There are invisible rulers who control the destines of millions. It is not generally realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes. Nor, what is still more important, the extent to which our thoughts and habits are modified by authorities. In some departments of our daily life, in which we imagine ourselves free agents, we are ruled by dictators exercising great power. Edward Bernays, Propaganda
People love their fiction. They’re absorbed in their stories. They emulate the characters they admire and believe it’s all harmless fun. Though that’s not really the case, is it? Is it ever only entertainment? Have we ever wondered why the plots and dialogue are fashioned the way they are? Tough questions like these might just be too much for people. Once lured too deep into the fiction, they lose their bearings. They have trouble finding their way back. That might not even matter as they enjoy deceiving themselves. Like the famous actors we recognize on screen, they have their own starring roles, and they love it. They love playing characters. Although, the characters don’t really exist, do they? They exist as two dimensional images captured on a roll of film. They’re encoded into ones and zeros on a hard drive. Reality as they know it is one tremendous, elaborate lie. At first glance, the lie might seem comforting, but it really isn’t. It’s definitely more torturous. They forfeit their true identities and once that occurs, there’s a chance they might be lost forever. Unfortunately, people have been functioning in the pseudo-reality for some time. Playing the character has become second nature. This transition makes them more malleable than they previously were. They presume to know what they like, but the writers told them what to like. They presume to know what to say, but the writers instructed them on what to say. People are characters. They are lifeless, carved wooden figurines; they’re works of imagination found in fables and fairy tales.
Pain is inevitable and so is suffering. Many believe otherwise, but suffering is not optional. Those who disagree inevitability deny the nature of existence and as long as there are hearts and consciences, there will be suffering. We can bury our humanity. We can cremate our care, but what we can’t do is deny our humanity or at least what’s left of it. In this world, can we realistically and consciously choose not to suffer? When bureaucracies bleed dry the heart of humanity, can we really not suffer as a result? I don’t think so. As in the Japanese movie, Ikiru, the cowardly bureaucrats ignore the plight of the people. They take no risks. They sit down, shut up, and obey their orders. This is the pitiful nature of the bureaucrat. They prioritize keeping their jobs, not challenging the status quo over improving their own community. It is a sorrowful situation, but doesn’t this sound familiar? After all, bureaucrats today are so terrified of endangering their means of a regular income that they end up valuing self-interest over compassion. Staying employed is the chief priority. Being a good person is at best secondary. Despite these moral failings, their fear over losing status is actually valid. A civilization centered around money has little to no remorse. Without a respectable livelihood, our society, which is only civil on the surface, swiftly casts you out. You will be stigmatized and quarantined. It will be as if you were infected with a deadly contagion. Is this what it means to be human? We forsake and despise each other for such insignificant conditions of life. This is what happens when we permit suffering to fester and destroy ourselves. We can do better. We can do better by channeling our collective suffering into bettering the world.
Everyone has their tragic life story. In certain ways, each of us experiences life kicking us into submission. Our eyes and our mouths swell, bleed, and collect bits of dirt. We can classify this experience however we want. We can describe it using abstract names like oppression or discrimination, but this beating is not particular to you. Granted some have it exponentially harder than others but in reality, life’s boot has no eyes to see. The boot doesn’t see race, nationality, gender, nor creed. The world isn’t against you personally. If you feel personally victimized, get over yourself. The world is just that callous. The world is just that ruthless where you’re crawling out from underneath its boot, and the sun maims you. The insects burrow into you. The wind embeds dirt into your flesh, and the boot keeps kicking. Even as you lie still and mounds of dirt build on top of you, the boot doesn’t stop kicking. It takes a tremendous amount of strength to even stand up. Although, if we can’t get off our stomachs and our knees, what does that accomplish for us? We stay down, and we join the ranks of the living dead.
Every period has its bias, its particular prejudice and its psychic ailment. An epoch is like an individual; it has its own limitations of conscious outlook, and therefore requires a compensatory adjustment. ~Carl Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul
Balance is the magic word. It opens doors. Not only figurative passageways but it opens actual, physical doors. Take a car just submerged in water for example. The pressure imbalance holds the doors tightly shut. For the opening to materialize, the pressure must equalize. Once equilibrium is complete, life can resume and possibilities can flourish. The human intellect seeks this balance as well. We trap ourselves and create unnecessary problems if we give too much importance to a particular viewpoint. Time and time again we realize our speculations and agreed upon truths were imperfect and were unable to hold up against impartial scrutiny and behaving like the fools we are, we swing our theories and facts completely in the opposite direction. We overcompensate for our inaccuracies. As we do this, we catapult ourselves further away from truth. Today we completely disregard archaic wisdom in favor of scientific materialism and end up almost as blind as our ancestors. Our ancestors placed overwhelming emphasis on the supernatural. We do the same today with science and technology. Science squashed the supernatural, and in many ways we benefited from that. However, the choice to depend wholly on science is marked by serious flaws. Science only studies and diagnoses the physical heart, and it neglects the intangible, the heart and soul of humanity. How can the intangible heart be salvaged? How can the meaning of life be resurrected? We live in times of strife and human indecency while under the supreme authority of science. By overemphasizing matter, we’ve been hit with a spiritual crisis.
The world pays no mind to what we think makes us happy. Do we even dare to say what makes us happy? Are our thoughts even ours, or were they surreptitiously planted by ministers of propaganda? This might sound far-fetched, but fools scoff at being shown who they really are. That’s how ignorance reinforces itself. Ignorance behaves like a parasite that obstinately stays alive no matter the deadly strain put on the host. Ignorance turns us into empty vessels too. As hollow and vulnerable beasts, we allow our base desires to dictate our words, our choices, and our likes and dislikes. We need to watch out as this can be exploited. Armed with this information, knowledgeable men mold our desires to a form they deem appropriate. What’s more worrisome is that they could, at their discretion, even implant new desires, new desires as in new opportunities to exploit. That’s why it’s more important than ever to master the self. Our world disseminates half truths and outright lies. The same world jams honest transmissions expressing pure truth. As long as we’re slaves to our desires, whether sexual, social, financial, digestive, or psychological, we’re apt and ready tools for powerful men of industry. Only when we once more value virginity, restraint, and temperance will we earn our emancipation from this fallen world.
There’s no running away from garbage. Not even the modern aristocrat is safe. The waste we discard, bury, and burn finds its way back to us and eventually, we even find it in our bodies. Don’t we see the beauty of this justice? Karma teaches us the value of discipline. If you don’t clean your mess, the mess will infiltrate your entire being. The mess will swell the body, mind, and soul until all three burst into tiny floating particles. Unfortunately, we’ve neglected the mess for too long. It casts a long shadow. It is daunting, but fleeing is not a viable option. Stop eschewing our responsibility. We know we cannot indefinitely create products that become obsolete moments later. We know infinite growth was a lie that motivated us to work harder for the promise of a better tomorrow. We poison the environment, but I’m not saying the Earth isn’t resilient. I am saying this: Watch our contributions to the world. As long as we’re in this mess of a society, we don’t have to stoke the flames and torture ourselves further. If not us, someone else will pay for any damage done. Let’s mature beyond our fanaticism and militant environmentalism. Stop trying in vain to save the planet. Let’s concentrate on clearing away our own portion of the mess. The rivers run on this planet like the blood in our veins, and we treat them both with the same lack of respect.
Light, as it penetrates our lenses, makes our sight possible. Keeping this in mind, let’s be honest with ourselves. Let’s truly see the world as it is. We can observe the light flickering, warping, and waning. What happened? Did a thief capture the light? Or was there always some sacred cow blocking it? Government may have subdued the violent, impulsive beast in most humans but even in the midst of an abundance of information, the human intellect is reverting to a state of proud, corrosive ignorance. Maybe the degeneration exists for a valid reason. Maybe it’s an accommodation for an oncoming dark age. We do have our own preferred methods to shape the world to our liking. Indeed, society desperately needs reorganization. Today, humans inflate their egos with toxic lies and engorge their bodies with toxic junk. The human mind is deteriorating. Our potential to self educate has never been greater. Though instead of expanding their minds, many humans react to unfamiliar ideas, new perspectives with vitriol and ad hominem attacks. This behavior is symptomatic of broken lenses and faltering light. We’ve made progress, but we still have much ground to cover to improve the human condition. What have you and I done lately? What have we done to restore the light and repair our lenses?
Beware of choice. Due to its nature, we’ve all played Caesar and crossed the Rubicon. Sometimes there’s no rolling back our decisions, no undoing our actions. We can carve out a path that cannot be unmade, and this might cause tremendous regret. Regret motivates us to fix the situation. Though it’s insane trying to mend broken glass with our hands. The glass shards cut, our frenetic hands bleed, and the glass cannot be unshattered. Our familiar days will fade in memory. The ramifications alone compel us to make sure we’ve chosen right, to make certain we’ve broken the glass for good reasons. As the glass cannot be pieced together, we must accept the consequences no matter how dire and sorrowful and prepare ourselves for the next series of choices. Even declining the offer to choose is a choice. Even committing to the safest choice can spawn a whole host of troubles. Not all choices can redesign, rebuild, or demolish our life as we know it but as we press on, be warned. The doors from our past may become permanently sealed shut.