Humanity Is Transforming In The Age Of Assange
We're waking up.
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Hippies are like ferrets— they sound cool in theory, but they’re a pain in the ass to live with. My opinion of hippies has been forever tainted by several months in my early twenties of listening to bizarre spiritual ego battles and house-wide feuds over which specific kinds of organic vegan foods are permitted in the cooking area, while nobody in our share house was actually buying groceries except me. Like all movements, the original kernel of truth in the zeitgeist of the sixties has gotten lost in the shuffle of time, and now it’s essentially just an identity people pin on themselves when they like pot and spiritual escapism.
That said, the aforementioned kernel of truth was very much a real thing. Something very real happened in the organic arising of the hippie movement, and they were very right about some things. That’s what I’d like to talk about here with you today, dear reader. I’d like to take a brief pause from making fun of the Washington Post and talking about what a ridiculous turd waffle Wolf Blitzer is and give myself permission here to kind of zoom out and talk about what all these political fireworks look like from a bigger-picture perspective as I see them.
So here’s the thing, if you’re still with me: those goofy hippies were right. There is indeed a great awakening in the mail. It’s taken a bit longer than they thought it would take, and it sure as hell doesn’t look anything like what they thought it’d look like, but it’s coming, and, unlike the initial spark of truth which appeared in their movement, this one can’t be shut down. No amount of cultural backlash or Nixonian drug wars or Reaganite yuppyism is going to get this cat back in the bag, because its carrying agent is so radically decentralized. The great awakening is not coming by means of psychedelic drugs as so many early hippies foretold, nor by communism, nor by the spread of eastern philosophy and Transcendental Meditation. It’s coming through the internet.
It’s not a coincidence that the most powerful political body on the planet has been ratcheting up media consolidation and expanding laws allowing surveillance and propaganda as the human species gets exponentially better at networking and sharing information. It’s not a coincidence that as information becomes more anarchic and democratized, the people in power have worked to bring virtually all media under the control of five massive corporations, which were seen colluding extensively with the Clinton campaign time and time again in WikiLeaks documents. It’s not a coincidence that a 1948 law forbidding the U.S. government from conducting psy-ops on its citizens was revoked in 2012 or that a “counter-propaganda bill” was signed last month allotting a portion of America’s defense budget to countering alternative media outlets that are critical of the U.S. government at the same time alternative media has begun presenting a very real threat to the official narrative. It’s not a coincidence that the board responsible for keeping government surveillance in check was killed the same year humanity’s newfound ability to share information changed the outcome of a presidential election.
America’s power structures are entirely dependent upon giving Americans the illusion of freedom while tightly controlling the information that they have access to. Before the internet, this was easy. The modern American schooling system was instituted by plutocrat John D. Rockefeller, who is generally considered the wealthiest individual in modern history. Around the turn of the last century, he founded the General Education Board, which was openly dedicated to producing predictable, obedient citizens to turn the gears of America’s booming industry. Critical thinking was completely deemphasized and rote memorization and obedience became paramount. Millions and millions of dollars were poured into teaching impressionable minds the established narrative about their country, and their place within that country. Combine that propaganda mill with the fact that corporatism means corporate media giants will become entrenched in the political establishment, and you’ve got a highly effective means of controlling the national narrative.
"The real difficulty is with the vast wealth and power in the hands of the few and the unscrupulous who represent or control capital. Hundreds of laws of Congress and the state legislatures are in the interest of these men and against the interests of workingmen. These need to be exposed and repealed. All laws on corporations, on taxation, on trusts, wills, descent, and the like, need examination and extensive change. This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations. — How is this?"
~ President Rutherford B. Hayes, 1888
This is no longer the case, and it never will be again. The ability to quickly transmit and access large amounts of data from anywhere in the world means that even though you’ve got all the talking heads on television telling you who the Good Guys and Bad Guys are in Syria, people are going to access information that goes directly against that narrative, and use their critical thinking skills to decide what seems to be happening. The organization founded by a man trapped in an Ecuadorian embassy can share the secret manipulations and lies of the political establishment for the whole world to see, and people will share and discuss what they find there. A 74 year-old democratic socialist can give the political establishment the fight of its life carried by nothing but public enthusiasm despite a thorough blackout by the mainstream media, forcing them to pull out all every dirty trick in the book until they got caught.
The ruling elites are losing control of the narrative, and it will only get worse for them. You can see this in the desperately transparent way they keep trying to manipulate people into focusing on Russia, and their pathetic attempts to paint all alternative media as either “fake news” or Russian propaganda.
I’m using the word “narrative” a lot because that’s what this whole struggle is about. At some point the ruling elites figured out that all they had to do to remain in charge is control the stories people tell each other about what’s happening, and all other forms of control are secondary. Power only exists where it exists because society agrees to pretend that that’s where the power is; power itself is nothing other than a conceptual construct invented by people. Same with money; if people stop agreeing to pretend that the numbers in people’s bank accounts mean anything, the economy will cease to exist, and people will have to figure out a new way to move goods around and get food into their bellies. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: whoever controls the narrative controls the world. And for the first time ever, the people in power are losing control of the narrative.
Anyone who’s ever had a sufficiently profound psychedelic or spiritual experience knows that it works the same way on a personal level as well. Virtually every aspect of the human experience is shaped and confined by the stories we tell about it. Your stories about what you are, what the world is, what other people are etc. completely determine the way life will be experienced on your end. Spiritual enlightenment could rightly be described as nothing more than an energetic disinvestment in mental narrative, a falling away of all belief in all mental stories and allowing life to be just as it is, with thought taking its proper place as the useful tool it was evolved to be rather than as the writer, director and star of the entire show.
In the exact same way, humanity is waking up as a whole. Not by a sudden increase in individual awakenings as the hippies envisioned, but collectively as we unpack belief in the stories we’ve been fed for as long as we can remember.
Most of my readers have probably had the experience of wondering why humanity is so crazy, why society functions so irrationally and so counter to our every fiber of intuition as to how things should be. Anyone who’s ever had to explain what war is and how it works to a small child is familiar with the shock and revulsion this alien concept elicits when it lands on fresh ears.
Why do we do these crazy things? We do them because we’ve been fed crazy stories, for the benefit of a few rich and powerful individuals. This is coming to an end. This is what we’re waking up from.
And this is what that looks like. This hot mess we’re in right now is what that out-of-left-field collective awakening looks like, orange guy and propaganda and McCarthyism and all. All the old stories are being brought into the light for questioning and analysis, and that’s going to look sloppy as hell sometimes, but they are coming into the light, for the very first time ever.
So hello 2017! You have arrived at the most exciting time in the history of the human species. Things are about to get very, very interesting.
Do you know who invented modern schooling? John D. Rockefeller. No shit.
The richest man in the world at the time, he invented a way to make his own slaves.
I heard there’s a saying in the military that a commanding officer spends 90% of their energy trying to discipline 10% of their troops.
I guess the idea is that most military personnel are relatively obedient and malleable, but ten percent of them are troublemakers, and those ones take up most of the energy.
I heard there’s a saying among schoolteachers about that, too. 90% of your energy trying to control 10% of your students.
It’s probably true of a lot of other professions.
Come to think of it, it’s probably true of everything.
Come to think of it, that might explain a lot about the way the world is today.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s why they stopped publicly executing people for insulting the king or disobeying royal decrees.
They figured out that they were spending ninety percent of their energy fighting that ten percent who wouldn’t fall in line, when all they really had to do was marginalize them.
The troublemakers, the rabble-rousers, the true artists, the furious dreamers, the critical thinkers, the clear-eyed mystics, the earth-talkers, the indigenous born outside the machine, the movers and shakers born to stop our species from resting on its laurels and becoming complacent in its evolutionarily unprecedented success as an organism.
All you have to do to reclaim that ninety percent of your energy is create a society where those dreamers can’t thrive.
I mean think about it. Kill one dreamer, then their friends and family get mad and you gotta kill them too, then their friends get mad and you gotta kill them, then before you know it you’ve got an insurrection on your hands.
Ninety percent of their energy.
Why go to all that trouble when you can just create a society where those people can’t thrive?
So they build schools to get in young, sort out the good little cogs who’ll fall in line from the other-beat dancers who won’t keep time.
Praise and reward the ones who color inside the lines, and everyone else gets told they’re not right.
Spend twelve years telling a kid he’s not amounting to much, and guess what? He won’t.
He won’t try. He won’t push back and fight the society that’s shaped all wrong and moves all wrong, even though every minute of his life might feel like a lie.
Won’t plant his feet and stand with the other ten percent and say “No! We refuse! We can’t do it this way!”
Then they’re grown up, and you throw them out into the world after a childhood full of confusion and dissonance, straight into a workforce where guess what? They gotta color inside the lines.
That way you don’t gotta kill them, see. They’ll kill themselves.
They’ll kill themselves. Maybe slowly, but they’ll do it, and they’ll stay out of the way while they do it.
They’ll do everything they can to escape this world that makes no sense and keeps punishing them and condemning them for being how they are.
A lot of them will do drugs to kill the pain. Make that illegal and you can take them out of the equation real fast.
They’ll throw themselves into the margins, anywhere that’s outside the critical gaze of the ruling class.
Drink, drugs, obsession, spiritual escapism, fantasy, sex, abusive relationships, television, video games, anywhere but any place they could take on a central role.
If they don’t die fast, they die slow, and they do it out of the way.
Well I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a raw deal to me.
Dreamers, we’ve been hurt. We’ve been pressed down and squeezed out all our lives, we’ve been beaten and we’ve been wronged.
But it’s time to stop dying and start living.
Not by coloring inside the lines, no! By doing just the opposite, and doing it loudly and unapologetically, right out in the open, in the brightest spotlight we can find.
Ten percent. That’s still a whole lot of us.
It’s hard to shift the momentum of something on your own, but our species is now able to network in a way it’s never been able to before. We can find each other now.
Find your real tribe. One that supports your weirdness and sees your beauty. One that builds you up when you do what you do instead of tearing you down for it.
It doesn’t take many, just enough so you can feel supported and loved when you’re at your weirdest and your most out-there.
And then push out, as loud and as bright and as shameless as possible.
Stop wasting your energy fighting against the kings on their terms, and start doing what you love, what you were born to do, whatever that is. We’ve all got something.
That’s really all it’ll take to turn this world around. To stop our species from resting on its laurels and rip us out of the inertia that’s gotten us into this mess.
Because that ninety percent of their energy? They’re doing other stuff with it now. They’re way too committed to way too many projects to go back to hunting us down.
The kings now have wars to fight and rainforests to bulldoze, trade agreements to pass and regimes to topple. They can’t kill us anymore, and we’re done killing ourselves.
So we shine. We band together, we ignore the kings and the Rockefellers and the pro-bono prison wardens who help shame us into the margins, and we come right out into the light and take center stage.
We come out of the shadows of escapism and shine as bright and as beautiful as we can, and never stop.
They’ll never know what hit them. The demons they’ve kept hidden from our light will be dragged out kicking and screaming where everyone can see them.
And we’ll point. We’ll point in the same way the heretics and dissidents pointed right before they were beheaded and burnt at the stake, and we’ll finish what they started.
Because they can’t kill us anymore, and we’re done killing ourselves.
~ Tim Foley
Thanks for waking up with me. If you enjoyed this, please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following me on Twitter, or even tossing me some money on Patreon so I can keep this gig up. Namaste. Seriously.