|Ray on his birthday 2014|
Today is my birthday, and as might be expected, I am in a particularly reflective mood. As a gift to myself – and hopefully to you as well – I am going to attempt to clarify my current beliefs about “How the world works.” This is not an easy task because those who are actually in charge of the planet relentlessly conceal their true motivations and methods. If this subject proves intriguing to you folks out there, I will revisit it each year on my birthday.
But first, here is a short meditation on birthdays and age. Because I am zealous about staying in shape, I am often asked how old I am. My usual answer is, “I am in my Middle Years.” Although this answer sounds evasive, it actually stems from a deeper inquiry into this topic. My analysis is that there are four elements to human aging.
· CHRONOLOGICAL AGE Unfortunately, this is the dominant method that our culture uses to measure someone’s age. But I contend that it is probably the least reliable marker.
· BIOLOGICAL AGE This is a far more accurate denominator of a person’s position along their life path. How strong and pliant is your cardio-pulmonary-vascular system? Are your joints troublesome and has your muscle dissolved into fat? Is your mind still sharp or is your memory a shifting fogbank? These markers will provide a much better assessment of your true age than any calendar can.
· EMOTIONAL AGE Do you handle the disappointments and tragedies of life with composure and grace? Someone with a short fuse and a long stress horizon will probably be older than their calendar years might suggest.
· PHILOSOPHICAL AGE This is the category in which a person should strive to be older than their chronological total. If one can achieve the “Wisdom of an Elder” at an early stage in life, this will bequeath them an inner harmony that will normally lead to increased longevity and greater happiness.
So my belief is that true age is a tapestry of these different threads. If a person can achieve advanced emotional and philosophical maturity early in life, and if they combine that with healthy eating and exercise, this will lead to such vibrant biological wellness that they can practically ignore the calendar.
And now back to the main topic of this meditation – “What I Think I Know.” I truly cannot remember any time when I was not inquisitive and idealistic. Life lessons from a great mom instilled in me a passion for trying to figure things out and for trying to make things better. These same elemental desires still provide the foundation for all of my efforts to understand and to communicate.
I also received inspiration and guidance from some wise quotations from three great thinkers - Socrates, Whitman and Thoreau. Socrates bolstered my inquisitiveness with his counsel that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Walt Whitman further reinforced this with his injunction to “question much and obey little.” And Thoreau outlined how a simple and unencumbered material existence helps foster an abundant philosophical life with this statement: “a man is rich in direct proportion to the number of things that he can live without.”
And now, as I look back from my Middle Years, at all of my striving to understand and improve, what have these pursuits bequeathed me? Unfortunately, the answer is DISILLUSION and DISCOURAGEMENT. It has not yet degenerated into DESPAIR, but sometimes I feel like I am standing at the border about to enter that bleak territory.
I challenge anyone to deeply investigate this world, and not emerge with their beliefs shattered. Every institution that we are trained to respect in our formative years, is at best fraudulent and at worst pathological. The State, the Church, the Military, the Police, the Intelligence Agencies, the Corporate World, and the Media are all corrupt to the core and are now just metastasized tumors of greed, hubris and violence.
· THE STATE – The Western Democracies are a total charade. They might claim to answer to the will of the people, but their actions prove that they answer almost exclusively to the will of the RICH people. They are a more subtle - and therefore more insidious - modern version of aristocracy or oligarchy. Competing with these depraved, lip-service democracies is a truly frightening retro form of government - Islamic Theocracies. Seeking to reinstate cultural codes that were repugnant even in the Iron Age, these aberrant social deformities continue gaining ascendancy as a counter-weight to what they perceive as Western degeneracy. With these as the two main governmental options, the term “lose-lose situation” leaps to mind.
· THE CHURCH – The earthly mission of Religion Inc. can be summed up in one word – CONTROL. Churches want to dominate people’s lives. And they do this with hideous weapons – either fear-mongering or the promise of salvation. Any cult whose foundation rests upon two concepts that cannot be proven – namely that a god exists and that there is a heaven and a hell – should immediately be suspect and presumed to be a con. But instead, the religious powers have managed to convince most of the planet that such absurdities don’t require evidence and can be accepted on the basis of faith. And even though the priests and rabbis and mullahs claim that religious savagery is a thing of the past, just look at today’s headlines and it is clear that sacred butchery is still a global scourge.
· THE MILITARY – The most powerful element of what I call The Malignant Overlords is the military/industrial complex. Their lobbyists roam Washington like bloated locusts campaigning for endless war. Indeed, in the last few weeks Leon Panetta has claimed that the conflict with ISIS could stretch out for 30 years. These people are putrid inside. They create the most obscene weaponry and just when you think they cannot get any worse, they come up with something even more despicable. Now they want to weaponize space and cyberspace. And because of our “no-future for young people economy” they have a steady stream of poor kids for whom killing and getting killed is their best economic option.
· THE POLICE - Only a fool can look at the evolution of the U.S. police force and still believe that their role is to serve and protect. They look like galactic storm-troopers and they behave like a playground bully on steroids. Vets returning from the Middle East repeatedly claim that U.S. cops have better combat gear than they did overseas. They have not been militarized by accident. The Malignant Overlords realize that the serfs will eventually reach a breaking point; and so they intend to have enormous tactical advantage.
· THE INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES – It is difficult to not bring up the “military intelligence is an oxymoron” argument here. But even more important than their rampant incompetence, is the depravity of their mission. Essentially, their duty is to undermine any leader or government that refuses to “play ball with America.” This is code for allowing U.S. corporations free reign within that sovereign country to avail themselves of the best resources and the cheapest labor. In the good old days, the U.S. Marines would pave the way for the United Fruit Company. But now it is the spook agencies that “open up markets” for the American multi-nationals.
· THE CORPORATE WORLD – Where should I begin when citing the evils of the Multi-nationals? Their only allegiance is to PROFIT. They don’t care about people or countries or the planet. The scorn they have for their workers is aptly demonstrated by their policy of “off-shoring.” This is OrwellSpeak for firing millions of workers and vaporizingh entire industrial areas; leaving behind a wasteland of poverty, addiction and despair. This off-shoring also ravages the peasants at the other end of this profit river. Those largely self-sufficient farmers suddenly find themselves lured or forced into sweatshops where they are overworked at slave wages. But as bad as the manufacturing corporations are, they seem enlightened when compared to the financial institutions which have become a massive part of the global economy. These soul-less entities, receive billions in taxpayer bailouts and yet won’t even make loans to Main Street. Instead they play the international financial market casino in which vast profits are made through the trading of absolutely nothing of value to society. It’s all high-frequency gibberish and voodoo.
· THE MEDIA – I am tempted to use the phrase “The Pimpery” here, even though I doubt if there is such a word. But it surely is appropriate. When almost all of the major media are owned by six or seven major players, who are all obscenely rich, whose interests do you think they will promote? I am old enough to remember a time when there were reporters who sought the truth or the story behind the story. Now they seek only career advancement and face time on the Tube. I can’t watch the nightly news without an air sickness bag nearby.
This brief description of the corruption and perversity of the bedrock institutions of modern civilization is profoundly troubling. But the future appears even bleaker, when one assesses the trajectory of events. It is as if the Malignant Overlords have taken Orwell’s 1984, which was written as a cautionary novel, and turned it into an operating manual. It genuinely appears that they are trying to structure a society of rulers, technicians and serfs. Their spying capabilities, their militarized police, their desire to plant microchip tracking devices in everyone, certainly leads one to conclude that what the elites truly desire is a HUMAN HERD that can be controlled and dominated.
As I survey this panorama, from what I hope is the maturity of my Middle Years, I see little cause for optimism. Electoral politics surely won’t change things. And revolution is practically suicidal, given the surveillance powers and the militarized police that the State can wield.
So what is left? I believe that the only possible solution is COLLAPSE. The whole putrid, artificial and violent edifice must fall. Don’t try to reform it! Don’t try to overthrow it! Abandon it! Escape! Flee! Go somewhere and find a mode of living that provides you as much separation as possible from the tentacles of a soul-less, joy devouring civilization.
And as it slouches towards self-immolation, prepare yourself to survive the collapse. It could source from any or all of what I call the Big Bad “E”s – Energy, Economics or Ecology. It will be massive and destructive. And if you do “make it through to the other side” as a singer/poet once said, I hope you help sculpt a neo-tribal future that is sustainable, just, caring, joyous and authentic.
By the way, that is a future that I live in the present. You can do so as well! If I help inspire you in that direction, then that can be my birthday present to you.
Happy birthday - my unknown friends!