Independence Day: Freedom and Human Nature

Greece, England, Wisconsin! Who’s next? Ireland, Spain, Minnesota, California? The vocal and increasingly violent displays of displeasure with new austerity measures are multiplying across the globe. The plan of the international oligarchs and banksters, a plan to maintain the lifestyles of the rich and famous by sucking the life-blood out of the masses, is not going to succeed without a struggle – resistance from the people. Even the cultured and mellifluous intonations of the French Iron Maiden newly coronated head of the IMF cannot stop the visceral reaction among common folk.

Many have finally awakened to the fact that this world they have constructed, this spectacle, was not engineered or intended for our use. It is further becoming apparent that the greed and profligacy of the current generation of elites is nothing new; it is not a recent addition to the panorama, but a fundamental ingredient of the original curriculum of the West. It was baked into the contestual hierarchies of management and control from the earliest beginnings of sedentary life in the kingdoms and cities of the ancient Near East.

But that is only part of the story. The Canadians, our oft-frozen neighbors to the north, have also shown some life of late, challenging the radical curtailment on freedom of speech and assembly that is another symptom of this emergent global plutocracy and its totalitarian underbelly. Yet, this has been an ever-present but latent dimension of all hierarchy, whether it be the autocratic absolutism of Hobbes’ Leviathan or the republicanism he sought to demolish (Marshall Sahlins, The Western Illusion Of Human Nature).

Unfortunately those self-proclaimed freedom-loving couch potatoes in the USA are still scratching their heads over the unanticipated foreclosures on their homes, the loss of their retirement savings, along with the repo of their cars and Barco Loungers. We are in such a tizzy – between the spectacle and the material displacements – we cannot clearly see yet the imposition of this incipient fascism as it spreads its tentacles further into our daily lives.

But, not too long ago we Americans were convinced that our lifestyle represented the pinnacle of civilized progress, the realization of freedom, and the best technology and politics had to offer. What we as a nation had achieved, so we thought, was a dream come true. And it was this ‘American Dream’ that we held out to (or perhaps thrust upon) the rest of the world as the meaning of the ‘good life’ and the proper end of human existence.

Now, establishing and expanding this American Dream required not just ingenuity, but lots of industrial energy and productivity, a good deal of land-clearing, substantial pollution, gross dissipation of natural resources, incredible amounts of human labor, trillions upon trillions of dollars in public and private financing, political ‘wrangling’ and a good deal of social engineering and international exploitation. In short, the American Dream not only set a new standard for what civilized people expected from life, but it also laid the foundation for exponential exploitation and abuse – of ourselves, our fellow humans, and our planet… a direct consequence of trying to manufacture, market and live the dream. And yet, while we were destroying our planet in this quest, have we really made our personal lives better, more enriched, more satisfying and fulfilling?

Well, of course, the skeptical reader might proclaim, “America has the highest standard of living in the world, and we are an example to the rest of humanity… we are ‘that shining city on a hill’ that Ronald Reagan spoke about. And we have achieved this status because America is the land of the free – the hope of the world!” Since our founding this has been our national calling card. And the beacon of lady liberty at the entrance to the New York harbor has been a manufactured symbol of that freedom and that hope around the world.

‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to be free…’

But on this Independence Day what exactly have we come to understand by this word ‘freedom’? What does it mean to American’s today? And how has this quest for freedom realized itself in terms of America’s lifestyle and living the Dream?

Maybe it is free time that we have in such abundance here! That must be it! Well, come to think of it, this doesn’t appear to be the case since we seem to work almost 24/7 – more than any other people on the face of the earth. We are slaves to the time clock, the electronic calendar, the blackberry and any other number of mobile devices marketed for our (read: society’s) benefit. With all of this focus on the business of work and schedules, there appears to be very little ‘free time’ to call our own. True, this compulsion – this apparent slavery to the clock – has made us the most productive and efficient people on earth. But this very “efficiency implies the reification of time… a preoccupation with past and future.” So where is there any opportunity for the fleeting present – for freedom from the clock – in which to enjoy the ‘good life’ and the fruits of our labors?

Along with squandered planetary resources, the fleeting reality of the present moment has all but vanished from American consciousness and Western experience in general. Many of us seem to live in a perpetual state of anticipation – waiting for our next promotion, a pink slip, or that vacation, a new car, getting the kids through college, retirement, or just waiting for our scientists and politicians (our specialists) to find solutions to our latest round of crises.

If one looks even cursorily at life in America today, and the direction of technological innovation supporting and directing our lifeways, it becomes clear that freedom for the American psyche is not freedom to live in the present; rather, with respect to time, we are and remain slaves of the future and the past. We seem, rather, to be more concerned with freedom of movement, of place and location. But, trains, planes and automobiles have given way to wireless networks, mobile devices and virtual communities.

Our search for freedom, beginning with our ancestors’ move across the Atlantic from the Old World to the New, has led us to erect a world where we no longer need to be tied to any one place, no longer dependent upon a particular location or home; we are free to roam without anchor, without encumbrance, but also without real kinship or community. And to keep in touch with other freely floating, almost disembodied, newly minted ‘friends’ and family we have virtual networks that give us the illusion of being connected and being stable. But this is a false sense of connection, and a false stability – part of the illusion spun by our engineers and marketers – but it seems to provide a feeling of freedom that many of us have now come to pursue and enjoy today.

But is it really freedom of mobility that we so cherish and believe we have achieved, or is it yet another, more compelling sense of ‘freedom’ that haunts us? Is it perhaps freedom from personal identity, an attempt to escape our own embodiment, an almost pathological yearning for anonymity in an increasingly anonymous world that globalized, urban environments and virtual networks provide us with, so that we can be anyone we want to be or no one at all? Is it perhaps a desire to escape our own flesh, our very selfhood? Is the anonymity of wireless, urban virtuality merely a way of escaping that objectified sense of self, which reified linear historical time has created for us? Interestingly enough, it appears that the anonymity of the Internet and its social networking has provided us with a way to ‘make believe’ we are who we want to be; to be more, better, or other than who or what we actually are; maybe that is the freedom we covet.

The truth of the matter, however, may be quite the opposite. The disembodied virtuality of a wireless and networked world may only provide one with the illusion of anonymity and the promise of an unidentifiable freedom to be. In fact, it may instead lead to a real loss of freedom, to greater public identifiability, and the possibility of being singled out in a wholly networked and connected global village. In this event, not only does it make us slaves to the new media, but it also increases our vulnerability to the state, the perennial political and social forces of manipulation, monitoring and control. Where then is our freedom, and what then of our dream?

Maybe it is freedom of consumer choice that we covet: four hundred brands of toothpaste and one hundred and fifty brands of toilet paper. But what good is all of that if you need to work constantly just to afford the medical bills for your teeth and stomach problems?

Well, perhaps it is our freedom from authority that we treasure? I think not. There are more hierarchies backed by legal proscriptions and prescriptions guiding our every move. We have more laws and lawyers per capita than any other country on earth. And the USA is the most overly ‘prisoned’ country in the world. Yet, we consider ourselves the most civilized, that beacon of hope for humanity. All the while, we control people and engineer the environment more than any previous empire on earth. We label this ‘the good life’ and the body politic believes us. Or they have, at least until now.

In truth, perhaps the system itself is the problem, and not those it was intended to protect from themselves and their treacherous neighbors. Perhaps one of the illusions that is spun by the empire is that human nature is evil – that our basic instincts are corrupt (as Christianity would have it) – and that we need the State as well as the Church in order to keep all the diverse elements in line so we can enjoy our freedoms. Well, my friends, this is the fable they have foisted upon us, and we continue to live as if it were true. But it is just another myth.

The question we should focus on at this juncture is where does this impulse to command and control come from? As St. Augustine asked: Why do some feel the need to lord it over even those who are by nature their equals? Is it really a response to the fundamental evil inherent in ‘human nature’ – something that needs to managed by any means possible? Or is it possibly a symptom of the very conceptual framework (the religio-political elaboration of human nature) that emerged in order to justify the exertion of such control? Is this psychological framework – the very vision of a corrupt human nature – possibly part and parcel of the cultural baggage of the curriculum of the West? This is a question I would like to entertain in the commentary on this post, and in the coming weeks on the blog. Happy Independence Day, my friends.

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49 Responses to Independence Day: Freedom and Human Nature

  1. John Bollig says:

    Ok,

    Between, you, me and JHK : I don’t know who is more cynical about life in these United States. The system that we live in is truly sleezy to the core. We are almost there, away from the society that is falling apart. Most americans are clueless about the impending doom that we will soon face. As for myself, I keep preparing for TEOWAWKI. I have no doubt that the August 2 deadline will be met with a temporary plug. Even the repugicans realize that they will soon be tarred and feathered if they don’t try to keep the fraud on all of us going. Most of us will only care if we can’t go to 7-11 and buy that Big Gulp and cheese doodles. My southern fried friends are lost in the joys of NASCAR. I think they are all loboto. The dastardly Obuma and Harry Reid have no doubt planned their escape from washington DC ala escape from new york. Meanwhile Corn and wheat prices are expected to skyrocket soon. The full court press of high food prices, high gas prices and a collapsing dollar economy will crush the banksters. Those pin head pin stripes will be starving once they realize that they can’t eat money… But that is what america is all about….. Happy 4th of July …

  2. Hasdrubal Barca says:

    The system has us fooled. It has us fooled into believing that we ‘choose’ to be enslaved by authority, debt, timeclock, our own ideology, etc., –hence, FREEDOM.

    150 channels of shit on TV and nothing to watch.

    Whatever freedom is, I think we’ve been trained to avoid it at all costs.

    • kulturcritic says:

      HB – Fooled and Fucked!!

    • Disaffected says:

      HB,

      “Freedom Plans” are sold at the kiosk at the end of Aisle 9. USA Freedom Inc. markets several different plans – one just right for any budget. Low minute plans offer a minimal amount of freedom at reasonably low fixed rates for those who just don’t have time for all that bothersome shit, while the libertarian plan offers unlimited minutes, all priced at variable market rates that allow the all-knowing, all-seeing “invisible hand” to set the market price for each and every minute used (coming soon, thanks to the advantages of programmed trading, freedom seconds, priced accordingly). With the complete commoditization of freedom, USA Freedom has finally brought the market to bear on an issue that up to this time had been under the complete control of inefficient and obsolete governments worldwide. As more and more market players are attracted, market efficiencies will begin to take hold, and eventually freedom minutes contracts will be traded openly on world markets just like any other commodity, and accurate, up to the second prices for freedom the world over will be discovered and transmitted instantly to market traders seeking to profit from them. With the advent of marketable Freedom Minutes, USA Freedom Inc. predicts the final victory of American style global capitalism and the certain arrival of “the end of history,” of which Francis Fukuyama so famously predicted all the way back in 1992.

      • kulturcritic says:

        I am just not sure Fukuyama’s view of the “end of history” is consistent with my own view of global, industrial collapse.

        • Disaffected says:

          I would think they’re totally opposite. Fukuyama views the “triumph” of liberal democracy as the final step to some sort of political and economic enlightenment; whereas our current predicament is living proof that liberal democracies are no panacea whatsoever, and in fact, might even be more vulnerable to hostile takeover than the more benign dictatorships/monarchies that preceded them. Certainly when you throw “free market capitalism” into the mix – which is the TRULY triumphant actor currently on the world stage – that’s the case, and unfortunately for all of us, there’s no credible alternatives on the drawing board at the current time, even if they could manage to overthrow the current PTB. I’m in total agreement, “the end of history and the last man” may turn out to be a literal truth after all when the current industrial shell game finally runs out of gas. The population collapse from 7-9 billion is gonna truly be a wonder to behold for those who get to live through it. Just hope I’m not one of them.

  3. Al M says:

    Excellent essay!

  4. capt rick says:

    same old stuff

  5. Patric Roberts says:

    Declaring Independence from Evil ~ Heart of Crisis!

    Happy 4th of July 2011 Sandy. Thank you for declaring Independence from the patriarchal madness and insane patriotic nonsense called the American Dream. It’s a dream all right, an unbelievable emerging nightmare that we better wake up from immediately. The current political dream is starting to make the Jerry Springer’s Show look like a reality program for focusing on the American Family. You are starting to sound like a post-post-modern Paul Revere alerting us peasants to awaken to “our common sense.” It’s time to grab our brooms and shovels to clear all the BS in the corridors and citadel’s of patriarchal powers. Even a present deaf, dumb and blind person can feel and experience current nonsensical stupidities of patriarchal powers leadership.

    The next revolutionary renaissance is happening as masses of people awaken declaring the truth of being free, demanding independent self rule, no more submission based on position, title or publication, and commitment to living dignity valuing the present moment in trusted human relationships. My friend you articulate from the heart an appreciative inquiry into our geopolitical crisis. Truly a voice of sanity that is confronting the 24/7/365 state~corporate punditry quest for paychecks and challenging leadership’s 23% pay raise in 2010.

    A friend asked me recently to comment on evil in the world. I am very careful to enter this conversation of evil because there are at least 200 million trigger happy guns pointed at each other in a dead locked conversation. The landscape is so treacherous that there is hardly a safe domain left to speak in. My initial report is if anyone believes that there is a hell worse than the current hell in the human mind, your nuts. I learned long ago to withdraw all power from these fools who believe that their aggressive mouthing of truth or reality empowered by the breath of their arrogant nostrils has any importance or meaning in the surrounding universe. As the Kybalion says “The lips of Wisdom are closed, except to the ears of Understanding.” Truth is only profaned and destroyed by the mind of man. As Odyssey says “By their own follies they perished, the fools.”

    Your contextual offering of human civilization is a high risk venture applaud and an opportunity to chime in with my perception of evil. First, evil is a concept of man (the opposite of live) and from the beginning of this biological bicameral mind development of two eyes (or ‘i’s ~ the tree of knowledge of good and evil ~ gender confusion), man has created distinctions of male and female, good and evil, rich and poor, life and death as a universal mental process of assessing human experience in the mind (cognitive self). Human Civilization’s history is a record of mythological archetypal gods waging conflict of man’s notion of good and evil. Power is the core motivation for embodiment of evil in my assessment. Of course, all of these universal interpretations of good and evil are based on a prejudicial patriarchal viewpoint called the ultimate “truth” or “reality.” Patriarchy creation stories claims it knows the truth in life that is already always experienced in civilization. One either learns the truth (myths, theories, traditions, rituals and practices) to navigate the getting and taking of buying and selling with a host of competitive constellations of identities, discourses and institutions in the swept along historic cultural drift, or, eat dirt as the poet says. It’s dangerous to stand up in the swept along drift as an independent aware voice reporting a contrary commentary to mass ignorance people are addicted too. The outrageous mass mind cries out “Crucify Him.” I say no let’s let him live for a change.

    Therein is the subtle deceptive lie in human discourses, institutions and cultural practices. The truth of being is “O~N~L~Y ‘a’ L~I~V~E” in the moment, never in the past nor future world. The old wise axiom “man know thy self” or “know the truth, the truth, sets you free” is the key to our emergent renaissance.

    I am 60 years old, yet, I must confess that in my childhood I never imagined a spiritual hell like the one I am witnessing today on earth. The universal mind of man is evil because it basically believes duality; two powers. The human belief system is evil and I am convinced that anyone who believes in the universal mind of man is corrupted by giving power to the notion of evil that man has invented in human behaviors. The evil invented is in the universal mind of man nearing total destruction. I know this because I am a human being. I know I am inwardly I am not inherently evil in nature. I have experienced evil by empowering the notions of man’s universal understanding of duality. Every time I buy into the ignorant swept along drift I feel separated, pain, suffering and death to my presence of momentariness.

    I appreciate your reference to St Augustine’s questioning “Why do some feel the need to lord it over even those who are by nature their equals? Is it really a response to the fundamental evil inherent in ‘human nature’ – something that needs to managed by any means possible? Or is it possibly a symptom of the very conceptual framework (the religio-political elaboration of human nature) that emerged in order to justify the exertion of such control?”

    The first cause of the universe is either good, or good and evil? It’s evident from our autonomous human experience of nature surrounding us in natural law that “all is good and good is what constitutes, sustains and maintains life, love, beauty and constant surprises in our living together, not a dead material existence of objects, things and concepts.” I know this solely from direct informal human experience of inquiry by observing breathing, feeling a sunrise/sunset/moon/stars, listening to a stream, ocean or bird, touching grasses barefoot or sitting in a forest in wonder. The breakdowns in our human engagements arise from out intellectual mental musings of self importance, a serious mental illness. Instead of trusting the one creative principle that constitutes the universe, the mind of man is at war with the notion? What is evil is the human desire for power as an exercise of authority over another. The mistaken ignorant desire is demanding obedience and negates the legitimacy in existence of both predator and victim. This is evil and it operates as cultural norm in families, religions, governments, education, and commerce.

    Finally, I refuse to argue, wrestle or fight with this evil nonsensical hypnotic mesmerized universal belief systems based in two powers. I claim the belief system has no power and has never had any power other than our own human attention. The living universe is based in one coherent cohesive synchronistic happening omnipotent power. As we watch the evening news we witness how “man’s universal mind” has no power, and is powerless in the emergent world moving toward a new singularity based in ecological balance. Man’s current patriarchal pattern of power is coming to an end. Mother Earth is sweeping the nonsense away while simultaneously converging human globalization, liberalization, and a technological Noosphere capable of breaking through the mass hypnotic suggestions of civilized immaturity. We see it in the middle east, at home with our children, and within a few days in the streets of America.

    The natural ethical knowing you have pointed to happens person~to~person, lip to ear, and is a living virus of truth hidden in the sanctity of human heart felt existence, itself. The authentic lamp you carry Sandy is wise indeed and your little hollow wick is a lightening rod to the outer world. The world may appear dim, clouded by neglect, and most wicks constipated with self important evil behaviors. Let us gather trust in a labor of love continuing the poet’s notion for our attention upon the eternal flame in the heart of humanity:

    “O, let not the flame die out! Cherished age after age in its dark cavern — in its holy temples cherished. Fed by pure ministers of love — let not the flame die out!”

    “In a small country, those in power have, long ago, forced all those not belonging to their group to reservations far from the cities and power centers. The government is a dictatorship, an apartheid. The dictator, and the power base he is supported by, knows little of the culture, values, or spirituality of their perceived enemies. Fear and control are behind every decision. It is believed that if those without power ever came to prominence, the entire way of being of the country would be threatened. One day there is a serious power outage. The power lines have been cut. Power, which has been the major export and resource of this country, has stopped flowing entirely. The government is paralyzed. The marginalized groups do not deny they cut the lines, but assert that the power has always belonged to them….”
    Deena Metzger “Personal Disarmament”

    Let’s cut the lines and establish responsibility based on an awakened autonomous virtual self living in legitimacy~in~coexistence with the web of life. In deep appreciation for your inspiration and outrage in restrained indignation. Everything is All Right!

    • Disaffected says:

      I like the concept of the duality of the universe. That goes back to the religion post a few weeks back, and man’s (western civilization’s in particular) hangup about the very nature of our existence. Christianity in particular would have us all believe that we are inherently and basically flawed creatures in need of saving from ourselves, by a perfect external entity no less. This is a concept so fundamentally wrong that it’s hard to even consider it, never mind actually “discuss” it with its mentally deficient followers. I honestly view devout religious followers as willfully mentally deficient. Fear of death and what comes next will certainly do that to you. In fact, that’s what the whole crucifiction drama is trying to teach in the first place, misinterpreted as it is.

      As far as the current mass consciousness, I believe it it is steadfastly grounded in an imagined future that never quite arrives, for as soon as it does, it becomes the eternally unsatisfactory present and is replaced by an updated future version demanding even more of whatever is lacking. I blame 21st century consumer capitalism for this state of affairs mostly, as it’s surely a prime feature of that belief system, just as the manifestation of the current mass psychosis coincides perfectly with its rise. Fortunately for us all, even a freshman year political economics student (at least one who isn’t blinded by the current mass psychosis themselves) can see the handwriting on the wall for capitalism. Resource depletion alone will insure its eventual death, current proponents of wide-eyed perpetual motion/energy technologies notwithstanding.

      Equally unfortunately however, the current system probably has the legs to last long enough to do irreparable damage to the eco-sphere in the process, so mankind is going to take a major step backward in his evolutionary arc over the course of the next century or so. Maybe that’s too bad, maybe it’s not, but it’s certainly going to be our fate either way. As the saying goes, “it’s not nice to fool with mother nature.” Or in the words of the immortal Shrub (in his best Keynesian form): “In the long run we’ll all be dead.” And some of us in the short run too.

  6. Brutus says:

    My first thought was also that this is the same old stuff I’ve been reading, for which I have a lot of sympathy. But on second thought, I think perhaps this rambling jeremiad is laden with ample seeds of the discussion you wish to have. No doubt we have misunderstood the true nature of freedom and sought refuge in false, destructive frameworks. But there is no escaping the awful reality we have constructed for ourselves, despite the seductive sheen of product fetishism and virtual reality.

    I’ve long thought that the usual discussions about freedom, justice, class conflict, economics, ecology, etc. are interesting enough but never really get at the heart of the matter, which is the eternal struggle to find meaning in the apparent absurdity of life. It may not be possible to fully understand how we got to our current predicament, but I am in fundamental agreement that we seem to be running full-steam toward the exits, or plunging headlong into the abyss. Pick your metaphor.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Brutus – you are correct; those discussions typically don’t see the real issue. They simply are tree-trimming for the current systems. To understand freedom in any meaningful way we need to look at the primal autonomy we had in the Pleistocene, where egalitarian, not hierarchical, relations, held sway.

  7. pat murphy says:

    Sandy,
    I agree with your observations and the comments with one exception with which I take a rather strenuous exception.

    In popular thought today, there is much emphasis on man living in the here and now, the present. I will assert that this is a severe epistemological error. Everything man does and thinks is due to the past; his experiences, his mental states, his memories, even his dreams of the future are from the past. In actuality, there is no here and now called the present, for in the very thought of the present, it becomes the past. All our clues for future action come from the memories of what is past. We simply are not able to disassociate ourselves from the past.

    That being said, it certainly gives a more powerful meaning to “learning from the past”. I accept that perhaps on some spiritual level, that living in the here and now is possible. The principle problem I see with humans is the interpretation of the symbols we live by, established in the past.
    Alfred Korzybski did some interesting work concerning symbology, asserting that Aristotelian labeling of what we experience around us took us away from our ability to act either rationally or in our own interests. A.E. Van Vogt shortened this to Null A philosophy in two novels.

    It would seem to me that if we prefer to view time as a linear event extending into infinity, that the only reality on an individual basis is our reflections on the past. I would assert that spontaneity is also controlled by our past experiences.

    It would seem to me if my assertions have value, that a deeper and more inclusive examination of the past is necessary to formulate future actions.

    • kulturcritic says:

      murph – I would recommend reading the physicist, Julian Barbour, The End Of Time.

      • Disaffected says:

        Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’
        Into the future

        More lyrics: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/s/steve+miller/#share

        Yes it does.

        Barbour’s concepts are very interesting, and to me at least, very intuitive as well. For example, our mechanical measures of time are all entirely arbitrary, and yet, we accept them without question. Our concept of time is perhaps the very definition of a paradigm: the rock upon which all subsequent foundations are built on.

        And of course none other than Pink Floyd had a thing or two to say about that as well. Links a few posts back.

        DA

  8. Disaffected says:

    Maybe it is freedom of consumer choice that we covet: four hundred brands of toothpaste and one hundred and fifty brands of toilet paper. But what good is all of that if you need to work constantly just to afford the medical bills for your teeth and stomach problems?

    Sandy,

    What you describe here is actually a FEATURE of the current system, at least from the designers’ point of view. And they’ve long had a name for it. THE RAT RACE. Visions of lab mice frantically running faster and faster on a squirrel cage with their “reward” always just out of reach, and all that. People were too stupid to realize it back in the 50’s and 60’s when they might have put a stop to it all. Now? Fugget about it! For the few whose hearts don’t explode during the process, the system’s ultimate collapse should at least come as a long overdue relief. But of course that could still take years, if not decades, to complete. Should be interesting watching it all play out.

  9. pat murphy says:

    Sandy,
    I have a passing familiarity with the concept of time as a fantasy, but it is still the fantasy we live with every day. It would seem to me to be comparable to “reality is a dream” concept. Whatever it is, we still have to live as if it is an actuality, including time. Another mental exercise imagining a different way the universe is organized doesn’t negate the necessities of chopping wood and toting water to try and maintain personal existence.

    But, in any event, this does not contradict my statement that a concept of the here and now is also a fantasy, for here and now also insists on a time element it would appear to me.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Pat – I am not denying the flow of events, only the reification of those along a unidirectional, non-reversable axis. The present speaks for itself; we live it, chopping or cursing. I also am not saying it is a fantasy, or that reality is a dream. I am simply noting the fact that we have organized experience according to certain, very highly refined parameters, and these have themselves become idols to which we pay homage daily. The reification of temporal flow is a tool used to organize experience and control resources. It is also used to predict and pass judgement on issues of causality, in nature, and responsibility among humans.

  10. pat Murphy says:

    Sandy,
    I have no issue with your last comment, particularly “and these have themselves become idols to which we pay homage daily.” I have to admit that I really don’t have a concept to get out of the idolatry part which is of course, the mainstay of contemporary civilization. I find it interesting to read reports about societies that do not have this conception of time. Perhaps that is what you refer to in living in the here and now, the present. If we step out of the box of linear time thinking, daily living will have a whole different paradigm. What changes would have to take place in human conceptualization to have it accepted? I doubt we will live long enough to see it. lol. So at least in our lifetimes, to operate in society, we have to at least act as if linear time was not a fabrication and mental exercise.

    The interesting exercise I occasionally indulge in is the concept that our laws of physics, our concept of time, is not universal. Our supposed physical constants may not apply to everywhere.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Pat –

      Actually, many physicists would not disagree with your experiment… many say time as we know it is not a universal. Again, I think Julian Barbour is a contemporary physicist who you might find interesting.

      And yes we do have to act as if unidirectional time were real… but you can seek to minimize compliance with its relentless demands. Siberians do this pretty well. They have an ambivalent relation to our concept of time. They are generally less concerned with schedules, and rarely plan anything; but the Western concept of progress and productivity is creeping up on them. You might find some of my reflections in The Recovery Of Ecstasy: Notebooks From Siberia interesting.

  11. Anarchrist says:

    It’s clear that the dimensions around which we form our perceptions are restricted due to the limitations of our physiology, most notably our rodent-derived cognitive functions. Indeed many physicists agree that what we think of as the universe needn’t be treated purely as a linear progression of states and events, although it is obviously hard for us as limited beings to think outside that particular box.

    It is my contention that although we clearly exist as linear beings, all time could just as easily be considered as a single instant, all creation existing at once as a whole. It is in our make-up as ape-people to experience this as a timeline of unfolding of events, and therefore to be separated by this experience from everyone and everything around us, whereas outside these narrow perceptions the truth of existence at its fundament is probably just energy in some sense. Flow, vibration, and therefore form, are linear concepts and therefore this underlying reality need not be subject to any of the rules we think of as ‘laws’. I find it easiest to think of this reality as a blank canvas or lump of clay from which all things and events are modelled, but which needs no form of its own. I also choose to think of this underlying truth as a universal consciousness, and therefore n something by which we are all connected be cause we are all, by definition, a part of it. The Australian aboriginals, as arguably the oldest of (barely) surviving cultures, would appear to share this view, though I’m sure there are many other examples in the less mutated peoples of the world.

    Given all of the above, many artefacts of the human condition are explained rather well; predisposition towards spirituality for a start (I consider religion as a separate phenomenon), intuition (the wafer-thin end of the psychic wedge), the general ‘oddness’ of life for which our restrictive consensus offers little explanation – deja vu, serendipity, even murphy’s law – I would see them all as signs of a deeper truth lost to us in our arrogant naivety, our zealous certainty of our bricks and mortar world of beginnings and ends. I’m certain that I’m not alone in this belief either, although I’ve arrived at it independently as a result of my own dealings with the world, many a physicist and mathematician has glimpsed a deeper cosmic elegance as a result of their mathematical exertions, while others have found a connection with their own divinity while breathing in the raw majesty of things.

    So for me, this is my ultimate deity; a primordial consciousness underpinning all things, seeding my belief that all is one and that we as ‘individuals’ are simply reflections upon shards of a shattered surface. In this context, the proclamations of organised religion are largely moot, often a little more than means to an end (subjugation) or some arcane ramblings – messages lost in translation. For my part, I’d suggest the real message of Christ was one of self-sufficiency, accountability, and of personal responsibility regardless of consequence – in essence, anarchy (as I see it), hence the prerogative of the elites of the time was to dispose of him, publicly and painfully. A warning to tread carefully with regard to the schemes of the merchant class, with their lust for power and control, should ring out now more than ever, but sadly it is rather lost in the din of the world and tainted with (so-called) Christianity’s own shameful excesses.

    Our current world setup is one obsessed with structure, a strict physical and temporal consensus with its four dimensions and no room for anything outside. These narrow perceptions serve to separate people from each other, and from their environment, because the rules of the consensus do not allow for our timeless connection with everything that lies beneath and beyond. Here & there, then & now, them & us – if we think exclusively in these limited terms there is no space for a natural expansion into self-realising mutually beneficial arrangements, and little room for concepts like fate, faith, and even hope, other than for our own survival, or petty self-gratification. I personally find this ‘reality’ claustrophobic; a cramped, cloying, hell of the mind. This hellish treadmill is now narrowing in scope, and quickening in pace with each passing day, if you’d like a definition of evil, this really is my best shot. Not evil because of the the evil acts to which it gives rise, or even the imprisonment of the soul, but because we actively subscribe to it out of fear, greed, lust etc. forming a grotesque gestalt of human weakness, a terrible shambles of our most selfish tendencies brought to bear in an orgy of visceral self-harm. So, you may ask, in this dark moment in human development who is running the show? Truly? No one. Everyone. It’s a collective. In this fresh new hell we are building with our devotion to greed, fear and self-interest, money is showing up to be a false idol of biblical proportions, and the economy that torments and enslaves us, while eating the world, is every bit the Satan many of us were were taught by ‘holy men’ to cast out and renounce.

    What I wish to demonstrate is that humankind’s true nature is being lost, that is up to each of you to find it, and that you don’t need a middleman or a religion to discover it because it’s inside you – your birth-right. I believe, like many people, that things happen for a reason, but also that it is not my place to necessarily understand what those reasons may be, I only need to be brave and open to possibility, that is the nature of faith. I believe in fate, and also in free will, though this could appear paradoxical in a causal universe, the two concepts are not mutually exclusive if you can reason outside the temporal vessel that contains each of us. Find your own path an walk it courageously, that’s all I would say to all of my fellow human beings if they cared to listen; don’t fear death and loss, as these are both inevitable and (if you can keep it in perspective) not all that big of a deal. Was going to quote Tool here, but linking to YouTube is easier…

  12. Disaffected says:

    Just an EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT, post, summing up things I’ve long felt but never put together in words so eloquently. Believe it or not, I’ve been going through some trying times personally of late, and posts like this help me to re-remember that “still small voice” within that has the power to get me through my current predicament and a whole lot more as well.

    And the Anarchrist handle is spot on as well as a reminder of what the Christ message was REALLY all about. I’ve had the argument with Christian friends over and over that, in their focusing on the alleged factual historical basis of their beloved myth, they entirely miss the point and alienate a large following that might otherwise be more forgiving of their literal misinterpretations. But even more importantly, they totally drain the spiritual meaning from their epic myths, in favor of blind allegiance to a mere set of oft recited “facts” that are totally devoid of any actual meaning as interpreted, and that are then used as mere propaganda dogma for the now pacified “flock” to hang their hats on, even as their brains have already been removed and placed in permanent storage in the church cellar.

    I mean really now, Christ as “only begotten (and perfect) immortal son, who acts as intermediary between sinful man and a “perfect (well, except for the devil),” albeit wrathful God, and demands unconditional obedience upon pain of eternal torture and damnation,” or Christ as “imperfect and mortal model of mankind’s potential to transcend his mere physical reality through genuine acts of selfless unconditional love and forgiveness even unto his physical death, who demands NOTHING in return?” To me, there’s simply no contest as to which of these narratives makes intuitive spiritual sense. Only a lobotomized “Christian” could possibly misconstrue the meaning of this timeless message. And they have, and they do, and they will in all likelihood continue to do so, very likely until they bring about the “end times” to which they so heartily subscribe.

    • Anarchrist says:

      Thanks DA, it’s refreshing to feel like I’m being understood – even just for a moment by one person – and it makes the couple of hours I spent on that post feel worth it. For what it’s worth, my entire ‘interconnectedness’ theory really leaves the door open for a degree of accurate prophesy because it makes everything more a question of ‘is’ than ‘going to be’. For my part I believe that whole end times thing is very much open to interpretation anyway, there’s a seed of truth in every great story after all. I’ve flicked through Revelations out of morbid curiosity, and if I turn on the TV at any given time I can see plenty of potential false prophets and even multi-headed even beasts who might fit the bill. Besides, is not ‘the end of the world as we know it’ potentially every bit the apocalypse the tiny-minded God botherers carp on about?

      Of course it’s best not to latch on to any of these pet theories, that whole bit about not needing to understand it all is key – it’s simply not my place; as a human I lack the capabilities to see the whole picture at once. I posit that people surviving momentary clinical death describe their whole life ‘flashing before their eyes’ because as the brain begins to shut off temporal relativity breaks down, and their whole experiential timeline unveils as a single snapshot, hence they are unable to satisfactorily describe the experience later. We humans like to pretend we have some god-like perspective on things but nothing could be further from the truth, singular infinity simply won’t fit into our cerebellum, perhaps after death we regain that divine overview as we merge with the greater, deeper reality, but in the meantime I will settle for an occasional glimpse of real beauty and a feeling of compassionate connectedness, if the hassle-filled world of men will allow me that.

      • Disaffected says:

        AC,

        Your “interconnectedness theory” ain’t just a theory that you yourself subscribe too. Rest assured, and I’m sure that you already know, a great many other followers subscribe to it as well. It’s a theory so diffuse and so discrete that it can’t be readily encapsulated, and thus, appropriated by TPTB. And therein lies its magic, its non-allure, and its total “specialness” for lack of a better word for those who are in the know. It’s the force that drives the force, the meaning behind all the 1’s and 0’s, the fucking reason for getting up in the morning at all for Christ’s sake!

        It’s THE ONE THING that neither science NOR religion has yet dared to attempt seriously: A COMPREHENSIVE, NO HOLDS-BARRED EXPLANATION AS TO WHAT ALL “THIS” IS ABOUT.

        A pretty industrious goal I’ll admit. To which I respond: If we can go to the moon in search of “outward” explanations, then WHY IN THE WORLD haven’t we tackled this one yet?

        INDEED!

        DA

        • Disaffected says:

          Or, the more fools I meet in this world propounding this or that theory of whatever, the more I gravitate towards that which I intuitively know is real. Some things I KNOW, and somethings I FEEL. Every now and then, those two things come together. When they do, I realize I’ve struck magic. And when I’m acting smart, I stop right there. There is no better place attainable on this green earth.

          DA

          • Anarchrist says:

            That’s it DA, your own momentary nirvana – as soon as you get that spark it’s best to just stop and breathe it in while it lasts, relax the mind, try too hard to grip it or hang onto it and you’ll crush it. And you’re right, the only person you need to trust in this life is yourself, only you can spot the truth, there’s a gut feeling you learn to recognise, and more critically to TRUST IT, rather than to automatically second-guess or reason it away.

            It’s a question of responsibility as much as anything; people are culturally inclined (as Sandy has said) to bow to perceived authority – to follow a leader – and do it because it makes them feel safe. To subjugate one’s own will is to relinquish responsibility, to be ‘free’ like a child is free – unaware, blissfully ignorant – and much of organised religion is geared the same way, with a hairy-faced patriarch taking ultimate responsibility for everything, why else the Christian doctrine about the perfect Demi-god who ‘died for our sins’. In a perfect world I’d like to say that there is no difference between individual will and divine will; that as shards of divinity your own will and purpose is all you need understand – but people are so confused and afraid, so lost in the fog and the machinations of this busy and cluttered world, and so adulterated but its constant cultural conditioning (Sandy again) that we perpetually mistake the will of others for our own.

            Speak the truth as you see it, and mark the truth where you hear it, but leave blind devotion to the weak-willed masses who need something to put on a pedestal. I’ve heard great truths literally from the mouths of children, does that mean I should hang on their every word? Fuck no, you just take the hint when some spark lights a fire under your ass, and then set to fitting it into your makeup somehow. I’m simply trying, in my own way, to read the signs as they slap me in the face, and piece all of this together into a new picture encompassing everything that I’ve learned (and am learning still). Theoretical physics, as an attempt to describe the properties of the universe we inhabit, can also be insightful – ‘Quantum Foam’ as a dynamic, unpredictable space-time fabric – http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/35391/title/Math_Trek__Do_subatomic_particles_have_free_will%3F – has proven a useful concept in forming a full-spectrum picture, to say the least.

            On the flipside, I had a lively conversation with a door-to-door Jehovah’s Witness going back a year or so, basic outcome is that I told him his God is everywhere and in everything, that the native Americans called it the Great Spirit and that there was no distinction between us and that which surrounds us. He didn’t like that much; he insisted on the literal ‘holy father’ and said “Jesus was the perfect human, he would have lived forever” so I concluded that he was insane, asked him if he thought the world was four thousand years old, and did he know what a fossil was. As a hard line creationist it turned out that he wasn’t much for evolution either, so he started going red and quoting well-rehearsed scripture about going to hell for blasphemy, so I stopped him mid-rant and said “I believe Jesus existed, but I don’t believe any of that”, he countered with “You can’t just pick and choose!” so I leaned down to his eye level, beamed a big smile in his face, and said “I’ll do as I please”. The man went purple, and he and his teenage son (who must have been there under duress – he looked as though he was in his own personal hell) just closed the garden gate and left in silence. What happened to ‘God is love’? I asked myself.

            I’ve always had a pick and mix attitude to life, and it’s served me well. As you say, I’m not the only proponent of a holistic, interlinked philosophy, and in fact our culture (along with virtually every other) is riddled with it. As you say it is inherently hard to pin down and thus commodify, probably because it’s naturally hierarchy-resistant, but it’s definitely out there. I’m a product of my time and I’ll sample the truth wherever I may find it. Pop-culture influences range from any number of films, such as the overtly spiritual Star-Wars saga – with major elements of Zen-Buddhism, bushido, blatant anti-fascist revolutionary leanings, plus a novel (at the time) macro-Gaia theory with the whole ‘Force’ thing – to song lyrics (such as those referenced above) strewn throughout the memoshphere.

            My generation, so-called ‘Generation X’, is well aware that all is not well with the world, but we’ve grown so crazy from being reared in it’s bosom that we don’t often make a lot of sense, passion comes out as anger, rebellion for it’s own sake (just another commodity now, the ‘counter culture’, complete with the tattoos and objectionable t-shirts, but minus the meaning). Evidence suggests that due to our excesses, the next generation could mature to become even more insane than the last – even less able to find the truth in amongst the dirge of loud and colourful lies – but I think our concurrent loss of control may yet offer them some respite and a different future. That is my hope, and also that I might be there long enough to help to their feet, and to offer an apology for the things that are happening to them right now.

            • kulturcritic says:

              I am sorry to interject on this discussion guys. But, I must say that the concept of “free will” is part and parcel of the curriculum of the West; it is a metaphysical term with much baggage from Greek philosophy and Christian theology. It is part of the mythology crafted by the hegemony in order to keep you guys saddled into values of this civilization and its culture. Is there a primitive autonomy, from a political perspective that we can speak about? Yes, I think there is. But “free will” is a theological concept that smacks of moralistic and religious overtones, further obscuring the real basis of human social interaction, guided by instinct, bonds of kinship and affinity.

              • Disaffected says:

                Sandy,
                I’m not sure I follow you there, but the whole concept of “free will” implies it’s opposite, “divine will,” “God’s will,” or “determinism.” In a culture that recognized no such dichotomies, there would be no need for terms describing them in the first place.

                Once again, another major hangup for the Christian bunch, as they are ALL ABOUT “bending to god’s will,” whatever in the world THAT is (in my opinion, it’s just another way to escape personal responsibility for ANYTHING).
                DA

            • Disaffected says:

              Great stuff once again.

  13. kulturcritic says:

    DA – it is you who may not understand. The Xian proposition is that man was created with free will (in God’s image). It is there that personal responsibility lies for the believer – exercising one’s free will to do God’s bidding. But, to continue this discussion requires getting into theology more than I care to. Suffice it to say that Xian moralism requires personal responsibility. I prefer not to engage in a discussion of ‘free will’ or ‘divine providence’; it is all horseshit. IMHO

    • Anarchrist says:

      This looks like an argument over semantics. Language fails me like anyone else, but surely you get my meaning – Free will or primitive autonomy, what’s the difference? It may well be laden with historical connotations but to me it’s just a convenient expression. To me, to exert free will is to move with self-determined purpose. In general it is also clearly possible to live in harmony with nature and one’s surroundings, as many native peoples have for millennia (Aussie Aboriginals for some 60,000 years) – it is also possible to go in completely the opposite direction and take a massive dump on nature (including your own nature I might add), and that’s what humanity has now come to. I’d say that’s free will too; generally displayed as freedom to be selfish, self-destructive, and massively arrogant. The other, more ‘primitive’ way, one of harmony and connectedness, is to be aligned with ‘divine will’ in that it recognises that fundamentally everything is the same as everything else – that there is no division between you and the chair you are most probably sitting on – so why wouldn’t you treat all things with the same respect you do your own body? If at root everything is formless, just energy, and the (to us) invisible reality of ‘life on earth’ is just a luminous display of flowing energy, with little recognition of boundaries or individuals, then what truly separates your being from a person sitting next to you? Answer – perception.

      The entire point in the human condition is that it forces us to exist in perceived separation – aloneness – but my position is that it’s high time we moved past that view as the be all and end all, because the arrogance and terrible emotional grief of it it has given rise to in our species is fixing to kill us all. If you care to perceive the world as a living breathing organism, we might be something akin to skin flora, but having recently developed into a rather nasty infection. I maintain what people need is to integrate with some larger, deeper reality, show a little respect for our host and listen to her whispers before she starts to shout. We are separate, linear beings yes, but as we are learning all the time, the limitations of our perception (time & space) are very narrow. So if human consciousness is a collective, why not animals, trees, rocks for fuck’s sake, why accept any boundaries at all? I do believe this planet has a networked consciousness of sorts and that we as denizens of this place are hardwired to it. Now given that this is all happening on some sort of continuous space-time substrate, where does this hypothesis end? Pluto? The galactic centre? The Andromeda galaxy? Nowhere, it’s infinity stupid. If experimental physics teaches us anything, it’s that distance and time are relative. Relative to what? Perception again.

      I do apologise if it gets up your nose that I’ve used certain turns of phrase a little flippantly, I appreciate there is a lot of room for misunderstanding in this disembodied medium, but you must appreciate that if these terms carry baggage for you, it is not necessarily so for me, I’m just trying to get a complex point of view across as efficiently as I am able, and I am generally a very busy person, so compromises must be made.

      • kulturcritic says:

        “The entire point in the human condition is that it forces us to exist in perceived separation – aloneness – but my position is that it’s high time we moved past that view as the be all and end all”

        Anachrist, et. al. This will be the subject of Monday morning’s post!!

      • Disaffected says:

        Good points all AC. Funny though, I’ve had similar conversations like this with many people, often religious types, since they usually open the conversation with their proselytizing. Watching their eyes glaze over and their brains shut down is an object lesson in the power of dogma over intellectualism. You make all your points extremely well, and I’ll likely copy your comments out to a Word.doc for future reference. But make no mistake, this line of thinking/reasoning will NEVER be effective on any mass scale. Most of the sheeple in the world today simply don’t have the capacity to understand it, and the rest are either chained to current dogma for whatever personal reasons, or actively involved in selling the dogma for reasons of personal power/advantage.

        The whole “saving the planet because we are all one” mentality is now so firmly anchored in the mass consciousness with the 60’s flower children or similar – much as the word liberal is now associated with welfare scams and environmentalism – that it’s less than worthless as a metaphor for stimulating a positive mass response. Both political parties have mastered the fine art of marketing – aka political disinformation or propaganda – such that any argument based on intellectual factors alone is now completely worthless. The knee-jerk emotional response is now universally recognized as the only way to go in political messaging, so find a way to tune that same message to that frequency and you might have something. And I think we both know that that’s surely impossible in this case.

    • Disaffected says:

      Probably not. I’ll admit I’m in way over my head here academically philosophically speaking. But once again, “exercising one’s free will to do God’s bidding” sounds an awful lot like an ultimatum to me. And what’s the alternative if God is all knowing and all powerful anyway?

  14. John Patrick says:

    On duality…
    It’s like someone pee’d in the pool. There are two distinct entities, but trying to separate them is impossible. Perhaps, personal experience is the filter we use to tell the difference. And, only that.

  15. Hasdrubal Barca says:

    I want to personally thank everyone posting comments. Absolutely fascinating discussion. I’m learning best by just shutting up and ‘listening.’

    “That’s it DA, your own momentary nirvana – as soon as you get that spark it’s best to just stop and breathe it in while it lasts, relax the mind, try too hard to grip it or hang onto it and you’ll crush it.”

    I can take in this entire discussion with the momentary nirvana invoked just by letting my brain wander within the topic. Soon the world I live in will crush it. I think I have things figured out and it all flutters away like a butterfly and I feel like I’m back at square one. Back to life, back to reality.

  16. Anarchrist says:

    DA, you’re right, this message really isn’t for the masses, it just isn’t palatable in the world we know, maybe a thousand years hence that’s where we’ll be, but if we don’t at least start the journey we won’t last another hundred. But that’s not really the point. I suppose I’m really trying to crystallise my feelings for my own purposes, and having a sounding board of peers is an important part of that. Fact is, there is no-one in my immediate circle that I can have this two-way conversation with, besides in many ways it’s easier to do this with strangers whom I will never meet – there is more room for risky, experimental thinking because there is so much less consequence to misunderstanding and unfair judgement. However, mass media has unwittingly permeated many of these ideas into the mass subconscious, so the ice is broken…

    “Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes.” – Master Yoda

    I should state for the record that my great hope is that humanity of the future will find a way bridge the currently perceived duality of these seemingly disparate realities, with a foot in both worlds as it were, and take from it a sense of peace and acceptance that comes with that whole-person experience. This was very much seeded by the flower children of my parent’s generation, but I would have it evolve from a wishful fantasy and mature into a practical reality, one that represents and integration of all modes of thought, the entire spectrum of existence from warrior to flower child with everything between, minus the bullshit. For my part, I’ll pick and choose according to what feels right to me at any given time, having the balls not to go looking for permission or approval from anyone else, in a quest for balance that I’ll likely never attain, but I will do my best.

    Can’t pretend I’ve got all this figured out after all as I spend plenty of time feeling hassled, stressed and being a cantankerous motherfucker because of it. I’m lucky enough to live in a beautiful area though, and I find the best thing to wash off some of the stink of the world is going for a walk somewhere off the beaten track, a meditation of a sort. Of course The really important thing here is that in striving for balance, unattainable as it may be, I am walking the walk and aiming for a better relationship with my world. Many of the people around me couldn’t be more different, and they really do remind me of livestock – unquestioning, thoughtless, but largely benevolent – creatures of habit perhaps, but honest, and with good, loyal hearts. That goes a long way with me, and being less burdened with ‘unnecessary’ thought is something I sometimes envy. I would be happy to see what these people can do when truly left to their own devices in a simpler world. I like to think that the collapse we face could offer us the fresh start we need, and that perhaps in a thousand years our descendants will look back favourably at the way you and I tried to make things right, and to provide fertile ground in which their respectful ways of living could mature and bear fruit.

    In the meantime though, there is work to be done, and hard choices will face anyone lucky enough to have a real shot at coming through the adjustment intact. Therein lies my motivation for a lot of the other shit I’ve vented onto these pages recently, I want to see more Jedi doing their rounds because we are going to need these people – warrior monks with compassion as their compass and fear taking a back seat.

    “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Master Yoda

  17. Disaffected says:

    AC,

    Sounds like you and I are kindred spirits. You’re not gonna find many people that think like this, so the chances that at any given point in time and space you’re going to be talking face to face with one is extremely rare. Thank god for cyberspace, eh?

    I reside in Los Alamos NM and work at, where else? Very beautiful place, even after the recent burn and lingering smoke. Walking the local canyons is my favorite pass time and I’ve made most of my best friends through that endeavor. Nonetheless, in a world class scientific community such as this you might imagine that there’d be quite a lot of out of the box thinking spirituality wise. If there is, I’ve yet to discover it, and like most places where there’s a lot more money kicking around than people know what to do with, they’re overwhelmingly conservative and… wait for it… RELIGIOUS as well. Go figure.

    Needless to say, my faith in humanity, which has never been all that strong in the first place, just keeps getting weaker and weaker as time goes by. Hence the handle Disaffected. It really is descriptive in my case.

    • Anarchrist says:

      Well I have a background in applied science (ecology, soil science and the like) from my college days, and my professors and scientists in general often amazed me with with their potential for closed mindedness. Truth is, most research is very financially and politically charged and these people have to tread extremely carefully – make a misjudged statement and they can end up being ostracised – so self-preservation is always at work, and the ‘psychology of previous investment’ plays a big part too. I for one resent it, because as far as I can see everything I’ve pondered here in that last few days is as empirically plausible as anything else. And holy shit, would you credit it, I just googled ’empirically plausible’ to check the syntax and look what I found, another interesting link:

      http://www.naturalism.org/Close_encounters.htm

      More evidence that my viewpoint isn’t all as rare, or as scientifically unsound as I’ve been led to believe by small-headed people and TPTB. If you weren’t already aware of it DA, that site could offer you some good reading, might even strengthen your waning faith in your fellow monkey-people, having scanned it briefly I certainly found it a boost. As for being kindred spirits, I’m probably nothing like the way you imagine me – a tall, wiry, thirty something electrical contractor and part-time computer technician, raised in Scotland by a Californian and a Northern-Irish ‘Brit’, and living in Cornwall (South-West England) with my wife and two kids. I try to make a point of meeting people half-way – because I like to think I share something, however small, with every other human being on the planet – but yes it is very refreshing to ‘meet’ someone who offers me some real understanding and assistance, however brief the encounter may be. So thanks for showing me some love DA, I do appreciate it, and I sincerely hope you can feel less jaded about ‘people’ as a result of our interactions here.

      • Disaffected says:

        Good stuff as usual AC. I’ll check out the site at length in short order. As far as “imagining” someone, I usually try to resist the urge as far as real world surroundings are concerned at least. Cyber space offers us the luxury of “knowing” someone in an entirely different sense, one of pure “essence” if you will, in that the pure embodiment is totally unnecessary and entirely irrelevant to the matters at hand. Something like what I imagine (and have heard) the next life is like.

        All that said, your assertions over the past few days stand on their own and speak for themselves. As it should be. You need no additional defense in your arguments, for they are sound to the core. To my mind at least. Keep it up.

        DA

  18. Hasdrubal Barca says:

    My jaw hit the floor when I heard this song on the radio yesterday…

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