Monthly Archives: June 2009

Will Our Species Survive or Die Out Like the Dinosaurs?

    The GardenThis is an age old, yet forever current, and even more importantly, perhaps the most crucial question of our time, will our species survive or die out like the dinosaurs?


    More specifically,  In the struggle between the current powers of life versus death, keeping in mind Freud’s paradigm-shifting observations about the human psyche relating to all humans lives being drawn out against the background of each person’s inner struggle caught between the opposing forces of Eros and Thanatos, more simply, life and death.  And specifically, and this involves the point that made his insight paradigm-shifting, that each of us carry within us a Will to Die.


    He pointed out that we have a Will to Live, too– nothing earth-shattering there; in fact, so far he is stating nothing more than the common sensical beliefs of the masses, indeed, the mainstream’s (and here I mean even globally, or, as they say conventionally, the universally held) voice’s near-definition of Humans, or What We Are, even What Characterizes us above all others (and here they’d even be wrong, going too far — for would anyone say that other species don’t also have an incredible Will To Live?


    But this hyperbole or over-reaching reinforces my point about Freud’s ideas being zeitgeist-shattering.  For in this common, frequent, pervasive even universal, and nauseatingly repeated promulgation of supposedly the obvious, by any and all who speak before an audience — large or small, from a principal speaking in front of a gathering of high schoolers or a preacher before his gathering of church-goers to the TV media pundit before a world-wide audience, and even to a US President’s audience of even greater global reach — is shown that it is not so much true (else it would not need to be constantly reinforced and upheld, as if against some attack, or attacker? (and if so, what is the feared attack or attacker? 


    And here we get a clue into Freud’s discovery and its utter undermining of all that being said).  For this kind of "protesting too much" and its flipside of repeating ad nauseum, as Shakespeare obviously saw, points to a hidden agenda.  Truths do not have to be repeated endlessly, mantram-like, even ritualistically, for they are self-evident and need as much propping up as the belief that the sky appears to be the color blue to us (and you don’t hear much about that, do you?). 


    But the pervasive repetition or the supposed Truth of our species Will to Live, especially the blown up version that has it being the thing that makes us human, different from other species, "superior" to other species (there’s a clue), and even "special" (clue.  Getting it?) points to its being, not so much truth as dogma, which does  need to be endlessly repeated, in that such things are exactly about things that are not obvious truths. 


    But even beyond that, since we are not dealing here with any written or standardized set about things not obvious, for, indeed, in its repetition it is put out as something not needing institutional backing, simply in its obviousness.  So what then?  Well, this repetitive characterization of Us, as Humans, has all the indications of something that has an intention, that has a calculation about it to achieve an affect on the audience — in this case — the masses of all humans. 


    What is that intention?  Well, let’s take a look at what the effect might be.  Well anytime you place our species above all others (true or not), you are making as much a play to butter up your audience and play to their vanity, and thus, making them feel good, hoping that they will feel good, or, like you in return.  In common speak, that’s called "people-pleasing," in the vernacular, it’s called "sucking up." 


    OK, so we’ve established that people in front of audiences near-universally want to say things that will make their audience feel good towards them.  No, not so fast.  For that overlooks the fact that somehow — and get this; for, if the spoken thing were of the obvious truth category, then why would this follow: that somehow all these people know that saying such a thing will, in fact, give people a good feeling.  That’s another clue. 


    And again, continuing this Socratic dialogue, well, wouldn’t humans just, of course, feel good hearing about them being superior?  Doesn’t everyone feel good when told they are better, etc.?  Well, now we’re getting to where Freud to, for he knew, as we all do if we simply think about it.  For the answer is "no, not necessarily or even usually." 


    Think about it, if the Beatles were to be told they were a good band, would that give them a good feeling?  No. certainly not.  For that was so true as to be overwhelming and almost scary in its near-universal belief, to them (for having that kind of power and influence, especially when you come out of nowhere, from humble, unassuming backgrounds, had to make them wonder about this power and its source and where it would lead and all that.  Or take the obviously accomplished anybody, Pavarotti — wanna tell him he sings good — don’t think he’d feel a thing. 


    But, you say, that’s because they hear that all the time.


    Ok, granted that, but think about when it would have felt good to them.  Look to your own experience and you realize that you feel good when people tell you things about yourself (especially when they state them as self-evident and obvious to all) about which you are not certain, about which you often or at least sometimes have doubts, and about which you are insecure!  Look to your own life.  Can anyone be flattered about the things they know to be without question.  Can you be flattered about the color of your skin or hair, or about ….  Well, not stated as a fact.  Only if the person has some bad feeling in that area, first, and second, the fact is not stated, but that it is somehow good, positive, or "superior."


    Skipping to the point here.  People can be made to feel good about things that they are not sure of.  They will feel good, because the thing they would want to believe, the thing that would make them see themselves positively, the thing that would feed their slanted bias toward themselves…. Ok, I’ll finally use the word:  The thing that would prop up and feed a person’s "ego" or the belief in one’s goodness, superiority, and so on, in a world of so many others, well that makes one feel good, whether it is true or not.


    So, we see that the intention is to salve the ego’s of the masses.  Why does it feel good?  Because it is universally true that the ego is in constant assault from something which makes it feel not good.


    What is that thing that makes people feel not good about themselves, so that being told something that counters that would make them feel good?  Well, the answers, by psychologists since Freud have many terms attached to them.  And by the way, before the psychologists there were the theologians attempting to answer this.  But Freud’s analysis not only answered it, but put it in the largest context possible — one in which both psychologists and theologians would find an inroad to it.


    We can say, to backtrack a bit, that this pandering by those in front of audiences makes people feel good because it supports the defense system that all humans have erected against the real truth (the one Freud first explicated).  It feels good because it supports the denial that all humans have against the real truth that they feel.


    So, this repetitive obvious truth about humans having a strong Will to Live is repeated to please audiences and make them feel good (people-pleasing) because it is a salve to the egos of the masses, which in reality are not merely bruised.  No, this goes directly toward propping up a particular defense, a particular denial that we all carry.  And that denial is that, IN TRUTH, humans don’t at all feel like they have a tremendous Will to Live.  Why?  Well, how many things do you know you do which are "not good for you"; how many things do you not do which you know would be aid the cause of our supposed universal desire to Live and to Live as long as possible?


    The point is that humans, along with a Will to Live that is undeniable, also have a will to die.  How many times have you woken up, thought about all the pressures and obligations, or complexities, responsibilities…. Have thought about all the seemingly insurmountable obstacles or challenges that you are facing… have thought about all the things that just have to get done, yet you feel that you could not possibly have the time to do all of them….   How many times have you woken up and felt overwhelmed with what life has become and not wished to just curl up, go back to sleep, and never wake up again?  How many times have you taken to drugs or intoxicants in full knowledge of their negative and even dire concomitants and simply thought to yourself, "Aw, what the "hell""  If I were to die, so what?  What’s so great about life anyway?"  Or, with less clarity, simply said, "Well nobody lives forever!"


    Do they sound like the pronouncements of a species that has a tremendous will to live?  No, in fact, alongside of our Will to Live, we have not only a will to die, but even a will to self-destruction.


    Now, the intention is not to repeat all that Freud and psychologists have said in showing how this works; and anyway, just look at the evidence around you of addiction, chronic accidentalism, unhealthy behavior habits without number, and of course the ultimate evidence: suicide.  And by the way, if we have such a strong Will to Live, superior to all other species, then explain why it is so that we are the only species that has suicide?  And we’re supposed to be the conscious ones?


    So, what Freud pointed out has tremendous explanatory power, especially now in our current Depression/Recession, near environmental collapse, Wars and Terrorism, nuclear armaments of planetary annihilation, and tendency to pollute body as well as environment, and even to do it thoughtlessly, having heard of the consequences.


    So, Freud established that we act out a will to live and to be in the sun and to have fun and to love and to like goodness and health and truth. 


    But he also saw that we have at other times an opposite feeling which causes us to want to live in the dark — to not be around people, to shy away from life and the light and being seen and recognized and even to wanting to be lonely — that causes us to not care about fun, to hate and be angry, indeed to hate everyone and even to want to lash out at them for no reason other than what might be self-labeled as spite; that causes us to hate goodness, calling things "kumbaya moments," that causes us to be jealous of others who are more giving and to hate them for that, call people "goody two-shoes" or saying something is "schmaltzy"; or saying that all that good stuff is just "drama"; and putting out terms like "bleeding heart" liberals; that causes us to beat up on our bodies and abuse them with all kinds of substances and behaviors; and that causes us to not care about the truth, but rather to say things instead to hurt, get revenge, to get back at; or to say untruths to get advantage, to disable our competitors, to hide from the evils we commit which enslave us further in the hiding of them, and so much more.


    Freud said we struggled between these two opposite feelings throughout our lives.  It is because of this contradiction that we carry inside that we can never be truly sure of who we are and even that we can question our motives and intentions (those more self-analytical of us).  It is because of this contradiction that we can always feel that we could have done better, that people don’t know everything about us, even when they say they do, and that sometimes we fear, especially when we are younger, that if people knew what we had inside they would shy away, not like us, think us to be bad, even monstrous. 


    It is because of this contradiction that people are so terrified of revealing themselves, lest some of that not socially appropriate, socially sanctioned, socially approved part of ourselves slip out.  And the fear there is that then we will be seen to have been found out; and that then we will be confirmed in our worst fears that indeed that "other" part of ourselves is — the horror that cannot even be spoken in one’s mind — that dark part of ourselves is the real us; which carries with it the view that any of the "good" in us is just a cover up so that other people will not know.


    But Freud took it beyond our inner struggles and talked about how the events of the world, the actions and movements of history, the dramas of all the ages, are in fact the products of this inner struggle.  Therefore, that we join together with others of the same feeling; whether of lightness or of negativity; in multiple relations and groups on both sides of that struggle, and in complex ways that often represent these groups, as well as ourselves, acting out from one source, but masking itself as the other. 


    Ultimately, these groups magnify our powers, and the cumulative acts of many individuals, along with the actions of groups and their leaders, all within complex and contradictory motives at all levels and in every matter create the complex events of all times, which at base are all the story of conflicts, complex conflicts notwithstanding, and cumulative, and over time convoluted and twisted and complicated through the actions of the myriad characters, all of whom conflicted inside, act inconsistently, and out of their own unique struggles which have all of us perceiving and interpreting things in ways totally unique to ourselves. 


    So these huge world events, then, he laid at the feet of the individual struggle.  Basically the world then becomes the acting of the Will to Life against the Will to Death, of Eros versus Earth AliveThanatos.


    So that is why I say that this thing we will be discussing is dealing with an age-old question that has become, currently, of the most immense importance and consequence as to the winner of that inner struggle.  On one hand, our lesser selves are currently taking us on a path that leads inevitably, one way or another, to total species extinction, and not just that alone, but in fact total life extinction on this planet, and possibly even to planetary annihilation — the destruction of this planet itself.


    So that is why I say that we will be talking about The Matrix.  But about its existence as an element of the current struggle between Republicans, Media Flunkies, Huge Corporations, Filthy Rich, & The Shadow Government….NASA Releases "face" on Mars


    As over against the Power of Truth, Love, Higher Power, God (if you will), Sathya Sai (if you will), the Universe, or simply the Better Angels of Our Nature, manifesting in increasing numbers of lives….


    The questions we need to ask are which side will win in the end, for certainly it will be decided one way or the other, and soon, of that we can be sure.  And that is what makes this time and this question different from any other time.  Because this question is not an academic one, now.  It is one whose answer will become known far sooner than we would ever wish?


    So, we will continue to live, and we will become good citizens of this planet and our species will continue on?


    True?    False?


    That is the beginning of the discussion.

    "Apocalypse Emergency" — audio by SillyMickel


Culture War, Beginnings: Trauma at the Top: “Our Youth Have Gone Crazy! They Actually Believe That Claptrap About Freedom That We Put in Schoolbooks To Keep the Masses Complacent! They’re Daring to Use Them!”




 Whatever Happened?


Whatever happened to Sixties youth?  What has become of the values, aspirations, ideals, and energy that manifested in those turbulent but exciting, angry but supremely hopeful years?


There was a time, after all, when the influence of the “baby-boomer” youth generation was everywhere to be found.  Their activities were broadcast daily on the TV news; they were making political events; they were setting trends in fashion and style which business did its worst to copy, package, and sell — attempting thereby to cash in on such powerful enthusiasms. 


Suddenly, faster than their appearance, this generation of youth faded from significance in the early Seventies.  At the time, commentators were falling over each other attempting to fit a rationale to the relative disappearance of youth influence and the comparative placidity of events.  A common explanation that surfaced in those days was that many youth leaders, particularly activists, had begun being disillusioned about the effectiveness and results of confrontational politics.  Some argued that activists were beginning to “look inward” for the roots of problems, or of reevaluating and seeking to come up with better ways of eliciting change.


As for the less activist sectors of the youth culture — those referred to by the originally pejorative terms “flower children” or “hippies” — many had moved out of the cities, often in disgust and equal disillusionment, to the countryside.  There they were reputed {or reported — PM; check definition of “repute”} to be actively carrying out their “back to nature” values singly, in couples, and in communal groups; but as far as the larger culture was concerned, they were invisible.


Others have asserted that the media played a large and active part in the “disappearance” of this generation.  It has been noted, for example, as simply one indicator, that 90% of youth protests were reported by the media in 1969, but only 20 to 25% were covered in 1970-71, and only 1% of such dissident activities could be found in the media coverage of 1972. 


One could argue in response to this that demonstrations were becoming more commonplace, so they qualified less as news as time went by.  But this reasoning does not fully explain the precipitous nature of this decline, nor the resulting virtual elimination of coverage.  In respect to comparable events of recent times, such a pattern has elicited {“garnered” means more like to accumulate or gather or deposit; but it also means to earn; therefore stick with elicit for now} the label “media cover-up.”


It is therefore much more likely — and there has been evidence and published commentary to this effect — that this decline was part of a concerted effort by the media, in collusion with the threatened established sectors of society, to actively put a lid on student and youthful dissent and unrest.


I myself have knowledge and personal experience of how a similar suppression at exactly this time was perpetrated on university campuses.  Specifically, at the college I was attending — Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania — and other colleges and universities around the country, wealthy alumni threatened to withdraw funding unless (1) certain faculty members, considered “threatening” to established interests, were fired, (2) certain programs — considered too innovative, “disruptive,” or “instigative” — were cut back or eliminated, and (3) certain “unorthodox,” “undisciplined,” or “publicly disrespectful” student behaviors were discouraged, suppressed, and/or harshly responded to and clamped down on.


Indeed, such active “blacklisting” of counterculture figures, behavior, and values on university campuses seemed to be part of a general dictum across institutions — including publishing, films, TV, education at all levels, medicine and science, and the work place — to actively fight back at what was seen as dire threats to traditional mainstream values.


Some commentators speculated that established societal powers had been caught off guard by the initial fervor and tenacity of counterculture energy and demonstrations, but that toward the end of the Sixties and early Seventies there had been time to regroup.  These established forces and economic interests began to implement a well-conceived, hugely funded, well-orchestrated, and highly cooperative counteroffensive against the new cultural values, which in their minds represented a dagger poised at the heart of their very existence.


From this perspective, then, the media’s active refusal to cover events could be seen as a small, albeit influential, aspect of a much larger effort (however unconsciously carried out) at suppression of the new values and reinforcement of traditional ones by the powerful interests that those values, if successful, either directly or indirectly put in jeopardy.


With these considerations, it is understandable that in 1971 and 1972 — despite increasing unrest and demonstrations on college campuses, increasing liberalization of values among all age groups and growing liberal and counterculture political power — there would be a number of books published and widely reviewed which, closing their eyes on all this, instead presented dubious evidence and selectively chosen incidents to make a case for a so-called “conservative backlash,” which there is no doubt the authors earnestly hoped for and fervently sought to bring about in their proclamation of it. 


This may be seen as the beginnings of the use of “The Big Lie” as a major, sometimes the only strategy, in conservatives attempts to fight back against this outpouring of sensitivity to injustice at all levels. 


As background: The Big Lie basically amounts to the idea that you can say the most outlandish thing long enough, loud enough, and from the highest pulpit, and eventually it becomes accepted fact.  No doubt, its use can be traced to the earliest times of civilized history and is certainly evident in this century in the tactics of Hitler and Mussolini, where it played crucial and primary roles.


However, its more recent re-emergence in contemporary America and its rise to the heights of skillful political brandishment  in the hands, first, of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Sr., and then later to its most pervasive use, however awkwardly and skill-less, during the eight years of Georg W. Bush, where Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, and others took it to such moronic lengths they eventually were seen to be what they were — big lies, with no attempt to educate the public at all; but simply to cover up and to manipulate, like common criminals would. (Note, that the results of this are discussed, with a fair amount of humor, in the next article “Naked Republicans.”)


Nevertheless, these later major uses, in fact the evolution of The Big Lie into the ONLY strategy of Republican politics may find its beginnings in such publications as these books from the early 70s, as well as to its highly skilled, and much documented, use by Richard Nixon throughout his political career.


The success of The Big Lie; and its eventual morphing into the The Big Web of Deceit, more easily termed The Matrix.  Whereas the 60s youth had only their enthusiasm and their heartfelt passion to allow a world of freedom, and all the other values espoused in our Constitution, they were up against huge entrenched, and filthy with wealth, nameless puppeteers.  Their wealth got them any support they wanted for anything.  And sensing a threat to the established quo, hearing about idealistic notions of equality, freedom, and such — knowing that their positions depended not on the actual enjoyment of the masses of their supposed “freedoms” but only their being convinced that they had them. 


So it was a huge threat to see masses of people proclaiming their rights and actually daring to use them.  They could be slowed down in using their rights by having them violently bludgeoned by police and riled up construction workers in Chicago; they could be taken off track perhaps, by having several of them killed at Kent State; and they could be continually arranged to be misreported in the media and maligned as well.  But this seemed to make them only more determined.


Still, these puppeteers owned the media and therefore controlled what the public would be told; they were the main sources of income for universities across the country, so they controlled what would be rolled out as truth and knowledge; and ultimately they could fund politicians and speakers, and radio and TV show hosts who would speak their Big Lies.  So they really had all the weapons to roundly put down this band of idealists whose only weapons were truth, and righteous feeling, and passion of youth, and clarity of youthful mind.


So it was no contest, especially as only one side was fully aware that they were at war; indeed the other side — most of them — having no inkling of the powers behind the scenes (that would of course be left out of the history and sociology books they had read — funded by the puppeteers of course).  So, many of them even began to believe that they had lost, and that most Americans were lashing back at them.  This would be disheartening to many; especially to those who had seen the coming together of middle class, upper middle class, and working class to join in mass movements like the one million who showed up from all over the country to be at Moratorium Day in November 15, 1970.


So, believing the media probably had a big influence on taking the wind out of the sails of many of the youth.  And still others, feeling they must be wrong because they had now, according to the media, become the enemy to those they hoped would see the wisdom of these values that basically came from them!  Their response, unfortunately, was to try to reintegrate with the society they had thrown behind them, but now saw as the only one possible.


Next:  How The Big Lie Continues; the “Me Generation” created by the Puppeteers serves dual purpose in roundly being equated with Sixties youth, wrongly, and thus is given as evidence that their ideals were hypocritical.


%d bloggers like this: