Sunday, July 31, 2011

Debt-ceiling hubbub

It looks like a deal is taking shape in which the extreme Republicans get pretty much everything they want, which means precious little cuts in military spending and bloody-awful cuts in social programs. Obama and the codependent-doormat Democratic-Party Kool-Aid drinkers deserve one another in a huge and major way. This was probably the plan all along in this whole ridiculous scripted drama.

And if the global economy would have been taken over the edge of the cliff by the Tea Party? I would have seen it as this country's karma playing itself out. There were plenty of signs and warnings that the new crop of Republicans would prove to be mondo-serious Jacobins unlike any previous generation of Republicans, but the electorate chose to let itself be beguiled by all the free publicity the media gave the Tea Party.

And the Long March to the Right which has made all that has transpired possible is something for which we can thank not just the Republicans, but also the now-withering middle class, the corporate media, and the Democratic Party establishment itself. All the Kool-Aid in the world won't change what the historical facts of the matter are. On the spiritual level, what has been driving this ongoing fiasco is what an utterly narcissistic society we have been for a very long time, and it's why our future as a society is very grim.

And let's face facts. The reason for this squabbling over our runaway national debt arises from the fact that energy and resources are necessarily becoming more scarce and therefore expensive, and some kind of conservation needs to start taking place, only we don't have the conceptual framework to realize that because our economic mode is based on generating profit through energy-waste. And reducing social spending won't restore growth as the far-right politicos and economists would have us think, because taking spending power away from ordinary people reduces the amount of money circulating in the economy, which reduces tax revenues, which increases deficits further. When waste-based economies no longer have fuel and resources to readily squander, contraction is the only option there is. And in corrupt, plutocratic societies, that means the people who are least able to defend their interests will be the ones who get fucked over.

And the fading-away and increasingly-irrelevant Liberal Class of whom Chris Hedges speaks will continue to pretend that voting for and supporting Democrats will somehow mitigate this ongoing disaster, in the face of all contrary evidence such as this last-mintue debt-ceiling deal. In the immortal words of Mr. Natural, "'Twas ever thus."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Something I really hate to admit

Those old Duran Duran songs from the early 80's have really managed to grow on me over the years. :-P

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thought for the day, #2

To invest yourself too much in human institutions is to set yourself up to become enslaved by delusions and ultimately disappointed. In order to maintain your faith, you will be compelled to see things as other than what they really are. Before long, too much of your identity becomes bound up in this institution so that you are essentially a prisoner of it. This can't really serve your spiritual life, because if this institution is large, powerful, and impersonal, as many modern institutions are, its leadership will be rather more concerned with their own power, status, and priveleges. Their petty concerns will stand in stark contrast to your ostensibly noble goals for so unconditionally supporting the institution in question. Such is the way of civilized human life. To deny that is as silly as trying to deny the Laws of Thermodynamics (which, of course, is another crazy thing our societies try to do, something known to those who study peak oil and resource issues).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thought for the day

If whatever is going to happen in the world is going to happen, then why waste time trying to get other people to change their mind or their behavior when you know it isn't going to work? Let them be who they are, and you just be who you are. Live and let live, or live and let die, whichever the case may happen to be.

We are all made in the image of the Divine, to whom all our beliefs and all our denials are but ripples on the surface of a pond on a windy day.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


If there's one thing that the whole debt-ceiling kabuki-theater row has driven home for me, it's how much American public politics has become nothing more than an unrewarding and codependent civic religion. I won't indulge the popular and patently false mass-media fiction that both sides are guilty of the exact same things, but both sides do an awful lot of kidding themselves and "straw manning" in order to prop up the respective fantasy-worlds in which they live. And year after year, they fail to see that the fantasy they continue to support brings no tangible benefit whatsoever to their own or anybody else's lives. It's as though the more intelligent homo sapiens becomes, the more tools we acquire for ruining things and removing ourselves from the truth of matters.

So why do they continue to support what they support if it's so ultimately unrewarding? The answer is exactly the same as why people stay in romantic relationships that only drain their emotional energies and undermine their sense of self-worth: Their sense of who they are has become so completely bound up in the relationship or situation that something known as the psychology of previous investment takes over. If all your mental eggs are in one particular basket, of course you are going to be utterly loathe to recognize the fact that those eggs might be better protected in other baskets.

The whole thing makes me terribly sad because there truly appears to be no antidote. If people are going to cling with a white-knuckle death-grip to what isn't so and will only cling to it ever more tightly in the face of evidence that it isn't so, what is there to do? You certainly can't tell people what to think, and behaving as if you can is the most deranged, childish, and absurd control-freak-ism humanly possible (and of course those who choose that option cling to that with an insane codependent death-grip that only ends up kicking what they think they want further and further and further away from them, as though they were utterly infatuated with ignorance and failure).

So I guess the only thing left to do is, once again, just sweep your own front door-step, try to be as clear-headed as you can manage, and put those who cling to what doesn't work out of your mind. Life is too short to aspire towards and worship what only undermines one's ultimate purposes. I believe it is a much better idea to use our time here to make ourselves as spiritually evolved as we might manage, and that by the way by definition means rejecting fundamentalism and absolutism of every variety. And remember that God (the Divine, Spirit, etc.) loves everybody equally no matter how badly screwed up they are.

And my pithy closing sentiment is thus: "Convictions all too often make convicts."

Monday, July 25, 2011

What I realized today: We're all crazy, and that's okay

The title is a little simplistic, because it isn't entirely true that I realized this just today. Rather, it's the culmination of something that has been building up for a while. And it's a pretty "no-duh" realization, at that. This grand revelation is that deep down inside, everybody in this society and maybe the entire world is a howling lunatic, and that's just the way it is. And yes indeedy-do, this includes yours truly. That this worldview includes me might lead some people to say that perhaps I'm just generalizing from myself onto the rest of society. To that I can only say, it's certainly possible, but based on what I've observed, I rather doubt it.

I'm not saying that this is a reason to harbor hatred or animosity towards other people. Misanthropy and bitterness for its own sake are never good things and not attitudes towards which I aspire. There was a period in my life in which I did hate myself and other people. I am appropriately ashamed of that period, but at the same time, I'm not going to dwell on it. What would be the use of that?

If anything, it's good in a certain way that everybody is basically nuts. Why that's the case make it necessary and important to look at why everybody is nuts. The world today isn't a good place. It is completely corrupt and dysfunctional, and heading towards a historically unprecedented crisis due to the fact that energy and resources are becoming increasingly scarce. Our societies and our mass psychologies are simply not set up to deal with something so drastic, inevitable, and comprehensive.

The result is something called cognitive dissonance. If you don't know what that is, Googling it will certainly provide quite an education, I'm sure. An example of cognitive dissonance are the Tea Party types who loudly proclaim as a matter of quasi-religious faith that there are and will always be plenty of energy and resources, and any information saying otherwise is part of some Evil Conspiracy. When you look at the totality of what these people believe in comparison to the reality of the world in which we live, you can see that what they're doing is sealing their minds inside the cultural myths that have traditionally sustained them, even if that means believing ideas that are essentially factually false. In the most extreme cases such as the Tea Partiers, cognitive dissonance becomes a fundamentalist religious mindset that must not be challenged. And if you don't believe me, go ahead and see what happens when you do try challenging it!

Certainly not everybody is as extreme, aggressive, and fundamentalist in their existential cognitive dissonance as the Tea Partiers. But such is the troubled and troubling nature of the world in which we live that even people who are mostly intelligent and fact-based engage in cognitive dissonance to some extent, and I have arrived at the conclusion that this condition is nearly universal. So how is it a good thing, you may ask?

Well, if the world is insane and headed for catastrophe in a way increasingly difficult to deny, normal human beings are going to be very freaked out by this. And that's good precisely because that is a normal human reaction. If people were not freaked out, then that would be something about which we should be very frightened. After all, generally only sociopaths are the ones who can remain eternally unaffected by the unfolding of dire events. And there are already more than enough sociopaths in this world, especially in the ranks of those who rule this planet!

On a practical level, that everybody is nuts is more likely to have detrimental than beneficial effects. People will cling to inappropriate courses of actions and self-defeating fantasy-notions about how to deal with the unfolding crises. But while there are things we could be doing on the collective level that could mitigate our predicament, once again, our institutions and mass psychology are not really set up to accomodate such courses of action. But on an existential level, it means you should love and accept people "warts and all" and do your best to constructively work within the realization that everybody is nuts.

After all, just because we the commonfolk may lack agency to do anything about where the world is heading doesn't mean that our existences lack inherent worth. So just do what you can to make your little corner of the world a little brighter for those with whom you have interaction, and if they're not in a place where they're able to deal with hearing about the harsh realities of the world situation, then find something else of substance about which you might converse with others. When one has no agency on the collective level, one is left to do what one can on the personal level. My advice would be to try and do so in a spirit of, well, Love and Light. :-D

Oh yeah, and also don't take the Internet too seriously. As Darva Conger of "Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire" infamy said eleven years ago, "America is high school and the Internet is the bathroom wall."