Orwell: A Bard Navigating the World of the Gutter Crawlers (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 213)

The interesting thing about the New Albion was that it was so completely modern in spirit. There was hardly a soul in the firm who was not perfectly well aware that publicity—advertising—is the dirtiest ramp that capitalism has yet produced. In the red lead firm there had still lingered certain notions of commercial honour and usefulness. But such things would have been laughed at in the New Albion. Most of the employees were the hard-boiled, Americanised, go-getting type—the type to whom nothing in the world is sacred, except money. They had their cynical code worked out. The public are swine; advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket. And yet beneath their cynicism there was the final naïveté, the blind worship of the money-god. Gordon studied them unobtrusively. As before, he did his work passably well and his fellow-employees looked down on him. Nothing had changed in his inner mind. He still despised and repudiated the money-code. Somehow, sooner or later, he was going to escape from it; even now, after his late fiasco, he still plotted escape. He was in the money-world, but not of it. As for the types about him, the little bowler-hatted worms who never turned, and the go-getters, the American business-college gutter crawlers, they rather amused him than not. He liked studying their slavish keep-your-job mentality, He was the chiel amang* them takin’ notes.

One day a curious thing happened. Somebody chanced to see a poem of Gordon’s in a magazine, and put it about that they “had a poet in the office.” Of course Gordon was laughed at, not ill-naturedly, by the other clerks. They nicknamed him “the bard” from that day forth. But though amused, they were also faintly contemptuous. It confirmed all their ideas about Gordon. A fellow who wrote poetry wasn’t exactly the type to Make Good.

*the chiel amang = the young man (Scottish) among

Keep the Aspidistra Flying

George Orwell          1936

Giving the Masters More Money, Blood, Sweat, or Tears (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 210)

Do you think that the american slaves were ever told by their masters that if they worked harder and helped their masters generate more revenue for themselves, that they (the slaves) would then be set free or at least have their standards of life significantly improved? Sounds good, doesn’t it? But isn’t a man (a corporation or any other institution), capable of having the power to be a slave owner and choosing to do so, almost always irrevocably going to remain a slave owner unless he is overthrown and stripped of his power? Giving a slave owner, a master, more money, blood, sweat, or tears almost always just emboldens the slave owner to double down on his oppression and plundering of others, doesn’t it?

Cribb          2017

Hero Bullies versus Us (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 206)

Our society has indoctrinated us, taught us from birth, what normal is and what to expect from it. It has taught us the capitalistic lesson of the hero bully, the champion over-dominator, who gets to rise above all others and hoard all of the resources and power that he so chooses to do. We have been taught from birth that everyone is an individual entity unto to themselves, bearing responsibility, performing sacrifice, and reaping reward only as an individual. It is never “us” because that always allows the excuse of plausible and discardable deniability; enables the embodiment of a scapegoat to wash away all the sins of the herd, so that the herd may always go marching merrily away in celebration of its deniability. Only in the rare instances of kissing a hero bully’s ass as part of the court graced by his power and prestige or when begging for the scrumptious scraps he has thrown off of his throne, does the “us” get subtly remembered as part of the human condition and whispered ever so hopefully to the hero bully in the name of favorable submissive leverage; only then. But even still, the long hand of the court or of the herd engaged in worshipping the hero bully, retains the reflexive instinct to fold their “us card” in a moments notice, should their bully hero fall from his grace and power as a high achieving over-dominator. We raise the hero bully up in our society only so long as it benefits us personally and we do so in particular because that bully operates in direct contradiction to the balance of natural order, respect, and empathy, that we would otherwise have to endure ourselves. He delivers us into our own happy diabolic debasement. And when we are done with our selfish machinations that he has enabled, we gleefully cut him down so that we may look at him nailed upon a cross instead of our own souls.

The hero bully is your mate, controlling you with money, sex, a marriage certificate, or the presence of a child.

The hero bully is your employer, making you work for less than you deserve and forcing you into unethical and immoral behavior towards others that benefits his business just because he can.

The hero bullies are the corporations and businesses which drain you dry via perpetual psychological warfare, but are nonetheless, nice enough to do their best to make you feel like you are exceptionally special and smart in your purchasing habits and indebtedness.

The hero bullies are the political leaders of bombast, hyperbole, and vitriol. Those who ramp up your emotions and hatred of others while they compulsively lie about everything so that they may pilfer your pocket and your personal freedoms unheeded.

The hero bully can even become your child or your dog if you tragically allow such to happen.

All of this is wrong and heinous. It isn’t natural. It is an orchestration to turn natural order, respect, and a true understanding of communal union upside down. It is the modus operandi of madness, instability, and isolation which is only capable of being addicted to over-dominating and plundering everything outside of itself.

Understanding this paradigm is the first essential step necessary for an individual to comprehend if they truly desire to foster, promote, and nurture, the universal behavior and relationships necessary to create a better world for all.

Cribb          2017

A Good Story, Overconfidence, and Mattering (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 204)

Pretext Note: These are highly relevant and insightful quotes about behavior and awareness from a psychologist who won the Nobel Prize in economics for helping to create the field of behavioral economics.

What people want is not the well being of their experiencing self. What people want is more closely associated with a remembering self. They want to have good memories. They want good opinions of themselves. They want to have a good story about their life.

When you look globally at people’s actions, overconfidence is endemic. I mean we have too much confidence in our beliefs and our overconfidence is really associated with a failure of imagination. We cannot imagine an alternative to our beliefs. We are convinced that only our beliefs can be true. That is overconfidence. And overconfidence is almost always involved with failures of every sort, including those catastrophic and of great impact upon all of humanity. On the other hand, overconfidence and overconfident optimism is the engine of capitalism. I mean all entrepreneurs are overconfident. They all think they are going to be successful. People who open restaurants in New York, think they will succeed, otherwise they wouldn’t do it, but at least two thirds of them will have to give up within a few years. In our society, we reward overconfidence. We almost demand that our leaders exercise and proclaim overconfidence.

What I don’t know matters enormously. What I don’t see matters enormously.

Daniel Kahneman

 

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

Money is what God used to Be (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 169)

In a crude, boyish way, he had begun to get the hang of this money-business. At an earlier age than most people he grasped that all modern commerce is a swindle. Curiously enough, it was the advertisements in the Underground stations that first brought it home to him. He little knew, as the biographers say, that he himself would one day have a job in an advertising firm. But there was more to it than the mere fact that business is a swindle. What he realized, and more clearly as time went on, was that money-worship has been elevated into a religion. Perhaps it is the only real religion—the only really felt religion—that is left to us. Money is what God used to be. Good and evil have no meaning any longer except failure and success. Hence the profoundly significant phrase, to make good. The decalogue has been reduced to two commandments. One for the employers—the elect, the money-priest-hood as it were—”Thou shalt make money”; the other for the employed—the slaves and underlings—”Thou shalt not lose thy job.” It was about this time that he came across The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and read about the starving carpenter who pawns everything but sticks to his aspidistra. The aspidistra became a sort of symbol for Gordon after that. The aspidistra, flower of England! It ought to be on our coat of arms instead of the lion and the unicorn. There will be no revolution in England while there are aspidistras in the windows.

Keep The Aspidistra Flying

George Orwell          1936