I’ve been thinking a lot lately of what the long-term ramifications of the responses to this viral outbreak will mean, how the paradigm has shifted and what that will mean for all of us in the coming years.
On the one hand, the idea that through a few actions – obnoxious though they may be – the lives of many thousands can be preserved, and many episodes of very ill health avoided causes my compassionate side to swell with gladness at the measures being taken.
On the other hand, the majority of the world was shut down and rolled up in a matter of a few weeks, and there are now punitive measures being taken against many of those who choose not to comply with orders to quarantine themselves.
The idea of flattening the curve is one oft repeated over the past couple of months, and the thinking behind it is quite sound, and assuredly there has been a decrease in cases of contagion where measures which promote this flattening have occurred.
The vast economic impact is another theme that continues to surface as the course of this global event unfurls. We’re only beginning to see the impacts that weeks turning into months of decreased or non-existent productive output will have upon the global economic paradigm, and – more importantly – the lives of individuals.
As the hospitals across the world begin/continue to reach – and go beyond – capacity, and the weak-links in the emergency medical systems across the globe are strained and broken, it has become increasingly clear that we – humanity as a whole – were/are entirely unprepared to deal with a global pandemic.
It may sound callous to say – context to come – but we are truly fortunate that this revelation has come packaged with a relatively minor virus, and that our vulnerabilities have been noticed and, ostensibly, are being addressed in a way that will bolster our preparedness in the future.
Consider, the SARS-CoV-1 virus had a fatality rate of around 10% overall, but around 15% outside of China – more on this to come – and were the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) as lethal as it’s predecessor, and as contagious as it is, we’d be looking at millions an millions of deaths across the globe.
Further, MERS showed a lethality rate of around 40%, and those who survived it were very likely to have long-term/permanent health issues due to the propensity of that virus to damage organs, the digestive tract and the nervous system.
I singled these two viruses out because they are both members of the Coronaviridae family of viruses. There are several other members of this family that are already permanent features of our contagion landscape – causing approximately 1/4 to 1/3 of the “common cold” cases worldwide – and they behave in a mostly seasonal manner similar to flu or rhinovirus.
Given the widespread reach of SARS-CoV-2, and the clearly highly infections nature of the virus, it seems quite possible – likely, really – that COVID-19 is not going to be a one-time event. Indeed, that it will join the pantheon of persistent seasonal maladies that humanity has learned to endure.
Also, though much less virulent than either of it’s more savage cousins, it does appear to be slightly more fatal the all but the deadliest of flus. Given the strain that seasonal flus place upon the medical infrastructure, not to mention the economic impact, the idea of another similarly infections and similarly virulent virus adding to that strain in a seasonal manner is daunting to consider.
There are a couple of peculiarities about the family Cornoaviridae that cause me a bit of additional concern. Firstly, they’re what are know as positive-sense single stranded RNA viruses. That’s a mouthful, but the significance here is that these types of viruses mutate rapidly.
This means that the potential for reinfection during the same seasonal outbreak is higher than with many other types of viruses, and that vaccination efforts may be much more difficult. It also means that while – relatively – mild as it stands, it has the potential to mutate into something far more virulent within a single seasonal outbreak. You can learn more about that here.
In addition, coronaviruses in general – SARS-CoV-2 included – tend to be highly opportunistic. People with underlying maladies, immune deficiencies and those already infected by other pathogens tend to fare far worse when infected with coronaviruses than healthy individuals.
This is not a trait solely belonging to this family of viruses, but when we consider that the seasonality of the already widespread coronaviruses aligns with that of the flu, we must then also consider the ramifications of a flu/COVID-19 co-infection – or sequential infection – which would almost certainly increase the severity of both.
With all that in mind, consider the massive failure at containment that the initial response to this outbreak constitutes. It has spread across almost the entire world, and containment measures that were eventually taken – but were not taken earlier due to political roadblocks, skepticism and deception by the CCP – have only barely begun to curb the spread of infection.
Would this have been something like SARS-CoV-1, MERS or (God forbid) an airborne variant of Ebola, this sluggish and piecemeal response to an outbreak would have resulted in millions and millions of deaths.
Before continuing on, I feel it necessary to state that the Chines Communist Party lied about SARS, they’ve lied and continue to lie about COVID-19, and their deception in these matters has caused thousands of deaths worldwide.
That’s tantamount to an act of war.
Further, in an effort to save face, they’ve continued their long-standing practice of influencing mainstream media’s presentation of their wrongdoing as something heroic – rather than corrupt – with their money, and enforcing that distortion with hundreds of thousands of social media accounts spreading disinformation and ambiguities.
That’s also tantamount to an act of war.
Given that a MAJORITY of the pandemics of the world have emerged from China, the deceptions, delays and diversions that the CCP continue to create in response to these events should give you pause.
That’s malice. That’s enmity.
Now, moving away from the monstrous actions of the CCP, I want to take a moment to consider another angle here.
Much of the world is on lock-down right now. In fact, in several European and Asian countries – the US is now beginning to follow suit – breaking quarantine can result in fines, imprisonment and even beatings by law-enforcement personnel.
The entire world economy has slowed, and we’re only beginning to see the first order effects of this slowing – the second and third order effects will emerge over the coming months and years – and there have been massive political/financial maneuverings in the past weeks – undoubtedly, there are many more to come – which are quite concerning.
Trillions of dollars are being created and pumped into the US economy right now – I predict that many other nations will shortly follow suit – to bolster industries and institutions considered “essential” by the political class. Some money is being given directly to individuals as well, and this widespread increase in government assistance begs the question:
Will people expect the handouts to continue?
COVID-19 seems to have spread wide enough that it will indeed become a seasonal virus. Does this mean that we can expect a lock-down for 6-10 weeks once per year?
I wanted to express that I take the threat of this virus, and of emergent pandemics in general, very serious before I went very deep into this line of thought. I’m not callous or ignorant of the potential for disastrous impacts that such events can cause.
Still, the consolidation of centralized power, the martial-law-adjacent nature of the quarantines and government direction/control of certain industries causes me great concern.
These are the same entities that continue to mismanage nearly everything that they touch, that create and enforce laws crafted by those who seek dominion over others in the name of personal gain, and the idea of allowing the governments of the world to be able to seize industry and enforce home-imprisonment of the populace sends alarm-bells ringing in my head.
When government seizes power, it rarely let’s it go. When it exercises that power, it usually does it again.
Are lockdowns, multi-trillion dollar bailout/stimulus packages and government seizures of industry the new status quo? And by the way, though the roll-out of the containment efforts was relatively sluggish, the roll-up of power certainly wasn’t.
Makes one wonder, how long have the governments of the world been waiting for an opportunity like this? For surely they couldn’t have made moves like this so quickly without already having plans in place, could they?
The reality of this pandemic is has yet to completely reveal itself, and the responses to this reality will continue to impact the world order for many years to come.
I can’t shake the feeling – a nagging and growing suspicion – that the moves made here are part of a much larger paradigm, and that the catalyst of the virus was merely a convenient trigger.
I can’t help but feel that a new chapter in the war on personal sovereignty has begun.
I urge you to pay very close attention in the months and years to come, and to raise your voice in revolt should you see the Leviathan breaching in an attempt to swallow us whole.
Chance’s Note: Charles is a friend of mine. Over the last 18 months or so, I’ve seen him choose some mighty dragons to face, and then to fall on his face… Yet each time he’s hit the dirt, he’s climbed back up, picked up his sword and charged back into the fray. He’s made real progress on several fronts, and it’s been great to watch him grow. The following is his advice to fellow warriors.
Happily Ever After: The Childhood Fairytale that Traps
All of us have reached a point when it seems that there is just one big obstacle blocking our happiness:
“If I just get this degree, everything will be fine.”
“If she just says yes, I will have everything I need.”
“If we had more money, everything will be OK.”
There’s a subtle fairytale in those thoughts – the idea that we will find a “happily ever after”, where life gets easy and free of worries – hakuna matata and all that.
We want to go on believing the childhood fantasy of a “happily ever after”and we like the idea of slaying the dragon once and walking off into the sunset.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that childhood fairy tale: When you slay one dragon, another one shows up.
It may not show up today or even next year, but that dragon always shows up as the next obstacle guarding the path to happiness.
For some people, this constant struggle is a reason to stop fighting. It’s a reason to give up, to be average, to stop moving the needle forward.
This giving up shows up in thoughts like these:
“Why isn’t life fair?
“Why can’t life just be easier?”
“Why did this happen to me?
Why You Should Never Stop Slaying Dragons
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is no problem in asking why things happen -there is no problem in getting mad, angry, sad, or even upset about the obstacles that are in the path – we can grieve loss, be staggered by pain, and feel the hurt.
But, you are never to give up.
You must never stop slaying the dragons in your life.
Obstacles actually make us stronger. While it might feel as though obstacles make us weaker, the truth is, they make us stronger.
I don’t mean in the cliche “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” kind of way that you see in Instagram posts.
I mean in the very real sense that obstacles force us to tap into power that we didn’t know we had – it doesn’t matter whether that power is emotional, mental, physical, financial, relationship-wise, or spiritual – facing any obstacle requires us to do things that we normally don’t do.
They force us to wake up from the childhood fairytale that life is supposed to be without problems, that life is supposed to be the way we want it to be, into the true story that life is never going to stop bringing it to us.
Why Slaying Dragons Means Treasure Hunting
Let’s say, for example, that you are laid off from your job unexpectedly. This new obstacle presents you with a new challenge – finding a new source of income – but also a new opportunity – finding better work, developing new skills –
Opportunity/Obstacle A: You must now decide if you are going to fight this new obstacle and find that new and better career path, or decide to surrender to the dragon in your way and give up.
Opportunity/Obstacle B: You can choose to continue working out and continue working on new skills while you’re looking for a better job, or you can give up, get fat, spend time on social media railing about the economy and taking the next crappy job that’s available.
If we tap into the opportunity embedded in our obstacles, we can become a stronger person.
The dragon that you have to slay always guards a treasure.
That treasure is your next level, your better self.
By slaying that dragon, you earn the treasure, a treasure that will prepare you for the next dragon. So on and so forth.
That is why you cannot stop.
When you keep slaying dragons, you keep getting stronger. You get wiser. You become more resilient. You become something bigger and better.
There is no end to the adult fairytale.
When you realize that life is not like the childhood fairytale of “happily ever after”, but is more like the adult reality that there’s always a dragon around the corner – when you realize your goal in life is not to end obstacles forever, but to keep getting stronger and smarter by overcoming each of those obstacles – you stop looking at life as a series of burdens and you realize what life really is….
Still waters become stagnant and fetid, a dam will burst if you let it fill without draining to the point where the tolerances are straining.
God is the source from which all flows.
You own very little but your infinite soul, all else is a gift as it comes and it goes, you’ve been granted a ticket, so enjoy the show.
God is the one to whom it returns.
The glory is his, that’s been known and proclaimed, so are the sorrows of the broken, the lame. The black and the white, the day and the night, return it to him who gave spark to your sight.
God will destroy to recycle and build.
The history lasts just as long as it needs to, yet the story is long – it’s an infinite read through – and chapters are lost and forgotten and see through; invisible paths from from past often lead you.
God will fashion a throne when you’re ready.
A good shepherd knows there’s a time for the shearing, a time for the leading, a time for the slaughter. The wisdom in life is the same for the weary, the same for the greeting, the same for breakwaters.
God understands and will gift you the same.
One cannot grow if one cannot eat, once cannot sow if one has no seeds, one cannot know if one cannot seek, one cannot show if one cannot teach. The timing is in the design of the system, the symmetry shows in the flows of the cistern, the harmony grows when aligned with the prism.
God is a name that needs a face.
Imagine a place of infinite glory, of infinite sorrow, unending tomorrows. Imagine a face of infinite grace, of infinite malice, unyielding embargo. Imagine a promise of infinite vision, of infinite blindness, unbending legato.
God will return all you give in excess.
The actions you take leave a wake of resistance, you cannot avoid making waves with your imprints, the instance of action or lack to enact them stacks facts onto facts to compress and impact them. The seas of your thoughts meet the walls of your prison, the architect lives, of all places, within you.
God cannot walk any path but perfection.
We are the vessels, the light is the lesson, the darkness will dampen, disguise and so lessen. Both are required to carve out a meaning from branches that fall from trees breathing and gleaming with bright shiny fruits of being and gleaning.
Give it all back to God.
All that is given to God is made right, all of the sadness, the fear and the might. All that is given to God is made whole, all of the hollows, the pits and the holes. All that is given to God is made clean, all of the ashes, the filth and latrines. All that is given to God is perfected, all of the doubts, the mistakes and rejected. All that is given to God is returned, the pattern is woven, the lesson is earned.
There was a spark of purest white light, and it always was, and it was more than light, and it was Essence. It was the first such spark, and it cast its radiance upon the surface of the deep in all directions across the vastness.
And the deep was depthless and bottomless and timeless and endless, and the light fell upon the surface, and the surface resisted and the light reflected on the face of the deep. And it was his face. And it was not his face.
Harmony and Echo were born.
And Harmony’s face absorbed and reflected the gaze of Essence and gave birth to Shadow.
Shadow was cast upon the surface of the deep by Harmony and Essence.
The deep gave way to Shadow, bending to his presence as it had bent to Essence, but Shadow could not pull away. He stretched into the deep, the face of the deep giving way before him.
The surface of the deep bent to the sinking shadows in a widening disk.
The radiance of Essence reflected from new angles, and across the back of Harmony and the face of Echo.
New patterns arose as Harmony and Echo absorbed and reflected the reflections of essence rising from the face deep so Resonance and Dissonance were born.
Resonance worked to enhance the reflections of Essence, and stretched across the vastness. And where Resonance was in greatest strength, new sparks appeared.
The new sparks were less radiant than Essence, and shone in myriad colors.
Dissonance worked to increase the spread of Shadow, and stretched into the pit of shadow. Where Dissonance was in greatest strength, the sparks winked out.
Resonance and Dissonance danced on the surface of the deep and fought in the pit of Shadow. Resonance was the better dancer, but Dissonance the better fighter. Dissonance wounded Resonance unto bleeding in the pit.
All the new sparks began to bleed as well, and slowly losing strength and eventually sinking into the hands of Shadow and Dissonance.
The blood of resonance, which was the reflection of the radiance of Essence, was consumed by Dissonance in the pit of Shadow, and thus Essence was not present in the depths of the pit.
When Dissonance cast shadow upon Shadow, and Essence and Harmony were no longer with him, he pierced the surface of the deep.
And there Shadow found Darkness.
And the ancient enemy swallowed Shadow.
Shadow became the servant of Darkness.
And Darkness flowed through Shadow and rose to swallow Essence.
Resonance stood in the face of Dissonance, and though not destroyed, was forced to give ground to the momentum of Dissonance.
Harmony absorbed upon her back the onrush of Darkness through Shadow intended for Essence. She was shaken, and Darkness held to her. Thus Turbulence and Chaos were born. Shadow chained turbulence to himself and to Harmony. Darkness did the same with Chaos.
Turbulence then went to war with Resonance, further weakening his ability to resist Dissonance, and Chaos held the ground which Turbulence won.
Echo came to fight by the side of Resonance, sending counterattacks into the flanks of Shadow and Darkness.
The radiance of Essence held Darkness at bay upon the face of Harmony.
This tension between Darkness and Essence moved in opposition, and this caused Harmony to spin.
Where her face gazed, Resonance reigned and the radiance of Essence permeated all things.
Where her back faced, Darkness held, and the radiance of Essence was unseen.
Shadow became the emissary of Darkness on the surface of the deep, working to obscure and consume the radiance of Essence to increase the realm of Darkness.
Echo became the emissary of Essence upon the surface of the deep, working to press the radiance of essence deeper into the realm of Darkness.
Eternal War was born and became master of the borderlands between the realm of Essence and Darkness.
Yeah okay, maybe that, or maybe he’s been trained to sprain the mainframe maintained by the brainiacs who sayin’ that, “The best place for the proletariat is laying flat, taking whatever we say as fact.”
Meanwhile back to today we sat and watched the parades for the gay and fat, so hooray for that. Antilife at any size, antinatalist portrayed with laughs. It helps to hide the fact that the lie’s intact, as we try to combine we are tied and severed by the tyrants efforts to confine the pleasure of our lives to never as a lever to act against our own best interests.
“We permanently interrupt this broadcast, we’ve disabled your access to truth at long last, enjoy the ‘truth’ of the party podcast.”
<The song L’Internationale begins to play>
Doesn’t really matter how you want to live, you take what you get from the hand that gives. Look at you fool, think you earned that shit? Just try and say bye to the gift of thrift that was given as a grift by the learned and lifted even as your very soul is burned and shifted to a burdened imprint with no further instance.
Dance little monkeys, the tree is falling, it’s all your fault but our plan is stalling the collapse of the forest so go back to college. We promise the loans will be worth the weight; lead and gold are an equal fate, just like we promised in the line you waited, your equity is here as was always fated.
The time has come to forget your sorrows, we the masked men own the loans you borrowed, and we’ll use that as leverage to erase tomorrow if you don’t acquiesce to the false and hollow. Oh by the way, that account you have, the one where you talk to your friends and Dad? We own that too, and we’re really glad, ’cause we profiled you and so we knew you’d cave to the pressure applied where you worked and played. Now, back of the line, or better yet just fade, we’ve got no use for the truth today, when we’ve got false hopes in a steady diet, better not stray from the games we play, just eat that slop on your equal tray.
Who ever said equity looked good? It’s just that now we’ve burned down the wood from which the box was built to surround the ‘hood, so that now our planned hand has been played as should, and everybody now faces shame. You would be best suited surrender now all the privileges we’ve named and plowed into soil turned dark with the blood of cows that were once holy but have been torn down into meat we don’t eat cause the wheat is loud in the lobbyist’s lounge. We’ve got you surrounded by entire towns; doesn’t everybody just love the clowns?
If your noun makes sounds without a pro, then you noun ain’t sound and it’s time to go. There’s nobody home in reality here, there’re only more ways to promote your fears. Your reparation payments are in arrears, it’s time for the line of the white man’s tears, surrender you pride and accept the sneers from those who oppose you; your foes can hear all the words that you speak if your cellphone’s near.
Technocrats with their swords and knives, are sharpened along political divides. All those in whom you like to confide will not last long in the gulag lines. It’s cute that you think that your efforts matter, but the truth is, bud, all your life is scattered across all the tools that we’ve built to splatter the blood of the scapegoats across the alter, when no truth lives then a lie can’t falter.
Good luck with the minutes we’ve allotted you, time’s running short and we’re on to you. Enjoy all you’ve wrought with your acquiescence, you’re seconds away from your obsolescence. We hope you’ve enjoyed all the proof of lessons that you would’ve seen coming if you’d cleaned your lenses, but it’s too late now to avoid the cleanses, there’s a knock at your door, it’s the troops; squeeze, end this.
“The unsaid is a powerful tool. It invites the reader into the narrative, filling in gaps, interpreting silences and half-finished sentences, and seeing the hidden fear in someone’s eye.” — Fiona Barton
“The narrative constructs the identity of the character, what can be called his or her narrative identity, in constructing that of the story told. It is the identity of the story that makes the identity of the character.” — Paul Ricoeur
“It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the—if he—if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement.” — William Jefferson Clinton
The shape of a thing is revealed not just by what is visible, but by what is not; void and vacuum twist and pull on substantial reality, and these forces coalesce into a very revealing portrait of influence. The lack of a thing is the eventual end to every thing. Tyrannical time flows, parting and passing around the most solid members of the resistance, until they too are dissolved and distributed back into the stream.
Yet they – these solid monuments standing in defiance of inevitability – demonstrate that time can be cast aside for a time by the mere presence of a will to survive, that this mortal frame can defy equilibrium and create a rippling wake as the fingerprint left by the effort.
In a long enough time-frame all iterations are ephemeral.
Still, as the architecture of society at large is surely partially intentional – to what degree is a subject of frequent debate amongst those who entertain such subjects in conversation (savages, snivelers and snakes, mostly) – so too, to an unclear but at least partial degree, many of our experiences as members of a society with a strong consumerist mentality are shaped to exist only momentarily, but to move our trajectory significantly in the short time that they exist.
Imagine a future heroin addict trying the first dose and realizing there is a whole other world of experience, and that they now know they’d prefer to live there in any condition rather than here in an objectively superior condition.
Then the high passes, irritability and the jonesing for more sets in, and the stark reality of that kind of pull on one’s self-control is too difficult for many to face, leading into a selective ignorance of the negative consequences of their newfound obsession in order that they can most fully enjoy their own path of destruction.
This is the character of very many ephemeral experiences designed to be both persuasive in a particular trajectory and addicting in their intensity or subtle pleasure both.
You might’ve heard of social media and clickbait (heh) and these are prime examples of how the drive for a continuous stream of impulse satisfaction can draw a great deal more energy from a limited pool than its use justifies – at least if one desires to use their time to create growth and increase in metrics associated with personal freedom – in the same way that someone who chooses to engage with tobacco often finds themselves at the behest of the impulse to engage in an increasingly common and less meaningful set of conditions. This continues along until the act itself becomes an event to plan around, rather than something to enjoy appropriately or even to accommodate during convenient moments, thereby losing touch with what value existed in the first place.
Clinging to broken justifications and lies of convenience constitutes a surefire path to a demented world view and an unreasonable attachment to ideas and practices – and aye, even people – which drive one ever deeper into the morass of responsibility denial and resentment.
This practice creates openings for weakness in honesty and respect in ripples emanating outwards from those who engage in such behaviors, suggesting a similar course of action to those around them.
The process in which the denial of reality becomes an ever increasingly lauded and prized characteristic of the participant in the societal process has been studied, templates and platforms created to support and insulate these skewed views from challenge or destruction until they metastasize throughout the entire psychology of both the individuals and the broader group dynamics. This functionally weakens the long-term viability of the people and institutions to which they are attached and enmeshed, while often creating a simultaneous increase in the volatility of the hosts.
Distortion of reality in service to creating conditions under which specific results in the world of politics, money and, ultimately, power over others has become an art.
Still… the artist says much more than they know or realize.
“People’s real hopes and dreams can be distorted and misdirected and packaged until you’re not sure what you really want or what you even really need.” — Tracy Chapman
“If even in science there is no a way of judging a theory but by assessing the number, faith and vocal energy of its supporters, then this must be even more so in the social sciences: truth lies in power.” — Imre Lakatos
“Bear in mind here that all Google search results are, in a sense, biased. There are no equal-time rules built into Google algorithm. It always puts one widget ahead of another – and one candidate ahead of another” — Dr. Robert Epstein
“Societies or companies that expect a glorious past to shield them from the forces of change driven by advancing technology will fail and fall. That applies as much to my own, the media industry, as to every other business on the planet.” — Rupert Murdoch
“I’ve never been impressed with bureaucratic tradition. I don’t like it when the parties come to me and say, ‘This is the way that it’s always done, judge.’ I never found anything in the oath I took or the statutes I was asked to look at that said, ‘Judge, stop thinking, because this is the way it was done before.’” — Jed S. Rakoff
“What can you say about a society that says that God is dead and Elvis is alive?” — Irv Kupcinet
The undeniable power of effective marketing is, or at least should be, quite obvious. After all, how much shit do you have sitting in your home right now that you don’t need, don’t use and – the thrill of novelty will only last for so long – don’t even particularly want?
If you’re anything like almost everyone else, then the sad truth is that most of your possessions likely fall into that category. In fact, I’d guess that the most frequently used possessions in your home and on your person are the ones that expose you to the sources from which you procure more unnecessary shit. I’d even wager that you’ve put yourself into debt and caused yourself undue stress by engaging in impulsive and unrestrained consumerism.
These belongings, however foolishly procured, are physical products which in many cases could be sold to recoup a portion of the original cost. You could also, if you were actually inclined, put the objects to use and extract value from their presence in your life and convert an expenditure into an investment. Yet, most people can’t even coax themselves into cooking a decent meal and picking up some weights on a consistent basis, much less then to make the time for developing new skills or engaging in new hobbies.
Their time is already spoken for.
Netflix, news, broadcast television, video games, social media, blogs, politics…consumption of media is the number one pastime for most folks in the modern world. How many scramble about during the day, only to plop down on their preferred reliever from vertical, then to spend the rest of the evening taking in their preferred sources of content? How many times have you seen the total trance-like enthrallment of a friend or family member and forced yourself to push away the involuntary shudder of watching someone’s descent into numb complacency while the programming slides right past their mental defenses to excite their subconscious mechanisms of desire and and goal-attainment?
With that in mind, I’d like you to consider the idea that media is the also the top-selling consumer good in the world. Consuming media is the unavoidable answer to the common refrain, “Where does the time go?” The time gets eaten up by our species-wide fascination with stories and the information symbolically encoded within them. Stories shape our very understanding of who we are and what our place is in the world, which in turn shapes our relationship with meaning and purpose.
“All media is narrative. And we are in a war of narratives.” — Mike Cernovich
“It’s actually pretty complex, because there’s two levels of reality in the narrative. One is what really took place, and the other is Spider’s poisoned version of what took place.” — Gabriel Byrne
“In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable. And help to change it.” — Ernst Fischer
We define the collected events in our lives as story – a life story – and this is a critical point to understand about the people around you. We frame the understanding of our own lives through the lens of story, and we connect seemingly disparate events together into narrative strings. These strings anchor to nodes and patterns are born. From these webs we learn to extrapolate and begin to discover the prescient power of pattern recognition.
Yet, for every level of paradigmatic growth exist the ones already present in or beyond that level who arrived before you. Upon entering an awareness of a paradigm, one becomes increasingly aware of how to manipulate the variable to one’s advantage.
Why, in this context, is this important?
Because details can be manipulated to appear other than as they are, and every paradigm is populated with at least a portion of those who would obstruct the ascension of those below them. They wish to maintain the status quo, to achieve a permanent carving into stone the existing social and cultural stratosphere because they have reached the limits of their willingness to grow and hence the pinnacle of their ascent. Thus they design, with an advantage in knowledge of the battlefield, traps and snares to entangle the unwitting in a web of their demise.
There are also, quite thankfully indeed, those in each paradigm who would shepherd in the next wave of winners to give credence to the idea that a good relationship with one’s replacement is a surer foundation for ones own ascent; for some, honoring the binding between knowledge and duty is necessity.
For a narrative to find success in embedding and spreading through many minds it’s going to need to be put to the intended audience in a manner in alignment with their patterns of perception. A photograph is true, but contains only that which the photographer has pointed at and focused on. In order to be regarded as art, this direction and focus must be arranged in such a manner that it catches attention and transmits a message to the viewer in a compelling enough way that the viewer is inclined to spread the message or at least to alert others to the existence of the vector. So too, in the choice of focus and emphasis, must a narrative be framed.
The reasons for this are many, but most obviously, there are two:
– One cannot create a compelling story by spouting off a continuous string of chaotic details with no perceivable direction or meaningful connection. In the telling of a story, one must focus on the most relevant and powerful details and, inherent in the very nature of the process, to be most effective one must understand the underlying aim of telling the story in order to choose the details best suited to their intent.
– To control the frame is to direct the conversation by constricting the possible responses. If you put forward a narrative that takes hold of people’s attention and keeps it for a time, then the popular discourse must respond – usually without much nuance – to the propositions embedded in your story.
Early socialists and latter-day mercantilists and interventionist were united in the battle for state-controlled education as a means of social control. The uncontrolled mind was a dangerous mind. — Rousas John Rushdoony
“The history of education shows that every class which has sought to take power has prepared itself for power by an autonomous education. The first step in emancipating oneself from political and social slavery is that of freeing the mind. I put forward this new idea: popular schooling should be placed under the control of the great workers’ unions. The problem of education is the most important class problem.” — Antonio Gramsci
“My intention is not to replace one set of general rules by another such set: my intention is, rather, to convince the reader that all methodologies, even the most obvious ones, have their limits.” — Paul Feyerabend
Consider the phrase “fake news” and ask yourself a couple questions:
– What gives relevance to a frame in which such a term contains vast cultural momentum?
– What effect might the undermining of the frame cause in the mid-to-long term?
– What would control of this narrative framework look like, and, when you look at the world around you, who appears to embody those metrics to the greatest degree?
There’s an interesting phenomenon you may have noticed in your own life, and it’s quite revealing:
In dreams, many seemingly disconnected and random events takes place in a sequence – probably – but there are no solid constraints on time, place, scale, perspective, etc…
Yet, and this is the crux of it, our minds – even in the semi/subconscious world of dreams – attempt to make sense of these seemingly random events by placing them into a narrative, attempting to extract some sort of meaningful story from what, at least on the surface, seems like chaos.
Story, then, is the process by which human minds create order out of chaos. It is the superimposition of a blueprint of will over the sea of chaotic potential, requiring only energetic input in the proper sequence to create something from anything. It is the tool by which we both predict and create the future. It is order of operations, it is the process by which meaning is created, it is the direction in which existence travels.
Story = Meaning
“Facts don’t care about your feelings.” That’s what Ben Shapiro says, but I think he’s missed the mark. Perhaps the current facts don’t care about your feelings, and certainly the fundamental forces will not budge to your fleeting bouts of emotional output, but there is something deeper to consider.
The way that you feel about the world around you will determine the manner in which you think and act within it, and how you respond and react to the various influences within it. Human beings have a very powerful and seemingly unique skill for manipulating the world around them to suit their needs and desires.
Thus, when you feel a certain way, you think a certain way, you act a certain way, and the world around you is changed by your actions. So, when taking this process into account, the future of facts will care about your feelings because you’ll be shaping the world into something different from what it currently is with them.
As I said before, though I think it bears repeating, I’m not suggesting that there are no truths or bedrock foundations of existence, merely that the malleable parts of reality – and there are some – are very much shaped by the way that we, as shapers of reality, feel about them. This dichotomy is important to highlight, I think, because it very much defines the differences within one of the major cultural bifurcations putting scissors to the fabric of society.
There are things that can be manipulated, and the ability to manipulate them exists on a scale. To the extent that we manipulate these variables, we could be considered to be creating a culture, and this is a valid point which should be considered when attempting to understand both the nature and the nurture of a person. Fair enough?
But, and this is a big but, there are things which cannot be manipulated, or have very clearly defined boundaries that cannot be stepped out of, which should not be considered points of cultural creation or societal shift. They are foundational, bedrock, impregnable fortresses of existence, and when attempts to change these factors become the focus of a culture, then what you are witnessing is a sign of a culture veering towards suicide.
To aim yourself against the nature of existence is to aim yourself towards nonexistence.
Physics is a great example of this principle in practice, as demonstrated by the example of the man who hated gravity:
There once was a man who hated gravity.
He thought it quite unfair that he should be restricted to the ground when the birds and the bees were allowed to travel the skies, and this unfairness rankled.
One day, the man who hated gravity had decided enough was enough – he was going to defy gravity and take to the skies – so he stepped outside his door, raised his arms to the sky, commanded gravity to stand aside, and willed himself into the sky.
And there he stood for a time, until – with a dejected grunt – he lowered his hands and admitted he had lost the battle, but – he thought to himself – not the war.
A neighbor asked him what he was up to, and he commented that he had decided that he was going to defy gravity today, and take to the skies. She seemed impressed and that made him feel good. He told her that he had a plan, and to gather the town in the square.
He figured that perhaps what he needed was a bit of momentum behind his will, and that he needed some time in the air to get comfortable with the feeling, so he hiked up to a tall cliff face above the town.
As he looked out over the view from the cliffside he could see a gathering throng of people in the town below, far enough down to appear as no more than multicolored squirrels, and he hollered down to get their attention then waved to them. Many of them hollered and waved back, and this made him feel good; the people were behind him so how could he fail?
Riding on this feeling of validation he received from the folks in the town, he raised his arms to the sky and leapt. As he began to fall, he willed gravity to release its grip on him that he might take to the skies, and he did so with all his might.
Then he hit the ground with a wet thump and died, entrails and blood bursting variously from his wreck of a body.
One of those in attendance, standing in the town square with the true believers who had instantly appeared once the word got out that there was someone who thought something was unfair, shook his head at those who had doubted all along that the man would be able to defy gravity and said, “Yeah, that was a disaster, but that wasn’t REAL antigravity, it was corrupted and coopted by the bourgeoise. The same is true for you”
Then he went about planning to silence and hurt those who would dare to claim that gravity was anything but a cultural creation meant to keep the unlucky and disadvantaged down. Indeed, he thought, gravity as a concept ought best to be totally wiped out and erased from the education of the masses in order to ensure that gravity could never be resurrected and then all humans could take to the skies in equity and fairness forever.
He felt a twinge of discomfort with the idea of hurting people, for a moment, but then he remembered that these were the people who had murdered the man who wanted to defy gravity – not that there was any such thing as gravity – by chaining him to the ground with their doubts and cultural biases. They were murderers and tyrants who didn’t want all humanity to take to the skies, and so, he continued his plans remembering that he was planning the deaths of murderers in the name of the greater good.
“For the greater good,” he said to himself, “for the greater good.”
“There is no time and space limitation for public accountability on the Internet. Creative commonality is standard and does not resemble the authoritarian style of the dead communist experience. It seems that it is no longer society’s obligation to understand legislation; it is a duty for governments to be understood by their people.” — Eduardo Paes
“We have to give people dreams; we have to give people hope. In terms of government, in terms of society, that’s our goal. You can’t have a group of people that don’t dream, that see themselves as dead or in jail.” Courtney B. Vance
“There couldn’t be a society of people who didn’t dream. They’d be dead in two weeks.” — William S. Burroughs
“Given the opportunity, under the right conditions, two cells from wildly different sources, a yeast cell, say, and a chicken erythrocyte, will touch, fuse, and the two nuclei will then fuse as well, and the new hybrid cell will now divide into monstrous progeny. Naked cells, lacking self-respect, do not seem to have any sense of self.” — Lewis Thomas
“I write because I feel driven to write. I write from a sense of inner necessity. I don’t write for anything other than that.” — Will Self
“A lot of people thought the sense of self was hard-wired, but it’s not at all. It can be changed very quickly, and that’s very intriguing.” — Miguel Nicolelis
The best customer is the one who feels loyalty to your business. While loyalty has cognitive elements that stretch into the conscious realm by way of rational social intelligence, much of loyalty is felt in the gut and the balls. It’s a process of deeply instinctual emotional resonance, much as passion or fascination inhabit a realm with tendrils reaching into our conscious awareness yet which are rooted beneath the soil of experience in the bedrock of survival and genetics.
Habituation is a hollow emulation of loyalty, and has more to do with hormesis and homeostasis than it does with passion or commitment or honor.
The truth is that habit is far more common than loyalty, because loyalty requires commitment and principles as a measure of its very existence. Loyalty is the act of taking responsibility for any set of conditions that arise from making a commitment to something. Habit, on the other hand, is the process of becoming – and then staying – comfortable in your current paradigm by doing the same things repeatedly until they become unconscious baselines.
Both of these are powerful tools, and the wise one would put them both to use in their favor intentionally, but one of these is far more powerful than the other. You see, loyalty can only be given by those who have the mental freedom to make commitments and to adhere to them even through pain and discomfort. It’s a rare individual that possesses such characteristics, and seemingly getting rarer. Habits, however, are more numerous than people.
Habits are very useful, because once the action has been relegated to the subconscious it requires less mental energy – the brain uses a massively disproportionate amount of energy, by the by – making it a more efficient use of your time and effort. However, influence of habit shapes the very world we interact with.
Do you drive to and from work using the same route every day? Do you have a “morning routine” or a limited collection of meals that you eat for lunch? Do you watch TV every night, or drink 3 beers, or watch every football game of your favorite team?
Those are things that many of us do, but they restrict our field of interaction to a very specific and limited number of options. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because limiting avenues of action increases volume within said avenues, thereby amplifying intensity.
But, don’t you think it suspicious that those who attempt to guide your actions into habitual patterns have little to no concern for your long-term well-being? Don’t you find it distasteful, upon consideration, to know that the people creating advertisements, and content with constant advertisements and manipulations embedded within, know about these ideas and use them to shape your desires in such a way that you give them more money, more often, for a longer period of time?
You, knowing the same, could experiment around a little bit and leverage these same tools to your advantage. You could create a story surrounding your desires, and if you did it well enough you could build support for your vision. You could build habits in people, through clever use of symbolism and story inside a cocoon of content and engagement, and those habits could include giving money or resources to you in an exchange.
You could also, if your efforts were shaped at creating habits in others which served their own best interests and were put to use in service of their own vision, also build a following of people who were committed to one or more of your own principles in an honest and willing fashion. You could, if your intentions were to shepherd well the attention and willingness of those around you, create a movement behind your own grand vision built upon trust and commitment. If you did, you’d have crossed the divide from habit to loyalty.
Tribe is a massive amplifier, but I’ll approach that in a future post.
“Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.” — Ayn Rand
“I have a loyalty that runs in my bloodstream, when I lock into someone or something, you can’t get me away from it because I commit that thoroughly. That’s in friendship, that’s a deal, that’s a commitment. Don’t give me paper – I can get the same lawyer who drew it up to break it. But if you shake my hand, that’s for life.” — Jerry Lewis
“It’s kind of like those little electric bumper cars where you drive around and see if you can hit the other guy. That’s exactly what the country is like now. You no longer have the sense of community. Of loyalty. It’s lost its sense of group. It has nothing to do with leadership.” — Paul Newman
“The Osage have this lovely phrase: ‘Travelers in the Mist.’ It was the term for part of an Osage clan that would take the lead whenever the tribe was venturing into unfamiliar realms. And, in a way, we are all travelers in the mist. The challenge is that, as writers, we sometimes want to ignore this murkiness, or we want to write around it.” — David Grann
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
“I come from no country, from no city, no tribe. I am the son of the road… all tongues and all prayers belong to me. But I belong to none of them.” — Amin Maalouf
“I wish it to be remembered that I was the last man of my tribe to surrender my rifle.” — Sitting Bull
I like ugly faces and finding beauty in ugly places, that might have to do with my total lack of social graces. It ain’t to suggest that I forget me p’s and q’s, only just that I refuse to see the use in feigning interest in weak rules created by weak dudes to try and stifle alphas.
A level playing field is flattened, like a parking lot, and a parking lots is fattened to make room for parking. It isn’t playing when you’re sitting eating garbage you’ll be shitting in discomfort while you’re sitting watching shitty media on your porcelain throne.
Playing requires movement, action, using bodies, gaining traction – the ones who seek to calm the flow, to stifle passion, stop your growth are those who lack the grit to play life well – a flat land was build for fat man to ease the pain of living.
But a life set free from challenge is also free from meaning, that’s why you see the weaklings leaning closer to death. That’s sad in itself, but the real detriment to health within the greater culture is that these hopeless creatures often spread their misery and death before they cease their breath and vultures always swoop in, with hopes to get the scoop in, and all that’s left for truth are the tears of those who’ve lost.
I’m a very handsome man, and tall and strong and smart, but I practice ugly faces as performance art. My body and my brain are gifts I have been given, but the uses which they’re put to are the measure of my living. I know full well the pain of being an outsider, I skew my face to ugly so I understand the lens through which unfortunates must see through; a king must understand your struggles if he is to truly lead you.
I’m often told I have no tact, this may be true and truly fact, but I have a treasure greater than the tinny shine of tact, I have the gold of open heart within which instinct guides me to act. I may not play your games to try and spare you from yourself, but I’ll act to help you grow and offer wisdom you may lack. I may not hold my tongue when I believe that you are wrong, but I’ll also offer help and aid your growth in getting strong.
These feckless motherfuckers who will refuse to say a thing, if discomfort it will bring, are the same that lack the spine to help you climb to claim your wings. The niceties of society that have tried to be imprinted upon your mind must now be lifted so you can see the life you’re gifted through the passions pouring from your heart. Don’t silence your soul, don’t forsake your art, add power to your flames by gifting air to fuel and spark.
I like ugly faces and finding beauty in ugly places, and I see no uglier place the the face of social discourse in a world bereft of meaning where the teeming throngs of people have their passions stolen and anger swollen in a time of endless opportunity. You, dear reader, are the beauty in the the ugliest of places. Find your heart and let it lead you to your destiny in places where the best in me faces the best in you, and we can all invest into a new beginning, free from all the lies of those who tell you life is sinning.