Pondering on transhumanism, esotericism & the future of humanity

Something that’s been on my mind lately as I’ve been delving into learning about the so-called “esoteric arts” and whatnot is this question of hate. This is a term popularly tossed around in political discourse these days and is intended to denote a sense of self-righteousness, superiority, vulgar mistreatment of others, etc. Though it’s now commonly being tossed around so haphazardly in response to differing opinions that it’s losing its meaning and is regarded by many of us as merely a dismissive gesture toward opinions one doesn’t care to wrestle with or take seriously.

But the notion of hate runs much deeper than that. It used to be said that hate counters love, but over time it makes better sense to me to see hate and love as passions that are countered by indifference (apathy) at the opposite extreme.

When it comes to the esoteric traditions, however, the word hate takes on a different meaning altogether. Not sure how deep I care to get into my thoughts on this subject today, but I’d like to at least touch on the topic for a while here, because it’s troubling me and thereby forcing me to continue conducting research so as to gain a better understanding of the traditions of old and to question my own social conditioning and how that actually might be misleading me (and others in society).

There’s a theology of sorts referred to as Luciferianism. I won’t claim to be terribly familiar with it yet, but Lucifer (the fallen angel, also associated with the Devil) is historically understood to be the “light bringer.” Now, if we back up and consider biblical scriptures of the Old Testament, we are aware that the story of Adam and Eve centered around them eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, presented to them by the serpent. Knowledge — that being the key point there. Expanding human awareness.

Another biblical story that keeps returning to mind lately is that of the Tower of Babel, in which humans somehow united to where they shared a common language as well as technologies available at the time which they then used to construct (presumably metaphorically) a tower that reached to the heavens. In essence, this appears to be about human ingenuity reaching toward God-like status. And this was achieved through the unification of various peoples throughout the land, hence why their punishment (again, best understood metaphorically) was that they were all scattered and given different languages and essentially knocked back into dark ages, effectively destroying their chances of attempting such a feat again anytime soon. Literal interpretations of this story tend to obscure the real danger being pointed to here: the great proclivity within human beings to strive to come together and to create societies and/or institutions and/or technologies that might rival that which we call God.

So often we hear people speak almost childishly about such stories, proclaiming them to be mere testaments of how jealous the Christian God of the bible is. But that’s a distracting way to look at it, in my opinion. Because I see us now striving to create just that same sort of “tower to heaven” once again. And we’re being instructed to unite and to love one another and to see past our differences, all of which sounds appealing on the surface. But what if we’re actually being encouraged to go against our natures in a way that isn’t ultimately beneficial in the ways we might dream it could be? What if, perhaps, we’re actually serving an ideology that has trans-humanist ambitions that would wind up eradicating all that we value in human life?

Probably sounds like a stretch, and I would’ve thought so too not that long ago.

Food for thought (exhibit A):

The topic of tribalism keeps returning to my mind also these days. Partly because of racial/cultural conflicts here and abroad. Partly because of events in my own life that have been forcing me to reckon with the very real need for us as humans to identify with and belong to some sort of tribe (though not necessarily in accordance with racial divisions – in fact, I believe it’s distinctly ideological/cultural). This does not appear to be a proclivity we can overcome nor that it will likely prove beneficial for us to attempt to do so beyond a reasonable extent. Why? Because this is how we as humans function psychologically and socially and it’s where meaning is derived in our lives. We function best when trying to solve problems and overcome obstacles and while preserving and protecting what we deem sacred.

Everything melding into everything else is the opposite of that. When lines and boundaries become indistinct and relativity undermines all morality and cultural differences, we cannot help but lose our sense of self.

But, new-age movement people might say, that is healthy for us since we should be striving at this point in history to overcome our ego identification and instead to see ourselves as part of a greater unity. Yes and no. There’s value in examining both sides of that duality, but we humans indeed must live with duality. The oneness some are placing on a high pedestal these days isn’t a place where humans can live, thrive and continue to function day to day as what we are. Hence why this proposed “upgrade” requires us to be biologically and technologically enhanced so as to accept it. Lest we simply go mad in the chaos it cannot help but usher in when all values are destroyed.

Why do we strive toward such an idea? Why has it become so tempting? One reason is because it has been sold to us as the pathway toward peace. BUT, considering that such a transition is trans-humanistic to the core, it’s essentially calling for our destruction as human beings. We must cease to be what we are in order to move forward into this vision for the future. And in this vision that some are celebrating (see the video above), artificial intelligence and other man-made technologies are what become idolized. Are these not false prophets and idols? Not because a jealous God might proclaim them to be, but because our faith in our own ingenuity can’t guarantee this game will play out as hoped. I am willing to bet everything that it will not lead us to the paradise we seek. Unless by paradise we simply mean death, and yes, in death there may indeed be peace. Perhaps.

I get conflicted on this subject, wondering if maybe this is truly the next frontier that we humans will be forced to reckon with, whether we want to or not. That maybe this is some sort of “natural” trajectory, if only because our species is prone to fall in love with its own creations and discoveries (albeit while demonstrating repeatedly a severe shortcoming in terms of long-term foresight). We are dreamers, and this is the new dream for some among us. They wish for us to believe a more centralized world where virtual reality can replace the hardships of actual reality will be a worthwhile escape for our species.

In this I see extinction. I see death. I see arrogance and pride and greed. I see an unwillingness to grasp the blessings we have already, even if they must be hard-won through suffering and introspection and pain. The dream to transcend this reality strikes me as a foolish nightmare where I cannot follow. But perhaps enough others do wish for such possibilities to come into being, and who am I to try to stop them? Wouldn’t do any good if I tried, most likely.

Still, I look back on what historical records we do have access to and see this is not entirely a new trend. Human folly has a way of circling back around and renewing itself over time, that much is a given. Interesting to learn about though. Probably the key takeaway in all of this pertains to the need to work on and save oneself. Might not be able to ever change the minds of others, and certainly we can’t draw others nearer to us and our worldview without showing them that this reality and humanity as a whole isn’t so terrible, that attempting to transcend it isn’t really the better option. But how do you show that in this day and age when so much indeed is terrible? When politicians on all sides are woefully corrupt, when major businesses invade our privacy and mold our thinking, when there are so many divisions that have been sown and we drive one another nuts on a daily basis?

I don’t know. Am thinking there’s no real way out of this conundrum since I’m pretty damn sure humanity is heading in the trans-humanist direction because they believe that dream might prove better. So there’s your apocalypse on the horizon. Artificial intelligence embraced worldwide appears to be what the bible refers to as the Anti-Christ. The reason it is Anti-Christ is because it is anti-human. Christ was first and foremost our Brother, and this new era seeks to transcend Him and us and all that we ever were or otherwise could be.

Not speaking as a Christian here, but I do have an admitted fondness for Jesus. His story confuses me at times too, though, seeing as how he encouraged us to love one another, yet it’s not terribly clear where we should draw lines. Make a scene in the temple and disrupt the usurers, yes — but now we live in the land of usury. Love all as if our neighbors and kin, sounds good — but also we’re instructed to hate the sin. The bible is a very confusing and complicated text that seems to contradict itself throughout. What does it mean to love in the way Jesus intended? To show mercy, yes, but what about justice? Why has justice been downplayed? So that those currently in power can get away with their crimes, of course. Why were we humans instructed in the bible to behave as lambs? Are we to understand that to mean we should be so docile that we become prey? Are we to be pacifists? How human is that?

Back to the notion of light and knowledge — what is it we’re trying to illuminate here? Humanity’s capacity for good and evil? Surely we will get to see plenty more of that. Why is Lucifer, the bringer of light, considered the bad guy of the bible, the Devil? Are we to take that to mean we’re better off ignorant? Or is it simply pointing to the reality that knowledge is a double-edged sword? That seems to be it. Is it possible that the greater the dream, accompanied by the technologies capable of possibly manifesting such a dream, then the greater the consequent fall? I think that sounds about right also.

Perhaps we’re incapable of turning away from such dreams once they’ve sprouted in our collective imaginations. The desire to know where a path leads overpowers us, engages our curiosity and tempts us into believing we can resolve our worldly problems. Nevermind that there are very powerful people behind the scenes pushing this agenda. How might they plan to benefit? Is what they’re selling to us the full story? Do you really think those who’ve grown most powerful across the world are looking out for all of humanity’s best interest? Do you believe this to be an altruistic ambition on their part? When always before they have acted in ways that lead to them accruing greater power, wealth and control, always greater gains for themselves regardless of how much blood must be spilled in that pursuit.

Seems to me, whatever those belonging to old, wealthy, powerful families and institutions are pushing for, we’d be wise to go the opposite way.

When have they ever led us somewhere truly beneficial that hasn’t come with great pain and a high price to pay in exchange? But perhaps that’s just the way of people and of life and maybe it cannot be helped.

I get to thinking lately that being knocked back into a stone age might actually be a better place to wind up than to allow ourselves to be permanently genetically, biologically, and perhaps even technologically transfigured. Though contaminants in our environment are already altering us hormonally and likely genetically, so I guess the process is underway whether we like it or not. That’s a cost of living in the type of world we have right now, leaving aside for a moment whatever the future may hold in store.

Crazy times. So much to ponder on. But this Luciferian thing, and its rise in popularity that even celebrities appear to be embracing (at least symbolically), is a very strange trend.

More food for thought (exhibit B): The Lucis Trust.

Light, love, unity, and the future. I don’t know what to make of all of this yet. Basic speculation on my part, and I don’t have an extremely firm position on any of this one way or the other.

Thoughts on loneliness and superficial living

This:

Not exactly certain what recent posts I’ve made public or kept private, but the topic expressed in the video above has generally been weighing heavy on my mind once again this year. Perennial concern I might as well consider it by now. Loneliness, lack of tribe, superficial social connectivity (e.g. bar pals, association via job alone, association purely for the sake of entertainment without bonding, etc.), isolated living and losing a sense of purpose to our lives seems to be a hallmark of modern life in what appears to me to be a failing civilization project.

It’s such a queer inquiry since, on one hand, we have so much to appreciate modern life for (such as certain technologies and medicines and comforts that enhance our quality of life), yet, on the other hand, we’re rendered less whole and less capable of functioning in a psychologically healthy manner as a direct result of several aspects of how life is being structured nowadays. Plenty still prefer to argue against this point, claiming the problem ultimately resides in us individuals who aren’t adapting properly, but I’m wondering if perhaps we’re expecting too much out of human beings when we assume that proper adaptation (whatever that means) is possible or that it itself doesn’t entail some very antisocial features.

On that last point, antisociality appears to be becoming normalized. For example, the individual who lives alone, works alone (or works remotely via computer), and who expresses disdain toward his fellow humans, preferring to not engage with the rest of us as much as possible (at least not in person) — is that not becoming more common these days? And are we not treating it as if it’s no big deal, dismissing it as harmless introversion and showing little to no concern so long as the individual in question remains gainfully employed and therefore contributing to our modern (primarily economic) perception of the common good? We call it a choice and like to regard it as a rather benign choice at that. But is it really? No consequences to this trend as we all go forward as a society?

Then again, I shouldn’t frame it as if we really care all that much about future sustainability for society since it seems clearly obvious by now that most can’t (or won’t) imagine beyond the next quarter or year and more rarely beyond our own lifetimes, children and their future progeny be damned. Might as well be honest about it. Mostly we pay lip service to giving a damn when really we care more about scoring points in our arguments today, wishing to come across as intellectual and morally righteous and forever inclined to cast the blame on that other group over there for whatever future problems may befall us as a people. Never our problem here today, especially not my own. But, in all fairness, we were all born into this and arguably are just trying to find our ways in the maze as it’s been constructed. Though I’d also argue that we’re co-creators of this societal maze since it has evolved throughout our lifetimes as well.

Anyway, antisociality is real and expresses itself in various forms. One currently popular form is preferring pets over people. We see it more and more, and no one seems the least bit taken aback by folks announcing such a preference. It’s treated almost playfully and humorously, yet some of us get a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes reality and are aware of a growing number of individuals who live alone (or in what appear to be strained/empty marriages) and center all their (non-job-related) attention on their pets. And we hear these people speak of their fellow humans as “not worth dealing with,” contrasting the cruelty of humankind with the sweet naivety of animals. They’ve undoubtedly been hurt by people in their pasts and are retreating into the comfortable company of pets as an alternative, and I can see why that may seem harmless and even necessary in some cases. But the trend keeps mounting along with the attitude that likes to accompany it, declaring we humans to be jerks and monsters while Fluffy is immune to such evils. What worries me is the level of fantasy and escapism that is increasingly appearing bound up in that outlook. Do you imagine these people, despite their furry companions, are less depressed and/or anxious to where they’re at least less inclined to take prescription pills for managing their moods and worries? I’d like to see a study on that and am willing to bet that the comfort of pets still isn’t enough to overcome their sense of restlessness, purposelessness, and alienation.

Another form of antisociality that I am very familiar with is that which can come by way of frequent reliance on alcohol. Though here perhaps the primary goal is to escape our own selves, to get out of our own heads for a spell via temporary chemical lobotomization. And many of us would argue that alcohol can (or at one point seemed to) enhance our sociality, allowing us to more easily mingle with strangers and laugh and carry on. Problem with this strategy is it eventually proves addictive, as is the case with any dopamine-stimulating drugs. AND there’s a thin line between buzzed and outright drunk, the latter condition in no way proving beneficial for socializing over the long term. While we try to escape ourselves by checking out in this manner, we also manage to tune out from others also. Sure, we might go home and fuck them, but it’s not quality companionship and social bonding in most cases. The sex itself in these instances can be viewed as yet another form of escapism whereby we’re using the other person for our own personal sensual pleasure and to experience a temporary social connection without the formations of bonds or the acceptance of social expectations like further contact. In other words, it sets up shallow connectivity between chemically-altered persons who don’t give a damn about one another, which both tend to recognize the day after. Yet it’s oh-so-common, probably because we are lonely and this is one way to achieve physical contact and potential stress relief and a sense of comfort, however temporary.

Setting the sex aside, the barscene unto itself is problematic because of the culture common to it. No discussion of topics in real depth, particularly on matters pertaining to one’s spiritual journey or worldview. The name of the game there is entertainment, even if that means listening to horrific karaoke sung by sloppy drunkards-without-a-clue while overpaying for the supposed privilege to be there. Many of us have regretted our decision to spend so much time and money in such joints, yet we keep doing it because it’s a social venue we can easily access, especially in the late-night hours when our apartment walls threaten to drive us into comas of boredom. We’d rather go sit among a bunch of others and drink concoctions that rob us of our memory and ability to care much about one another. Can’t recall who said what and can’t really know one another, despite what emotionality may pour forth as the night wears on. Fake bonding that can’t be remembered clearly occurs. Superficial and relatively pointless, yet accessible more than practically anything else for those of us lacking tribes and families to turn to instead.

Then, drunks tend to engage in the next antisocial behavior so common to that lifestyle: we drive home in our altered states of mind. Demonstrating how much of a damn we truly give about one another and ourselves, numbed off to the fear of consequences (even after having experienced one or more O.W.I./D.U.I. or car accidents already). We cease caring about you or your laws or the future. Carefree living in the moment…

Also, it’s not uncommon for some to grow disenchanted with the overpriced barscene and to prefer instead to turn toward drinking at home so as to save money and be free from the idiot buffoons typical in that atmosphere. And that can easily turn into an antisocial situation itself, not only through avoiding people but by creating a situation where we can drink a great deal without checks and balances from others or cops. We can create a cocoon-type atmosphere when we drink alone, and that can unfold for years and turn into a very ugly situation in its own right.

Drinking and preferring animals over people are just two popular ways in which antisociality is manifesting these days. Not that alcoholism is a new trend, though us living alone opens up new possibilities there, new ways to conceal our problem from others and avoid detection from otherwise limiting factors.

Some might argue that intense video-gaming is another form of antisociality despite its social component since you’re each hidden behind screens rather than interacting face-to-face. Basically like each interacting from his or her own pod. Probably not all that different from the last several decades of people sitting glued to television screens, observing life unfolding as it’s been presented to us via those who wish to sell us products and propaganda. Then I get to thinking about people coming out about their porn addictions and how that negatively impacted their ability and willingness to pursue real, in-person sexual connections with others.

Then I veer off and get to thinking about all these people working jobs they don’t particularly like so as to buy stuff they don’t need, warehoused in houses they paid too much for, and all for what? Because that’s the prescribed way of life these days. THAT is commonly touted as success. Materialism over nearly all else. Slave to the economy. Is that way of life necessarily antisocial? No, but it possesses antisocial features as well, such as prizing economic interests over all else, particularly when it comes to one’s political outlook. That can’t help but impact society in various ways, including giving the impression to others that those disinterested in pandering to profit motives are useless bums unworthy of being brought into certain social folds.

A topic to continue on with another day.

Hey slave

Isn’t it odd how much we’ve outsourced of our personal lives in modern societies? Our personal needs. We pay someone to massage us. We pay someone to listen to us (as in a therapist/counselor). We may even pay someone to have sex with us and/or to provide other forms of erotic pleasure. We procure pets who require a great deal of attention so as to pet in order to feel better, to give our lives a little more sense of meaning. Pet them and feel a bit better, all while we pine for contact with one another.

Seems almost a crime when one really stops and ponders deeply on it.

What are we doing? In what ways are we becoming damaged psychologically in this day and age, and why? Is it required and necessary that we endure this? Maybe the path must go through nihilism on its way — I won’t claim to know.

But look at us. LOOK at where so many of us stand currently. And only rising.

Now what? What then? What are we to do?

What’s a better approach forward? Where better to go from here?

Seems accurate that the best way to save others is to first save oneself.

Has the perfect storm resulted in an inevitable societal outcome, unchangeable by us regardless of what we individually and even collectively may attempt? Have we already gone too far? I don’t know. But I’ve come to think there will be a good bit of hell before we might arrive at some approximation of heaven on earth.

Some call that outlook pessimistic. I call it a realistic probability. And I have to contend with whatever life is bringing. Anything else is living in delusion. How can it not be?

PHILOSOPHIZE THIS! on Kierkegaard

“Episode #078 Kierkegaard on Religion”:

“Episode #079 Kierkegaard on Anxiety”:

Interesting videos worth sharing.

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.”  — Soren Kierkegaard

Too many choices can indeed prove paralyzing…

Speaking of “batshit craziness”…

Recently while perusing the listing of local counselors and therapists on Psychology Today’s website, I stumbled across (to my horror) a profile belonging to somebody I used to know well. There she was, after having completed her master’s degree during the last 7 years since we cut off contact, offering her services as a licensed therapist to work with children, adults and families, claiming to specialize in treating depression and providing grief counseling. Charging, according to the site, $140-$250 per session (notably with no sliding scale fees available for low-income patients, though accepting various insurance plans). Huh.

People pay THAT woman for help??? WOW. Pardon me for sounding like an arrogant jerk here, but I knew that woman for a few years as a friend and can’t help but find that shockingly absurd. Mentioned this to another friend of mine who also used to know her and he too was floored by the news. Just goes to show that the mental health field will indeed take all comers, so long as they can pass the social work or psychology curriculum (which apparently isn’t too terribly difficult).

I knew her, and through knowing her I can’t imagine her having anything of value to bring to the table when it comes to aiding anybody with depression or overcoming grief. Sure, she herself experienced grief when her father died, but that doesn’t mean she’s a good candidate for helping others in a similar predicament. In our time knowing one another she was drinking to blackout limits on a regular basis, taking home strange men who she’d then accuse of raping her (due to them taking advantage of her blackout state), contracting STDs as a result (on more than one occasion), and then completely fucking up her social services job that eventually fired her and then aggressively refuted her attempts to collect unemployment benefits (a very painful lesson to her that occurred shortly before our friendship ended). THAT lady, a mere 7 years onward, is now credentialed to be a source of aid to others, and at a very steep price.

Okay. Examples like this are why I don’t place much faith in the mental health field. Look, even if that woman has turned her life around and is doing much better these days (as I sincerely hope she is), that still doesn’t qualify her to be a mental health professional to others. It would take a lot more than a few years and an additional academic degree to provide her with enough life experience and wisdom to be of much use to others. I recall her temperament and in no way can I see her personality as being that of someone who’s truly and deeply committed to helping others or exploring life in open-minded ways or relating to depression in others. She was one of the more selfish women I’ve ever befriended, and I say this as a pretty damn selfish woman myself. The difference being that I have the sense to recognize I’d be a charlatan if I hung out a shingle and played therapist to others for a paycheck.

I’m not trying to come across angry here. Mostly I’m incredulous. And I can’t help but wonder how many folks have visited with her and whether they felt they actually received any benefit from doing so. Was she mentally and emotionally present with them during sessions? Does she have any worthwhile advice to offer, or is she just regurgitating whatever she read in college textbooks? Is she sober these days or still living each day in the hazy fog of a perpetual hangover? Has she actually done more soul-searching over the years and unearthed the problems and pain that were driving her own self-destructive tendencies? Is she less of a bitch nowadays?

How does one go from raging drunken party girl to professional counselor in such a short span of time? And how does one feel right about doing so? She’s younger than me, so in her early 30s by now. How much useful advice can people like us give to others when we’ve spent our 20s drowning our sorrow in bars, depending heavily on the help of friends and others ourselves?

Like the blind leading the blind…

Just strikes me as utterly queer to have come across her profile on there. Yet another example of what I’ve grown aware of over the years: that there’s a disproportionate amount of fucked up people in the mental health industry. By that I mean that the very people we’re instructed to turn toward during our times of need unfortunately tend to be the ones who have a shitload of drama in their own lives, and often enough of their own creation. Why? My assumption is that those of us trying to heal ourselves tend to be drawn to those fields and their material, which for some gets them thinking that because they learn a lot about these subjects that that then qualifies them to join such fields in order to earn a living. In short, crazy attracted to information about crazy transforms into professional for other crazies in order to earn a profit and prestige. Maybe it’s a way to help oneself to feel less crazy by comparison. I don’t know. I just know that it makes me very uneasy when I keep seeing this play out time and again.

Reminds me of a close girlfriend of mine whose uncle is a child psychologist. He and his mental health field wife had one daughter and she happens to be one of the most batshit crazy people some of us have ever known. Seriously. Enough to where my friend’s husband refuses to leave his own kids alone with the woman for any amount of time. And of course, as to be expected of completely unhinged people like herself, she went to college and became a teacher. And when that blew up in her face finally (due to her bizarre behavior and ongoing disruptive lunacy, including screaming on her cell phone and hysterically crying in front of a classroom of children, that ending one of her teaching jobs), she’s now decided to return to college to pursue her master’s degree. In what, you ask? Psychology. Naturally…

Nevermind having been locked up in a psych ward herself due to multiple suicide “attempts” (more like manipulative displays to distress and guilt the hell out of her parents, who continue to financially provide for her into her 30s).

Makes the head spin.

While I can understand the attraction to these fields of research, it’s one thing to learn about them and yet quite another to preach from their pulpits. Unhealthy people aren’t the best at defining or demonstrating what health is. Winds up being abstract and theoretical rather than lived experientially. I can understand this as a lover of sociology — the study of human dynamics, particularly among or across groups — as someone who repels from groups. It’s as if we’re attracted to that which is foreign to us. Not saying we can’t offer up unique perspectives about these subjects through our own research, but how helpful to others are we likely to be when we can’t embody that which we wish to teach?

Just a thought this morning. The more I learn, the less I really can claim to know. But I do tread carefully in my dealings with anyone claiming to belong within the mental health establishment (in any capacity) since life has been teaching me that crazies tend to flock within its ranks. And I’m not down with having my mind screwed up even more by folks who play a role they have no business playing.

The way that game is currently set up, there are no checks and balances to deter unhealthy people from joining such fields and then passing along their own warped way of looking at life onto others (or simply wasting our time and money in our search for useful guidance). And yet we as a society grant them so much power and funnel the masses toward these supposed professionals. It’s worth seriously pondering on the potential consequences of this trend.

An introduction to the Frankfurt School (Philosophize This!)

Don’t expect any mention of Erich Fromm in this podcast though, unfortunately. Fromm being the Frankfurt School author I’m most familiar with. But it’s still an interesting podcast to listen to, especially recommended for those who have a knee-jerk reaction against anything relating to the Frankfurt School.

Part 1, “Introduction”:

Part 2, “The Enlightenment”:

Part 3, “The Culture Industry”:

Part 4, “Eros”:

Part 5, “Civilization”:

Part 6, “Art As A Tool For Liberation”:

What is referred to therein as “monopoly capitalism” sounds to be the same as what I generally refer to as Corporatism and/or oligopolistic capitalism. The difference being that the market situation has grown and expanded through the domination of sectors by key major (and increasingly global/multinational) corporations that wind up working in tandem to shut out competition from smaller businesses and upstarts (whether via political lobbying efforts or through technological strangleholds, etc.). To me, calling it monopolistic at this point oversimplifies the reality we’re confronting, though I can understand why Marcuse would use that language in the 1970s.

Part 7, “The Great Refusal”:

Pausing at 4:55 in that last clip…yes, and it’s precisely that concern which drives my own interest in the arguments and ideas put forth by people like Dr. Jordan Peterson. Though Peterson is well-known for criticizing neo-Marxists and those he refers to as “postmodernists,” he’s still absolutely right about how one needs to “clean your own room” before attempting to engage too far in the process of attempting to overhaul society. Why? Because “cleaning one’s own room” is about more than just literally doing domestic chores — it’s about developing our own individual selves, grappling with our own limitations and shortcomings, and taking more time to study history broadly so that we can have a better handle on what all has come before and why we humans find ourselves where we’re collectively at now. These are complex matters, not simply bumbling errors brought about by idiot, racist/sexist/”traditionalist” predecessors who gave too little thought to life and living or who were all so blinded by their own destructive agendas that they gave no shits for the fate of future generations. That’s too close-minded and uncharitable of an interpretation of the unfolding of history and the motives of people in the past and the institutions they designed over time. We have to step back and really take time to think deeply about what we’re confronting here today and how it came into being incrementally over the course of the rise of civilizations. Not any easy task. Requires a great deal of personal reckoning as well, due to our own individual biases and wishful thinking and brainwashed programming delivered via mainstream sources, educators (even those who were well-intentioned in their own right), and the wider culture and the narratives it depends on in order to survive.

The further I’ve gone down this rabbit hole over the years, the deeper I recognize the rabbit hole to be. There are no simply answers here. Not even that many clear-cut enemies necessarily. Just a bunch of us humans trying to make sense of reality and to play the games according the rules we understand (or rebel against them if that’s our bag). Domination and power certainly do factor in to the lived human experience, but so does SO MUCH else. It’s not so simple of a matter as destroying hierarchies and we’ll all eventually be free to live in peaceful equality with one another. No, that’s just begging for the creation of a power vacuum which will be filled by the ambitions of other groups of people operating under their own ideologies that will very likely prove even less effective than what’s currently in place. It’s a precarious situation at present, compounded by so much idealism in the hearts of protesters who like to imagine themselves as having the magical, never-before-tried answers to what plagues humanity. And many of them are blind to the lessons of history as well, largely due to ideological obsessiveness and the narrowing of focus that commonly entails. They will not prove to be saviors either, I’m willing to bet.

That doesn’t mean we have to throw our hands in the air and accept the current status quo as the only game worth playing because all else (like communism) likely will prove even more fatal. But it does ask of us to be careful and cautious in moving forward, to pay closer attention and to not be so arrogant as to assume we ourselves and those we politically/socially identify with have discovered ultimate answers to these complex problems and issues. Humility is absolutely essential here, lest history just keep on repeating (or rhyming, rather) in a downward spiraling fashion (thanks, in part, to new and powerful technologies coupled with greater centralization than the world has ever known before). Power available today is like that of no other time in history — be heedful of that fact.

Many of us want to see change be brought about, for human societies to become healthier and less dominated by economic interests solely. Plenty of us grasp the alienating features of modern life and what that can and does do to us psychologically and socially, and how that then spills out to impact all other aspects of society. But the way to bringing about change indeed isn’t going to come through simply protesting in the streets or certain interest groups vying to dominate within academe and the corporate and political world. That’s just a recipe for more disaster, so far as I can tell. I lost all faith in that approach. It’s become more a question of individual development and social evolution, of working with what is within our direct control and making decisions that allow us as individuals (and the communities we choose to devise or partake in) to live more in alignment with the values we claim to hold dear. Not trying to force the hands of others, since that won’t work. Better to find ways around the perceived obstructions and to test our own mettle than to attempt to overthrow society as a whole, especially when no better game plan is yet afforded to all of us on a society-wide scale.

People don’t wish to hear this, because it sounds harder. Much easier to instead try to push for change in the streets or by screaming at people in lecture halls and pulling down audio equipment so as to disrupt speakers we dislike. Much easier to behave destructively, rebelliously, than to take the time to comprehend our own inner tyrants and the consequences that produces in a reverberating fashion across society and on up through history. Much easier to blame the “other,” somebody else, than to recognize our own part played in this due to the human nature we share. Doesn’t matter that we were just born into this and didn’t ask for this. Nobody originally ever asks for anything, and all were born into it. That’s no excuse for refusing to do the heavy lifting required in this life. Turns out that giving in to such destructive tendencies and acting like rebels without a clue winds up doing more harm than good oftentimes, especially to our own selves, though it’s usually years on down the road before we can recognize it for what it is.

There are no easy answers here, and there likely never will be. It’s just us and our strivings and our need to learn to communicate more effectively with one another about our conflicting points of view. And that’s okay. This is what we have to work with. There was never a rose garden back before, no ideal worth returning to necessarily. Just the movement and expansion of Life in all its complexity on up through time. Never perfect, at least not in the rational sense that we humans like to dream about, nor will it ever be. But we co-constructors of this reality, particularly in terms of our own actions and choices herein. So we start there, inside oneself, that being where we have the most control and are capable of reaping the greatest benefit in our lifetimes.

Simple, yet not easy. C’est la vie…

“Albert Camus on the Absurd (The Myth of Sisyphus) – Philosophy Core Concepts”

“Joe Rogan Experience #1081 – Bret Weinstein & Heather Heying”

“The Master and His Emissary: Conversation with Dr. Iain McGilchrist”

“Russell Brand & Jordan Peterson – Kindness VS Power | Under The Skin #46”