Sep 042012
 
 September 4, 2012  Posted by at 6:47 pm Earth

Looking around at those… around me – family, friends, acquaintances and random faces in the crowd of apathy – the level of complacency is so concentrated I can taste it, yet I can’t even describe how bad it tastes. I’m not really talking about the understanding people lack about the numerous predicaments we face as a species – that’s definitely there too… but what I’m talking about is even worse. It’s the assumption that we can just go about our day to day lives, doing our day to day work, having our day to day fun… and humanity will eventually heal itself, no matter how bad the injuries sustained.

This is a cultural phenomenon that has infested the Western world, and refuses to be eradicated. It is where many of us ultimately place our hope and stake our lives, sometimes without even realizing we are doing it. We previously discussed the entertainment enemas that have penetrated modern culture (and the lives of deluded teenagers) in Culturally Programmed Myths of Omnipotence. They have given us the vision that we can always become bigger, “better” and stronger as individuals and nations, evolving towards God-like glory, no matter what obstacles are in our way – all of the stories about superheroes, vampires, werewolves, wizards, robots and aliens – it’s all about the propaganda of pernicious power.

We even see this mentality taking root in academia and scientific research through the field of “transhumanism” (very well portrayed in the documentary, TechnoCalyps). As you can probably guess from the name, transhumanism tells us that we are on the way to becoming something more, something other, than human beings. Forget random mutation and natural selection, the transhumanist says – we can circumvent all of the slow evolutionary nonsense that we only theorized about a century ago. Now we can transform ourselves into a new species over the course of a few decades with the help of modern technology and “intelligent designers”. Just a little bit ironic, don’t you think?

 

 

Ironic, yet frighteningly appealing to the broader public. Yet another aspect of this cultural programming is the idea that all troubling stories have a happy ending – that all good things come to those who [sit on their ass and] wait. We have obviously been fed this diet of propaganda by movies and television on a consistent basis over the course of decades. You sit through one and a half hours of action-packed plots with drama, romance, suspense, twists and turns mixed in… and then the whole thing comes together and the heroes prevail in the last 20 minutes. That’s truly how many people view the world now – an epic movie that is approaching its glorious credits, just so the sequel can come out next year.

This virulent mentality is not only quarantined to the mainstream materialistic culture, but is also evident in many alternative spheres of cultural milieu, even penetrating its way into the so-called “Doomer” crowds. Many people who are otherwise extremely pessimistic about the current world-system and its effects on human civilization have found refuge in the idea that we are entering a “New Age” of human existence. It may be initially characterized by pockets of chaos and upheavel, but it will end with a radical spiritual transformation that results from the natural evolution of human consciousness.

The Universe will re-balance itself and bring the blessings of peace and harmony to ALL of its inhabitants – “all” being those who are mentally programmed to properly decode its gifts. There is really nothing “new” about these concepts, though – they borrow many of their underlying tenets from the ancient religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. For example, a prominent prophecy within sects of the latter is the arrival of the Maitreya Buddha at a time when humans have completely lost touch with their true nature as immaterial and interconnected parts of the divine whole (a time like now, perhaps?).

The Maitreya may not be a majority view in “New Age” circles, but it reflects a general mentality that has submerged itself in both the mainstream and alternative streams of modern culture, presenting itself to us in many different forms. There is an entire industry based around the concept of self-help gurus teaching people [much too] simple ways to become “happy, healthy and successful”, no matter what is going on in the world around them. Yet we all know that there is no money to be made from a product that truly helps its patients (customers).

 

 

They’re selling us exactly what we want to hear – that the reality of human suffering in the world is not actually as bad as it appears to be; that there is more truth in the fictional movies we have seen than in our real lives. Maybe if we can just find that slick-looking guy in the black leather jacket and cool shades, snatch the red pill and wash it down with a bottle of Absinthe, the truth will be revealed to us and everything will be alright in the end. Or maybe the blue pill will give us a better high…? Either way, I’m here to say that we should be really careful what we wish for, because there is only a razor thin line between the truth and fiction these days.

Most importantly, though, I am here to make clear that no one is immune from the mentality that “everything is alright” or “everything can be alright”, including me. I have my own personal beliefs about how humanity can be preserved and even perfected, and I don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong with that. What’s wrong is when I forget to remind myself where those beliefs come from and where they are truly leading me. Do they simply make me feel good and comfortable and “enlightened”? Am I simply willing to swallow the red pill because someone slick tells me it will “open my eyes”?

Or is there something more fundamentally true about why I have deep concerns and why I have ultimate hope. What sacrifices are really required of myself and others to reach our maximum human potentials? I believe these are questions we must repeatedly ask ourselves, because the moment we become too comfortable and too uncritical of our beliefs, or the beliefs of others around us, is the moment that we become apathetic and willing to go wherever the world takes us. It is only when we confront the umcomfortable truths of our situation in this world that we will be able to become the best we can possibly be.


Home Forums Everything Won't Be Alright

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  • #8440

    ashvin
    Participant

    Looking around at those… around me – family, friends, acquaintances and random faces in the crowd of apathy – the level of complacency is so concent
    [See the full post at: Everything Won't Be Alright]

    #5350

    Purplefrog
    Member

    This is very well said. My own personal “hope” scenario is that the world system, as it is now proceeding, will collapse.

    Somewhere on the other side of this will be a new beginning. What that will look like, I have no idea, but we will all be brought down to the same level. The important things will become important again.

    #5351

    rlmrdl
    Participant

    There is another phenomenon that fits this mindset. I recall reading about a couple of guys in Vietnam during the war. Their jeep had run over a mine and basically blown the bottom half of their bodies off.

    One of their medics came rushing to their aid and realised the problem was well beyond his ability to deal with it and there was zero chance of getting them out of the wreckage before they died.

    Both men were conscious and he was struck by their composure, their calm, every-day conversation until they passed out from loss of blood and died soon afterwards.

    In another place I read a suggestion that the emotional and psychological condition of calm and peacefulness that surrounds many deaths, the feeling that we are going to something better, that we are about to meet long-lost loved ones etc is a survival mechanism that enables the dying not to attract predators with their screaming in fear and so endanger the whole community.

    I wonder if something like this is part of why we are seeing so much apparent complacency. A preparation for death. Because when this thing comes down, there will be plenty of that. Perhaps, at some subconscious level, we do understand, but most of us accept the impossibility of fixing the predicament and are preparing to give up.

    #5352

    rlmrdl
    Participant

    I’ve also noticed that, as one who has moved to 10 acres in the country and is trying to fit that land as a self-reliant system for me and my family, that it is easy to get carried away with the project, to take great satisfaction in seeing milestones met and plans completed and system established and to forget for a moment 2 utterly fundamental points

    1. Why we are doing this
    2. Our success, or even our survival is not at all guaranteed.

    I try to keep those two well in the background because, if I did not, I would be paralysed. So maybe what we observe in others is something similar; a way to fend off actual paralysis.

    #5354

    bluebird
    Participant

    I think most people are complacent by nature. They get in a daily routine and that’s life. Occasionally there are times that are not so good, but tomorrow is another day, a better day.

    And I have found that absolutely no one wants to hear that what they have become accustomed to, constant consuming…is going to change, most likely change drastically.

    Instead, I have been mentioning that we have Affluenza, a false sense of affluency.
    It is an older PBS documentary, https://www.pbs.org/kcts/affluenza/
    and also a book.
    https://www.bookbrowse.com/reviews/index.cfm/book_number/884/affluenza

    Some people do seem to understand the concept of Affluenza, but still can’t seem to eliminate this condition on their own. Sadly, it will probably be an epic collapse that will eradicate Affluenza.

    #5355

    SteveB
    Participant

    “It is only when we confront the umcomfortable truths of our situation in this world that we will be able to become the best we can possibly be.”

    The truth isn’t uncomfortable–in my experience it’s the only thing that IS comfortable.

    I recommend The Work of Byron Katie to everyone. While it might seem like just another New Age pitch along the lines that Ash describes above, I’ve found it to be the only thing that helped me find the clarity to live without worry while I prepare for a future very (but not totally) different from our past, and therefore to do so more effectively, for myself, my family, and community. All else is a story, usually a stressful one. Her book, Loving What Is, is a good place to start, as are videos on her web site, http://www.thework.com.

    The Work isn’t about the ‘what’, it’s about the ‘how’. Four years ago, by reading LWI, I learned (overnight, literally) how to find my own truth and freedom, and I can now see how perfect life has always been, even when I argue/d with reality.

    ‘We need to become the best we can possibly be.’ Is that true?

    #5356

    Golden Oxen
    Participant

    Reality isn’t allowed anymore. It is not politically correct. We must protect “The Children” from it the little dears.

    Pictures of 9/11 are in bad taste. Scary for the kids

    No pictures of soldiers coming home in caskets allowed. Bad for the children.

    No more grades in school, hurts the c and d kids feelings.

    We are all the same. People are all good. The government will protect us from all harm. One big happy Sesame Street forever.

    #5357

    Puff
    Member

    Hi Ashvin – I agree. I guess I’m one of those new agers you refer to and my take, at this stage, is that we need to be careful about our state of being. We could perhaps focus more on our own state – making that as highly functioning as we possibly can. This would be a state of being, which as I understand it is extremely peaceful and powerful. Once we have done that, how does the rest of the world look now?

    I suspect we would stop being fearful of what is to come. We would still see the imbalances but would know our own place in it and make the changes in our own circumstances as best we can.

    I’m a strong believer in attraction. If you worry and fear the future, those outcomes you focus on will come true for you and vice versa.

    I know this all sounds like hippe tree hugging mumbo jumbo but even if it sounds and reads clumsy, it feels like it’s about right. Pretty intense dude. 🙂

    #5358

    tpverde
    Member

    Frankly, I can relate to the feelings of ‘paralysis’ described above by flmrdl…Even though I’m involved in lot’s of positive work here in Costa Rica, helping small farmers, reforestation in our valley, raising awareness about climate change, etc, etc…at times I am literally speechless about the apparent lack of concern/awareness, especially among the ‘New-agers” who tend to congregate in the surfing areas along the nearby coast.

    I’m often encouraged to be more positive, and I agree, but, for me, the “smiley face” is only honest in the light of acknowledging–and addressing–the “uncomfortable truths of our situation.”

    #5359

    ashvin
    Participant

    rlmrdl post=5042 wrote: In another place I read a suggestion that the emotional and psychological condition of calm and peacefulness that surrounds many deaths, the feeling that we are going to something better, that we are about to meet long-lost loved ones etc is a survival mechanism that enables the dying not to attract predators with their screaming in fear and so endanger the whole community.

    I wonder if something like this is part of why we are seeing so much apparent complacency. A preparation for death. Because when this thing comes down, there will be plenty of that. Perhaps, at some subconscious level, we do understand, but most of us accept the impossibility of fixing the predicament and are preparing to give up.

    Perhaps, but the people I come across are clinging to their daily lives like its the only thing that matters anymore. Even people who claim to believe in an afterlife of some sort don’t really seem to place any importance on it. That could partly be because they realize things aren’t too good, but they don’t know how to respond and find comfort in daily routine. It could also be because they have convinced themselves of some vague way in which everything will be righted within their lifetimes or at least those of future generations. Or it could be because they have simply “given up”, and want to enjoy the fleeting moments before they pass.

    Whatever the reason, I think people are mainly looking for an easy way out. They may be highly critical of the world they are accustomed to, but they ultimately don’t want to give it up, because that can be such a lonely feeling sometimes. It can also make you a social pariah at the drop of a dime. And that’s why I say confronting the truth will be “uncomfortable” for most people, to say the least. You can maybe get away with a few radical opinions here or there, but once you harp on them too much or expose your entire worldview, people will literally hate you for it. We don’t like to be hated by others, but I believe that it doesn’t really come down to what we want at the end of the day. It’s the truth that counts.

    #5360

    ashvin
    Participant

    SteveB post=5046 wrote: “It is only when we confront the umcomfortable truths of our situation in this world that we will be able to become the best we can possibly be.”

    The truth isn’t uncomfortable–in my experience it’s the only thing that IS comfortable.

    I recommend The Work of Byron Katie to everyone. While it might seem like just another New Age pitch along the lines that Ash describes above, I’ve found it to be the only thing that helped me find the clarity to live without worry while I prepare for a future very (but not totally) different from our past, and therefore to do so more effectively, for myself, my family, and community.

    I found this quote on her website:

    “I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always.” — Byron Katie

    And if that is really the mentality she advocates, then yeah, it’s definitely what I was talking about in the post. Don’t believe your thoughts? I can understand being critical of your thoughts if they are planted by a deceptive source, such as cultural conditioning, or if they are speculative thoughts not based on any investigation/research, but NOT because they make you uncomfortable or even if they make you suffer in some way. If that’s the price of truth, then we should pay it.

    Perhaps she believes that many of our “thoughts” symbolize attachment to the self, but I think we need to ask ourselves why we feel the need to ever detach from the self? Because it makes you feel good or like a different person? Not everything that makes you feel like that is desirable or leading you to the truth (for ex., many drugs). And, also, if you experience joy every moment of your life, or you believe that everyone can experience joy every moment of their lives, then I’d say you are most definitely avoiding the truth.

    ‘We need to become the best we can possibly be.’ Is that true?

    Sure, why not? I really believe it’s possible if we are willing to confront the truth. We may end up being surprised by what our “best” really looks like, but that’s fine… at least we know its our best.

    #5361

    ashvin
    Participant

    Puff post=5048 wrote: I’m a strong believer in attraction. If you worry and fear the future, those outcomes you focus on will come true for you and vice versa.

    I dunno bout this attraction stuff… but I agree it can become very counter-productive to worry and fear all the time. Yet, again, I would say that the truth takes precedence. And if you confront it honestly and boldly, you may just find that your fears of the world melt away. Focusing on your own “state of being” is no doubt a good thing for the purposes of truth, but so is focusing on the state of other people, and the state of the world in general.

    #5362

    Anonymous

    Evolution is also misunderstood by too many. We are led to believe that the dominant population (the middle of the bell curve) evolves as the environment changes. What really happens is that the environment changes, and those in the middle of the curve die off, while those who are somewhere on the fringe that are ALREADY different and adapted to the new circumstances survive and repopulate according to the niche opened up by nature. Humans have been forcing more and more humans toward the homogeneous center of technology-based living, while eliminating diseases and living options that would spread out the curve. The result is a very tall spike of population based on available technology and the energy and resources to maintain it. Nature abhors a spike as much as it abhors a vacuum.

    #5363

    SteveB
    Participant

    Ash, if you read just a bit of her stuff (again, Loving What Is is a good place to start, and a quick read), you might find that her reference to believing thoughts is more about realizing that it is the belief or the thought that causes the suffering. Realizing that doesn’t change reality or necessarily affect our actions, but (as I noted with regard to my personal experience) it might just help us to live sanely through those circumstances without worry, panic, or violence.

    The appeal of The Work for my personal sanity is paramount, while its prospective value for helping all those oblivious people out there is tantamount. I’m pointing to it as a possible means of addressing what you’re lamenting. When they begin (continue?) to fear the future and act on that fear (as opposed to the knowledge of their situation–there’s a difference), how (again, not ‘what’, but ‘how’) do you suggest we help them? Presuming that it will require sacrifices pretends to know the future–their future–as well as what they need. The Work helps people learn to think clearly without getting into their business. I don’t know of a better gift to people.

    In my experience the truth doesn’t have a price. (The rest of your “Perhaps…” paragraph is a series of straw men.)

    As for “our best”, I’m already doing my best, always have been. I suspect that’s true for everyone. Believing that they/we are not (which is what I was getting at with my question) is a lie.

    As Katie also says, don’t believe me, test it for yourself–“judge your neighbor, write it down, ask four questions, and turn it around”. It’s that simple. For me it’s become almost automatic and instantaneous (but only when it does. 😉 )

    #5364

    ashvin
    Participant

    Steve,

    First, let me say I’m not trying to specifically judge anyone else’s situation here. If someone truly feels like they need to make sacrifices, then they know I’m talking to (with) them. If not, then I’m not.

    But I am saying that it’s not good to focus on yourself and leave everyone else alone. That kind of “tolerance” is way too overrated. We show respect for others by speaking what we believe to be the truth to them, and though it may lead to much short-term discomfort and anguish, I believe it is ultimately for the better. That doesn’t mean we can’t have different perspectives on the truth – just that we present our perspectives honestly and boldly.

    You also seem to be assuming that avoidance of “suffering” should be our end goal, namely emotional suffering. My argument is that we should embrace a life of doubts, fears, anguish, uncertainty, etc., even the possibility of physical suffering, if we believe it to be endured in the name of truth. That is what humanity needs more than anything else right now – the cold, hard truth. And if everyone sits back, shuts up and focuses on their own comfort or well-being, we will never even have a chance of getting to that.

    I’m pointing to it as a possible means of addressing what you’re lamenting. When they begin (continue?) to fear the future and act on that fear (as opposed to the knowledge of their situation–there’s a difference), how (again, not ‘what’, but ‘how’) do you suggest we help them?

    Well, perhaps I would keep Katie’s first two questions and leave out the other two. If it’s true or very likely to be true, then you confront it without dismissing it. Any fear you feel must be addressed without abandoning the truth. If the fear persists, so be it… maybe it will motivate them to open up doors to even higher truths.

    #5365

    Tao Jonesing
    Participant

    Ashvin,

    Your sincerity and earnestness are unquestionable.

    I guess where things break down for me is the assumption that everybody actually wants to meet his or her “maximum human potential.” I once was driven by the same assumption, but I came to realize that some people just want to BE. They are content in who they are and what they have. And that should be okay. It also should be okay to accept the fact that, at some point, not everybody actually has the same potential, and that some people have actually achieved their maximum potentials at a point that you find personally unacceptable for yourself.

    Some people are sheep. Fewer people are wolves. Fewer still are shepherds. Each “species” of people has its own role and its own maximum potential.

    #5366

    The other day I enjoyed an idle sunny afternoon on a local beach. As I sat lost in thought I sifted dry sand through my finders. Absent minded, and without any real malice, I buried a bug in the sand. No reason. It was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Somewhere between the horror and utter indifference I realized that our fate has no more and no less meaning than the fate of that bug.

    #5367

    davefairtex
    Participant

    So in your list of complacent people, you forgot to include the evangelicals, many of whom believe in an actual Rapture where the true believers are taken from the earth away to heaven (how’s that for a literal Deux Ex Machina) while the unbelievers remain in the hell on earth the Apocalypse has wrought. Presumably, the Rapture folks simply have to (sit on their asses) and believe, and they will be the only ones rescued from the world’s predicament. No need to stop global warming, or worry about peak oil. None of it will matter, because they won’t even be here! The Left Behind books sold – what was it, 60 million copies? I’d say Rapture evangelicals far outnumber the New Age folks, and have a consequently larger impact on US domestic politics.

    Of course I’m one of those New Age people, at least to a degree, so I’m biased. We’re going to be here dealing with reality for the duration, while the Rapturites feel they have a get-out-of-jail-free card.

    From what I understand, attachment to people and things causes suffering when those people and things are lost. As you can release your attachments (not an easy job), the suffering from loss diminishes. We will have loss of standard of living, in all likelihood. Yet if we can release our attachment to those things, objective reality is unchanged, we remain on the earth un-rescued from our predicament, but the emotional impact of reality upon us IS changed.

    If we weren’t so motivated by marketing to find self-worth in the buying of things (most of which we don’t use, and much of which is funded by debt) we could likely be just as objectively happy and perhaps even more so with a lot less. And when things went away (the house, the car, the job, etc) our identity would be unaffected.

    And if its going to happen anyway…

    #5368

    truthspeaker
    Member

    In response to peak oil, i have changed my lifestyle to reduce energy consumption, through prioritising whats really necessary in life, without making myself an outcast (if such a thing is possible).

    I have read extensively about this topic, and i believe it is real and very serious, not thinking about it is simply a way to avoid the emotional tsunami that hits you as you go unravel the complexity humans have created using fossil fuels.

    I’ve taken action. Over a course of 6-7 weekends i went to my local coffee shop and took their waste coffee grounds and accumulated around 300kg of it in plastic tubs. I then innoculated it with about £100/$200 of oyster mushroom spawn. It can take months for it to colonise, depending on size, but you get about 10% minimum of the total weight in mushrooms. This ‘farm’ is in a concrete garden and takes about 3metres of land area. The tubs are stacked vertically.

    I see it like this, if i now have a steady stream of mushrooms, suppose 30kg a year, i will have over 2kg a month, which is more than enough to nutrify me and my immediate family in case of a crisis. I can keep growing it, as long as the earth exists, as i can use leaves or seaweed to expand my mushroom production base.

    There are all these people talking about the same issue, we know food is going to go up, we know oil is going to go up, we know that a lot of people wont cope in that circumstance, but where is the action? Its been nearly four years since the 2008 spike, if people, particulary the informed minority are not ready by now, then how on earth is anyone going to survive?

    Its time for action – Oyster mushrooms, Nettles and others are very versatile, robust and can be grown vertically, i see no other realistic solution for local food in urban or rural areas beyond vertical farming, couple with a waste clean up effort using oyster mushrooms.

    If nature intends to clean house, i’d rather be surfing the wave than sitting on the beach trying to build a castle in the sand.

    #5369

    truthspeaker
    Member

    My view is that the ‘Industrial system’ will collapse, not the species. All the worlds indigenous tribes will carry on, as will peasant farmers the world over. Fossil fuels have messed us up, and the non-stop peddling of a life of constant leisure is because of fossil fuels and the energy they give. Previous solar civilisations did not have this problem, as they simply didnt have the surplus energy.

    I think in an industrialised or post industrialised country it will be a case of a) voluntarily or involuntarily reducing consumption – we can see that happening now with job losses and bankruptcies, and b)finding a way to replace imported food with local, in a scalable and equitable manner.

    #5370

    SteveB
    Participant

    ashvin post=5055 wrote: You also seem to be assuming that avoidance of “suffering” should be our end goal, namely emotional suffering. My argument is that we should embrace a life of doubts, fears, anguish, uncertainty, etc., even the possibility of physical suffering, if we believe it to be endured in the name of truth. That is what humanity needs more than anything else right now – the cold, hard truth. And if everyone sits back, shuts up and focuses on their own comfort or well-being, we will never even have a chance of getting to that.

    I’m not interested in avoiding suffering, rather, I’ve learned how to end it in myself, so embracing it makes no sense. I’ve also learned that the truth is peaceful, not cold and hard, that what’s left after the confusion of suffering (from believing untrue thoughts) is just love, and so I act out of love when I’m thinking clearly, not out of confusion and fear, which tend to lead to more suffering (by creating a more elaborate story of untrue thoughts, typically about the past or future that don’t exist). People who think clearly, act, they don’t sit back and allow others to suffer. I’m just one example: I’m sharing my experience and my awareness of The Work with you and others here (and all my friends as well).

    The second question is, “Can you absolutely know that it’s true?” It’s a yes or no question. There’s no “very likely to be true”. There’s only one truth: yours, and it’s none of my business. But I love you, and so I invite you to learn more about this, to really test it for yourself, so that you might be even more effective at what you intend, which seems in part to be to help others deal with their circumstances sanely.

    If you stop with the first two questions you miss out on the discovery that thoughts–not circumstances/reality–are the source of suffering. You also miss out on the turnarounds that lead you to your own truth. One of the videos that demonstrates The Work more fully (and tear-inducing effectively) is the one on “Prejudice” here: https://www.thework.com/watch.php?cat=watch&yid=m8vLJazT08o.

    #5371

    ashvin
    Participant

    davefairtex post=5058 wrote: So in your list of complacent people, you forgot to include the evangelicals, many of whom believe in an actual Rapture where the true believers are taken from the earth away to heaven (how’s that for a literal Deux Ex Machina) while the unbelievers remain in the hell on earth the Apocalypse has wrought. Presumably, the Rapture folks simply have to (sit on their asses) and believe, and they will be the only ones rescued from the world’s predicament. No need to stop global warming, or worry about peak oil. None of it will matter, because they won’t even be here! The Left Behind books sold – what was it, 60 million copies? I’d say Rapture evangelicals far outnumber the New Age folks, and have a consequently larger impact on US domestic politics.

    Yes, that kind of eschatological certainty is unfortunate, and as a Christian, I don’t hesitate to voice my concern if/when I hear people saying that kind of stuff. If you are a Christian, there is absolutely no good reason to abandon your responsibilities to others or to the Earth in general, and especially not the cause for truth.

    I also want to be clear that I don’t think all people who believe or practice “New Age” traditions fall into the category of those I was referencing in the post. It is really a HUGE field of society, encompassing corporate strategy, holistic medicine, yoga/meditation, certain educational strategies, entertainment (movies, tv, etc.), art, self-help, etc. It’s hard to find a sphere of life in which some new age traditions haven’t crept into. So I wouldn’t say irresponsible/escapist evangelicals even come close to outnumbering people who identify with the New Age.

    And there’s nothing inherently wrong or escapist with practicing some of those things in isolation… but when people turn it into the primary focus of their lives, in which they become addicted to making themselves “feel good” or “enlightened” and avoiding uncomfortable truths or situations, then I think we have a big problem.

    Of course I’m one of those New Age people, at least to a degree, so I’m biased. We’re going to be here dealing with reality for the duration, while the Rapturites feel they have a get-out-of-jail-free card.

    From what I understand, attachment to people and things causes suffering when those people and things are lost. As you can release your attachments (not an easy job), the suffering from loss diminishes. We will have loss of standard of living, in all likelihood. Yet if we can release our attachment to those things, objective reality is unchanged, we remain on the earth un-rescued from our predicament, but the emotional impact of reality upon us IS changed.

    The idea that we need to abandon relationships or attachments with either people or things in order to “avoid loss” or emotional hardship doesn’t sit well with me. I think there are certainly times in which we must make those tough decisions, but they should be based on what we think is right, first and foremost. What we think helps others around us the most, and what helps us become better stewards for others. If improving your emotional state helps you do that, then sure you can seek ways of helping you do that. But if those methods start becoming a way of making yourself feel good for the sake of feeling good, or at the expense of what you believe to be the truth, then you must really stop and think about what is truly the most important for humanity.

    If we weren’t so motivated by marketing to find self-worth in the buying of things (most of which we don’t use, and much of which is funded by debt) we could likely be just as objectively happy and perhaps even more so with a lot less. And when things went away (the house, the car, the job, etc) our identity would be unaffected.

    And if its going to happen anyway…

    No doubt about that… material attachments will not get you far in helping anyone, including yourself. However, we shouldn’t think that “marketing to find self-worth” only encompasses traditional advertising of products. I find plenty of that happening in the self-help areas of the new age as well, among other areas.

    #5372

    ashvin
    Participant

    Tao Jonesing post=5056 wrote: I guess where things break down for me is the assumption that everybody actually wants to meet his or her “maximum human potential.” I once was driven by the same assumption, but I came to realize that some people just want to BE. They are content in who they are and what they have. And that should be okay. It also should be okay to accept the fact that, at some point, not everybody actually has the same potential, and that some people have actually achieved their maximum potentials at a point that you find personally unacceptable for yourself.

    Some people are sheep. Fewer people are wolves. Fewer still are shepherds. Each “species” of people has its own role and its own maximum potential.

    Why should that be okay? It might be okay with them, but it doesn’t have to be okay with me. This is what I’m talking about when I say “tolerance” for other people’s beliefs or lifestyles is overrated. We can explain to others why we think they need to reconsider those things without being rude or hateful. Many people will react negatively when confronted in such a personal way, at least initially, but that’s really the only way to get the truth out. We can’t find the truth if our beliefs are never challenged boldly, and others can’t find the truth if we don’t challenge their beliefs boldly.

    As far as “potential” goes, I agree not everyone has the same potential, and that’s fine. I never judge anyone else’s beliefs or behavior by what I find suitable for myself. We all have different circumstances and gifts and strengths/weaknesses, and therefore our approaches to the cause of truth will necessarily vary. And obviously I would like to persuade others of my beliefs, as they would of me, but it’s the mentality they use when approaching these issues that I’m most concerned with here. Everyone is capable of being honest, rational, logical and critical while also being respectful, so that’s what I expect from myself and from others.

    #5373

    ashvin
    Participant

    SteveB post=5061 wrote: The second question is, “Can you absolutely know that it’s true?” It’s a yes or no question. There’s no “very likely to be true”. There’s only one truth: yours, and it’s none of my business. But I love you, and so I invite you to learn more about this, to really test it for yourself, so that you might be even more effective at what you intend, which seems in part to be to help others deal with their circumstances sanely.

    If you stop with the first two questions you miss out on the discovery that thoughts–not circumstances/reality–are the source of suffering. You also miss out on the turnarounds that lead you to your own truth. One of the videos that demonstrates The Work more fully (and tear-inducing effectively) is the one on “Prejudice” here: https://www.thework.com/watch.php?cat=watch&yid=m8vLJazT08o.

    Steve, I understand why you find value in Katie’s approach, but I think it’s wrong. The second question should not be “can you absolutely know if it’s true”, and it should not be a yes or no answer. That’s a cop out, IMO. There are very few things, if any, that we know “absolutely” to be true, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t likely to be true, or that there isn’t a lot of truth in them. If you make the threshold “absolutely”, you will necessarily end up abandoning the truth in order to purge your “bad thoughts”.

    I also disagree that thoughts are inherently the source of suffering. It’s a combination of our prideful, egoistic, selfish mentality and the objective circumstances of the world that lead to suffering. So yes, many times we will find ourselves with counter-productive thoughts, but those are just the symptoms of a deeper cause – our underlying mentality in relationship to the objective circumstances around us. And I don’t believe it is even possible for us to eliminate that mentality – it can only be recognized and mitigated.

    How do we mitigate it? Well, that’s the point of difference here. I believe that primarily comes from sticking to certain values/principles and being absolutely truthful with others, even when we don’t feel comfortable doing so. You and Katie seem to believe it comes from focusing inwards on our own thoughts and their effects on our own state of being. I believe that could ultimately end up exacerbating the problem rather than mitigating it.

    #5374

    digging
    Member

    I am with you Ashvin on the direction you are going with this topic. We are living machines with a mind that is motionless within the living machine. The mind has much power to dream, but it’s our bodies that do the real work. It’s time to wake up and DO. (The bible speaks of this)

    NOW is the time to MOVE, to CHANGE how we live. I’m talking really change, let others call us excentric.

    Try living in a tent in your own back yard, start learning how to live without modern things…learn again how to receive what you need directly from the earth. Find out how little you really need to meet your basic needs.

    I feel we are at the moment when it’s time to ‘get out of Babylon’.

    I’m a Christian but I’m not part of religion, I feel the heart of faith is to DO. If our beliefs allow us to be inactive I don’t think they are truths. Truths always have empowered people to great action.

    To find real positive motivation is to find the path to truth….

    Digging

    #5375

    Surly1
    Member

    “Many people who are otherwise extremely pessimistic about the current world-system and its effects on human civilization have found refuge in the idea that we are entering a “New Age” of human existence. It may be initially characterized by pockets of chaos and upheaval, but it will end with a radical spiritual transformation that results from the natural evolution of human consciousness.”

    Until such time as we are able to replace the current prevailing cultural narrative (such as the eternal truth that monetary profit is the highest, and best good and the only one worth pursuing) with a new set of stories, then what comes after the collapse is likely to be nasty, brutish, and familiar.

    #5376

    SteveB
    Participant

    ashvin post=5064 wrote: If you make the threshold “absolutely”, you will necessarily end up abandoning the truth in order to purge your “bad thoughts”.

    That’s not my experience. Has that been your experience?

    ashvin post=5064 wrote: I also disagree that thoughts are inherently the source of suffering. It’s a combination of our prideful, egoistic, selfish mentality and the objective circumstances of the world that lead to suffering. So yes, many times we will find ourselves with counter-productive thoughts, but those are just the symptoms of a deeper cause – our underlying mentality in relationship to the objective circumstances around us. And I don’t believe it is even possible for us to eliminate that mentality – it can only be recognized and mitigated.

    What is “mentality” if not thoughts?

    ashvin post=5064 wrote: How do we mitigate it? Well, that’s the point of difference here. I believe that primarily comes from sticking to certain values/principles and being absolutely truthful with others, even when we don’t feel comfortable doing so. You and Katie seem to believe it comes from focusing inwards on our own thoughts and their effects on our own state of being. I believe that could ultimately end up exacerbating the problem rather than mitigating it.

    How do you be “absolutely truthful with others” if you don’t know the truth? The Work helps me understand the truth for myself so I can be available for others, unconfused and truthful (as opposed to playing a role or acting as if I know the future.)

    #5377

    ashvin
    Participant

    SteveB post=5067 wrote: [quote=ashvin post=5064]If you make the threshold “absolutely”, you will necessarily end up abandoning the truth in order to purge your “bad thoughts”.

    That’s not my experience. Has that been your experience?

    Yes, because I believe in objective truths outside of myself. That is what my experience and intellect tells me. None of those objective realities can be established with certainty – not even in science, let alone finance, economics, ecology, history, etc. Yet that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, that they do not reflect reality, or that they are not very important to consider and investigate.

    SteveB post=5064 wrote: What is “mentality” if not thoughts?

    Like I said, it is a relational quality. In fact, I don’t even think “persons” exist outside of a relationship with other persons. Your inner thoughts do not have any meaning by themselves. Depending on the contextual relation in which they occur, they could very good or very bad in terms of finding the truth. But your mentality is even broader than your thoughts – the former is your general approach to every situation with others in an objective environment. A mentality that causes you to be uncomfortable or to suffer is not necessarily a bad one.

    For ex., we could have extreme situations in which people have a mentality of self-sacrifice in order to save others. That mentality will cause the selfless person to endure much emotional and physical pain, yet it is still an extremely valuable thing for humanity. They key is not what your mentality does for you, it is what your mentality does for your relationships with others. Your strategy may generally improve your relationship with others, but if it’s solely based on avoiding or eliminating your own emotional suffering, then you may end up in situations in which that strategy becomes counter-productive to helping others.

    SteveB post=5064 wrote: How do you be “absolutely truthful with others” if you don’t know the truth? The Work helps me understand the truth for myself so I can be available for others, unconfused and truthful (as opposed to playing a role or acting as if I know the future.)

    We do the best we can in the face of uncertainty. By no means do we give up on what we believe to be the truth just because we do not know it with certainty. Being “absolutely truthful” about your beliefs and your reasons for belief is different from absolutely knowing the truth. The former is a mentality in relationship to others, and that’s what I am concerned with here.

    If you believe “the work” gives you the truth, then that’s fine. I encourage you to keep making arguments for it, and responding to arguments against it. That’s what we all should continue to do, and we should never be satisfied with everyone having their own personal truth independent of an objective truth.

    #5379

    davefairtex
    Participant

    ash –

    And there’s nothing inherently wrong or escapist with practicing some of those things in isolation… but when people turn it into the primary focus of their lives, in which they become addicted to making themselves “feel good” or “enlightened” and avoiding uncomfortable truths or situations, then I think we have a big problem.

    I can only speak for myself – but I agree with you, at least mostly.

    For me, practicing things in isolation doesn’t get me very far. For example, sparring is an integral part of martial arts. You can spend all the time you like learning forms, but applying it against another person who is not acting according to some script is critical to actually having martial skill.

    Likewise, I believe that useful philosophy is only integrated and “owned” by the practitioner through application in real world experiences. IOW I think enlightenment doesn’t come in a cave, it comes by utilizing your philosophy in your life. I believe cave-time is helpful to reflect on experiences, but real-life must be there as well to provide opportunity for use.

    Lastly, avoiding uncomfortable truths is quite antithetical to my worldview. Pretending that Mom didn’t actually pass away or that you really didn’t lose the house to foreclosure and dropping into “meditation” in order to cover up all those feelings of loss – not the right way to go.

    The idea that we need to abandon relationships or attachments with either people or things in order to “avoid loss” or emotional hardship doesn’t sit well with me.

    It doesn’t sit well with me either. Releasing attachments isn’t about abandoning relationships in advance, though I can understand why it might appear that way. I think the language I used wasn’t clear enough.

    Releasing attachments (at least for me) is about being able to let something go that is basically already going (or gone) without becoming emotionally crippled by that experience. Non-clinginess is another way of describing it. Yet another way, perhaps more practical, is a technique by which one uses a conscious effort to first notice, then examine, and then release the negative emotions that arise in life.

    In some sense, we will eventually lose everything material currently in our lives. It only makes sense that we should expect this, intensely enjoy them while they are here, and once they leave, let them go.

    Sounds simple but naturally, its not.

    #5381

    ashvin
    Participant

    davefairtex post=5070 wrote: I Likewise, I believe that useful philosophy is only integrated and “owned” by the practitioner through application in real world experiences. IOW I think enlightenment doesn’t come in a cave, it comes by utilizing your philosophy in your life. I believe cave-time is helpful to reflect on experiences, but real-life must be there as well to provide opportunity for use.

    Yes, that’s very true. This is why I mentioned the connection between New Age philosophy and Hinduism/Buddhism. The latter are obviously spiritual philosophies that are truly meant to encompass your entire life, not just one aspect here or there, and so I imagine the same goes for NA spirituality. We should remember, though, that these philosophies are suggesting a basic truth about the fundamental nature of reality (in fact, they are “theories of everything”), which means we should never become comfortable with them without remaining critical of them. The moment we accept them because they simply make us feel good is the moment we have stopped caring about the truth, IMO, and the same goes for me and my beliefs.

    Releasing attachments (at least for me) is about being able to let something go that is basically already going (or gone) without becoming emotionally crippled by that experience. Non-clinginess is another way of describing it. Yet another way, perhaps more practical, is a technique by which one uses a conscious effort to first notice, then examine, and then release the negative emotions that arise in life.

    In some sense, we will eventually lose everything material currently in our lives. It only makes sense that we should expect this, intensely enjoy them while they are here, and once they leave, let them go.

    Sounds simple but naturally, its not.

    I see what you’re saying, but I think we should be careful when assuming what material relationships we are actually going to lose before we decide to preemptively detach from them emotionally. I can imagine many scenarios in which we retain those to a significant degree, and I can also imagine scenarios in which the benefits of retaining certain relationships now are worth the pain we suffer when they are lost.

    Let’s take a person’s job, for ex. If that job is something you pour yourself into every day and something you believe truly makes you a better person in the context of others, then maybe you hang onto it even though you know there is a good chance it won’t last in the future. You will certainly suffer when the job is no longer there for you, but that may be a situation in which you are willing to suffer for what you believe to be a higher purpose or truth.

    #5382

    SteveB
    Participant

    ashvin post=5068 wrote: Your strategy may generally improve your relationship with others, but if it’s solely based on avoiding or eliminating your own emotional suffering, then you may end up in situations in which that strategy becomes counter-productive to helping others.

    Hasn’t happened yet in the 4 1/2 years that The Work has been doing its thing inside my head and I’ve been sharing it with others.

    I mostly get hugs and “Thank you!”s (mainly from my wife, but from a bunch of friends as well). I’m also happier than I’ve ever been, out of an unsalvageable marriage, out of debt, out of the markets (I no longer fund the insanity), cashed out my IRAs, helping my parents with their retirement investments, newly married, growing fruit trees and vegetable gardens where the garage and lawn used to be, walking the three-mile round trip to the store for groceries, a candidate for mayor in 2010, going net zero with energy-efficient lifestyle, added insulation, passive solar windows, a wood stove, and (soon) PV (we’re already the lowest energy users in the neighborhood at consistently half the average household use, even though we both work at home and regularly have the kids and friends over for dinner), working part time and loving it, and writing a book about ending the use of money.

    It’s not just about ending (my) suffering, it’s also about loving reality, loving life, loving myself, and loving you and your story (and them and theirs).

    PS: You’re a gracious host. That goes a long way. I’ll keep sharing. Thanks.

    #5383

    ashvin
    Participant

    Steve,

    I think all that’s great and I’m happy to hear you are doing so well. Like I said before, I’m not here to judge anyone’s specific situation or tell them to stop doing something that helps them be a better person. I am just making a general point about a cultural mentality of avoiding the truth.

    I know that you have made many arguments against the use of “money”, and now you say you are writing a book about it. You believe that money always leads to problems for others, correct? This is an objective assertion. Now I imagine that once you publish this book, you are going to catch A LOT of flack from others, especially in this culture. It may even get to the point in which you are insulted and ridiculed and hated. Perhaps you even lose a couple [materialistic] friends over it.

    This is all hypothetical, of course – I’m not saying this will actually happen to you. But there are many of us who would feel a lot of uncertainty, anguish and emotional pain from such a course of events. Not everyone will be able to suppress those feelings, despite whatever self-help strategies they pursue. Some people may even conclude that writing this book must not be a good thing to do, because it makes them feel so uncomfortable in their lives and their relationships with others around them.

    However, the point of my post is to tell those people that the truth (as they believe it) is more important than all of those worldly concerns. Anything that convinces them to forego the objective truth in order to gain personal comfort is leading them down a dangerous path, and not only them, but others around them as well. I look around me, and I see way too many people willing to do that, so that’s why I wrote the post. It may not apply to you, but I’m confident that it applies to many others.

    #5384

    SteveB
    Participant

    ashvin post=5074 wrote: You believe that money always leads to problems for others, correct?

    So as not to ignore your question I’ll simply point out that those are your words, and that I make a distinction between money and the use of money, in particular as a global society. Also, I look forward to feeling stressed about the reactions of others to my ideas. (See the turnaround to question 6 on the “Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet” on Katie’s site.)

    ashvin post=5074 wrote: However, the point of my post is to tell those people that the truth (as they believe it) is more important than all of those worldly concerns.

    And there we are simpatico, as The Work helps people do that (when they use it), not by suppressing feelings, but by exposing the lies we tell ourselves for what they are.

    What will I do as I encounter these (hypothetical) stressed people in the future? Judge them (because that’s what we do), question my thoughts, turn it around (“They shouldn’t be stressed.” Hmm. “I shouldn’t be stressed about them.” Yes, that’s better.), then be available to them in any way I can–and share The Work with them if they’d like to learn it. Kind of like the present. 🙂

    Maybe other readers will share an approach that they’ve found useful and effective in overcoming fears, sadness, anger, and other strong feelings (all of which I lived with for decades, sometimes to the point of behaving violently, even toward loved ones). If not that, maybe someone would be willing to fill out a JYN Worksheet (available on Katie’s site) to do The Work on “those people”, then share it here.

    I found The Work after searching those few decades for help–for a recipe for sanity. Only Eckhart Tolle’s thinking and the Tao Te Ching (on which Katie has written with her husband, Stephen Mitchell, in their book, A Thousand Names for Joy) come close to it’s insight and practical, proven usefulness, IME (in my experience). Everything else I found was a story (which is a term of art in The Work, by the way, as in “Who would I be without my story?”).

    Bonus: after a while it’s almost as simple as breathing. (I’ve only used the worksheet a few times, it happens in my head mostly.)

    #5385

    rlmrdl
    Participant

    Fair point Ashvin. I was thinking more on the larger scale. The system is broken, IT is dying and we, its cells, can only do what we are programmed to do until the body of which we are a part finally releases us.

    So to that extent, people are doing what they are programmed to do and, in the face of ever more difficult times, trying ever harder. Just as, when you have congestive heart failure, your liver will still try to function, even though the resources to do that are shrinking and sometimes get cut off. It will even try to scavenge resources that other organs might need.

    Those of us who choose to cease behaving as we are programmed and do something else are a cancer, we are literally a threat to the system and we are treated accordingly. Think of the anger and rejection we cause as the body-politic trying to cleanse itself of a disease. The system has its homoeostasis and we are upsetting that balance so we have to go. It doesn’t matter whether our way might save the CELLS, we will destroy the BODY and the body is protecting itself.

    We are liver cells that have decided to act as brain cells and we are being rejected by the system, but “the system” doesn’t act, only its agents. The mockery and vilification and aggression are the system tools of a polity in the same way as white blood cells etc are the actors in defending the body system against damage and invasion.

    AS the constituents of an organism we will eventually change and be subsumed into some new form, just as a body is eaten by, and becomes the worm and the worm cast and then the tomato and then the bird that eats the seed that falls to the ground etc etc etc.

    But we can’t become a tomato directly and, to use the words of a friend of mine, “the transition is a bitch”

    #5388

    davefairtex
    Participant

    ash –

    I see what you’re saying, but I think we should be careful when assuming what material relationships we are actually going to lose before we decide to preemptively detach from them emotionally. I can imagine many scenarios in which we retain those to a significant degree, and I can also imagine scenarios in which the benefits of retaining certain relationships now are worth the pain we suffer when they are lost.

    I’ll say again, this is not about pre-emptively detaching from anything emotionally. And yet you will lose everything. Your job will most likely not last forever (unless you die in harness). So at some point, you will have to let that job go; perhaps at retirement, perhaps if you get laid off.

    I remember being very upset when I was laid off from a job many years ago. I was quite angry. I was unable to let go of my anger for far too long. Releasing the anger would have been much better for me; ideally I could have been angry for a bit, recognized it, released it over the course of a week, and then started looking for a new job rather than holding on to (what I felt was justified) anger. But that’s not the same thing as detaching emotionally from the job prior to being laid off.

    Perhaps another way of looking at this is as a technique for helping oneself get over loss once it happens – and also the desirability of doing this. Think of it this way. If you know that you can easily get over pain from loss, won’t it be easier and more fun to enter into relationships even more deeply? That’s the idea anyway.

    New Age covers a huge spectrum, as you say. Something that doesn’t fit nicely into one of the classic “isms” seems to be dropped into the New Age bucket for lack of a better home and that sort of thing has really permeated society – as you pointed out. Are yoga classes at the fitness center New Age? Probably in some sense, yes.

    Used only as a palliative (a pain-reliever) its about as useful as drinking, smoking weed, or other forms of self-medication although likely less impactful biologically. But if you are able to use your technique (whatever it is) to actually release negative emotion rather than simply covering it up or repressing it, then that’s a total win, since it is the retention of negative emotion that ends up inflicting trauma on the consciousness.

    It is un-healed trauma that causes us the biggest ongoing problems in our lives; death of a parent, a bad break-up, losing the perfect job, financial ruin, etc. Self-healing that trauma – well, that’s priceless.

    Different healing methods appeal to different people. I’m a big fan of the method that works well for you. It doesn’t have to be tied to God, or Buddha, or pick-your-religion – although it can be. As long as its about real healing, then I’m supportive, and I think you probably are too.

    #5389

    Ghung
    Participant

    “Culturally Programmed Myths of Omnipotence”…

    Unfortunately, it seems most folks are culturally programmed for socio-apathy; they basically don’t give a shit beyond their little sphere of things and their own short time-frames.

    There really is no “we”, except in the sense that “we are screwed”.

    #5390

    Adam Goodwin
    Member

    After reading this Site for sometime, I am still baffled that some people think a part of prepping for the collapse is ‘getting out’ of debt. Isn’t that the mentality that got us here to begin with? If everyone could ‘get out’ of debt, whence cometh the ‘crisis’? Isn’t ‘getting out of debt’ the same mentality of the slave saving up to buy his release from his master? It may work for some, but it certainly doesn’t work for all. If it works for all, then why call it ‘slavery’?

    I think the peak oilers and System critics I’ve seen in all of these limits literate debates need a healthy dose of anarchist scepticism of authority. The conclusions reached through criticism of the financial system via peak oil are the same conclusions that anarchists, like Peter Kropotkin, reached a century ago. For example, your ‘collapse’ is what Kropotkin termed expropriation.

    So you’ve become savvy of the unsustainable nature of finance, the pernicious nature of wage (debt) slavery, and the protection racket that is government? Welcome to classical anarchist thought! Whereas anarchists, like myself, _begin_ our analysis with a skeptical eye for coercive power, System critics take the long route to get to that conclusion. Does it really take complex analyses of markets, politics, geology, history and countless other fields to build an argument that could have been reached by simply holding the world view that coercive authority ought to be rejected in all cases and across all time, with no exceptions? Why have we fooled ourselves into thinking for so long that it’s OK for a man with a gun to take away our house or our car if we don’t transfer numbers on a computer screen or hand pieces of paper to someone that works in a reinforced building called a ‘bank’?

    #5391

    SteveB
    Participant

    Adam Goodwin post=5081 wrote: After reading this Site for sometime, I am still baffled that some people think a part of prepping for the collapse is ‘getting out’ of debt. Isn’t that the mentality that got us here to begin with?

    It goes beyond mentality into law, i.e., the so-called social contract. Is that what you mean to refer to rather than the thinking of individuals about their personal circumstances and behaviors within that system? In other words, are you really baffled that people living within a system think in ways that are congruent with the rules of that system?

    Adam Goodwin post=5081 wrote: Why have we fooled ourselves into thinking for so long that it’s OK for a man with a gun to take away our house or our car if we don’t transfer numbers on a computer screen or hand pieces of paper to someone that works in a reinforced building called a ‘bank’?

    Because most people haven’t ever seen a man with a gun at their door.

    I’ll pass on your medicine (got enough skepticism, thanks), but I’d like to hear your perspective on how we might successfully abandon/exit/whatever the system or at least what you imagine might be a better way to prepare for what’s presumably to come.

    #5393

    ashvin
    Participant

    SteveB post=5075 wrote: [quote=ashvin post=5074]
    What will I do as I encounter these (hypothetical) stressed people in the future? Judge them (because that’s what we do), question my thoughts, turn it around (“They shouldn’t be stressed.” Hmm. “I shouldn’t be stressed about them.” Yes, that’s better.), then be available to them in any way I can–and share The Work with them if they’d like to learn it. Kind of like the present. 🙂

    Maybe other readers will share an approach that they’ve found useful and effective in overcoming fears, sadness, anger, and other strong feelings (all of which I lived with for decades, sometimes to the point of behaving violently, even toward loved ones). If not that, maybe someone would be willing to fill out a JYN Worksheet (available on Katie’s site) to do The Work on “those people”, then share it here.

    OK, I found the worksheet on her site. Let’s apply it our hypothetical situation about your book on the use of money, and then you can tell me where we would take it from there…

    https://thework.com/downloads/worksheets/JudgeYourNeighbor_Worksheet.pdf

    Think of a recurring stressful situation, a situation that is reliably stressful even though it may have happened only once and recurs only in your mind. Before answering each of the questions below, allow yourself to mentally revisit the time and place of the stressful occurrence.

    1. In this situation, time, and location, who angers, confuses, or disappoints you, and why?

    I am frustrated (emotion) with the critics (name) because they irrationally believe the use of money is always a good thing for society, and they ridicule anyone who says otherwise.

    2. In this situation, how do you want them to change? What do you want them to do?

    I want the critics (name) to understand that the use of money is really destructive to human society and will end up harming everyone, including the critics.

    3. In this situation, what advice would you offer to them?

    The critics (name) should think carefully and rationally about how the use of money in society leads to selfish and greedy behavior in all spheres of life, undermining all the virtues of humanity.

    4. In order for you to be happy in this situation, what do you need them to think, say, feel, or do?

    I need the critics to read my book carefully, think about the arguments rationally, engage in discussion about them and see how they really make sense, without resorting to hateful rhetoric against me.

    5. What do you think of them in this situation? Make a list.

    The critics are irrational, reactionary, hateful, biased and culturally indoctrinated to believe the use of money is always good.

    6. What is it in or about this situation that you don’t ever want to experience again?

    I don’t ever want to be ridiculed and despised by greedy people who can’t let go of their irrational attachment to money.

    The Four Questions

    – They irrationally believe the use of money is always a good thing for society, and they ridicule anyone who says otherwise.

    1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.) – Yes

    2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.) – No (not really…)

    3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

    – I feel frustrated, disappointed, dejected and sometimes angry.

    4. Who would you be without the thought?

    – I would feel less perturbed, more satisfied, more accepted and more happy (wouldn’t I still be the same person?).

    The turnaround for statement 6:

    – I am willing to be ridiculed and despised by the critics.

    – I look forward to being ridiculed and despised by the critics.

    Turn the thought around:

    a) to the self. – I irrationally believe the use of money is always a good thing for society.

    b) to the other. – I ridicule/despise the critics for believing the use of money is always a good thing for society (or for them not believing that?)

    c) to the opposite. – The critics don’t believe the use of money is always a good thing and don’t ridicule/despise me for believing it isn’t.

    Then find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true for you in this situation.

    (not sure about this one)

    #5394

    Adam Goodwin
    Member

    Steve, You’re putting the cart before the horse. People don’t live ‘within’ the System. The System lives within them. The System is nourished through individual compliance (read obedience).

    Law is the same animal. Esoteric scribblings in a book locked away in some vault ought not to have an objective effect on your life, and it certainly will not align completely with your morality; yet, ‘law’ is _looked_ upon as having both of these qualities. That mass recognition is what gives law the appearance of being objectively and ubiquitously influential. This is just appearance and can only be sustained through persuasion first and coercion last.

    Fiat currency and the mainstream economy function in the same way. They require a certain amount of people to believe in the system for it to work. It’s as simple as that. Law and money mean nothing in and of themselves; they are guidelines and symbols.

    I have nothing to offer you in terms of advice for prepping for the collapse. Everyone’s situation is different. But I can only tell you that it’s the slave mentality that absolutely needs to be abandoned–whether it be now or later. It’s gotta go if any meaningful change will take place. The collapse of the dollar may spark that loss of confidence in authority as millions (billions?) become aware of the adroit deception and vicious betrayl that ‘authority’ has perpetrated on us for so long.

    This time will come, but I have absolutely no idea what comes after; just like I have no idea what decisions you’ll make in the future. I’m not trying to sell you any scepticism. Believe whatever you want; but, I can assure you that governance of the intricate and delicate political and economic system (namely, maintaining the status quo level of complexity) will become ever harder as we go along, until it becomes too difficult to sustain. Then people remove the system from their own minds and start making their own judgments and actions outside of the constraints of that system.

    But, I just can’t help but scratch my head when System critics advise people to ‘get out’ of debt. There is no such thing as a ‘debt crisis’. It’s a crisis of system legitimacy for those that benefit most from that system. People shouldn’t shy away from getting into debt right now; conversely, they should actively seek to get in more debt and then tell the ‘creditors’ to F off. If they use this ‘debt’ to get what they’ll need when the supply lines are choked off in the future, they’ll be ahead in the game. At the same time, they’ll also be accelerating the demise of the parasitic System, thus setting the stage for the liberation of the masses.

    Let me suggest a couple of good books by one of the most thoughtful of anarchists, Kropotkin. Bear in mind that these were written over a century ago, but still offer extremely valuable insight into understanding the System ‘crisis’ we are now facing. Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow & The Conquest of Bread.

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