Over the course of the years…. well actually since I was in the second grade, if not before then…..I have intuitively known that there was something amiss in Western Civilization. As an example of this knowledge, I used to vomit prolifically upon my second grade teacher, Mrs. Swift.
Due to this, I was not one of Mrs. Swift’s favorite people; nor was she one of mine.
There were always times I was being nitpicked by Mrs. Swift. Everything I did was under scrutiny. How I ate, what I ate, my performance in class; everything was under the nose of Mrs. Swift. School was a prison for me and she was judge, jury and jail guard.
Ultimately, as a bucking bull is brought to submission; I came under submission. I learned to comply. I stopped puking on Mrs. Swift.
Not only that, but I thought I needed to comply because not complying meant something was wrong with me.
It’s not nice to vomit on one’s teacher! Its pretty sick if you ask me.
I was less than a human being. I was a miserable failure who couldn’t even control an ‘upset stomach” leading to a projectile of food onto Mrs. Swift’s dress. My self-esteem shrunk to less than an anthill under the wheels of a giant teaching tractor. I hated her and she me. I wonder in hindsight what were her thoughts about herself?
How many of us truly feel we belong?
“Something was wrong with me” the message was. And, I bought it hook, line and sinker. I wonder how many others go through this.
Yet, during my lifetime; there were pockets of thought and insight that said of Mrs. Swift specifically, and Western Civilization in general that the Big System was what was sick.
Nowhere has the experience of Mrs. Swift, and western civilization in general, been more understood than through the work of Charles Eisenstein. In his book, The Ascent of Humanity: The Age of Separation, the Age of Reunion, and the Convergence of Crises that are Birthing the Transition Eisenstein states blatantly on page 320:
“School is an instrument of alienation.”
Damn, Charles, you’re speaking my language.
Let us sit with that for a while. How many of us feel alienated in our culture? Do we feel like a freak? Or do we zone out regarding our freakiness by dressing in the most popularized Barbie and Ken doll clothing? Are we ‘shop till ya drop’ addicts in living up to the image? Or, are we anorexic?
If not shop-till-ya-drop or anorexic; what kind of addiction might you have?
How many of us feel as if we truly belong?
Of course, there is the school of thought that this is our problem. The culture has nothing to do with it. Yes, our mental health issues have no relationship to the dominant culture.
One of the ideas regarding our angst is that mood disorders, such as depression, is physical. Thus, the mode of operandi today is drugs. Drugs like the anti-depressants such as Prozac or anti anxiety pills like Valium are the elixirs to fix the world!
But do mental health issues arise from the vacuum of our minds? Yes, God forbid depression would be seen as a systems issue of both culture AND individual. Could the relationship between self and culture be holographic. By holographic, I mean the part mirrors the whole. Thus, on a cosmic level, our atoms exist in proportion to empty space in our bodies in the same proportion as stars and planets exist to intergalactic space.
Yes, stare into the depths of Cosmos and see yourself reflected back. That’s the holographic universe.
Dare we want to acknowledge that there is an alienated culture mothering alienated people? And, if we are corporations, we don’t want people to be empowered by realizing that Self and Nature are one. “Ye shall be as Gods” is not something the “Man on the Pulpit” wants us to hear.
Nor does the Man, nor we, want to acknowledge that the abuse of Nature and the abuse of our self are one.
Mm, the abuse of Nature is the abuse of the Self? Well Nature does mean Essence, doesn’t it? Mm, is Nature the Self?
Oh, shut up Burl. Just line up, shut up and do as you’re told!
Not to worry, though. We now have drugs to curb our depressions, anxieties and other problems of not fitting into our culture. These help to pacify us. They make us easy to handle while also taking away the angst that tells us “something ain’t right!”
For example, in speaking to the wonders of the medicinal wonders of chemistry, one website states:
Patients with severe nervousness and anxiety have four types of medication available, according to Helpguide.org: benzodiazepines, antidepressants, buspirone and beta blockers. Benzodiazepines, such as Valium, are specifically for anxiety; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Zoloft, are the main antidepressants prescribed for anxiety; buspirone, such as BuSpar, is a newer drug for anxiety; and beta blockers, such as Inderal, treat the physical symptoms of anxiety.
Thank God for these!
The rate of use of these drugs is high. And our ancestors coped with lions and tigers and bears, without these? However did they do it? Indeed, they generally look pretty calm in pictures taken in modern day. Furthermore, these people are said to work on average 4.5 hours per day. And how many hours do we spend in school or in the work force. 8 hours?
Hell, when I worked I loved 8-hour days.
Luckily I was diagnosed with Alzheimers, a form of dementia, so I had to retire. I am a lucky man to be out of the corporate trap. Of course it comes with a price. And the price comes with some benefits. I’m writing now more than ever, I will be publishing my book Sophia’s Web soon and am co-hosting a show that interviews people like Eisenstein called “Envision This.”
Yes, there is a reason the Chinese insignia means “Dangerous Opportunity!” Safety is not the way towards evolution.
What is the purpose of education? Is it to bring forth a child’s potential? Is it to give us knowledge?
Well, according to Eisenstein it is to create a population suitable for the demands of the industrial economy.
Damn, that’s why we had bells in school when I was a kid. It was getting us used to going to lunch at a specific time, changing classes at a specific time; and, in essence, partaking of the “line up, shut up and do as your told” routine of the corporate system. “Don’t you talk in line! Don’t you GET out of that line either!”
Yes, those bells back in the old days were about getting us working kids ready for the 8 + hour days in the factory. I should note that back in those days one could expect overtime pay and medical benefits. Ha! Ha! Ha! The Man behind the curtain laughs.
All gone and going faster…and the wonderful insurance plans fought for by unions? What the hell happened? Obama care? From my vantage point, it’s a joke. Yet, the joke is on us for we allowed ourselves to be like the rat sleeping on the body of a boa constrictor. Yes sir, you just sit there for a little while mousey. Ye shall be desert!
Know yourself as that rat.
For whose benefit was all this hard work in school and in the workplace? Is it our benefit in getting a paycheck? Are we being raised like domesticated cattle for the same fate of the creature going down the snake’s throat?
O’ I hear George Carlin say “They don’t give a “f” about you; they don’t give a “f” about you!” How many times did he have to say it? Are you ready to hear?
Well, at least the snake cares. She also does her work in maintaining an ecosystem.
Ours is nothing like the snakes world. The snake is much more grounded in reality then we are. Indeed, the snake is simply part of a balance.
We are not. Indeed, in our quest for infinite growth and progress, we fit the definition of cancer, which in essence is unhealthy growth of the cells.
The question at this point is how do we change? Can we choose to not be a cancer cell?
Eisenstein has some words to say about this.
The first thing we need to do in fostering change, according to him, is to recognize the fallacies we have bought into through our education and indoctrination through media.
Ultimately, the message we need to give ourselves is that “we belong.” In my opinion, simply meditating on Nature’s meaning as Essence helps us in this regard. As Eisenstein says of p. 414, “The progressive alienation of ourselves from the community of life, our progressive distancing from Nature, is based ultimately on an illusion.”
Damn! We belong? You and I are not freaks in this freaked out corporate drama show?
Nature means Essence. Nature is the Self. As the Hindu Upanishads say:
It is above, it is below, it is, in fact, this entire world. When one knows this, one knows bliss in the Self and in all worlds is free.
The fact is, when we come down to it; there is “no other” in Nature. World and Self are one. This is the true epistemological meaning of religion, to connect or bind together (at least according to a dictionary I have, I’ve had a couple of intellectuals go after me on this one….OK so I read a different dictionary….get over it!).
The question remains: do we continue feeling alienated? Or do we awaken and embrace the world?
What do you say?
2014 Sophia’s Web: An upcoming book by Burl
Charles Eisenstein will be interviewed by this author and his wife on Envision This! On July 16 at 3:00 pm Eastern. The address for Envision This! Is: http://blogtalkradio.com/envision-this.