“The first principle is to not fool yourself. And you are the easiest person to fool.” ~Richard Feynman
A higher perspective is an elusive thing. It’s difficult to get ahold of from within the box of the status quo. Especially a status quo operating from a lower perspective seeking to build walls that further box it in.
The existing state of affairs prevents a higher perspective by shutting down progressive, forward thinking with outdated, parochial reasoning. It uses the concept of safety and security to distract you from notions of freedom and liberty.
Here’s the thing: there are too many whiny snowflakes crying about safety and security, and not enough courageous trailblazers willing to stretch their comfort zones at the risk of safety and security. That’s a problem. It leads to stagnation at best and regression at worst.
Freedom and liberty is what really matters, despite how dangerous or risky it might be. Having courage should be more important than remaining comfortable. The world is too small to limit freedom of movement to one place. Life is too short to suffer inside the box of outdated law and order, no matter how safe or comfortable that codependent box is.
If it’s true, as Aldous Huxley surmised, that “men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach,” then it behooves us, based on five thousand years of historical experience, not to entrust the management of our lives to rulers, masters, kings, priests, politicians, generals, or policemen. Authority should always be questioned. Especially a violent authority. And especially-especially a violent authority seeking to put up walls.
Unfortunately, we’ve all been conned. We’ve all been hoodwinked and bamboozled into thinking that being an obedient statist is the best way to live. It’s not. As Daniel Dennett said, “There’s no polite way to suggest to someone that they have devoted their life to a folly.”
So here it is down and dirty: Statism is soft slavery disguised as freedom, which creates blind patriotism, divisive nationalism, and irrational xenophobia as a side effect. Let’s break it down.
“History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.” ~Mark Twain
What’s the difference between hard slavery and soft slavery? Hard slavery is overt, it’s apparent and self-evident. Nothing is hidden. It’s clear who the slave is. It’s clear who the master is.
Soft slavery, on the other hand, is covert. It is neither apparent nor self-evident. Everything is hidden behind comfort, apathy, security, convenience, indifference, and the illusion of freedom. It’s not clear who the slave is. It’s not clear who the master is. And the power dynamic is obscured by an unhealthy hierarchy that leads to public confusion within a chain of obedience that’s based on fear and violence.
Statists, living in a world ruled by nation states and deceived by the illusion of freedom, are more akin to the house slave from the times of hard slavery than to free human beings. The house slave of today is the typical state citizen just going through the motions, unaware of their own slavery. So caught up are they in the “rules” and the “laws” of the land that they cannot see how desperate their situation really is. To the extent that they can see, cognitive dissonance kicks in to squash the uncomfortable feeling to keep their comforting worldview intact.
We must not be afraid of getting uncomfortable, even at the expense of comfort and security. Hell, even house slaves had “comfort” and “security.” We must always question the “master of the house,” lest we be labeled as a soft slave. Beatings be damned! As Edward Abbey said, “Since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.” This applies especially to the master (the powers that be) of the house (the nation state). And especially-especially if they use violence to enforce their laws.
“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” ~Audrey Lorde
Migration and the free movement of people has always been a defining factor of the human condition. It’s a process of trial and error, sure, but ultimately, historically, it has led to progressive evolution. Using a big-picture perspective, what astronauts call the Overview Effect, we see how silly and irrational the idea of borders, boundaries, and disputed territories really are.
Imagine if the free movement of people had somehow been stopped. It’s a difficult thing to imagine because it’s near impossible. But if it had happened, somehow, we never would have evolved out of Africa. The closed-in violence of it all probably would have killed us off.
And yet today, in our myopic, small-picture thinking, there are millions of us who think that attempting to stop the free movement of people is necessary. Important enough to build a wall even –a symbol of structural violence if there ever was one.
But as Jason Silva said in this profound video, “Restricting migration is ultimately like restricting the flow of ideas. In much the same way that we don’t tolerate censorship, we might consider the ways in which restricting the free movement of people can be equally punishing to the idea of human flourishing.”
We need to scale up. We need to usher in a higher perspective. We need to dissolve the delusion of boundaries and the divisiveness of borders. Indeed. If we are to progressively evolve into a healthier species, we must be able to engage the Overview Effect to gain a higher perspective. Otherwise, we’re stuck, stagnating and devolving into the small-picture thinking of the monkey-mind.
“If patriotism were defined, not as blind obedience to government, not as submissive worship to flags and anthems, but rather as love of one’s country, one’s fellow citizens (all over the world), as loyalty to the principles of justice and democracy, then patriotism would require us to disobey our government, when it violated those principles.” ~Howard Zinn
Webster’s Dictionary defines patriot as: “One who loves and defends his or her country.”
But why should we, as progressively evolving people, limit ourselves to such a myopic definition? Why not expand the concept into something less divisive and more cosmopolitan? Why not transform ourselves into global citizens? Indeed. Rather than limit ourselves to stagnant statism, with its outdated nationalism and close-minded values, why not embrace the notion of a global citizenry?
A global citizen is an unconditioned, un-brainwashed human; an interdependent force that has outgrown its codependent state. A global citizen is able to see how the natural, progressive, and evolutionary force of our species has always been one of global migration, and no amount of petty man-made laws or make-believe borders will ever stop such a force. It may slow it down in the short-run, using structural violence (border walls) and immoral laws through the monopoly on force, but in the long run, immigration is a cosmic law that will always trump the petty laws of men.
The global citizen can see through the nationalism that blinds the statist patriot, and, for that reason, is a forerunner regarding the healthy and progressive evolution of our species.
“Nature is busy creating absolutely unique individuals, whereas culture has invented a single mold to which all must conform. It is grotesque.” ~U. G. Krishnamurti
Xenophobia, fear of outsiders, is a tricky concept. It sneaks in under the radar. It’s hardwired, really. We are all hard-wired to be tribal and to take sides. And that’s okay, to an extent. Up until it becomes irrational and based in fear.
Some might argue that the Native Americans were wrong for letting the violent Europeans into the country. But that’s the equivalent of blaming the victim. The natives were right (tolerant) to allow the free passage of people. The Europeans were wrong (immoral) for using violence to enforce their values onto others. Similarly, a woman in a park would be right to allow the free passage of a man, but the man would be wrong if he uses violence to force himself onto her.
It ultimately comes down to how you handle tolerance and violence. A good measure to gauge if you are choosing the healthier side is to ask yourself: do I need to use violence (structural or direct) to enforce my values onto others, or am I tolerant of others up to the point that I must use violence to defend my values? The former is offensive, the latter is defensive. Most would agree that violently forcing others against their will is immoral, while using violence to defend yourself against the will of others is moral.
Because here’s the thing: Freedom isn’t a given. It must be defended. But it also must not be overreaching (enforced), like putting up a wall for example. We all want to defend what we love. But you can’t force love. Love must be voluntary. Otherwise it’s not love. Forced love is rape. Similarly, if you violently enforce the law, then it’s involuntary and nothing more than oppression. You can defend your own laws, but if you enforce your laws onto others without their consent, it is merely tyranny.
The path from status-quo junkie to having a higher perspective is a difficult one. No doubt. Similarly, the path from soft slave statist to free range human is difficult. But as Spinoza once said, “All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.” I dare you to choose excellence.
In the end, the question is this: now that you know that you have been mistaken, what will you do about it. For the ultimate conundrum is this: “when an honest man realizes that he is mistaken, he will either cease being mistaken or cease being honest.” So, which will it be?
Image: Unknown artist