Reposted from Of Two Minds with publisher’s permission.
Part 2 of the Introduction to my new ebook “Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change”.
The book will be available in a print version later in April, but for now it is available as a Kindle eBook at about a 10% discount ($8.95) from the list price of $9.95 through April 6:Resistance, Revolution, Liberation. Anyone can read a Kindle eBook on any device; just download the free Kindle reader app for PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads, etc.
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To give you a taste for the scope of the book, I’m presenting the Introduction in two parts:
(Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: Part 1)
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Here is Part 2: INTRODUCTION (Part 2)
We will cover a great many ideas in the chapters ahead, and one that helps us understand our reluctance to embrace positive change is the social control myth. These myths are propagated and marketed by the Status Quo to maintain control of the social order so that it serves the interests of those in power at the expense of the non-Elites. If you control an individual’s beliefs, you control his actions, habits and responses.
The key social control myth is that the system serves your self-interest. If you believe this, then you will defend an oppressive, exploitive, parasitical Status Quo in the misplaced belief it serves your personal interests.
The chief purpose of propaganda is to establish and renew various social control myths. Central States have long deployed powerful myths to solidify their control: “we are being threatened by outside forces, so rally round” remains popular due to its enduring success.
Another key social control myth is that individuals are powerless in the vast systems that dominate our society and economy. This is a very useful myth to the Status Quo, as it leads individuals to surrender their autonomy and liberty without coercion.
In the myth of top-down revolution, nothing can possibly change until the leadership has been replaced and vast, impersonal systems far beyond our individual influence have been reworked at the top of the pyramid.
In terms of directly influencing the centralized political and financial structures that dominate our lives, we are debt-serfs gazing upon the aristocracy’s distant, inaccessible castle. But our remoteness from concentrations of wealth and power does not render us powerless.
The truth is that revolution and liberation are within our reach; when we liberate our minds from pathological illusions of self-interest, we have already achieved the first key step of liberation. We can do so without the permission of the aristocracy or the centralized State they control.
Rather than being powerless, we hold the fundamental building blocks of power. We need neither permission nor top-down political change to liberate ourselves. A powerless individual becomes powerful when he renounces the lies and complicity that enable the doomed Status Quo’s dominance.
A single individual within a corrupt institution who reveals the truth can change history in a profoundly positive way, for the truth is always a positive force. Every individual who refuses to secure personal security at the expense of truth becomes powerful in ways that are beyond the reach of wealth and corruption.
This book challenges the conventional view of revolution and liberation. In the standard view, there are two basic types of revolution, one political and one spiritual. The political version involves the replacement of leadership and the reformation of State governance. In the mythology of political revolution, individuals participate in the transformation by joining public assemblies that often veer into destruction and violence.
In a spiritual revolution, participants eschew the political realm as either intrinsically polluted or simply irrelevant; they care not who or what ideology claims power, all are equal in spiritual terms. The resulting liberation is an essentially internal transformation of insight and faith.
The model of positive change I propose here is a synthesis of both internal and external liberation. In my view, political liberation is impossible if the mind and spirit are shackled by pathological conceptions of self-interest, and spiritual liberation is limited by the oppression and predation of corrupting, exploitive political-financial systems.
Peaceful transformation to a sustainable, non-pathological society and economy require both internal and external transformations—but the internal one must come first. That inner understanding then guides concerted action in the lived-in world toward positive goals that are not oppressive, exploitive or parasitical.
The mythology of political revolution is colored by chaos, violence and a disavowal of law. The revolution I describe here is legal and non-violent, for destruction and violence are counter-productive to positive transformation.
The mythology of spiritual revolution holds that political and economic systems are irrelevant to inner liberation. To the degree that political and financial systems limit freedom of faith, exchange, movement, expression, enterprise and association, then they limit the potential of all humans living under those systems. The lived-in world is the one we inhabit, and liberation is only partial if it is restricted to the mind and spirit.
Though it may seem as if we have no power in the current state of affairs, the reality is that our participation and complicity enable the Status Quo’s pathologies and predation. Pathological systems dissolve when the citizens stop supporting the Status Quo with their participation, votes, resignation (i.e. “we have no choice”) and complicity.
To fully understand the systems that dominate our lives and offer the false choice of either complicity or active support of the Status Quo, we must understand the dynamics of self-interest and the matrix of risk, gain, threat and loss that arises from both human nature and life itself.
We must also understand that our reason for supporting the Status Quo—to insure our own security and prosperity—is being invalidated by the changing nature of security and prosperity. The promises of financial security being made by the Central State are profoundly illusory, and the fundamental question “what is security?” is now an open one that demands new answers.
In all my work, I stress the importance of establishing an integrated understanding that clearly lays out the context and dynamics of our era. That is the first goal of this book.
The second goal is to irrevocably change your life in a positive fashion by changing the way you understand our world, and to do so via this one book.
Whether we like it or not, we are in an era of colliding crises that will culminate in a transition to a new social and economic system. Humanity always has burdens and troubles—that is the nature of a changeable world interacting with human nature—but there are decades in which little happens and years in which decades happen. We are in just such an era, and we will all be swept along by events that no longer respond to the Status Quo’s financial magic.
It’s easy to confuse faith and political ideology. We resist changing our understanding, as we experience this transition as instability and insecurity. But changing our minds does not require changing our faith; rather, the firmness of our faith—in our Creator, in truth, in our ability to help others and prevail—is the bedrock that gives us the discipline and resolve to confront the brutally unwelcome facts of our circumstances and make coherent plans accordingly.
You can now discern the third way in which this book differs from others on philosophy or political economy. It has long been apparent to me that no account of systemic transitions can make sense of our lived-in world unless it synthesizes an ethological understanding of human social order, an understanding of the Central State and modern capital’s control of society, and perhaps most importantly, the experience of liberation. This may seem to describe a psychological state, but it actually describes a state of being in the lived-in world.
History is not fixed; it is in our hands. Revolutions spring not from history or abstract ideologies or street rebellions but from the transformed understanding of individuals. You cannot await a transition unfolding in a remote future or capitol to transform your life; that revolution begins in your internal understanding and reaches fruition in your coherently directed actions in the lived-in world.
Posts will be sporadic this week as I’m taking some time away from the machine.