Thursday, July 16, 2015

Exit the Matrix

The more my philosophical outlook on life evolves, the more I am coming to realize that the concept of collectivism is likely very near to the root of all evil in this world. It’s not that the Maos and the Stalins and the empires of the world murder people en masse, and ravage and pillage the environment; it’s our collective belief that the mechanism – the State – these monsters use to commit these crimes is actually necessary.

The State is collectivism, writ large. It is the monster that is created by the concept of “we”: “We the People”. “One nation, indivisible”. “E pluribus unum.” This idea that we are all in this together, that we all have collective responsibilities. It sounds noble on paper, because fundamentally we all have the same wishes – to be happy, to be free from sickness and suffering – but we are, each of us, one of 7.3 billion people, with our own ego identities, our own experiences, our own distinct levels of consciousness, ripping each other’s eyes out over the best way to make the world a better place. It is this, it seems to me, that makes the world such an increasingly appalling place as it continues to be.

Even amongst those of us who see the State for the fundamental evil that it is, there are countless ideas about how to rid ourselves of it, and that, again, is the pathology of collectivism creeping into the minds of those who fashion themselves as individualists. This occurred to me recently when listening to a podcast featuring two individuals who I respect highly – Jeff Berwick (The Dollar Vigilante, Anarchast) and Max Igan (The Crowhouse, Surviving the Matrix). They seemed to be in agreement that an anarchist or voluntarist society is not possible until “we” implement certain steps to assure that those who are still inured, still so helplessly dependent on the system, don’t suffer once the chord is yanked. It didn’t occur to me until I had slept on it why this left a bad taste in my mouth – of course, it is the collectivist notion of “we”.

It may seem selfish at first until I elaborate when I say that I don’t care about society. I am not trying to make “the world” (collectivist notion) a better place. I feel no responsibility whatsoever to my fellow man. Again, this is a fiction, that I owe my life to other people, or to some vaguely understood “greater good”. It’s not that I don’t care about you. It’s not that I don’t love the world, with all its beauty and grandeur. It’s that I truly believe that, fundamentally, we all want the same thing – for each of us as individuals. I say “as individuals” because we all want peace, we all want happiness, we all want to be free of suffering, and I think most of us want the same for all other people, but, again, we all have often profound differences on how to make that happen, and the ideas will undoubtedly become more diverse and convoluted as we move up in scale – from neighborhood to community, from community to county, from county to state, from state to nation, from nation to global. Again, this is why the world is as it is. Perhaps it is time to recognize that for what it is and realize that it is only the individual, empowered and responsible, who can change his or her own world, and recognize that voluntary cooperation with other empowered, responsible individuals is what will produce the best results overall – not a perfect utopia, just something far better than the hell we live in now.

Many of us who fashion ourselves spiritual often quote Gandhi when he said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” But when they reveal their philosophical outlook on the world, it becomes clear that they haven’t really grasped the meaning of this statement. You must be the change you wish to see. Does this mean you have to go out and convince other people to change, to fit into your view of how the world should be? Does this even mean we should all find a common ground on how the world should be, and negotiate away the differences? To me, the answer is resoundingly no. My life is not your life, and, aside from my fundamental need to be happy, to be free from suffering, my means of procuring happiness will be different from yours, and certainly different from someone living in Iran or southeast Asia or central America, or wherever.

So, to me, the source that powers the Matrix we’re all living under, aware of it or not, is our notions of collective responsibilities. It’s where the State comes from, and the State built the Matrix, and continues to enlarge it, to provide itself with the sustenance it requires. Within the Matrix (you may also call it the Grid, as I often do), still plugged in as we all are to some extent, we can begin to free ourselves from it the moment we truly see it for what it is, as its root. It is not the Hitler’s or the Mao’s or the presidents or prime ministers. It’s not even the banksters or the corporatists or the oligarchs. It’s you. It’s me. It’s anyone who feeds the system with their beliefs in its necessity, with their participation.

These evil people did not invade. They’re not aliens (well, maybe they are). The ruled are so very many; the rulers are so very few. They would not exist if we did not will it. Arrest them, hang them; more will take their place. They are a manifestation of the egoic malaise of those who feed it with their faith and participation. And you, personally, can change that at any time. You, yourself, personally, can change that for yourself. It is difficult and lonely, because so few see. It is difficult to know whether people are waking up or if their sickness is deepening (social and alternative media can give you a sense of the former; establishment media certainly promotes the latter). When I despair over this, I am reminded of Lao-tzu when he said, “Watch the turmoil of beings, and contemplate their return.” You are not my responsibility, I am not yours, and any energy I divert from my own awakening hinders my progress – the Way is not towards a destination; it is a permanent journey.

To me, the principle of anarchy rests on the foundation of trust. I have awakened – or I am awakening – and I must trust that you can awaken as well. There is no dismantling the system from within – not in the physical plane, where it does not exist. The system is dismantled in the mind of the individual. The individual. To me, the solution becomes obvious once the system is seen for what it is: first and foremost, a collectivist delusion. The solution, then, is for the individual to cease and desist all participation in the delusion. Will it make a difference to the rest of the world? Irrelevant. These are some of the solutions that I, personally, have found useful. Yours, for your own life, may differ, as your life’s circumstances are undoubtably different. I trust that you are smart enough to know what’s best for you.
  • Do. Not. Vote. Ever. Again. The people in power do not hold office; you cannot vote them out. Your vote is indeed your voice, and your voice say, this system is legitimate and I endorse it.
  • Do not borrow money. Do not spend money you don’t have on garbage you don’t need to impress people you don’t like.
  • Don’t listen to their narrative – the mainstream, establishment media. Disconnect your cable. You won’t miss it, you won’t die. You’ll live.
  • Purify your life of their toxins, and reject establishment medicine, health, and nutrition – all of it by design makes you fat, stupid, and weak.
  • Take advantage of the extra free time you’ll have not watching television and dig a garden. Get good at gardening, and grow as much of your own food as you can. Become as self-sufficient as you can. Government wants dependent individuals who do not bite the hand that feeds.
  • Do not work for the government. Do not join the police, the military, do not get a job even at something seemingly innocuous like the DMV.
  • Do everything in your power not to pay taxes (granted, people rarely “pay” taxes; they take taxes, as Chris Rock so astutely pointed out).

I have no notion that any semblance of an anarchist or voluntarist society will ever emerge in my lifetime. Again, I don’t care about society, society being a collectivist abstraction. My one, simple question for anyone who asks how problems will be solved in the absence of authority is this: what does that have to do with my right to be free? But of course, if that question is pondered seriously, not rhetorically, as a means to discredit an argument, there are solutions to all problems the State allegedly solves that does not simultaneously involve mass theft and wealth destruction, environmental destruction, and mass murder (and that is another discussion entirely).

The only solution, as I see it, is for empowered individuals to exit the Matrix of their own free will and volition, and take responsibility for their own lives, knowing, as intelligent beings, that mutual, voluntary cooperation with each other is the best way to coexist. One day critical mass may be achieved, and the State will dissolve. Or not. It is not for me to say what is best for anyone but me. You and future generations to come may insist that the State is the only way. Or we may, through the State, destroy ourselves before we figure it out. I must accept those possible outcomes. My one contribution to the collective is this: to expose the State for what it is. This whole idea that we’re just a bunch of dumb, stupid animals without the State is the greatest lie ever told. It is only through the State that we have and will continue to give our demons free reign, for, for the vast majority of us, it is always other people who commit violence on our behalf, so that our consciences remain clean. Free. Your. Mind. Free your mind. Nothing else matters.