The Myth of Negativity

A theme I have encountered regularly in nearly 30 years of practice as a psychotherapist is the request to help people ‘deal with negativity’. What consistently emerges is that the person concerned is at war with themselves.

And not just ‘in conflict’ as such..

but more of a campaign….

…a series of military strategies to counter that which fails to fit an ideal,  as though..

…on a crusade to exorcise the Devil himself.

Invariably, the ‘negativity’ was some shadow quality urgently needed by the personality to bring wholeness. The problem was not the ‘negativity’ itself but the refusal to give it time, credibility or discern its meaning.

Its a worrying trend. There are swathes of books out there to help you ‘deal’ with this demon, whole websites, FB pages, entire spiritual disciplines dedicated to the cause of suppressing, countering, warding off….. these vital shards of the Self.

The scary thing is that this is done in the name of spirituality.

A Zen student came to Bankei and complained: “Master, I have an ungovernable temper. How can I cure it?”

“You have something very strange,” replied Bankei. “Let me see it.”

“Just now I cannot show it to you,” replied the other.

“When can you show it to me?” asked Bankei.

“It arises unexpectedly,” replied the student.

“Then,” concluded Bankei, “it must not be your own true nature. If it were, you could show it to me at any time. Think that over.”

The master is pointing out that the student’s anger and his desire to be rid of its discomfort are not spiritual matters. They are matters of pride and the wish for an easier life, let alone the failure to enquire into the meaning of his temper.

So, we shoot ourselves in the foot with all this high fallutin’ efforts to get rid of Negativity. The motivation to do so invariably comes from an idealised vision that compells us to devalue the rest of our lives.

”so that any time I’m not experiencing love, or not being joyful, [it feels like] I’m not being who I really am, and so I become only conditionally alive.” D Whitmore.

What we consider to be negative often actually…

”contains valuable, vital forces, they ought to be assimilated into actual experience and not repressed. It is up to the ego to give up its pride and priggishness…’ML von Franz.
When we label something inside us as negative we are in fact falling into an unconscious piece of prejudice, often derived from collective morality which is set against us carving our own unique path through the forest.

The negative thought or feeling is an aspect of personality that has been sacrificed to help us ‘fit in’, but without which there can now be no real self knowledge. It is up to us to be humble enough to find the context for such thoughts or feelings and give them the credibility that they are there in our psyche for some good reason.

For example, a young man thinks of himself as unattractive. In fact he’s disgusting. No-one could possibly want him. He counters these ‘negative thoughts’ with affirmations, telling himself over and over that he is handsome and desirable. But what we resist persists and so despite his endless efforts all he succeeds in doing is exhausting himself.

Moreover, the internal clash of opinions gives his ‘confidence’ a comical, wooden performance that no-one believes and winds up just reinforcing his deeper conviction.

A series of dreams begins to tease out the condemnation his mother had of anything to do with his body. Memories follow, being punished for using cologne, being mocked for combing his hair a new way, derision and sarcasm for thinking he could get a date to the prom.

In the absence of any support he identified with her neurotic attitude. Gradually he allowed the feelings of being so belittled to surface. His pain and anger were in fact the index of his own self-esteem. And as he gave an honourable place in his psyche to his grief and rage he began to feel better about how he looked.

“Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for.” J Campbell.

When it comes to one another, judgements of ‘negativity’ are really shorthand for refusing to enter that person’s world or walk a mile in their shoes. Its actually lack of compassion and the unwillingness to stretch the comfort zones of our own self-constructs. In doing so we unwittingly keep ourselves small and pass up the opportunity for personal growth.

”The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.” Krishnamurti.

To judge another’s attitude as negative demeans you both. The other is reduced to the cut of your own cloth so that a true sense of I and Thou is lost. The resolution of purpose required to undertake great things is eroded.

”Moral courage has it’s source in identification, through one’s own sensitivity, with the suffering of one’s fellow human beings.” Rollo May.

Moreover, getting caught up in the ego’s preoccupation with conventional morality and what it means to be good can rob us of spontaneity and trustworthiness.

We confuse being positive with being authentic.

Another Zen story refers to this..

Two Zen teachers, Daigu and Gudo, were invited to visit a lord. Upon arriving, Gudo said to the lord: “You are wise by nature and have an inborn ability to learn Zen.”

“Nonsense,” said Daigu. “Why do you flatter this blockhead? He may be a lord, but he doesn’t know anything of Zen.”

So, instead of building a temple for Gudo, the lord built it for Daigu and studied Zen with him.

If we are to be whole, grounded and fully in our bodies we need to debunk the Myth of Negativity. We must take all the thoughts and feelings that arise within us as equally valid, if perplexing, and to be so thoroughly aquainted with it all that it no longer impedes the goal of life, realisation of the Self.

Freedom and The Fates.

It’s said that the Moirai, the Three Fates of ancient time who determined both a person’s quality and span of life, had but a single eye between them. They squabbled over which should have it, the two blind ones eternally conspiring against the sighted third. In the form of millenial sisters, State, Church and Capitol, this bitchy pattern spills over into mortal affairs.

When Capitol and State team up against Church, Fascism will have a dark spiritual underbelly, religious bigotry.

When Church and Capitol collude without State, then you’ll have Empires without respect for Sovreignty.

When State and Church get chummy, then Jihads of Aquisition brew. Despite oneself,  the ‘must haves’ of life assume an almost mystical quality. Spirit and Stuff get mangled in the deification of the dollar. Consumption, like prayer, becomes an end in itself.

According to which sisters are pally at any given time, people get to be controlled in a particular way. Capitol/State favour  Big Stick. Capitol/Church use Guilt. State/Church prefer Propaganda.

Sometimes allegiances can change over night when The Girls are in a bad mood. But on one thing they agree. Democracy is rule by the Great Unwashed.

In 1921 influential American thinker W. Lipman coined the phrase, ‘the Manufacure of Consent’, a necessary technique for controlling the democratic electorate since,

”the general concerns of all people elude the public.’ W Lipman

People don’t know what is good for them. Their fates are too random.

Then came Bernay’s, Freud’s nephew, head of US post-war, ‘Dept of Public Relations’,

”I decided that if you can use propaganda for war you can certainly use it for peace. But propaganda got to be a bad word because the Germans were using it so what I did was to find some different words.” Bernays.

and so began the truly organised perception of Reality as commodity-to-the-highest-bidder. Bernays was instrumental in the US media portrayal of Guatamala as a nest of Russians in 1954, sufficient to overthrow democratically elected Arbenz.

The Russians did not even have diplomatic relations with Guatamala at the time. So how do you so pull the wool over people’s eyes like that?

Bernays was using the four principles of Lipman’s Manufacture of Consent. These four principles are also the weak spot in the Single System system. They show how its possible to bring the cyclops down.  And its not by force of arms. No monster makes rules of engagement and strategy unless it also has vulnerability. We may find its weakness in the rules that it makes.

One, Create Fear

Up until the collapse of the Russian federation it was ‘The Reds.” After 1990 it quickly became Islam, once…

”threats to our interests… and the serious problems we face, can no longer be laid at the Kremlin’s door” N. Chompsky

Recognising attempts to frighten you for what they are takes courage in any situation. The deliberate manufacture of fear is more scary than the fear of some random and arbitrary event because it involves betrayal. Someone you trusted is trying to make you feel bad and so its tough to point to its efforts.

Two, fuel a Two-Paradigm Debate.

So, find common ground. The  greatest wish of our lords and masters is to see us get embroiled in arguments about race and religion. Divide and rule. Corporate power feeds from it and rears up to its most unrestrained during times of martial law. Wasting spit on partisan divisiveness is playing the game. .

“We should be cautious about putting too much faith or fear into elected officials, we have to create it ourselves.”  E. Snowden.

Three, Create a Diversion.

Bread and Circuses for the people. Selotaste and plastoslurp. And for as long as you’ll settle for life’s consolation the Fates have you by the short and curlies will fFill you with entitlements, couch you on routes of least resistance.

If life can’t be easier then at least say that it should be and let a silent grudge be formed, an invisible resentment that life should be other, if only it weren’t for the Other, fueled by framing it as payback, maleable into a force of oppression overnight.

”the devil doesn’t come with a red cape and pointy horns, but as everything you ever wanted.” T. Max.

What the Media does best is never stated out loud. It’s implied, its the thread that joins all the sensational stories and the fear mongering. You should have it better. You poor thing. Your inheritance has been stolen. And while you are learning to grind your axe and mutter under your breath, you don’t notice that burglars are making off with your stuff there and then, nor that you are shackled to your grindstone.

The invitation to regress, to be babied, to have no more demanded of us than the cosy simple values of wanting dens cached with chocolate, makes for citizens that are entirely controllable.

‘Christian children all must be, mild obediant good as He.’ C. F. Alexander

And that means you,

but its okay,

especially if you can be eternally rewarded, not just with one product or another but anything in the name of your narcissistic entitlement. Something that when you stick it in your belt says, ‘I’m big.’

No lonely desert wandering, no shitty soul searching, no struggle to find words or slice yourself on the edges of critical thought.

And if you can be fed the idea that you are a poor misbegotten child into the bargain then so much the better…

except that you might have a shotgun under your coat.

The need to be given everlasting priviledge and be treated as special can undermine even the smartest person. This is because being seduced into believing in your own rightness is so tempting that if you have to forgo a healthy adaptation to reality in the process, waa’l… so be it.

I once made a clinical appointment with a highly qualified man for the following week. He said he would call on the day to confirm, as if offended at having to be pinned down to a particular time.

He neither rang nor showed up. I waited a day and then said something. His infallibility was so strong that he was finally compelled to assert, despite his intelligence, that he still intended to confirm the appointment which had not only passed but whose existence he now also denied.

When I said, like a terrible witholding mother, ‘you can’t have both confirmation and denial’, he fled.

Four, Keep Telling The Lie.

People will suck in all kinds of shit without any discrimination, so long as it is the same old shit. We do it to keep our worlds from turning too much, from having to be re-invented by what we come to realise. We collude with the Lie, bend ourselves out of shape to believe it.

I recall at about fourteen hanging out in a gang of white supremacist lads who suddenly realised that the ‘kaffir-boy’, the black servant in the house, spoke five languages. The confusion as to how this was possible was clearly visceral, they were contorting themselves with ad hoc explanations and rationalisation. For me, it was simple. He was smarter than us. Yes, a moment of clarity, but I suddenly felt very lonely and had to leave.

”Assimilating a new sort of fact demands a more than additive adjustment of theory, and until the adjustment is completed- until you have learned to see nature in a different way- the new fact is not quite a fact at all.” Thomas Kuhn.

And so what is truth and what is a lie become confused if it means making a paradigm shift in order to come to a conclusion.

So we believe the lie…

but pay for it by having to lurch collectively from crisis to crisis in order to make it through the day, like an addictive, accident prone histrionic, twisting to the twine of the Fates. The policy of, ‘never let a crisis go to waste’, means that our fingers must always be in Someone Else’s Pie. Always take at least one side and preferably both. Never be the moderator. Never be the voice of reason. It won’t pay the bills or fill the holy coffers. Be free, under Our control.

Turkey and Pepper Spray.

Thanksgiving 2016.

When patients tell me that they hear voices, I think, ”ah, hope”. Why? Because you can at least address a voice. You can call it out of the shadows and give it an armchair,

or a soapbox  …

an invitation usually grasped with both hands.

Voices have a lot to say and should be taken seriously. Not just acted upon, I hasten to add. The voice that tells you to chop people up with a machete should not be allowed to run the show. But it should still be heard.

The great danger is when there are no inner voices at all, nothing to question, no reflection to be had, no internal conversation. No I to talk to me.

Inner disagreements can’t then be mused over. Values can’t be weighed. And the stuff you’ve swallowed whole in order not to have to chew over its bitterness or its gristle is suddenly masquerading as personal opinion.

So, instead of a latterday Jiminy Cricket sitting on your shoulder telling you how shit you are, you do the job yourself. I’m shit. And because it’s now part of your self structure, you will hang onto that conviction like grim death..

”as though it were something precious.” F Perls.

All the feelings you then need to express to others get destructively turned in on oneself….

and the path is then smoothed between you and whoever has hijacked your life….

”selectively sponsoring the hyperdevelopment of certain mental functions in the child and retarding others.” M Kahn.

It looks great. They are so close, so attentive. But the child…

never gets a chance to develop his own personality, because he is so busy holding down the foreign bodies he has swallowed whole [which] moves the boundary between himself and the rest of the world so far inside that there is almost nothing left.” F Perls.

This leads to dissociative tendencies in the child which allows them…

”to both perceive and deny the character of their early environment.” M Kahn.

Which brings us to Thanksgiving.

It turns out that there really was an occasion in which early settlers sat down with Algonquin people and ate turkey, but for the main part Thanksgiving had a very different meaning…

In 1637 near present day  Groton, Connecticut, over 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe had gathered for their annual Green Corn Festival. In the predawn hours the sleeping Indians were surrounded by English and Dutch mercenaries who ordered them to come outside.  Those who came out were shot or clubbed to death while the terrified women and children who huddled inside the longhouse were burned alive. The next day the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared “A Day Of Thanksgiving”. Susan Bates  http://www.manataka.org/page269.html

Because the special child is treated as though he can do no wrong and because he is permitted to deny reality in the service of a symbiotic omnipotence with the Other personified by parent/church/state, he can effectively do as he pleases and even think of himself as a liberator.

Following an especially successful raid against the Pequot in what is now  Stamford, Connecticut, the churches announced a second day of “thanksgiving” to celebrate victory over the heathen savages.  During the feasting, the hacked off heads of Natives were kicked through the streets like soccer balls.  Even the friendly Wampanoag did not escape the madness. Their chief was beheaded, and his head impaled on a pole in Plymouth, Massachusetts — where it remained on display for 24 years. ibid

This attitude of entitlement is enbodied by endless permission to do as he pleases, rooted in the parent/state’s idolisation that has given the child god-like status in lieu of his own emotional/cognitive innards. His identity is not rooted in himself but rather in a collusive relationship between himself and an all powerful Other.

The killings became more and more frenzied, with days of thanksgiving feasts being held after each successful massacre. George Washington finally suggested that only one day of Thanksgiving per year be set aside instead of celebrating each and every massacre. ibid

Nor will he expect to be called to account or have to explain his actions because of this early bias…

”that he is special, cannot be understood and that communication is futile.” M Khan.

So the upside of this terrible loss of relatedness is that you don’t have to explain or have qualms, or doubts or confusion. You need not contemplate the personal significance or meaning of the word ‘violation’, because you could never do such a thing and therefor you did not. You can rape in the name of love, kill in the name of life and steal in the name of proper government.

Yes, I’m judging. But no more than I judge myself for having been just such a gun toting pioneer myself, attacking peacable people in the name of Progress or believing that the road and rail links into their lands to rip off their resources were for their benefit.

We bought them down from the trees….

so ungrateful

yet for all of that priviledge and wealth, it doesn’t touch the sides on its way down. The gluttonous consumption of land and people, crammed in to try and fill that empty craving maw where the ontological security of being loved for who you are with all you limits, warts and imperfections might be…..

never does what it promises..

and so we need black fridays where we can trample one another to death in the sales for a bargain, the day after being so thankful for all that we have.

and have another desperate go at filling the hole where our own personal destinies might have been.

It’s a loss that makes it difficult…

”to conceive of the other as having a separate, unique mind.” H Meloy.

and so much as their being crushed won’t matter too much, neither can the gratitude be felt that banners the event….

or the cognitive dissonance that our giving of thanks co-incides with the remnants of the Indian Nations being subject to human rights abuses on the last pocket handerchief they are still able to call their own.

In the Face of Adversity.

When I was a boy growing up in Africa we had a Pawpaw tree in the garden which refused to fruit. The gardener, Kimberley, suggested hacking a large hole in the trunk of the tree and stuffing it with a house brick. He assured my mother that this brutal treatment would have the desired effect.

She was horrified and refused to go along with the idea. In time the tree withered even further. Short of chopping it out entirely she eventually agreed to Kimberley’s extreme plan. The hole was duly cut with a fearsome looking panga right through the trunk of the scrawny tree and a house brick jammed into it. The tree perked up and within a year bore a crop of impressive fruit.

What induces growth is sometimes counter-­intuitive. Providing the best of all possible environs is not necessarily going to yield results. Sometimes what is actually required is adversity.

The pawpaw wasn’t fruiting because its life was too easy. Its comfort made no demands of it. It was being watered, mulched and excessively tended. Life was good for the pawpaw. Too good. Kimberley’s solution was to threaten its comfort zone in order to improve its motivation, to give it a ‘now or never’ ultimatum and the pawpaw duly rose to the occasion.

Are we so different? When did you ever achieve anything soulful when all your needs were being taken care of? When was your last, most productive period? What were your circumstances at that time? Most of us will identify with the pawpaw. Paradoxically we tend to fruit when times are toughest, when we seem to have the least resources.

Under difficult circumstances we are compelled to transcend the cultural and family safety nets that normally keep us safe but also limit and constrain. When we are happily living off the fat of the land we have enough to satisfy ourselves. When times are abundant there is no pressing need to embark on difficult adventures.

From this vantage point hardship and evolution itself are interlinked. Recent studies show that the further away from the cradle of infancy in the Alduvi Gorge humanity roamed, the more complex our DNA became, culminating in the most complex genetic codes in the people of South America who travelled furthest. In other words there is a direct link between genetic evolution and facing the unknown.

www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/using-dna-trace-human-migration

It’s as though the Psyche were compensating the hardship of life by flowering into it. Nature is self­ regulating. If circumstances don’t boom then consciousness will. You may wish for an easy life but the consequences for your inner world could be potentially disastrous. In the music business it is a standing joke that second albums are second rate. Their initial success  can rob the performer of the hunger upon which genius feeds.

Without struggle there is no fruit. We cannot help wishing for some­one to step in and relieve us of the burden of having to deal with the world but if the longing to be rescued is granted it…

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‘sterilizes the inner process’. (Von Franz 1986)

You need only look at the fate of figures like Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse and dozens of others who lived the dream to see what a nightmare it actually turned out to be. There are just as many examples from history: writer Jakob Boehme who deteriorated under the protective wing of Baron von Metz, abstract artist Roger Hilton who drank himself to death, Mark Rothko who blew his brains out at the height of his career and Tchaikovsky who drank infested water and died after being feted for writing his greatest symphony, the 1812 overture.

All this gives rise to a very real problem. Since creative endeavour wants to be ‘out there‘, bringing success and ease in its wake, how are we to sustain it when the fruit of our labour has a way of killing the tree that bears it?

Perhaps you could say by analogy that the creative principle is like a jealous lover who makes us endure a great deal for her attentions. She will tolerate our being friends with Success and Reward, but if these others become the focus of our attention, if we flirt with them too much, she will storm off in high dudgeon.

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The lived sense of an inner relationship is what helps to prevent the creative fruit from rotting on the tree. Humility is a dynamic quality that acknowledges its sources. I saw this best put by Elizabeth Franklin in a Ted talk. She’s the author of ‘Love, Eat, Play’, and was speaking about how to avoid the dis­ease of success. The trick, she says, is to recognise that genius has its own life.

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In ancient times ’genius’ was recognised as a daemon that inspired, literally, that we breathed in. It was other, not-­me, but helped co-­create the project at hand. Nowadays we are tempted to view genius as an aspect of the personality, which is to remain in an arid, unconscious identification with Sublimity.

When we do this we suffer the fate of Adonis who didn’t know the true identity of his lover, Venus. He has a night of passion but then goes swiftly to his death. Suffering and meaning are indivisible from one another. Struggle is necessary to growth without which meaning withers. We learn the lessons that life has for us through these experiences of suffering or psychic discomfort.

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‘Pain, grief, loss and ceaseless frustration of every kind are there for a real and dramatic purpose; to wake us up, to enable and almost force us to release our imprisoned splendour.’ (Sogyal Rimpoche 1996).

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We may rarely understand what is being invited of us at the time, but if we resist our suffering on account of this we can only multiply our misfortune.

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‘Our suffering is [as much] produced by an attitude of intransigent
rebellion to the circumstances at hand as by the circumstances
themselves’. (Martin Israel 1998).

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The sages agree, that which banishes suffering is none other than itself consciously embraced, or, to quote the Tao te Ching (1993),

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‘only if one suffers from this suffering, does one become free of
suffering.’

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So long as we try to escape our suffering we cannot be free. Why? Because freedom is the experience of unconditional participation in life, all of which occurs in the here and now. Any attempt to escape from suffering means also the attempt to escape from or avoid what is happening in the moment.

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This is not to say that we then find meaning in suffering by the trite formula that ‘everything happens for a reason’. Such a mechanistic rendering simply echoes the archaic beliefs in a vengeful god punishing us for indiscretions we have yet to confess. It also presupposes a childlike wish that we can keep tragedy at bay simply by being good.

As such it is no more an evolved philosophy of life than refraining from stepping on the cracks in the pavement so the bears won’t get you. It is a way of thinking about life devoid of chaos where we can continue to play at reflecting upon life for as long as it is uncomplicated. I much prefer the rendering of Joel ben Izzy (2005),

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‘I still believe that things in this world do, indeed, happen for a reason. But sometimes that reason only comes after they happen. It is not a reason we find, but one we carve, sculpted from our own painand loss, bound together with love and compassion.’

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Wanting to be free of suffering or feeling we’ve deserved it somehow is mostly what suffering is made of. There is no escape and no blame to be had. Any attempt to escape or explain just makes it worse. If you would diminish suffering you can only let it be. It is through suffering that one may begin to gain some semblance of self knowledge that may then throw perspective on the experience. Suffering actively embraced can help us cultivate compassion and empathy for self and others. Our wholeness hatches in some strange nests.

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Consumer culture has so conditioned us to experience any frustration of our desires as something to be surmounted without delay that we find it almost impossible to attribute adversity with value. There is an apocryphal story about Jung who one day had a man come and see him in a terrible crisis. He had lost his job and his wife in the same week. Jung excused himself from the room but quickly reappeared with a bottle of champagne and two glasses. ‘What are you doing?’ asked the man. ‘Celebrating,’ replied Jung, ‘You’ve just been given the opportunity to completely reinvent yourself.’

This article is an excerpt of my new book, ‘Abundant Delicious’, http://andywhiteblog.com/

On being Important..

When I was a child of Empire, the nice chaps from Propaganda came to our school. The first thing they did was to tell us that we were the most dazzling, resplendent boys they had ever seen.  They held their chins and shook their heads softly, bottomless eyes blinded by our majesty.

We were the cream of the cream. We were special, the destined leaders of tommorrow and they softly ruffled our hair with their smiles when we blushed at the thought.

We were then shown gut churning photographs of what-the-enemy-did, though, strangely more memorable than the dry heaves, was the final part of their act, a symbolic gesture to convey the inevitable demise of the enemy, our undoubted Triumph over Evil.

The two man team, all booted with medals and serious look, picked up the respective assault rifles of either side and demonstrated with wry, delighted smiles, that ‘our’ safety catches were marginaly quieter than theirs. It was a moment of pure victory! Their gleaming eyes conveyed to us all that this fact alone would win us the war! We boys all looked at one another with triumph and relief.

The entire hall exhaled. It was going to be ok. We were going to be victorious heroes!. It was guarenteed. The fact that my fingers were cut to pieces from days of forced labour punishments the previous week, no less than any slave and the only option to which was a beating, did not inform this wonderful news.

What so shocked me about the war that then unfolded, one in which we were actually cut to pieces by the loud safety catch, was not the horror of it all,  but just how easy it had been to march me to my death.

I’m an intelligent bloke.

and the fact I survived still puzzles me. I got shot at a lot.

a few scrapes and bruises, hey lads!

One of the greatest dangers posed to us by authoritarian leaders is not simply the subsequent suffering of the people, but that the people themselves are far more subject to authority than they are willing to let on and are therefor able to be controlled without realising it.

The chilling Milgram Experiment, conducted by Stanley Milgram in the 50’s explored the extent to which subjects would administer ‘corrective’ electric shocks to another, supposedly wired up in the next room, if they got answers wrong to simple questions. Of course it was rigged but the one admininistering the shocks didn’t know this.

What they found was that 65% of the white male test subjects would administer maximum voltage, despite pleas and screams, if simply and persistently persuaded to do so by an authoratative man in a white coat.

Test subjects even continued to deliver the shocks after the begging from next door had died away….

synopsis of the Milgram experiment

the full film of the Milgram experiment.

chttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HcMWlnTtFQ

What Milgram discovered, to his own surprise, was the hidden suggestibility, the poverty of empathy, that can exist when you combine a latent willingness to submit to authority and be free of the burden of life’s responsibilities for an afternoon, with the invitation to wield a little power yourself.

And all it takes is to be ‘selected’  from others who are not selected. To be spoken to seriously in a scientific place with switches and dials by someone standing over you in a uniform.

What Milgram accidently discovered was the tide of ‘pathological entitlement’ that runs through Western Civilisation, the feeling of being owed, of being  inherently priviledged with right which easily overides secondary considerations like other folk.

The ‘Monument’ in my apartheid Alma Mater was inscribed, ‘That Might Have Right and Have it More Abundantly.’

‘Ave it., boys, ‘ave it! You know what you want! You shining lads, you lusty Sons of the Nation…

What makes a pavement psychopath, makes him different from those he rubs shoulders with in the metro, is not that he dreams of power, but that he feels it is his denied right. This subliminal grievance, coupled with the sudden recognition of his god-appointed wonderfulness..

after all this time..

makes men into putty. Moments before their entire loss of soul you will find them muttering, ‘finally!’

So the great danger is not the powerful dictator. Its the sum total weight in our collective consciousness that wants to be important for a day.

Not in my Name.

War is funded by those who profit, not only from the sale of arms, but from the new opportunities that emerge as a result of war; contracts for re-building, user-friendly puppet governments, aid packages with lots of small print and..

pipelines.

Of course, you can’t go to the public and say, ‘ look here, bit delicate, we need to mug someone, smear his name and beat hell out of him for his lunch money.’ It doesn’t have quite the right ring to it.

Its… uncivilised.

Fortunately, the profiteers have the advantage that we are easily lied to. The collective delusional belief in our superiority leaks over into the fantasy of what great judges of character we are. We can’t be fooled. No Sir! You have to get up pr’itttty early in the morning to put one past John Bull.

We believe politicians only tweak the truth. We pick our news channels according to what we want to hear. We are not informed by the media, we are vindicated by it. Whether it is real or not is garnish to the main course, which is that we are confirmed in our opinions.

This leads to some peculiar exchanges, chillingly demonstrated in a discussion I recently followed between a Syrian and several western commentators who spent their entire time, not enquiring, not wanting to know, but denying that he could possibly know what was happening despite the fact that he was there, on the ground, in his own country.

It turns out we have been told a terrible lie….

A recent press conference at the UN of the US Peace Council (9/8/16) said unanimously that the war in Syria is not a Civil war at all and that there is no grounds whatsoever for interfering in the sovereign affairs of a democratic country.

http://webtv.un.org/watch/bashar-ja%E2%80%99afari-syria-and-us-peace-council-representatives-on-syria-press-conference/5077088426001#full-text

Just as there were never any Weapons of Mass Destruction in the time of Saddam, so too, are there no chemical weapons attrocities in Syria. It was a lie, a pretext for invasion. Why change your gambit when it has proved so successful under similar circumstances that, even when the lie is out, no-one is made to pay for it?

What has been sold to us as ‘regime change on humanitarian grounds’ is actually the unlawful invasion of a sovereign nation by gangs of armed mobsters including yours truly. The Council, independent observers from many walks of life, say that ‘Islamisation’ is low on the list of insurgent priorities. Its a land grab and we Westerners have both our hands stuffed in the pie.

Re-wind.

Just prior to Assad’s supposed attrocities, crimes sufficient to warrant the removal of a democratically elected Head of State, a Saudi/Turkish/Quatar delegation approached him about building a pipeline from the ‘South Pars’ natural gas fields, largest in the world, across Syria to serve the wealthy European market. Assad said no, prefering a deal with Iran.

The Saudis were very miffed and sought out their Western client’s help to topple him, help they were only to pleased to give.

Its not about preventing atrocities, or ‘barrel bombs’, or Islamisation, its about 51 billion cubic metres of natural gas.

We’re gullible. I’m gullible. Somewhere in Faraway land there is a wicked monster and we, the noble and virtuous, must go and save the people from it. But actually, we are the monster. And not just because we would slander some moderate nation to the point of justifying their pillage but because we’re doing it with the help of those we parade at home as our mortal enemies. Its a collective form of selling your soul to the devil.

Syria is the National equivalent of Standing Rock. No pipeline without our consent. Media silence about it is pepper spray.

Being ontologically split, being able to deceive and oppress for the others well being, is the collective adult expression of early cultural damage, of a rooting snout into the sacred space of mother/infant relations where we learn from touch and kinesthetic apperception how to be, what is right, how others are to be treated.

Erosion of the Principle of Relatedness, the embargo on touch, on intimacy, on holding, takes its toll not just on our feelings but on our values. That’s how come its so easy to be given a big stick and go crush others for their own good. The wound is overlain with a compensatory  vision of almost sublime identification with the Motherland instead. Not to mention promotion from citizen to patriot.

These Unheld go through life saddled with a chronic, unfulfilled yearning to belong. This yearning is so great, the need to be contained so strong, that we will often set aside our own instinctual selves, which can smell a rat and know what’s what, in order to acheive it. Its a kind of abdication of oneself, wanting to believe more than wanting to know. Needing to belong more than to become.

We white folks are poor judges of character. Centuries of thinking we already know the answer and are somehow at the peak of Darwin’s tree has made us soft, easy to manipulate, bereft of the knowing that might come from the hair on the back of your neck.

St Augustine was once asked,’ how can you tell saint from devil since one often comes as the other?’ he answered, ‘by the taste in the back of your mouth.’ But what if we have renounced such self-knowledge out of the unmet need to be belong to something that requires nothing of us?

This split from our own instinctual selves cuts us off from our gut feeling about what we’re told and what kind of people it is that are doing the tell. So we take candy off anyone and accept rides from strangers.

When I became part of ‘special’ forces, protecting ‘our way of life,’ it quickly became apparent to me that I was simply suppressing the local people whilst corporations ripped off the land. I was disgusted and had to buy my way out.

The Syrians are a bit more civilised. They even have a Ministry of Reconciliation, headed by Dr. Ali Haidar whose own son was killed in the fighting, facilitating the process of combatants changing their mind and laying down their arms.

http://www.syriasolidaritymovement.org/musalaha/interview-with-minister-of-reconciliation/

Its the kind of cultural sophistication matched only by Nelson Mandela in recent times and yet Assad is portayed by the Western Media as a monster.

Of course our bombing of democracies has an infamous precedent so we should hardly be suprised and yet our incredulity at their wickedness is precisely what mass deception relies upon. In Feb 2015, a delegation of the American and Architects and Engineering Association met in Stockholm to present irrefutable evidence, signed by twelve hundred of their memebers, that 9/11 was an inside job.

Its almost inconceivable that a government could bomb its own people, let alone the democratic people of Syria. Yet perhaps once you’ve crossed that line everything is fair game which is, perhaps, the real object of the exercise.

Not to mention the opportunity to immediatly project what has been done on someone else and then go to war with them, something a perpertrator is compelled to do in order to suppress his own conscience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rape Culture.

I was raised a White Supremacist in Africa. I didn’t know that’s what I was when I was little. We simply lived apart from everyone else because we were better than them. Daddy carried shiny guns. Once, when I was eight, I met the children from the mud and corrugated compound nearby. I saw them from the tower window playing in our tennis court and went fuming down, the breaking of bounds half justified by my indignation. How dare they!

The boys were taking turns at rolling around inside old car tyres, all laughter and joy. A clear faced child of six, beaming and bright despite her rags, came towards me holding out something for me to see, her treasure. In her hand was a matchbox and inside that was a penny, protected in cotton wool. Her eyes sparkled, she was rich.

Troubled, I ran home.

A few days later, emboldened by this foray, I went all the way to the bottom of the garden and climbed the fence. Beyond was endless virgin savannah, amazing rocky outcrops, thorn trees and yellow grasses stretching infinitely to the horizon. I walked into the singing wilderness, half dazed with it’s immensity until I lost sight of the house.  I found a great termite mound, as big as a dinosaur. It was awesome.

Then, as I walked around this ancient beast, I saw in horrified amazement that some contractor had dug a trench straight through the middle of it, cutting it in half and killing it. I jumped down into the deep ditch and walked softly into the heart of the Great Mound, deeper and deeper into its Earth until even the African sun grew dim.

In the cool dark ground I found its beautiful central halls, its endless myriad passageways, its intricate chambers. It was a creature so ancient that it was made of Earth and I wept for its destruction. And then I realised that the reason we lived in such a big house and carried guns was because we pumped up white folks did this kind of thing.

What I was to discover was that we also did it to one another. Wanton humiliation and violation of one another were institutionalised in boarding schools like the one I was imminently about to be sent to. The masters carried semi-automatics and birchrods. Ritualised sexual shaming was part and parcel of the culture where boys were given the utmost power to threaten one another’s ontological security.

The masters felt that the only way to contain such collective feelings of being above the law, fostered and nurtured by themselves, was for these special boys to be debased on a regular, on-going and arbitrary basis. So they turned a blind eye to sexual violence because it was good for us. It was a kind of lottery for keeping folk in line with the Gulag understanding of, ‘you today, me tomorrow.’

The Dice fell against me one day. Twenty boys poured into my dorm, shouting and jeering, grabbing and pulling, yanking and tearing, making me strip and forcing me do whatever perverse thing they could dream up whilst they cheered and stamped and chanted.

And it had all been done to them. And would be again. It was normal. It had to be normal in order to equip them with a thick enough hide to strip the planet and its indigenous cultures of its value once they’d been spat out and fast tracked to positions of power in the world.

The end game of  Narcisisstic Sexuality is to wrestle the other’s humanity away from them. It’s done to strengthen inner defences against feelings of incipient, lurking inferiority and self-doubt. It takes the form of compulsively repeated denigration of others, best and most comprehensively expressed as sexual acts of contempt or humiliation.

Failing internal cohesion in the Narcissist is forestalled from disaster by appropriation of the other’s integrity. Its not such an alien concept. The Massai once hunted lion and ate their hearts to give them the strength of lions. Modern day spearing of others is done for the same reason, to magically fill oneself up with someone else’s manna.

You were supposed to be grateful and thank them for it afterwards, relinquishing your true self to the Hive forever in the process. It was about more than submission. It was about colluding with the utter loss of your humanity so that you were primed to do the same to others in a compulsively repeated enactment set to roll through centuries.

But I was saved…

strangely saved, by the Anthill I’d wept for years before as a young boy.

While they tried to extract my treasure, I somehow found myself magically returned to the Great Mound, was once more enfolded in its cool, secret chambers, its hidden protective halls, still and dry in the embrace of dark earth while the hounds snarled, unable to get in from above. It was not dead, after all. And nor would I be.

Rape culture is of more than the vulnerable or the unlucky. The West’s plunder of the third world and of Nature is a commercial form of rape culture. The more obvious motives of greed and aggression get the limelight because we normally stop at moral outrage and something having to be done. We fall short of imagining our need to demean entire nations, harvesting not only their material resources, but their stories, their gods, their connection to the ancestors, their pride and dignity.

Failed nations are named and shamed without reference to the context of that failure which is invariably white supremacist incursion and the sponsorship of internicene conflict. They are shamed in the same way rape victims are shamed. What were you wearing? What were you doing in the path of danger?

Rape culture is not about sex. Its about Supremacy. Its about the need to depersonalise, to demean, to siphon off a person’s qualities like stock, to enviously attack that which is not-me, to accrue that other’s humanity to oneself, which is why being around Narcissism for any length of time is draining and leaves you feeling in need of a hot bath.

Yet there’s something so compelling and charismatic about the suave demagogue, the self confessed pussy grabbers of this world. And what is that? They let us take the route of least resistance. We too can be pussy grabbers, have power over others, take a regressive holiday from our own suffering humanity,  and become perpertrators for a day. Someone to be reckoned with after all, tolerant now of the humiliations meted out from above, by meting them out on those below.

Much of the election aftermath has been about ‘angry voters marginalised by Washington elite” voicing their disatissfaction at being ”forgotten and ignored”.

I  see the proliferation of Rape Culture,…

I see the narcissistic end game of  ‘take what you can, give nothing back’, better suited to pirates and thieves than the land of the free.

”You should have more… and better, whatever you want..”

My mate Boz sports a T-shirt that says, ”Eat the Rich”. I pointed out that to 90% 0f the world he was ‘The Rich’. ”What will you do”, I asked, ”when they come banging on your door with their begging bowls?”

kick their frikkin’ heads in…

yep, that’s what I figgered.

 

 

How to be a Christian Dictator.

Christ gave the future of the Church into the hands of Peter. This is represented symbolically by the image of crossed keys with which Peter is associated. Given that this is so, how is it that Peter is given so little to say in the New Testament?  Five pages. Paul on the other hand has more to say than all the others put together and yet he wasn’t even there. How can this be?

The Bible was compiled and edited by men who had other things besides divine inspiration to take into consideration. The early church needed to present a united front, they needed to appear as a movement not to be trifled with. They needed big, bold and beefy.

Peter did not fit this profile, but Paul did.

We are permited to know of the man Peter through a story actually told by Paul. He tells of Peter’s vision on the roof of the house of Simon the Tanner, who lived by the sea. A great vessel descended, ‘’as it were a great sheet let down from Heaven’’, containing all earth’s creatures. God speaks, ’’> PETER, RISE AND EAT>’’. Peter refuses, ‘’for nothing common or unclean hath entered into my mouth’’

God then rebukes him. ‘’'<WHAT GOD HATH CLEANSED, MAKE THOU NOT COMMON>.’’’ This is repeated three times. Suddenly Peter gets it. All things, all beings, are equal in the sight of God. Not a useful insight for any aspiring Dictator.

Then three men appear at the gate, calling him to go to the house of a certain Cornelius, someone unknown to Peter. He leaves straight away, ‘’making no distinction.’’ He realizes from the vision that it doesn’t matter who Cornelius is. A Jew, a gentile, circumsized or not, sinner or saint. He realises that in his pious abstinances, he was disrespecting God’s infinite variety.

When he arrives at Cornelius’ place he says, ‘’God is no respecter of persons’’. He feels chastened. I am not so great he says. Not only are folk with other customs okay in God’s eyes but I myself, God’s servant, ‘’am only a man.’’ If God chooses to give others some different experience then I must respect that. ‘’And if God gave unto them the like gift as He did also unto us, who was I that I could withstand God.?’’

Though he is the author of the story, Paul doesn’t seem to take it in at all. His own ministry was rooted in contempt for the customs, traditions and Gods of other races. He got beaten up a lot. In Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, Iraq…

Paul liked a good rant.. Of course the crowd might be interested to know that he himself is a betrayer and a murderer, yet nowhere do we see the confession of Paul that he so exhorts from everyone who dares get within earshot. It turns out that Paul doesn’t really feel responsible for whatever it is that he has done which has rather interesting implications for his followers. ‘’So now it is no more I that do it , but sin which dwelleth in me’’ (Romans7:20). ‘’For not what I would, that do I practice.’’ (7:15) ‘I do not sin’, he says, ‘sin sins’….

Now we can begin to appreciate the popularity of Paul. He gives us leave to focus on the speck in the eyes of others rather than on the beam in our own. This is why he cannot grasp the meaning of Peter’s vision, and why the church fathers gave him so much air time in the New Testament. You only have to be sorry in principle. He allows us the luxury of a duplicitous life, the route of least resistance, ‘’I myself with the mind serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.’’ (Romans7:25) I am not really responsible, sin is responsible. The devil made me do it.

Peter, despite being given the keys, is largely written out of the Bible. He asks too much, that we be humble, that we treat others with respect, that we take responsibility. Paul on the other hand lets us rant and rave at the sins of others whilst being given permission to behave as we please. If you were going to promote a crowd pleaser, who would you write into the main role?

Paul’s greatest contribution to the lowest common denominator in us all was the matter of who gets the Final Say in this world. Its not  just about getting off the hook, but about who is the ultimate arbitrater in human affairs. And its not what you think.

In Paul’s vision God appears and promises, ‘’to deliver him from the people.’’ (Acts26:17) When he is eventually arrested after a particularly offensive speech, what does he do? He appeals to Ceasar, to the bastion of worldly authority.

Despite having been given the personal surety of God in a vision that not only blinded him, but rendered him so incapacitated with Divine Intervention that he had to be carried to Damascus and be made to lie down for three days in the dark, when it came to the final crunch, Paul opted for the arbitration of Man over God.

His route across the Mediteranean to Rome looks like he was being beaten the whole way with a stick.

He was plagued by storms and nearly drowned, but still he doesn’t get the message and makes his appeal before Ceasar who promptly beheads him.

Peter says that God is no respecter of persons which is a bit of a blow to the ego of anyone who aspires to be a big nob, whilst Paul fawns to the big nobs and gives us permission to do the same. Paul allows us to be seduced by worldly power which means that going into other people’s land and beating hell out of everyone we don’t like is okay, really. In fact its our godgiven duty.

Not only do you get to be rich, you get to be riteous. The humanity drained from the oppressed can be used to top up your own measure and suddenly we are all Ubermenschen. De-humanization is not a by-product of oppression, it is it’s goal. The problem is not simply the wholesale robbery involved but the finessed hauteur of the West, high on the self esteem of entire nations.

Our political correctness is mostly a pandering to the spoilt brat in all of us. Political parties collude and run around their voters like anxious maiden aunts trying to find out what little johnny wants so that she can make him love her whilst stealing his candy. It is the witch hunt of principled leadership. It is a fawning obsession with image, with what we cannot say or think, with being right, and all this in a society equally obsessed, in some ragged corner, with freedom and the land of the free.

But the most dangerous aspect of Paul, one which cements the power of Dictators, is that in the un-freedom of the populace, they are relieved of the burden of Now wherein their suffering at the hands of the dictator occur.

So the problem is not just the zenophobic greed but that the populace are persuaded to trade in their Ontological Being with this deliberate shift from Peter’s being-in-the-moment, ‘making no distinction’, doing what needs to be done, to the conditional promise of future redemption, ‘faith’ that one day it will all pan out despite your chains.

Pauls books were included to such an extent By the Council of Nicea (325) over and above others like ben Sirach and Peter who advocated charity  because they understood the power of mixing spiritual superiority, inflation, with the archetype of the promised land. It would produce generations of riteous folk with their eyes heroically fixed on the horizon whilst treading upon the heads of those all arond them.

Such a split in our Collective Consciousness produces two tier legal systems that are the spawning of master races. It is the carte blanche that confers innate rightness upon us so that we need not reflect upon our dealings with others. This is the one good thing that can come out of Abu Grad and Guantanamo. The whisper of our own wickedness…

and the pandering babyishness of a society that now needs to put serving suggestions on a packet of salt…

just in case you didn’t know what salt is for..

or perhaps because, you too, are now a worthless, stupid piece of shit.

 

Hearts of Darkness.

Marie-Louise von Franz tells a story in her, ”Way of the Dream” series, about Jung’s style of working with the Unconscious. A patient bought a dream to him. He asked the man what he thought it meant. The patient shrugged. Then he asked the man, ‘what do you think I might say about it?’ Whereupon the patient interpreted the dream at great length.

Jung’s ‘technique’, was to accept the patient’s projection of wisdom without identifying with it, using it as a stepping stone towards the man finding his own gold.

More often than not we wind up identifying with people’s projections which doesn’t help anyone. Sometimes we catch them just in time. I’d spent an afternoon interveiwing a woman who wanted to do some therapeutic training. There was something about her I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Once home, I was already half way through my third double Gin before I could ask myself why I was getting drunk at 4pm. She had alcohol issues.

This capacity to coerce one another to participate in the fantasy dramas of our inner worlds can be extremely useful. Projective identification, the engendering of experience in another, gives us,

‘access to a very rich source of data about the other’s world. . . an induced set of thoughts and feelings which are experientially alive, vivid and immediate.’ T. Ogden.

not to mention wild and flamboyant.

For many years a client, Anne, had been nearly crippled with a painful physical condition. In one particular session, she was wondering out loud about the source of this pain. While I was listening to her I began to have the strange sensation that I was hearing her through water. She seemed distant and muffled. My own words felt slow and heavy, my gestures were ponderous and barring the fact that she seemed not to notice I might well have assumed that I was drugged or suspended in syrup.

My disorientation became more severe. The chair seemed to slip from beneath me and I felt that I was simply hanging in the room, swinging gently from side to side. Then, a distinct sense of pain in my belly button and a coursing through my system of intense discomfort. I managed to conclude the session without panicking and took myself directly to supervision. What on earth had happened? I was utterly perplexed.
The next time I saw Anne again she began the session in great excitement, saying that she now grasped the meaning of her suffering. She remembered a conversation with her mother who told her that when Anne was in the womb she had been prescribed with a certain drug to prevent spontaneous abortion. This mother had lost her first child years before. Latterly, clinical tests revealed that
the drug had untoward effects on the unborn child including the possibility of psychological traumata.

Suddenly my experience fell into place. I was experiencing Anne’s interuterine situation, the weightless suspension, the slow syrupy muffledness of everything, the pain in my umbilicus, the feeling of being poisoned and invaded. My containment of this experience had left her sufficiently free to conceptualise it without excess of terror and allow it to surface as insight. Anne’s anxiety greatly decreased thereafter and within a relatively short period she left therapy.

Sometimes ‘sharing inner space’ with others can be really ugly. I had a sex offender come and see me for sessions. For hours and sometimes days after each meeting I would find myself consumed with fear, loathing and disgust. I reasoned that it could not be at his adult crimes of which he was quite candid and ashamed and so lacked the ‘drive’ to get inside me.

It took months for me to realise that my excrusiating experiences was about what had happened to him and not what he had done. The denial and even idealisation of his own rape experience as a defenseless child meant he’d had to normalise abuse to the point of doing as he had been done by. Once he could re-own the trauma I had been effectively nursing for him sufficient to report the crime against him to the police, he ceased to be a danger and I stopped having the horrible visitation from his inner world.

Now imagine what your gut feeling might be like sitting alongside someone who not only denies what happened to them, but denies what they have done. The rapist who believes it was love, who feels he’s done his victim a favour.

Now imagine that the denied crimes are beyond counting….

and that the person you’re with is not only proud but wears a medal, one of many, commemorating his crimes. The medal comes with a sash. Red and white.

The patient, Leopold II, arrives each week in a gilded carriage. The doors are opened by footmen and a special chair bought to your consulting room for his highness to sit on. He wants to talk about his gout and the difficulty he has sleeping well these days.

What do you say? How do you respond to his sharing that he’d been awarded, not only the ‘Humane Order of African Redemption’ to support his belief that he’d killed and mutilated 10 million people for their own good, but also the ‘Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation ‘, by the Catholic Church for ‘supreme recognition of distinguished services’.

Under his breath he’s huming the new anthem of the ‘Free Congo’, ‘Towards the Future’, whilst he fishes out a letter he would like to read you extracts  from, all about the missionary effort he’s making on behalf of the local people in Congo before he sends it off . He clears his throat…

“Reverends, Fathers and Dear Compatriots: Your principal objective in our mission in the Congo is never to teach the niggers to know God, this they know already. Your knowledge of the gospel will allow you to find texts ordering, and encouraging your followers to love poverty, like “Happier are the poor because they will inherit the heaven” and, “It’s very difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.” You have to detach from them and make them disrespect everything which gives [them]courage. You must singularly insist on their total submission and obedience, avoid developing the spirit. Evangelize the niggers so that they stay forever in submission. Recite every day – “Happy are those who are weeping because the kingdom of God is for them.” http://www.nairaland.com/775131/king-leopolds-letter-christian-missionaries.an

How do you feel? What do you say? Do you have a bucket handy? What has happened to Leopold?

They say you get the leaders you deserve. The Congolese did not deserve Leopold but his native Belgians and European cousins might.  Given that the French, Germans and English were all at it themselves in their own way and still are.

It seems we Westerners simply accept that our leaders are tyrannical despots. Adam Hoschild ( ‘King Leopold’s Ghost’ 2012) calls it The Great Forgetting. We forget because we profit from Leopold and his cronies who give us a standard of living we could not otherwise support. But mostly we forget because we are too busy..

‘dancing in the glory of monsters.’ Jason Stearns.

And why? Because for as long as we can be appalled at the Leopolds and Adolfs of this world we need not look at our own Hearts of Darkness. We need not consider how these monsters got there or the part that we play in maintaining their power. We can momentarily forget that

”the battleline for good and evil runs through the heart of everyone.” A Solzhenitsyn.

We have wicked leaders so that we can wash our hands of their deeds just in time to rub them together in anticipation of the windfall to follow, provided we just..

forget.

Our glorious leaders are agents of Lethe, totemic rivers of Forgetfullness and Oblivion. They carry our wickednesses for us, so that we need not feel, need not be anxious, need not question. We’re just following orders as good citizens. Shared inner space works both ways.

‘We forget everything. What we remember is not not what happened… but what has been driven into memory by incessant hammering’. ibid

We may vow ‘never again’, and yet here we are poised to elect the horrible to the world’s greatest seat of power. We know it will be horrible. Afterwards we’ll say, ”we didn’t know’. But we did know. We dance in the glory of monsters so that we can short circuit what we know in our own hearts. So that we can dance the two step of satisfying our own lusts and live with clean consciences at one and the same time…

for as long as the music plays.

 

 

To the Officers at Standing Rock.

There are few so callous as to join some branch of the armed services without a noble ideal fuelling their motivation. You want to serve your nation and be a part of its fabric. You want to make a contribution to the higher good, even to the point of self-sacrifice. You want to leave your mark and be an example to those coming after you. You want to be someone others look up to.

But sometimes noble intentions can be railroaded and you can find ourselves being used in operations you didn’t sign up for.

A generation ago, I used to be at the spear head of military ‘defense’. I could strip a sub-machine gun when I was fourteen. I went to a cadet style boarding school with grenade screens on the windows and rifle drill after classes. By the time I was eighteen I had trained with special forces and enlisted in an elite commando unit. I went to war and fought in many a bloody battle..

One day something happened to change all of this forever that I want to tell you about. We had been dropped behind enemy lines deep in the bush. There was a brief but intense battle which, with surprise on our side, we had won.  The sweep line crossed a clearing and on the far side I saw the broken body of a man. I approached him cautiously. Multiple wounds. Large pool of blood. Twisted limbs.

Then he opened his eyes and looked at me. He was alive. He stared at me impassively and without fear. His eyes bored into me. I made a quick check for weapons to distract myself from his gaze but he was unarmed. He was however desperatly wounded. A total of eight bullet holes in his upper legs and lower belly. I stood and stared at him. He stared back. His eyes ripped into me. Not a word was spoken.

Strange thoughts forced their way into my head. This is a man in his own backyard. Someone’s son. Someone’s sweetheart. He has a family as I have a family. He has a name as I have a name. He looks to the skies and prays to his gods. As I do. He wants to go home and longs for peace. As I do.

What on earth am I doing?

Something in my chest started to splinter and then suddenly snapped. Some nasty, rotten, fetid piece of ugliness in me broke and in one moment my most urgent task in the world became to save this man. I called a medic, radioed for a chopper and began to patch his wounds. His eyes never left my face. The sergeant arrived to see what the hold up was. He raised his rifle to shoot the wounded man. No prisoners. I growled at him to back off. He was my superior officer bu the didn’t argue further and the whole sweep line waited while I continued with my work.

As I bound one wound after another I noticed a ring on his finger. I took it. He said nothing, offered no resistance, just continued staring at me. I patched another wound then gave him the ring back. Suddenly ashamed. When I had finished I picked him up and carried him to a clearing in the bush where a chopper was waiting. As I slid him onto the helicopter floor he pressed the ring back into my hand and said, ‘Datenda Nkosi’. ‘Thanks boss’. I never went into battle again. I wear the ring to this day.

There are two kinds of fight. One is noble, the defense of the land and its people. . The second, the quest for power, is not noble because it is about placing wealth above life. Life in  which you participate and are a part. It is beneath a warrior’s true dignity to be used to suppress the common people. It does not bring honour to a man’s name.

It was the first time I had looked into the face of the ‘enemy’. I was a little surprised to find that he was just a man like me. And then I realised that he was a man like me with one teensy difference. He was on his own ancestral lands and I was not. I was not fighting for a noble cause. I was being used to bring about the very opposite of the ideals and well intentioned motives I signed up with, to serve, to protect, to defend.

We can hardly use the word ‘extremist’ without the prefix ‘Islamic’. But our own culture is riddled with extremism. We have been gaily oppressing people for centuries. People that already have next to nothing.We believe that we can go to war to do God’s work and that all the violence and destruction is pleasing in His eyes, indeed that through our aggression against the heathens we are bought closer to Him. How comforting, how dangerous, how terrifying.

Perhaps this is the real meaning of Armageddon, not some future megawar that destroys the world but any oppression of the common people that has lost it’s horror and destroys men’s hearts. Wars fought on this basis are not really about oil, or gold, or land, but about ideology, final solutions, the eradication of difference.

Unfortunately this also means the eradication of curiosity,  wonder, and aliveness in yourself. It denies the importance of finding your own path in life and devalues the significance of other people on theirs.

Ask yourself if you can hold your head up at the end of the day. Ask yourself if you can tell your kids what you do with pride. Ask yourself if you feel respected by your superiors. If you get a ‘no’ to all three of these questions then, please, go home.

Recover your dignity as warriors.

Reconnect with what it was you signed up for.

Remember the intention to be that someone whom others looked up to.

 

Why We Are Unfree.

The Home Office recently ruled that information extracted under torture could be considered legal provided it hasn’t been perpetrated by an Englishman. Its about as thought through as granting torture licences to anyone called Gary or not wearing a hat.

Convictions blind to the obvious. It is the fact of torture and not the nationality or shoe size of the torturer that is the problem. Such foolishness is bound to be the logic of a government long used to the doublethink that slavery itself is fine so long as it doesn’t actually occur on British soil.

The ‘abolition of slavery’, was the first step in bringing about something quite opposite, the preliminary phase in a sequence of ever more sophisticated spins on the problem of maximizing economic gain with a relatively clear conscience. And so the actual taking of people by force, charitably gives way to the second stage, taking their country instead.

Despite the deepening entrenchment of slavery that this involves we enabled ourselves to do it with two shining badges of merit.

1) we’ve graciously freed the slaves from their iron shackles.

2) we’ve generously gone to their old country and brought the folks there flush toilets, bicycles and God’s word.

The fact that we’ve simply traded in carting people away for ripping off their resources in situ is lost in the proud gesture of what we are so generously doing for the savages.

So part of ‘abolition’ was the tacit agreement that, at one and the same time, European nations could carve up the ancestral lands of the now ‘freemen’ like a bunch of drunks at a turkey dinner. How they must have laughed. Yet a Nation’s moral conscience has to be repressed in order to enjoy such a feast. It is bound to reappear as some kind of avenging harpie to castrate the overblown power, denying eros to those that would deal so blithely in thanatos.

Our Victorian grandparents fainted at the sight of a wellturned ankle at home whilst indulging the whim to rape,pillage and pig sticking abroad. The unconscious is always poetic in it’s afflictions. The phallic thrusting into the third world is bound to evoke it’s counterpoint in the psyche.

In today’s world we’ve moved on a bit from the initial symptoms of Organised Greed into the upland plains of  that Vaguely Troubled Feeling which accompanies long term denial. The patient has become depressed.

The shape of the Western divided self has shifted from the punishing moratorium on sexuality to a broader embargo on enjoying life itself. We need the efforts of a multi billion pound service industry to help us ‘relax’. Putting your feet up has taken the place of getting your leg over in the collective imagination.

Poliakoff suggested that the emptiness of modern life can be traced back to Western collusion with the horrors of Nazi Germany, but of course the West had been treating peoples around the world as sub human scum for a long time prior to Auchwitz .

Less than a generation before Hitler, the British had overseen the concentration camp deaths of thousands of Afrikaans civilians. Not to mention the  precedents for Ethnic Cleansing perpertrated quite unanimously amongst ‘developed’ nations against Aboriginal people around the globe.

These ghosts are bound to haunt the collective corridors of the modern psyche for as long as Stalin, Hitler and Mao are the only Bad Guys. It’s not personal. Its just that Democracy can’t work for as long as its underpined by Capitalism. You get a police state instead, despite everyone’s best intentions. Don’t you recall how punitive Monopoly used to get? Democracy wants to share. Capitalism does not.

And so, to the Aquisition of Power, nothing is sacred.

But you cannot demean the humanity of others without it rebounding upon yourself. We share in the fate of all people and for as long as there is even tacit subjugation of others then we ourselves begin to become unfree, even though we then gave them back their countries in a show of generous beneficence…

having set in place ‘aid packages,’ economic infrastructure to replace the political one.

This new infrastructure renders direct political control redundant. Corporations cream off the remaining wealth without the cumbersome expense of domestic affairs.

This makes our now free people, slaves in their own lands. Our immigration policy then throws an invisible wall around them no less vigorous in its intent than the pass laws in Apartheid South Africa. They have the freedom to speak in the same way that they have the freedom to starve. Say what you like just stay on your own side of the wire.

After a while the peasants  get riled at all our selfless charity and missionary effort. When they start to die because of famines that are the direct result of Western economic policies and wars that are fuelled by foreign interests they get a tad narked.

Of course, because we have oppressed him for his own good we can’t understand this terrible lack of gratitude. Convinced by our own purity and innocence we respond by indulging in even further greed and violence on the grounds that we have now been forced to it.

I was having an FB conversation with a proud British ex-Pat about his father’s role in the suppression of the Mau Mau rebellion, making much of their fearsome, deadly pangas and how barbaric they were to use these great knives. He vanished from cyber-space when I pointed out that it was only because they were too impoverished to afford Apache helicopters to defend their ancestral land from the white version of Ghengis Kahn.

Wars waged on the poor can never actually be won by the Khans. The indignation of the peasant at having his acre of millet trampled by a power that wastes more than the peasant produces puts a resolve into his breast that the powerful other does not possess despite his superiority of strength. Then we make our biggest blunder. We call him a terrorist.

When I waged war on peasants for their own good, utterly conviced in the virtue of a quest that was no more than the further subjugation of an already oppressed people, we soldiers told ourselves endlessly about the inferiority of those we faced, the lack of training, the poor weapons, their inability to use them, the fact that some only had wooden cut out AK47’s. Didn’t they know they were going to die?

Western subjugation of sovereign lands and its systematic destruction of tribal integrity has given rise to people who are now happy to choose death over slavery. When life is rendered dishonourable beneath the yoke of another you develop a disdain for that life. There’s none so brave as those with nothing left to lose. For there are worse things than death.

And that is the unconscious, poetically afflicted, subliminal slavery that we white folks splash back on ourselves in the process of subjugating others on principle, as a matter of fiscal policy. The Enslaver, the Narcissist, who needs to demean and subjugate the person hood of the other, to pick their pocket in some way in order to keep his own buoyancy afloat, does so at his own expense and in kind, becoming a form of slave himself: a slave to the system, prone to addictive habits and patterns, forever caught up in trying to fill the hollow pit that is created inside when we take more than we need, when he’s restricted in what can be thought about, hog-tied by idealised convention…

all chained up in the hold of slave ship, ‘Other People’s Opinions’..

bound for the mystical far shores of Future Redemption.

at some point..

If he is good.