Imagination is thus one of the basic tools of human empathy. Under most circumstances, we don’t perceive the world through anyone else’s eyes and mind but our own. There are ways around that limitation, but the most flexible and expansive of the lot is the imagination. When you were six and your mother told you, “How would you feel if he did that to you?”—if, in fact, she was so unfashionable as to do something so useful to your future mental health—she was trying to get you to use your imagination, to construct from your own memories a figuration of what you would have felt if you had been in the other child’s place. That use of the imagination becomes the basis for moral reflection, and ultimately for one kind of wisdom.The Revolt of the Imagination, Part One: Notes on Belbury Syndrome | Ecosophia
The Privilege of Rights
Your human rights are being re-branded as privileges granted by governments, conditionally: In a system of excessive privileges, “freedom” of individual rights (and individual responsibility) is replaced by the perceived “safety” of government-provided privileges.
Citizens become slaves of government in the form of excessive debt (and taxes) to pay for the privileges, and by conforming to the excessive requirements of the privileges.
Modem-day totalitarian systems, such as the Nazi, Soviet and current worldwide “communitarian” system, are collectivist systems of privileges without individual rights.
Everything, including all life, is considered a “special privilege” owned by government.
The cream of corruption rises to the top, as the most selfish individuals gain government control over the privileges of fellow citizens for their own personal agendas.The Rise of the End-State: Impending Signs of Collapse & the Engineering of a Technocratic Totalitarian “Reset”
I look at COVID a little bit like that. We will agree to destroy our society for you, China… Our greatest product at the moment, this vaccine, our most expensive and profitable export, is the result of our suffering. And it isn’t seeming to cure it either, frankly, from my perspective, since every single person I know who’s gotten the booster in LA is now asking me for recommendations on zinc and other vitamins to take. There’s the famous saying, that the capitalist will sell the revolutionary the rope he will use to hang himself. Well, that’s kind of the situation I see us in. It’s as though there’s only one corporation in charge right now, and that is one Pharma/gov/tech conglomerate. Maybe it’s called BlackRock, or Vanguard.
It’s literally making a great profit opportunity out of the suffering of society. Oh, you can’t go out? We’ll sell you virtual zoom technology. Oh, you’re sick? We’ll sell you yet another booster, but you’ve gotta wait to get better from the current variant you’re suffering from, you can take the next booster, which is actually happening to friends of mine.What Happened to the “Question Authority” Era? Discussion with Author Walter Kirn
“How did we get stuck?” the authors ask—stuck, that is, in a world of “war, greed, exploitation [and] systematic indifference to others’ suffering”? It’s a pretty good question. “If something did go terribly wrong in human history,” they write, “then perhaps it began to go wrong precisely when people started losing that freedom to imagine and enact other forms of social existence.” It isn’t clear to me how many possibilities are left us now, in a world of polities whose populations number in the tens or hundreds of millions. But stuck we certainly are.Review: ‘The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity’ – The Atlantic
To frame the current conflict as a civil war is to describe the state as a secondary element, rather than the focus of action, and to conceptualize the conflict as a linear struggle between two rigidly identified factions, both of which are defined prior to the opening of hostilities. This approach would produce a social conflict in which the state will inevitably play a role, but in which we will fundamentally misunderstand the terms. Rather than seeking to understand the shifts that have occurred on the level of society and the ways in which the uprising has been successfully defined as an “outside” by the state, we would end up concentrating on only one element of the collaboration between the state and para-state forces. Essentially, we would replace a struggle for everything—for the whole of life itself—with a far less ambitious struggle against other elements in the social terrain.CrimethInc. : Uprising, Counterinsurgency, and Civil War : Understanding the Rise of the Paramilitary Right
“I do not think that COVID-19 introduces a new relationship between humanity and ‘the environment.’ As blessed as we are to have books and other media that transmit knowledge and stretch temporality for us, we are still trapped within the span of an individual lifetime, and a limited perception of history. Even if pandemics happen throughout history, what appears to us in perception appears as a novelty, as a problem for thought, and it indeed has new variables each time. But even the name SARS-CoV-2 signals a repetition. SARS in the early 2000s attacked the lungs quickly, it was easy to spot and quarantine. SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, has learnt from that mistake and made itself harder to spot. It is not strictly alive, but nevertheless intelligent. Paleontologist Peter Ward takes a long perspective in The Medea Hypothesis, arguing that life on Earth is suicidal, and most extinctions on the planet were caused by microbes that desire to return to a microbial planetarity. In this hypothesis, animal desire to keep life going and reproduce is counterbalanced by microbial intelligence, which is synthetic and more technical than biological. This might be an ongoing process, even though we experience it as a novelty.
Regarding the wild and the domestic, there’s a great essay called ‘Robot Evolution’ by Emily Monosson that compares viruses to robots and highlights human anxiety around nonhuman replication. Viruses make a fitting template for robot design because they don’t have to be alive to self-replicate. While we perceive automation or ‘technologization’ as an increase in control, the more we automate, the more we do not know what’s going to come out of it:
But perhaps it is not the creation of new life that we fear, so much as the potential for unpredictable emergent behaviour.”Agosto Foundation :: Pandæmic Speculations
As humans on the only place in the universe known to have life, we should think of this task as one of cosmic importance.Op-Ed: With global heating, expect inferno seasons in the West – Los Angeles Times
Back in the 1960s and 1970s, a school of psychologists known as transactional analysts came up with a narrative approach to neurosis and personality disorders. The very simple version of the story is that they found that people with psychological problems were living out self-defeating scripts: narratives of which the patients themselves were not conscious, but which exerted a potent gravitational attraction on their interactions with other people. If the patients became conscious of the scripts they were acting out, the spell was broken and they could learn less dysfunctional ways of facing life. Transactional analysis fell out of favor once the pharmaceutical industry got its present stranglehold over the healing professions, but its findings remain telling testimony of the power of narrative to shape values and goals in its own image.
The American Empire is failing and flailing. This is the spectacle of our time. The Western mainstream news media are either blind, ignorant or complicit in denying the historic collapse. Such media are indulging reckless fantasies of the US political class to distract from the potential internal implosion. Casting around for scapegoats to “explain” the deep inherent problems, the political class are using Russia and alleged Russian “interference” as a pretext.
World history has reached a foreboding cross-roads due to the collapsing of the American Empire. Can we navigate a safe path forward avoiding catastrophic war that often accompanies the demise of empires?
A lot, it seems, depends on ordinary American people becoming politically organized to challenge their dysfunctional system run by and for the elites. If the American people cannot hold their elites to account and break their corrupt rule, overhauling it with something more equitable and democratic, then the world is in peril of being plunged into total war. We can only but wish our American brothers and sisters solidarity and success.