The Trance-Ending Handbook

A Work in Progress

Introduction— “If we’re gonna do this much damage, at least we can tell the truth.”  (Derrick Jensen) How? How to tell the truth to the captives of the matrix? We need to lean beneath— under-stand. Disrupt.  Rupture. Erupt. Replace.

Global capitalism is entering its cancer stage, and is metastasizing to kill it’s host, our only planet. At the same time, this nation is in a state of advanced cultural disintegration. The stories we’ve been told for generations are bankrupt. The emerging stories of hope and change are kidnapped and slaughtered while still in zygote state. Most everything we know about how to live in the world is wrong. The outdated structures of power that are killing the planet are the same structures that force inequality and misery upon us, but we vote for them. We work for them and we feed them with our paychecks when we shop at their stores.

There’s much talk about needing a shift in consciousness, about a “tipping point”, but how to go about it when most people live unconsciously inside the matrix and can’t begin to truly believe that another world is possible? How do we stop riding atop the rampaging monster that is our lifestyle? How do we starve it, powerfully interrupt the spectacle, wake up, rise up, get up off our couches or off our knees and quit participating in the lie that this disease is the best system possible? Our biggest obstacle seems to be the acronym known as TINA, the widespread notion that There Is No Alternative.

This book breaks down how they enforce the delusion, of TINA. The how of lifetime sentences in solitary confinement inside this echo chamber of lies. Every aspect of our lifestyle creates atrocities, and all our cultural wisdom, all our ideology are nothing but institutional hallucinations. But there is and there are many alternatives.

We’re get our sense of the world through one screen or another, rather than first hand. What’s the weather like? We look at a screen. We could go outside and know it in our bodies, but we rely less and less on them, except when we go the gym to replicate physical actions that an authentic life in the world always provided. Let’s stop amusing ourselves to death. Let’s drop out of attention deficit democracy.

We live inside a man-made ugliness of highways and strip malls and development and concrete-plastic- steel buildings. When we live surrounded by human-made structures, landscapes and machines, we can remain convinced that we are, indeed, masters of the world. Nature disappears from our senses and so, when nature really does disappear under the shredding of progress and development, we don’t miss her. All our pathological behavior is an attempt to cure our loneliness. But only relationship can cure loneliness, and it is relationship that’s being destroyed. Particularly our original relationship with the natural world.        

We live in alienation in a disconnected culture. The downward flow of information keeps us distracted and powerless. Abstractions seem more real than reality— logos, movie stars, the Dow Jones are more real than war or rainforests, starving children or climate change.  Those of us with eyes to see and ears to hear are mere flesh and breath fighting abstractions. We perform metaphysical battle in the physical world, like a tired theater project that nobody comes to see much. How can we win? We, who are warriors for the earth, we who are her very hands, we with our big brains, our exhausted hearts and our fingers on all the buttons?

We’re trapped inside a shadow myth. We need to find the way out, though a new myth, which is the ancient myth— Connection. Inter-Relationship. Redemption. Sacred Stewardship. The new myth is about sharing and justice. The new myth can show us who we are and reassure us that the universe fits together. The new myth is the old myth, the story that is always happening— it’s only been a day since we lost our way.

Corporate Messaging
Corporations place value on things that destroy life.  A corporation is nothing but a process for converting the natural world into profit for a few straight, white guys in suits, and obliterating responsibility for the destruction.

Once upon a time, every human being had their own voice and ears to listen to the world’s symphony of connection. We used all our finely tuned senses, like the brilliant animals we evolved from. We once knew ourselves to be integrated into the pattern of life, bound up in the ancient web of oneness. We celebrated existence with the whole universe as the universe celebrated the whole of existence.  The birds sang in the one sky and the fish swam through the many waters. The leaves fell, the sun set, the stars sailed in their fantastic patterns, & the flowers returned to push color into the world.  We understood the patterns that told us what was possible for our species, and what the limits were as we lived and died guided by connecting cords to everything else. Wisdom was deeply rooted in love for the whole, and we moved inside of ceremony & relationships with others— forests, rivers, seasons, ancestors. We knew how we fit, and how to give back. Reciprocity was a dance we’d danced with Life, forever.

But in that time, which was our childhood, and just a moment ago, a cosmic catastrophe bloomed like a great stain. Slowly, in the blink of a cosmic eye, we came to believe we were masters of the universe, outside of the dance. Slowly, seemingly inexorably, we stopped believing there was a dance. Instead, we were led to believe that a god created in men’s image gave us the world to name and destroy, and so, we became the destroyers of creation. We cut the cord of connection, and separated, we lost our way. Eventually progress overtook presence. The corruption sped up. Yet, in cosmic time, it was all just a blink; it was yesterday, it was this morning as the sun rose in that ancient sky up there.

The fact of limits was blown to bits, the pattern fell away, ideas deformed to information, and we were wed to our machines. Began to feed to world to our machines. Just this morning. Reality became manufactured by the rich and powerful by blinding the rest of us, hoarding our eyes like fine wine in their cellars. They took our eyes out to play their mad games.  Plastic “goods” and false military “solutions” took the place of creativity and cooperation. Stealing resources from far away became the way. The only way, TINA. We stepped off of our land-base into thin air. We polluted the air to thicker air. The subordination of other humans and all of nature now substitutes for a life embodied and embedded in the earth’s environment.

False truths, broadcast on airwaves like bullets killed our intuitive powers with the guns of ideology. With real bullets, we killed Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, the Rosenbergs and the Panthers. We killed or enslaved every indigenous nation on earth. We condensed unimaginable wealth, the sum of all the resources we could steal, into oil and deadly radioactive weapons, and we buried these under our sacred land, the source of all our wealth and power. And our highest prayer was that someday we may destroy these hidden weapons, our great and lasting contribution to the universe, and our next best hope was that they would remain, trembling abuzz and leaking, commanding us from beneath the prairie, absorbing terror and maintenance, and be un-used forever.

Our entertainment today is based on creating toxic waste and plastic waste that lasts forever. Our spending habits give our armies reasons to fight wars. We drive armored tanks to the PTA meeting, use nuclear power plants to toast our bread. We don’t seem to care about anything but buying shit, the latest video on social media, and feeding our lawns.

These days, the idea of limits is scorned. We’ve been herded under the lash of limitless possibility, a carrot or a stick, a promise or a threat, on our human journey away from nature, and love has fallen away from wisdom as wisdom deforms to information. And now the world around us is dying and people seem not to notice. We’ve adapted. This adaptation is our greatest and most dangerous superpower. Anything and everything becomes normalized. We sit in traffic every-day, emissions spewing from hundreds of millions of angry, stalled tailpipes. A sky-full of industrial smokestacks, day and night emit hot acids that flow into the atmosphere on the good winds and eat the good filters that keep our magnificent life-giving sun from frying our one good planet.

And the ice melts and the waters rise and the creatures disappear in the largest species extinction in world history, and still we drive, shop, spew, mine, cut down the fabulous forests, go to war to steal more oil to burn to feed our somnambulant, treacherous ways.  Our lifestyle, which seems so normal now, which seems like the only possible way to live, destroys our only habitat, without whom we are doomed. But most of us are too busy with meaningless work and screens and the emotional energy required for all the denial and justification of this destruction to care much. Perpetually disabled citizens make great consumers. But, consumption means to exhaust, to lay waste to, to pillage. Consumption is what kills you when you have tuberculosis.

Corporate Power
The 5 biggest global problems you can name— eco-destruction, starvation, disease, war, corruption— all are the result of corporate control. They corrupt election campaigns, buy off congress, block us from our courts and our media. Along with religion— the old story, and technology— the new story, corporations create the day-to-day now story.
The spectacles that surround the production of culture ARE the culture now, and our job is to listen & watch, and then, to buy.  That’s how we are manipulated— our emotions, personalities and core values are under siege by media and cultural forces too complex to decode.  

A continuous product message is woven into the fabric of our days. Cool people, living life to the hilt.  This happy mask hides the horror show of disconnection and despair like an iron maiden.The most powerful narcotic in the world is the promise of belonging.  Also, the promise of Cool is highly addictive and its effects are very short-lived. The earth can no longer support the lifestyle of the cool-hunting U.S.ian consumer.
The first commandment of corporate capitalism is Thou shalt not think. Free thinking would break the trance and introduce competing perspectives, which lead to doubt. And so critical thinking isn’t taught to children much, history is a lie the schools tell, and civics has disappeared in favor of math & computer time. Relationship, the 4th R, is never taught.

The word “oppression”— comes from to Press— presses mold & flatten things, reduce and squeeze out what’s inside. Our minds are that something caught between forces and barriers that prevent movement. Yet we don’t see how our identities are stuck and mutilated by forces beyond our choices, how others choose everything for us. Instead of a lifestyle that’s created naturally, by people from the bottom up responding to necessity, our lifestyle is fed to us from the top down by multinational corporations. They create the spectacle of the brand. Corporations control the interpretation of all events.  The rest of us should just shut up and shop. Shut up and work. Shut up and drive.

Corporate voices are the only voices on our airwaves. Corporate choices are the only choices for the election. The only energy we can buy, the only food we can consume. Multinational corporations enforce the menu of beauty, morality and heroes, tactics and toys. There’s a total monopoly on information delivery systems.  Anything that challenges corporate sponsors is censored. Look at how long and hard they denied global warming. Many are still denying it. All reason chased out of town by entertainment and disjointed thought.

The consumer mentality that advertising and corporate capitalism have created is based on panic, helplessness, and selfishness. It is egocentric at its core, and  does nothing to advance peace, social equality, or ecology. Corporations and technology are the enemies of the earth. The collective shocks of wars, terrorism, market crashes, natural disasters help push through corporate agendas under the cover of crisis and our own disabling need to exist on our screens alone.

Attention deficit is epidemic, as is cancer. We’re tranquilized and pacified to a uniformity of behavior and thought, by the invisible controls of the corporations. They create a spectacle that induces a trance that allows us all to indulge and mindlessly over-consume with no responsibility accepted or expected from anyone for the emptiness at the heart of the spectacle. This is progress, and the price of progress is the world. The side effects of progress are despair and alienation, boredom and depression, a constant need for newness, numbness, and a true incapacity to see or feel beyond ourselves, here in Fortress Amerikkka.

What counts? How much for a sniff of this thistle flower, her lavender honey fragrance, how much? How much for heavy rain clouds and for sun when storms stop? How much for creek falling, twisting, how much for the Doug Fir the forest fire missed on this mountainside, how much?

What counts? Not women and not nature. Not children. So, not life. Only what creates a profit on the ledgers of the ruling class. Count Dracula sucking the world dry. What if we live under the count? Refuse to use their intoxicating crap, resist the system, dumpster dive, thrive on what’s here, uncounted. The GNP will set you free from your mind, your heart, all the parts that connect you to your umbilical world. In just another decade, we’ll use up 25 Earths for our diseased obesity.

When a bunch of foreign terrorists hijack some airplanes and fly them into the World Trade Center, USians get mad and stay mad. When a bunch of domestic terrorists hijack the stock market and wipe out the whole world economy, denial wipes out anger, fast. It’s become Un-American to question the basic soundness of the US economic system. Even now, even after it’s been revealed that the emperor is a lying, cheating maniac, we give him and his court a trillion dollars. Too big to fail? Unlike the people, the earth, the future.

In the year 2001, millions of Americans died of cancer,  gunshot wounds, industrial accidents, car crashes. 3,000 died in the bombing of the World Trade Center. Yet there is no war on cancer, guns, industry or cars. Only on the people our government said bombed the towers, the people who’s countries we want to control or destroy.

What America exports to poor countries through the ubiquitously evil media are images of glittering abundance and national self absorption. Others are both depressed by their reality and encouraged to behave likewise. It’s a soul killing combination. To most of the world, America looks like a cross between a heavily armed superhero and a Lexus ad. But that’s changing. With our wars and economic shitstorms, and trump and the current day corporate republican party, it’s becoming increasingly obvious who we are here, the role we play. Our principle exports are Baywatch and really bad food, teenage rebellion and military hardware. Whatever governments and populations we allow to survive must be convinced and intoxicated by our values.

Everything is twisted to show economic “gains”. Global warming was first acknowledged by the EPA in 2004. The statement they released: “Potential benefits include extended seasons for construction and warm weather recreation, and reduced heating requirements.” And still, Exxon scientists push us to think it’s good that there’ll be a new shipping route around the melting poles. Access to all that oil is still seen as a good thing, for them, but only for them. Until they convince us that it’s good for us too.

Ecstasy was once our original state of being as we perceived ourselves connected to all of creation. Now it’s been reduced to the momentary delusion of poets, madmen and lovers. Patriarchy harnessed this ecstasy and then began to control it. Ecstasy means standing outside oneself.  Ecstasy is our original state of being, union. The cosmic passion of the universe experienced through the thought-forms of the universe—the flesh, the cells, biology and spirit, unified in the imagination of the earth. The earth is a living, intelligent system connecting us all.

The earth-based religions were the celebration of the recognition that we are One with all Life. The celebration of the female, who can give birth from her body and create food to feed that life from her body is magical, is holy, and is the earliest link to the goddess. from the beginning, the human community loved, thanked, and sang praises to this earth, which like a woman, makes food enough for her offspring from her own body. The realms of the goddesses were, for 400,000 years, about celebrating oneness with intense joy, intoxicating ritual, and illumination of boundarylessness. There’s no border between me and not me. That’s the ecstasy all religions talk about, but patriarchy patrols the borders of all our minds and bodies, completely controlling womyn and nature both.

Yes, we long to know the divine, but we must do this by enlarging our souls and lighting up our brains, activity which runs against the aspirations and apparatus of commerce and politics. Politics, the science of domination, finds illumined and enlarged people way too hard to control. Politics usurped religion a very long time ago. Kings bought off priests, kept them close and fed the people ignorance, superstition and fear to keep them small and under control. Rulers disconnected the masses from the earth and the waters. Soul, heavy and hot, was traded for spirit, cool, abstract, detached, connected to the sky, to gasses and fire, and the fire power of war. Mysticism was criticized, direct participation with divine creation and knowledge was belittled as exotic and inferior. Religion is organized, controlling mysticism kills it. Religion is a denial of all that’s divine in people. So, of course we want to do drugs! And a favorite one is called Ecstasy.

Patriarchy is the repression of this energy. Patriarchy set out to banish ecstasy, to control people’s minds. Patriarchy tells us that the body is dirty, women are “a temple standing over a sewer”. Patriarchy is all about the opposite of ecstasy- alienation and domination and suffering. The machinery of patriarchy runs on those ecstatic energies, totally repressed and converted to piety and drudgery. The masses of people are forcibly retrained, retained and maintained at the level of the reptile brain- the brain of ritualized repetition and benumbed violence. The reptile brain is kept hypnotized from the outside by means of mass produced dreams and longing for things, and the commercial hallucinations of transcendence. The luminosity is on the screens, projected at us, while our evolutionary brain sits in darkness.

Orgasm is linked to original sin, to the I/Thou experience of intrinsic connection, compassion and the loss of the mind and the ego. Linked also with the goddess realms of intense joy and illumination that cross the border from the wastelands of despair, sin, suffering and alienation.  One may only love god, divinely, abstractly, and so Christians face chronic guilt. Nowhere has sex been so debased, and porn so prolific. Non-reproductive ecstasy, the goddess’s initiations and rituals, is forbidden. The fanatic misogyny of Judeo/Christianity and Islam as patriarchy sets out to destroy our psychic relationship with the earth and the cosmos. Ecstasy is what’s needed, to tear down the isolated ego, to merge again with knowing that we are connected to all life. That and only that will save us.

Teach kids about inter-connection of life before you teach them science or technology. Then they will know their true place in this world, attached to earth.

Blind obedience to authority is far more dangerous than questioning everything, so we should teach children to question everything. Teach them to always question their own thinking and to constantly break down what they believe.  

“Educe” means to lead forth. “Seduce” means to lead astray. “Education” means to be present at the birth of. The goal should be learning to think, and an even deeper goal should be learning to learn. Learning should be about Liberation. Instead, it’s a schooling in capitalist-patriarchal-imperialist socialization. Standardized testing for a standardized world teaches behaviors, not information. Testing only tests our abilities to take tests, very white, very middle class tests.

What does this society value above all else? Money, power—the illusion provided by both of these that you can get whatever you want, if only you give yourself away to the elites, the institutions of power, and the corporations. Modern industrial education teaches students to value upward mobility, and to wait till the bell rings to move. To watch the clock and learn to be patiently paralyzed. It teaches them to wish their lives away, to dissociate, waiting for time to pass, and to just work hard on trying to be what others in authority want for them to be. To be good girls and good boys and never question the standardized versions of country, god, capitalism, science, economics, and history. What we have as our educational system is the industrial model of education, where we try to force everyone into the same mold.

According to Derrick Jensen, The only question for schools to ask over and over for the career of a student is Who are you?” And how can I support you to be you?

The average USian generates one ton of garbage a year. Visualize a heap of garbage the size of a town. Multiply that by 100 and that’s the monthly garbage output of the U.S. We throw out 120  billion pounds of food a day here! And we lock up our dumpsters, so poor people or divers can’t use that good food, for free. For “safety” reasons. If we want to be safe, we should put locks on our leaders!

We need techno-literacy. I-pods were deliberately created to last one year at most. Cell phones are deliberately underbuilt. It’s all just bad garbage; toxic high tech trash.  Toxic lead, beryllium, cadmium are a massive biohazard. Their “lives” are mining, petrochemical production, then disposal. We’re amusing ourselves to death.  We need to stop making toxic waste. We can make products that are easier to fix,  or truly recyclable, that  last longer, and aren’t designed to break in the first place. Expensively packaged, extravagantly processed garbage-in-the-making fills our stores. Cocooned in unconsciousness, we pile up poisons and surplus possessions. There are hormone-containing products in beef, cosmetics, pesticides, tooth fillings, paint, insulation, glues, carpets, cleaners, plastics, inks and toners, Teflon, dyed nylon clothes, and radioactive electronic components.

Going Feral
Society is crumbling—our work must be to encourage that crumbling at a rate that will supercede the complete destruction of the environment and nature’s life-giving systems. We must use alternatives in all that we do. It’s time for a revolution in consciousness. It is ecology, not technology, which is the real foundation of human life.

Look at how quickly we adapt to sudden changes—look what we’ve gotten used to in this country in the last few years—buying bottled water, driving in extreme traffic for hours each day, the propaganda that passes for news, the automated voices that answer every telephone, and how ugly human landscapes are.

This is a doomed system. The technology of our lives is disempowering and infantilizing us, and only adds to the growing isolation and separation of people. All it gives us is a false sense of convenience as it erases value, meaning, and accountability.

It’s time to trespass, make new laws, cross the lines of power and cross our own lines of fear and apathy. Give us the courage to change what we can and the skills or the weapons to get the job done.The only valid, authentic, inspiring response is the call to erase the whole strangling ensemble before it completes its trajectory of destroying the individual, society, and the wild. A society that has abolished adventure makes the only adventure the abolition of that society.

Going feral is about recognizing, learning, re-membering, and falling in love again with this earth, our mother. What will feed us, what will heal us, what will occupy our days in ways that mirror our values and our hearts? Mary Oliver wrote—The only question is how to love this world. 

How do we make a life without machines and disconnection from the source? It’s always been there, buried beneath our technological prowess, like nature under patriarchy, just waiting patiently for her children to return. Going feral is about discovering spontaneity, embracing what you love, discovering what you hate and weeding it from your life, it’s about daydreaming, questioning, rebelling.

Technology and corporations aren’t making any more earth. There’s no more Pacific Ocean, no more ancient redwoods or real Paradise. All we’ve been doing is paving and clearcutting, shooting and mining and building roads and subdivisions, stomping it all till its gone, gone gone.  All there is for us captured, domesticated, mind-controlled, busily-stunned creatures to do is the unthinkable and go feral, go wild back to the land and reclaim our territory and our lives.

We’ve been taught to believe we live in a free country because of the vastness of pseudo choices, but we have very few choices here. We can vote once every 4 years for one wing or the other of The Corporate-Industrial-Capitalist Party. We can choose between a new SUV or a new Prius, and we can choose the color of our new car, but we can’t choose to live without car culture. We can choose from 25 flavors of kitty litter, but we can’t choose to stop spraying our earth with toxic poisons that give us cancer.

Freedom isn’t something that’s visibly caused by anything else. Otherwise, it would be compelled, and not free. It’s not an obscure  state, it’s not hidden in darkness. It’s a daylight mystery, and we must be detectives and seek it out.    And, the way to freedom has always been hard. We have to violate every notion of civilization that we’ve internalized. In order to change laws, we have to violate them. In order to change consciousness, we have to do the same.  A mass jail-breeak/zoo-break. 
But, if you can do it, it’s worth the effort! The incomparable compensation of spending my days free, exhilarated and pursuing my desires is a value beyond anything. We need to spend time free to even figure out what it is we desire. When’s the last time you didn’t know what time it was? This liberation is revolutionary. We’re so used to thinking in terms of “production” of everything that our revolution isn’t in the present tense. It’s all in the future. But, we must put our lives and our experiences first. Just to be immediately in the world. To see to our imagination, first and foremost, to transform everyday reality. Product is just excrement. Start living today!

Persoanlly speaking, the hard work of my jail-break behind me, now the fruits of my labors are my labors themselves; there is no intermediary force. The fruits of my desires bud, ripen. Just giving time over to completely following up on patterns of thought and on social interactions. What could be more radical than choosing your actions according to how enjoyable they are. What should we work towards, if not pleasure and joyfulness?

Murderous mistreatment, lethal boredom, fatal submission demand that I pitch my tent in the death camps, but the dead end does not justify the means, and I am insistently alive in the land of the dead. I am an example for others of what is possible, if you can learn to ask for less.

The spectacles that surround the production of culture ARE the culture now, and our job is to listen & watch, and then, to buy. That’s how we are manipulated: our emotions, personalities and core values are under siege by media and cultural forces too complex to decode.  

A continuous product message is woven into the fabric of our days. Cool people, living life to the hilt. This happy mask hides the horror show of disconnection and despair like an iron maiden. The most powerful narcotic in the world is the promise of belonging.  Cool is highly addictive and it’s effects are short-lived.  The earth can no longer support the lifestyle of the cool-hunting US consumer.

Identity is about creating Belonging and creating Difference. In this culture it appears to come more from external factors than internal, but it’s about Meaning. What does it mean to be a member of a particular identity? You can name yourself, and you can define yourself. Naming creates difference. Who has the power to define difference? Where is the power located? Who is us? Who is them? Who decides? What cult are you in? What you choose to wear and drive and listen to are values decreed worthy by others. Branding unites us in soul and in form, but, personality comes first, before they tell us how to live and what to think. Think about the first power—getting what you want. Why did you want it? Can you remember how insistent you were to get it?

I read long ago this quote—“There have never been many persons in the world”. What about  people who knew they had the option of becoming persons? Our world is divided between leaders and followers, idolized elites and the masses. Prefabricated identities have always been part of humanity, bound by custom and function. (King, Peasant, woman, slave). Social forces are always invisibly there.

We’ve always been free to dream, and dreams are unique and imaginative, but we’re all, in this culture, dreaming the same dream. The Apple, G.M., McDonald’s, Marlboro dream, of cool people, living it to the hilt. But the ideal of authenticity can be seen to have a moral basis. Who are you when you’re naked, alone, and in silence? When you transcend or pre-date culture and politics. When are you not being manipulated by cultural forces too complex to decode? A continuous porous product message woven into the fabric of our days; we’re soaking in it. The most powerful narcotic in the world is the promise of Belonging. And they’ve convinced us that we can buy it. Cool is highly addictive and it’s effects are short lived. Define yourself. And then, change.

Information Sickness                  
Information sickness.  It’s a disease, deeply contagious, ubiquitous, until the non-diseased are so rare they appear disabled freaks. The way information flows.  The way institutions wield power. The way the corporations set the agenda. The way meaning is produced in our society. Our culture is no longer created by the people.

Evolutionarily, this is where we are: We've all been driven to semi-psychosis, an all-out war on the public interest and the earth. What reality lies behind the electronic mammary? Just when there’s all this attention deficit, half the institutions of capitalism are working to get our minds' attention and the other half are busy hiding and tricking us to be even more distracted. Is it a coincidence that stress has become epidemic as the demands of our attention have mounted? Advertisers clamoring for the attention of our kids just as the kids start to suffer from a DEFICIT of that very thing.  The economy coins a new disease — A.D.D. and prescribes yet more consumption—millions are on ritalin. What about our awareness of this truth?  What about progress might need our approval? Approval and attention are caught in a terrible co-dependence these days.

High tech connectedness, like all symptomatic behavior, is a narcissism that reveals, in the very things it insists on, exactly what it lacks. The pressure to answer a ringing phone—the panic and excitement it causes—the scrambling urgency—for what?  Technology was supposed to free us from the shackles of work and give us more leisure time (to stare at screens in silent desperation).  The opposite has happened as we’re now a culture oppressed and enslaved by our electronics.

The more connected we are, the more detached we become. Minds frozen away from living in the moment, away from looking around and taking in what’s around them. Most catastrophically, away from the natural world, which is so slow and so dull and so far away from the plugs for our cords.  Away from all sensations, within and without, besides the pinging of likes, the ringing of texts. Nothing technology’s done has enhanced the internals of life—it’s all externals.  

Social media manufactures Extreme Social Neediness. We need each other like never since the stone age, but it’s on-line, while off-line we don’t make eye contact with actual people we pass when we do venture away. We screen-gab, we pivot fast, we like, retweet, like, publish, like, notify, like, delete. We fight for popularity.  Fight to be right, to be liked. We destroy the earth as we tweet, retweet. We drown in start ups and knock offs. We maximize mobiles cell phones and computer watches, but wearable tech’s a total surveillance scam. 

We absorb information but don't process it before we crash and burn, just maximized memes, the world at our fingertips.  All the dynamics of the pressures we're under—tectonic, diamond-creating pressures. Distorted excitement. Silicon-based happiness. Meeting people. Having friends. And the Pavlovian instincts make us check our phones obsessively.  Our constant notifications— addictions to likes, bings, pings—soothe us as a river of data carries us along on 1's and 0's. We drown.

Some app will take all your info from Instagram, Pinterest, FB, Twitter, Tumblir, Email,  FitBits and your Google Search History and design the next thing you don't need, a composite of all this info in the accuracy of algorithms, to create something So You, all based on input you happily hand over to them on your Powerpoint, Dropbox, in The Cloud, or on your phone.

Privacy issues?  We don't need no stinkin' privacy! Direct messaging, pre-selected websites, spammers and data bases.  Algorithms scan data for emojis and key words.  Consumers prefer convenience over privacy.  Convenience over freedom. And surely, convenience over a living planet. You're just another cog in the tech machine of consumption and surveillance, predictive algorithms—they're mining you!

Clinging to the exploded flotsam of an explosive world, and sinking under the spectacle into invisibility, people just wanna feel special. And what do cyborgs want? And what will robots want when they achieve self awareness? This waits for us to arrive there, in the near-future, where we realize that ideas have consequences, entirely predictable. And that convenience is the enemy.

And, why is the shape and feel of an iphone so cold and alienating?  They couldda made it look and feel like anything, and we get a rectangular bullet.  Men ruin everything.  Do you imagine that women would ever choose this shape and feel for the object that’s their most intimate, that represents and transmits all desire, all disappointment, all relationships, and truth?  And if womyn made it, it would surely have a setting for vibrator.  It’s our self, our shield our amulet, our memory, the silvered popcorn trail to better times.  It’s our greatest disconnect and heaviest disability, and enemy of the natural world. But, how cuddly is our best friend?  If women made it, it would be fluffy and soft and maybe it could purr.  Everyone alive has a fucking iphone but me; that “our and we” was just for dramatic effect.

Holding and synthesizing information in your brain, like directions or what people look like, or composing messages, is what creates your personality. We’ve surrendered our personality to an electronic device in our pockets.This is anti-culture, controlled by 1's and 0's. This is the language of waves and radiation, infallible, dead. What happens to us when the long commercial ends?

We, humans of the patriarchal-industrial-modern world, are probably the biggest psychological experiment in human history. But stocks are up, so how bad can it be?
Such a convenient was to lose Everything!  It’s the great unmaking— the totality of a disabled citizenry. The enemy is in here, in the things we love/need/think we love/need the most. We need to understand so we can fight back. Without a story, we lose our moorings, we relinquish our rights, we are paralyzed and controlled by fears.  This is a global phenomenon today. We need culture heroes who’ll put another narrative out there and snap the rest out of this trance. A NO and a YES all at once.

Politics too is a free market ideological project that wages war on every single thing.  A merger of human and machine, of human and corporation.We need to come together and heal the sickness that produced it. De-couple the world from machines and our lives from the ruling billionaire class. A state of shock isn't just a bad thing; it's a bad thing that we don't understand, yet. But once we get it, the momentum of change might just take us there. The velocity of change can be like the difference between dog years and people years.

Pollution, poverty, the palace of intrigues that is trump-land, the nonstop spectacle that won't shut up, and unfettered freedom and power for corporate capitalism.
The methodical focus on deconstructing our most holy truths of connection.
We live in a world where 8 men are worth as much as half the planet.  As hungry souls and angry hands rise up against an amoral marketplace of un-critiqued technological control, poverty, pollution, extinction, and culture shock, they build higher walls and armaments, and mind-control against our outrage.  And who's even outraged by technology anymore? Who ever was?

We think we know so much about the world, or at least about the part that's exploding picturesquely on our screens on any given day that we're left with a desperate and unsustainable sense that all of it is exploding all the time. Therein lies our fear; therein lies their means to control us.  no one is even pretending to be good anymore.
We're a society in need of need.  The entire economy has rearranged itself to this end, as a factory of need.

We're the first generation to receive our sense of the world from one screen or another, rather than from contact with each other or with nature.  Social media makes it seem like we’re connected, but, it's a mediated machine-driven connection.  It's bullshi Self absorption/ extreme individualism are endemic in modern U.S. ian culture where You are the most important thing on earth.  Yet, really, there is NO individualism anymore.  This consumer society can't tolerate the critical thinking necessary to be an individual. Nothing to complicate consumption.

The first commandment of corporate capitalism is Thou shalt not think. Free thinking would break the trance and introduce competing perspectives, which lead to doubt. The word “Oppression” means to Press—presses mold & flatten things, reduce and squeeze out what’s inside. Something caught between forces and barriers that prevent movement. How our identities are stuck and mutilated by forces beyond you; how others choose for you.

The manufacture of the hard drive on my computer is an outrageously toxic process and gives cancer to women and girls in Thailand and elsewhere who assemble them.  Imagine watching slaves making this for you while you sip a beverage, live-streaming. The manufacture of one computer uses 2 tons of raw materials- 520 lbs of fossil fuels, 48 lbs of chemicals, 3600 lbs of water.  4 lbs of fossil fuels and 70 lbs of water are used to make one single memory chip.  These are hidden forms of violence. Of course, we don’t have to watch, and therefore, we do not have to know. Is it time to know yet?

So, all creatures live, in space and time, according to limits, according to a pattern. Leopards don’t kill the whole herd of oryx and stack em up to hoard just in case, they kill the one they need for the moment. Maybe our problem is these brains, so deliberately disoriented to actually being present to time and space, deny limitation as a matter of course as we extend ourselves into the future. Self- imposed limits according to the pattern isn’t something we knew in our lifetimes; we’ve even ceased to listen to our bodies tell us they’re full.

But, going backwards in time, back in our shared biological memory, of course we’ve known limitation as natural, as sacred, even. What I’ve learned is that the very word, “limitation” and every synonym I can think of for the word, are negative. I look up this word, limit, this inconceivable concept, in the Thesaurus. I get “the last straw, the end, bound, narrow, restrict, restrain, circumscribed, meager.” Sounds bad.  And yet, the first definition of “limitless” is “greedy”. Interesting. We still understand antonyms. We’re on to something here.

In this culture, the notion of limitation, which is natural and necessary and found in every other species as a means to survival, to us sounds like deprivation, like punishment. There’s no word for limits that doesn’t sound punitive. And so we grow and grow, out of control, like the cancer cell. How much is enough for the super predator species? Will we ever recognize enough-ness in this culture?

We’re seeking enlargement and illumination, but the culture needs to prevent this because illumined people are way too hard to control. The only thing that’s illuminated here are the screens; the luminosity is projected at us while our evolutionary brain sits in darkness. We absorb it all, unquestioning, because we were never taught to think critically. Only to give the right answer to the standardized question. We can’t even think thoughts that threaten the status quo, not it we want to get ahead in this world. And, you know, if people don’t like it, they’ll get used to it soon enough. The maxim of industrial progress.

Why do we want what we think we want? Why do we like what we think we like? Memes are ideas that travel. Just like a gene is a unit of biological information that replicates, a meme is a unit of non-biological information that replicates. Memes are viral, they spread and infect us—trends, logos, slogans, tunes, ideas about race, sex, domination and entitlement.

Mass communications don’t just control how we think, but what we think about. We need to challenge the conditions that make thinking possible, to rebel against the regime of the production of truth. We must understand what it is that we’re protesting—it’s not just the destruction of lives, but the destruction of meaning. We’ve got to mute the meaning manufacturing machine, and then we’ve got to start to question everything. We’ve got to jam the spectacle, stop the show. We need to go on a spree of idea regeneration.

In this culture 3000 marketing messages are rammed into our neocortex every day. That’s how memes have been harnessed to work for the powers that be. It’s a one-way process, nonconsensual, and unarguably violent. Potent memes change minds, alter behaviors, and transform cultures. In an authentic culture, the ideas percolate from the bottom up and the best ideas win. Nobody controls this wild process; it emanates from people with no agenda but to describe their world and themselves in it, first hand. Everybody has the right to participate. Everybody experiences the world as an authority. But, in this culture, memes ooze down from the top, from only those who can afford to buy the time on our airwaves, corporations who’s only morality is to make more wealth for already wealthy people. And they don’t believe in the authority of the people. And, in this culture, the most repeated ideas win. The most repeated ideas win.

Maybe the most profound way to reclaim reality is to disconnect from the disconnection and re-connect to the source. We need to slip free of the cultural trance we’re dancing in and to turn people’s imaginations on. Discover that source that’s been waiting all this time for us to return and ask these, and other questions. Re-defining “progress” is our greatest challenge.

When we talk about this, people tell us, we’re dreaming. Yeah. Somebody has to dream. Ask them, don’t you think the Pentagon, The Stock Market and Disney are somebody’s dreams? This is my dream—I dream of a day when we’ll  no longer be driven by cars, worked by jobs, watched by t.v.’s , mined by corporations. I’m dreaming the 11th commandment—thou shalt love nature, of which you are a part. Dream that we won’t give our earth’s resources and our lives and All life away to be destroyed and sold back to us as beer-cans and plastic. That what has been stolen will be taken back, by us. Forget sustainability, we need restoration. I dream that unjust laws will be broken and the enemy’s name spoken and the police and soldiers will turn from the lies of the masters and join us in this work.

How do we catalyze a mass psychic jail break?

Humans structure information about our experiences through the narratives we tell each other. There’s power in collectively understood symbols. We are the animals who live by stories, they shape our perception of reality. To change the future, we’ve got to change our stories.  Empire has controlled the stories, and repeats them constantly. Prosperity. Security. Freedom. These are all bullshit. We need to tell the stories of earth community. We need to redefine progress and wealth in the stories we tell. The biblical story led us to this massive dysfunction, and the modern story of progress keeps us here. Religion and technology conspire to keep us believing that we’re separate from the earth, that we’re better than all other life forms. We need to tell the story about how we can apply our power by revoking our obedience. We need to believe in our collective strength again. The fact that we are all connected is a planetary reality. The fact that we don’t know this is a huge condition of our disability.

We’ve got to consciously analyze and attack the assumptions of our colonized minds. If we, and the rest of life, are to survive and step free of corporate culture, we must provide new myths. We need new cultural narratives to frame the big story of our time: the story of competing futures.

Corporations or democracy? Liberation or oppression? Awakening or denial?  Evolution or extinction? We need to change the majority of humans from disabled spectators into empowered citizens, and let this great battle touch their self-contained lives. We need to help people see that they’re connected to Everything. Everything is connected to everything, and we need language to speak to the crisis of denial, symbols like hammers to shatter all their justifications.

The lies are powerful: State power=law and order. Devastation=development. Doomsday economics= prosperity. The right to drive is more important than the right to breathe. This is a free country—the greatest country in the world, in history, Ever. We need new models of work, education, health, environmental and social protections, and dignity in life rich with meaning. Memes popping like non-genetically modified corn in hot oil.

First, we need an analysis of the place we are currently coming from. We need to use the dominant culture’s own momentum against itself. Guerilla fighters know this. “Every guerilla must know the terrain of the culture he’s trying to destroy”. In the U.S., our ruling meta-meme is that the corporate-driven marketplace delivers happiness, prosperity, and freedom for all. There’s been no competing mass vision since World War two.

Ideology is more important than armies to maintaining empire most people don’t even recognize that this is an empire. We need a new ideological vision that can stand against the ecocidal, post-microsoft, internationally- monopolized, crap-saturated, globally melting, revenge soaked, nuclear, plastic and chemical modernity. Something more compelling and comprehensive than just recycling or changing lightbulbs. We need to challenge the lies of “green consumerism”. We can start there. We can start anywhere, because everything is connected. That is the great cosmic truth, the foundation of biology, and not knowing that fact is a huge condition of our disability.

What will save us?  Not technology. Not force. Only the imagination. The ability to tell ourselves a different story. Many different stories. How do we replace memes of violence, consumerism, and fear with memes demonstrating how to fit into the pattern? Because Darwin’s been twisted for us too—it’s not about survival of the fittest, but survival of the fit. How do we fit inside the environment of life to which we were born? How to belong. Be-longing shakes us free of the trance. We’ve got to be cultural shamans. What are the memes that will clearly communicate the crisis, and what are memes that will champion the way through to a radically different cultural identity? Think about it. Pass it on. There’s more to life than being young, rich, fast, thin, beautiful, and technologically advanced.

We’ve lost our mental health, because even though it’s hard to work up any real rage, it’s real easy to get depressed. They feed us Pfizer, Merk, Eli Lily like friendly fire to keep mortality at bay after 40 years of desk-work, stress and bad food. We numb out. That’s better. We can focus on our work now, which is usually to make more money for the corporation. We let the big questions slide. Trust the experts to solve all the problems the experts created for us.

But, “Science, unfortunately, takes it’s too-comfortable place in the broader ideology of social regimentation, economic exploitation, environmental destruction, and industrial militarism that, for lack of a better word, we call Capitalism.” (C. White)

SSRI’s induce apathy, so we stay medicated and distracted from the side- effects of progress. We’ve been so well trained to deny the truth of our experiences that there’s no place in our minds for the giant looming crises of global warming, nuclear war, mass extinction, toxic waste. These are modernity’s “sublime anxieties”, but they yield every time, folding beneath the gorgeous power of psychic numbing. So we keep going in this terribly wrong direction, assisted by the industrial society and their industrial meds.

Antidepressants are the top selling category of pharmaceticals, followed by ulcer medications. Are we happy yet? Anxiety disorders from excesses of  caffeine, road rage, virtual violence, debt, consumerism, the denial of all the imminent crashing crises—ecological, nuclear, economic, the 24 hour economy alone is killing our heads.

Apathy is cool. Activism is uncool, except for the Gap’s ripping off Blac Bloc chic and Che Guevara. But that’s not activism, it’s marketing. Ironic detachment vs. ironic engagement.

It’s what you never had that’s hardest to grieve.” (Judith Herman) This is important in the cultural healing modes we might imagine, which could acutally circle around the restoration of a renewed connection with the All. Of the reality that Everything is connected to Everything.

Depression is not an individual problem. Despair isn’t just about your personal life. Addictions, suicidal thoughts aren’t just about your childhood abuses. There are a multitude of cultural abuses at work on us all the time. Our minds are colonized. We believe that this is democracy. That we’re free. That the media tells us the news. That our vote counts. That consumption will make us happy. That this is the best system on earth. We’ve been juiced clean of alternatives to empire and capitalism, climate devastation, militarism and patriarchy.

U.S. military power is what we rely on now, for our foreign policy. We have more bombs and bombers than all of the rest of NATO put together. But in the modern world, there’s been a tectonic shift in the world’s economic and cultural arrangements. The world’s center of gravity has shifted, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, making India, China, Korea and Japan the most dynamic places in the world. Their citizens have a clear sense that their lives are improving. This creates economic power and psychological success and produces pride. That’s economics made fresh.

Never in human history have so many people improved their life circumstances and become the makers of history, and not just it’s objects. The notion of American ‘leadership’ is problematic, as the good life and modernity, led by visions emanating from a U.S.A. that is no longer shaping the whole world. You can’t be a leader without followers. The conditions of WW2 are gone for good. We’re still militarily super-strong, and that’s all we’ve got left. An old adage, if all you have is a hammer, then all you see are nails is demonstated in our foreign policy and more and more in our domestic response to uprisings here at home. Tanks in cities. Armored police arriving in armored troop carriers. Drones spying on us all.

All we produce anymore is a gigantic military, so all we know how to do is go to war” invade, occupy, overthrow. But, we’re totally strung out on a system that’s totally strung out on oil. And we’ve got to get it from other countries that don’t want to hand it over to us.

The new world order will be mercifully brief. The present order of oil and gas is based on the distribution of surplus. We have available for study certain African countries whose order is based on accelerated scarcity. This order looks a lot like chaos. Long before the world runs dry of resources, the social order will come unglued. This unhappy future time when we imagine we’ll have to turn down our thermostats lacks the proper apocalyptic vision. When glaciers start flowing down Main Street, maybe we’ll believe climate change was real. When they close the CostCo, we might have to eat our house pets. 

Too harsh? Then consider just how tight the space is between the rocks of our failed Mideast policy and the hard place of our impending financial disaster. The sudden out-of-control spike in the cost of oil—the key short-term market variable, the specter that stokes inflation fear and limits moves to avoid recession—is not a natural disaster or in any realistic way the result of inefficiency in the use of energy. What more than doubled the price of petroleum in the short run was not that too many of us bought Hummers, but rather that the political stability of the region that contains the bulk of that oil was deliberately and recklessly roiled.

In the name of fighting the 9/11 terrorists, the Bush administration overthrew the one Arab government most adamantly opposed to the Saudi financiers of that son of their system, Osama bin Laden. Instead of confronting the royal leaders of a kingdom that supplied 15 of the 19 hijackers, we invaded a nation that supplied not a single one. While Bush overthrew Saddam Hussein, who had no ties to the hijackers, he embraced the leaders of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the only three nations in the world that had diplomatically recognized and supported the Taliban sponsors of al-Qaida.

Consider that historical marker at a time when the UAE and Saudi Arabia bankers are buying major positions in distressed U.S. financial and other key corporate institutions and real estate. I know, it all sounds too conspiratorial, like imagining that we might wake up from this national nightmare and discover that the CEO of Halliburton, who replaced Dick Cheney when the latter selected himself to be Bush’s vice president, now has his headquarters in Dubai, tucked safely into the obscenely oil-revenue-rich UAE that our troops were sent to Iraq to protect.

There is no national outrage, or even seriously sustained media interest, over the fact that Cheney’s old company profited enormously from ripping off U.S. tax dollars going into the Iraq occupation. Nor is there even much curiosity about the shenanigans of Halliburton, which is doing business with Arab oil sheiks at a time when the U.S. banks these Middle Eastern oil interests bought into are moving to foreclose on American homeowners.

“White people are the un-defined definers of other people.” (Alan Johnson) White culture is the norm, a category powerful enough to define others while remaining invisible and unnamed itself. Being un-named is a way to mask your power. White. Male. Christian. Upper class. The idea of “us” and “them” is a mechanism of social control to separate potential allies and create fear. If the masters of society can keep poor Whites looking down at poorer Blacks and resenting them, and blaming immigrants for taking their jobs, then they don’t have a chance of looking UP to see who’s pulling the strings for all workers, and all citizens of the realm.

Categories differ in their access to power because categories de-value people. In many White folks’ minds, Blacks are less-than, therefore, Affirmative Action is bullshit. Categories also objectify and give a quality of interchangeability. The immigrants that conservatives curse came here as slaves, or because their communites were destroyed and their land taken, by this empire. Check out the immigration “debate” between rich business interests who want cheap labor, and cultural conservative WASPs who want to preserve their vision of what this culture “should” look like. You know, the ones who “want their country back.”

Cultural appropriation can be a blurry line. Some people have no firm boundaries. When cultures meet each other, there’s sharing, which is great, the heartbeat of diversity, but political power relationships are different. I might invite you join me at Shabbat, but not to take my candlesticks home to do your own Shabbat. The conquerors always came as traders. For example, Capitalism steals everything yummy and powerful. Corporations sell non-liberatory hip hop and white kids buy it, without any idea of the background of hip hop. Same with dreads, fashion, and most all of Black culture.

Start with a flow chart—here is the goal of the oppressor. Now, what do you have to do to get to Empire? Deconstruct the rules of the system. Slavery is the bedrock upon which civilization has always been assembled. Without slavery, no Greek state, no art or science from Greece. Without slavery, no Roman Empire, no modern Europe. Slaves built the canals, the levees, the granaries vital to the agricultural revolution. The pyramids of Egypt. The Great Wall of China. Every great ancient city. The Bronze Age. The Iron Age. Every mine ever worked was by prisoners, captives, slaves. Only they would enter the underworld; until modern times, no free, sane person ever became a mine worker. The oldest legal documents codify the sale of slaves—The Code of Hammurabi. The existence of a class of slaves has always been the result of political, economic, and military decisions. To undo slavery would be to undo civilization. (For those of you who still think civilization is a good thing.) Poor people are blamed as if they were the problem. Wealth wouldn’t be able to exist without poverty. Poverty, which is the problem.

Co-arising are at least 3 dimensions of resistance to the deadly status quo. First, slowing the destruction. This is about direct action, activism confronting the perceived enemies of life. We want to stop war, global warming, corporate lies. This buys time, but it’s dangerous because it’s often committing illegal acts and we can go to jail as terrorists, even in symbolic actions or action against property.  Also, it’s discouraging because we rarely win, or if we do, it’s a tiny bit of what we need to save: one grove of redwoods saved from development, surrounded by subdivisions, like pet trees. One chemical banned from the toxic terrarium. One representative who hears us and gets it, surrounded by nasty liars like one tree left in a clearcut.

Second, creating new forms and structures that are sustainable and just. There’s never been a time in human history when so many alternatives have floated up to the realm of possibilities. That’s true democracy; the vastness of new ways of doing things that appear from everywhere, all at once.

And third, changing consciousness. This last dimension is embodied in new memes that come from Liberation Politics, from Feminism, from Queer Theory, from globalized resistance movements, from all the thought and all the art that flows into the world to feed our grief and our rage. From what wakes us up.

All of western thought is dominated by the model of hierarchy, but rhizomes are different. Rhizomes are thickened stems that grow horizontally under the surface of the soil. Bamboo.  Banana. Taro. Iris. Aspen. Crabgrass. When you plant a rhizome, it takes off in all directions, and to get some, you just need a digging stick to break off a piece.  The more you cut up rhizomes, the more they split. You never know where or when a rhizome’s going to emerge.

The rhizome is a model for grassroots organizing, and a metaphor. If we’re all together, centralized in one place, and we rise up in revolt, they’ll just kill us all.  But, if each person develops our own connection to our local bioregion, they’ll never stop us all, no matter how organized they are. We are cultural shamans, and while there may not be a lot any one of us can do to save life on earth, there are many little things that each of us at the end of every rhizome can do.

The good news is, that an organism under attack creates antibodies that will grow and spread and work to destroy the enemy. More good news is that it’s only at moments crisis that true change can come, because we have nothing to lose. Because we open our fierce grip to a larger perspective. Thoreau said, “The highest we can attain is not knowledge, but sympathy with intelligence.” That intelligence is the Life Force, the source of breath and green life, and evolution. The questions to ask are huge: How can we learn, again, to love this world? How can we start to give back as much as we take? How can we learn to live with less? How can we create justice for all? What will wake us from this American dream of entitlement and domination, this nightmare for all others? What will stop us from wanting to devour and enslave the rest of the planet? How do we make it unprofitable to destroy life? How do we show people that living with less is way more creative than demanding more, that giving is far more fun than plundering, and that convenience is the enemy? What’s the difference between wealth that’s siphoned and wealth that’s funneled? What if our foreign policy centered on spreading joy and not pain?

Organize. Act. Replicate. We need to step up into the role of cultural shamans. It’s up to us to lead the way into cultural change; to recognize our power and our authority to do this hands-on direction of our society.  The folkways, the mores, the system of values is ours to pronounce. Who else has the right? Certainly not multinational corporations.

Forget accumulating possessions: the key to happiness and survival is not to possess, but to Be Possessed. We need to be remember that we are possessed by existence itself; it’s the very nature of the universe is to be possessed. The most basic cohesion of matter comes from possession. The orbit of the earth, gravity, is a fact of its possession. We are possessed by the life force, by the fact of breath and blood and death; in this we are connected to every living thing.

The good thing about everything being so fucked up is that everywhere you look, there’s good work to be done. It’s not just about sustainable communities; we had those once: they were called Pequoit, Arapahoe, Cheyenne. And it’s not about prayer and visualization, because if those people, who were culturally rooted in prayer couldn’t change the trajectory, neither can we. Not with only supernatural help. Not with righteous goodness. But, anything is possible from here. Howard Zinn reminded us that the Renaissance came on the heels of the Hundred Years War and the Black Plague. Everything: oil, money, nuclear war, global warming, racism, technology- all poised on the edge of a cliff in total precariousness. What will be the tipping point? (Synchronous Cascading Failure.)

All that can save us now is the imagination. It must start there, with our minds. We need to resuscitate meaning; to cultivate new ideas, to harvest meme seeds and sow them wide. The work for social change agents is to be gardeners of the mindscape; explorers who create maps for getting to there from here; engineers building bridges between the many various liberation movements. Let’s tell the stories of the possible, in our most passionate voices, because this is the literal battle for the hearts, minds, and attention spans of an ever more anesthetized society.  We need to spread our ideas and critiques throughout the culture and break the media consumer trance. This is meme warfare. We can consciously, deliberately, and fundamentally redirect the trajectory of history.  It’s time to shatter the illusions of social consent to criminal projects. This is a tipping point, a choice point, that humans have never before encountered. We have the power to consciously determine our evolution, to re-define “progress”.  Will these be death throes or birth pains? Root canal or birth canal?

We need to know the truth before we can change. Just naming a thing is redemptive. We need to get people to understand the harm that’s come to us, and the mistakes that have been made. We need to help them articulate the rage that must arise, and then help them move through it. We can help them understand that it’s never too late, that beneath the flashy lies and bribes of consumer culture is the cosmos, the universe, the unbroken continuity of life, still here, still waiting for us to return. And when the pain becomes bearable enough to accept, help them transform it, digesting this truth, and changing.

If you don’t want corporate power, you’ve got to starve it to death. We made corporate power what it is today through our purchases and through agreeing to sell our lives to them as employees.

Standing on the brink of a new Supreme Court decision that seems likely to totally destroy what shreds are left waving of the wicked lie of democracy, there seems only one way to go from here. We have got to step away from the Federal government, away from this mad federation utterly controlled by corporate power and the lies of technology. They hold the key to the door that is the final limit on liberty and justice.  We’ve got to organize in small groups, in our communities where we live, to make the agreements we want to live by. Like the Zapatistas, we must, each of us ask, empowered and honest, what do we value?  What do we truly need? And so the question of memes becomes even more critical.

We are the many. Never forget, no matter how hard they lie and try to control our thoughts, the power of unions, of cooperatives, of tribes. When we band together, when we say WE and know who it is we mean in that word, nothing can stop us. Not guns, not armies, not stolen elections, not fear of anything.

“Refuse to accept its existence as a good argument for its continued existence.”  (Theodore Roszak)

One of the greatest seminal tragedies of the modern world is that the most powerful act, science, is kept separate from the most powerful feeling, love.

The great tragedy of technology is that it’s one of the few subjects that the left and right agree on: activists and corporations all view it in the same way. Its neutral. But, technology only really serves the systems of so-called progress— industrial agriculture, international finance, and war. All these lead to global warming. The speed and complexity which is multiplying the risks of synchronous cascading failure. This arises from multiple techno-stressors acting out multiple levels of social/economic/environ- mental/biophysical systems reshaping the world. From atoms in silicon semi-conductors to dams along all the great rivers, technology sweeps us into the dark howling future on shiny wings where we dream only of invincibility, infallibility, boundless possibility, and all these are in total opposition to reality. So, another huge disability is the DISPARITY between where we are and where we think we are.

Most humans under the spell of it don’t understand how technology works — not computers, not lights, not water in the pipes. Let’s get back to what we do understand. Technology doesn’t support us, we cannot stand on it because we do not understand it.
People say that “Mac’s are more intuitive”. What? How is that a word to describe a machine? What’s intuitive about tapping buttons on a buzzing box of brightness. If our intuition was truly engaged, we would pick up the closest big rock and smash the thing.
We gotta learn to view technology, not from where it benefits us, but in terms of the totality of its impact on the planet. What a concep—we’ve been trained to view everything ONLY as it benefits us— that’s how we see everything, all the time. So, yes, the email and cell phone helps us to connect and communicate. But they have way more benefit for the military and the corporations, for development, space travel, surveillance, nanotechnology, and all the other horrors that wouldn’t exist without computers.

This society was never trained to think about technology in systemic terms, or with much of a critical  mindset. Instead we’ve always been told that technology is good.  Progress is good. The idea that technology is neutral is in itself not neutral. It produces passivity like technology does. We never ask the most radical questions: who does it really serve? Are we better off with or without it? We are never given a chance to say NO to technology. We can, personally, but it’s still reshaping our society without permission, without national debates or referendums. And then, once we’re surrounded by it all, how the hell do we get rid of it?

The Tipping Point
We must destroy and replace, simultaneously. The tipping point is the point of potential—There are 5 points of the Pentacle of Resistance, according to Kirkpatrick Sale — At each of these, we can choose, we can decide. If we decide no, we can begin to change this  out-of-control and deadly culture.

These 5 points are—Assumption. Decision. Destruction. Production. Consumption.

Toxic Mimics
Many of us are aware that we live inside an engine of consumption that drives a world wide system of destruction through a culture of control.  But that too is a simplified abstraction. As citizens of this industrial empire of lies and corporate capitalism’s bottom lines, we’re surrounded by relentless parodies, “toxic mimics” of life. Life in which our needs are so distorted by imperial surrogates.  The houses and cars are huge, the  storage units are full, the bodies are obese, but the enormous hunger is insatiable, because you can never get enough of what you don’t really need.

All that advertising sells us is a substitution. In reality, our greatest desire has nothing to do with possessions or power, but with returning to the cradle of relationship, with feeling safe and beloved.  With belonging. We’re starved to return to reality, to connection. We’re fed fake food and abstractions, till we learn not to respond to what we feel in our real (and less real) bodies. The air stinks. The water tastes bad. The developed world is so ugly. The “representatives” are lying. Really? It’s not on television, so it can’t be true. Television, the bright shining altar before which most fall each night, exhausted, to absorb thrills and lies after working too hard and battling too many unanswerable questions. Television, that asks no questions. Television where the corporations in charge of all life give us manufactured images, the feeling of feelings: so that’s what it’s like when your boyfriend sleeps with your sister, when you lose a patient in the E.R., when you solve a crime scene or get voted off the island. And, reality television is one way to make 24/7 surveillance feel sexy. We’re being watched. Cool! How do I look? One hundred channels of illusion; and if we only feel what they tell us to feel, we can no longer feel empathy for nature or for others.  If we only feel what they tell us to feel, the restless urge to consume relentlessly will continue to oppress all nations and consume the earth.

Poisoned by toxins and the nonstop images streaming out of all the screaming screens, our species sleepwalks toward the dark brink of extinction. Bubbling in the background of what used to be an intelligent life, the torrent of information always racing us forward feels like progress, like we’re going somewhere bright and shiny and good. The speed factor is the matrix of our lives. We hunger for rest, for peace, but we refuse to engage in real time. We’ve been trained this way. We’ve adapted. All experiences have to be fast like this or it’s too slow. Machine time. The velocity of motion and our consumption. Most can’t even see nature anymore- it’s too slow, too dull, too bland compared to the machines surrounding us. We want to feel in control, powerful; we’re starved for power because they’ve made us so powerless. So we buy SUV tanks, security systems, guns, gates and gold.  BUT YOU CAN NEVER GET ENOUGH OF WHAT YOU DON’T REALLY NEED.

We’re starved for nutritious food. They feed us double wide deep fried high fructose corn syrup burgers and a big gulp. We’re still hungry- obese-ifyingly hungry. We’re starved for wisdom.  They feed us news-ac and commercials. The internet endlessly branching like trees we no longer remember knowing. Weighed down with data we can do nothing about, we grow more and more encumbered, less and less able to act. We’re starved for intimacy. They feed us pornography. Starved for adventure; they feed us war. Games of war that blur the boundaries between what’s real and what’s a toy. Until our children no longer can distinguish between real suffering and toy suffering. We’re starved for ritual, rites of passage, they feed us gangs and prisons, drugs, extreme sports and violence. We want to live wild and free: they’ve got brands named Revolution. The shock troops on the front lines of the rebellion push hip hop and Che Guevara t-shirts in the mall. Clear Channel owns popular cultural thought now.

We once believed in democracy. We thought we knew what it meant. Freedom of speech opened gateways for varied opinions to flow like water and mingle with each other to bring us closer to truth. Now you’re free to speak only if you’re a corporate media monopoly or the content of your speech is violent or commercial or Fundamentalist Christian.

The parodies and pseudo-choices offered up to us by this consumer culture are perversions, accepted as the real thing because connection has been lost, and so meaning has been lost.  If you’re isolated from your place in the pattern, and what you’re allowed to see and respond to isn’t large enough to serve the needs of understanding, then you can never get to revelation or transcendence, and you stay in a cycle of suffering. Sisyphus repeated his false journey over and over, in a dance of addiction that was never completed, and could never satisfy his soul. We’ve been lied to all our lives about our place and our relation. We’ve forgotten we have souls, and what we’re looking for and what we’re connected to, and we don’t have a clue about the source of our power.

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