Posts Tagged internet

Apocalypse? Or Earth Rebirth? A Smaller Number of Us — Standing in the Right Place and With a Lever Big Enough — Might Be All That Is Needed to Move the World

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A Smaller Number of Us Can Make All the Difference in the World, Literally, by Tipping Our Course One Way as Opposed to Another: Moving the World – A Race Against Time

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Apocalypse – No! Chapter Fourteen:
To Move the World – A Race Against Time

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Apocalypse? Or Earth Rebirth?

The Evidence for Change Occurring

Finally it is time to answer the question posed by this book: Apocalypse? Or Earth rebirth? Knowing apocalypse, we can now declare a hearty No! to apocalypse.

clip_image001Our answer begins by pointing out that we have discovered, in this book, that there are things that can be done to prevent our extinction and, on the contrary, bring in a new dawn of harmonious cooperation with the forces of Nature. In the last five chapters we have seen that there is evidence of a collective change in consciousness occurring. A radical change in our attitudes to war, racism, the environment, and even spirituality—and thus to the very way we live our lives—is manifesting in our culture, the youth of the world, our children, and is even popping up in our collective dreams.

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Natural Law

clip_image002In addition we are aided by some fundamental processes of natural and cosmic law. In preceding chapters I have pointed out how both our nature inside and Nature outside seem to be conspiring to force us into the changes necessary. From this perspective we are in the hands of natural law, and its homeostatic mechanisms may bring us into line in ways unimaginable, beyond even the speculations I put forth in our attempt to see “through Gaia’s’ eyes” in Chapter Seven.

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Visible and Invisible Allies

clip_image004Furthermore we may be aided by unseen forces and entities of which we know not and may be incapable of knowing. Though I think it foolhardy to sit on our hands and hope that some intergalactic or spiritual cavalry will arrive to save the day at the last moment. Still it is eminently reasonable, considering the minuscule knowledge we have in relation to the immensity of All That Is, to put aside our familiar hubris and at least consider the possibility of aid from higher forces or entities.

Indeed, there are many people in this day and age who believe that particular forces have come together at just this juncture in time to aid us and to ensure our success. clip_image006Who knows why?

Perhaps it is because our interconnectedness with Everything requires that we not fail, for it would have detrimental effects on things of which we do not know. I must confess that I myself have received knowledge of such help being given us. [Footnote 1]

Similarly there are others who believe that God will not allow His/Her creation to be destroyed and did indeed come in the flesh to ensure its success. [Footnote 2]

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Cosmic Law

clip_image008And there may even be cosmic laws at work. “Truth has its own momentum,” said one of our workshop participants. My wife and I conducted workshops in what we call primal breathwork, which is based on the Holotropic Breathwork™ of Stanislav Grof. In these workshops, which involve access to all aspects of the unconscious, including the spiritual/transpersonal, the biographical-psychodynamic, and the sensory, as well as the perinatal, it is not unusual for us to witness people being motivated, because of their profound transformative experiences, to commit themselves with all their being, talents, and resources, to aid in the processes of renewal on this planet.

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But Is It Enough?

Don’t Expect to See It on Cable News

But some might argue that there are not enough people changing. You might easily get that impression if your prime source of information is the mainstream media of the cultures of the world. For it is in the interest of the dominant media of all lands to support the status quo—for economic, as well as political reasons. They are not likely to report the new and controversial.

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clip_image009In fact, the proof of this is that when truth is truly democratized and shared freely, as on the Internet, the information that comes out is drastically different from the sanctioned news sources. Indeed, we have seen the social media and the Internet leading in many areas, from Wikileaks to Mideast revolt, everywhere and anywhere. Like a tail wagging a dog, the Internet has been the first to expose information that the controlled media, who knew of it but repressed the information, only afterwards were forced to present.

So don’t expect the paid-for media to give you an accurate portrayal of what is truly new and breaking or for them to accurately reflect cultural changes as they occur. And don’t either expect for them to present the news of positive developments occurring—especially when those positive developments threaten an entrenched status quo. No, the official information sources of the status quo are the last to report such changes, and they do so only when they absolutely have to.

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The Peace Symbol—Moratorium—Reversed

clip_image011Meanwhile, from my vantage point, I would answer the query that there are not enough people changing by reiterating that, in fact, there are many of us who are integrating this emergent material, who are regaining our truth and the truths of this Earth and the Universe, who are expanding our consciousness to include this information, and who are carrying that information forward into positive action to heal ourselves, the people around us, humanity at large, and the planet.

This response of constructive action is exquisitely expressed when the peace symbol is reversed and symbolizes a human figure with arms upstretched—meaning the expression into the external world of what was discovered within.

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Putting Out Our Hand By Creating Healthy Alternatives

world-peaceAn answer to the question of what will happen is that we can hope that the forces of integration are more successful than those of disintegration and reaction in the face of this influx of material, for one thing. In addition, those of us who are dealing positively with these emergent truths can help to build societal structures and processes that make it easier for others less fortunate to face and deal positively with their environmentally enforced psychological transitions.

Those of us who can should put out our hand to our struggling sisters and brothers. If we can set up and provide accessible alternatives to the ones of reaction and acting out that now exist, we’re going to make it more likely that those more prone to reaction and avoidance will instead also grow in response to these eco-apocalyptic, bio-noetic changes.

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Facing the Monster Is Always Better, Often Beautiful

For, contrary to what many believe, the evidence from the experiential modalities involving the perinatal, and my own experience, concludes that the dangers of not accessing the perinatal unconscious are much greater than the ones of attempting to access them. For our residual birth issues influence us one way or the other. If we deny them, we can be deluded into acting them out, completely unconsciously, without an insight or a clue, in a “fetal trance state,” in the form of war, social violence, spouse abuse, sexual promiscuity resulting in the contraction of AIDS, and a myriad of other destructive and self-destructive ways.

Whereas if we turn to face this supposed “monster,” with only a tad of insight into these forces that direct our life, we are at least able to avoid the most horrific of the destructive acts that keeping it unconscious can cause us to participate in.

And then, on the more positive side, fully working through these seemingly hellish inner traumas can result in a transformation of the person and a lightness, peace, beauty, and fulfillment of life unlike anything that can be imagined beforehand.

A Race Against Time

Regardless of whether we succeed, we must try. As Stanislav Grof put it in his conclusion to an article on this global crisis: For our very survival,

We seem to be involved in a race for time that has no precedent in the entire history of humanity. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of life on this planet. If we continue the old strategies, which in their consequences are extremely destructive and self-destructive, it is unlikely that the human species will survive. However if a sufficient number of people undergoes a process of deep inner transformation; we might reach a level of consciousness evolution that will bring us to the point of deserving the name given to our species, Home sapiens, i.e., wise humans. [Footnote 3]

“The Leaven In the Dough”

Of course, I do not expect that the sort of application of experiential techniques Grof hopes for above can occur on the massive scale that would seem to be necessary to avoid apocalypse in the short period of time that we have left. Yet it might be that we would be lucky enough for that not to be necessary.

6a00e54fac7a7d883300e55379b09a8834-800wiIt is possible that simply a significant fraction of the world’s population—like the “leaven in the dough”—can make all the difference in the world, literally, by tipping our course one way as opposed to another, especially if these people—because of their healing and their awareness of the crisis—are motivated to place themselves in positions of influence and education, or to put their efforts toward healing, on individual and collective levels, in larger numbers than the average populace would. In other words, not just the leaven in the dough but as persons, standing in the right place and with the lever big enough, who can move the world.

Continue with Apocalypse–No! Afterword: Centaurs, Shamans, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats: Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Experience as Primary

Return to Apocalypse – No! Chapter Thirteen: Peaceful Warriors and Silly Heroes

Footnotes

1. See “Some Cosmic Encouragement: I Was Told “Once There Lived ‘Noble’ Beings” and Now Is the Time for a Regeneration of Peoples to Regain What We Lost,” which is the prologue of the book that follows in line from this one. Wounded Deer and Centaurs expands and elaborates on some of the central concepts introduced here.

2. See “Sathya Sai Baba, Avatar” by Mary Lynn Adzema, on the Primal Spirit site.

3. Stanislav Grof, “Planetary Survival and Consciousness Evolution: Psychological Roots of Human Violence and Greed.” Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology 2(1): 3-26, p. 25. Article reprinted, with permission, on Primal Spirit site.

Continue with Apocalypse–No! Afterword: Centaurs, Shamans, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats: Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Experience as Primary

Return to Apocalypse – No! Chapter Thirteen: Peaceful Warriors and Silly Heroes

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The Journey to Light Leads Through Perinatal Darkness: Correcting the Arrogant Modern Ego … Religions Are About Control … Spirituality, Surrender

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Will We Survive? Putting Our Society “On the Couch”: Control vs. Surrender, Death vs. Life … The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell

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Apocalypse – No! Chapter Eleven: Control Versus Surrender … Heaven Leads Through Hell

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Does It Look Like We’ll Duck Armageddon? The Information Tsunami, Ego Erosion, and Movies Are Collective Dreaming

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Are the Changes Needed to Avoid Apocalypse Occurring? The “Royal Road” to Our Collective Mind, Putting Our Society “on the Couch”

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Is there any evidence that the changes that need to happen for us to stave off apocalypse and save our world are actually occurring?

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The “Royal Road” to Our Collective Mind

I have mentioned there are studies of the psychology of generations, beginning with the Baby-Boomers or Sixties Generation, child.centered.parentingthat show both an increased access to the perinatal as well as a tendency to act out perinatal influences in less harmful…though more blatant…ways than generations prior. We have seen that this tendency goes hand in hand with actual engagement in activities to counter the negative perinatal act-outs that exist in our environment, moviesfor example, campaigning against war, pollution, racism, violence, and so on.

But in “Chapter Three: The Perinatal Media,” I introduced the common anthropological tenet that the projective systems of a culture—that is, its art and artifacts—can be analyzed to get a glimpse into the worldview of a particular society. For our purposes, I pointed out how our movies are especially potent glimpses into our collective consciousness as well as our collective unconscious. You might say that our cinema is the “royal road” to our collective unconscious.

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Movies As Collective Dreaming

movies.as.collective.dreamingOur flicks perform admirably well as collective dreams in that, unlike the other products of our collective consciousness such as other art and artifacts, they are multimedia stories, much like dreams are. But more than that, they are shared by more of the populace than any other art form. I am not including TV separately as an art form, since I put it in the same category as films, especially when many films are broadcast on TV and much else on TV also has the same character of being multimedia stories.

Finally, the strength of a particular element of the collective consciousness can be easily determined by the popularity of a particular movie that represents it or by that element’s increasing inclusion in a number of films. For example, in “The Perinatal Media,” I discussed the emerging new elements of faces coming out of walls and forceful oral insertion.

Putting Our Society “on the Couch”

All together, these mean that, just as a psychotherapist might analyze a client’s dreams to get an idea of his or her unconscious workings and contents, one can interpret mainstream movies to get an idea of the workings and contents of our society’s “collective mind”—both conscious and unconscious.

we.are.attracted.by.art.thats.inside.usThis is no more complex than saying that when we see things in movies that people rush to see, they are drawn to it because those things are also in their own minds. And the more they flock—the greater the success of a movie—the more pervasive in a society are those themes, elements, and contents. Certain aspects—themes or elements in films—are said to really “resonate” with people and therefore people make the movies that contain them popular and successful.

When this is said, it only means that people are consciously or unconsciously drawn to things that exist within themselves. Conversely, no existence inside? No interest.

lets.analyze.filmSo in this and upcoming chapters I will use films as the dreaming out loud of our collective mind. Put less esoterically, I will be analyzing a few examples of mainstream movies for their content, and I will be assuming the content I find there exists as well in the society that has watched it…has dreamt it.

I will also be assuming that movies that are mainstream, by which I mean can be found readily for sale as DVDs on-line or in retail stores and have become part of the popular conversation are indicative of pervasive elements in our collective consciousness and unconscious. brazil.faces.from.wallsThey can be looked at for the unacknowledged workings of our society as a whole.

I will not deal with the actual numbers of people who have attended particular movies. For I will assume out of the tens of thousands of movies that are produced each year—by small and large producers—those that have made it into the theaters of virtually all the communities of our society, and from there onto the DVD lists and the shelves of stores of all those communities, have by those facts alone demonstrated their resonance with the collective social mind. Otherwise, we would get into the maelstrom of analyzing critic’s opinions of these movies; and with that, to modify a saying, opinions are like asses: everyone has a different one.

Something’s Happening Here … Again

masks-are_-like_-faces_-from_-walls_thumbOne final point about the heuristic value of the analysis of films for the workings of the collective mind: Elements and themes in movies change over time. I have shown how new elements may be evidence of new elements of our collective unconscious minds coming into consciousness in detailing how the faces-in-the-wall element has developed. (See “All in All It’s Just Another Face in the Wall.”)

But when old, familiar plots have different outcomes, this is important as well. When elements change or evolve over time, this speaks of something going on. This points to changes or evolutions in our collective consciousness. And when elements and themes and plots change or evolve rapidly, we can accurately faces.from.walls.everywheresay that the changes in consciousness are equally swift.

These are some of the tools we will be using in this and upcoming chapters as we take a look at a few examples of mainstream films and what they might be reflecting back to us about our own society’s changes in consciousness. But first let me say something about what may turn out to be the most important of the thematic evolutions or changes in film elements that we have been seeing.

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Information Avalanche and Pre- and Perinatal Themes

In the last half century we have been hearing a great deal about the need to expand consciousness to balance the negative effects of the extremes of technological advance. Fortunately this change of consciousness is to some extent inevitable—or at least greatly aided—by certain side effects of the technological explosion…specifically in the area of telecommunications.

Ego-Eroding Information Deluge

As cultural boundaries are eroded by a multicultural information avalanche, people are forced to lower their inner defenses and ego boundaries. Confronted by such incoming information people will either take some of it in, learn, and thereby grow beyond their former selves or they will need to expend themselves in an all-out effort to shore them up.

A potent example of the first, currently, is the way people worldwide are opening to and learning from each other using social media via the internet; the revolutionary potential of this creation of an open global consciousness is already showing itself in uprising for democracies and economic justice virtually everywhere on Earth. A clear example of the second—where folks are putting everything into blocking out information and beating back the personal growth that would result—is in the backlashes to these liberal forces, which are also occurring throughout the world—as a Tea Party in the United States and as the fortification of authoritarian regimes from China to Syria and Turkey, from Iran to Israel.

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We have seen that the first response—where folks allow the discomfort inherent in personal growth—is typical of a more advanced form of child-caring that is centered on the needs of the child. We know also that the latter reaction goes with child-caring centered on the needs of the care-givers, or parents…and not the child. In this latter instance of parenting, it is understandably called child-rearing or raising a child as opposed to child-caring. We have noticed that the first response goes along with increased self-analysis and introspection and the latter one with acting out, aggression, and culture war.

Information Tsunami Pushes Consciousness Revolution

tidal.wave.of.informationSo, this tsunami of information in all areas, where previously we could smugly hold forth ego-satisfying views, pushes both toward an overthrow of those narrower perspectives and the establishment of broader, more encompassing ones as well as toward an ever increasing irrationality in fending off this information, at any and all costs.

I discussed at length in a previous section how this informational upswelling has led to a need to process it all in new social formats and the rituals of the talk and reality shows.

“Consciousness Raising” As “Shoveling It”

new.information.some.just.pile.it.onFor the most part, this growth or expansion of consciousness, when it happens, is seen as a linear increase and correspondingly is labeled a “raising” of consciousness. This is true whether we are talking about societal or individual progress.

Ken Wilber’s transpersonal theory is the most popular version of such a ladder-style path. In it the process of growth is analogous to that of climbing a mountain or shoveling compost into a pickup truck—one simply moves upward or piles it on. [Footnote 1]

But there are those who think otherwise.

Yes, Tina Turner, We Do Need Another Hero … a Different Kind: The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell

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Religions Are About Control; Spirituality, Surrender. Let Go, Let God to Correct an Arrogant Modern Ego

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The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell

Those in the know about the pervasive pre- and perinatal influence on personality and behavior, and especially those of us actively engaged in working through the effects of such early traumas, are fully aware, like Dante, that the path to heaven leads through hell. We have found that the path to the transpersonal light leads through the psychodynamic and perinatal darkness, that the path up and the path down are parts of the same path outward. [Footnote 2]

A Dark and Hideous Shadow World

Our experience has been that the information avalanche and multicultural onslaught have eroded our personal boundaries to an influx, not only of transpersonal bliss-love-compassion, but equally—and very often, initially—to a dark and hideous shadow world, a backwards bizarro world, of pernicious and insidious disorganized feelings comprised of elements ancient, infantile, pathological, biological, scatological, and perinatal. These are some of the forms spiritual emergence can take, especially initially. And they are the ones most likely to be seen as spiritual emergencies.

Pre- and Perinatal Themes in Cinema

Therefore, it is interesting to see these views confirmed by the bubbling up of psychodynamic and perinatal themes in our collective consciousness as evidenced by current films, books, and music. I have mentioned the pre- and perinatal themes and symbolism in films and explained why, along with other elements of postmodern times, they are evidence of something significant occurring in the consciousness of our age—an emerging perinatal unconscious.

But there is another element evolving in current films which has to do with a changing or evolving collective attitude toward these perinatal elements. And along with a changing attitude, there is evidence pointing to an evolving collective response to it.

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Control vs. Surrender, Death vs. Life

“Control Spiritualities” and Patriarchal Cultures

Specifically, a different kind of heroic response, which characterizes the perinatal arena, can be said to characterize the postmodern movies replete with perinatal symbolism. Most striking of all, this different kind of heroic response corresponds to a different kind of spirituality than what is commonly portrayed in this society, or at least has been the norm up until now.

control_room11For basically there are “control” spiritualities and “surrender” spiritualities, with rarely the twain meeting. “Control spiritualities” are adapted to patriarchal cultures and involve the use of the ego to “control” and be in charge of even the realms of the supernatural. This is so because an ultimate evil—a devil or Satan—is postulated, which is given equal weight along with God in determining one’s ultimate fate. This type of spirituality is normally what is called religion.

“Surrender Spiritualities” and God As Being Good

But there is another brand of spirituality that is based on a belief in the ultimate goodness and rightness of All That Is. God’s goodness being essentially the dominant force in the Universe, herein it is considered safe to “surrender” in one’s relation to Reality, to expect that one will be guided correctly, in fact perfectly, in the act of letting go. Thus letting go is not to be feared—as in the control spirituality—but is to be practiced and fostered. In this perspective, which we might call surrender spirituality, control is seen as the problem, not the solution.

“Control” and “Surrender” Psychotherapies

Of course these two approaches to spirituality represent two approaches to psychotherapy as well. The control attitude is the dominant mode of psychoanalytically-based approaches—those in which the “demon” of the id is postulated.

The attitude of “letting go” and “surrender,” on the other hand, is the dominant mode of the experiential psychotherapies, which are themselves rooted in the tradition of humanistic psychology with its belief in the ultimate goodness of the human organism and which thus allows a faith in the ultimate rightness of human processes.

“Hero’s Journey” As “Control” Psychotherapy

the.control.attitudeSince the control attitude, in any of its manifestations, requires the postulation of an ultimate evil against which one must remain vigilant and must fight, the common “hero’s journey” myth—with its typical fighting and slaying of supposedly evil parts of the personality and reality symbolized as dragons and other monsters—is a prevalent focal myth to this attitude. Corresponding to this myth are the emphasis on disciplines and practices seeking to develop the ego and the will…over against the dangers that are postulated to exist in the Universe requiring these disciplines and, so-called, ego developments.

A Different Heroic Response in “Surrender” Paths

Since the “feeling” therapies and the other spiritual and experiential psychotherapeutic modalities with which they are allied are so different in attitude to the traditional “control” attitude, should there not be corresponding differences in myths to exemplify them? Indeed, there are.

In history, the surrender spiritualities have had correspondences in myth in which the dragon is not fought, conquered, and slain, but rather is either tamed and becomes one’s ally or pet—Saint Margaret is the prime example in the West, but this is a depiction prevalent in the East—or else one is swallowed by the “dragon” or monster and, after a while, is reborn.

Jonah is the prime example in the West for this latter depiction. But again this reaction to the fearful dissociated aspects of the personality, or the Shadow, is not a common one in the Western patriarchy, and it is much more common in traditional cultures and in the East.

A Shift to “Surrender” As a Corrective to a Western Overweening Ego?

All of this may be changing in recent times in the West, as once again the humanistic attitude and the new spiritual perspectives, as well as the experiential psychotherapies such as primal therapy, make us increasingly aware of the ultimate beneficence of the body, and of the Universe beyond even that, and of the importance of surrender and letting go as a corrective to the overweening control and defensiveness of the diminutive Western ego.

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Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Twelve: Atman Projects vs. Surrender Solutions

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

Footnote

1. See especially Ken Wilber, The Atman Project. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980.

2. See, for example, Michael Adzema, “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 25(3), 83-116. Reprinted online at the Primal Spirit site at “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality.”

Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Twelve: Atman Projects vs. Surrender Solutions

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

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Where There Is Hope and What Did You Expect Awakening to Look Like? Look Hard Enough, You Just Might See the Seeds of Light Amidst the Darkness Surrounding.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARebirthing Rituals, the Hard Rain Fallin’, and the Value of Popular Culture in Awakening: The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight … Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits

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Chapter Ten: Where There Is Hope, Cultural Rebirthing

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Societal Self-Analysis and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace … Sorry, I Know You Wanted to Hate Reality Shows.

The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight: Societal Self-Analysis, an Internet Reformation, and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace

Societal Self-Analysis

Culture War Replaced Cold War

We see the workings of these opposing tendencies to look away from problems or to embrace them by examining the reactions in America to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The disappearance of this huge object for distraction from inner unhappiness, about which one could rationalize the use of defensiveness and scapegoating, led to continued turning away through the emergence, in America, of a search for other societal scapegoats and therefore the “Republican revolution.” Culture War replaced the Cold War as the way one could be comfortably ignorant of one’s insides and self-assuredly distracted, self-righteously engaged.

This removal of a collective punching bag or scapegoat also resulted in a healthy turning toward the darkness within and a collective self-analysis in America. This reaction has brought to the fore many of our social and political shortcomings.

Talk Show Soul-Searching

For evidence of this latter response we notice beginning in the Nineties the rise of the talk show; the rituals of nationwide self-examination over issues of sexual harassment, spouse abuse, and race relations played out in the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas hearings and the O. J. Simpson trial; the hashing out of controversial and formerly hidden personal issues around sex, lies, and marital fidelity, played out in the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal; the reevaluation of matters of faith precipitated by priestly sexual abuse; and many other such national psychodramas staged on cable news networks and the magazine-style, documentary-type TV shows like Frontline, Nightline and the like.

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We also witnessed the rise of reality shows as part of this societal pull to see beneath the covers of what is thought to be real. Now, progressives and intellectuals have lots of fun vamping about how superior they themselves are to such interests, as exemplified in reality shows. This can only be the position of elitists out of touch with the ways ordinary folks live their lives.

Sitcom Socialization

To make my point, let me back up a bit. The swagger that the Left, and intellectuals in general, display around reality shows is the same superiority they have expressed for decades concerning sitcoms. First, let me say that I consider most sitcoms and reality shows to be rather boring and a bit inane with their laugh and soundtrack framing. father-knows-bestYet, when I was a child, growing up in a medium-sized city in the coal country of Pennsylvania and coming from a very traditional family, it was only through such sitcoms that I had a chance to find out what a different style of family and parenting would be. Today, I would laugh at a “Father Knows Best.” But it was a step up and into socialization from the “Father Knows Little” or “Father Not Around” of many in my social stratum when I was a kid. This exposure allowed me, and many of my generation, to seek for more in our life and for better interpersonal family relationships…and eventually better parenting.

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This presentation of better alternatives—middle-class, liberal, “hollywood” ones—to everyone in America has a lot to do with the fact that the Sixties were so explosive. It was the first decade after the introduction of a national culture through the medium of television. Much has been made of the fact that newscasts brought information into living rooms for the first time in that era—which is the thing that intellectual elitists will focus on, blinded by their quaint beliefs that humans are rational actors. It takes an experiential psychologist and social scientist like myself to notice that most folks act out of ideas and attitudes that are rooted in experiences and information that are hardly rational. So, the modeling of a more “advanced” way of family life—not perfect but for many better than the traditional ways they had known, which included things like spanking and attitudes like “children are better seen not heard” and “spare the rod, spoil the child”—through the TVs and cinemas of America was vastly more influential in changing society than newscasts, whose information could just as easily have been shared through the print media. The sitcoms brought liberal middle-class values to everyone in America who owned a tv set; and this was a huge step forward at the time.

A Modern “Priesthood”

This is where righties have it right when targeting “hollywood” for many of the changes in our culture over the last half century…though they see that as a negative influence. But intellectuals and lefties blow an opportunity and lose support among ordinary folks through an unconscious haughtiness and a cultural snobbery they are blind to but display in their turning up their noses at popular culture. Luckily, as an anthropological social scientist, I can study popular culture and get away with it, though not without some snide commentary coming my way from progressive and professional circles. They simply will never understand an intellectual who can speak to working folks because he’s one of them. They simply don’t get my attempts to package the crucial understandings of modern science and social sciences, on which the existence of our very world depends, in words that are not primarily directed to and meant to appease the gods of academia. They consider themselves important within their tiny professional circles, thinking they are changing the world when no one even knows what they are doing beyond that constrained perimeter.

Keeping the People Down

Indeed the attitude of academics and progressives about popular culture, especially talk and reality show tv programming and although they would be appalled to ever think it, is no different from the attitudes of the Catholic church and the clergy about matters of faith during medieval times. There, too, we had an elite wanting to “keep out the unwashed.” There, too, we had a distinction between people in the know and the rabble, with the anointed ones requiring ordinary folks to go through them for matters of truth and faith. We had then also this sharp distinction between the “high culture” of the Church and aristocracy—exemplified in the chamber music of the time—and the “low culture” of the masses—exemplified by the folk music of the troubadours of that day.

Nowadays this poo-pooing of tv culture by intellectuals is the same kind of attempt to funnel reality to the masses through the filters of a new “priesthood.” The cultural purists and intellectual elites would prefer that for truth you go through them in academia, where you ‘d have to pay a toll of course, just as the priests of the Middle Ages required you to pass their way on the road to the divine.

Therapy for the Masses

At any rate throwing off the snootiness of intellectualism, I contend, allows us to notice that sitcoms, reality shows, and talk shows serve functions in society that are, overall, beneficial in advancing our culture and catalyzing increased growth. They may not reflect, yet, where intellectuals and progressives think we should be, but for many they show something beyond where they are.

We should know that they are overall helpful in our cause from the fact that conservatives want to attack hollywood and limit freedom of expression on any airwave. The fact that many reactionaries want to keep their children out of schools, home-schooled, and away from tv sets should be telling progressives something about the value of popular culture.

Rebirth Denied

My point is that the rise in reality and talk shows are coincident with a need for a kind of societal “therapy” that came about when we took back our projections from the Soviets and were forced to look at ourselves. I’m saying this was a healthy way of doing it, and this was helping us, though it was tumultuous and difficult, in the Nineties. It is unfortunate, but it suited the forces of war and fascism, for the 1% to bring forth in the millennium the bugaboo of terrorism…perfectly bringing about another endless feud with another concocted enemy to project our own darknesses onto so we can escape from having to notice them ourselves and bring about actual personal growth and cultural advance…let alone the cultural rebirth that has been trying to happen for decades.

American Rehab

Reality shows are like watching group therapy happening. It is not surprising that there was even one reality program that was about therapy—Celebrity Rehab. Reality shows also expose ordinary folks to what amounts to crude but informative sociological experiments. If academics could see beyond their pretensions they would applaud this sort of, however haphazard and imprecise, understanding of group processes and individual psychology arising in the masses.

If there weren’t reality shows, folks would have a harder time knowing appropriate ways for men and women to act with each other. The gains of feminism would not have spread so widely or as fast if they were not being modeled and reinforced repeatedly on talk and reality shows. They demonstrate parenting and social skills—“politically correct” ones, in the good sense—to folks who would otherwise not know any better than to behave crudely and abusively. They bring the world, geography, travel, and history to the masses.

Intellectuals quibble about the quality of that, which comes across as quite childish, for it arises as if out of a jealousy of others getting the attention they want and out of a fear of competition for informational matters around science, culture, and humanities. It strikes me as more than ironic that those on the Left who would wish people to wake up from their zombie slumber would want to push programs of literature or drama where truths are filtered through the consciousness, and unconscious, of the artist, while wishing to deprive folks of a direct look—however contrived, it is actual reality and not scripted—at the world around them and people’s actual unplanned behavior and spontaneous reactions to unusual events.

Seeing people’s behavior in some of these shows does often remind me of the dynamics I’ve seen in therapy groups, and some of the personal changes in the participants mirror some of the evolutions I’ve seen in folks undergoing deep experiential psychotherapy. The audience participation part often sounds like group therapy or an intervention. I’ve been struck by how some of the group processes in the show remind me of family day in rehab, with folks reflecting back what they see in each other and how others’ behavior has affected them. These are all things that conservatives cringe at…actually hate. Yet liberals, except for notable exceptions like Jerry Springer, are not seeing the opening they have here. Lefties are fighting rather than using these forces, which are in the direction of personal growth and, cumulatively, much needed societal change.

As a psychologist and simply someone who loves people, I am fascinated by some of the things I see in these shows. They can be heart-wrenchingly real at times. So it occurs to me that folks who disparage these shows, comparing them with literature and dramatic productions, is another thing where some are wanting to have their reality filtered, managed, and packaged for them, lest it be too “disruptive” to their prejudices of things.

The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight

The upshot of all this is to say that just as a lack of a Cold War caused both collective acting out—another war, a Culture War—and collective inner searching via television talk shows, documentaries, and such. So also the prevention of “hot” wars on an international, not just intercultural, scale and the cause of peace in general require such inner soul-searching and such confrontation with one’s darker sides. And if we must, it is better to endure the psychotic acting out of a culture war—with its battles played out on the airwaves—than an actual war.

For is there any doubt that either of these or any combinations of these alternatives, however uncomfortable and even violent…on a smaller scale…at times, is a small price to pay compared to the price of outright war and violence which, by any measurement, is a cost horrifyingly huge and unacceptable?

America Currently Refusing to Pay Such Price

The converse of this is also true: When the dramas wanting to be discussed are suppressed in the mainstream media, it is as stifling of the growth of a nation as an individual’s growth. Unfortunately we have seen this as well recently. There have been massive worldwide and nationwide Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, massive Wisconsin union outpourings, and events in Japan and about Fukushima that the American people really want to and need to know and discuss, but they are being blacklisted from being broadcasted on. There has been a change in government in Iceland, with banksters being jailed, that Americans are not hearing about; there have been demonstrations in Japan about their insane response to their tragedy, which Americans won’t be told about; there have been massive demonstrations in Israel against the colonial policies of their own government that curiously do not make it into the offerings of news programs. These are things that in the Nineties would have fed the talk on tv and stimulated the necessary societal hashing out for there to be a chance of going beyond them.

What Is the Cost of Denial? Of Complacency?

It is hard to know, though, what happens when the natural urges of a nation to grow and change are thwarted. While I discussed this abortion of cultural renewal and the abomination that results from it at length in Chapter Seven of a companion book to this one, Culture War, Class War, under the title Cultural Rebirth, Aborted, the question remains what happens when this societal “rebirthing” is more urgent than ever. What happens when—for the sake of the survival of the human race and of the planet—it is necessary that this growth happen and instead it is continuously derailed and snuffed out of the light of collective consciousness?

Internet Revolution Is Another Reformation

Luckily all this is changing as the internet and social networking have upended the academic elitists, swarming around and over their petty barriers of intellectual privilege. The blogsters and “rabble” of the net have taken over the cultural dialogue of the time as assuredly as Martin Luther and the Reformation changed religion forever and helped to bring to an end the cultural stagnation of the Middle Ages and to ignite an Age of Reason and of Enlightenment.

We Could Use More “Narcissistic” Generations: Know Thyself … Let the Buck Stop Here!

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Moratorium … Let the Buck Stop Here! We Could Use More “Narcissistic” Generations

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“Know Thyself” ~ “Narcissistic”?

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Self-Discovery, Soul-Searching, Psychological-Mindedness, Self-Analysis – Sixties Generation

clip_image0033So, we have taken a look at the need for societies to “do therapy” on themselves, to hash out and process, however messy that might seem to be, the perinatal projections from the unconscious, as they manifest in the tribulations of the times—both profound and mundane. It must be kept in mind that it is the products of nearly the most Painted Glass Ball Illusion“advanced” mode of butterfly-transformationchild-caring—the delegated-release subclass of the socializing psychoclass — who have proved most willing to pay such prices for peace, as for example, in increased soul-searching. In fact they would be later stigmatized for just this quality of introspection, this supposed fault of looking into themselves, through the derogatory appellation, narcissistic.

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Grof_AdventureSelf-Discoveryiconclip_image0053Indeed, Keniston foresaw this when he studied the Sixties generation as college students. Observing the amount of inner exploration they engaged in during their quests for self-discovery, he would describe this attribute in a biased way as “the overexamined life,” and more fairly, for the activist youth, as a “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis.” [Footnote 1]

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“Let It All Out? No, Leave Some of It In!” – Pat Buchanan, Fifties Generation

clip_image007_thumbNo doubt those who criticized these youth in the past are some of the same ones or their surrogates who, now older, are wrongly castigating the self-analyzing characteristics of contemporary society as the Sixties generation is now in its “triumphant” phase—the time when as adults a psychoclass takes over the reins of society and most strongly influences it. I have already taken note of the tendencies of the right to rile against the collective processing that is happening in their attacks on popular culture and in particular what they call “hollywood.” They express their desire that “such matters” not come to public light, for they deem them “offensive” or an affront to their (oh so delicate) sensibilities. 181264_233235313453542_936852846_nThey sense a threat to the precious untruths that prop up their self-destructive way of life, woven through as it is with war, fascism, planetary and planetmate annihilation, and the other horrors mushrooming about them in the postmodern era. [Footnote 2]

These highly defended and fear-minded conservatives, prone to projection, are incapable of appreciating the integrity of an inner-thinking generation like the Boomers are. These outer-minded authoritarians would not get, would outright hate those who “questioned authority” in the Sixties.

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clip_image0091These defended entrenched egos would be secretly jealous of and overtly aggressive to a generational emergence that since the Sixties has been psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually working on themselves to be free of inner tyranny. As one of their exemplars, Pat Buchanan, long ago phrased it, “Let it all out? No, leave some of it in!”

Let the Buck Stop Here!

CD_0094MillionProtestersDisappearNonetheless this cadre of kindred Sixties spirits would in their actions declare for the first time in history as a generation, “Let the buck stop here!” And they would seek to turn themselves, and by extension their children and society-at-large, into a more loving, wise, and less acting-out humanity…most importantly, one willing to cooperate rather than war with Nature, or other nations.

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If Not Us, Who? If Not Now, When?

baker_conceptioniconwe.said.let.the.buck.stop.hereWhat virtually all the folks outside “my generation” never get is the unimpeachable vision we had of the complete and utter wrongness of the path and tendencies of modern times and the abyss toward which civilization was heading. We were proven right, of course, as especially in the last decade we have seen the disintegration wrought of those tendencies on all fronts—political, environmental, personal. The Sixties generation saw modern civilization as being unreformable and needing complete remaking, so that everything we did was an attempt to create reality and culture from scratch, sans tradition.

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We had seen normal ways of doing things to be impotent and often dangerous and most importantly leading to apocalyptic endings in our near future. This understanding is what was responsible for all the “non-normal” behaviors my generation displayed—communes, confrontations, clothes, relationships, organics, alternative ways of everything…an entire counterculture. We have been laughed at for essentially being ahead of the curve on the messages of modern events. We have been called crazy for our inconvenient prophecies, virtually all of which are now coming to pass.

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While I and my cohorts, to use just one example, spoke out on the dangers of nuclear energy and in particular the insanity of building plants on fault lines, the professional pundits scoffed and boasted they lived near nuclear plants. This was thirty years and more before the world ever heard the word, Fukushima. The examples like this are endless. We saw all these unworkable endings and asked ourselves, “What would be a real way of doing that?” “What would be a workable, sustainable way?” “What would be a sane and happy life, ethic, and lifestyle.” “What would be a loving, peaceful mode of being?”

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While we sought to redo culture from scratch, building it on perennial and unimpeachable principles, the threatened elders and the jealous youngers, who would soon enough come behind, poked fun from within the confines of their assured and comfortable wrongness. rainbowThey called us narcissistic for thinking we could look at ourselves and the world and dare to think we could change it from ancient ways. They thought we were making ourselves important that way, putting on airs, even. Actually we were shouldering responsibility we did not want—yearning for a simpler, less serious time—but which we accepted for the sake of all those who would come after, knowing their very existence depended on our actions. We took faith in the touchstone of love itself—the only thing that did not crumble under examination—and sought to bend all emerging along its outlines.

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candle.666655jpgSo our seeming impertinence was born of an inconvenient prompting, an unwanted vision now proving prophetic. It was hardly selfish, as many of the best of my generation paid the ultimate price and are no longer with us or they are imprisoned. It was hardly narcissistic as it was done out of love…for each other, for the peoples of all the world and of all the religions, for our children, for the planetmates and for the Nature of which we learned we were a part, and for the generations unborn.

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What others will never get is that our “overexamined life,” our “psychological-mindedness,” our perinatal propensities, and our soul-searching and self-analysis were not about being narcissistic. It was about needing to start everything anew as a rational response to the horrors we saw about us in our culture and in the world… horrors which we were correct in trying to address at the time. For their existence today, because of our inability to be completely successful in remedying them, are bringing about all the political, economic, and environmental armageddons I’ve been discussing in this, and its related, books. And we knew, and still know, that only some change huge and radical will help us, and for that we need to find and stand upon the deepest and firmest of ground within us. That is what we’ve been looking for, are still looking for…only now we have lots of company .

Wall Street Protest

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Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits: A Drive to Healing, the Hard Rain Fallin’, and Millennial Promise

A Drive to Healing and What Did You Expect Peace to Look Like? Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits

A Drive to Healing

We cannot expect that everyone will heal their birth traumas when they arise into consciousness during periods of peace. However, we can expect—especially now that there is understanding of these dynamics and there are techniques and modalities available for healing them—that some people will!

Furthermore, even the more ritualistic and superficial yet blatant regressions to infancy, birth, prenatal, or even prior to that—for example, as Mayr and Boelderl describe in Europe—are not the indication of a “death drive” or “death instinct” as these researchers claimed. [Footnote 3]

clip_image002These highly symbolic collective rituals are instead the manifestations of a drive to healing—a drive to regressing to early traumas and to reexperiencing the events clip_image004that occurred then and thus recapturing an integrity of self that existed prior to the dissociation that happened as a result of those traumas. This drive to regression is no more a “death wish” than the mystical or spiritual quest is a “death wish,” and for the same reasons, as Jung correctly admonished Freud a long time ago. And we can expect that more good than bad can come, eventually, from engaging in them.

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What Did You Expect Peace to Look Like?

Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits

clip_image008In conclusion, when we see blatant collective regressions, by the sorts of people mentioned, to these perinatal dynamics in undisguised, and relatively harmless, social rituals—as described by Mayr and Boelderl, and Lawson—we can expect that, because of their closeness to their unconscious pain, they are likely—even if only a little more likely because of their more advanced mode of child-caring—to have insight into these dynamics and to resist acting them out in a more extreme form, like war, global pollution, and overpopulation.

clip_image009To put it another way, I would have preferred that Hitler had acted out his craziness by jumping into mosh pits, humming baby tunes, wearing a pacifier…or even engaging in sexual orgies…than the way he did.

So these current signs of blatant regression by youth and others in Europe or the US, or in fact anywhere in the world as in rock concerts, are not signs of an impending war. What did you expect peace to look like? You might call it messy, but it is the scenery of human healing, we should expect to be seeing, on the pathway to an Earth rebirth.

What Might We Expect?

Millennial Promise

clip_image011What might we expect from the future? Well if ecological/environmental consciousness and refusal to use projection onto others is accepted as evidence of perinatal access, as I have been asserting, then the current generation of youth and young adults—the Baby-Boomer Echo Generation, also called the Millennial Generation, whose two main concerns, as I have mentioned, have been polled as being the environment and racism—may also be expected to be more open to their perinatal trauma, and hence more likely to resolve it and further the gains of their parents against war and global apocalypse.

“A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”

clip_image012For, as Janov has pointed out, closer to one’s Pain—one’s unconscious—is closer to being real. And this closeness holds out the possibility both of healing…and of self-destruction.

From the roads and TV screens of America the scenery can often appear bleak. Sure, heavy changes are coming down…but what should we expect? “A hard rain’s gonna fall,” sang Bob Dylan. And that’s what it takes to blossom the spring. Look hard enough, you just might see the seeds of Light amidst the darkness surrounding.

Evidence in Our Collective Dreaming

Next we will take a look at one of the projective systems of our society, specifically, our cinema, to see if it shows evidence of the change of consciousness that we have here been describing as necessary to derail the cycles of war and violence that have plagued our species for millennia uncountable and have led us to the brink of extinction.

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Films are both the collective dreams of our society as well as the only truly clip_image016widely shared method of collectively experiencing a nonordinary state of consciousness. Thus they are telling, in the messages they contain, as well as powerful in their impact on the audience, who in this mild nonordinary state of consciousness are more open to suggestion and to receiving mental impressions and information.

We will look to examples from films of the last few decades for indications that our collective consciousness is actually changing and that there are grounds for hoping that we will be able to stave off apocalypse…creating instead the quantum leap to an Earth rebirth.

Footnote

1. For “overexamined life”see Keniston, op. cit., 1965; for “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis” see Keniston, op. cit., 1968, especially p. 81.

2. Davis, op. cit., especially Ch. 7, “The Great Society and The Youth Revolt.”

3. Mayr and Boelderl, op. cit., p. 149.

Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Eleven: Control Versus Surrender … Heaven Leads Through Hell

Return to Apocalypse No! Chapter Nine: Regressions in the Service of Society — Messy Healing

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Apocalypse? Or Earth Rebirth? A Smaller Number of Us — Standing in the Right Place and With a Lever Big Enough — Might Be All That Is Needed to Move the World

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A Smaller Number of Us Can Make All the Difference in the World, Literally, by Tipping Our Course One Way as Opposed to Another: Moving the World – A Race Against Time

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Apocalypse? Or Earth Rebirth?

The Evidence for Change Occurring

Finally it is time to answer the question posed by this book: Apocalypse? Or Earth rebirth? Knowing apocalypse, we can now declare a hearty No! to apocalypse.

clip_image001Our answer begins by pointing out that we have discovered, in this book, that there are things that can be done to prevent our extinction and, on the contrary, bring in a new dawn of harmonious cooperation with the forces of Nature. In the last four chapters we have seen that there is evidence of a collective change in consciousness occurring. A radical change in our attitudes to war, racism, the environment, and even spirituality—and thus to the very way we live our lives—is manifesting in our culture, the youth of the world, our children, and is even popping up in our collective dreams.

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Natural Law

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In addition we are aided by some fundamental processes of natural and cosmic law. In preceding chapters I have pointed out how both our nature inside and Nature outside seem to be conspiring to force us into the changes necessary. From this perspective we are in the hands of natural law, and its homeostatic mechanisms may bring us into line in ways unimaginable, beyond even the speculations I put forth in our attempt to see “through Gaia’s’ eyes” in Chapter Twelve.

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Visible and Invisible Allies

clip_image004Furthermore we may be aided by unseen forces and entities of which we know not and may be incapable of knowing. Though I think it foolhardy to sit on our hands and hope that some intergalactic or spiritual cavalry will arrive to save the day at the last moment. Still it is eminently reasonable, considering the minuscule knowledge we have in relation to the immensity of All That Is, to put aside our familiar hubris and at least consider the possibility of aid from higher forces or entities.

Indeed, there are many people in this day and age who believe that particular forces have come together at just this juncture in time to aid us and to ensure our success. clip_image006Who knows why?

Perhaps it is because our interconnectedness with Everything requires that we not fail, for it would have detrimental effects on things of which we do not know. I must confess that I myself have received knowledge of such help being given us. [Footnote 1]

Similarly there are others who believe that God will not allow His/Her creation to be destroyed and did indeed come in the flesh to ensure its success. [Footnote 2]

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Cosmic Law

clip_image008And there may even be cosmic laws at work. “Truth has its own momentum,” said one of our workshop participants. My wife and I conducted workshops in what we call primal breathwork, which is based on the Holotropic Breathwork™ of Stanislav Grof. In these workshops, which involve access to all aspects of the unconscious, including the spiritual/transpersonal, the biographical-psychodynamic, and the sensory, as well as the perinatal, it is not unusual for us to witness people being motivated, because of their profound transformative experiences, to commit themselves with all their being, talents, and resources, to aid in the processes of renewal on this planet.

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But Is It Enough?

Don’t Expect to See It on Cable News

But some might argue that there are not enough people changing. You might easily get that impression if your prime source of information is the mainstream media of the cultures of the world. For it is in the interest of the dominant media of all lands to support the status quo—for economic, as well as political reasons. They are not likely to report the new and controversial.

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clip_image009In fact, the proof of this is that when truth is truly democratized and shared freely, as on the World Wide Web, the information that comes out is drastically different from the sanctioned news sources. Indeed, we have seen the internet leading in many areas, from Wikileaks to Mideast revolt, everywhere and anywhere. Like a tail wagging a dog, the internet has been the first to expose information that the controlled media, who knew of it but repressed the information, only afterwards were forced to present.

So don’t expect the paid-for media to give you an accurate portrayal of what is truly new and breaking or for them to accurately reflect cultural changes as they occur. And don’t either expect for them to present the news of positive developments occurring—especially when those positive developments threaten an entrenched status quo. No, the official information sources of the status quo are the last to report such changes, and they do so only when they absolutely have to.

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The Peace Symbol—Moratorium—Reversed

clip_image011Meanwhile, from my vantage point, I would answer the query that there are not enough people changing by reiterating that, in fact, there are many of us who are integrating this emergent material, who are regaining our truth and the truths of this Earth and the Universe, who are expanding our consciousness to include this information, and who are carrying that information forward into positive action to heal ourselves, the people around us, humanity at large, and the planet.

This response of constructive action is exquisitely expressed when the peace symbol is reversed and symbolizes a human figure with arms upstretched—meaning the expression into the external world of what was discovered within.

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Putting Out Our Hand By Creating Healthy Alternatives

world-peaceAn answer to the question of what will happen is that we can hope that the forces of integration are more successful than those of disintegration and reaction in the face of this influx of material, for one thing. In addition, those of us who are dealing positively with these emergent truths can help to build societal structures and processes that make it easier for others less fortunate to face and deal positively with their environmentally enforced psychological transitions.

Those of us who can should put out our hand to our struggling sisters and brothers. If we can set up and provide accessible alternatives to the ones of reaction and acting out that now exist, we’re going to make it more likely that those more prone to reaction and avoidance will instead also grow in response to these eco-apocalyptic, bio-noetic changes.

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Facing the Monster Is Always Better, Often Beautiful

For, contrary to what many believe, the evidence from the experiential modalities involving the perinatal, and my own experience, concludes that the dangers of not accessing the perinatal unconscious are much greater than the ones of attempting to access them. For our residual birth issues influence us one way or the other. If we deny them, we can be deluded into acting them out, completely unconsciously, without an insight or a clue, in a “fetal trance state,” in the form of war, social violence, spouse abuse, sexual promiscuity resulting in the contraction of AIDS, and a myriad of other destructive and self-destructive ways.

Whereas if we turn to face this supposed “monster,” with only a tad of insight into these forces that direct our life, we are at least able to avoid the most horrific of the destructive acts that keeping it unconscious can cause us to participate in.

And then, on the more positive side, fully working through these seemingly hellish inner traumas can result in a transformation of the person and a lightness, peace, beauty, and fulfillment of life unlike anything that can be imagined beforehand.

A Race Against Time

Regardless of whether we succeed, we must try. As Stanislav Grof put it in his conclusion to an article on this global crisis: For our very survival,

We seem to be involved in a race for time that has no precedent in the entire history of humanity. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of life on this planet. If we continue the old strategies, which in their consequences are extremely destructive and self-destructive, it is unlikely that the human species will survive. However if a sufficient number of people undergoes a process of deep inner transformation; we might reach a level of consciousness evolution that will bring us to the point of deserving the name given to our species, Home sapiens, i.e., wise humans. [Footnote 3]

“The Leaven In the Dough”

Of course, I do not expect that the sort of application of experiential techniques Grof hopes for above can occur on the massive scale that would seem to be necessary to avoid apocalypse in the short period of time that we have left. Yet it might be that we would be lucky enough for that not to be necessary.

It is possible that simply a significant fraction of the world’s population—like the “leaven in the dough”—can make all the difference in the world, literally, by tipping our course one way as opposed to another, especially if these people—because of their healing and their awareness of the crisis—are motivated to place themselves in positions of influence and education, or to put their efforts toward healing, on individual and collective levels, in larger numbers than the average populace would. In other words, not just the leaven in the dough but as persons, standing in the right place and with the lever big enough, who can move the world.

Continue with Why We Scapegoat … Why We Insist on Saviors: Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Of Sacrifices—Human, Animal, and Cucumber

Return to Silly Heroes and Evolution in Attitudes to the Perinatal: The Necessary Hero Jives with the Monsters, Dances Above the Dissonance, and Is Ever Aware of Divinity Everywhere

Footnotes

1. See “Sure It’s Hard! But Always Are We Here Helping You” section in “Chapter Two: Culture As Moonview” of my book, Primal Renaissance: The Emerging Millennial Return, on the Primal Spirit site.

2. See “Sathya Sai Baba, Avatar” by Mary Lynn Adzema, on the Primal Spirit site.

3. Stanislav Grof, “Planetary Survival and Consciousness Evolution: Psychological Roots of Human Violence and Greed.” Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology 2(1): 3-26, p. 25. Article reprinted, with permission, on Primal Spirit site.

Continue with Why We Scapegoat … Why We Insist on Saviors: Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Of Sacrifices—Human, Animal, and Cucumber

Return to Silly Heroes and Evolution in Attitudes to the Perinatal: The Necessary Hero Jives with the Monsters, Dances Above the Dissonance, and Is Ever Aware of Divinity Everywhere

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Does It Look Like We’ll Duck Armageddon? The Information Tsunami, Ego Erosion, and Movies Are Collective Dreaming: Dreaming Out Loud, Part One

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Dreaming Out Loud, Part 1: Are the Changes Needed to Avoid Apocalypse Occurring? The “Royal Road” to Our Collective Mind, Putting Our Society “on the Couch”

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Is there any evidence that the changes that need to happen for us to stave off apocalypse and save our world are actually occurring?

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The “Royal Road” to Our Collective Mind

I have mentioned there are studies of the psychology of generations, beginning with the Baby-Boomers or Sixties Generation, child.centered.parentingthat show both an increased access to the perinatal as well as a tendency to act out perinatal influences in less harmful…though more blatant…ways than generations prior. We have seen that this tendency goes hand in hand with actual engagement in activities to counter the negative perinatal act-outs that exist in our environment, moviesfor example, campaigning against war, pollution, racism, violence, and so on.

But in “Chapter Eight: The Perinatal Media,” I introduced the common anthropological tenet that the projective systems of a culture—that is, its art and artifacts—can be analyzed to get a glimpse into the worldview of a particular society. For our purposes, I pointed out how our movies are especially potent glimpses into our collective consciousness as well as our collective unconscious. You might say that our cinema is the “royal road” to our collective unconscious.

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Movies As Collective Dreaming

movies.as.collective.dreamingOur flicks perform admirably well as collective dreams in that, unlike the other products of our collective consciousness such as other art and artifacts, they are multimedia stories, much like dreams are. But more than that, they are shared by more of the populace than any other art form. I am not including TV separately as an art form, since I put it in the same category as films, especially when many films are broadcast on TV and much else on TV also has the same character of being multimedia stories.

Finally, the strength of a particular element of the collective consciousness can be easily determined by the popularity of a particular movie that represents it or by that element’s increasing inclusion in a number of films. For example, in “The Perinatal Media,” I discussed the emerging new elements of faces coming out of walls and forceful oral insertion.

Putting Our Society “on the Couch”

All together, these mean that, just as a psychotherapist might analyze a client’s dreams to get an idea of his or her unconscious workings and contents, one can interpret mainstream movies to get an idea of the workings and contents of our society’s “collective mind”—both conscious and unconscious.

we.are.attracted.by.art.thats.inside.usThis is no more complex than saying that when we see things in movies that people rush to see, they are drawn to it because those things are also in their own minds. And the more they flock—the greater the success of a movie—the more pervasive in a society are those themes, elements, and contents. Certain aspects—themes or elements in films—are said to really “resonate” with people and therefore people make the movies that contain them popular and successful.

When this is said, it only means that people are consciously or unconsciously drawn to things that exist within themselves. Conversely, no existence inside? No interest.

lets.analyze.filmSo in this and upcoming chapters I will use films as the dreaming out loud of our collective mind. Put less esoterically, I will be analyzing a few examples of mainstream movies for their content, and I will be assuming the content I find there exists as well in the society that has watched it…has dreamt it.

I will also be assuming that movies that are mainstream, by which I mean can be found readily for sale as DVDs on-line or in retail stores and have become part of the popular conversation are indicative of pervasive elements in our collective consciousness and unconscious. brazil.faces.from.wallsThey can be looked at for the unacknowledged workings of our society as a whole.

I will not deal with the actual numbers of people who have attended particular movies. For I will assume out of the tens of thousands of movies that are produced each year—by small and large producers—those that have made it into the theaters of virtually all the communities of our society, and from there onto the DVD lists and the shelves of stores of all those communities, have by those facts alone demonstrated their resonance with the collective social mind. Otherwise, we would get into the maelstrom of analyzing critic’s opinions of these movies; and with that, to modify a saying, opinions are like asses: everyone has a different one.

Something’s Happening Here … Again

masks.are.like.faces.from.wallsOne final point about the heuristic value of the analysis of films for the workings of the collective mind: Elements and themes in movies change over time. I have shown how new elements may be evidence of new elements of our collective unconscious minds coming into consciousness in detailing how the faces-in-the-wall element has developed. (See “All in All It’s Just Another Face in the Wall.”)

But when old, familiar plots have different outcomes, this is important as well. When elements change or evolve over time, this speaks of something going on. This points to changes or evolutions in our collective consciousness. And when elements and themes and plots change or evolve rapidly, we can accurately faces.from.walls.everywheresay that the changes in consciousness are equally swift.

These are some of the tools we will be using in this and upcoming chapters as we take a look at a few examples of mainstream films and what they might be reflecting back to us about our own society’s changes in consciousness. But first let me say something about what may turn out to be the most important of the thematic evolutions or changes in film elements that we have been seeing.

Information Avalanche and Pre- and Perinatal Themes

In the last half century we have been hearing a great deal about the need to expand consciousness to balance the negative effects of the extremes of technological advance. Fortunately this change of consciousness is to some extent inevitable—or at least greatly aided—by certain side effects of the technological explosion…specifically in the area of telecommunications.

Ego-Eroding Information Deluge

As cultural boundaries are eroded by a multicultural information avalanche, people are forced to lower their inner defenses and ego boundaries. Confronted by such incoming information people will either take some of it in, learn, and thereby grow beyond their former selves or they will need to expend themselves in an all-out effort to shore them up.

A potent example of the first, currently, is the way people worldwide are opening to and learning from each other using social media via the internet; the revolutionary potential of this creation of an open global consciousness is already showing itself in uprising for democracies and economic justice virtually everywhere on Earth. A clear example of the second—where folks are putting everything into blocking out information and beating back the personal growth that would result—is in the backlashes to these liberal forces, which are also occurring throughout the world—as a Tea Party in the United States and as the fortification of authoritarian regimes from China to Syria, from Iran to Israel.

expend.themselves.in.all.out.effort.to.shore.them.up

We have seen that the first response—where folks allow the discomfort inherent in personal growth—is typical of a more advanced form of child-caring that is centered on the needs of the child. We know also that the latter reaction goes with child-caring centered on the needs of the care-givers, or parents…and not the child. In this latter instance of parenting, it is understandably called child-rearing or raising a child as opposed to child-caring. We have noticed that the first response goes along with increased self-analysis and introspection and the latter one with acting out, aggression, and culture war.

Information Tsunami Pushes Consciousness Revolution

tidal.wave.of.informationSo, this tsunami of information in all areas, where previously we could smugly hold forth ego-satisfying views, pushes both toward an overthrow of those narrower perspectives and the establishment of broader, more encompassing ones as well as toward an ever increasing irrationality in fending off this information, at any and all costs.

I discussed at length in a previous section how this informational upswelling has led to a need to process it all in new social formats and the rituals of the talk and reality shows.

“Consciousness Raising” As “Shoveling It”

new.information.some.just.pile.it.onFor the most part, this growth or expansion of consciousness, when it happens, is seen as a linear increase and correspondingly is labeled a “raising” of consciousness. This is true whether we are talking about societal or individual progress.

Ken Wilber’s transpersonal theory is the most popular version of such a ladder-style path. In it the process of growth is analogous to that of climbing a mountain or shoveling compost into a pickup truck—one simply moves upward or piles it on. [Footnote 1]

But there are those who think otherwise.

Footnote

1. See especially Ken Wilber, The Atman Project. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980.

Continue with Yes, Tina Turner, We Do Need Another Hero … a Different Kind. Dreaming Out Loud, Part 2: The Path to Heaven Leads Through Hell

Return to Better Hitler Had Jumped Into Mosh Pits. Rebirthing Rituals, Part 8: A Drive to Healing, the Hard Rain Fallin’, and Millennial Promise

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Rebirthing Rituals, Part – 6: Societal Self-Analysis and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace … Sorry, I Know You Wanted to Hate Reality Shows.

Rebirthing Rituals, Part – 6: Societal Self-Analysis and Talk Show Soul-Searching for Peace … Sorry, I Know You Wanted to Hate Reality Shows

Societal Self-Analysis

Culture War Replaced Cold War

We see the workings of these opposing tendencies to look away from problems or to embrace them by examining the reactions in America to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The disappearance of this huge object for distraction from inner unhappiness, about which one could rationalize the use of defensiveness and scapegoating, led to continued turning away through the emergence, in America, of a search for other societal scapegoats and therefore the “Republican revolution.” Culture War replaced the Cold War as the way one could be comfortably ignorant of one’s insides and self-assuredly distracted, self-righteously engaged.

This removal of a collective punching bag or scapegoat also resulted in a healthy turning toward the darkness within and a collective self-analysis in America. This reaction has brought to the fore many of our social and political shortcomings.

Talk Show Soul-Searching

For evidence of this latter response we notice beginning in the Nineties the rise of the talk show; the rituals of nationwide self-examination over issues of sexual harassment, spouse abuse, and race relations played out in the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas hearings and the O. J. Simpson trial; the hashing out of controversial and formerly hidden personal issues around sex, lies, and marital fidelity, played out in the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal; the reevaluation of matters of faith precipitated by priestly sexual abuse; and many other such national psychodramas staged on cable news networks and the magazine-style, documentary-type TV shows like Frontline, Nightline and the like.

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We also witnessed the rise of reality shows as part of this societal pull to see beneath the covers of what is thought to be real. Now, progressives and intellectuals have lots of fun vamping about how superior they themselves are to such interests, as exemplified in reality shows. This can only be the position of elitists out of touch with the ways ordinary folks live their lives.

Sitcom Socialization

To make my point, let me back up a bit. The swagger that the Left, and intellectuals in general, display around reality shows is the same superiority they have expressed for decades concerning sitcoms. First, let me say that I consider most sitcoms and reality shows to be rather boring and a bit inane with their laugh and soundtrack framing. father-knows-bestYet, when I was a child, growing up in a medium-sized city in the coal country of Pennsylvania and coming from a very traditional family, it was only through such sitcoms that I had a chance to find out what a different style of family and parenting would be. Today, I would laugh at a “Father Knows Best.” But it was a step up and into socialization from the “Father Knows Little” or “Father Not Around” of many in my social stratum when I was a kid. This exposure allowed me, and many of my generation, to seek for more in our life and for better interpersonal family relationships…and eventually better parenting.

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This presentation of better alternatives—middle-class, liberal, “hollywood” ones—to everyone in America has a lot to do with the fact that the Sixties were so explosive. It was the first decade after the introduction of a national culture through the medium of television. Much has been made of the fact that newscasts brought information into living rooms for the first time in that era—which is the thing that intellectual elitists will focus on, blinded by their quaint beliefs that humans are rational actors. It takes an experiential psychologist and social scientist like myself to notice that most folks act out of ideas and attitudes that are rooted in experiences and information that are hardly rational. So, the modeling of a more “advanced” way of family life—not perfect but for many better than the traditional ways they had known, which included things like spanking and attitudes like “children are better seen not heard” and “spare the rod, spoil the child”—through the TVs and cinemas of America was vastly more influential in changing society than newscasts, whose information could just as easily have been shared through the print media. The sitcoms brought liberal middle-class values to everyone in America who owned a tv set; and this was a huge step forward at the time.

A Modern “Priesthood”

This is where righties have it right when targeting “hollywood” for many of the changes in our culture over the last half century…though they see that as a negative influence. But intellectuals and lefties blow an opportunity and lose support among ordinary folks through an unconscious haughtiness and a cultural snobbery they are blind to but display in their turning up their noses at popular culture. Luckily, as an anthropological social scientist, I can study popular culture and get away with it, though not without some snide commentary coming my way from progressive and professional circles. They simply will never understand an intellectual who can speak to working folks because he’s one of them. They simply don’t get my attempts to package the crucial understandings of modern science and social sciences, on which the existence of our very world depends, in words that are not primarily directed to and meant to appease the gods of academia. They consider themselves important within their tiny professional circles, thinking they are changing the world when no one even knows what they are doing beyond that constrained perimeter.

Keeping the People Down

Indeed the attitude of academics and progressives about popular culture, especially talk and reality show tv programming and although they would be appalled to ever think it, is no different from the attitudes of the Catholic church and the clergy about matters of faith during medieval times. There, too, we had an elite wanting to “keep out the unwashed.” There, too, we had a distinction between people in the know and the rabble, with the anointed ones requiring ordinary folks to go through them for matters of truth and faith. We had then also this sharp distinction between the “high culture” of the Church and aristocracy—exemplified in the chamber music of the time—and the “low culture” of the masses—exemplified by the folk music of the troubadours of that day.

Nowadays this poo-pooing of tv culture by intellectuals is the same kind of attempt to funnel reality to the masses through the filters of a new “priesthood.” The cultural purists and intellectual elites would prefer that for truth you go through them in academia, where you ‘d have to pay a toll of course, just as the priests of the Middle Ages required you to pass their way on the road to the divine.

Therapy for the Masses

At any rate throwing off the snootiness of intellectualism, I contend, allows us to notice that sitcoms, reality shows, and talk shows serve functions in society that are, overall, beneficial in advancing our culture and catalyzing increased growth. They may not reflect, yet, where intellectuals and progressives think we should be, but for many they show something beyond where they are.

We should know that they are overall helpful in our cause from the fact that conservatives want to attack hollywood and limit freedom of expression on any airwave. The fact that many reactionaries want to keep their children out of schools, home-schooled, and away from tv sets should be telling progressives something about the value of popular culture.

Rebirth Denied

My point is that the rise in reality and talk shows are coincident with a need for a kind of societal “therapy” that came about when we took back our projections from the Soviets and were forced to look at ourselves. I’m saying this was a healthy way of doing it, and this was helping us, though it was tumultuous and difficult, in the Nineties. It is unfortunate, but it suited the forces of war and fascism, for the 1% to bring forth in the millennium the bugaboo of terrorism…perfectly bringing about another endless feud with another concocted enemy to project our own darknesses onto so we can escape from having to notice them ourselves and bring about actual personal growth and cultural advance…let alone the cultural rebirth that has been trying to happen for decades.

American Rehab

Reality shows are like watching group therapy happening. It is not surprising that there was even one reality program that was about therapy—Celebrity Rehab. Reality shows also expose ordinary folks to what amounts to crude but informative sociological experiments. If academics could see beyond their pretensions they would applaud this sort of, however haphazard and imprecise, understanding of group processes and individual psychology arising in the masses.

If there weren’t reality shows, folks would have a harder time knowing appropriate ways for men and women to act with each other. The gains of feminism would not have spread so widely or as fast if they were not being modeled and reinforced repeatedly on talk and reality shows. They demonstrate parenting and social skills—“politically correct” ones, in the good sense—to folks who would otherwise not know any better than to behave crudely and abusively. They bring the world, geography, travel, and history to the masses.

Intellectuals quibble about the quality of that, which comes across as quite childish, for it arises as if out of a jealousy of others getting the attention they want and out of a fear of competition for informational matters around science, culture, and humanities. It strikes me as more than ironic that those on the Left who would wish people to wake up from their zombie slumber would want to push programs of literature or drama where truths are filtered through the consciousness, and unconscious, of the artist, while wishing to deprive folks of a direct look—however contrived, it is actual reality and not scripted—at the world around them and people’s actual unplanned behavior and spontaneous reactions to unusual events.

Seeing people’s behavior in some of these shows does often remind me of the dynamics I’ve seen in therapy groups, and some of the personal changes in the participants mirror some of the evolutions I’ve seen in folks undergoing deep experiential psychotherapy. The audience participation part often sounds like group therapy or an intervention. I’ve been struck by how some of the group processes in the show remind me of family day in rehab, with folks reflecting back what they see in each other and how others’ behavior has affected them. These are all things that conservatives cringe at…actually hate. Yet liberals, except for notable exceptions like Jerry Springer, are not seeing the opening they have here. Lefties are fighting rather than using these forces, which are in the direction of personal growth and, cumulatively, much needed societal change.

As a psychologist and simply someone who loves people, I am fascinated by some of the things I see in these shows. They can be heart-wrenchingly real at times. So it occurs to me that folks who disparage these shows, comparing them with literature and dramatic productions, is another thing where some are wanting to have their reality filtered, managed, and packaged for them, lest it be too “disruptive” to their prejudices of things.

The Price of Peace Is Inner Sight

The upshot of all this is to say that just as a lack of a Cold War caused both collective acting out—another war, a Culture War—and collective inner searching via television talk shows, documentaries, and such. So also the prevention of “hot” wars on an international, not just intercultural, scale and the cause of peace in general require such inner soul-searching and such confrontation with one’s darker sides. And if we must, it is better to endure the psychotic acting out of a culture war—with its battles played out on the airwaves—than an actual war.

For is there any doubt that either of these or any combinations of these alternatives, however uncomfortable and even violent…on a smaller scale…at times, is a small price to pay compared to the price of outright war and violence which, by any measurement, is a cost horrifyingly huge and unacceptable?

America Currently Refusing to Pay Such Price

The converse of this is also true: When the dramas wanting to be discussed are suppressed in the mainstream media, it is as stifling of the growth of a nation as an individual’s growth. Unfortunately we have seen this as well recently. There have been massive worldwide and nationwide Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, massive Wisconsin union outpourings, and events in Japan and about Fukushima that the American people really want to and need to know and discuss, but they are being blacklisted from being broadcasted on. There has been a change in government in Iceland, with banksters being jailed, that Americans are not hearing about; there have been demonstrations in Japan about their insane response to their tragedy, which Americans won’t be told about; there have been massive demonstrations in Israel against the colonial policies of their own government that curiously do not make it into the offerings of news programs. These are things that in the Nineties would have fed the talk on tv and stimulated the necessary societal hashing out for there to be a chance of going beyond them.

What Is the Cost of Denial? Of Complacency?

It is hard to know, though, what happens when the natural urges of a nation to grow and change are thwarted. While I discussed this abortion of cultural renewal and the abomination that results from it at length in Chapter Seven of a companion book to this one, Culture War, Class War, under the title Cultural Rebirth, Aborted, the question remains what happens when this societal “rebirthing” is more urgent than ever. What happens when—for the sake of the survival of the human race and of the planet—it is necessary that this growth happen and instead it is continuously derailed and snuffed out of the light of collective consciousness?

Internet Revolution Is Another Reformation

Luckily all this is changing as the internet and social networking have upended the academic elitists, swarming around and over their petty barriers of intellectual privilege. The blogsters and “rabble” of the net have taken over the cultural dialogue of the time as assuredly as Martin Luther and the Reformation changed religion forever and helped to bring to an end the cultural stagnation of the Middle Ages and to ignite an Age of Reason and of Enlightenment.

Continue with We Could Use More “Narcissistic” Generations. Rebirthing Rituals, Part 7: Know Thyself … Let the Buck Stop Here!

Return to What’s Involved in Stopping War and Ecocide – Peace Is Painful: Rebirthing Rituals, Part Five – But Better Psychotic Than Warring

Footnotes

22. For “overexamined life”see Keniston, op. cit., 1965; for “psychological-mindedness” and “self-analysis” see Keniston, op. cit., 1968, especially p. 81.

23. Davis, op. cit., especially Ch. 7, “The Great Society and The Youth Revolt.”

Continue with We Could Use More “Narcissistic” Generations. Rebirthing Rituals, Part 7: Know Thyself … Let the Buck Stop Here!

Return to What’s Involved in Stopping War and Ecocide – Peace Is Painful: Rebirthing Rituals, Part Five – But Better Psychotic Than Warring

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Anatomy of Machismo: Conversation on the Eve of Apocalypse Between the Tuff and the Truth

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Conversation on the Eve of Apocalypse Between a Boomer and a Gen Xer:
An Anatomy, in Story Form, of the Machismo Attitude Toward Our End

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Facing Apocalypse, People Are Becoming Zombies

People are becoming zombies in the face of their death, their own upcoming suffering, not to mention the death of all life on this planet. imageDo an internet search on apocalypse and note how little, if anything, is posted about the urgency or emergency of our current situation.

It comes across as a big party on a South Pacific Island in a hotel that everyone there knows will not survive the incoming tsunami or killer hurricane. But in the meantime they’re drinking themselves silly, drugging…gonna party their way to the end. That is not a rational response to the end of all life.

Other responses on the apocalypse have machismo aspects to them. In fact, most sites about apocalypse have a macho message in common.

Macho, Macho Man

imageYou are not going to believe it, but check it out: The theme…now look deeply, if you’re not used to picking up on people’s motives off hand…the theme goes something like this:

Well, folks, we’re all gonna die. But big deal. I’m so fucking macho, I laugh at death! Here, let me prove it to you. Come here, death, right up to my face!

See, everybody. How I look directly into this face, this face of death! Now watch. Watch as I spit, spit directly into this face. Ptoo! (spits) See that? So who cares!? Not convinced? Then watch and I’ll show you. See the face of death that I’m holding and facing? Watch as I laugh in its face, laugh directly in its face. HA! Hahahahahaha! See? Told you.

Doing it, Tron style

imageWell, that is the way it comes across: “Apocalypse? Let me show you how tough I am.” Not, “What can we do about it, to stop it?”

So, dear listeners, are you able to make out the distress beneath such pronouncements? Granted, this bravado is worthless as to either reversing apocalypse or even showing some sort of inspired vision in which it can be made acceptable or noble if not avoidable. For those who do not see it yet, in this chapter and its accompanying video I try a little fantasy dialogue to bring out what I think is going on, much of the time, and keeping us from acting rationally about this imminent emergency of all dire emergencies possible.


Witness me as I trip over in cyber-land to something I call Amalgamated Macho-Apocalypto-dot-com. I’m about to go over to the webmaster of that site, in imagination and, well, just run a question or two past him. Tune in and catch what ensues. It should be revealing. So you click on the gadget above, while I fly myself over. See you there!

Spitter Dude

Ok, I’m here. “Hey, yo dude! Deathface spitter and laugher!”

“You… You know me…?”

“Hell yea. You’re in Google, you know. I understand you’re surprised because, believe me, tagged with apocalypse, like you, well, let’s just say I don’t have to lock the doors either. But there’s probably more interest in you than what I do.”

“Really, more interest in me? I like that! What do you do then?”

“On my site I tell the truth: you know, tell them that it’s very very bad and looks impossible unless people wake up on a massive scale and decide unequivocally to live. Stuff like that.”

“Ha. Hahahahaaha.”

“Ok, but just no spittin. I’ve seen your routine.”

“No, no. Nothing of the sort. No, really, I thought that kind of stuff died in the Sixties with all the ‘kumbaya’ and ‘we shall overcome’ baloney.”

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Why’s Everybody Hatin’ on Kumbaya?

“Well, not that it’ll make a difference on you, but yeah, I’m that old and have had many high moments of unity in among the angels of humans coming forth to reunite—what you refer to as kumbaya. And by the way, I like the song, I like the Lord, what’s everybody pissed at? As for the other, we overcame. I’ve really dug being me because I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the things that made the world better; and I can’t imagine a better high or feeling of fulfillment.

image“But I’m not here to dispute with you. I’m an old fart who got to live in rich times and participate in them. You’re a young, well, younger-than-me person, who was apparently born at around the time all the things my kind were working for were deemed a threat to the status quo. And so the powers-that-be created the misinformation, scapegoating, and slander of my generation. Then they delivered to generations following mine the machismo cynicism with its connotation that it was better to have that than feeling life. They seeded you with the idea that those who experienced life…as opposed to those who accepted their prepackaged attitudes of cynicism and mean-spiritedness…well, we were wusses, saps, effeminate, feminate, and all that.

“So, sorry, that my generation’s threat to the moneyed powers was so scary to them that they reacted with the all out effort to create a generation that would be the opposite of us, and so you were brainwashed and misinformed and lied to. So, so very sorry. I wish I could say, “my bad,” but well it was “our good” that resulted in “their bad,” and I don’t want to be like them and continue to uphold their matrix of misinformation. So, anyway, sorry.”

“Well, I shoulda Tivo’d that for later. That was waaaay too much and too many twist and turns for me to follow. But you called yourself an old fart. That part I got. So since you’ve placed yourself below me, I guess I’m at ease with your being here, whatever it is.”

Who Ya Talkin to, Dude?

“Well, your Dudeness, your Fearlessness Most Strong and Mighty, I have a few humble questions to ask of you,” I say.

“Ok, old fart, go ahead.”

“I see clearly that you’re showing the world you don’t fear death. But how is that going to help the world any. I mean if everyone felt like you…let’s say that was your aim…well then we’d all go down, patting each other on the back on how it doesn’t matter, but never to be heard of again!”

“Your point?” he says, irritated.

“Are you saying my site isn’t offering anything to the world? So who the hell says a site has to be doing anything for anybody or anything? Let alone this world…

“This is me! I’m expressing me! What else is there to do?”

“Ok, thank you. That explains a lot. But something comes to me. May I?”

“Sure,” says he.

“You say that, ‘this is me.’ Number one. Right?”

“Right.” Annoyed again.

“Ok. Now, you know there are not a lot of people watching. But your intention is not to influence any people. Number two, right?”

“Yep, that’s right.”

“But you wouldn’t be putting up a website if you didn’t want somebody to know who you are. I mean, you could say it in the mirror, or in your bedroom. You wouldn’t be making it available unless there’s somebody, persons, that you hope would hear you. Would that not be number three, right?”

“Well, you old farts really are big on this self-analytical crap, aren’t you? Well, I ain’t no pussy, but I am man enough to say that I couldn’t escape that logic that…yea, I am, inside, wanting to share, and share myself to some, to some…well, I guess, I just wouldn’t mind if, uh,really by accident of course, some people, who never got to know me this way, might see me and understand…well, uh…”

Let’s Play a Mind Game.

“Oh, understand. Nothing wrong with that. But, uh, how ’bout you indulge an old fart and just try out something that I think will be a real gas for you, er, perhaps I should say, phat, er, uh…. Look, you can trust me to take the time to play a little, let’s say, mind-game. It’s lots of fun.”

“Haha. Suure, ok. You crack me up, ya old fart. Gonna be a real gas. Ya can bet your damn asscrack that you’d lost me for sure until you’d made real quick to explain that one, hehe.”

So, I say, “Yep, that’s a little mind-game prank that was played on me. Well, anyway, uh…. Well, uh, I just want you to allow yourself to open your mind to the greater intentions—intentions you have for doing this, the greater visions. Now, don’t think just yet, you’ll only try to make things up. This is easier than that.”

Ok.”

“Ok, now. You say that…being honest and only rational after all…that of course you wouldn’t be doing this expression of yourself on the internet if you didn’t have some desire to share or show this part of you with somebody or somebodies in the world…right? So far?”

“Yea, get on with it, I’ve already said that.”

“Ok, fine. Now, here’s the fun part. I want you to have that desire…to have it clearer…the clearer you can make it, y’know, the more likely it will happen. So let me help you a little here. Now just clooose your eyes. No, no, don’t look that way at me, nothing fishy going on…. You just ain’t going to be able to see your desires with all the distractions that the sights around us present. Give it a chance. Believe me, I’m not trying to lay any trip on you….”

“Ok, that’s better.”

Who’s Your Real Audience?

“Now. On the internet, we never see our audience. But we all imagine and wonder who they might be and what kind of people they are. Don’t you, too?”

“Yea, sure.”

“Well, we’re gonna try do something like that. Instead of an internet with no audience, well, imagine you’re in an auditorium. It can still be an internet to you…and you’re making the same points…and you’re really getting into it, like: I SPIT (ptoo!) in the face of death…and I LAUGH uproariously in the face of death.”

“How’s it goin?”

“Yea, I’m doing it, really into it…like it!”

“Ok. How does it make you feel?”

“Strong, fucking strong, damn fucking strong.”

“Greeeat. You’re feeling strong, real fucking strong. Feel as fucking strong as you can!”

“Great, yea, all right, I’m so fucking strong, ain’t no mother-fucking dudes as strong as me…I spit, I laugh….”

“Very, very wonderful. Enjoy, enjoy that! … Now… add one more thing…. One more thing, make it even better…. Remember, you’re in an auditorium, and here you can see your audience. Stay with that ‘spittin at death’ strength. You’re strong! … Now, containing all that strength…all that bigger than death power…cast your eyes down below you to the people in the audience…you’re at your peak!…the people that you really wanted to show. You’re strong, you’re powerful, more powerful than death, right?”

“Fucking right, I am.”

“Ok, now. Show them, and tell me who they are…one by one…look around…slowly…who do you really…really want to show who you really are…who couldn’t see this before in you…but now, they wouldn’t be able to miss it? Take your time….”

“No need to take time! Ha! I’m fucking really strong now. And there’s my bitch ex-girlfriend. Ha! Now, she doesn’t seem so high and mighty. She looks scared now. Ha! She left me. Took off with some some guy who did some kind of daredevil or motorcycle stunts. Sorta like saying to me, that, I wouldn’t be there for you…. Well, she didn’t get it then, but she’s gettin’ it now…how much braver it is to stare down death than to face some motorcycle risks. Ha! Yea, I’m gettin’ it. This is fun. You’re an old fart, but you got some tricks…good tricks….”

“Ok, now,” I say. “Look around, who else?”

“Well, there’s several other girlfriends. Wow! How great to see the look on their faces now.” (chuckling) “And there’s my two older brothers. I really wanted to be like them, and…hang out with them. But they made it like I wasn’t big or tough enough. Boy, am I showing them now. How fucking glorious. Even they are scared; they are tooo chickenshit to do what I’m doing. Ha! I’m showing them…he he he…..”

Those Damn ‘Ghostly’ Others

“Keep looking,” I say.

“Ok, well, there’s…there…. No. No…what the fuck, what the fuck’s he here for?”

“Who’s that?” I say.

“Why my dad…and my mother too. My dad always made me feel like I was weak just ’cause I was a kid. Why wouldn’t I be weaker than a grown man!? That bastard never gave me credit for having the strength I’ve got. Yet how strong is he? Just because he can put down my mom and…who would never fight back….”

I say, “Look into his face. Did you show him? Does he finally see?”

image“Not sure…. He’s, he’s kinda lookin’ down….”

“Look more closely. Zoom in.”

“OK…. Oh my god, that mother-fucking bastard, that prick!”

“What’s going on?”

“Well, he’s even angrier now. He’s thinkin’: ‘What kinda pussy son he’s got who’s play-actin’ all over the internet about how tough he is…but that’s not bein’ tough,’.he’s thinkin’…. Why that fuck! He never did understand anything I did, he put down everything I did. I tried, but no matter. I could never be man enough…in his eyes….”

I say, “That’s rough, dude, rough. That’d be hard for anyone to live through….”

“Yea.” Beginning to choke up. “Yea…” he says…he’s sobbing now.

image“That mother…. All those years I had to live with that fuck! hope and try and not getting anything back….my God!…except… scorn! Gaaa! Scorn! Scorn and Hate! It’s you who’s face I spit in, you‘re the fuckin’ death, I hate you!…. I’m bigger than you. I survive you. I laugh! Ooooh…” Openly crying.

And, he broke off crying.

You’re never gonna win, pal, give it up already.

Well. I did what I could for him…and stayed with him and hung out with him for a while…. Really not a bad guy at all. He seemed to really get it, too, that he didn’t need to do things to prove to his dad anymore, because he could clearly see there was no extreme he could ever go to or ever go through that would make a dent in his father’s attitude of despising him.

I explained that while it is hard to accept that his father really did despise him, that he will find it easier than most, because he at least knew it…and didn’t try to pretend it wasn’t true. But that he just hadn’t gotten it out of his craw that even in some imaginary way he could get something that he just wasn’t meant to get in this life. And I explained that, that is the way with all of us. There’s always something that’s not part of the perfect family portrait, or there’s some elephant in the room.

I explained that, while he didn’t have to prove anything anymore to his father that, while he was doing it, it led him to learn a lot about the internet and such, and he could apply that to something new.

So when I was leaving, he said something. It gave me a happy thought. He said:

“You know. Now I don’t need to show anybody anything. What a waste of time that was.”

What to Do, When You Don’t Have to Do

And he continued, “It occurs to me, then…’What the hell to do’? Then it occurs to me, ‘Well, if you got nothing to prove, and you really don’t want the world to end, actually.’ In fact, it is pretty scary.”

“And I’m thinkin’ of all the innocents…like my mom…being put down by big scary men whose only strength lies in putting down little kids, and their wives…so they can feel strong. Hmm….”

“So I think, ‘No, there’s no changing my dad.’”

“But the next thing I have is…while my mother isn’t here anymore, ‘There’s lots of helpless innocents out there, like her, who aren’t being helped…about what’s coming down.’ They’re even being prevented from knowing, by other chickenshit men like my dad, who are only out for themselves and it doesn’t matter who they hurt…s’long as they get their profits.”

How DARE They?

“So, I’m thinkin’ this, and I’m real surprised because I feel myself breathing deeper. And I feel some anger coming, like, ‘How DARE they?!’ “

“And then some strong feelings of manliness…my heart crying out…like to my mother. Even choking up a little, thinkin’ like, ‘I’ll take care of you, young mother, little sister, little brother, little baby child. I’m bigger, I’m stronger. I’ll protect you from harm’…like no one protected me. And now I know how horrible that was. And, how I could do nothing to…and how I would do anything to stop that from happening to others. I really would. And I got all psyched! Y’know?”

Guaranteed to Bring Out the Best in You

“I’m sorry for putting you down about wanting to help the world. Cause I see that’s the best place to put your strength and to be a real man…. Y’know? To have a just cause…put all your strength into it…whether you win or not. Just to be on the right side! And in the meantime to stand between any hardship and those innocents…and to comfort their sorry hearts. It seems like there’s no other worthy thing to do.”

Well, I expressed how that was really wonderful. And I said, to confirm for him, I said how this is the biggest struggle this planet has ever faced.

And, he’s right. It is the worthiest effort that one can imagine. And guaranteed to bring out the best in us…and to make us better…as well as the worst in us…which we can at least know and struggle with to keep those things from undermining the good in us.

Freed From a Prison

Well, after that we talked about how we individually and together could do things in the future, and…. It gladdened my heart to see him freed from the prison of striving forever for a love that would never be and…to be learning, already, that true love is in giving.

That true love is in giving.

Finding love, in giving love

No doubt, if he continues like this, he’ll soon learn that in giving love, he finds more love than his heart can contain, coming his way, without his expecting, asking, or even seeing it coming. I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes over to my site to contribute, share, and even join in solidarity.

Could Be Real Men, Instead of Performers for Phantom Puppeteers

imageWell, that’s one take on why people are not reacting to the seriousness of the end of all life on this planet. I think it’s a rather pervasive one. And I’m sure there are others. And I just wish it would be that easy to turn these people around to see how they could be real men, how they could be real heroes, how they could be really strong. Instead of performing for some “ghostly” others…who aren’t there, and…who aren’t going to be impressed anyway.

Take my word for it or not. That’s the way I see it.

Other Takes on This

Other irrational responses and reactions to the end of all time are discussed in the next two chapters, “Death Wish — Zombies and Sad Proselytists,” and “The Will to Die — Thanatos Walking.”


Continue with Apocalypse – No! Chapter Four:
Death Wish – Zombies and Sad Proselytists

Return to Apocalypse – No! Chapter Two: Love’s Wake-Up Call – Apocalypse Emergency

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America Since Its “Pleasantville” Fifties: Cultural Rebirth Aborted, Changing of the Guard Denied, The Elders on Life Support, and the Abomination Fills the Land

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Culture War, Class War Chapter Seven: Cultural Rebirth, Aborted

It’s a (Not So) Wonderful Life…for the World War Two Generation Compared to Their Boomer Children

War Compelled the Dashing of Dreams for WWII Gen Youth – It’s a Not-So Wonderful Life

Sixties Youth Ideals of Freedom – So at Odds with Their Parents Lives of Heavy Responsibilities

The paramount theme in “Pleasantville”—which is that thinking for oneself and following one’s own unique path and being open to the change that comes with that brings “color,” truth, and aliveness to one’s life—is truly a Sixties Generation idea. Again, it is not that it has never been thought of before. All great ideas have been thought before, but that does not mean they have been implemented on a sociocultural, macrocosmic level. Many ideas have remained in the realm of the solitary pursuits of philosophers and mystics and been exemplified only in individual lives. But the Sixties was such a time of turmoil because the values of individual freedom, personal passion, feeling and experience, questioning authority, and thinking for oneself were shared by so many Baby-Boomers and were so contrary to the values of the generation in power.

It’s a (Not So) Wonderful Life

An excellent example of how opposed the Sixties values are to those of the WWII Generation is found in that beloved movie of all time, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring Jimmy Stewart. In that film, the main character is prevented by circumstances from following his dreams. One event after another keeps him from leaving his home town. His story might be called “The Truman Show” in reverse for he comes to accept the loss of his dreams. He is rewarded for giving up his yearning for adventure with the warmth of a loving family and friends.

Nonetheless, he has been reduced to someone who simply follows a script or role and when it appears that he might fail in that role he considers killing himself.

Reassures a Generation

The movie is beloved and timeless, no doubt, because it reassures an entire generation and all those who have had to give up their dreams for whatever reason that their sacrifices were for a higher good and that it is a wonderful life after all.

Will never know what might have been.

It provides a rationalization against the painful feelings of knowing that one will never know “what might have been” by pointing out the truth that one’s life affects others and has meaning regardless of whether or not one has been fortunate enough to actualize one’s deepest desires, talents, aspirations, and dreams.

War Compels Dashing of Dreams

As mentioned, “It’s a Wonderful Life” calls out to and epitomizes the experiences and attitudes of the World War Two Generation in particular. They were called upon to fight a war, after all, which no doubt would derail many a young man’s (and woman’s) dreams. As in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the circumstances that arise to prevent their following through on their dreams are imposed from the outside–the state of being at war and being called upon by a draft to enlist or else be enlisted. For the women, as well as the men who stayed behind, the war’s influence on their lives and the carrying out of idealistic schemes and dreams are only a little less pronounced. For, as in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the war created a society heaving with needs and pain, which only the truly heartless (who wouldn’t have any dreams anyway) could not help but feel compelled to respond to.

Growing up too fast

In one way or another, the situation in the Forties, with the war effort and afterwards, created a generation who, except for the rare individual or one of unusual circumstances, was called upon to step up into mature responsible tasks long before the idealism of their youth would have preferred that they do so. And their generation is scarred for having missed this opportunity. They are individuals deserving of our sympathy; yet crippled they are nonetheless.

We Are the Centaurs (My Friends)… The WWII Generation’s Sacrifice Made the Idealism of Their Children Possible

The WWII Generation’s Sacrifice Made Sixties Visioning Possible

Mashing Butterflies and Drowning Kittens

This is not to say, however, that the generations before the WWII Generation were allowed their dreams and that the WWII Generation is unique in being crippled in its development. For we know that earlier child-rearing modes required the submission of children and youth to parental wishes (again, see “The History of Childhood As The History of Child Abuse” by Lloyd deMause). Therefore, dreaming or envisioning an adventurous life was not the norm. For much of the history of the world and in most cultures, indeed, even the selection of one’s spouse was decided by the parents. So much has our history–in both Eastern and Western cultures–been marked by the assassination of youthful dreaming, idealism, and choice that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet can be said to be a revolutionary work in even depicting that this assassination of dreams is a tragedy!

Roaring Into Life

Still, the WWII Generation can be said to have been especially affected by this slaying of self, for they did, after all experience the heady freedom of the “Roaring Twenties” and the dreaming that preceded the Great Depression. In the Twenties, victorious in World War I and with it now put behind, America was coming into its youthfulness and was heady with its achievements. Unbelievable accomplishments and inventions in all areas of life were speeding up sociocultural change causing some to believe that a new era was around the corner, just within reach, an era unlike anything the world had ever known. This was the atmosphere in the Twenties when the WWII Generation were in their childhood or adolescence. It couldn’t help making a very strong, because of its being early, imprint on their expectations.

Suddenly Depressed

However, these dreams would be dashed in the Great Depression, during which time they would be adolescents and young adults, and they would be harnessed into struggling like their parents had to earlier and were now again struggling.

Getting a New Deal…Light at the End of a Tunnel

Still, as time wore on the dreams of a new world would be reignited with the idealistic union movement and the Franklin Roosevelt changes in the social contract that rescripted the relation between the society and the individual, creating a symbiotic one which enhanced them both as champions of each other. Folks would magnify the power of the person when united with others. They would dream of a fairer world in which the rich did not dominate with their wealth because the poor could balance the scales with their strength in numbers, adding to their individual power by joining in unions and by combining their votes in elections. They could begin to envision the light at the end of the tunnel of the Great Depression in which they might realize the freedom and adventure they’d glimpsed around them as children in the Twenties.

War. Shot Down Again.

So it is understandable that they would not wish to enter World War II when it began. And Pearl Harbor Day, when their fate was inevitably forged, when it became clear that for the second time the light of individual freedom would be extinguished, would become an important marker in their lifetimes–a day almost as much to be memorialized as their birthdays.

We Are the Centaurs (My Friends)

Sitting on the Shoulders of One’s Ancestors

For this we can pity the World War Two Generation. As in John Updike’s The Centaur, the World War Two Generation is depicted as a generation that was required to give up its dreams and do its “duty,” above all. It was required to carry out a script given to them by their society, not allowing them to follow their natural youthful ideals. And as in Updike’s novel, they are beaten down in a life that is regimented and has no “color,” spark, life, idealism, or dreams. They have become the robot-like residents of “Pleasantville.” But Updike points out in his novel that their sacrifice, despite the personal tragedy of it on the individual scale, is both necessary and noble in that it makes possible the realization of dreams by the generation that they gave birth to.

Prince in Exile and Hundredth Monkey: Good Old Boys Are Always the Last to Learn in America’s “Pleasantville”

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The Hundredth Monkey: Good Old Boys Are Always the Last to Learn in America’s “Pleasantville”

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The Sixties Generation Arrived

It is significant that the protagonist of change in the movie “Pleasantville” would be a young male, Bud (David). This is in keeping with legends of old where a young prince comes bearing the new knowledge. But in postmodern style, wonderfully so, he is drawn only reluctantly into this role and we see that it is women who are the real instigators, the least threatened by change. At first, David/Bud opposes his sister and argues for the status quo, maintaining that his sister, who is actually the first one to “break the rules” and thereby to bring color to the town, must abide by the script.

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The Prince in Exile

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The Prince is Schooled in Tradition

sitaThe “young prince” knows the rules well. This fits with legend, where the new ways are brought by a prince who is not ignorant of tradition; in fact the prince is the one who has excelled in training in traditional ways. (See also, Common Themes from Myth and Mythology in Modern Fiction, Prince in Exile.)

In the movie, David is in fact a Pleasantville trivia whiz. He knows exactly the way things are supposed to unravel, the way events are supposed to go.

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The Prince Is Reluctant to Break with Tradition

So when his sister first introduces color by introducing sex, he admonishes her. And when he also is tempted to a change in the “script,” he refuses at first. This is when Bud is offered homemade cookies by the young woman who would be his romantic partner. He refuses because he knows that, according to script, it is another young man who is supposed to get the cookies and end up with that particular girl. Despite his attraction for the young woman, his strong sense of maintaining the status quo, not rocking the boat, causes him to try to refuse the cookies. It takes a great deal of forcefulness on the young woman’s part to get him, reluctantly, to accept the cookies that he actually does want. So, again, it is a young, significantly “colorized,” woman who tempts him into a change in the script.

The Prince Brings Change, Without Realizing It, Just Being Himself

It is not that the young man does not have the makeup for accepting change. In fact, even before his sister blatantly brings about change, and therefore color, by rebelliously introducing sex, he has already sown the seeds of change, although unconsciously, when he suggests to his boss, Mr. Johnson, that he think for himself, instead of following a rigid script. This he does unconsciously and out of selfish motives in that he by nature is different from the character he is supposed to portray and so he does not play his role exactly as it is “supposed” to be played. Specifically, because he is not really the robot character he has replaced, he ends up being late for his job–which heretofore was a totally unheard of event.

The Hundredth Monkey

It is also significant that it is the young that are the first ones in the town to become “colored.” As in the hundredth monkey phenomenon, it is first the young, especially females, who are open to new experiences, ways, and ideas. Then it is adult females–in this movie exemplified by Betty Parker, the mother of Bud and Mary Sue—who are next to consider alternatives and new ways. Adult males are the last to turn to color, but among them it is the sensitive of heart, exemplified by the artist/soda-jerk character, Mr. Johnson, who “turn on” initially.

Good Old Boys, the Last to Learn

Last to become colorizedi.e., to be open to change and thinking for oneself—are the “authorities” of the town, in this instance, those on the Chamber of Commerce. And among these the most recalcitrant of all is their leader, Big Bob, played by J.T. Walsh, in his final film role before his passing away. Though Big Bob displays a pleasing and affable persona on the surface (for this read “good old boy”), there is an insidious Hitleresque quality to him which provides the suspense at the climax of the movie where he presides over the fate of the artist, Mr. Johnson, and the “young prince,” David/Bud.

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Abortion of Cultural Rebirth Always Begins With a Conservative Backlash by The “Religious Wrong”

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A Conservative Backlash by The “Religious Wrong”‘ Attempts to Abort the Generational Changing of the Guard in America’s “Pleasantville”

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“You Can’t Legislate Morals”

With the support of the Chamber of Commerce, we know Big Bob has the power to do whatever he will with the two on trial. slide_194730_434143_smallAnd since the events preceding the trial has included mob actions which have included a book burning, the attack and destruction of the malt shop, and the cornering, physical intimidation, and physical attack of “coloreds” by gangs—images common to modern times which has seen these sorts of events in actuality occurring in the civil rights and anti–Vietnam-War movements, and currently in democracy and freedom uprisings in the Middle East, America, and throughout the world in the Occupy movement—the fate of the prisoners is imagined to include the ultimate penalty of death.

“Conservative Backlash”

Indeed, this ominous possibility is promoted by the actions of the soda-jerk Artist who, at the trial, pitifully pleads for a compromise. This is pitiful since we know that his art is his life, that it is the one thing that has truly enriched his life and made it worth living.

Sitting at the Lunch Counter

We know of its importance in that, even after the attack on his malt shop, he defied the “rules” laid down by the town’s authorities which outlawed art and color by working with the Prince through the night to produce a colorful mural on the outside wall of his shop depicting the current events of the town and the feelings swirling about inside its residents.

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This defiant act by the artist is reminiscent of antiwar demonstrators, who got fired upon at Kent State, of civil rights demonstrators, who police attacked with dogs, and of Tiananmen Square demonstrators, who were rolled over by tanks, shot, and killed, and most recently of all the courageous men and women of the Middle East risking their lives for freedom and of the Occupy heroes throughout the world putting their bodies in front of the most dire, widespread fascism ever to exist.

Since this character, recently so courageously defiant, is intimidated into pleading for a compromise in which he would be willing to use only certain colors or where he would submit for approval by the Chamber’s leader his ideas for painting beforehanda compromise which his body language and facial expressions show, wonderfully acted by Jeff Daniels, is one near up against the very death of his soulwe know he fears for the loss of his physical life.

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“Just Sign This Confession.”

The compromise is too much like the compromises we have witnessed being offered and come to expect being offered to some of the Tiananmen Square and other political prisoners of recent times wherein they are required to do something along the lines of admitting their guilt, apologizing to the State for the trouble they have caused it, and promising to never again to engage in such activities…and only in the most benevolent of circumstance being allowed to continue anything like their former activities but if so only under the supervision and with the approval of authorities with veto power over their proposed actions.

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The Religious Wrong

So Big Bob and the Chamber of Commerce represent in the current social framework the Religious Right (sometimes referred to as the “religious wrong” and sometimes about which it is noted that the Religious Right is neither). Big Bob’s Chamber of Commerce represents Republicans, Tea Partiers, and those in general in our society who have succumbed to the rewards and threats of the World War Two Generation to live a regimented robot-like unfeeling passionless life; to become one of J. D. Salinger’s “phonies,” to abide by their misconstrued idea of “family values,” and above all to “behave” and not do anything to rock the boat of the status quo which might threaten the privileges of those currently enjoying power and wealth handed down, mostly, by heredity.

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Civil Rights Movement

It is highly significant that in the courtroom scene the “colored” would be sitting in the balcony, above the black-and-white men. One might say this represents their status as being an elevated state, something to aspire to, and yet not on the level where matters are decided. But even more so, this scene is important in that it is a near exact replication of the courtroom scene in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” wherein the balcony of the courtroom is filled with Blacks, another kind of “colored.”

This makes it clear that when the movie is dealing with the conflict between the adult males of the town and the “colored” it is referring to the Civil Rights movement.

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Revenge of the Octogenarians and the American Tienanmen Square – Culture War

Abortion of Cultural Rebirth, Aborted Changing of the Guard – The King Refuses to Die

The American Tienanmen Square—Culture War

The events in China’s Tiananmen Square more than twenty years ago so affected and still affects some of us here in America because we know at some level that we have experienced it before. What happened in China two decades ago is so much like what happened here four decades ago, somewhat less graphically, around the Vietnam War demonstrations. Let me explain.

Standing Before Tanks, Flowers in Barrels

For one thing, the images of the demonstrations in China, e.g., the lone man standing in front of the tank, were so like those of Sixties demonstrations, e.g., Sixties youth blocking the paths of soldiers and placing flowers in their gun barrels.

Revenge of the Octogenarians

And the result of both was the same: In both cases the opposition, the youth movement, crushed violently in China, subtly and behind the scenes in the US—at the command of an octogenarian generation, clinging desperately to power as much as to their waning physical frames.

The King Won’t Die

Assassinations—Character and Otherwise

We see the same pattern of violent versus subtle played out in the US as well where we no longer assassinate our president as we did with JFK, we character assassinate instead, as we did with Clinton and which the Tea Party and the wealthy right are trying to manufacture against Obama. One might say the WWII generation in America has gotten more finesse, with practice, in its beating back sociocultural change not to their liking and that the Chinese geriatric set didn’t have as much practice with it.

The King Refuses to Die

Nevertheless the results in both countries are the same. They involve the ultimate victory of sociocultural change in both instances being delayed until the dying off of an elderly generation in power—a generation refusing to die or hand over the controls at the proper time like the generations before them. Simply, the king won’t die!

Time is Running Out.

Time is running out for the octogenarians and ninety-somethings on either side of the Pacific.

The expected, supposedly inevitable defeat of the WWII Generation—their dying off—is portrayed in “Pleasantville” by Big Bob, head of the Chamber of Commerce, ending up fleeing the scene in the courtroom. (Strange coincidence, the actor actually died after making this film.) There are many ways his defeat could have been played out in the movie. I think it is highly significant that he runs away, never to be seen again, just as in the current context the dying off of the WWII Generation is a literal leaving of the scene, not an outright defeat, or some other means of change of power.

The King on Life Support and The Consequences of an Abomination: America Since Its “Pleasantville”

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America’s Aborted Changing of the Guard and The King Propped Up Mechanically: Since “Pleasantville”

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With these factors in mind, what have we experienced in the last two decades, as the Sixties Generation finally got its turn? As expected, it was at first quite different from what the WWII Generation had been serving up during its forty-plus years’ reign.

The Nineties

We saw the beginnings of cultural enlightening and progress during Clinton’s term in the Nineties. In retrospect it was a colorful time; it was an enthusiastic time.

The Nineties were bookmarked between the economic wreckage left by Reagan-Bush and their voodoo economics throwing money at the rich leading to a huge recession and a financial scandal—S&L Scandal—that involved, for that time, an extraordinary price tag for the country. And the other end was the assignment by the Supreme Court of the election to George W. Bush over Al Gore—a battle of a Sixties Generation member against a WWII Generation paid-for concoction, the W.

Grawp_and_Centaurs.sized

A Culture War Raged

In between those two markers a war was waged, a culture war, whose battleseconomics, abortion, sexuality, cultural expression, war/peace, child abuse, spouse abuse; and whose personalities—Clinton, Gingrich, Lewinsky, OJ Simpson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Brown, Ross Perot—were detailed and rehashed endlessly via the daily news mills.

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The W

At the end, the installment of the W represented a resurgence, in typical Culture War style, of the dominance of WWII-type oppression and manipulation of the masses.

The King Propped Up Mechanically

b209568907yuppieIt was the abortion of the changing of the cultural guard that was naturally occurring. It was the King propped up mechanically, robot-like carrying out the dictums of those who once lived but were no more. It was an abomination of the natural order.

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The Consequences of an Abomination

And its consequences during the first decade of the Twenty-First Century were exactly what would be expected from an abomination like that.

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Monsters Don’t Really Die in Horror Flicks

220px-David_H._Kochmatrix-podThe WWII Generationlike the endings of horror flicks, which leave always a hint or part of the monster living on somehow, thus setting up a possible sequelleft behind part of itself in the form of the Eighties Generation clones and the Fifties Generation. And these folks ain’t going away any time soon! They are here in the Tea Party; they are here in the wealthy right; they are here in the ownership and guiding principles of the mainstream media, now become principal propagandist of the American patriarchy (the “filthy rich”).

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Millennium’s Second Decade—Same Old Culture War

Currently, in the second decade of the new millennium, the Culture War has erupted in Nineties fashions, pitting Obama now against the cultural regressives.

tea-party

The Wisconsin-style anti-cutback, pro-union uprisings and the worldwide Occupy phenomenon have brought the lingering issues out into the open in a style not much different from the rebellious Sixties.

It is the same old culture war/class war, now brought to furious and fiery life, as a struggle suppressed by a decade of domination by untruths would be, as it emerges even angrier for having to wait.

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The King’s Gotta Die Sometime! Dangers and Prospects, Zombie Apocalypse vs the WWW

The King’s Gotta Die Sometime! Prospects and Dangers in the Post-WWII-Generation World

However much we cannot know the future, and despite the seeds of WWII Generation values left incubating in the minds of Eighties and Fifties Generation members and emerging under tea-bag hats, we can hope that the vision of “Pleasantville” will eventually hold out.

Hopeful News

People Fight Harder to Keep What They Have…For Good Things They’ve Experienced.

Just as in the movie when after everyone has experienced color there is no semblance of a wish to return to a black-and-white world, so also we might hope that as our society turns more and more away from war-making, selfishness, race- and sexism, ecological destruction, and all the other WWII Generation evils left behind, and turns more and more toward economic prosperity, peace-keeping, loving our children and having honest relationships, and the reclaiming of our natural environment and ecological balance, there will be fewer and fewer who wish to turn back the times to the unreal black-and-white world of the “Blue Meanies.”

Reason for Hope

We see evidence of this in both the election of Obama and the high popular ratings for him since in office. Earlier we observed it in the great support for Clinton even during the assassination attempt on his character.

People of Hope

The approval ratings of both of these Sixties-side-of-the-Culture-War Presidents certainly is not comprised only of Baby-Boomers. Sixties Generation values are infectious because they offer so much hope. African-Americans of all ages supported Clinton overwhelmingly; of course they support Obama. We can certainly see that our black population would not wish a return to the black-and-white world that included discrimination and violence against them.

Women of all ages, for the same reasons, would not be expected to wish a return to a less individualistic status, to a subservient state. And the young will always be idealistic if they are shown any ideals, which is what we can expect the Sixties Generation to be doing for them, as they continue taking their seats in the Wise Elders section of the parliament of sociocultural creation.

Last Ditch Battle

We have seen examples of this change all around us. In fact the current frenzied attack from the Right can be seen as a desperate last ditch battle in a war they will inevitably lose. That is the good news.

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Bad News

How Bad the Aftermath, The Devastation Left Behind

The bad news is that, similar to the way the Republicans cleaned out the Treasury and left huge deficits and several wars on the desk of the incoming Democratic administration in 2009, thus hobbling it before it began, we have no idea how great will be the destruction left behind from these culture waging, albeit waning, authoritarians in the current context.

Heavy with Gold

With their gains in stealing from all classes of society below them in their last dying clingings of a dying old guard, a king who simply won’t die, they are heavy with gold. They have the means to buy much more influence than their numbers.

Their Power Is Magnified

The multitudes are growing in size against them, but with their wealth and with the technology and science available now multiplying further their abilities, their capacity to control the minds of much of the population is magnified beyond anything previously and beyond anyone’s abilities to calculate or foresee.

Zombie Apocalypse?

So despite the trends toward a natural evolution like we have seen in the past, we might witness a strange aberration-—a zombie apocalypse created out of the thinking of a time long gone comprised of sick ghostly fantasies of a black-and-white golden age that never was. Such things have happened before; cultures have indeed stagnated for hundreds and even thousands of years. The Middle Age is one such example of stagnation beneath an oppressive deathly authority that would never renew.

Still, despite the scientific and technological monkey wrenches that might permanently upset a natural order of progression, it is more likely that things will work out as they have most of the time than that we will see an aberrant development. There is, after all, at least as much technology and science catalyzing progressive change as is not.

The Positive … Good News?

And the evidence for a natural development is there for all with eyes to see. With so much change needed, it is easy to forget how much has changed for the positive since the Sixties. Still, with no inclination to see it, no amount of listing of the evidence will bring them into view.

What might be helpful, though, is to note some other analogies from the movie “Pleasantville” which can provide insight as to what may be on the horizon or at least be considered food for speculation:

It Takes a Village; We Are a Global Village.

Whereas the black-and-white Pleasantville ends at the town’s borders and turns round again to the center of town, the post-color Pleasantville roads continue going, connecting Pleasantville with the rest of the world. Thus, with color and by inference imagination and thinking for oneself, Pleasantville has become part of a larger world, one in which Pleasantville citizens can participate and in which they can travel and take up residence. This represents the global village, the coming together of the interests of all nations–the emerging “global economy.”

We Have What Really Brings Down Tyrants – The Power of Individuals Is also Magnified by Technology.

But perhaps most of all this connection to a larger world represents those factors of modern telecommunications and travel that have made the world open to the eyes of all, which is the real reason the Iron Curtain fell, the real reason apartheid was overthrown, the real reason democratic revolution is coming to the Middle East and may yet be causative in bringing democracy to places like China and Iran, despite their oppressive propped-up elder-archies, their kings who will not die, their frozen non-renewing social processes.

The W’s Legacy Finally Overthrown by the WWW?

And the most potent analogy of all: the World Wide Web, bringing together all peoples of the world into a collective consciousness sharing ideas and together shaping a world, not just a neighborhood, with true democratization of information, uncontrollable by any wealthy elite of any country or any generation.

Stay Tuned.

Finally, the image at the end of “Pleasantville” is the most apt for what we may next expect: The only thing we know for sure is that it will be different.

Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Eight:
Creating an American Mind

Coming Up: The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths”–How The Big Lie Continued; The Fifty-Year Invisible Family and Community That Surrounded All Americans and Affected Every Aspect of Their Lives Including, and Intentionally, the Basic Components of One’s Personality, and the Erosion of Reason, Soul, and Independent Thought or Action.

Return to Culture War, Class War, Chapter Six: “Pleasantville” as Culture War Allegory

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Conversation on the Eve of Apocalypse: A Tale of Machismo and Ecocide

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Conversation on the Eve of Apocalypse Between a Boomer and a Gen Xer:
An Anatomy, in Story Form, of the Machismo Attitude Toward Our End

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Facing Apocalypse, People Are Becoming Zombies

People are becoming zombies in the face of their death, their own upcoming suffering, not to mention the death of all life on this planet. imageDo an internet search on apocalypse and note how little, if anything, is posted about the urgency or emergency of our current situation.

It comes across as a big party on a South Pacific Island in a hotel that everyone there knows will not survive the incoming tsunami or killer hurricane. But in the meantime they’re drinking themselves silly, drugging…gonna party their way to the end. That is not a rational response to the end of all life.

Other responses on the apocalypse have machismo aspects to them. In fact, most sites about apocalypse have a macho message in common.

Macho, Macho Man

imageYou are not going to believe it, but check it out: The theme…now look deeply, if you’re not used to picking up on people’s motives off hand…the theme goes something like this:

Well, folks, we’re all gonna die. But big deal. I’m so fucking macho, I laugh at death! Here, let me prove it to you. Come here, death, right up to my face!

See, everybody. How I look directly into this face, this face of death! Now watch. Watch as I spit, spit directly into this face. Ptoo! (spits) See that? So who cares!? Not convinced? Then watch and I’ll show you. See the face of death that I’m holding and facing? Watch as I laugh in its face, laugh directly in its face. HA! Hahahahahaha! See? Told you.

Doing it, Tron style

imageWell, that is the way it comes across: “Apocalypse? Let me show you how tough I am.” Not, “What can we do about it, to stop it?”

So, dear listeners, are you able to make out the distress beneath such pronouncements? Granted, this bravado is worthless as to either reversing apocalypse or even showing some sort of inspired vision in which it can be made acceptable or noble if not avoidable. For those who do not see it yet, in this chapter and its accompanying video I try a little fantasy dialogue to bring out what I think is going on, much of the time, and keeping us from acting rationally about this imminent emergency of all dire emergencies possible.


Witness me as I trip over in cyber-land to something I call Amalgamated Macho-Apocalypto-dot-com. I’m about to go over to the webmaster of that site, in imagination and, well, just run a question or two past him. Tune in and catch what ensues. It should be revealing. So you click on the gadget above, while I fly myself over. See you there!

Spitter Dude

Ok, I’m here. “Hey, yo dude! Deathface spitter and laugher!”

“You… You know me…?”

“Hell yea. You’re in Google, you know. I understand you’re surprised because, believe me, tagged with apocalypse, like you, well, let’s just say I don’t have to lock the doors either. But there’s probably more interest in you than what I do.”

“Really, more interest in me? I like that! What do you do then?”

“On my site I tell the truth: you know, tell them that it’s very very bad and looks impossible unless people wake up on a massive scale and decide unequivocally to live. Stuff like that.”

“Ha. Hahahahaaha.”

“Ok, but just no spittin. I’ve seen your routine.”

“No, no. Nothing of the sort. No, really, I thought that kind of stuff died in the Sixties with all the ‘kumbaya’ and ‘we shall overcome’ baloney.”

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Why’s Everybody Hatin’ on Kumbaya?

“Well, not that it’ll make a difference on you, but yeah, I’m that old and have had many high moments of unity in among the angels of humans coming forth to reunite—what you refer to as kumbaya. And by the way, I like the song, I like the Lord, what’s everybody pissed at? As for the other, we overcame. I’ve really dug being me because I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the things that made the world better; and I can’t imagine a better high or feeling of fulfillment.

image“But I’m not here to dispute with you. I’m an old fart who got to live in rich times and participate in them. You’re a young, well, younger-than-me person, who was apparently born at around the time all the things my kind were working for were deemed a threat to the status quo. And so the powers-that-be created the misinformation, scapegoating, and slander of my generation. Then they delivered to generations following mine the machismo cynicism with its connotation that it was better to have that than feeling life. They seeded you with the idea that those who experienced life…as opposed to those who accepted their prepackaged attitudes of cynicism and mean-spiritedness…well, we were wusses, saps, effeminate, feminate, and all that.

“So, sorry, that my generation’s threat to the moneyed powers was so scary to them that they reacted with the all out effort to create a generation that would be the opposite of us, and so you were brainwashed and misinformed and lied to. So, so very sorry. I wish I could say, “my bad,” but well it was “our good” that resulted in “their bad,” and I don’t want to be like them and continue to uphold their matrix of misinformation. So, anyway, sorry.”

“Well, I shoulda Tivo’d that for later. That was waaaay too much and too many twist and turns for me to follow. But you called yourself an old fart. That part I got. So since you’ve placed yourself below me, I guess I’m at ease with your being here, whatever it is.”

Who Ya Talkin to, Dude?

“Well, your Dudeness, your Fearlessness Most Strong and Mighty, I have a few humble questions to ask of you,” I say.

“Ok, old fart, go ahead.”

“I see clearly that you’re showing the world you don’t fear death. But how is that going to help the world any. I mean if everyone felt like you…let’s say that was your aim…well then we’d all go down, patting each other on the back on how it doesn’t matter, but never to be heard of again!”

“Your point?” he says, irritated.

“Are you saying my site isn’t offering anything to the world? So who the hell says a site has to be doing anything for anybody or anything? Let alone this world…

“This is me! I’m expressing me! What else is there to do?”

“Ok, thank you. That explains a lot. But something comes to me. May I?”

“Sure,” says he.

“You say that, ‘this is me.’ Number one. Right?”

“Right.” Annoyed again.

“Ok. Now, you know there are not a lot of people watching. But your intention is not to influence any people. Number two, right?”

“Yep, that’s right.”

“But you wouldn’t be putting up a website if you didn’t want somebody to know who you are. I mean, you could say it in the mirror, or in your bedroom. You wouldn’t be making it available unless there’s somebody, persons, that you hope would hear you. Would that not be number three, right?”

“Well, you old farts really are big on this self-analytical crap, aren’t you? Well, I ain’t no pussy, but I am man enough to say that I couldn’t escape that logic that…yea, I am, inside, wanting to share, and share myself to some, to some…well, I guess, I just wouldn’t mind if, uh,really by accident of course, some people, who never got to know me this way, might see me and understand…well, uh…”

Let’s Play a Mind Game.

“Oh, understand. Nothing wrong with that. But, uh, how ’bout you indulge an old fart and just try out something that I think will be a real gas for you, er, perhaps I should say, phat, er, uh…. Look, you can trust me to take the time to play a little, let’s say, mind-game. It’s lots of fun.”

“Haha. Suure, ok. You crack me up, ya old fart. Gonna be a real gas. Ya can bet your damn asscrack that you’d lost me for sure until you’d made real quick to explain that one, hehe.”

So, I say, “Yep, that’s a little mind-game prank that was played on me. Well, anyway, uh…. Well, uh, I just want you to allow yourself to open your mind to the greater intentions—intentions you have for doing this, the greater visions. Now, don’t think just yet, you’ll only try to make things up. This is easier than that.”

Ok.”

“Ok, now. You say that…being honest and only rational after all…that of course you wouldn’t be doing this expression of yourself on the internet if you didn’t have some desire to share or show this part of you with somebody or somebodies in the world…right? So far?”

“Yea, get on with it, I’ve already said that.”

“Ok, fine. Now, here’s the fun part. I want you to have that desire…to have it clearer…the clearer you can make it, y’know, the more likely it will happen. So let me help you a little here. Now just clooose your eyes. No, no, don’t look that way at me, nothing fishy going on…. You just ain’t going to be able to see your desires with all the distractions that the sights around us present. Give it a chance. Believe me, I’m not trying to lay any trip on you….”

“Ok, that’s better.”

Who’s Your Real Audience?

“Now. On the internet, we never see our audience. But we all imagine and wonder who they might be and what kind of people they are. Don’t you, too?”

“Yea, sure.”

“Well, we’re gonna try do something like that. Instead of an internet with no audience, well, imagine you’re in an auditorium. It can still be an internet to you…and you’re making the same points…and you’re really getting into it, like: I SPIT (ptoo!) in the face of death…and I LAUGH uproariously in the face of death.”

“How’s it goin?”

“Yea, I’m doing it, really into it…like it!”

“Ok. How does it make you feel?”

“Strong, fucking strong, damn fucking strong.”

“Greeeat. You’re feeling strong, real fucking strong. Feel as fucking strong as you can!”

“Great, yea, all right, I’m so fucking strong, ain’t no mother-fucking dudes as strong as me…I spit, I laugh….”

“Very, very wonderful. Enjoy, enjoy that! … Now… add one more thing…. One more thing, make it even better…. Remember, you’re in an auditorium, and here you can see your audience. Stay with that ‘spittin at death’ strength. You’re strong! … Now, containing all that strength…all that bigger than death power…cast your eyes down below you to the people in the audience…you’re at your peak!…the people that you really wanted to show. You’re strong, you’re powerful, more powerful than death, right?”

“Fucking right, I am.”

“Ok, now. Show them, and tell me who they are…one by one…look around…slowly…who do you really…really want to show who you really are…who couldn’t see this before in you…but now, they wouldn’t be able to miss it? Take your time….”

“No need to take time! Ha! I’m fucking really strong now. And there’s my bitch ex-girlfriend. Ha! Now, she doesn’t seem so high and mighty. She looks scared now. Ha! She left me. Took off with some some guy who did some kind of daredevil or motorcycle stunts. Sorta like saying to me, that, I wouldn’t be there for you…. Well, she didn’t get it then, but she’s gettin’ it now…how much braver it is to stare down death than to face some motorcycle risks. Ha! Yea, I’m gettin’ it. This is fun. You’re an old fart, but you got some tricks…good tricks….”

“Ok, now,” I say. “Look around, who else?”

“Well, there’s several other girlfriends. Wow! How great to see the look on their faces now.” (chuckling) “And there’s my two older brothers. I really wanted to be like them, and…hang out with them. But they made it like I wasn’t big or tough enough. Boy, am I showing them now. How fucking glorious. Even they are scared; they are tooo chickenshit to do what I’m doing. Ha! I’m showing them…he he he…..”

Those Damn ‘Ghostly’ Others

“Keep looking,” I say.

“Ok, well, there’s…there…. No. No…what the fuck, what the fuck’s he here for?”

“Who’s that?” I say.

“Why my dad…and my mother too. My dad always made me feel like I was weak just ’cause I was a kid. Why wouldn’t I be weaker than a grown man!? That bastard never gave me credit for having the strength I’ve got. Yet how strong is he? Just because he can put down my mom and…who would never fight back….”

I say, “Look into his face. Did you show him? Does he finally see?”

image“Not sure…. He’s, he’s kinda lookin’ down….”

“Look more closely. Zoom in.”

“OK…. Oh my god, that mother-fucking bastard, that prick!”

“What’s going on?”

“Well, he’s even angrier now. He’s thinkin’: ‘What kinda pussy son he’s got who’s play-actin’ all over the internet about how tough he is…but that’s not bein’ tough,’.he’s thinkin’…. Why that fuck! He never did understand anything I did, he put down everything I did. I tried, but no matter. I could never be man enough…in his eyes….”

I say, “That’s rough, dude, rough. That’d be hard for anyone to live through….”

“Yea.” Beginning to choke up. “Yea…” he says…he’s sobbing now.

image“That mother…. All those years I had to live with that fuck! hope and try and not getting anything back….my God!…except… scorn! Gaaa! Scorn! Scorn and Hate! It’s you who’s face I spit in, you‘re the fuckin’ death, I hate you!…. I’m bigger than you. I survive you. I laugh! Ooooh…” Openly crying.

And, he broke off crying.

You’re never gonna win, pal, give it up already.

Well. I did what I could for him…and stayed with him and hung out with him for a while…. Really not a bad guy at all. He seemed to really get it, too, that he didn’t need to do things to prove to his dad anymore, because he could clearly see there was no extreme he could ever go to or ever go through that would make a dent in his father’s attitude of despising him.

I explained that while it is hard to accept that his father really did despise him, that he will find it easier than most, because he at least knew it…and didn’t try to pretend it wasn’t true. But that he just hadn’t gotten it out of his craw that even in some imaginary way he could get something that he just wasn’t meant to get in this life. And I explained that, that is the way with all of us. There’s always something that’s not part of the perfect family portrait, or there’s some elephant in the room.

I explained that, while he didn’t have to prove anything anymore to his father that, while he was doing it, it led him to learn a lot about the internet and such, and he could apply that to something new.

So when I was leaving, he said something. It gave me a happy thought. He said:

“You know. Now I don’t need to show anybody anything. What a waste of time that was.”

What to Do, When You Don’t Have to Do

And he continued, “It occurs to me, then…’What the hell to do’? Then it occurs to me, ‘Well, if you got nothing to prove, and you really don’t want the world to end, actually.’ In fact, it is pretty scary.”

“And I’m thinkin’ of all the innocents…like my mom…being put down by big scary men whose only strength lies in putting down little kids, and their wives…so they can feel strong. Hmm….”

“So I think, ‘No, there’s no changing my dad.’”

“But the next thing I have is…while my mother isn’t here anymore, ‘There’s lots of helpless innocents out there, like her, who aren’t being helped…about what’s coming down.’ They’re even being prevented from knowing, by other chickenshit men like my dad, who are only out for themselves and it doesn’t matter who they hurt…s’long as they get their profits.”

How DARE They?

“So, I’m thinkin’ this, and I’m real surprised because I feel myself breathing deeper. And I feel some anger coming, like, ‘How DARE they?!’ “

“And then some strong feelings of manliness…my heart crying out…like to my mother. Even choking up a little, thinkin’ like, ‘I’ll take care of you, young mother, little sister, little brother, little baby child. I’m bigger, I’m stronger. I’ll protect you from harm’…like no one protected me. And now I know how horrible that was. And, how I could do nothing to…and how I would do anything to stop that from happening to others. I really would. And I got all psyched! Y’know?”

Guaranteed to Bring Out the Best in You

“I’m sorry for putting you down about wanting to help the world. Cause I see that’s the best place to put your strength and to be a real man…. Y’know? To have a just cause…put all your strength into it…whether you win or not. Just to be on the right side! And in the meantime to stand between any hardship and those innocents…and to comfort their sorry hearts. It seems like there’s no other worthy thing to do.”

Well, I expressed how that was really wonderful. And I said, to confirm for him, I said how this is the biggest struggle this planet has ever faced.

And, he’s right. It is the worthiest effort that one can imagine. And guaranteed to bring out the best in us…and to make us better…as well as the worst in us…which we can at least know and struggle with to keep those things from undermining the good in us.

Freed From a Prison

Well, after that we talked about how we individually and together could do things in the future, and…. It gladdened my heart to see him freed from the prison of striving forever for a love that would never be and…to be learning, already, that true love is in giving.

That true love is in giving.

Finding love, in giving love

No doubt, if he continues like this, he’ll soon learn that in giving love, he finds more love than his heart can contain, coming his way, without his expecting, asking, or even seeing it coming. I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes over to my site to contribute, share, and even join in solidarity.

Could Be Real Men, Instead of Performers for Phantom Puppeteers

imageWell, that’s one take on why people are not reacting to the seriousness of the end of all life on this planet. I think it’s a rather pervasive one. And I’m sure there are others. And I just wish it would be that easy to turn these people around to see how they could be real men, how they could be real heroes, how they could be really strong. Instead of performing for some “ghostly” others…who aren’t there, and…who aren’t going to be impressed anyway.

Take my word for it or not. That’s the way I see it.

Other Takes on This

Other irrational responses and reactions to the end of all time are discussed in the next two chapters, “Death Wish — Zombies and Sad Proselytists,” and “The Will to Die — Thanatos Walking.”


Continue with
En-Raptured Reaction…to Pending Apocalypse: Death Wish of Zombies and Sad Proselytists

Return to Previous in this Series:
Apocalyptic Wake-Up Call:
Love Demands We Give Our All…Where We Find Hope in All This

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Tale of Machismo and Ecocide: A Conversation on the Eve of Apocalypse

Conversation Between a Boomer and a Gen Xer:
An Anatomy, in Story Form, of the Machismo Attitude Toward Our End

More at Conversation on the Eve of Apocalypse: A Tale of Machismo and Ecocide

Go to Post That Precedes This: Apocalyptic Wake-Up Call: Love Demands We Give Our All…Where We Find Hope in All This

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