Millie and the Most Important Thing of All (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 177)

Millie (age 9) said “So, what is marking? How does someone mark a pet or a person?” and after a sparked involuntary chuckle, Jody’s body gradually recessed into the corner of the sofa and seemed to brace itself for whatever might come. As she did so, her expression whispered to me “well here we go you madman, this ought to be good. . . are you really going to have a college graduate level discussion with my baby girl on behavior and psychology?. . . I can’t even imagine how this is gonna go, but I guess I trust you, you crazed and certifiable lunatic.”

After a long and detailed conversation of what needed to be said and discussed to answer Millie’s question appropriately, she tilted her head to the side with playful comprehension and triumphantly inquired of me, if such a thing can be done, “So, you should never mark anything with fear, right?”

And my smile refused to be caged by any constraints as I replied “That’s right Millie. You got it, you got it! You never mark anyone or anything with fear. It is not easy and it can be very very hard not to accidentally do, but you should never ever mark anyone or anything with fear. That is the most important thing of all.”

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

Where Anger and Hatred Go (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 173)

Our psyche in daily life tries to give us a hint of where our shadow lies by picking out people to hate in an irrational way. Suppose there is a woman who seems to another woman too loose and too sexually active, and this latter woman finds herself thinking of this former woman a lot. In that case, the psyche (of the latter woman) is suggesting that part of her shadow, at least lies in the sexual area. She has to notice precisely whom she hates. That is the path of attention. Suppose that she hates the current president of the PTA; and if you ask her, she’ll say that the woman is fakey, can’t be trusted, is too successful, and so forth. The psyche might be telling her that part of her shadow lies in the power area. She has unused and unrecognized power impulses, which she has put into the bag. Otherwise there wouldn’t be such heavily emotional contact with that other person. So, following the path of attention, one notices where the anger goes, and precisely whom we become obsessed with. We become entangled with people who are virtually strangers. That’s odd. The metaphor is this: if we maintain eye contact with that person, we can damage him or her by our anger and hatred. If we break off eye contact and look down quickly to the right, we will see our own shadow. Hatred then is very helpful. The old tradition says that if a man loves God he can become holy in twenty years; but if he hates God he can do the same work in two years.

A Little Book on the Human Shadow

Robert Bly          1988

Edited by William Booth

Convenient Patriots, Well-buttered Words, and Machine Guns (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 170)

A Mexican Patriot (aforementioned he also worked as an Ethiopian Patriot, a Chinese Patriot, and a Haitian Patriot) came across, to the tent of a M.M. brigadier, and confessed that while it hurt him to tattle on his own beloved country, conscience compelled him to reveal that his Mexican superiors were planning to fly over and bomb Laredo, San Antonio, Bisbee, and probably Tacoma, and Bangor, Maine.

This excited the Corpo <fascist party in control> newspapers very much indeed, and in New York and Chicago they published photographs of the conscientious traitor half an hour after he had appeared at the Brigadier’s tent . . . where, at that moment, forty-six reporters happened to be sitting about on neighboring cactuses.

America rose to defend her hearthstones, including all the hearthstones on Park Avenue, New York, against false and treacherous Mexico, with its appalling army of 67,000 men, with thirty-nine military aeroplanes. Women in Cedar Rapids hid under the bed; elderly gentlemen, in Cattaraugus County, New York, concealed their money in elm-tree boles; and the wife of a chicken-raiser seven miles N.E. of Estelline, South Dakota, a woman widely known as a good cook and a trained observer, distinctly saw a file of ninety-two Mexican soldiers pass her cabin, starting at 3:17 A.M. on July 27, 1939 <an obvious impossibility to anyone not delusional within the context of the book>.

To answer this threat, America, the one country that had never lost a war and never started at unjust one <obvious satire>, rose as one man, as the Chicago Daily Evening Corporate put it. It was planned to invade Mexico as soon as it should be cool enough, or even earlier, if the refrigeration and air-conditioning could be arranged. In one month, five million men were drafted for the invasion, and started training.

Then suddenly, America’s agreeable anticipation of stealing Mexico <whatever sovereign country> was checked by a popular rebellion against the whole Corpo regime.

These rebels had most of them, before the election, believed in Buzz Windrip’s fifteen points; believed that when he said he wanted to return the power pilfered by the bankers and the industrialists to the people, he more or less meant that he wanted to return the power of the bankers and industrialists to the people. As month by month they saw that they had been cheated with marked cards again, they were indignant; but they were busy with cornfield and sawmill and diary and motor factory, and it took the impertinent idiocy of demanding that they <the newly drafted US citizenry> march down into the desert and help steal a friendly country to jab them into awakening and into discovering that, while they had been asleep, they had been kidnapped by a small gang of criminals armed with high ideals, well-buttered words, and a lot of machine guns <Drones, Tomahawk Missiles, and the Mother of All Bombs>.

It Can’t Happen Here

Sinclair Lewis          1935

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

Back to the Future Fascism; 1935 to 2017 (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 163)

He used to surprise persons who were about to shake hands with him by suddenly bending their fingers back till they almost broke. Most people didn’t like it much.

Doremus Jessup could not explain his power of bewitching large audiences. The Senator was vulgar, almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected, and in his “ideas” almost idiotic, while his celebrated piety was that of a traveling salesman for church furniture, and his yet more celebrated humor the sly cynicism of a country store.

Certainly there was nothing exhilarating in the actual words of his speeches, nor anything convincing in his philosophy. His political platforms were only wings of a windmill.

He was an actor of genius. There was no more overwhelming actor on the stage, in motion pictures, nor even in the pulpit. He would whirl arms, bang tables, glare from mad eyes, vomit Biblical wrath  from a gaping mouth; but he would also coo like a nursing mother, beseech like an aching lover, and in between tricks would coldly and almost contemptuously jab his crowds with figures and facts—figures and facts that were inescapable even when, as often happened, they were entirely incorrect.

But below this surface stagecraft was his uncommon natural ability to be authentically excited by and with his audience, and they by and with him. He could dramatize his assertion that he was neither a Nazi nor a Fascist. . .

. . . make you see him veritably defending the Capitol against barbarian hordes, the while he innocently presented as his own warm-hearted Democratic inventions, every anti-libertarian, anti-racist (anti-foreigner) madness of Europe.

Aside from his dramatic glory, Buzz Windrip was a Professional Common Man.

Oh, he was common enough. He had every prejudice and aspiration of every American Common Man. He believed in the desirability and therefore the sanctity of . . .

. . . and the superiority of anyone who possessed a million dollars. He regarded spats, walking sticks, caviar, titles, tea-drinking, poetry not daily syndicated in newspapers, and all foreigners, possibly excepting the British, as degenerate.

But he was the Common Man twenty-times-magnified by his oratory, so that while the other Commoners could understand his every purpose, which was exactly the same as their own, they saw him towering among them, and they raised hands to him in worship.

And it was Buzz’s master stroke that, as warmly as he advocated everyone’s getting rich by just voting to be rich, he denounce all “Fascism” and “Nazism,” so that most of the Republicans who were afraid of Democratic Fascism, and all the Democrats who were afraid of Republican Fascism, were ready to vote for him.

Pushing in among this mob of camp followers who identified political virtue with money for their rent came a flying squad who suffered not from hunger but from congested idealism: Intellectuals and Reformers and even Rugged Individualists, who saw in Windrip, for all his clownish swindlerism, a free vigor which promised a rejuvenation of the crippled and senile capitalistic system.

It Can’t Happen Here

Sinclair Lewis          1935

Empathy and Objectification (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 162)

My definition of reduced empathy is when we cease to treat another person as a person, with their own feelings, and start to treat them as an object. But it could be reasonably asked: Don’t we all do this all of the time to each other? We enjoy a friendship because the person gives us something, we enjoy a sexual relationship because the person’s body is an object, we employ a person because they provide a service we need, and we might enjoy watching someone for their beauty or athletic grace. These all involve aspects of the person as an object.

My reply to this would be that if our empathy is turned on, then all the while we are treating the person as an object, we are simultaneously aware of their feelings. If their emotional state changed, such that they were suddenly upset, we would not just continue with our current activity, but we would check what was wrong and what they might need. If the friendship is based purely on what we gain from the relationship, such that we abandon the person when they are unable to still provide that, that would be not just a shallow relationship, but an unempathetic one. But I should qualify the definition of empathy by adding that the point at which we objectify another person while simultaneously switching off our sensitivity to his emotions is the starting point toward zero degrees of empathy. It is not the end point because as we have seen in the catalog of crimes that people commit, such a state of mind simply makes it possible to behave in more and more hurtful ways.

The Science of Evil

Simon Baron-Cohen          2011