Individuation process vs. hiding within collectivistic identity-based movements and groups

My thinking seems to oscillate daily. Sometimes I get irate over racist extremists — like black supremacists and their push for “communalism” (“one mind, one choice” to quote Latausha Nedd, a.k.a. Eye Empress Sekhmet) and outright rejection of individualism. As was the case yesterday. Then the next night rolls around and I realize just how much they’re fighting an uphill battle, not against white people or society but again Nature unto itself when it comes to trying to staunch and reverse humanity’s gravitation toward individuation. It’s where humans have been heading for the last few thousands of years and it won’t cease just because some ideologies wish for it to. In fact, those ideologies are destined to fail and cause grave destruction on account of going against the natural flow in trying to force human groups backward into outdated modes of existence. Won’t work. Hasn’t thus far. The 20th century demonstrated how devastating attempting to go down that path will be, and the 21st century will prove it again if enough feel so inclined to keep trying to force a square peg through a round hole.

It’s foolish to think we can return to the past. Not possible. Yet it remains popular for people yearn for and romanticize past epochs, believing life to have been simpler then and people to have been kinder (at least within one’s own tribe). We infuse these dreams of the past with magical properties, and then take the view that we have fallen from the grace they represented. That’s the interesting thing about dreams and imaginings — we can concoct them any way we wish. Their adherence to factual reality is irrelevant to us. We gaze fondly upon an imagined past most likely because we’re so uncomfortable with the uncertainty of the present and the future. And that too is a natural inclination.

When I refer to us humans as a bunch of modern-day Luddites, I’m only half joking. We really are, and it’s understandable in a sense. And because of this we’re keen on seeking out someone or something to blame: God, other races and groups and nations, modernity itself, other political camps, influential philosophies that we take issue with, etc. This is all part of the reckoning process that comes with living, especially in such drastically changing times. Lifestyles of a century ago are so foreign to us that we cannot relate, and because of this we get to thinking we’ve been robbed of something precious. Well, we have lost what once was, but, in turn, we’ve also gained what now is and what perhaps may someday be. Everything in life involves a trade-off, whether we like it or not. And Life doesn’t consult with us on whether we’re cool with that — it simply rolls on and we either learn to roll with it or get dragged along. Right or wrong, that does appear to be a fact of life.

On hearing that I’m sure some folks will dig in their heels all the more and proclaim someone like me to be jaded, overly cynical, even nihilistic perhaps. They may think I’ve given up hope, which is not the case. I’m just coming to terms little by little with what’s in my control and what isn’t. The past most definitely isn’t. Though you and I can impact the present and possibly the future as well. So that’s where I am being called to turn my attention, having long been one of the most stubborn Luddites out here who also liked to entertain dreams of what may have come before and harbored resentment over it being wrested from us. I too have been angry over so many things and cast blame in various directions, and still do at times. But, little by little, I’m starting to see this world a bit differently along with my role within it.

The individuation process is very necessary. Consider it the next big leap in the evolutionary progress of humankind. Another step in our progression away from pure animality and primitive sapienhood. Of course the process is painful and trying — when has living and growing not involved suffering? Suffering actually appears to be fundamentally necessary here, prompting expansion of one’s mind and empathetic reflections to enhance relations with other people and the world at-large. Don’t take that in the lovey-dovey sense, as if I think we’re all going to come together and sing kumbaya anytime soon. No, I’m referring to alterations to how we view and live in the world and communicate with one another, which are all forged through trial and error and many hardships and pain and sorrow that can lead us toward a greater consciousness and appreciation for Love, connections, critical inquiry, and grasping what’s of real value.

But this path I speak of is a lonesome valley. Can’t be any other way. People are trying (unconsciously or sub-consciously) to seek refuge in groups and movements and identity politics in an effort to avoid this path and all that goes with it. You can run but you can’t hide. There is no past to retreat to. It’s no more than a fiction in our minds at this point so far as retreating is concerned. Yet people keep trying to go that route, perhaps more and more nowadays, probably because they’re growing all the more terrified with life and where it might be headed. As is understandable, to an extent.

“There’s nothing to fear but fear itself” is an empty platitude that is often repeated but rarely heeded. Why? Because we’re all scared. Very difficult not to be. Uncertainty terrifies us, as does suffering. As does unfolding our own individual potential — that too scares us terribly for some reason, perhaps more than anything else. Maybe because it can’t help but be such an intensely solo (thereby lonely) project, not to mention fraught with worries over being judged by others for whatever fruits we attempt to produce (whether we fail or succeed). Fear of personal failure, especially while observed by others, is huge. And then there’s this nasty requirement that we put in so much effort and learn to turn away from unnecessary distractions (plenty of which we find entertaining). Beyond that, I wonder if it also has something to do with appearing naked in front of our Lord/creator (metaphorically speaking). The group, the hivemind, is a place of refuge not unlike a forest where we appear to be just one tree among many. To stand alone is to stand judged, and that’s a mightily uncomfortable proposition for anyone to contend with. Doesn’t sound like something most of us would willingly sign up for, and many of us therefore don’t.

But life has a way of forcing our hands. One such way, so it appears, is hiding within a group or movement until it grows strong enough that it becomes a monster in its own right that devours a good many of its own as well as those it stands in opposition to. Then all those individuals hidden out therein wind up with a bunch of blood on their own hands (assuming they survive and aren’t one of the ones targeted by the beast of their own making), which they then wind up judged for. Possibly for generations to come. They may cry out that they themselves, individually, were innocent and did not envision nor endorse what the beast eventually became, but others will mock them as cowards and pretenders in response, and rightly so. You built up that aggregated beast through your own individual efforts and contributions — that was a choice. Perhaps it was the easiest choice at the time, but it remained a choice nonetheless. To have otherwise faced scorn and ridicule, rendered alienated or been effectively deserted or maybe even targeted for attack and possibly killed — STILL it was a choice. Because the decision is difficult and the consequences potentially dire does not negate the fact that a choice was made.

So people can wind up tainted by the sins of that which they help create and build up and attempt to hide within, or we can risk being tainted by the sins of our own direct doing without a refuge to obscure us and our activities. Many of us prefer the former since if we do indeed prove to be wrong, the blame and shame winds up distributed among all involved, lessening our own sense of culpability (and/or public witness of it) via camouflage. Seems like a good plan, until it isn’t. Great consequences can be meted out to those deemed responsible for horrific wrongdoing, plenty of which are psychological in nature. And those who truly weren’t comfortable with the direction their organization was heading but who remained involved just the same wind up tarred and feathered along with the rest in the aftermath. No pity shown for them either because they chose to go that route. Here we can reflect on how societies across the world today view the German Nazis and the Russian Communists and the Chinese Maoists of yesteryear — still unforgiven (and unforgivable) decades later. And on and on it goes…

But one doesn’t hide within one’s race unless one makes a conscious identity of it. Because others attribute unwarranted characteristics to you based on your race doesn’t make you automatically guilty. There is a difference between what one is and can’t change and what one chooses to partake in (like an identity-based movement).

Either way, we will potentially face scorn and hardship and blame, no matter who we are. Attempting to hide within a human-made forest won’t change that, nor will standing alone on one’s own merit. BUT at least when one goes his or her own way and grapples with life in an authentic fashion, we’re hiding less from ourselves and others and thereby are capable of learning and clearly observing what will and will not work (assuming one’s goal is to be fruitful, and by that I mean honestly productive, e.g. life-affirming in orientation). Obscuring such truths only prolongs the process and the accompanying pain inherent in it. So taking the easy way today might very well lead to much greater long-term suffering for oneself and/or our descendants (those we claim to care so much about).

No group/movement is capable of instilling these truths into the minds of its members. Each individual has to reckon with and come to terms with what is and what is not on his or her own. Nobody else on earth can do it for us. If one opts to tune out and refuses to explore and examine information for oneself, then potential growth will be stunted for that particular individual, with no one else possessing the power to change that fact. If we choose the less studious route and allow a group or movement to indoctrinate us with talking points in place of real information that we have fact-checked and quibbled over, then we’ve allowed ourselves to be misled. That is one’s own responsibility since we are our own gatekeepers as adults. And if that group/movement we’ve chosen affiliation with goes into beast mode and creates havoc, we deserve our fair portion of the blame for having provided it fuel to grow and become what it has.

At bottom, there’s no way to escape personal responsibility. Try as we might to fight it and run from it, we’ll keep being returned to face this human truth. Again and again and again. Until we learn it and strive to act in accordance, it will continue being Ground Hog Day on this planet — repeating the same mistakes over and over with painful consequences that provide an opportunity for reflection, introspection and personal growth. It is ultimately our choice on what we each decide to do. If people prefer to create hell on earth by refusing to come to grips with this, then hell we shall have.

There are rules that are beyond our making but that must be lived in accordance with if we’re to ever transcend our current conundrums. I’d like to tell you that I’m sorry for this, but actually I’m not. It’s just life. Is what it is, and that’s okay. I happen to find it very interesting and awe-inspiring, albeit unnerving and very tough to come to terms with each step of the way. My prayer for others is that they too come to embrace Life’s wonder and strangeness without letting too much fear and pressure from other humans get in the way of exploring the possibilities. Take care.

“CULTURAL MARXISM: The Corruption of America” (plus my thoughts)

This film might strike some as a piece of shameless propaganda:

In it’s own special way, it indeed is. Plenty of truths contained therein, so I would recommend it to others, but only if you promise to sit through the whole 90 minutes. Made me twitch with rebuttals and quibbles, but still I’m glad I watched that tonight because it got me thinking.

Said before and will keep saying that the term “cultural Marxis” has become a misnomer. And this matters because accuracy in language is especially needed on concepts of this magnitude. Previously wrote on here how I view Karl Marx being blamed for all modern problems due to this ideology that continues to bare the name “cultural Marxism” despite it having little to nothing to do with what Marx was actually about. Ok, there are a few points to be made here.

First off, economic class concerns in the 1880s during the rise of Industrialization coinciding with the rise of what we know of as capitalism, which in short order began paving the way toward corporatism. Karl Marx was a product of the 19th century when agrarianism was still common and factories were pretty new. Conditions within those factories hadn’t been regulated yet, so employees could be treated as relatively disposable, creating a situation arguably not a huge step up from slavery. He foresaw what that might develop into, so far as one reasonably could way back then, pre-20th century modernization. And he rightfully protested it, like any luddite worth his salt would. Hell, had I been in his shoes I’d likely have tried sounding the alarm too, and so did plenty of others. Not like Marx was the only one to ever express an opinion on this matter, nor that his teachings were the primary ones to prove super influential on the predecessors to those now known as SJWs. Lots of thinkers contributed to the ideology being referred to as “cultural marxism.”

It’s obvious what it is now is an ideology fashioned over the last century to suit the interests of globalists and power-seekers. Certainly not benefiting the people Marx ever had in mind. Complete reversal instead. That’s what’s so insidious and destructive and outright dishonest about continuing to refer to that ideology as “cultural marxism.” How can opposites both be forms of Marxism? Because it’s evolved, you say? Then why keep calling it by defunct language? Only confuses people, like the maker of that otherwise pretty interesting documentary. Or maybe for some people the term “cultural marxism” really just serves as politically-less-incorrect code for Jews. That’s what I’m starting to think this business of holding onto that term and warning people off of having anything to do with the Frankfurt School authors as though their books were possessed by the devil.

I’ve read number books by Erich Fromm, and guess what, folks! He’s on our side. Read him and see. He wrote against us becoming automatons and corporate and/or government slaves. Not on the side of the globalists. Which people might realize if they actually took time to read the authors they’re criticizing (or in Fromm’s case there, a title page merely flashed across the screen — deemed automatically guilty by association for being a member of the Frankfurt School — no one who studied Marx’s writings could possibly be nuanced and critical in his treatment of it, right? NOT IF THEY WERE IN THE FRANKFURT SCHOOL. Oy.  rolleyes_smilie  Yet another example of how we remain willfully blind.) Excerpts from a few of Fromm’s books I’ve transcribed onto this blog for anyone curious enough to take a glimpse into the sort of things he actually said.

So anyway, Marx wasn’t aiming to be some sort of malicious devil or usher for the rise of totalitarian states. Goes to show how much control we have over what’s done with our ideas once we’ve shared them. Can take on a life of their own. Or be co-opted. Maybe also inverted so that the public gets the message that being class conscious is no different than being race or sex/gender conscious. All are the same and all belong on the political Left. And that’s where there’s a serious problem, considering how much class consciousness really ought to matter to so many of us relative to the few who’ve become an enormously influential economic elite. That’s on a special level way above snowflake identity politics or even race relations seeing as how we’re all in the same societal basket headed in the same direction. That is key, and I don’t think it’s a mistake that the situation has been framed the way it was in that film in relation to so-called “cultural marxism.” Plenty of other sources do the same thing, I’ve seen.

All those dots connected around the 1-hour mark onward — valuable. Too bad they’re packaged in with”cultural marxism”-declaring propaganda. Reduces the whole film’s credibility, that along with the hokey voice-overs and lack of informative explanation on what was proposed by Marx and Frankfurt School authors. Basically just pointed to them and sneered, booing us away from paying too much mind to them other than aiming to avoid them at all cost. Not useful. Propagandist dick move there. Inaccurate for the sake of protecting some semblance of what capitalism was envisioned to be. We’re now post that, whether we like it or not.

This is where I deviate sharply from this film and others like it. Is there a conspiracy of Jews influenced by Marx and whomever else trying to run the world? Who cares? Would it really matter what ethnicity they happen to be? Followers of a globalist agenda obviously aren’t all Jewish (like the Clintons and Bushes and Obamas). Everybody like to form an elaborate theory about who’s angling for power and why and what all they may be tied into. Here’s all we need to know: totalitarianism is the ultimate threat. It’s anti-capitalist, anti-true socialism even, anti-individual, anti-social, anti-human. Whatever form it may take isn’t of particular importance, not in the big picture. At least not outside of comprehending the steps of that rise and consolidation of power.

Are certain relationships about power? Yes, they are. Probably not all, but when it comes to politics there’s most definitely always the threat of a power grab.

Now, in my own personal opinion, I don’t rightly care to nitpick anymore over what elements involved may have come about via intentional collusion and what might simply be the luck of the draw or mounting consequences of short-term opportunism or whatever else. Lots of moving parts at play in the 20th century. The convergence of a plethora of technologies inside growing nation-states and the rise of consumerism and a public education system and wars and exploring the sciences (including psychology) and corporatism and the explosion of our economy….on and on it goes. So much unprecedented shit happening all at once, coming in from every which way. Distractions galore. Looks to me to simply be a conspiracy of Life. So much culminated into the conditions we’re experiencing now, so much that couldn’t have been foreseen or predicted. And some people take advantage of the situation, as to be expected.

Tyranny lurks and seeks out opportunity. Why? Because power does matter to us humans, and to some a whole lot more than others. The will to play god will probably never go out of style. Something psychological within inclines us that way. And some succeed from time to time. Tragic when that happens.

Acknowledging all of that, the part in the film where they talk about our U.S. Constitution and the visions of our forefathers I am deeply in agreement with, BUT we nowadays face the conundrum of living in such complex societies that are indeed already globally connected through markets and military threats. The notion of doing away with our standing army at this point would strike nearly all as ludicrous and surely national suicide. Having a standing army (or in our case, a whole military-industrial complex) is deemed a necessity to at least remain sovereign. But then, of course, that’s never what a military remains limited to, especially not one as powerful as ours. Then there’s also the concern about how the U.S. military is essentially an employment sector by now, and a huge one at that. Employs over a million citizens, I believe. How would anyone wish to go about dismantling that mammoth? Would prove political suicide for a candidate to even suggest such a thing.

See, this is where we’re wrapped up in paradoxes of our own human creation. Not sure how we wriggle out of this mess. It’s become self-perpetuating. And, unfortunately, increasingly less transparent as well as less accessible by the average citizen. I completely agree with the documentary-makers’ sentiments expressed about state and local rights, but how do we check federal powers at this point? Sure, absolutely most of Congress deserves to be impeached. I’ve been saying that for over a decade. But how? We’ve become so divided and are firmly bogged down arguing over so many less important matters. Which propaganda aided in bringing about.

Sure, people should cancel their cable subscriptions and quit believing what’s put on by the mainstream media. Stop paying for pop culture garbage over intellectually-beneficial content. Easy to say, but no way to enforce it. Barely can entice those who aren’t already curious and seeking. Demonstrating how Americans got in this mess in the first place: we suck at remaining vigilant and principled.

Is pessimism also a feature of “cultural marxism”?  lol  He claimed so, but that’s ridiculous. One can recognize the present situation for what it is and still work toward protecting what we’re able. I won’t pretend to be optimist about what may lay in store. But we work with what we can. We start clarifying our values and living in accordance. Whether we ultimately triumph as a people in the end or not, it’s the journey that’s of most concern since that’s day by day. One foot in front of the other. Less overwhelming when we each try to take it on as that.

That’s enough to say on this for one evening.

“Joe Rogan Talks About the Biggest Unsolved Mystery Of All Time”

And then youtube went and removed the video clip in question, so in its place I’ll have to post the entire 3-hour podcast. Dammit.

The portion in question (which I’ll have to find on there later) was an excellent conversation between those three.

Sitting with “Splitting the Atom” once again

It’s easy. Don’t let it go. Don’t lose it.

These lyrics continue to invade my thoughts at random. How I perceive this is it’s saying that indeed it is easy to let it go and lose it. In short, to lose some important part of ourselves. Therefore aim to resist doing so. And that can’t help but take diligent effort, especially considering all that we’re up against at present. Modern dragons are every bit as ferocious as those of ancient legends, despite the different shapes they may be taking now.

It is easy to let go of what matters more. This concern strikes me regularly enough. Too easy to be lulled into an abyss that proves unworthwhile. A matter plenty of us continue to wrestle with.

Conjures up questions on why we’re motivated as we are. How much of it is worth striving to change and what is better off being accepted? It will divvy up differently depending on each individual. Can’t help but do so.

Full lyrics follow:

The baby was born
Nettles and Ferns
The evening it chokes
The candle it burns
This disguise covers
Bitter lies
Repeating the joke
The meaning it dies
Pass me a coat I’m not afraid to leave
I’m letting you know
I know what you need
I’ll turn you around
This beautiful town
And then you’ll believe it when your eyes then deceive you

It’s easy, don’t let it go
It’s easy, don’t let it go
It’s easy, don’t let it go
Don’t Lose It

Its getting colder outside
Your rented space
They shadow box and they
Paper chase
It never stops
And we’ll never learn
No hope without dope
The jobless return
The bankers have bailed
The mighty retreat
The pleasure it fails
At the end of the week
You take it or leave
Or what you receive
To what you receive
Is eternited leave

It’s easy, dont let it go
It’s easy, dont let it go
It’s easy, dont let it go
Don’t lose it

Incandescent light at doors
In adolescent menopause
In little clicks you got the music stops
The needle sticks and the penny drops
The summer’s gone before you know
The muffled drums of relentless flow
You’re looking at stars that give you Vertigo
The sun’s still burning and dust will blow
Honey-scars I’ll keep you near
Our blood is gold nothing to fear
We killed the time and I love you dear
A kiss of wine we’ll disappear
The last of the last particles
Divisible invisible
The last of the last particles
Divisible invisible

Haunting song that lingers on the imagination…if you let it.

“Reggie Yates’ Extreme UK: Men at War” (full BBC film) — plus my thoughts

Well, well, well…first time hearing of and watching this today. But, then again, I am already familiar with a number of the names and handles mentioned or shown therein, the exception being Milo. Known about Roosh V since that Jordan Owen and Aurini film debacle back last year once it finally flamed out, and one of the big problems there apparently had to do with Roosh V’s involvement. So last year I went and read his supposedly “satirical” piece titled “How to Stop Rape,” which you can still read on his site (now including a disclaimer after the backlash he received).

Honestly, point blank, I think Roosh is a piece of shit, having watched several of his videos and read his posts back then before settling on that as my final assessment. And I think people who willingly choose to associate with and defend the guy bring drama upon themselves. Would you want someone treating and viewing your little sister like that? How about your daughter? Or your grand-daughter? Or your mother? To go so far as to school other men to look at life and women that way is very low, at least in my book.

He has his free speech obviously, seeing as how he’s still talking and writing and performing lectures to paying audiences throughout the world. But he can’t realistically expect for everyone to be pleased and complacent when confronted with his message. I’d cuss him out if he happened to walk into my bar, no doubt about it. Would make a big scene over an asshole like that with no qualms about doing so. I can be a major bitch when the situation seems to call for it. He can speak freely, well, so can I and others. Same goes if he were advocating getting other men drunk and trying to rape them. Or if he were a woman who talked openly about trying to get men drunk so she could take advantage of and rape men or women. It’s low-life bullshit either way you slice it and deserves to be called out. I personally have no patience for such nonsense.

There may be fine lines in certain cases, but when you go out with the intention of not hesitating and not taking no for an answer, you’ve stepped over a line already. Rationalizing and “reasoning” can indeed take a person into strange places…

Such talk is disgusting. Not to mention the rumors I read about how Roosh contracted STDs and spread them without concern. Just…ugh…ick. Like he doesn’t have a conscience at all. Me personally, I want nothing to do with that joker or anyone who chooses to align with his beliefs and outlook. Firm stance there.

But, it deserves to be stated, Roosh is not an MRA (men’s rights activist). He’s a PUA (pick-up artist), and there is a difference. But he does still qualify as a “manospherian.”

Anyway, carrying on…I actually thought Reggie was pretty fair in this BBC production. He seemed fairly open to learning about the “manosphere,” though he’d need to dig a lot deeper to gain a better understanding of the political and social arguments and concerns within the men’s rights movement. Takes a good bit of time and research to wrap one’s mind around all of that, whether you ultimately wind up agreeing on all points or not.

Can’t say I’m surprised the so-called “MGTOWs” overall chose to opt out and threw a paranoid fit over the thought of being interviewed.  lol  And that’s why I can’t take those dudes too seriously. A man actually going his own way and determining life for himself and not being ashamed to state it plain — that I can grant respect (aside from Roosh V and his ilk). But a herd of complainers with little actual ambition to change a thing that they have direct control over, wringing their hands in pleasured thoughts over the coming Armageddon, fantasizing about how scared we’ll all someday be of them and how they’ll someday rise in power by default in a collapsed society — that shit gets straight-up nutty after a while. And when you step to them and tell them off (even after they come at you first, unprovoked), what do they do? Accuse you of “shaming” them, cry victim, and eventually scuttle off back into obscurity, typical keyboard warriors destined to remain as such. Nothing new there. That’s been known to plenty of us for at least a couple years or more in terms of this internet phenomenon. Cowards. They don’t like being called that, and I don’t blanketly apply the term, but it goes for those it fits.

I get worried and nervous over all kinds of shit, particularly in recent years after my confidence took a big hit. But I still show my face and voice my concerns and reasoning without hiding or pretending. And I mold my life and work so as to accommodate my core life choices and preferred ways of being, not the other way around. We all have this option. Who doesn’t? Granted, I’m not sending threatening texts and emails to people, but that’s not my prerogative. I suppose if it’s yours then you would wish to remain anonymous.

Am I picking on the “manosphere” again tonight? Maybe a little. Mostly just irritated that this sort of footage isn’t actually out of line with how so many of these “manospherians” wind up perceived by outsiders looking in. It’s not Reggie making them look like assholes — it’s their own selves. Not all of them, mind you, but we wind up associated in the eyes of others with that which we willingly choose to affiliate ourselves. Right or wrong. And maybe some shouldn’t care much about others’ opinions and should continue living life as they see fit and improving their movements from the inside so far as they’re able. I don’t necessarily begrudge folks for aiming to reform what’s already in place. Just that our affiliations are our responsibility oftentimes, so it shouldn’t be surprising when we wind up tarred and feathered right along with the others when the time comes. Led me to thinking I’d be better off being strung up for my own thoughts, ideas, choices and behaviors, not somebody else’s whom I have no control over. And that goes for gender-bent movements just as much as for any other political or social movement under the sun. Maybe the lesson to take from this is to choose our affiliations more wisely. And scrutinize everything we’re being told, from every source.

An excerpt from “The Art of Being” by Erich Fromm

Haven’t transcribed on here in a long time. Found my copy of Erich Fromm’s The Art of Being (1989) today and so feel like sharing a bit from it, beginning on page 84:

However, stressing the One in man must not in an undialectical fashion lead to the denial of the fact that man is also an individual; that, in fact, each person is a unique individual not identical with anyone ever to be born (perhaps with the exception of identical twins). Only paradoxical thinking, so much a part of Eastern logic, permits expression of the full reality: Man is a unique individual—man’s individuality is sham and unreal. Man is “this and that” and man is “neither this nor that.” The paradoxical fact is that the deeper I experience my own or another’s unique individuality, the clearer I see through myself and him the reality of universal man, freed from all individual qualities, “the Zen Buddhists’ man without rank and without title.”

These considerations lead to the problem of the value and dangers of individualism and, related to it, the psychological study of the individual. It is very apparent that, at present, individuality and individualism are highly esteemed and widely praised as values and as personal and cultural goals. But the value of individuality is very ambiguous. On the one hand, it contains the element of liberation from authoritarian structures that prevent the autonomous development of a person. If self-knowledge serves to become aware of one’s true self, and to develop it rather than to introject a “foreign” self, imposed by the authorities, it is of great human value. In fact, the positive aspect of self-knowledge and psychology are so widely emphasized that it is scarcely necessary to add more to this phrase.

But it is extremely necessary to say something about the negative side of the cult of individuality, and its to relation to psychology. One reason for this cult is obvious: The more individuality disappears in fact, the more it is exalted in words. Industry, television, habits of consumption pay homage to the individuality of the persons they manipulate: There is the name of the bank teller in his window and the initials on the handbag. In addition, the individuality of commodities is stressed: The alleged differences between cars, cigarettes, toothpaste, which are essentially the same (in the same price class), serve the purpose of creating the illusion of the individual man or woman freely choosing individual things. There is little awareness that the individuality is, at best, one of insignificant differences, for in all their essential features commodities and human beings have lost all individuality.

The apparent individuality is cherished as a precious possession. Even if people don’t own capital, they own their individuality. Although they are not individuals, they have much individuality, and they are eager and proud to cultivate it. Since this individuality is one of small differences, they give the small, trivial differences the aspect of important, meaningful features.

Contemporary psychology has promoted and satisfied this interest in “individuality.” People think about their “problems,” talk about all the little details of their childhood history, but often what they say is glorified gossip about themselves and others, using psychological terms and concepts instead of the less sophisticated and old-fashioned gossip.

Supporting this illusion of individuality through trivial differences, contemporary psychology has a still more important function; by teaching how people ought to react under the influence of different stimuli, psychologists become an important instrument for the manipulation of others and of oneself. Behaviorism has created a whole science that teaches the art of manipulation. Many business firms make it a condition for employment that their prospective employees submit to personality tests. Many books teach the individual how to behave, in order to impress people of the value of their own personality package or of the value of the commodity they sell. By being useful in all these respects, one branch of contemporary psychology has become an important part of modern society.

While this type of psychology is useful economically and as an illusion-producing ideology, it is harmful to human beings because it tends to increase their alienation. It is fraudulent when it pretends to be based on the ideas of “self-knowledge” as the humanistic tradition, up to Freud, had conceived it.

The opposite to adjustment psychology is radical, because it goes to the roots; it is critical, because it knows that conscious thought is mostly a fabric of illusions and falsehood. It is “salvific,” because it hopes that the true knowledge of oneself and others liberates man and its conducive to his well-being. For anyone interested in psychological exploration it is necessary to be intensely aware of the fact that these two kinds of psychology have little more in common than the name, and that they follow contrary goals.

Stopped on page 86.

A bit irritated that my blog’s theme has reset itself and insists on italicizing everything, showing no distinctions even where I apply font changes. Grrr..  Ah well. Ya’ll can read a print version to see where he placed emphasis. Sorry about that.

“Joe Rogan Experience #634 – Abby Martin”

REALLY enjoyed that podcast. Very worthwhile.

A whole lot has changed since the 1900s…

While I understand the desire to maximize our experience of freedom to the greatest extent possible, we run into a number of problems in a society this heavily populated and technologically-sophisticated. I’ve said it a bunch and will say it again — a substantial difference in most-modern life compared against how people lived a mere century or two ago is that nowadays there are a WHOLE LOT more of us crammed in urban areas and we do not know (are incapable of knowing) most others who surround us in these shared living spaces. We’ve long-since left the times when people lived in relatively small communities where they were at least roughly acquainted with everybody therein (even if only through family reputation), and it doesn’t look like we’ll be returning to such ways of life anytime soon. In short, a major aspect of most-modern-day life is living among/around and interacting with countless strangers.

The reason this matters and is a massive game-changer is obviously compounded by various cultural inputs, meaning we’re not even living among people who necessarily identify with the culture(s) we do. And that seriously complicates shit, because with culture comes values. In the U.S., we have numerous subcultures that vary widely in the ways people communicate, what religion they’re likely to embrace or at least be exposed to, differences in attitudes on things like corporal punishment and what constitutes reasonable self-defense/reactions to disrespect, etc. We have people in this country from all around the globe, some of whom have lived here for generations, others who haven’t been here long at all. And we’re saturated with an untold number of ideologies varying according to which faction(s) one wishes to associate with.

A sea of diverse strangers, more or less depending on one’s particular locale.

And yet some still seem to be laboring under the fantasy that the vast majority of us see things in some similar sort of fashion, at least so much that we’d like to think most of these other strangers out here share similar values and will act accordingly. That appears to be a false assumption.

Kinda like the difference between, on one hand, the man who learns the system so as to play within it in a bid to succeed, and, on the other hand, the man who learns the system so as to game it, even if that winds up doing harm to others in the process. See, the truth is that there are a number of people out here who simply don’t care about you or what you’re trying to do or what you value most. This shouldn’t be a secret, considering we all know of some of these types who are hell-bent on doing whatever they want regardless of the social cost to others. We hear about it on the news and from our friends and family members who’ve been impacted and/or we experience this issue directly ourselves.

Once again, we’re not all on the same team. And in keeping that in mind, how much trust should we reasonably extend to others? I don’t believe there is a magic, universally-applicable answer here. Rather, we’re prompted to treat others with scrutiny until we have good reason to do otherwise. That is, until trust is established.

But how does one go about establishing trust when most people we’re surrounded by will remain strangers to us?

Well, we obviously can’t establish trust with most folks. Just not possible. And we’re never really certain which stranger out of the bunch will pose a problem for us. Hence why we have laws in place in an attempt to curb unwanted behaviors through the threat of possible legal action. And yes, due to the complexity of the society we live within and residents of each state having some say on local conditions and laws, we’ve constructed a complicated legal nightmare to traverse in this country.

But some of these laws are quite useful. For example, statutory limits placed on youths’ ability to consent to sex with grown adults. Considering parents can’t be around at all times throughout their children’s upbringing (we not living in old agrarian times anymore), they are unable to play the role of overseer where as historically parents arguably had a great deal more control in that arena. So we created laws to try to deter adults from sexually messing with youths, and as to be expected, some of those laws have been misused and abused over time. I sincerely wish we could get around that, and perhaps people of tomorrow will figure out better ways of doing so. But as it stands today, there’s a need for protection over the most vulnerable persons in our society from those who could potentially present the most harm by attempting to use youths for their own sexual desires. If parents could take such people out back and string them up from a tree, undoubtedly more than a few would try that. But we’re expected to remain civilized and to let the governing bodies sort out and punish such offenses.

We can’t simply trust random people to do right by us, let alone to do right by young people who tend to be too trusting for their own good. We know this. This is not a secret. And yet some play with the idea and come up with thinking that such laws should be removed because they’re illogical and arbitrarily determined. Many laws involve rather arbitrarily decided lines drawn in the sand, from the age to begin collecting social security payments to the legal drinking age out at bars to when you’re legally allowed to apply for a driver’s license. If we were to make an argument about the arbitrariness of age requirements in legal codes, we’d have to swipe countless laws from the books and reinvent whole new ways of determining appropriate points in development for whatever is in question. And what I’ve heard advocated was that individuals being assessed on a case-by-case basis would be fairer. Perhaps that’s true that it might be fairer for each individual, but in a society this heavily populated that just isn’t feasible.

It’s obviously not my love for Big Government or a desire to feel like I’m little more than a number that propels my thinking here, seeing as how I’ve raged against both concerns plenty enough on here. But I also am forced to be realistic with where we stand today. Times have radically changed in a few short decades and we’re embarking in a new direction, whether we individually like it or not. There will be restrictions and lines drawn in the sand all over the place. The best we can likely do is try to sway where the lines are drawn, but to eliminate them entirely? Good luck with that.

And that’s why I’m not too concerned with Justicar’s arguments, other than worrying about his expressed views pandering to those who do wish to take advantage of youths, as if we need anymore of those types cropping up and acting out. All societies draw lines in the sand, and that’s essentially what a legal system is. Our moral concerns may vary over time and laws are updated in response to that, and sometimes those laws go too far and wind up criminalizing some of the people they were intended to initially protect. That’s not good, and we should call those cases out. But I also don’t think it’s wise to throw the baby out with the bathwater by assuming that since a law can be misapplied that it therefore must have no value at all. That does not appear to be the case when we look at age of consent laws overall.

But I’m tired of that fool and have devoted enough attention to his mind games for one day.