How Puppets Dance and Rewrite their Strings (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 178)

He wondered about the people in the typical lower-middle-class houses like those. They would be, for example, small clerks, shop assistants, commercial travellers, insurance touts, tram conductors. Did they know that they were only puppets dancing when money pulled the strings? You bet they didn’t. And if they did, what would they care? They were too busy being born, being married, begetting, working, dying. It mightn’t be a bad thing, if you could manage it, to feel yourself one of them, one of the ruck of men. Our civilization is founded on greed and fear, but in the lives of common men the greed and fear are mysteriously transmuted into something nobler. The lower-middle-class people in there, behind their lace curtains, with their children and scraps of furniture and their aspidistras lived by the money-code, sure enough, and yet they contrived to keep their decency. The money-code as they interpreted it was not merely cynical and hoggish. They had their standards, their inviolable points of honor. They “kept themselves respectable”—kept the aspidistra flying. Besides, they were alive. They were bound up in a bundle of life. They begot children, which is what the saints and soul-savers never by any chance do.

Keep the Aspidistra Flying

George Orwell          1936

Cribb Comment: I understand the distinct possibility of my misperception of Orwell’s script, but my take on this passage is that it is as multifaceted and convoluted as the rest of his ponderings. The first half of the paragraph appears to present itself in direct full frontal clarity of meaning. The second half of the paragraph, beginning with but in the lives…, seems to display an intricate dual meaning. Satire dominates this section as the most overt theme of interpretation, but a simplistic face value description of pure relevant quasi-truth mixed in with illustrating how a “delusional norm” has been transformed into the “reality of the norm” for the majority of those of lower awareness cannot be denied. They are “bundled up in life” as they have rewritten life to be, but not as Orwell himself would define true objective life. The same applies to them “keeping themselves respectable in their translation of the money-code”. They are also more likely to biologically reproduce, which “thinkers” and those of higher awareness might be less likely to do as a direct result of understanding the actual and non-bastardized reality of consequence and existence. The “truths” of a delusional norm are still “truths” which most often impact heavily on the truths of shared or communal objective reality.  I can hear Orwell saying “Which is better? Which creates more suffering? Are the collective accurate perceptions of objective reality and the collective accepted delusions of a rewritten and bastardized reality codependent on one another for balancing each other out and assuring the continued physical survival of the members of both groups given the current condition of existence on our mutually inhabited world?” It would seem that until that comprehensive existence is emphatically changed for the entire world, the answer to this last question must remain yes.

Cribb          2017

The Pervasive Myth of Economic Gluttony vs. the Inescapable Context of Humanity (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 175)

The faulty assumption that scarcity-based economic thinking is somehow the de-facto human approach to questions of supply, demand, and distribution of wealth has mislead much anthropological, philosophical, and economic thought over the past few centuries. As economist John Gowdy explains, “‘Rational economic behavior’ is peculiar to market capitalism and is an embedded set of beliefs, not an objective universal law of nature. The myth of economic man explains the organizing principle of contemporary capitalism, nothing more or less.”

Many economists have forgotten (or never understood) that their central organizing principle, Homo economicus (a.k.a. economic man), is a myth rooted in assumptions about human nature, not a bedrock truth upon which to base a durable economic philosophy. When John Stuart Mill proposed what he admitted to be “an arbitrary definition of man, as a being who inevitably does that by which he may obtain the greatest amount of necessities, conveniences, and luxuries, with the smallest quantity of labour and physical self-denial,” it’s doubtful he expected his “arbitrary definition” to delimit economic thought for centuries. Recall Rousseau’s words: “If I had had to chose my place of birth, I would have chosen a state in which everyone knew everyone else, so that neither the obscure tactics of vice nor the modesty of virtue could have escaped public scrutiny and judgement.” Those who proclaim that greed is simply a part of human nature too often leave context unmentioned. Yes, greed is a part of human nature. But so is shame. And so is generosity (and not just toward genetic relatives). When economists base their models on their fantasies of an “economic man” motivated only by self-interest, they forget community—the all-important web of meaning we spin around each other—the inescapable context within which anything truly human has taken place.

Sex at Dawn

Ryan and Jethá          2010

Won’t You Not Play the Game with Me? (The Veterinarian)

For those who might be interested, this is a short poetic note about myself and some of the stressful forces which impact upon the practicing of my profession and the owning/operating of my veterinary hospital. I often fancifully refer to the hospital as the Castle. May these words be taken in the spirit of which they are offered; for greater understanding and the hope that we may all come together to work towards what is the most nurturing and best balanced system for all.

It disgusts me how much the corporate world stands in my shadow, deceptively and manipulatively sucking out almost all of the revenue I can generate in my trade by being a fair and ethical small business person. These entities figured out a long time ago how to put “face men” out there to disguise the intricate ponzi scheme of their diffuse market possession and “behind the curtain” price control they impose on all consumers. The current “capitalistic” system is designed for us to be nothing more than masked puppets for these juggernaut parasites. It equally disgusts me how much the government rapes me over and over in exponential fashion. The amount of taxes I pay for my income and property is egregious, insane, and unfair.

It would seem to me that the underlying lesson taught by both the government and the corporate world is that a man of independence and ethical preference is suppose to break himself of these tedious tendencies and desires. . . because, as they say, “you gotta make a living” or “you gotta make your fair share” or “you gotta play the game like everyone else, that’s just the way it is.” And sooner or later, maybe the system will take me out. I have been close a number of times, much closer than you probably believe, but if it happens one day, it just happens, because you see, I can’t play the game. A game that turns me into a relentless lying and tax evading prick or a bastardized up-selling unethical DVM corporate puppet that has to screw my customers over to generate a decent income for my effort and expertise, has at its victory the death of my honor, the loss of all of my integrity, and ultimately, the suicide of my humanity and the values of existence which make it worth experiencing. This I remind myself.

So, I just wrote a check to the United States Treasury for an absurd amount related to estimated taxes while I’m doing my best trying to get caught up on all of my other bills that cannot be paid from that extracted/allocated amount, but my day goes on with the Castle roof above my head and the Castle gardens flourishing all over the grounds. The magic is alive around here. . .you can feel it; it always holds up pretty good against the petrifying spell of money’s love potion and the wicked withering brought about by its whispered and temptable chants.

There is enough magic everywhere for everyone, but it isn’t to be found in a upsold suicidal game of plundering.

Won’t you not play the game with me?

Cribb          2017

And Change the World, You Will (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 167)

Be the difference or the change in the world

that you seek

and

that no one can deny,

and change the world,

you will.

That is the way,

the only way,

to truly have an impact,

to make everything shine on a higher level

with more purity and intensity;

to foster and nurture greater love within all of existence.

Anything less,

the world already has enough of

and we need no more.

There is already plenty of

fear and jealousy,

hypocrisy and selfishness,

destabilization and overdominance.

We need no more of that;

no more of that.

Cribb

2017

Awareness as a Human Being or Not (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 165)

But think in terms of individual men, women, and children, not of States, Religions, Economic Systems and such-like abstractions: there is then a hope of passing between the horns. For if you begin by considering concrete people, you see at once that freedom from coercion is a necessary condition of their developing into full-grown human beings; that the form of economic prosperity which consists in possessing unnecessary objects doesn’t make for individual well-being; that a leisure filled with passive amusements is not a blessing; that the conveniences of urban life are bought at a high physiological and mental price; that an education which allows you to use yourself wrongly is almost valueless; that a social organization resulting in individuals being forced, every few years, to go out and murder one another must be wrong. And so on. Whereas if you start from the State, the Faith, the Economic System, there is a complete transvaluation of values.Individuals must murder one another, because the interests of the Nation demand it; must be educated to think of ends and disregard means, because the schoolmasters are there and don’t know of any other method; must live in towns, must have leisure to read the newspapers and go to movies, must be encouraged to buy things they don’t need, because the industrial system exists and has to be kept going; must be coerced and enslaved, because otherwise they might think for themselves and give trouble to their rulers.

The sabbath was made for man. But man now behaves like the Pharisees and insists he is made for all the things—science, industry, nation, money, religion, schools—which were really made for him.Why? Because he is so little aware of his own interests as a human being that he feels irresistibly tempted to sacrifice himself to these idols. There is no remedy except to become aware of one’s interests as a human being, and, having become aware, to learn to act on that awareness. Which means learning to use the self and learning to direct the mind. It’s almost wearisome, the way one always comes back to the same point. Wouldn’t it be nice, for a change, if there were another way out of our difficulties! A short cut. A method requiring no greater personal effort than recording a vote or ordering some “enemy of society” to be shot. A salvation from outside, like a dose of calomel.

Eyeless in Gaza

Aldous Huxley          1936

In the Name of the Best within You (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 164)

In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved this title. Do not lose your knowledge that man’s proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.

Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum          1957

Honesty is not a Social Duty (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 158)

Honesty is the recognition of the fact that the unreal is unreal and can have no value, that neither love, nor fame nor cash is a value if obtained by fraud—that an attempt to gain a value by deceiving the minds of others is an act of raising your victims to a position higher than reality, where you become the pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions, while their intelligence, their rationality, their perceptiveness becomes the enemies you have to dread and flee—that you do not care to live as a dependent, least of all a dependent on the stupidity of others, or as a fool whose source of values is the fools he succeeds in fooling—that honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others.

Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand          1957