Giving the Finger to Armageddon – Some People Are Just Tougher Than Death … Or So They Think: A Conversation on the Eve of Apocalypse
Conversation on the Eve of Apocalypse Between a Boomer and a Gen Xer:
An Anatomy, in Story Form, of the Machismo Attitude Toward Our End
Facing Apocalypse, People Are Becoming Zombies
People are becoming zombies in the face of their death, their own upcoming suffering, not to mention the death of all life on this planet. Do an internet search on apocalypse and note how little, if anything, is posted about the urgency or emergency of our current situation.
It comes across as a big party on a South Pacific Island in a hotel that everyone there knows will not survive the incoming tsunami or killer hurricane. But in the meantime they’re drinking themselves silly, drugging…gonna party their way to the end. That is not a rational response to the end of all life.
Other responses on the apocalypse have machismo aspects to them. In fact, most sites about apocalypse have a macho message in common.
Macho, Macho Man
Well, folks, we’re all gonna die. But big deal. I’m so fucking macho, I laugh at death! Here, let me prove it to you. Come here, death, right up to my face!
See, everybody. How I look directly into this face, this face of death! Now watch. Watch as I spit, spit directly into this face. Ptoo! (spits) See that? So who cares!? Not convinced? Then watch and I’ll show you. See the face of death that I’m holding and facing? Watch as I laugh in its face, laugh directly in its face. HA! Hahahahahaha! See? Told you.
Doing it, Tron style
So, dear listeners, are you able to make out the distress beneath such pronouncements? Granted, this bravado is worthless as to either reversing apocalypse or even showing some sort of inspired vision in which it can be made acceptable or noble if not avoidable. For those who do not see it yet, in this chapter and its accompanying video I try a little fantasy dialogue to bring out what I think is going on, much of the time, and keeping us from acting rationally about this imminent emergency of all dire emergencies possible.
Witness me as I trip over in cyber-land to something I call Amalgamated Macho-Apocalypto-dot-com. I’m about to go over to the webmaster of that site, in imagination and, well, just run a question or two past him. Tune in and catch what ensues. It should be revealing. So you click on the gadget above, while I fly myself over. See you there!
Ok, I’m here. “Hey, yo dude! Deathface spitter and laugher!”
“You… You know me…?”
“Hell yea. You’re in Google, you know. I understand you’re surprised because, believe me, tagged with apocalypse, like you, well, let’s just say I don’t have to lock the doors either. But there’s probably more interest in you than what I do.”
“Really, more interest in me? I like that! What do you do then?”
“On my site I tell the truth: you know, tell them that it’s very very bad and looks impossible unless people wake up on a massive scale and decide unequivocally to live. Stuff like that.”
“Ok, but just no spittin. I’ve seen your routine.”
“No, no. Nothing of the sort. No, really, I thought that kind of stuff died in the Sixties with all the ‘kumbaya’ and ‘we shall overcome’ baloney.”
Why’s Everybody Hatin’ on Kumbaya?
“Well, not that it’ll make a difference on you, but yeah, I’m that old and have had many high moments of unity in among the angels of humans coming forth to reunite—what you refer to as kumbaya. And by the way, I like the song, I like the Lord, what’s everybody pissed at? As for the other, we overcame. I’ve really dug being me because I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the things that made the world better; and I can’t imagine a better high or feeling of fulfillment.
“But I’m not here to dispute with you. I’m an old fart who got to live in rich times and participate in them. You’re a young, well, younger-than-me person, who was apparently born at around the time all the things my kind were working for were deemed a threat to the status quo. And so the powers-that-be created the misinformation, scapegoating, and slander of my generation. Then they delivered to generations following mine the machismo cynicism with its connotation that it was better to have that than feeling life. They seeded you with the idea that those who experienced life…as opposed to those who accepted their prepackaged attitudes of cynicism and mean-spiritedness…well, we were wusses, saps, effeminate, feminate, and all that.
“So, sorry, that my generation’s threat to the moneyed powers was so scary to them that they reacted with the all out effort to create a generation that would be the opposite of us, and so you were brainwashed and misinformed and lied to. So, so very sorry. I wish I could say, “my bad,” but well it was “our good” that resulted in “their bad,” and I don’t want to be like them and continue to uphold their matrix of misinformation. So, anyway, sorry.”
“Well, I shoulda Tivo’d that for later. That was waaaay too much and too many twist and turns for me to follow. But you called yourself an old fart. That part I got. So since you’ve placed yourself below me, I guess I’m at ease with your being here, whatever it is.”
Who Ya Talkin to, Dude?
“Well, your Dudeness, your Fearlessness Most Strong and Mighty, I have a few humble questions to ask of you,” I say.
“Ok, old fart, go ahead.”
“I see clearly that you’re showing the world you don’t fear death. But how is that going to help the world any. I mean if everyone felt like you…let’s say that was your aim…well then we’d all go down, patting each other on the back on how it doesn’t matter, but never to be heard of again!”
“Your point?” he says, irritated.
“This is me! I’m expressing me! What else is there to do?”
“Ok, thank you. That explains a lot. But something comes to me. May I?”
“Sure,” says he.
“You say that, ‘this is me.’ Number one. Right?”
“Right.” Annoyed again.
“Ok. Now, you know there are not a lot of people watching. But your intention is not to influence any people. Number two, right?”
“Yep, that’s right.”
“But you wouldn’t be putting up a website if you didn’t want somebody to know who you are. I mean, you could say it in the mirror, or in your bedroom. You wouldn’t be making it available unless there’s somebody, persons, that you hope would hear you. Would that not be number three, right?”
“Well, you old farts really are big on this self-analytical crap, aren’t you? Well, I ain’t no pussy, but I am man enough to say that I couldn’t escape that logic that…yea, I am, inside, wanting to share, and share myself to some, to some…well, I guess, I just wouldn’t mind if, uh,really by accident of course, some people, who never got to know me this way, might see me and understand…well, uh…”
Let’s Play a Mind Game.
“Oh, understand. Nothing wrong with that. But, uh, how ’bout you indulge an old fart and just try out something that I think will be a real gas for you, er, perhaps I should say, phat, er, uh…. Look, you can trust me to take the time to play a little, let’s say, mind-game. It’s lots of fun.”
“Haha. Suure, ok. You crack me up, ya old fart. Gonna be a real gas. Ya can bet your damn asscrack that you’d lost me for sure until you’d made real quick to explain that one, hehe.”
So, I say, “Yep, that’s a little mind-game prank that was played on me. Well, anyway, uh…. Well, uh, I just want you to allow yourself to open your mind to the greater intentions—intentions you have for doing this, the greater visions. Now, don’t think just yet, you’ll only try to make things up. This is easier than that.”
“Ok, now. You say that…being honest and only rational after all…that of course you wouldn’t be doing this expression of yourself on the internet if you didn’t have some desire to share or show this part of you with somebody or somebodies in the world…right? So far?”
“Yea, get on with it, I’ve already said that.”
“Ok, fine. Now, here’s the fun part. I want you to have that desire…to have it clearer…the clearer you can make it, y’know, the more likely it will happen. So let me help you a little here. Now just clooose your eyes. No, no, don’t look that way at me, nothing fishy going on…. You just ain’t going to be able to see your desires with all the distractions that the sights around us present. Give it a chance. Believe me, I’m not trying to lay any trip on you….”
“Ok, that’s better.”
Who’s Your Real Audience?
“Now. On the internet, we never see our audience. But we all imagine and wonder who they might be and what kind of people they are. Don’t you, too?”
“Well, we’re gonna try do something like that. Instead of an internet with no audience, well, imagine you’re in an auditorium. It can still be an internet to you…and you’re making the same points…and you’re really getting into it, like: I SPIT (ptoo!) in the face of death…and I LAUGH uproariously in the face of death.”
“How’s it goin?”
“Yea, I’m doing it, really into it…like it!”
“Ok. How does it make you feel?”
“Strong, fucking strong, damn fucking strong.”
“Greeeat. You’re feeling strong, real fucking strong. Feel as fucking strong as you can!”
“Great, yea, all right, I’m so fucking strong, ain’t no mother-fucking dudes as strong as me…I spit, I laugh….”
“Very, very wonderful. Enjoy, enjoy that! … Now… add one more thing…. One more thing, make it even better…. Remember, you’re in an auditorium, and here you can see your audience. Stay with that ‘spittin at death’ strength. You’re strong! … Now, containing all that strength…all that bigger than death power…cast your eyes down below you to the people in the audience…you’re at your peak!…the people that you really wanted to show. You’re strong, you’re powerful, more powerful than death, right?”
“Fucking right, I am.”
“Ok, now. Show them, and tell me who they are…one by one…look around…slowly…who do you really…really want to show who you really are…who couldn’t see this before in you…but now, they wouldn’t be able to miss it? Take your time….”
“No need to take time! Ha! I’m fucking really strong now. And there’s my bitch ex-girlfriend. Ha! Now, she doesn’t seem so high and mighty. She looks scared now. Ha! She left me. Took off with some some guy who did some kind of daredevil or motorcycle stunts. Sorta like saying to me, that, I wouldn’t be there for you…. Well, she didn’t get it then, but she’s gettin’ it now…how much braver it is to stare down death than to face some motorcycle risks. Ha! Yea, I’m gettin’ it. This is fun. You’re an old fart, but you got some tricks…good tricks….”
“Ok, now,” I say. “Look around, who else?”
“Well, there’s several other girlfriends. Wow! How great to see the look on their faces now.” (chuckling) “And there’s my two older brothers. I really wanted to be like them, and…hang out with them. But they made it like I wasn’t big or tough enough. Boy, am I showing them now. How fucking glorious. Even they are scared; they are tooo chickenshit to do what I’m doing. Ha! I’m showing them…he he he…..”
Those Damn ‘Ghostly’ Others
“Keep looking,” I say.
“Ok, well, there’s…there…. No. No…what the fuck, what the fuck’s he here for?”
“Who’s that?” I say.
“Why my dad…and my mother too. My dad always made me feel like I was weak just ’cause I was a kid. Why wouldn’t I be weaker than a grown man!? That bastard never gave me credit for having the strength I’ve got. Yet how strong is he? Just because he can put down my mom and…who would never fight back….”
I say, “Look into his face. Did you show him? Does he finally see?”
“Look more closely. Zoom in.”
“OK…. Oh my god, that mother-fucking bastard, that prick!”
“What’s going on?”
“Well, he’s even angrier now. He’s thinkin’: ‘What kinda pussy son he’s got who’s play-actin’ all over the internet about how tough he is…but that’s not bein’ tough,’.he’s thinkin’…. Why that fuck! He never did understand anything I did, he put down everything I did. I tried, but no matter. I could never be man enough…in his eyes….”
I say, “That’s rough, dude, rough. That’d be hard for anyone to live through….”
“Yea.” Beginning to choke up. “Yea…” he says…he’s sobbing now.
“That mother…. All those years I had to live with that fuck! hope and try and not getting anything back….my God!…except… scorn! Gaaa! Scorn! Scorn and Hate! It’s you who’s face I spit in, you‘re the fuckin’ death, I hate you!…. I’m bigger than you. I survive you. I laugh! Ooooh…” Openly crying.
And, he broke off crying.
You’re never gonna win, pal, give it up already.
Well. I did what I could for him…and stayed with him and hung out with him for a while…. Really not a bad guy at all. He seemed to really get it, too, that he didn’t need to do things to prove to his dad anymore, because he could clearly see there was no extreme he could ever go to or ever go through that would make a dent in his father’s attitude of despising him.
I explained that while it is hard to accept that his father really did despise him, that he will find it easier than most, because he at least knew it…and didn’t try to pretend it wasn’t true. But that he just hadn’t gotten it out of his craw that even in some imaginary way he could get something that he just wasn’t meant to get in this life. And I explained that, that is the way with all of us. There’s always something that’s not part of the perfect family portrait, or there’s some elephant in the room.
I explained that, while he didn’t have to prove anything anymore to his father that, while he was doing it, it led him to learn a lot about the internet and such, and he could apply that to something new.
So when I was leaving, he said something. It gave me a happy thought. He said:
“You know. Now I don’t need to show anybody anything. What a waste of time that was.”
What to Do, When You Don’t Have to Do
And he continued, “It occurs to me, then…’What the hell to do’? Then it occurs to me, ‘Well, if you got nothing to prove, and you really don’t want the world to end, actually.’ In fact, it is pretty scary.”
“And I’m thinkin’ of all the innocents…like my mom…being put down by big scary men whose only strength lies in putting down little kids, and their wives…so they can feel strong. Hmm….”
“So I think, ‘No, there’s no changing my dad.’”
“But the next thing I have is…while my mother isn’t here anymore, ‘There’s lots of helpless innocents out there, like her, who aren’t being helped…about what’s coming down.’ They’re even being prevented from knowing, by other chickenshit men like my dad, who are only out for themselves and it doesn’t matter who they hurt…s’long as they get their profits.”
How DARE They?
“So, I’m thinkin’ this, and I’m real surprised because I feel myself breathing deeper. And I feel some anger coming, like, ‘How DARE they?!’ “
“And then some strong feelings of manliness…my heart crying out…like to my mother. Even choking up a little, thinkin’ like, ‘I’ll take care of you, young mother, little sister, little brother, little baby child. I’m bigger, I’m stronger. I’ll protect you from harm’…like no one protected me. And now I know how horrible that was. And, how I could do nothing to…and how I would do anything to stop that from happening to others. I really would. And I got all psyched! Y’know?”
Guaranteed to Bring Out the Best in You
“I’m sorry for putting you down about wanting to help the world. Cause I see that’s the best place to put your strength and to be a real man…. Y’know? To have a just cause…put all your strength into it…whether you win or not. Just to be on the right side! And in the meantime to stand between any hardship and those innocents…and to comfort their sorry hearts. It seems like there’s no other worthy thing to do.”
Well, I expressed how that was really wonderful. And I said, to confirm for him, I said how this is the biggest struggle this planet has ever faced.
And, he’s right. It is the worthiest effort that one can imagine. And guaranteed to bring out the best in us…and to make us better…as well as the worst in us…which we can at least know and struggle with to keep those things from undermining the good in us.
Freed From a Prison
Well, after that we talked about how we individually and together could do things in the future, and…. It gladdened my heart to see him freed from the prison of striving forever for a love that would never be and…to be learning, already, that true love is in giving.
That true love is in giving.
Finding love, in giving love
No doubt, if he continues like this, he’ll soon learn that in giving love, he finds more love than his heart can contain, coming his way, without his expecting, asking, or even seeing it coming. I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes over to my site to contribute, share, and even join in solidarity.
Could Be Real Men, Instead of Performers for Phantom Puppeteers
Well, that’s one take on why people are not reacting to the seriousness of the end of all life on this planet. I think it’s a rather pervasive one. And I’m sure there are others. And I just wish it would be that easy to turn these people around to see how they could be real men, how they could be real heroes, how they could be really strong. Instead of performing for some “ghostly” others…who aren’t there, and…who aren’t going to be impressed anyway.
Take my word for it or not. That’s the way I see it.
Other Takes on This
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Kaleidoscope of Postmodern Life, Part Seventeen: Fetal Malnutrition and Politics: Prenatal Roots of Greed, Sycophancy, Class War, and Revolution
Hunger Games: Prenatal Oxygen Hunger and Its Political Imprints – Greed, Oppression, Sycophancy, Class War, Revolution: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 17
Prenatal Roots of War
In a previous section I mentioned how our human tendency to warring has its roots in the uncomfortable crowdedness we experience in the late stages of gestation—a pain and trauma that stays with us for life and drives us to act it out in trying to push back lines and make more room (womb) for ourselves in many areas of our lives, including politically. I said our psychological state preceding wars, in line with deMause’s work in this area, is akin to feeling stifled and wanting to “breathe free.”
Hunger Games – War and Aggression
So of course our aggressions against others are connected to the long period of difficult immovability in the womb, but we can already see it is related to the reduction of oxygen at that time as well.
Looking into the feelings of latent oxygen panic rooted in fetal oxygen hunger, we see it has many more political implications, even, than war and aggressions toward others over space…over lines and perimeters and rooted in the feelings of being hemmed in—that constellation of “crowded” feelings I’ve previously teased out.
In the “gasping” or oxygen deprivation trauma of late stage gestation, we can’t get enough oxygen, we feel suffocated…suppressed, stifled, repressed, oppressed. It is out of these feelings carried over and restimulated again and again as adults that we create class wars, revolution, and culture wars. For we feel there to be an oppressive force inhibiting our self-expression, keeping us from “breathing freely.”
Hunger Games—Greed and Oppression
But more: On the other side of those panicky feelings of suffocation we are driven to gobbling up more resources than we need—greed. We experienced oxygen poverty in the womb, so poverty and reductions in finances feel stifling and suffocating. It is less desirable to not have money, of course. My point is that this prospect drives us to overreact and build our lives around major act outs of it, as so:
Suppression, Oppression, “Sucking” From
(1) Being politically oppressed, we feel we can’t move freely (the crowded feeling), but, interestingly, we feel we can’t “breathe freely.” We act this out on both sides of class war and revolution: One side always feels this lack because it has roots in the unconscious and cannot be satisfied and so over overcompensates and in doing so “sucks” up all possible resources (oxygen) from those lower on the totem pole…it “suppresses” the “masses”…it “sucks from” the masses.
Liberals hearts may “bleed” but not conservatives. For releasing blood is losing oxygen and conservatives have a prenatal “knowing” that you need every smidgen you can get to survive. You may even go so far as to try to “squeeze blood from a stone” (the aging placenta).
Sycophancy, Conformity, “Sucking Up”
(2) From another side of this discomfort we have a prenatal sycophancy showing itself. Conforming underlings, in a country’s economic array, act out their prenatal oxygen panic by investing all their energy in “sucking up” to those above them … seeking to insure a steady supply of resources (money, oxygen) by sucking from the rich stream (blood stream) of money “circulating” among those on rungs above them on the economic ladder.
Suffocation, Starvation, Being “Sucked” From
(3) And the other component in this political triangle—those poor and working class directly opposed to the greedy forces “sucking up” from the masses—feels this suppression as suffocation, starvation, and stifling unto death. So it wants to “overthrow” or “throw off” the forces weighing down upon and suppressing/suffocating them.
Basically, if you’re not “sucking” resources (oxygen) from below, you are either “sucking up” to those above you or being “sucked from” and wanting to “overthrow” them to “breathe more freely.”
Hunger Games—Freedom and Revolutionaries
Injustice, Inequity, Struggle – Throwing Off
This does not mean that revolutionary forces are act outs of early trauma and not real. It does not mean that oppression does not actually exist; it does not mean that struggles for economic justice are overcompensations. No. It is no more true that these are unreal than that struggles to save the environment are act outs. For we must remember that the prenatal forces drive us to actually manifest conditions that re-create our womb states. And just as we are driven to despoil our air and waters as act outs of our fetal malnutrition, so also our fetal oxygen panic causes us to create situations of dire inequity by pushing unnecessary greedy acts creating gross economic injustice. And these greedy forces are aided in their suppression by their sycophantic underlings, driven by their underlying panic of resource loss. Between the two, they are able to create human societies of economic inequality, suppression, and oppression which mirror the conditions of resource lack in the womb for the majority of folks throughout history and virtually everyone on the planet in these strange days.
Free Speech – Stifled, Inspire, Expire, Express…To Breathe Free
Interesting aspects of this oppression-revolution dynamic rooted in the fetal dynamic is the focus on free speech: The one side wants to suppress expression (expiration—release of air) of inspiration (to inspire—to take in air), thus directly slowing down the masses’ political equivalent of breathing, “stifling” its expression (its ability to “breathe out”). The revolutionary side of this wants the opposite: Folks want freedom of speech. They want to be able to speak freely (breathe freely), to be inspired (take in air or spirit), and to express this uninhibitedly (expire, let air out). These same dynamics apply to freedom of religion as well.
The oppressed masses feel they are deprived, can’t get enough of what they need (oxygen), want to “breathe freely,” and so need to assert self-expression, to expire (express) one’s inspiration freely as part of that “struggle.”
Hunger Games—Sycophancy and Conservatism
Reactionary and Conservative Thinking = Prenatal Conformity – Don’t Move Too Much, Don’t Stand Out, Maybe You’ll Get More (Oxygen)
But the basic dynamic is about resources: One side out of oxygen panic wants to suck up resources from everywhere around and wants to keep those resources from others. And the other side wants to take theirs back. And that third part is the conforming fetus hoping to get more resources from “above”…to “suck up”…by not moving too much, by staying compliant with outside forces, by not being too obvious or “standing out,” and if moving to do so only in ways remembered as safe…strictly prescribed, ritualistic ways.
For our prenatal memory tells us that doing so is the way of getting a little more in the way of resources (oxygen). We experienced that by not struggling, by not moving around too much…and further complicating and constricting the blood flow through the arteries to the placenta (the bank)…more oxygen (money) seemed to flow. Also, by not moving too much, by “conserving” our energy, “holding our breath” as it were, we might be able to survive…that being too “radical” and free risked death.
Hunger Games—Culture War
Oppressors Orchestrate a Panicked Population for Their Profits
One final aspect to this prenatal dynamic acted out politically is the culture war that comes of it: The greedy forces manipulate the latent panic of the masses in order to suck more resources by telling each segment of the masses that another sector of the population is actually the part that is sucking all their resources, stealing all their benefits and money (oxygen). So we have the creation of minorities and scapegoats out of this interplay. But the reason it happens unerringly in societies is because it works so well. And it works so well because the forces of manipulation are orchestrating powerful drives and forces within the masses—tendencies of people born of desperation and panic, which have roots in the earliest months of one’s individual existence.
Next: Hunger Games—Human Rights and Racism
More Mass Manipulation Around Bigotry and Anti-Semitism … Vampires and Blood Libel, Too
In the next section we look more deeply into this manipulation of the masses, this scapegoating of minorities. We see how racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism are themselves constructed out of prenatal pushes and pulls. We find out why we look at others the way we do, so that our errant ideas can be further used against us by the greedy ones. And we stumble upon the underpinnings of some of the most curious of human concoctions of thought—as in the ideas of vampires and blood libel.
Continue with Hunger Games – Vampires and Culture Wars … Fetal Roots of Racism, Bigotry, Anti-Semitism … Blood Libel: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 18
Return to How We Look to the Gods and Prometheus Redux … Building More Nukes and Drilling More Holes – Icarus Keeps Flapping and the Gods Can’t Stop Laughing: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 16
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