I realized a while back that living life the way I was taught didn’t resonate in my heart. It didn’t seem right to simply go about “my life” while there was so much suffering around me.
I worked in a restaurant and saw carcasses of caged animals ripped up and cooked for people’s pleasure. And I saw some of these animals (as well as healthy food) carelessly discarded while there were people starving.
I repaired printed circuit boards that were used in aircraft instrumentation – until I discovered that some of the work, which required a higher standard, were being used in weapons to potentially kill people.
I worked in construction and saw people with plenty of money receive tax breaks for destroying a building that was in perfect condition and building a new one, while wasting materials, crowding our landfills with toxic substances, making significantly more money than the people who did the actual work and all the while knowing no one needed the building. It would eventually be purchased by a huge corporation to spread out their over-consumed products simply to prevent their competition from owning it. Or I helped build houses, often for wealthy people who already owned a house, that required the destruction of trees and other plants, the habitat of animals which were being forced to contend with an unnatural landscape in overcrowded conditions. I saw some of the victims mangled and flattened on the sides of roads.
To exist in a nice house, drive a personal vehicle, eat three meals a day (of food steadily decreasing in nutrition), spend an extraordinary amount of time and resources on entertainment and work a job that very likely does little except increase the bank accounts of people that have more money than they need is defined as normal. This definition is given to us by those who either develop the indoctrination used to control the majority or is “innocently” (ignorantly) spread by those among us who blindly believe it.
I bought it when I was a kid. I believed that working hard would bring an ever increasing income which would allow me to live a comfortable life in a house I owned in a neighborhood I enjoyed among people who enjoyed many of the things I enjoy. I thought that there were rules designed for most of us, obeyed by most of us. (I learned fairly young that there is a small group of predatory beings who direct much of what we think of as democratic legislation and the normal evolution of social issues, but felt far removed from them). I believed those rules were meant to ensure a modicum of justice and fairness, to “reign in” the few who were overly ambitious.
I wrote songs about it for years, but too few people seemed interested in weird (different than what they usually hear) jams of screaming and crying guitar, funky bass, percussive beats and trippy journeys of imagination fueled by snippets of dialogue enhanced with electronic effects. I tried to teach, I tried different avenues of thought in my lyrics – from political ideology to social issues to cryptic poetry, but nothing caught on. My voice didn’t cut it and the singers I worked with weren’t interested in teaching. They were interested in fame and fortune. Sadly, most of them wanted to sound like someone else.
Then, I figured I’d try simply writing words. I decided to continue trying to help people remove the veil of self deception from their eyes and the chains of mindless obedience from their hearts, the socially acceptable obstacles to actual freedom. It didn’t seem that life was worth living without that freedom.
I’ve struggled in recent years as I’ve straddled a constantly moving fence of observations and feelings between believing I was doing my part to effect change and sadly succumbing to a “realization” that I make no difference in the world whatsoever.
Through decades of experience I’ve learned that the rules most of us live by were designed by those who mean to control the thinking of the majority of us which, in turn, allows them to control our behavior. This has enabled them to design a well-oiled machine in which we are the moving parts and the false dreams they sell us are the lubricant. They’ve taught us not only to use this lubricant, but to use it on ourselves to “grease the skids” as we plunge into trapped lives of desire, ignorance and debt. The various versions of desire are the veils which disguise our ignorance as patriotic obedience, an honorable work ethic or some other clever deception created in a sterile laboratory of propaganda manufacturing. The debt is the wonderfully gilded cage we imprison ourselves inside while adding our own touches of self-delusional beauty to add layers of obedient acceptance which deflect attempts to break through to awareness. Instead, we see a reflection of what we want to see (or, at least, what the “powers that be” convince us to dwell on).
How much is self-induced obedience in the desire to fit in?
How much is manufactured by the prophets of deception?
Dogmatic belief is a powerful tool of self-deception. Standing up to speak out when you feel alone requires courage. Many a moral stance has been blunted by fear of the (sometimes) solitary confinement of selflessly educating those who accept things at face value. A comfortable imprisonment appears to be a more acceptable existence than a lone stand of courageous defiance against something we see as evil.
Comfort is nice, but at what point do we decide that the price is too high? Is it when we give up our personal dreams to become part of the inexorable machine that is modern society? When we sacrifice integrity to allow for the deceptively violent ambitions of the “leaders” among us to swallow whole the hopes and dreams of others? When we allow our brethren to suffer in silence the cold of a cruel existence in the filthy streets of our cities? When we expect some of our children to go without clean water and nutrition in order for some of our children to inherit obscene amounts of wealth unimaginable to most of us?
We write our essays and talk to each other about our concerns and we rant and rave about the disgustingly sociopathic behavior of those we charge with protecting us from perceived enemies, but what are we accomplishing? Are even those among us with a conscience and a healthy amount of empathy still a little too comfortable? Is personally suffering in poverty what it takes these days to develop the necessary intensity to fight past the many hurdles placed in front of us to create change in a system we know in our hearts and minds is deeply flawed? Is it OK to do just enough to assuage our consciences and go back to what we enjoy?
I didn’t intend this to be accusatory. Maybe it’s something of a challenge. I’m wondering what it will take for us to become civilized and, as usual, am becoming impatient as I see horrific conditions thrust upon so many fellow beings day after day. I’m trying to figure it out without indulging in violence. Violence is not the proper tool to use against violence. This should be obvious when you are up against people who are more violent than you.
I’m asking questions. I’m trying to provoke. I believe we need to be poked and prodded into taking actions that are unexpected by the rulers. I’m talking about actions that will inspire and bring more people to a place where we will no longer accept things at face value and simply “take care of our own.” That is an example of expected behavior that the powers against us count on. They manipulate us through behaviors they design and if we make an attempt at changing our way of thinking and come up with creative alternatives to the “same ‘ol, same ‘ol” actions, we have a chance at not only survival, but at being who most of us would like to be.
I have to say that I honestly believe that everything that happens is meant to happen. I also believe that we are all paying the price we agreed to before we entered our current lifetime. However, I don’t believe that that’s the entire story. We need to learn and we need to act when inspired to do so. Passively feeling empathy and crying tears for those in need isn’t enough. We need to use those feelings as fuel to drive each other closer to that day when we no longer see people viciously inflict suffering on others. We need to reach out and make sacrifices. That is what many of us tell tell each other, isn’t it?