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July 2011

Toward simplicity and toward the truth

Life isn't that complicated.  There are things we do that make us happy and minimize our negative impact on the world around us.  Simple things make us happy -- authentic relationships, beauty, pleasant moments, laughter, great sex with a real person, wine, pot, family, music, stories, swimming, playing sports, games, dancing, debating, eating great food, presenting ourselves well, expressing our taste, helping others, listening, apologizing, accepting, exercising, empathizing, and working on projects we choose (on our own terms).  Few would disagree with this list (though I'm sure more could be added). 

When we immerse ourselves into the things that make us happy and content, we are living according to our nature.  Wouldn't free people living in a true democracy demand a system within which the government and economy supports a lifestyle that involves more of what makes us happy and requires less of what pulls us away from doing that which we desire?  If so, what exactly holds most of us back from living the way we want?

The world's ruling elite, those top few hundred puppet-masters who shape our society, have their own plan for us.  They know that, when we are doing that which we love, we are useless to them.  So if we are to serve their interests, the ruling elite must find ways to distract us, to trick us so that we conform to their desired behaviors.  They enslave us through a system of relentless propaganda and of real consequence that generates crippling fear and false hopes.

Propaganda:

Most people no longer know of a non-Corporate media.  Nearly every magazine, every book, every TV show, movie, news program, billboard, and newspaper is controlled by a self-interested set of ruling elite who are interested in maintaining the system they call Capitalism.  In real terms, they mean Corporatism.  We all know that a corporation's only mission is to maximize profits...to take as much of your money as possible!  Think about that for a second: all of our information comes from organizations that openly state that their goal is to exploit us to the highest possible extent!  This extensive system of corporate propaganda is designed to instill fear (images of violence, crime, terrorism, and tragedy) and false hope (glossy magazine images of beauty, coverage of celebrities, advertisements, and false "Hollywood" plastic that has nothing to do with real life).  This (along with religion) is our system of illusion, but there is also a system of real consequence.

Real consequence:

The same set of Ruling Elites and their powerful corporations also have also obtained an extraordinarily high level of control over governments (even supposed democracies) around the world.  Government Representatives are not at all interested in quality-of-life issues.  They do not serve us.  They are not concerned with our well-being and happiness.  They are serving the powerful elite (who contribute to the political campaigns of and provide media exposure only to favored candidates willing to serve their interests).  Once again, the goal of this system is to exploit us to the largest extent possible...to take our money, to enslave us to debt, to fail to provide a true education that includes critical thinking, to make healthcare unaffordable, and to otherwise create conditions that bread enough misery to make us actually aspire to spending 40 - 70 hours per week in a gray cubicle staring at a computer under a neon light (or working on an assembly line, or working the night shift, whatever).  We do this from real, justified fear (that we will not get healthcare and die from illness, that we will not be able to afford a home, or will not have enough work experience to get a good job in the future) and from false hopes (that we will retire with enough money to finally live well and realize all of our dreams, that possessions bring happiness, that there is a functioning corporate ladder with riches and status awaiting us if we work hard enough).

When we are tricked and pulled away from that which makes us happy, that which is an inherent expression of human truth, we feel an unbearable void of both misery and desire.  We become radicalized, want more in an attempt to make us happy (a mini-mansion, a new car, plastic surgery), or become paralyzed and miserable by constant, overly-politicized thought.  Those very few who actually understand what is happening in this sick society may decide that their life is meaningless if they cannot succeed at changing the world!  Indeed, we begin to feel as though we either must succeed at a mission handed to us to by the ruling elite (by becoming a great employee, celebrity, good Christian, or rich business owner) or we must succeed at changing the entire world to reflect our own values.  But this is an impossible choice and I refuse to accept those two options.

The world will not change because we are brave enough to ask it to.  In the end, we are mere individuals who must cope with our own lives within a system of rule that is functioning exactly as it was designed to...exactly as it was intended to.  You cannot go to your employer and ask them to stop exploiting, or to Facebook and ask them to stop advertising and selling your personal data, or to your nearest Church and ask them to stop lying about history.  The individuals, organizations, and systems that rule us and govern our lives are not going to change unless they collapse under their own dreadful weight.  So it is not your life mission to fix all of this!  And don't you dare shift that impossible mission of changing the world onto me just so you can feel that your life has meaning.  You are doing that only to validate your own convictions, which were only handed to you by the movement you subscribe to.  But where exactly are you in this?

Your life, your being, your existence has inherent meaning.  Your meaning is in your DNA, your unique experiences, your unique voice, your eyes, your smile, and your ideas.  Your meaning is in your uniqueness.  That's because we are all creatures of evolution.  The purpose of each organism is merely to be the unique genetic mutation that it is.  The extent to which that organism brings its uniqueness, its realness, its authenticity into the larger population is the extent to which a creature has life meaning.  The process of finding and expressing your meaning does not involve guilt, does not involve conforming to a social or political movement, and does not involve being an efficient robot.  Actually, it might simply be found in that list of simple things at the top of my post.  Those are the conditions that allow us to be fully human and to reach our potential as humans.

When our time is filled with more of these simple things that align with our nature, when we are expressing more of who we truly are in an authentic way, then we are actualizing ourselves and giving our lives the greatest possible meaning.  In the process, we're not exploiting, we're not shopping, we're not turning our minds over to propaganda, and we are naturally polluting less (without any effort or discipline). 

But how are we supposed to find time to do these things when we are worried about losing a job (and, thus, losing health insurance)?  How are we supposed to find people within this sick society who share this vision...this desire to live in a basic, human way without shame?  Those are really good questions.  Those are the questions I set out to explore when I left my gray office cube in Seattle more than 6 years ago and set out for a life of freedom based in Eastern Europe.   Those are the questions I've been addressing ever since on the Abscondo blog, in my music, and in my podcast.  There are many of us out here who have come to this logical conclusion about our place in the world.  As we listen to our inner-voices, as we get our hands dirty in the real world, as we cross barriers and break taboos, as we do those simple things that humans desire, all of the answers we need are beginning to take shape.  This is not hopeless after all.  More to come.

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).