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.