts in related fields who aren’t government employees and find out for yourselves how buildings fall in various scenarios and WHY. That’s all I ever recommend to anyone, hence why I don’t bring this topic up much anymore since my goal isn’t to get into fights with people over bullshit.

The one rebuttal that gets under my skin is that which comes from military personnel who act like questioning such matters is somehow a demonstration of my lack of patriotism. That’s not fair and they damn well know it. If anything, the opposite is more accurate. Is the goal to toe the line here or to figure what is and isn’t real?

Until I know more I can’t say much more than that what’s been put forth to us in the official narrative leaves more questions than answers and is implausible to the point of being ridiculous. THAT much I can accept. What has actually occurred? I don’t know. Who does know? How many really know and why have they chosen to lie? We all can theorize about that, but we can’t claim to be certain without conclusive evidence. Which it’s looking like we’ll never have, and that’s a travesty.

So…in short, I don’t know if Middle Easterners had anything to do with these attacks. Could it have been an “inside job”? Yes, and it wouldn’t surprise me either if it was. But I can’t chalk 9/11 up to domestic attacks orchestrated by Muslim extremists and feel confident in that assessment. Doesn’t appear to be the case, at least not in the way it’s been described to the public by our government. I don’t know who’s responsible for all that, but we know they’ve gotten away with it (at least so far), and we also see that a lot of propaganda has arisen out of this debacle (perhaps due to seizing on the opportunity; perhaps for more nefarious, premeditated reasons). But I don’t trust a damned thing I’ve heard in well over a decade coming out of my government as a result of these attacks and how the matter has been handled and publicized. They’ve wrecked my trust and faith in them there. Can’t seem to re-establish it since either. Just can’t, not so long as the BS keeps flowing and those actually responsible aren’t brought to justice (which likely will never happen). Maybe many decades on down the road pertinent information will be declassified or leaked, but I won’t be surprised if that’s long after the players involved are dead and gone. And will the rest of the public even care by then anyway, considering so many don’t seem to care even now or over a decade back?

This probably has damaged quite a bit of my faith in my fellow Americans as well. Maybe even humans in general. Not that people could be so calloused as to attack us — that doesn’t surprise me one bit. But that people would rather stick their heads in the sand so as to avoid being called a loon than to take a stand and demand better information. THAT right there really sickens me. Unnerves me. Because it’s that precise impulse that keeps leading people all over the world to back or at least tolerate lying politicians and, subsequently, the rise of totalitarian forms of government. No country or people are immune to this impulse apparently. Many, if not most, would rather live on their knees than risk dying on their feet. That’s just a truth about human psychology, so it seems. We’re a bunch of cowards who are awesome at rationalizing ANYTHING under the sun when it suits us to do so.

“Alan Watts ~ Stop Competing With Yourself” (his BEST lecture!)

That was excellent. Tied together so many of his past lectures succinctly while also feeding into other reading material I’ve been pondering over time. This particular lecture cemented my respect for Alan Watts. Haven’t always understood what he was talking about, but I stuck with him and appreciate the light he’s helped provide overall. He’s right — the skill to living isn’t simply self-discipline (important as that unarguably is) but learning how to find the right balance. Differs for each of us, and the possibilities are nearly endless.

We can be snobs to one another. That’s easy enough to do. We can divvy up into separate “camps” and talk shit and focus our attention there primarily. Plenty already do. Will lead us straight to hell as a society and a species if we keep this up, but we’re free to do so obviously. Or prove incapable of not doing so if we individually remain complacent in our present forms. Life requires growth and we’re psychological beings. No escaping that truth.

But how we figure out navigating in a manner that seems worth it is the existential question of our time.

It’s a fact that much of this can’t help but come down to our own selves, impactful as external influences can’t help but be. Hence why it’s important to opt for better influences, those which can promote positive expansion. The alternative is what? Let ourselves slide into the abyss? What is our love affair with the abyss? I think Dr. Jordan Peterson is right when he’s basically said staying down there comes with the benefit of evading personal responsibility. Strikes a chord inside, rings correct. Mea culpa too.

Nobody else can change these facts for us. Only we individually can make the decision and actively plod in that direction. Even a slave-driver can’t effectively force us if we collectively and actively resist like mules. That seems obvious enough. Might murder a bunch of us, but still can’t force us to put our hearts into something against our will. Might reduce many of us to a cowardly state, but that’s largely through our own compliance, if not entirely. We as individuals actually do possess a lot more power than we commonly publicly acknowledge and demonstrate appreciation for.

We’re spoiled on modern life and the ease at which we can hide out from one another and interact behind keyboards anonymously if desired. Modern technologies allow for an atomized form of existence never before known by our species. Easy to get drunk on it and all its comforts. I know. Welcome to modern life. It’s ALL a big mystery to each and every one of us. Learn as we go. Hopefully. Maybe.

Depends on how we choose to live. Nobody else can determine that for us. Short of killing us, and all that does it extinguish us — still doesn’t force our will to ACT. Definitely can impact us seriously though. And that’s no small matter. But this is where ancient Stoics did have the right idea. We can’t control all of the variables in life, quite obviously. Never could and never will. We can’t help but be vulnerable beings, as all lifeforms are. And we can’t completely control other people, try as we might. Can to whatever extents, but that’s it. There is a sovereignty to the individual that is untouchable by others, try as we undoubtedly will. Sadists probably know this all too well in the end. There’s a private sphere within each of us that will forever remain unexplorable by all others. Fact of life. We are individuals yet we are communal. Both are true, and neither is avoidable nor alterable (at least not without massive negative consequences). Not if any balance is to be achieved. And some sense of balance is necessary for satisfaction in life.

Can’t seem to escape these truths lately. Recurring. Thanks to my reading and viewing material, which I’ve learned a lot from over time. We are blessed to have this amazing internet. Anyone who doesn’t own a desktop computer or at minimum a laptop is being left in the dark ages (and no, “smartphones” aren’t solely sufficient for exploring this medium — way too limited/limiting). But I suppose people will have to work with what they’ve got if that’s necessarily the case. Still, the information available so freely to us nowadays is unprecedented, truly amazing. We are lucky in this regard and shouldn’t take it too much for granted. So many opportunities surround us currently.

I say this all to myself more than to others, though it’s to all of you too. We need to step up our game as individual persons in however many which ways that may unfold. For one’s own personal sake, if for no one else’s.

“2017 Maps of Meaning 9: Patterns of Symbolic Representation” (Dr. Jordan Peterson)

Sitting with this lecture this morning:

“Mayhem while we’re freezing and starving: my talk at Western” (Dr. Jordan Peterson)

Dr. Peterson on Existentialism via Solzhenitsyn and the Gulag (2017 Personality course lecture)

That interesting lecture was brought to us by Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, esteemed professor at the University of Toronto. Some of the material he provided there from various authors, particularly that of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, I am familiar with from listening to past lectures by Dr. Peterson; plus, plenty of us internet devotees were already aware of the “Hugh Mongous” fiasco whereby Zarna Joshi made an ass of herself (and the most-modern Feminist movement she belongs to) while trying to demean a man out in public because she felt so entitled to do so. So, having viewed all of that, I personally found the most interesting portion of this lecture to begin shortly after the 1:15:45 mark where Dr. Peterson goes into the biblical story of the flood and then the Tower of Babel, followed by his thoughts on nihilism/existentialism and individual responsibility.

The latter is a topic many of us revisit time and time again as we struggle to get our lives under better control. He’s absolutely correct that a sizeable portion of the suffering we experience in this life is due to our own choices and stubbornly not following our consciences. We know this, and yet we often don’t live as if we know this. “To know and not to do is not to know” — to repeat a quote that dates back across the centuries.

He’s right that each of our lives have a ripple effect on our communities and that one’s own pathology impacts the pathological nature of wider society. It can be no other way since society is composed of individual persons — it’s an aggregate of all of us. That’s all it is and all it ever was. Though it’s very easy for us to try to hide within it, to attempt to blend in so as not to be noticed too distinctly, to shirk responsibility because we’d rather avoid the headaches that go along with that. And somewhere in that equation is where the so-called root of all evil likely resides, at least in its primordial form.

I think we know this deep down, though we like to dismiss it as somehow less relevant than continuing to go along to get along. “Don’t make waves,” some like to say. “The raised nail gets hammered down” — another proverb used to admonish us to not draw attention to ourselves by stepping out of line from the rest. And so the herd mentality gets reinforced…

The biggest problem we humans face is our own humanity and the reckoning it requires of us at this point in our psychological, spiritual, and sociopolitical development. It’s an internal struggle with external consequences, as we can clearly see.

So often we look to others to change so that we might be made happy. But that’s not how it works. Never has and never will.

That was an excellent talk by Dr. Peterson. Glad that I awoke tonight and stumbled back across his channel once again.

“What Pisses Me Off About Western Civilization”

From Canadian Stefan Molyneux.