Subtle Psychopathy and Schizophrenic Supermen - Category: Articles    
 And now, ladies and gentlemen, a bit of brutal honesty.
category picture25 Feb 2002 @ 21:17
And now, ladies and gentlemen, a bit of brutal honesty. Must practice what I preach now, mustn’t I.

Most of what we are doing on NCN, it seems to me, assumes one thing: that human beings are fundamentally “good”. That is to say, that they are capable of getting along and that the problems our society faces today are not results of basic human nature, but mistakes that can be corrected, given enough “conscious evolution”, peace, and love. I am not writing this with the intent of agreeing/disagreeing with the validity of this assumption. I am going to look at the consequences of it.

If humans are fundamentally good, then all we need to do is bring the true human nature out of the people of the world. If their good nature is allowed to express itself, things will be alright. It is all well and good to ask people to exercise their consciousness in a responsible manner, but if there is something in there that will inevitably lead to the demise of the human race, then no amount of pleading will fix it. If we are naturally prone towards unsolvable conflict and war (along with all our other problems), it is simply not an option to reform the mass of humanity as you would a sociopath. We can put any number of programs into motion, and start any number of movements. At the end of the day, the purpose of these things is to modify people’s behavior. It is to suppress undesirable behaviors and promote the opposite. These things are ineffective because many of them are attempting to change things against the current of human nature, whatever that nature may be. They are not look at the situation and psychological processes that caused war; they are simply asking that it stop. They are pointing out that it is bad, and telling us why. But they are not asking the really important question: what is it in the deepest parts of our consciousness that causes war, and is that something we can change? They are mere sticks stuck in the riverbed, for those of you familiar with Daniel Quinn’s writings. And sticks stuck in a river will do little to change the flow of the river. We say that we are combating the current of violence and hatred, but at the same time that human nature is fundamentally good. This ought to be an easy problem to solve; if we can bring out people’s basically good nature, then they will fix the problems of their own accord. All we have to do is get them to be honest and realize that we are all humans. However, if human nature is irrevocably inclined towards self destruction, greed, and endless conflict, then we do not really have the ability to change the basic drives of human beings. For that matter, do we even have the right? If the world’s falling apart is the natural result of human nature, then it is almost certain that we will lose. We are assuming that, in a new civilization, people will behave in such a way as to not reproduce the problems we see today. If such a new civilization could only function by training people to suppress certain urges, then it is doomed to follow a path similar to this one. Trying to impose order on a fundamentally chaotic situation is an uphill battle, at best.

Given all of this, the only assumption it is productive for us to base our actions on is that humans are, indeed, capable of living together without endless death and greed. So, assuming that we humans do have “good” flowing through our blood, what do we do to bring that good into the light? Simple. We don’t do it by starting movements or petitions that we expect everyone to subscribe to. Aside from the astronomical improbability of that working, it would make for a rather boring world. Everybody following one path to enlightenment; all agreeing on what has to be done to perfect the world. Cliché though it may be, diversity and disagreement really is what makes us interesting to each other. What we have to do is become raw examples of how amazing the human condition can really be, even in adverse conditions such as the ones we see today. If we believe that humans are fundamentally good, then we must trust in ourselves to be good. We must be ourselves, in the purest and most naked way possible. If we have good natures, then they will eventually lead us to do what will work, if we let them. We may have conflicts along the way, but if we see each other as we truly are, then those conflicts will not stop us. Conflict is hard to avoid. However, the insecurities and fear that allow conflict to cause despair and destruction can be overcome, if we trust in ourselves and our common humanity.

The things I am saying about human nature may have some of you just about ready to kill me. My viewpoint might be taken as an overly fatalist one. I seem to be saying that however humans are, they are. And there is nothing we can do to change that. If they are good, then they are good. If they are bad, then we have no chance. In a way, this is true. However I, and I know many of you, believe that we are good. That we have a capacity for love and a will to survive and prosper that transcend our petty impulses. I feel it in myself, and I trust many of you do as well. So let’s take this assumption for a test drive.

I cringe at how terribly these words will convey the way I was feeling when I wrote them. To you, they are just words on a webpage. To me, they are one of the purest expression of myself I have ever made, written at one of my most honest moments. I’m above the water now. Later, next time I talk to you, I might not be. And I will be having trouble being the pure being that I mentioned above. I wish I could be truly lucid all the time. The best I can do is say this to all of you now, while I can, and hope beyond all hope that it will reach a similar being inside of you. If not, I’ll try again later. It’s really exhausting, actually. Whenever I feel this honest, my breathing and pulse speed up dramatically. Go figure. Peace to all of you, and above all truth. I'll probably catch several different kinds of hell for this entry. In the eternal words of the dragon lady, just don't HATE me for it.

 Enlightenment Inside Out
category picture19 Feb 2002 @ 19:12
There is something that strikes me as fundamentally wrong with the saying “Free your mind, and the rest will follow”. I think that a truly free mind must go hand in hand with an active effort to free the rest. In fact, the two must be pursued simultaneously. My evidence? Well, my first point is that at times I feel, for periods of seconds at a time, like my mind is truly free. The rest never seems to follow. Quite the contrary, the rest makes it impossible to maintain self-freedom for any extended period of time.

I say there are times when I feel truly free. This is something that is very difficult to describe because it is so real. I think it’s a kind of freedom that anyone who has to inhabit and function in this warped world on a daily basis is not quite ready to understand, let alone explain. It is so complete. I can’t help but think that many people may have moments like this, but I’m never sure. The only way I can attempt to describe them is by metaphor. Most times I feel that I am immersed in a sea of confusion, self-doubt, anger and fear (the monsters that we all have to hug, as butterflykiddo would say). However, there are occasionally moments of crystal clarity that come out of the blue. Usually they come with no real prompting or reason. When it happens, it feels like my head breaks out of that sea of monsters. I am, for a few moments, breathing a kind of air that is almost impossible to come by. It is so pure; so beautiful. All of my needs to judge, to despair, and to worry are stripped away. I feel like my baggage, just for a moment, melts away. I am ready to live the life of a ture human. It is such an amazing feeling. These are the moments that keep me going; the gasps of pure air sustain me. This feeling is just about as free as my mind can get. That is, at least as long as I have to play the old “game” every day, and watch the world around me tear people apart.

However enlightened we may be on the inside, there is a point where we must pay attention to the outside world. To not do so would be to fail in our responsibility to the rest of humanity. That is not to say that being a developed human being is not important; it is critical. But it has very limited meaning if we do not use what we learn inside ourselves to make the physical world better. One of the biggest questions we are faced with is where the balance point is between these two cycles of development. I believe that they must go hand in hand. More than that, we must demand that change in the outside world keep up with the development inside of us. Disparity between those two facets of existence (the self and the “real” world) causes either a great deal of frustration or an eventual disconnection from reality. I don’t know how true this is for other people, but for me the lack of progress in the real world is becoming a limiting factor in my internal development. I can still make progress, but there is a certain level that I simply cannot honestly and effectively transcend until I have a great deal more freedom in the outside world.

The world, with all its madness, keeps me from feeling the kind of freedom described above for more than a fleeting moment. My first priority is to find a way to remedy this situation; that is the end result that I will hope for any work group, or anything I do in my life. I hope to be able to explore this freedom and see how it might be used to transform the human condition in a very fundamental way. I also hope that others can understand and share in this. I want to fight the good fight; this is the fight I’m talking about. The fight that will allow us to be truly free is only the fight before the fight. The real one will begin only when we are free ourselves; then it will get unimaginably interesting. I can’t wait, and I sincerely hope it happens within my life time. Fat chance, I suppose. So many generations have tried and we’re not there yet. I know it won't be easy and that it will take a lot more than words. All I have in the end is commitment to a kind of freedom that transcends all doubt. I think it will be enough.

Thanks mmmark and ma shakti for getting me thinking about this stuff today.

 Disillusionment for the Disillusioned, 101
category picture17 Feb 2002 @ 19:16
I’m going to try to expand on some of the things people have been saying over the last few days. We all want to know why things are not working out the way we want them to. People with the best of intentions, even when they band together by the thousands, just are don’t seem to be enough. Everything from the Hippie movement to today’s well meaning environmental and social initiatives failed or will fail because those running them have not been disillusioned enough. The way in which popular culture talks about the phenomenon of disillusionment makes it seem like a single event. Once the young adults of the 60’s became disillusioned, they were done being disillusioned; it happened to them and that was it. They looked at the world, realized that there was something terribly wrong with it, and decided to switch to a more appealing way of viewing it. This gave them hope, and made them feel like they were doing something to better the world. Problem is, the vast majority of them are now working 9-5 or approaching retirement after a life of doing so. What went wrong?

One of the reasons that all past movements failed is that their participants only became disillusioned once. They rejected the world they were presented with and they were done. What needs to happen is that we have to be constantly disillusioning ourselves. The rejection of popular society is only the first of many such rejections we must make if we are ever to make a difference in our world.

So, how do we know when to exercise this process of disillusionment? People tend to jump on anything that gives them a few warm fuzzies. Here I have to acknowledge that this is a necessary source of hope for many people. Without it, they would not know what to do, and would sink into despair. Warm fuzzies, sadly, are not enough for those of us who truly want to change the world. We cannot embrace a philosophy just because it lessens the pain a little and tells us that life is all bunnies and birthday cake. To escape the mistake made by those who have come before us, we have to evaluate each and every method of dealing with the world with brutal honesty. We cannot dodge reality, no matter how painful and unpleasant it may be.

What the Hippies did not do was this. They practiced neither the intellectual discipline nor the foresight necessary to know that they were going to fail. This would not have taken a crystal ball gazing sage to figure out. If they had really looked past the feel-good nature of their philosophy, they would have seen that it was just a short lived, futile attempt to spit in society’s face without really coming up with a workable alternative. Once they realized this, it would have been necessary for them to try another approach, and then another, ad infinitum until they found something that dealt with the realities at hand effectively. That is a very hard thing, and the process may involve many dips into hopelessness, as one may get attached to an idea, only to learn that the idea is not going to work. However, it is necessary. We can make the world into whatever we want, but no matter what we are starting from this one. This is the one we have to address. We can’t cower in the corner of our minds when faced with the harshness of the world. We have to face it. That is the only way we will ever change it. Disillusionment must become more than a simple event in the process of a person’s intellectual/personal/spiritual development. It must become an integral part of the way we look at ideas. I must not that this process must be done with the utmost in respect for those involved. People must be brutally honest, but must avoid being brutal at all costs.

Here’s to The Trouble Makers (well grounded trouble makers, of course : ) )

 The Humble Opinion of an NCN Newbie
category picture16 Feb 2002 @ 21:16
The Humble Opinion of an NCN Newbie

Though I’ve only been on NCN for a few weeks, I’m amazed by many of the people on it. It’s probably one of the largest gatherings of people who “get it” that I’ve ever seen. I’ve met some people here, directly or just through their writings, that I respect more than anyone I’ve ever met in my life. I see loads of people who are ready and willing to do something to make the world a truly better place. That gives me a great deal of hope. So why, with remarkable people like this on our side, are we not all living in a dream world yet? (I know there are probably many answers to this question; I’m just going to focus on one)

I’ve just spent some time reading various news logs (especially those of mmmark). Assuming I read them right, I agree very much that what is necessary for us to move forward is a new kind of dialogue. One that is more to the point, one that does not move in circles, and one where we leave our egos at the door, as mmmark said. By the same token, I certainly have no problem with argument, as long as it is productive. Finding common ground is the goal of argument, in my opinion (and experience). I would never argue with someone just to prove a point or to convert them to my views. I always argue so I can get past the differences in our views and find what we do have in common. The strange thing is that, with all the diversity in opinions and experiences out there, we always do seem to be able to find common ground. So, we should not be afraid to say what we think, as long as we do it diplomatically and with consideration. All of that is critical to the kind of dialogue we need.

I am really amazed at the intellectual presence on this website; I think that it more than exceeds the “critical mass” necessary for true and meaningful action. What form would that action take? That’s always the hardest part. One tentative opinion I have on that is that somebody needs to go just a little crazy. I really have no idea how, which is why we need dialogue. Something in me just tells me that what has to happen is that somebody has to do something crazy, but not crazy enough to bring down the wrath of society. It would be something highly visible; some truly original and significant act of breaking the shackles of today’s society and then holding one’s hands into the air and proclaiming to the entire world “I’m free!” Am I making any sense whatsoever? I’m never one hundred percent sure. I believe that this act would have to be very carefully considered and calculated. We have to really “wow” people (not least of all ourselves). I’ll have to think more about that.

My friendship, and above all my respect to all of you.

 The Real Andy... how quaint.
category picture14 Feb 2002 @ 22:27
Note to reader: this might strike some people as unduly nihilistic in parts; trust me, it’s not : ) .

Recently I’ve been pondering over how I might go about showing the “real” me to people who I think I can really trust. You know, the me that truly motivates the way I think and feel, and not the social construct whose only concern is to be normal and sociable. It may or may not be a noble goal; it might just be a variety of narcissism.

Whatever the case, I ran into a fundamental problem. I, like many people (most I dare say) have no idea who or what the REAL me is. I want to be genuine, but there are so many little versions of me inside my head I have no idea which one is the real one, or if it even boils down to a single real me at all.

With this mass of confusion in place, I was ready to start my expedition. I spent what could have been minutes, hours, or millennia conversing with the ceiling of my dorm room, trying to come to a consensus about me. We journeyed through the lands of good and evil, beauty and the beast, all kinds of places. It was quite a ride. Long story short, we ended up at a place that was almost too simple to be meaningful.

The me that ended up standing out from the mental crowd had quite a bit to say. His primary goal was simple: to evolve. He just wants to explore this amazing phenomenon we call consciousness. That’s all really. He finds himself in a universe that, as far as he can see, has absolutely no inherent or predetermined meaning or goal whatsoever. That’s scary, but it also leaves the universe open for humanity to create.

Even more, though, he wants to have companions to explore with. That was the motivation for wanting to show the real me in the first place. We humans have a truly amazing thing, but so many of us seem to write it off far too soon. I am amazed when I run into someone who is not completely confused by the human condition (We love how I’m switching personal pronouns here, don’t we… he... me…?). I just don’t get how anyone could think they have the answer. How could there be an answer? I want to spend my entire life evolving and exploring my consciousness; and I want to open the way for the rest of humanity to take it even further. Perhaps eventually humanity will learn how to create its own answers.

Or who knows… maybe I was just knocking on the wrong door in my head. Is that really the real me?

 The Rainbow People
category picture12 Feb 2002 @ 15:43
A little poem I wrote. It's called "The Rainbow People". Curious, aren't you?  More >

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