Politics

The Upside Down World – louis d.

[*]

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

“Doing repairs on the outside of a rocket in mid-air is a ticklish job. We slacken off the circulation when they’re the right way up so that they’re half-starved, and double the flow of surrogate when they’re upside down. They learn to associate topsy-turvydom with well-being; in fact, they’re only truly happy when they’re standing on their heads.”

From Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Are we, as Huxley suggests, “only truly happy when we’re standing on our heads?” Because it feels like the entire country has been in a perpetual headstand since 2017, or 1963 — depending on your generational sensibilities.

Seems to me that regardless of age, most of us are just baffled. We can’t figure out if our frontal lobes aren’t hooked up to some massive mainframe. It’s as if our dirtiest thoughts are being telecast in an extended version of The Matrix meets the The Twilight Zone. The nouveau Truman Show is broadcast to the mansions of the elite. They munch pate and obscure giggles as we eat chimichangas and fart in front of one another. While we discuss the most pressing matters of the day, they analyze our speech and thought patterns.

I hate to disappoint everyone but I’m not going to talk about climate change. Nope.

First of all, saying, “Stop Climate Change,” is stupid. The climate has been changing since the planet became habitable over 4.5 BILLION years ago. The “Climate Change” will continue to make it the planet habitable until it is uninhabitable. There is no climate crisis. There’s one hell of a human crisis though. It’s called stupidity.

What we need to “Stop” is human stupidity. Before you get your me-undies in a wad, I promise to return to this word in due course.

I am not referring to the possibility of full scale constitutional turmoil in the White House either. Constitutional crisis, a’ la the end of the Republic as we know it, has been in the making since Nixon. Nixon was the country’s first official crazy-maker-in-chief. Nixon is synonymous with lying, bull-shitting politician — and I’m talking about every single one of them in power.

What I want to talk to you about is mental health. I am worried about the mental health of the Nation. Given what we are asked to process and navigate on a daily basis, my guess is no one is surpirsed.

Here’s a short list:

You got your good ole’ Boys and Girl’s Club Crony Capitalism. “Nothing to be seen here — keep moving plebeians.”

Princeton did a like the entire country has been in a perpetual headstand since 2017, or 1963 -  depending on your generational sensibilites. Seems to me that regardless of age-most of us can’t figure out if our frontal lobes aren’t hooked up to some massive mainframe as our thoughts are telecast in an extended version of The Matrix meets the The Twilight Zone broadcast to the mansions of the elite. They munch pate and obscure giggles as you and I get gas and fart in front of our partners.  I hate to disappoint everyone but I’m not talking about climate change. Nope.  Has anyone noted that saying, "Stop Climate Change" is stupid? The Climate has been changing since the planet became habitable over the last 4.55 BILLION years ago. The Climate Change will continue to continue and make it inhabitable. So folks, there’s not a Climate Crisis - there’s a human crisis called - stupidity.  What we need to "Stop" is human stupidity. Before you get your me-undies in a wad, I promise to return to this word in due course. I am not referring to the possibility of full scale constitutional turmoil in the White House either.  Nah, that’s been in the making for decades. I’m talking about the mental health of the nation given what we are asked to process and navigate the following, on a daily basis. You got your good ole’ Boys and Girl’s Club Crony Capitalism. Nothing to be seen here - keep moving plebeians. Dartmouth did a study and what do you know, a tiny minority of people own the vast majority of resources and wealth here and abroad. Let me make it simple They do not give a flying fuck about the poor, the environment, democracy or freedom. They care about money and power.  So sorry, boo-hoo. There’s plenty of jobs in the phony "shared economy" . Picking up errant e-scooters is not a job. There are more than 1m unemployed folks pooling their resources and worrying. But, what about all the awesome, infinite, arbitrary everyday choices we get to make.  The sheer amount of choice alone has a diminishing effect on the individual’s ability to adapt to the above forces. Think fast food, e-cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, Netflix, toiler paper brands.  Hey, but I can join a false-fraternities or cult of personality, won’t that bring me a sense of community and peace? Media in late-stage capitalism rips almost all sense from whence it once sprang. Fractional realities are presented - in an endless stream of easy to join cliches and cultures finds it way into one ear, while an opposing stream of sectarian divides, ugly politics and banality blare in the other. People flock to conferences wearing the same coloured t-shirt and yet complain about uniformity. People pile into threads and conversations, join cults of personality, be they Apple, Microsoft, Silicon Valley, Greta, Trump, Obama, Hillary, Deepak, Vaynerchuk, or Robbins. The media isn’t biased! They don’t categorize and marginalize certain people, religions, customs and cultures. Black/White/gay/Straight/Shia/Sinni, Arab/Hindo/, GOP/DNC, Eco-warrior/Climate-Skeptic. Of course they don’t. They don’t want your attention. Given the rapid proliferation of news-entertainment, the media is adaptive to our limited attention span. Their goal, like marketers, is to sell a product, in this case - the news. That’s not exactly helpful in protecting journalistic integrity but great for sowing mass hysteria.  Political miasma is the process! Democracy is really messy! Some folks applaud socialist-style thinking while others justify corporate largesse. I needn’t say anymore here. All of this is disintegrating the public interest. By definition natural, competitiveness reinforces the creation of the fear in the "Other". e.g. anyone not willing to "buy in to or point of view". This includes radical extremists on both sides, blacks, minorities, and now, intellectuals, whom at one time or another have been confused with one another in the "lump-sum" game the elite are playing. We live in a democracy there’s no obstruction or outright suppression of oppositional views and liberty! If your beliefs and cultural mores are considered antithetical or god forbid even-handed, you will be politely reminded to keep those views private or risk on-line banishment. Amidst this growing confusion of problems who has almost absolute authority over our lives? Are we in control of what we chose, or are we led along the primrose path by the facade of freedom itself? It would appear that freedom begets fear. Why? The obstacles siphon away vital energy and agency. In other words, we are so preoccupied with the wrong things, we are not afraid enough of the right things. The ambiguation of democracy and consumerism is real. People complain of corporate slavery in Vietnam but do nothing about it in Des Moines. The system is brutally efficient at destroying meaning - even going so far as to confabulate spirituality as a novel gimmick.  You needn’t do more than search for this platform with the words "quit your job" to check the pulse of almost widespread dissatisfaction with corporatism. You can become a cliche in the blink of an eye. In this respect, Hobbes had many things right. (Hobbes of the philosophical bend, not comic-strip.) Hobbes believed that when people basically crave one item from the State - to be protected from one another. While everyone is driven by competitive aspirations, most yearn for political stability rather than civic engagement, protection rather than political involvement.  In other words, people vote to save their own ass from others.  We have inherited neurotic hyper-vigilance about the "other" be they a climate change denier, GOP supporter or "libertard". We are endlessly concerned with what "they" are doing, about to do, or might have done. The war of ideas is, in fact, an outgrowth of this battle for a safe space. Fascination with political spectacles like Greta’s crusade serves as a giant tarp that protects us from the deluge of collective disenchantment looking in the dark clouds. Huxley and a whole lot of other people saw the American century ending with perpetual instability borne of frantic acquisitiveness. In whose interests is it to keep us off balance and passive? Tempted as I might be to once and for all clear it up and posit the elusive and supreme "other" for the reader, I have no fucking idea who the other is anymore. Fear of power compounds economic uncertainty. Distraction with the banal preserves and fortifies division and readies the mind for more intense political spectacle. Banality keeps us clicking on the wrong topics and hopelessly distracted with endless and extravagant displays of "righteousness". The show is "politics without political value". The elite are eager for the us to take firm stands on non-substantive issues (like Greta or Trump‘s latest verbal fart) so that they might distract attention from what is essential - that they have failed. The result is that instead of participating in a functioning democracy, the virtual citizen gets to vent all manner of ‘opinions’, which are predictable responses to questions predesigned to extract gut-level, knee-jerk reactions. "Maybe I am taking conspiracy theories too seriously, but I am worried to detect, in those mad mixtures of knee-jerk disbelief, punctilious demands for proofs, and free use of powerful explanation from the social never-land, many of the weapons of social critique."[65] The historian Richard Hofstadter addressed the role of paranoia and conspiracism throughout U.S. history in his 1964 essay "The Paranoid Style in American Politics". And this is not new.  Bernard Bailyn’s classic The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967) notes that a similar phenomenon could be found in North America during the time preceding the American Revolution. Conspiracism labels people’s attitudes as well as the type of conspiracy theories that are more global and historical in proportion.* New World Order theory states that a group of international elites controls governments, industry, and media organizations hell-bent on establishing global hegemony. The "sillimanite" is alleged to have started all of the major wars of the last two centuries, to carry out secretly staged events, and to manipulate economies deliberately. To remain in control, the elites have created different, distinct interest groups that inevitably find themselves in tension or at odds with other groups. There is no possibility of organized dissent because we are busy fighting one another. Our "democracy isn’t "endangered" because it hasn’t existed yet. Organizations implicated in the super plot include the Federal Reserve System, the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group,[*] the European Union, the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Bohemian Grove,[*] Le Cercle[*] and Yale University society Skull and Bones. All of this is part of a game in which the worse possible elements around us have managed to undermine the possibility of activism and social cohesiveness. The French sociologist Bruno Latour suggests that activists on either side of the spectrum display one of two approaches, the fact position and the fairy position. The fairy position is classically Marxist and anti-fetishist. Someone inclined in this way might argue that politics, religion and art are bourgeoise concepts onto which power is projected and wealth elaborated. Latour contends that those who use this approach are elitist by definition and prefer and have a bias towards confirming their own dogmatic suspicions as to the most "scientifically supported". Sound familiar? While the complete facts of the situation and correct methodology are kind of important to them, Latour proposes that the scientific process is instead laid on as a patina to pseudo theories that lend a sort of reputation high ground. This is what you encounter when a stockbroker begins to spew opinions about climate change, or a politician yammering on about almost anything. The’ "fact position" argues that individuals are dominated, often covertly and without their awareness, by external forces like economics and gender. These activists tend to posit themselves and their "group" as victims of larger, influential groups in society that are trying to wipe them out. Notice that the Nazi’s (who are a well-known go-to example) had both a pseudo-science approach to race and posited that the German people were, in fact, being preyed upon by Zionist Jews. HA! You say, those crazy Nazis were so stupid! Upside down logic at its best, you guffaw. We couldn’t be that stupid again. Really, well 11m people died because of that stupid, folks.  When either of these two approaches is deployed in public rhetoric, they create a polarized, inefficient atmosphere. Greta and Trump are merely two sides of the same coin. Their arguments are highlighted by caustic paranoia and hysteria. They are not different in other words. "Do you see now why it feels so good to be a critical mind?" asks Latour: no matter which position you take, "You’re always right!"[65] The never-ending see-saw of victimization and power has been appropriated by conspiracy theorists. Extremist eco-warriors, climate change denialists and the 9/11 Truthers alike adopt the fact or fairy position - leaving the rest of us disinterested or dulled by the upside-down nature of their arguments. While we are upside down, we will list and reel about like drunk middleweights swinging wildly at one another in late rounds. We are exhausted and on the ropes. We rage about looming climate catastrophe and marauding immigrants. We fear Islamists, homosexuality, feminists or people that like guns. We vent our ire or love of a President. Who, like every President before him has done nothing to improve the conversation and heighten the dialogue. Blood is everywhere. We are spoken to like kindergartners on the swings. "Don’t swing too high," they say. "But we are upside down," we reply. Some strategies for turning one’s self-right side-up. Realize, in your own unique way that the media reality is not reality. Share that with others who are different than you and get to know them. Reach out and diversify your views. You don’t have to agree with folks you don’t like - but we do have to try to understand them if we want to make progress. Practice compassion for those you do not agree with. Love thine enemy. Learn why others might think the way they do and try and walk a minute, not a mile in other shoes. Don’t "judge and run" - shut up and listen. Spend more time off-screen and outdoors. Look for local ways to shore up consensus. Encourage diversity of viewpoints. Learn non-violent communication. ~ Louis D. is a writer, strategist, and former independent intelligence analyst. He was born in Boston and has lived on almost every continent, save Antarctica. He was named a LinkedIn Top Voice in 2015. Besides writing full-time, he continues to consult and advise on intelligence and policy matters, strategic communications and global branding, and public relations. You can read his book -  https://amzn.to/2zmJwKA.” class=”at cg fs ft fu fv” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>study and what do you know, a tiny minority of people own the vast majority of resources and wealth here and abroad. They like to do business with one another. Strike that. They only do business with one another. They do not give a flying fuck about the poor, the environment, democracy or freedom. They care about money and power.

So sorry, boo-hoo.

There’s plenty of jobs in the phony “shared economy” .

Picking up errant e-scooters is not a job. There are more than 1m unemployed folks pooling their resources and worrying.

But, what about all the awesome, infinite, arbitrary everyday choices we get to make? Doesn’t that prove that we are free?

No, it doesn’t. The amount of random choice we have actually has a diminishing effect on political agency. If you are kept busy thinking about fast food, e-cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, Netflix, and toilet paper brands, you won’t be a very good citizen.

Citizenship is a choice. However, it been relegated to the same level of importance we apply to “shopping.”

But hey, can’t I join a one of the elites false-fraternities? How about a cult of personality? Won’t that bring me a sense of community and peace?

The media is beholden to corporations. These corperations have opinions about late-stage capitalism people. They’d like it very much if we’d all stop paying so much attention to the fact capitalism isn’t working out.

What they’d like to do is rip all sense from whence it once sprang, so fractional realities are presented. An endless stream of easy to join cliches and cultures. Brightwashing nonsence finds it way into one ear, while an opposing stream of sectarian divides, ugly politics and banality blare in the other.

The antidote? Forget your woes and join up!

You too can become a cliche in the blink of an eye. People flock to conferences wearing the same coloured t-shirt. Why complain about uniformity? People pile into anonymous threads and online conversations for that. Hell, we are all members of cults of personality, be they Apple, Microsoft, Silicon Valley, Greta, Trump, Obama, Hillary, Deepak, Vaynerchuk, or Robbins.

The media isn’t biased! They don’t categorize and marginalize certain people, religions, customs and cultures. Black/White/gay/Straight/Shia/Sunni, Arab/Hindu/, GOP/DNC, Eco-warrior/Climate-Skeptic.

Of course they don’t. They don’t want your attention. Given the rapid proliferation of news-entertainment, the media is adaptive to our limited attention span. Their goal, like marketers, is to sell a product, in this case — the news. That’s not exactly helpful in protecting journalistic integrity but great for sowing mass hysteria.

Political miasma is a process! Democracy is really messy!

Some folks applaud socialist-style thinking while others justify corporate largesse. I needn’t say anymore here. All of this is disintegrating the public interest. Politics is now virtual blood-sport. Natural competitiveness reinforces fear. The “Other” is anyone not willing to buy in to “our point of view”. Radical extremists on both sides, minorities, and now, intellectuals, are pitted against one another in the “lump-sum” game the elite are playing.

Hey man, we live in a democracy! There’s no obstruction or outright suppression of oppositional views and liberty!

Hey sister, if your beliefs and cultural mores are considered antithetical or god forbid even-handed, you will be politely reminded to keep those views private or risk on-line banishment. Amidst this growing confusion of problems who has absolute authority over our lives? Are we in control of what we chose, or are we led along the primrose path by the facade of freedom itself?

Freedom begets fear, brothers and sisters.

Why?

Fear siphons away vital energy and agency. We are preoccupied with the wrong things, and not afraid enough of the right things.

The ambiguation of democracy and consumerism that started in the 70s is real. People complain of corporate slavery in Vietnam because they can’t fit their fat asses in to their yoga tights, but do nothing about working class rights in Detroit. The system is brutally efficient at destroying meaning — even going so far as to confabulate spirituality as a novel gimmick.

Search this platform with the words “quit your job”. Now that’s a pulse check, huh?. Widespread dissatisfaction with corporatism is real.

In this respect, Hobbes had many things right. (Hobbes of the philosophical bend, not comic-strip.) Hobbes believed that when people basically crave one item from the State — to be protected from one another. While everyone is driven by competitive aspirations, most yearn for political stability rather than civic engagement, protection rather than political involvement.

In other words, people vote to save their own ass from others.

We have inherited neurotic hyper-vigilance about the “other” be they a climate change denier, GOP supporter or “libertard”. We are endlessly concerned with what “they” are doing, about to do, or might have done.

The war of ideas is, in fact, an outgrowth of this battle for a safe space. Fascination with political spectacles like Greta’s crusade serves as a giant tarp that protects us from the deluge of collective disenchantment looking in the dark clouds.

Huxley and a whole lot of other people saw the American century ending with perpetual instability borne of frantic acquisitiveness.

In whose interests is it to keep us off balance and passive? Tempted as I might be to once and for all clear it up and posit the elusive and supreme “other” for the reader, I have no fucking idea who the other is anymore.

Fear of power compounds economic uncertainty.

Distraction with the banal preserves and fortifies division and readies the mind for more intense political spectacle. Banality keeps us clicking on the wrong topics and hopelessly distracted with endless and extravagant displays of “righteousness”.

The show is “politics without political value”.

The elite are eager for the us to take firm stands on non-substantive issues (like Greta or Trump’s latest verbal fart) so that they might distract attention from what is essential — that they have failed.

The result is that instead of participating in a functioning democracy, the virtual citizen gets to vent all manner of ‘opinions’, which are predictable responses to questions predesigned to extract gut-level, knee-jerk reactions.

“Maybe I am taking conspiracy theories too seriously, but I am worried to detect, in those mad mixtures of knee-jerk disbelief, punctilious demands for proofs, and free use of powerful explanation from the social never-land, many of the weapons of social critique.”[65]

The historian Richard Hofstadter addressed the role of paranoia and conspiracism throughout U.S. history in his 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”.

And this is not new.

Bernard Bailyn’s classic The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967) notes that a similar phenomenon could be found in North America during the time preceding the American Revolution. Conspiracism labels people’s attitudes as well as the type of conspiracy theories that are more global and historical in proportion.*

New World Order theory states that a group of international elites controls governments, industry, and media organizations hell-bent on establishing global hegemony. The “sillimanite” is alleged to have started all of the major wars of the last two centuries, to carry out secretly staged events, and to manipulate economies deliberately.

To remain in control, the elites create different, distinct interest groups that inevitably find themselves in tension or at odds with other groups. There is no possibility of organized dissent because we are to busy fighting one another.

Duh, Boomer.

Our “democracy isn’t “endangered” because it hasn’t existed yet.

Ok, millennial?

Organizations implicated in the super plot include the Federal Reserve System, the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group,[*] the European Union, the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Bohemian Grove,[*] Le Cercle[*] and Yale University society Skull and Bones.

All of this is part of a game in which the worse possible elements around us have managed to undermine the possibility of activism and social cohesiveness.

The French sociologist Bruno Latour suggests that activists on either side of the spectrum display one of two approaches, the fact position and the fairy position.

The fairy position is classically Marxist and anti-fetishist. Someone inclined in this way might argue that politics, religion and art are bourgeoise concepts onto which power is projected and wealth elaborated. Latour contends that those who use this approach are elitist by definition and prefer and have a bias towards confirming their own dogmatic suspicions as to the most “scientifically supported”.

Sound familiar?

While the complete facts of the situation and correct methodology are kind of important to them, Latour proposes that the scientific process is instead laid on as a patina to pseudo theories that lend a sort of reputation high ground. This is what you encounter when a stockbroker begins to spew opinions about climate change, or a politician yammering on about almost anything.

The’ “fact position” argues that individuals are dominated, often covertly and without their awareness, by external forces like economics and gender. These activists tend to posit themselves and their “group” as victims of larger, influential groups in society that are trying to wipe them out.

Notice that the Nazi’s (who are a well-known go-to example) had both a pseudo-science approach to race and posited that the German people were, in fact, being preyed upon by Zionist Jews. HA! You say, those crazy Nazis were so stupid! Upside down logic at its best, you guffaw. We couldn’t be that stupid again.

Really, well, 11m people died because of that stupid, folks.

When either of these two approaches is deployed in public rhetoric, they create a polarized, inefficient atmosphere. Greta and Trump are merely two sides of the same coin. Their arguments are highlighted by caustic paranoia and hysteria.

They are not different in other words.

“Do you see now why it feels so good to be a critical mind?” asks Latour: no matter which position you take, “You’re always right!”[*]

The never-ending see-saw of victimization and power has been appropriated by conspiracy theorists. Extremist eco-warriors, climate change deniers and the 9/11 Truthers alike adopt the fact or fairy position — leaving the rest of us disinterested or dulled by the upside-down nature of their arguments.

While we are upside down, we will list and reel about like drunk middleweights swinging wildly at one another in late rounds.

We are exhausted and on the ropes.

We rage about looming climate catastrophe and marauding immigrants. We fear Islamists, homosexuality, feminists or people that like guns. We vent our ire or love of a President. Who, like every President before him has done nothing to improve the conversation and heighten the dialogue.

Blood is everywhere.

We are spoken to like kindergartners on the swings.

“Don’t swing too high,” they say.

“But we are upside down,” we reply.

Some strategies for turning one’s self-right side-up.

Realize, in your own unique way that the media reality is not reality, or put simply — shut off the idiot box once and awhile.

Share your insight with others. If they are different than you, get to know them.

Reach out and diversify your views. We don’t have to agree with the folks you don’t like — but we do have to try to understand them if we want to make progress as a nation of free citizens.

Practice compassion for those you do not agree with. There’s a perfectly good reason for how they are behaving.

Learn why others might think the way they do and try and walk a minute, not a mile in other shoes.

Don’t “judge and run” — shut the fuck up and listen.

Spend more time off-screen and outdoors.

Look for local ways to shore up consensus.

Encourage diversity of viewpoints.

Learn non-violent communication.

~

Louis D. is a writer, strategist, and former independent intelligence analyst. He was born in Boston and has lived on almost every continent, save Antarctica. He was named a LinkedIn Top Voice in 2015. Besides writing full-time, he continues to consult and advise on intelligence and policy matters, e-commerce, strategic communications, global branding, and public relations.

You can read his book — https://amzn.to/2zmJwKA.

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