“If you cannot read all your books…fondle them — peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them, at any rate, be your acquaintances.” – Winston Churchill
When I approach these conversations or topics of racism and oppression I try to remain conscious of the language being used. Language has a very clear genealogy, and whether it’s speakers know it or not, can be traced back to specific ideologies, or communities with specific agendas
That being said, whenever I hear “power structures”, I immediately think of Marxism, and the critical theory it birthed, from Foucault and other contemporary Marxists
There is a power struggle with this narrative
There’s a lot of history that people are clearly ignorant of
But I really don’t know what to think of what’s going on right now, to be honest. I am against racism and prejudice of any kind, but the solution to end it is very confusing. There are so many extreme proposals.
You know, in the evolution of human history, slavery was seen as a major advancement. Imagine that?
Historically, warring people/neighbors would simply eviscerate and kill the losers.
At some point they decided to keep them alive, and feed them, but take their will. They said, I will not take your life, but in return, you will be indebted to me. And this slavery was born. Is slavery preferable to being killed?
The word “slave” is derived from the German word Slav, which referred to the Slavic neighbors to the East, which in the National Slavic tongue meant “glory”, because when Catholicism spread across Europe and the word of God was revealed to them, they proclaimed his glory.
What’s interesting is there is no concept of “freedom” without slavery. There is rich, there is poor. But the idea of unfree only exists when there is a lack of Will, which embodies slavery.
I feel like movements with good intentions can get hijacked by special interests with malicious intent, who hijack the narrative and pervert the good intentions of the movement, which end up sabotaging the ability to achieve the desired result. Like, radicals.
Perhaps the world is molded by radicals
They’re only radical in contrast to the prevailing systems, which violently resists change.
It begs the question if the ends justify the means
How radical must one become to achieve the end?
At what point do the radical means/methods subvert the desired end?
I always think about the losers, and how no one writes the history.
Howard Zinn revealed this phenomenon to me: Contemporary knowledge and culture and history is filtered by the rationalizations of the victor, of those who survived and were able to curate a personal history that justified their advancement
There is life, and there is death.
And at the center of reality is my life, and as I extend beyond my circles of influence, my responsibility for preserving life becomes less and less influential.
Not necessarily physically, but psychically.
How I define my identify, and who and what I include in my successive spheres of influence, ultimately dictates the value of each.
The more familiar, the more valuable.
I feel as if each person possesses a sociological web of knowledge which binds to networks of other minds.
And the web is composed of language, and the ability to leverage language to manipulate the sociological web is how knowledge is defined, and in turn power.
Language rules the world, by ruling the minds of men. We control others through language. The power of language, existing in an invisible sociological web, is the basis for government.
Laws are nothing more than words, which exist in mind alone, and their power simply a reflection of those with the most power to affirm and enforce those words in agreement.
I’m inclined to think racism is not inherently a color thing.
Slavery historically has been colorblind.
Whites enslaved whites.
Blacks enslaved blacks.
Blacks enslaved whites.
White enslaved blacks.
When reading European history it didn’t seem that color was much of a factor in who was racists against who, who was discriminated against, or who was enslaved.
Greeks enslaved Greeks
Turks enslaved Greeks
Africans enslaved Spanish
The Barbary pirates of the Ottoman Empire monopolized human trafficking for hundreds of years, enslaving millions and millions of Europeans, in addition africans.
It’s a complex thing
Humanity needs to be preserved
If we fail to preserve it in others, we lose it in ourselves
Can we live in a police-less society?
Or will we be trading one evil for another?
I do feel fairly convicted that debt is the modern instrument of slavery
Debt and slavery have a long history
Is there “libertarian socialism” a thing?
Like, it is up to individuals to create the conditions for social wellbeing? Or is that a contradiction?
I feel like it should be a thing
Instead of electing politicians that enact bureaucratic government to enable social welfare,
We elect representatives who lead and promote social responsibility by creating models for citizen lead social welfare
As much as I’m for eradicating systemic injustices, I’m just as against creating bureaucratic structures with executive power to dictate abstracted visions of social good, which may begin with good intent, but overtime I feel may lose touch with the genesis of their purpose
One thing that’s becoming clearer to me every passing year is that you can be a complete idiot and go places in life as long as you “look” like you know what you’re doing.
You don’t actually have to produce results to succeed. You can simply fool everyone into thinking that you know what you’re doing. Results can be manipulated to optimize positive image reinforcement, despite having no anchor to reality, and despite not actually knowing what the fuck is going on. It’s just a theatrical display of gestures and words. This appears sufficient for the persuasion of confidence.
I’m increasingly perceiving public success is nothing more than a coincidence, a mere accident. Many times a person appears in the right place at the right time, and they mistake circumstance for talent.
So life is more a political dance than a test of thoughtful ability.
This is both inspiring and demoralizing.
Inspiring because it’s as if a key to success has placed in my possession, and all I need to do is walk through the door and perform the theatrics and wait for the audience to encore.
Demoralizing because I find myself increasingly surrounded by empty shells of gesticulating flesh that epitomize incompetence while being exemplified as an admirable example for others to follow.
I’ve been getting more and more looks from ladies.
Typically I don’t get looks.
But recently, I frequently seem women staring me down.
Sometimes initiating conversation with me.
At first I thought it was just a random anomaly. I really don’t get attention. But there is a persistent statistical trend.
But recently something’s different.
I’m trying to figure out if it’s my beard. Or my long hair.
Or if women are just horny as hell from being cooped up at home, and the first red blooded male they see just elicits a biological response that has absolutely nothing to do with me.
Of course I like the idea of my long haired, unkempt appearance appealing to the woman’s animalistic desire to procreate.
Whatever the case, it’s been a confidence boost.
What’s crazy is that in 1000 BC there was a complex economy which enabled complex textile weaving and clothing stitching and construction.
I try to imagine the circumstances which birthed these pants, the economy of dyes, of looms, of seamstresses.
Were they made by a person within the family? A slave?
Where they produced commercially?
Were they traded?
I try to imagine the people and tools that enabled this in 1000BC
And the lively open markets that merchants potentially sold these through. The stacks of paints, dyed different colors, with different patterns, ready for purchase by passerby’s.
This is pre-Roman.
This is at the beginning of Greek civilization, which catalyzed around 1200-900BC.
It’s remarkable to think they were making pants like this.
Always reminds me that humans haven’t changed much at all.
I imagine our disposition to be fairly consistent across thousands of years.
I also imagine that the knowledge to produce these pants, either by one person or an economy, took hundreds of years or more.
Like the process of agriculture, or growing fields of cotton or linen or whatever this is made of, of perfecting the art of spinning the fibers to consistent size, of tight weaves, of incorporating patterns, of the dyes likely imported from some distant land, like India (indigo)
I always wonder how much older certain knowledge is.
We see artifacts and buildings that have somehow survived the erosion and entropy of nature, as well as intentional human destruction and defacing. And we say, ah this is the oldest!
We don’t know if that specific article or artifact represents the pinnacle of the time, or of the millennia or culture.
It’s usually just a fragment. Perhaps it represents the lowest skill and quality?
Perhaps it’s simply what remained?
I like to think that ancient civilizations have reached peaks comparable to Greek and Roman and Egyptian civilization, beyond 10,000 years ago.
But they have been destroyed by nature of man. Or cities have been built upon them.
In the America’s there’s ample evidence to suggest mass agriculture and farming. The ancient ruins now covered in over grown jungles were once situated on plains with elaborate cities, with no jungle for miles. Once the civilization fell to war or disease nature simply resumed and overgrowth buried and eroded all the evidence of greatness.
Over the millennia looters dug up and destroyed what evidence did exist until all that remains are rocks.
And we find these organized rocks and conclude a vast, yet “primitive” culture once resided here.
But i do not think that is so.
I think humans have not changed much at all. I think that it doesn’t take very long for a civilization, blessed with the right resources, to rediscover natural truths and develop sophisticated technology and tools, which surpass what we imagine they are capable of
If I went to college outta high school I wouldn’t have lasted more than a semester. I couldn’t even graduate high school.
College was only an option when I decided that was exactly what I wanted.
Knowing that I wanted to go for me changed the game. I studied because I wanted to, not because I had to. I didn’t really party. Only the last year or so. I had no desire when I was in college.
I got that shit outta my system in high school and the years I was being a couch surfing high school drop out bum. Got fucked up just about every day from 18-20. Every drug. Just partied all the time.
It was great until I sobered up and realized i had nothing to show for myself.
Every day I woke up hung over and looking for a way to cure the hang over. Like a non-specific addict. Just trying to feel better. But drugs and alcohol always wear off and the sobriety always revealed the painful reality that I had nothing, had no one, and was going no where.
Everyone I partied with and got high with moved on. Or was in the same position. Homeless or living at home working a dead end job or couch surfing.
I had a girlfriend who was like, you’re a loser. Basically like, what future could you possibly provide that I’d want?
And I was like. You got a point. I have nothing. I know how to have a good time? People love partying with me?
But when you grow up you realize no one parties. And you’re the only guy partying, by yourself.
But if I didn’t reach that conclusion by myself and decide that i was sick and tired of being sick and tired, I would have prolonged the situation.
I feel fortunate that I dropped out/didn’t graduate from high school.
It prevented me from even considering college.
When I decided that college was exactly what I wanted, it didn’t feel like work. Just felt like that’s what I was suppose to do.
I think figuring out exactly what you don’t want is in some ways more important than figuring out what you want.
Cause it raises the bar for what is minimally acceptable for life, but doesn’t force you to choose.
I don’t think we have to figure it out. I don’t think it’s possible.