"Our lives, our fears, it all depends upon how we believe."--John Trudell, Santee-Sioux spokenword (c)hampion
Paths towards an in-the-heart solution
Solutions for those with the nerve to dig deeper than the "Known".
i compose text like a painter who paints many paintings at once. The
thought-provoking depth wants OUT, yet may not be fully de-abstracted
for weeks, and sometimes months, while i work on other similar depth
projects. In my case, these paintings are "edited" and re-edited so much
that were this text actual paint, it would be so THICKLY layered as to
turn into more of a sculpture! (heh heh)Sooo, dear reader, I suspect
that you will find this page a bit too wordy, tangent-tending, and not
easy to read (even tho this is the second attempt at editing); I hope
you will perservere, though, and at least scan/hop around for the
nuggets of value which i claim are here. Composing text is not "first
nature" for me...
points to be considered:
a dedication, intellectual self-defense, informal resistance consciousness
and pros and cons of formal organization, the meta game, wizards of Is, An explanation for Perpetual War, a new imagination, liberation of our desire and an obstacle, Continue the war, or understand and implement liberatory desires?
spirit liberation or psychological ju-jitsu, crazy people, a personal
example, another example, the problem of institutionalized fear.
Intellectual self-defense has been deeply articulated by the much despised
luminary, Noam Chomsky. Basically, the method is to "undertake a
course" (of self-instruction via Chomsky et al's *institutional analysis*) so
that we may better understand how we are collectively manipulated via
notable methods of thought control by major influence institutions: i.e.
the mainstream media and the State.
Additionally, John Trudell (still quite well-marginalized) articulated a
basis for Chomsky's idea in a broader way in his *We Are Power* speech,
back in 1980. Trudell basically says to look the 'virus' (or fever) of
coercive society's aggressions upon *all*; and unmask the value system
*behind* the hiding and often thinly veiled aggression. Speaking in his
art, sober speeches, and conversation (i.e. see Stickman excerpts) about
ways to avoid being *smashed* as well as dead-on insights about the
illusory nature of the military terrorism that tries to pass itself off as
'power' (thus going deeper than Chomsky's idea that such is "Real
Having digested much of this, I come away with the idea of conscious
utilizing (tooling) of the best of what formal resistance can offer, while not
letting its destructive sides tool us.
Formally organized resistance
Formal resistance, as the model lives in the popular imagination (and
especially the imaginations of institutionally "well-educated" persons (a
phrase to ask significant questions of)), brings into our imaginations
certain camoflauged angles which we need to scrutinize more carefully if
we are to see exactly when we become tooled and fooled. Now what
exactly is the definition of "formal" here? Formal usually (popularly)
means, even within extreme dissident circles (on both the Right and Left),
that "activists" utilize a way of doing things that is pre-fabricated. Usually
modeled on traditional European-originating theories, which in my view
are reflections of the severe wars of that history. Passed down as "the
only" or "best" method, without updating, users usually uncritically
accept the model, or are coerced into it (my own experience is more
"wise" activists seeking to manipulate by attacking my "ego" or "self-
Ideology in formal resistance
Let's take ahold of this way of coercing relatively inarticulate, or
newcomers to the formal scene. Basically, we are talking about ideology
(rigid belief systems as they occur in formal organizations).
The prevailing belief is that one must subordinate one's "serious" sides (at
the very least) of their individualities to this Given belief system. Once
you get into the middle of these situations, you can see that it is very
much like an organization of war--though appearing more benign at first
glances, like so-called "diplomacy".
Conventional imagination and reproduction of the social order
Formal organization also imposes a conventional imagination of
confining concepts like "memberships" and "leaders", "dues" and "social
ettiquette"; and a usually uncritical acceptance of the kind of orthodoxy
which provides these models of formal, "reputable"--or what is supposed
to be "serious"--organization in the first place. (Incidentally, this model
has, over and over, proven disasterous to groups not yet allowed "a place
at the table"--much less the 'right' to negotiate for their independent
Note: Among the most pointed examples of this disasterousness for groups not yet allowed such social *appearances* of acceptance, has been
the continuing havoc wreaked by legal and illegal official covert action
upon formal organizations since at least the 1950s; historians Bud and
Ruth Schultz (in It Did Happen Here and The Price of Dissent may
disagree, however). The best, most contemporary lessons, however, may
be gleaned from more recent events, such as the f.b.i.'s once illegal
Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO). (Much of the methods of
this program now appear to be legal, upon reading the ACLU's
interpretation of "The Patriot Act") For those into reading offline, try
that websites booklist.
Additional note: See also the trenchant post-left critique of organization,
by such marginalized luminaries as Venomous Butterfly and Feral Faun.
Question: Are there any "pros" to formal organization that you can think
of? Please read the section on the value of *informal organization* first!
"...Any politics we pick up and follow, they are...alien politics...[and] do
not reflect the reality of who we are, but our culture and art does. ...if we
are going to use [politics] then let's recognize that's what we are doing.
It's a tool. It's not an identity..."--an American Indian
Informal resistance, on the other hand, offers much more room, at least
as far as the informal member's individual imagination may be "allowed"
to go, since, members of this grouping stand on more equal footing with
everyone else, like any friendship.
With no clique (or hardline vanguard) to coerce or significantly
manipulate (as in Jaques Ellul's discussion of *when* propaganda is most
threatening) a friend's ideological conformity, or have *rules* and
interests to "protect" (i.e. the "survival of the project over its members)
which keep them from going into "dangerously" independent inquiry, or
even simply escaping the list of tasks and needs so "authoritatively Given
by organizational functionaries, informal resisters have much more
freetime to explore areas that interest them.
This especially rings true when we see that informal resistance motions are
usually made up of individuals who are oriented to working/playing on
their own, or with small groups of friends or "affinity groups". They may
come together in order to carry out direct actions, but most of their time
is spent doing activities they, individually, are enamored to. They remain
focused on the activities they're interested in, whereas in formal
organizations, they may become *burnt out* by tasks which run far from
their original desires (re: fund-raising, newsletter editing and mailing, and
other formal organizational wants). They can still take advantage of peer critique or support, when they ask, but the interaction remains much more oriented to directness, and has less of a chance to be clouded over by the need to conform ideologically, and remain "in good standing" in the formal
Further, when we organize ourselves informally, we are also not limited by
ideological demands about what sources we may make use of. In fact, we
may utilize a broad variety of resources. This is what has been called
creative self-mobilization... Myself, i've found much value in insights
found in methodological anarchy and situationism, as well as from
Reader's Digest and other places one wouldn't normally expect to find
gems. The trick is *reading between the lines* and keeping one's ability to
compare and try out, intact; this comes back to critical thought and
Finally, a word should be said about the way formal traditions have been made largely obsolete by the now legal hardline tactics of State coercion. Leaders & core groups, particularly, can be picked off by all manner of specious court actions & other warfare designed to further weaken the resources of the usually quite small core vanguard.
the meta game
"...I discover there is a meta-road...[Society] is playing a
game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them
I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me.
I must play their game, of not seeing the game."--R.D.Laing,
in a biography called A Divided Self p.151
There is something going on behind the scenes presented.
Persons called adults can see this in the way most parents and other groanups-er, "grownups", think about acting when kids are around. On the one hand, 'adults' act more freely when, say, they are partying together away from kids; then, if they are "learned" in what is considered "appropriate behavior" around kids, and kids come into their domain, they change their manner.
This is the same way that policymakers and elite implementers of policy think concerning those subordinate to them (at least in formal interactions, such as while on the job). Institutional analysts, such as Chomsky, have written extensively on this, if you care to look.
The more we look, the more we can see this type of meta game all throughout the imagination called "society" and culture, and as well, formalized concepts of organization and resistance.
So, again, we see parents and other 'adults' playing the game. We can also see teachers (and their bosses, in the school administration) playing it upon parents and kids. Administrators, in turn, play it upon implementers of policy called teachers. And elite policymakers play this meta game upon elite implementers.
All throughout "reality" as it is presented to us, we find this methodology at work. Who maintains this version of "The Way Things Are?" Is this method a conscious effort, in the heart of it? I tend to see it as a smattering of conscious beliefs and unconscious, or **internalized values**.
The sum situation is that most of us find ourselves neatly corralled and confined within something that is not always as constructive as we want; something that doesn't align with our desires; a something i call a situation like "Oz", as in the Wizard of Oz, where there is a man behind a curtain who is running a fake operation. But i go further and deeper, and call this prevailing and imposed imagination
Wizards of Is
**The Wizards of Is** keep us "properly" subordinated,
unthreatening, tooled, and mentally confined. We are modern-day
peasants with neon. Living in "dark ages with neon glasses" as John Trudell has shared.
Why this happens, why this meta game has to be played at all, probably
has the most to do with those elites running and maintaining our "information society" being, on the one hand, completely
subordinated to the needs and values of *propaganda* (see Jacques Ellul) THEMSELVES, & on the other hand, severely alienated from not only their 'publics' but also their self-desires found or perhaps repressed and forgotten in the deepest parts of these people's own being (or psyches);--inside their own experience of colonization into the dominating value system! One need only spend a little time in your typical boarding school or military academy (or even psychiatric hospitals) oriented to grooming the world's elite, to see the various coercions at work both by the school system and one's peers.
Why do none of the existing social challenger momentums (and imaginations) in the Left or Right (or in between and outside) find it "useful" to contemplate the reality that, at base, the worst aggressors (the most severely alienated and yet, "powerful", in terms of terroristic connections within the so-called "Legitimacy" of States) are THEMSELVES victims of conditioning not extremely dissimilar, in the heart, from the rest of us!
We are ALL initiated coercively into the Given or Spoonfed "Reality"; we are ALL coerced to silence or water-down our original, quite excellent spirits! So, it seems to me quite valid, quite USEFUL to understand this similar origin in which we all share!
The problem, as I see it, is that we are all divided away from each other, and consequently become alienated, and forget the value of empathizing with each other, basically. And in our alienation, we come to conclusions where we believe "We Know Best" for other groups of people (and individuals within such) whom we really DO NOT know!
An explanation for Perpetual War
To offer an explanation as to why European-based methods (which are, by far, the worst aggressors in the world) for relating do not take this into consideration, as far as i can see, may be because European experience may be so long-stuck in struggles for survival in quite crowded domains ridden with disease, cold, and lack of resources. So, a long heritage of all-out War may be the root of this truth. (As for the rest of the world, I admit lack of even a very good general knowledge, past a smattering of awareness.)
As a result of this orientation to War, all institutions and their public relations apparatuses utilize forms of
manipulation-or propaganda (see excerpts from J. Ellul here)--as THE method of choice for getting mass
audiences/"consumers" to pay attention, get connected into the system, and remain connected. In a basically WAR-oriented culture, the war of propaganda, of subtle and meta manipulation, instead of consensual communications at least systematically **tried**, comes with the territory. And
thus this game that "must" be played while not speaking of the game; and
those who do speak of it, being viewed as a danger because they might ruin a
particular aspect of the propaganda that "MUST" rein in everyone's mind-set; a belief instituted from our earliest socialization which, if challenged, has a way of messing with well-socialized people's ENTIRE worlds. And since we've all been forced into the places we now occupy, especially in our beliefs, FEAR is the immediate response!
a new imagination
The only way out that i can see, beyond continuing to naively strengthen
that (including propaganda) which systematically attacks all of us in
continually rotating ways (continually finding new differences amongst us
to exploit and keep us alienated or atomized, and/or against each other at all costs), is by escaping the heart of the situation, and bringing forth a new imagination. My study and experience leads me to the conclusion that FEAR, followed closely by severe alienation, and how persons who exploit these, is the heart or crux of our challenge as humans at this juncture.
To escape, we need to **liberate** ourselves from the imagination which has been
imposed upon ALL of us (including elite policy makers, as discussed above). And from times when war is or was viewed as the only option, as in the history of all so-called
"civilized" organization, as well as what is popularly believed of pre-"civilized" groups, like the American indigenous folks; that all "Have Always Been" committed to senseless violence, and that "This is the Nature of [Hu-]Man".
Yet I maintain that there is a context to that which cannot be
easily understood by domesticated man's severely confined imagination about what "Can Be Real". Take the following poem for example:
Indigenous folk of olde
were in harmony with
& when so, they tended
to reflect the spirit of depth
So, when the fever,
the virus, of
they perfected the
in the best artz they knew
or were trickily moved into.
Still perfecting now
with many many otherz
Othertimes stuck in
Perhaps a discussion of this orientation to reflecting should be gone into deeply elsewhere, but to basically go over this, and perhaps inspire further discussion, we see that formal institutions (of European origin) are seldom oriented to spontaneous wisdom and intuition, unlike the informal indigenous ways of, say, the Vision Quest, or even traditional dances (despite what is paraded for tourists). There is much more room amongst groups oriented to living harmoniously with nature, than those who seek to conquer it.
Liberation of our desires and an obstacle
We can see already where our desires tend to want to escape to, when we
think of young children of age 3 or 5. Their spirit is still full of the "spirit
of discovery" and the love of life; and the misery of "Reality" has not yet
been imposed upon them (via our social 'norms'). The lucky few (those who
see at least portions of this anyway) whom find time to walk down paths with them and notice
things that otherwise would be missed, says oodles about this all too
private joy, alone.
Parents have regularly spoken fondly of "being able" to "revisit
childhood" through their youngchildren. Through this imagination we
call "childhood" we experience a renewing of our own spirits, and this is
to be celebrated; yet, at the same time, due to our alienated
conditionining, this way has turned into a way which we *mine* for our
own nursings, while allowing little of their natural vitality to escape to where our children may grow and become enriched and thus genuiniely strong and capable.
In our generally single-minded, severely alienated interests (even unconscious), we've turned the
youngpersons moving through us into objects we use to live through. An object similar to what
John Holt identified as, in his book Escape From Childhood,
"superpet". A youngperson not allowed to be viewed as fully human
alongside us (thanks to the work of the convenient, and the systematically
superficial analysis of the highly political, state-subordinated, social
"No one is more truly helpless, more completely a victim, than they who can neither choose nor change, nor escape their protectors."--John Holt in Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children
Probably because of this value that we find in this somewhat natural time
of life, the whole realm of "childhood" has become a highly
sentimentalized and distracting time of all-too-escapist entertainment, aloof play,
unthreatening fantasy, industry and business, keeping the very *objects*
we claim to so avidly cherish and wish to "protect" locked up in this 'prison
garden called childhood' (As Holt characterized this situation; see also: Paul Goodman: Growing
Up Absurd and Gerald Farson: Birthrights). We think nothing of this,
until, for whatever reason, we finally allow ourselves to step back and
look at a bigger picture. (Perhaps we are moved by youth liberationists of yesteryear or today, or remember our own feelings as kids)
Continue the war, or understand and implement liberatory desires?
The trick, then, is to not allow our severely alienated desires to get the
best of us. To step back and look at what we are doing; to realize the value of being as conscious as possible --if in fact we are committed to any type of solidarity with or towards kids. This is the
juncture where liberation may be had, or where struggle/war may continue to ram forward, attacking our weakest points, like any war machine, towards the war machine's most severely alienated and increasingly unempathetic ends.
Even if that dissent is still "only" inarticulate--as we see with so many quite young kids whom also fall under the rubric of possibly "dangerous" dissent, re: "Oppositionally Defiant Disorder". Or, perhaps, like with the the earliest deployments of MBD/LD/ADD/HD/ADHD, kids are the easiest, least-protected front to begin a larger campaign of ever-more-clear Soviet-style psychiatrization of dissent.
"...A large part of this task is assumed by ideological institutions that channel thought and attitudes within acceptable bounds, deflecting any potential challenge to established privilege and authority before it can take form and gather strength. The enterprise has many facets and agents..."--Noam Chomsky in Preface to Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies
Liberation is the situation in which people learn the value of shirking off
confined imaginations about themselves and others. Liberation is when
many many people start to let their imaginations freer than ever thought
"possible" before. The 1960s/early 70s was such a time where serious liberation
(called a "crisis" by the ruling war order) gained a quite wide-spread momentum, and clearly had *begun* to take in-depth root. All too quickly
for the terrorist powers of everyday social and cultural "management" the "dangerous" example of a heightening black civil rights momentum
and its younger sister, the anti-war movement, inspired all sorts of groups and individuals to start imagining
that they might be able to be heard if they dared to speak up. So we had more militant challenges by the American Indians, women, gay men, even young people in the form of the *youth liberation* movement.
"Democracy was regarded as entering into a crisis in the 1960's. The crisis was that large segments of the population were becoming organized and active and trying to participate in the political arena. Here we come back to these two conceptions of democracy. By the dictionary definition, that's an advance in democracy. By the prevailing definition, that's a problem, a crisis that has to be overcome."--Noam Chomsky in "Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda"
Where the 1960s/70s liberation movement went wrong, in my view, is that
they got stuck up in the game that their consciously political "leaders"
played. Reformist-oriented or "revolutionary", the same underlying "Us
vs. Them" dichotomy was (and continues to be) as rigid and
not realizing the crucial value of radical empathy as the establishment! (Certainly, as well-domesticated, er--"educated"--as most European-hailing theory is, such refelction of the dominant culture would come as no surprise!) Of course, most of those who thought nothing of following along with the Givens, even in the "alternative" cultures, didn't see this, or didn't feel capable of pointing it out, or tried and were eclipsed bya much more clamorous, yet superficial, milieu. And so, for whatever reason, they didn't see that they were being manipulated against each other--tooled; for the needs and interests of their even more severely alienated "leaders" and owners, "managers", "influence professionals" and various other forms of puppeteers.
go to next section in "comments" section below; if it's not up now, will be soon; or see the badly edited version at: www.intheheart.net/going2heart.html
Section 2 includes:
Spirit liberation and psychological ju-jitsu
making sense to you yet?
a personal example: jumping into my fear
Another example: "Good Peasant, Bad Peasant"
the problem of the institutional fear