I'm really sick and tired of people accusing others of hypocrisy for trying to survive within a system that they don't support. I came across yet another example of this today. Click on the link, and scroll down to Knawhks' and Barakis' comments to see what I'm talking about. It's like telling a woman who's being raped by a much stronger assailant that she should either fight to her death or lie back and enjoy it. What the hell is wrong with you people? Are you trying to justify your "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mentality on the grounds that the few who refuse to play along willingly aren't martyring themselves to your satisfaction? Here's the thing; nothing changes until most of us want it to. It's no good pretending that you'll withdraw your support, later, maybe, once you can actually "do something". That chance will never come, unless you first withdraw your willing consent, and a lot of other people do likewise. Only then will it become possible to do anything about this. If you withdraw that consent, even if that's all you do, you are part of the solution. If not, you are the problem. Please don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise. "There's nothing we can do," is a self-fulfilling prophesy.
One common definition of money is: a symbolic representation of value. There is a hidden assumption contained in this idea; namely, that value is something objective. It's not. Clearly, we don't all value the same things. Most people do not value things like crack-dealing and human trafficking. But some do, obviously, or there wouldn't be so much money to be made from those things. One of the many destructive effects of using money is to render extreme value conflicts invisible.
Let's say I'm a seller of shoes. A customer enters my store and offers me money in exchange for my wares. I have no way of knowing how he acquired that money. For all I know, he may have kidnapped and sold a child for it. Let's say he did. In taking his money, I am essentially, although unwittingly, affirming that his act had value, and directly rewarding him for it.
The idea that value can be objectively represented is socially destructive and insane. It's also very convenient for psychopathic criminals, if the rest of us believe it can be.
I recently read a really brilliant jewel of an editorial piece, written by the UK comedian, Russell Brand. As usual, in the comments, he was criticised for not presenting a comprehensive solution. Said commenters have, most likely, been infected by a popular, apathy inducing belief: "Don't talk about problems unless you have a solution." I've no idea what universe they reside in, but in this one, some things have to happen in a particular order. First, one identifies and articulates a problem, then one understands it, then solutions become available. The fact that Russell doesn't have a solution does not negate the value of his criticism. He is right about the futility of voting. How ignorant do you have to be, to not know that it costs a lot of money to run a successful election campaign? That level of funding can only come from the very deep pockets of corporations and the super-rich. They like things as they are, and they don't bankroll candidates who would threaten their interests and privilege. He is right about the fact that the horrific suffering of billions, is required to maintain our present, competition-based system. He is right when he points out that the insane greed of a handful of psychopaths is hurtling the planet towards ecological disaster. It's important that these things be said. It is the first, and absolutely necessary, step towards real solutions.
Other people felt the need to accuse Russell of hypocrisy, on the grounds that he is allegedly very well off financially. Of course, if Russell were poor, those same critics would have dismissed the piece as a case of sour grapes. Personally, I think his decision to argue against his own position of economic privilege was an act of admirable and unusual integrity.
I also think Russell was unfairly accused of trying to incite revolution, without having any real ideas about what form it might take, or what consequences might follow. That's not how I interpreted his statements, nor do I believe that was his intention. He simply pointed out that a revolution is coming. He's right; a revolution is coming. Anyone who denies that, knows nothing of history, or isn't paying attention to what's going on around them. It's no longer a question of, "Will there be revolution, or not?" It's only a question of what kind of revolution it will be. It's high time people started talking about that, as well, before it actually happens. That's not irresponsible; it's the only thing that might, possibly, lead to a good outcome.
I'm really happy that someone as articulate, intelligent and influential as Russell Brand has broken the mainstream silence about all these issues at last. Good on him! He doesn't claim to have all the answers and I, for one, find that truly, refreshingly, honest and responsible. Clearly, he's not the one with a messiah complex. It's the nut-cases who expect him to either save the world single-handedly, or shut up, that have the messiah issues.
unpaid, unsalaried, without pay, without payment, free of charge,without charge, for nothing, for free; More
I have a problem with people who stretch the definition of "voluntary" to include actions motivated by coercion. For example, income tax is supposedly voluntary. Yup, it's entirely up to you, whether you pay it or not. Only thing is, if you don't pay, you'll be fined or sent to prison. Say what!? No really; you have a choice. You can volunteer to pay, or you can volunteer to go to prison. I'm not making this up. Free market ideologues like to use "voluntary" as well, in describing their preferred social system. As in: "Free market transactions are voluntary." I can't figure out if they're stupid, or lying, or just have their heads stuffed so far up their asses that they've forgotten what the real world is. So, if I'm a poor person living in some third world hell-hole, I can volunteer to trade my skills and resources for whatever the market says they're worth, (less than a living wage) or I can volunteer to be homeless and starving? Just out of curiosity, what is the opposite of voluntary? That would be "involuntary", I suppose.
The Empire is old; older than recorded history. We don't know where it came from or when. If that knowledge still exists, it has been well hidden. Today, the Empire covers the whole Earth, and few, even among its most recent conquests, remember a time when it did not.
The Empire is not a people or a place. It is a belief system, which gives rise to a particular social order. The Empire systematically destroys anyone and everything that is not of it. It requires that no alternative to its rule should even exist. By making itself ubiquitous, it acquires invisibility. Visibility depends on contrast, so the Empire allows none. On some level, it knows that humanity would not choose it, if humanity knew a choice existed. The Empire is anti-human, anti-nature, anti-life, and anti-love. Its hands are drenched in the blood of millions.
What is the Empire? The Empire, stripped down to its barest essentials, is the paradigm of domination and submission. Its motto is: "might makes right". It is the control system. While non-fictional references to it are as rare as hen's teeth, it appears in fiction with great frequency. Some well-known examples include: Sauron in "Lord of the Rings", the machine-mind in "The Matrix", the Borg in "Star Trek", and The Party in "1984". Philip K. Dick called it "the Empire", and described it as "a black, iron prison". I've chosen to adopt his name for it, since I have to call it something, and, officially, it has no name. I believe this lack-of-a-name is the main reason it is rarely spoken of in non-fictional terms.
The Empire is recognisable, in all its incarnations, by means of its characteristics.
1. The goal of the Empire is absolute, centralised control. The "new world order" is nothing other than the attainment of this ancient aim.
2.The Empire always portrays outsiders as uncivilised savages who must be forcibly assimilated for their own benefit.
3. Loyal citizens of the Empire always believe themselves to be "good guys" by definition. Acts that would be called crimes, if committed by its enemies, are always justified for this reason. Another name for this is: exceptionalism.
4. All social/political/economic discussion occurs within the limits of the Empire's belief-system. Alternative paradigms are ridiculed and dismissed as unworthy of consideration.
5. The Empire is founded upon a belief in the unequal value of human beings. This manifests as the class-system, eugenics, social Darwinism, and competitive economics.
Who controls it? The Empire is pyramidal in structure. It is an hierarchical system of top-down control. Whoever, or whatever, resides at the apex of the control pyramid, is unknown. The groups and individuals who openly wield power are not actually in charge. People like the Windsors and Rothschilds are high-level minions only. I strongly suspect that the Empire's true rulership is not even human. The Gnostics spoke of inorganic beings, called Archons, whose character and modus operandi are a perfect fit.
All who voluntarily accept the domination/submission paradigm are servants of the Empire. It's important to understand that domination and submission are both inseparable and relative. The Empire is not neatly divided into tyrants and slaves. It is only at the extreme apex and base of the pyramid that pure doms and subs are to be found. Most who serve the Empire submit to those above them and dominate those below.
How does the Empire rule and spread?
The Empire has employed three main tools for sustaining and expanding its power. They are: government, religion, and money. All three have been used to tangibly control human populations, but more importantly, they have served to maintain unconscious beliefs that serve the Empire. At any given point in the history of the Empire, one of the three has been dominant, while the other two have played supporting roles. At this time, it is money. This arrangement has proven very stable since, if the dominant element should fail, the others stand ready to take its place. The Empire will fall if all three are overthrown, and not until. Government is fundamentally irrational. Once upon a time, it was justified on the grounds of divine descent, and later, "divine right", but few today would accept that as reasonable. Nowadays, most people believe we need government because humans are too selfish, irresponsible and short-sighted to govern themselves. (I don't belief that, personally, but it is the modern, majority view.) It is alleged that people have to be controlled for their own good and the benefit of society. But, who is to rule us then? Benevolent extraterrestrials? Demigods? Who else but humans? Problem is; if humans are too selfish, irresponsible and short-sighted to govern themselves, how can they be trusted to rule over other humans? Doesn't it stand to reason that giving selfish, irresponsible and short-sighted humans the power to control other humans, greatly increases the harm they can do? (like war, for example.) Belief in the necessity of government requires the belief, conscious or not, that some humans are inherently superior to the rest, and that these superior humans are, by definition, those in power. Might makes right. The evidence of centuries be damned.
Religion needs further clarification in the context of the Empire. Not all forms of religion are useful to the Empire. Its religions are of a very particular type. The controlled opposition, steering the so-called "truth movement", has done a very good job of obscuring the real nature of the Empire's cults with their bullshit astrotheology. It has endeavored to paint them as paganism-in-disguise. This reversal of truth has been aided by an exclusive focus on the Mediterranean region, during a period when the fledgling Empire had already begun to infect those societies. A clearer distinction is visible when the Empire cults are contrasted to true paganism, as found among the uninfected indigenous people of the Americas. In fact, the Empire cults are distinct from paganism in important and disturbing ways:
1. Empire religions are book-based. Their books are declared to be infallible. Their stories are believed to be literally true, thus destroying any metaphorical value they might have had. The "letter of the law" is elevated above its spirit. This in spite of the fact that the definitions of words change over time, and are always open to interpretation. In contrast, pagan spirituality has no Books. It is organic and fluid. Its stories don't pretend to be literally true. They can change and evolve over time as required by the people that they exist to serve.
2. The Empire religions define their Gods entirely differently from paganism. The gods of paganism are symbolic personifications of abstract principles and forces of nature. They were acknowledged and celebrated, but only "obeyed" in the same sense, and for the same reason, that gravity is obeyed. Nobody is going to punish you if disregard the laws of nature; but you are probably going to get hurt if you do. The gods of the Empire go far beyond such sane limits. They tell you what to eat and what to wear. They demand obedience to bizarre dictates, such as the sexual mutilation of infants. The gods of the Empire are designed to establish a divine mandate for the D&S paradigm.
3.The Empire cults are coercive. Whenever they have had sufficient power, they have made unquestioning belief and obedience mandatory on pain of death. They threaten their followers with eternal damnation as punishment for lack of "faith" or disobedience, and heaven as a reward for total submission. This sort of tyrannical control is not an essential feature of paganism.
4. Empire cults are all rooted in the belief that humans are inherently bad, sinful, unworthy, and in need of salvation from their hideous selves. If you can get people to believe this, you can abuse them to your heart's content and they will accept it. The same dynamic is seen in domestic/child abuse. In fact, if you really want to understand the Empire and its methods, study domestic/child abuse, then scale it up. Once again, this feature is absent from pagan spirituality.
5. All Empire cults debase women. The reason for this is tied to the use of money. The ability of mothers to give in response to need, without expectation of personal gain, is an absolute requirement for the survival of our species. While the Empire cannot do without this, it also can't afford to acknowledge its high social value. To do so would undermine the D&S paradigm. The solution is to despise women and any social functions they primarily embody.
6. All Empire cults are divisive. They separate the world into Us and Them. "God" loves Us and hates Them, so anyone who isn't in the Us group is either an enemy or a potential convert. Prior to the rise of the Empire cults, religious wars were unheard of. They have been continuous ever since.
Money is the Empire's dominant control mechanism at this time. It is commonly believed that money "evolved" as a more efficient alternative to bartering. This is not true. It is a modern superstition. It's similar to the belief that the Earth was flat, in that it seems like it should be true, but isn't. According to those historians who have traced the real origins of money, it was actually created to facilitate, not trade, but tribute and taxation. Bartering is a more recent development than money. It is normally practiced by people who have been conditioned to use money, when money fails or becomes scarce. Societies who have never used money have gift economies. The indigenous peoples of the Pacific northwest, and others, confirm that this is so. This, along with their pagan spirituality, was what motivated the Empire's cultural genocide against them.
There is nothing natural or necessary about money. No other species displays anything remotely resembling value-for-value exchange. The nearest thing to it would be the symbiotic relations between different species. All social, mammalian groups function as gift economies.
The primary difference between gift and money/exchange economies is that, in the former, resources flow towards need, while in the latter, they flow away from need and towards sufficiency. In other words; if you have, you can get more, but if you don't have, you are screwed. In a monetary economy, those who have can take whatever they want, irrespective of other people's need. Once again, might makes right.
Monetary economies favour and reward those who are the best at taking more than they give. In this type of system, psychopaths prosper and rise to positions of power because they are the most ruthless takers. The social disfunction and corruption that exists today is the direct and inevitable result of using money. Money is a psychological disease.
The Empire's propagandists have succeeded in brain-washing it's subjects to believe that using money makes you free. It doesn't. The only freedom money gives you is the freedom to take without asking, and to force others to give without consent. This is the truth you didn't want to hear. No one can ever be free unless he will renounce both his own slavery AND the right to enslave others. This is precisely how the elite justify their predation upon you; they believe, and they're not entirely wrong, that you are as bad as they are. Worse, in fact, because you've sold out for far less than they did. They see no reason why they should not enslave you, so long as you are willing to see the same done to others. They're not entirely wrong, but they're not entirely right either, because while they did it knowingly, you did it because you were brain-washed, almost from birth. By them. And you did not consent to that conditioning.
Contrary to what neolibertarians and so-called anarcho-capitalists believe, you cannot have money without government. Money requires an issuing authority. Otherwise, you could just grab some paper and crayons and make your own money. And then what would be the point of using it at all? Gold and other precious metals are not money; they are only valuable commodities. Since they exist in finite supply, they could not physically replace fiat money without a massive reduction of human population, because otherwise you'd need a microscope to find your cash. A return to the gold standard would still require symbolic representation, and therefore an issuing authority. Whoever controls the money supply, controls the people. Those with the power to issue money are the government, whether official or not.
As I said before, the unholy trinity of government, religion and money, function in support of one another. If any one should temporarily falter, the other two could still maintain the Empire system. They are interchangeable in that they all serve to maintain top-down, hierarchical control. Revolutionary movements of the past have always failed because they overthrew the dominant institution, only to replace it with one of the others, or even another version of the same, while leaving the other two untouched. "Meet the new boss; same as the old boss."
The Empire will not end until enough people are able to see it for what it is (the D&S paradigm), instead of being distracted by the changing masks it wears. I don't see this happening any time soon. All I see is people criticising government while supporting money or religion. or attacking money while advocating totalitarian government. Meanwhile, those in the top tiers of the power pyramid are laughing at all your futile attempts to be free. The PTB don't feel threatened. Why would they? There is no great awakening. Not yet, anyway.
I do regret having to end on such a downer note. I wish I could say something more hopeful. Then again, if the truth was what people wanted to hear, they would have heard it by now. I begin to wonder if our attachment to hope isn't what's blinding us to what we need to see. Hope is rooted in fear, every bit as much as its compliment, despair, but they are not the only choices. One's actions need not, and should not, depend on any expected result. For myself, I don't think it matters whether I'm on the winning or losing side of history. I don't believe anyone can be called free or awake who doesn't get that. My name is not Saruman; I won't ever give the Empire my loyalty or consent. I'll resist it and undermine it as long as I live, because I'd rather die with spiritual integrity than live as a coward. I haven't found non-attachment to the result of this struggle to be a cause of despair, but rather a source of inner peace. In being true to my Self, I am free in the ways that matter most.