On the 20-year Anniversary of 9/11, I made the decision to delete the social media accounts I actively used for years: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. No, I didn’t just disable them, I deleted them. Of course, in hopes that you will relent and just log back in, you can undo it, just like that. There’s no way to irrevocably delete them instantly. So, October 11 is the point-of-no-return day. Think I can hold out? Time will tell and let’s see.
Here’s my case for why, for me, this step was necessary. It may not be the same for you; or, you might have other or better reasons to consider it; or, why you’ve already done so or even why you never got involved with them in the first place. Please do share your own thoughts and reasons, pro and con, in comments. I will be uniquely interested.
Before I get into my reasons, my aside on how I began thinking seriously about this decision. A week ago, an Aussie friend here in Thailand recommended a new 6-part Documentary by National Geographic: 9/11: One Day in America. It’s perhaps the most well-done, compelling documentary I’ve ever watched. It’s composed entirely of two things: 100% actual archive footage from every imaginable perspective, interspersed with the 1st hand video and audio of people who were there and lived through it all. There is zero reenactment and zero narration. In fact, there is not even the voice or image of an interviewer for those giving their personal recounts. It meets my tough standard of fucking brilliant; especially, since more and more stuff on all fronts is just crap that easily passes for the growing contingent of worthless morons all around the world. Guess where they all hang out.
It’s just so clean, clear, pure. One could say: harrowing. Here’s the trailer to give you an idea. It’s also very a-political in every way.
There was not much in the way of social media at the time. So word spread primarily by media outlets and their narratives. To the extent you remember those, see how well these accounts compare, what was emphasized, what deemphasized, what ignored. Maybe you’ll find the difference between a weave of true accounts and story making.
But one thing seems quite certain: the making of “The Story” led to a response that resulted in incalculable costs to life, liberty, and happiness. For one, they ruined the joy of air travel globally, now a hoop-jumping, degrading exercise with dubious effectiveness. And it got us into two wars—Iraq and Afghanistan—and I’m sure you’re aware of what an abject disaster that has turned out to be.
Underlying it all is public fear. But while some measure of concern and caution was and is perhaps still warranted, really? All of this, over 20 years!?
So I came to the conclusion that what we are experiencing today, 20 years later in terms of fear-driven Covid policy with its dubious effectiveness, really has roots in that One Day in America. And the concern is, for me at least, that just like the TSA and all that goes with it, people just submit to it and it becomes the norm. Time will tell.
So my primary reason for my decision to cancel social media is that I see it as the primary means of driving public fear and hysteria in the word today. In March of 2020, in my first blog post about Covid-19, I wrote:
I’ve been in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand since right before public knowledge. At the time, it was just prior to Chinese New Year and there were tens of thousands of Chinese tourists here. Yet, I’ve never been concerned about it and to my mind, the only truly new strain of “virus” is a confluence of three general things:
1. A fully developed Internet and its chief manifestation, social media
2. The global, politicized leftist/socialist media
3. Trump Derangement Syndrome
But in no way does it justify the literal absurd hysteria we’re seeing on a global scale, and I attribute this to items 1, 2, and 3, above. I’ve never seen anything like it. People young and old seemingly have no memories or learned experiences anymore, beyond their quotidian social “news” feeds. Each day is a new day of ridiculous information, and nothing else matters. There’s no past—that’s way down the feed—only what’s coming out now. Quick, update the feed.
But if you look at this thing by age breakdown, you see that for the healthy and young, under 40, it’s a 99.99% in dealing it an ass kicking.
Yet looking around, it’s the young and dumb who seem to be the most hysterical and cautious. Why? Because social media has created a 24/7 world of Virtue Signaling Olympics—each displaying more faux concern, thoughtfulness, caring, circumspection, deliberation, and caution than the rest. And it goes on from there, such that there’s nothing really new to say, so it becomes comment threads that are 90% “me too,” a bizarre menagerie of the banal and the boring—faux virtue signaling faux virtue. And the only offset anymore is not counter-balancing rational judgment, but faux outrage at anything that goes against the prescribed faux virtue.
What a fucking mess. And everyone is full of shit.https://www.freetheanimal.com/2020/03/my-musings-on-the-coronavirus-covid-19.html
The Mental Issue
I think where it’s not creating more and more plain crazy people, sociopaths, psychopaths, and assholes, it’s at least creating a lot of frustration, obsession, anger, and plain unhappiness.
I’d place myself in the latter categories, probably up to and including asshole, often enough. I think prior to 2016 and Trump, I’d be a little direct, sometimes rude often enough, but I wasn’t harboring hatred for some stranger somewhere in the world. I’d just typically think they were being stupid and I’d point that out.
And because of all those negative elements, I’d often be motivated to drink too much too often, so an element of vicious cycle enters the scene.
Then, of course, there’s the plain and obvious narcissism that’s virtually built into the whole thing and it’s damn hard to resist that tendency. After all, everyone likes to be liked, and of course, Facebook has a Like react, but not really a dislike. Twitter has a heart. So it’s heart or nothing. Instagram is the same. This distorts reality, since you’re only getting the positive feedback, there is no correction by negative feedback, except in comments or replies. Many influencers with tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and even millions of followers never have time to go through thousands and thousands of comments. But they sure can get a LIKE!!! Tally, an entirely distorted scorecard as to how you’re really doing in the trial of public opinion. There is no dislike.
But these platforms do not want you to have access to that sort of correction-by-reality information. Lacking that is what conditions us to keep checking in, to see how many more Likes we have and we become neurotic junkies. So as the high from one post’s engagement begins to wane, we have to post something else quick, to get juiced up all over again.
Pathetic, isn’t it?
If you are stupid and wrong, social media makes you more stupid, more wrong. If you are smart and right, social media throttles your reach, limiting your feedback, compromising your ability to make corrections over time.
You select those to befriend and follow, presumably and mostly those with whom you share core values—a value being that which you seek to gain and keep. So, you begin the selection bias machinations by choosing your friends and those whom you follow. Social media is perfectly happy with that—even if you may have selected many with opposite values held, simply to keep your enemies closer. But your behavior in how you react is embodied in understanding full well who are the “good ones” and who are the “bad ones.”
Want to see more? Then hit this link on Google Scholar for papers on ‘Social Media and Neuroticism.’
The Time of Your Life
We all have the same amount of it. Many people say, “use your time wisely,” but who’s to say what a wise use of time really is? Is that an absolute standard—like there’s some universal wise use of time—or is it realive; i.e., wise for you is different for someone else owing to a lot of factors?
Well, of course, the latter is the better way to regard it, and it turns out there’s a wise old parental admonition that’s perfect for the task:
Don’t you have something better to do?
…A common variation: better things to do.
How much time are we talking about?
I looked, but could not find an updated chart. But given the spike in ass-time-from-home since early 2020, you can only imagine. Interestingly, 2008 correlates well with the introduction of the Jesus Phone in the summer of 2007. Shortly after that was when I went from a PC-guy since 1988 to all-Apple. And it was specifically because I wanted the full integration between a Mac laptop and an iPhone. A couple of years later, I added the iPad when it came out, and my personal social media consumption exploded. A perfect way to sit on my ass and ENGAGE!!!
How did I justify or rationalize that time spent?
Well, in those days still, my primary means of communication was email and I eschewed SMS or Texting as simple-minded crap for people who can’t write a sentence—and hence the 140-character-max success of Twitter… Paleo was still in full swing, I was an influencer via this blog, podcast appearances, and speaking gigs at AHS. Many in the Paleo movement—both producers and consumers—were still primarily using blogs and my posts would get dozens to hundreds of comments. So I’d sit out on the porch using my iPad to engage in comments.
All in all, that wasn’t so bad. Unlike many others, I didn’t have a blog like Blogger where my content was really owned by Google. I used WordPress on my own installation, not WordPress.org. It’s still the same. I can change hosting providers easily; and I have, a number of times. At least I was using the new devices, iPhone (away) and iPad (home), to primarily engage with my own stuff. I was using them as tools to advance and promote what I was doing.
And then the long slide, where it went from using a hammer to build my own house, to using the hammer to bash in my own skull while creating and promoting content owned by those who’ve become some of the most justly hated miscreants on the planet.
…I went from using them as proper tools in pursuit of the best I can do, to gradually using them to avoid something better to do—which is what I had already been doing!
…I saw this coming, sort of. I believe it was sometime in early 2014 I noticed that the Facebook Page for this blog had about 7,000 – 8,000 followers. While comments here were still going strong during my various projects like resistant starch and the gut biome, the engagement on Facebook was decidedly different. Here, 90% of comments were contributory in some way while over there, it was largely the inverse. Of course, anonymous losers, trolls, and pip-squeaks would find that they have more leeway to run interference over there, where I didn’t have complete iron-grip control as I do here.
So, I deleted it all. All Facebook, both my personal profile and the page. Though I kept Twitter, I rarely looked at it and never engaged anymore. I had begun on the right track and stayed the course. …Until I did my experiment with off-grid living in Baja, Mexico, in the summer of 2015. I created another Facebook account. Months later, I created another Page for the blog. Then, I started creating Groups like Ketotards and a political-oriented group.
Stupidly, I began promoting them from here at FreeTheAnimal. In essence, I was steering people from here, to there! How fucktarded was that!? I won’t even bother with excuses, since there are no good ones. In simple and plain fact, I was stupidly seduced by the allure of having massive “followers” on social media. But even if I had achieved that, to what ends? So what, I gradually become a social media “influencer,” everyone hangs on my now 240-characters, my images, my embellished existence, and my need for a 24/7/365 addiction to a stream of Likes?
Too needy, eh?
Your Own Garden
I’m personally proud of what I’ve accomplished here. 5,000 posts over nearly 19 years, 99% written by moi meme. Today, in the space of about 4 months since I moved to a Membership Blog, I’m 20 members shy of the 500 mark with more added every single day. My archives are deep, Google Search treats me pretty well, and I create enough new content to remain relevant.
I answer to nobody.
This is why I have not even mentioned THE HOT TOPIC!!! of social-media censorship up to now. Only when I was uselessly spending hours per day in the belly of that beast did such things matter to me. Now that I’ve been spewed out of my own doing, why would I care? I began drafting this post 3 or 4 days ago, once I initiated the detonation.
I quickly found that I had little clarity about it. I liken it to coming off a week-long boozing vacation where upon your return, 3 days of detox and sleep are required until you feel right in your own mind.
When amongst all the trees, you don’t have the best perspective of the whole forest.
What has tragically happened to social-media junkies is that you’ve long forgotten about all those [better] things to do before social media and “smart” phones even existed. Well, think back. What did you do prior to about 2008? What did you do with all those hours every day when there was no way to scroll through the outraged opinions of complete strangers? How did you even get by?
Here’s a suggestion: ask your grandparents.
And: how is your family life? How is the intellectual and curiosity formation of your children going?
You know, we can’t avoid the question of whether electricity, water, and gas need to be universally available as public-utility monopolies. It’s already baked into the cake and until true off-grid living is practical and economically viable for most, those things are pie-in-sky “libertarian utopia” issues. I understand the argument that social media has become a public utility of sorts and ought to be regulated as such, with its quasi-monopoly status.
On the other hand, this is proof, and you can be proof, that neither you nor anyone need social media in the same way you need electricity and water…or gas, sewar, and some form of telecommunication—even a “burner.”
I don’t have all the answers just like nobody does. But I can relate experiences. My own, and I can share a few.
Here’s a few examples I read, and you can search the internet for plenty more. What you will have a hard time finding are accounts where someone deleted their social media and lived to regret it, and it made their life worse rather than better.
- One Year Ago, I Deleted All My Social Media Accounts
- Why You Should Delete Your Social Media Apps Today
- People Who Deleted Their Social Media Share What It’s Like
Here’s a video I liked.
I guess an obvious question is, ‘what if I don’t already have a garden like you, Richard, so I can’t just go out and do some weeding and take up where I left off?’
I don’t have a good answer to that and certainly, not one that could even remotely apply individually. I fully understand that this should be far easier for me than for many of you, especially those with a decent social media presence already.
I can say one fundamental thing that is absolute, though: whatever social-media garden you planted and are tending to, it’s not your garden! You already agreed to that in the fine print. They own all the content, are free to sell or rent it, and are even free to lock you out of it. You are working for them and in most cases, are not even getting a cut of the revenue.
Imagine that. You spend upwards of hours per day working to create content for someone else that they can sell, take all the revenue, and you get paid in Likes. Thumbs Ups only, and your generous Union Contract specifies that you can get no Thumbs Down.
How pathetic is that?
So the only real answer to all those questions is that no matter what you do, it has to be yours, under your control. You have to own it and that is not possible with social media. You believe you’re building something for yourself but in reality, you’re an uncompensated employee. You’re their intern. And often enough, they’ll slap your hand or set you in the corner under a dunce cap until you come back to be a good little intern creating acceptable content for them to sell.
Oh, don’t think I don’t know it. The whole time I’m writing this, I’m thinking: tons of my readers over many years will be going, “yep, that’s why I never….”
Congratulations. I fully acknowledge it. High salute and solemn nod.
If there is one thing I have read in comments over many years, it’s on the order of “nope, I don’t do that;” meaning, have social media accounts.
And there are others, the exclusively social drinker-sippers…those who can manage to use them as viable tools to keep in contact and share with family, friends, and old acquaintances over positive aspects of life while staunchly limiting it to that.
Still others…who manage to use them exclusively for business promotion with ads and such but never get themselves entwined personally. It’s like putting up a billboard, but NOT camping out underneath with groupies, to admire it around a campfire.
Well done; may you inspire and guide all of us.
I liked the days prior to 2012 or so when most people still went to blogs or singular web-based outlets to interact with others around shared values.
‘Shared values’ is just another way of saying community; community, by its nature, being the sharing of like or similar values. You are unlikely to find many strange bedfellows in small, tightly-knit communities.
Does that word ring a bell, ‘community?’
It should, because it’s the word used every time you step out of line on social media. “You’ve gone against community standards!”
This, in itself, is the crux of the Big Lie.
For the more astute, that should immediately call forth questions like “whose?” or “which?”
The very terms “Global community,” or “United States Community,” or “European Community,” or “African Community,” or “Asian Community,” et al, puts the obvious lie to that bastardization of concept employed by all social media companies to herd their content creators around like sheep, checking their every word of every posting. We know very well that those are all very general usages of the term community and within them, many communities with standards exist. American Hip-Hop Community vs. American Redneck Community. Anyone…?
No. the Obvious Big Lie is that social media uses “community” as euphemism for company policy or terms of service. So be that, but it’s a vicious lie and ought to have been the first clue that all these companies are all evil to the core. Their aim, truly, is to cloud the natural diversity of values that exist all over the world, for better or worse, into some dystopian sense of New World Order with a bunch of narcissist techies—who can’t even change their oil or tire—in charge of everything.
So the ask is this: please share this post all over social media. Like tons. Nothing could be more ironic. If you’re one of those who has accounts, please share it. Stick it to the man.
UPDATE: I purposely didn’t cover FOMO in this—Fear Of Missing Out. That will be covered extensively later: Permanent Crisis Is The New Normal — Prosper Anyway #1.
UPDATE 2: Social Media Costs You Big Bucks!
Join Over 5,000 Subscribers!
Get exclusive content sent directly to your inbox.
Great. I had to reactivate my SauceBook account in order to share it…
Nice. Thank you.
I liked the irony… and also the challenge to not use it!
(I am waited for as an admin though… but my goal to create many connected groups all called “we produce our food and more” + the name of the place showed me that SOCIAL media is not really used successfully to unite for the basic needs. 200 members in 1 year for our local group… Like nobody cares for food sovereignty?!?)
Great. I had to reactivate my SauceBook account in order to share your article…
The real reason is that I have to copy all my content, instead of giving it away through too small letters I had not read, and get back the numerous documents I have compiled and shared in “my” groups.
Yep, I have original excellent content about numerous very-useful-in-real-life topics, for health, for gardening and tending animals, and even to LEARN from nature who we are as humans.
My inner animal is more free than many’s (and many more are better than me too)
You mention developping the intellect and the curiosity in children:
Would you add to let them develop their SOMATIC sense? Because what we call mental health is actually somatic health, and it is what we let babies develop until they can understand mental words.
The inner animal we have to free is in the ANS. (and we should all know what it is. DuckDuckGo can help you search…)
So, I cannot be a grand-mother, as I am not a mother (well, I would apply as an adopted grand-mother…), but I can tell you what we were doing before electronic devices: WE WERE PRACTISING OUR SOMATIC SENSES. And the 6th sense is interoception.
– We are no more able to walk with ease on irregular grounds.
– Other animals all know there is a difference between taste and palability, and they are able to choose their food daily without a lab and get all their correct nutrition, as long as they are not force-fed by having no choice.
“Finish what’s in your plate” anyone?
“If you are not hungry for your spinach, you’re not hungry for the rest.”
I bet you are!
So we need more than real life, we need the right way to listen to our body, and we need to practice it.
I agree with you. When I was a kid, I learned from mom and dad, and grandparents, but I also leaned a lot being a free-range kid on 10 acres of land my grandfather owned along the Truckee River outside of Reno, NV.
Here in Thailand, it’s even more pronounced if you get out of Bangkok and the other big cities. Out in the rice paddies, the kids are amongst themselves, gone from sight many hours per day, and the parents and wise villagers aren’t even worried much about all the venomous snakes….
Yes that’s it, we learn from the land, from the outside, but by engaging with it. This is why there is a difference between each generations, not only the fault of parents.
I would advise parents to not only rely on what THEY teach, but to think to WHERE they need to MOVE home, and find a place that suits what they want their kids to learn!
So that they don’t learn on a screen.
I am a French expat in a Spanish speaking place and I am done receiving Woofers etc. In French we use “apprendre” to say BOTH teach and learn, but everybody is confused about those 2 words and their real difference. And we need both, not only this irrealistic tendency saying “we have it all inside us if we just connect”.
Example: yes you react with your guts when you are attacked, but those trained in martial arts will do it much better! And they have both learned and been taught.
Let’s practise our bodies.
I trained in Somatic Experiencing, just a pity they reduce this to trauma resolution. Let’s free the inner animal, learn about the ANS and how it works.
**Oh I was going to forget why I am done with woofers…
I was happy with apprentices in the XXth century but now here is what I see: People who have not learned and want to learn by experience like children but doing mistakes and having zero responsability, like children. And sorry, but in any place you don’t know, you need to be taught a minimum, at least about the place and what was going on before you arrive.
The other side: People who want to be taught, and are not aware about what is missing in their somatic experience of life. So they suck your time about recipes that can be found on internet but are not aware about their past loss of time for body practice. They might have even done a PDC in permaculture, but they don’t even know how to use garden tools efficiently.
The magic 2 sentences to understand life:
“Everything is both the same and different, at the same time, everywhere.” so you need to practise discerning.
And you need to understand the yin and yang principle, it is behind everything.
So outside, to relate to the world, you need to both learn and be taught.
And inside, it represents the ANS, with the sympathetic and the parasympathetic alternating. They did a good job to represent movement with an immobile design!
Yin and yang are those opposites alternating. In and out, cold and hot, expansion and contraction, breathing in and out, the 2 phases of the heart bits, action and rest.
What I have not seen it tells and is needed to know:
When we feel stuck, depressed, derealized, anesthesiated, blocked, disconnected, like the salt statue after seeing something too horrible, paralysed, it means that INSTEAD OF ALTERNATING, our 2 nervous branches are activated at the same time.
The alternance shown in the yin-yang design is missing.
When we are overwhelmed, our action side does not want to let go, but as there is a maximum of electric intensity we can stand, our wise body sends a strong rest order and disconnects the too strong activity. In the hardest cases, it can make us pass out or even die. I think about it every 11/9 at least, because some who jumped to escape the fire died before they arrived on the ground. This can happen when we are sure to die.
But we should know abot this phenomena of dissociation, to figure out the mild cases that happen all the time. When we focus on something we dissociate from something else. It can be as easy as day dreaming, or scratching the skin to not feel a mosquito bite.
What’s the point to explain this here?
When we use Social Media, we dissociate from what is around us for a moment. And we should not need to dissociate several hours a day.
J’ai habite a Toulon de 1990 a 1993.
Il faut que tu Google mon bon copain Erwan Le Core.
I like the French verb apprendre, as it implies to me something far beyond just learn, i.e., be indoctrinated for the benefit of the “teacher.”
How you apprend, take it in, might be different from what another takes in.
Right, I had skipped that apprendre in French comes from prendre which means to take!
“Learn” as your example is not learning, it is to “be taught”!!!
But the real meaning of learning is active and thus much wider. Maybe the vocabulary is reductive?
What is not nice in French is to say we “learn somebody”, which is possible and means …to teach. We tend to avoid using the word “enseigner”, and the feeling of it for me just feels very academic. But it leads to the same confusion as in english “learning” being felt as “being taught”. Both exist and are needed, learning and being taught, just not for the same things.
Erwan’s stuff is very good: https://youtu.be/oiJ-FHPDBnE thanks for pointing me to him.
Feldenkrais also proposes movements to experiment the body, let’s say in a less sportive way, much like babies do and explore. It is much slower, which has a different effect on the ANS.
Then what I have studied goes beyond the movement, and searches what movements the body wants to do. It is also slow and takes time but with strong results.
Let’s say you had an accident and feel some memories or emotions when something looks similar. We search for the defensive movements that started and had no time to develop fully (and is still waiting!), and help the body finish those movements, then let it connect to the emotion, and sometimes even to the mental consequence, like a narrative we made up in order to explain and “stand” what we could not “contain”.
The result is a discharge of sympathetic energy that was kept in check by the parasymp., liberating energy for something else in life (much like freeing the time we spend on line!)
When you considere that tthe parasympathetic’s main job is also defense, but against mibro-aggressions (all microbes, heavy metal, toxins…), it gets more interesting!
So it makes work better the immune system, and also the digestive system, hormonal, cardi-respiratory… well, basically all that is “autonomic” and has to work without our thinking mind.
People who work separately on 1 of the 3 aspects (somatic, emotional, mental) often work on the other 2 unconsciously, and it works better when we are aware of all of them.
Richard. One of your best posts. thank you very much. It became very clear how I’ve lost myself in social media much to my dismay. What did I use to do? Read and read some more. Loved reading and now I’m far removed from it. But after reading this article I am going to have dedicated time towards reading my books every day and I am going to the library and have a more positive and healthy life.
In my recollection and experience over two years, living and working in France, apprendre and its forms is almost always used when referring to such things. Enseigner was exclusively used to refer to instructor, teacher, professor. In other words, to people in the professions of guiding the formation of others. You have to call them something, I guess. I rather like the Asian way, which is the word “master” in the different languages. This leaves room that they can be good or bad master, or in-between, and you can become a master yourself…good or bad, or in-between.
In English, we seem to be obsessed with various forms of The Authority.
Yes there is an obsession with “author-ity” and we can guess why, and social media helps to understand: we connect with people without knowing their degree of expertise.
In a group where people know each other since long – or since ever – they can see each other slowly mastering their body’s abilities.
In social media, or on-line in general, if we do not assert our authority, we can be dismissed. Or for example, when you communicate in a foreign language, you can also be dismissed because you do not use a high qualified language.
Now if we think about the real meaning of author-ity, is it so despotic? Doesn’t it mean “to be author”?
Tried Facefuck for 2 days around 2006. It was obvious what it was all about and where it would go. Had tried Orkut before that and didn’t think the platform concept and the walled garden was attractive: the cool thing about the internet had up until then been the free, open and non-corporate spaces of interaction and presentation. No paywalls, no registration, no collection of personal/behavioural data. With Google and Facebook the freedom of the internet was gone and “the web” grew up and around everyone’s neurology. So I doubled down on Free/Open Source software use – which I had started around 2000 when moving to Linux – and kept carving ways of difference in that space. You have to say no to a lot of things if you want to go your own way. Whether that is about footwear, nutrition, bringing up kids or technology use, it’s the same scenario. There are few people who go their own way. Most follow leaders or leadership ideas, concepts and stories, whether political, philosophical, cultural or religiously.
By the way, there is nothing leftist/socialist about corporate media. That is an odd Americanism. The last bit of leftyness in media vanished in the 1960s when advertising became a main income for newspapers and those with labor movement affinities were priced out of the market; as they, obviously, couldn’t attract big corporate ad money: who wants their ads to appear next to a critical article about how you make your money? Pharmaceutical capital is one of the biggest spenders, which tells us something about current affairs. Media, by definition and operation, can hardly be leftist or socialist, since it functions as mouthpiece for the school, wage slavery, consumer and voting paradigm – which primarily serves those at the very top and who controls it top] down through shareholder networks. Call them what you want – elite, capitalists, billionaires, extra-terrestrial lizards (which incidentally as a metaphor works quite well in my mind as they do not appear like the humans I know) – but socialists and leftists are not terms I would put on them or their media of mind control. As for the rest of us? Collateral.
What you call virtue signalling, I would say, is an integral part of modernity, always has been central to it, since the so called Enlightenment, and it is a system which is composed of singular, atomised, rational, individual, agents – divided and conquered – who self-police their manners and speech and thus have been signalling their virtues all along for the last 250 years; we all do it all the time – – – and digital virtue signalling is self-policing turned outwards in a spectacle, projected as a narcissistic media display that misleads to believe that you have a stake in the celebrity-industrial complex, while what is happening is that you uphold that spectacle “for “them” – one might say that you become a marionette pulling your own strings, being made to dance to your own (self-policed and self-policing) tune, while the puppet masters are laughing somewhere else counting their beans. It is, by analogy, cyberspace voting and comes in extension of voting as a means to keep the modernity fantasy going.
Also, the left/right thing is entirely outdated and part of what is keeping people in the unknowing and ignorant mindspace that permits the elite to do whatever. There is no linear spectrum in terms of ideas: there is a 3-D space with a variation of positions and all kinds of alliances are possible. Building new alliances – cultural alliances between people and between species – and building them with no regard for the fake left/right divide is the current frontier of consciousness and political agency, I would suggest. The left/right pendulum just swings forth and back and both sides complement each other. So left/right only really exists in parliamentary deceit and manipulation of the public imagination – and hence in those who consume those narratives of control, narratives that are subtle in appearance, subliminal to most, but total in effect. Abandon those terms and build the new world. Fuck the left, fuck the right. And fuck their spectacle.
PS: I wonder whether anyone likes this sort of thing:
I hope my simple explanations about fear and explotation of our ANS because nobody is interested in knowing how our species function as an animal (the one we have to free inside us!) was of your liking…
I could write a whole article about this; meaning, I completely agree with you, near as I can tell.
But I have to make my writing accessible, so I have to use concepts people understand, at base. You lose people when you obliterate their very “language” right from the start. So, bear with me on that.
I’ll tackle a couple of things.
“the cool thing about the internet had up until then been the free, open and non-corporate spaces of interaction and presentation. No paywalls, no registration, no collection of personal/behavioural data.”
Perhaps you were on USENET back in the ~1992 – 1999-ish heyday. There will never be an Internet as free and open as that. And, it was a distributed network (you just had to set up a server…mostly done by university departments, if I recall), kind of like bitcoin works. A bunch of nodes. They even had moderated groups, the alt groups were Wild West. It was wonderful. I loved it. Spent too much time there. Learned an awful lot there, both materially, and also how to engage.
It was dominated by intelligent people, because you had to have a minimum level just to figure out how to get on the thing. Sadly, gone, so far as I can tell.
“By the way, there is nothing leftist/socialist about corporate media. That is an odd Americanism.”
Yea, this is rooted in the difference also between liberal and conservative in the Euro sense.
But your point is well taken. Yes, all big media is corporate; meaning, they have to turn profits and generate dividends and capital gains for shareholders. So what I mean by that, is that what we call the left/right, liberal/conservative, democrat/republican divides in America and increasingly globally, is really just a product of SOCIAL ANTAGONISM. That is the product. That’s what drives profits.
It’s just that the bean counters and focus groups calculate that the most highly profitable route is whatever route keeps the antagonism high and peaking ad re-peaking all the damn time and it must turn out that spouting outlandish leftist agendas is the most effective in doing that.
As always, it’s about corporate growth, acquisition, profits, and capital gains. Whatever that requires. Watch CNN and MSNBC get “America First Conscience” as soon as Fox’s model shows to be the most effective for corporations. And Fox is plenty full of BS. I was scanning clips on their YouTube channel last couple of days. There’s maybe 1 of 10 clips I have the slightest interest in watching and often enough, I click out within a minute. It’s so dripping with dumb-loser God & Country shit along with heaps of righteous indignation for church-goers. Pathetic.
Aussie currently living in a fucking statist dystopia.
I proudly embarrass my teenage kids because I don’t wear a mask and don’t check in on our “apps”. I mock the fear they get peddled about covid and neither of them worry about it.
We have a booming debt fueled real estate market, where baby boomers who have lived under stable employment conditions now sell multi million dollar properties, hide their assets, get the pension and move into luxury retirement villages and demand our young kids give up their life and then later on carry a huge financial debt to keep them safe.
I used to be on Facebook. I quit after watching the madness of the old nutrition wars (fat and carbs).
The final straw? There was a post of a picture of a fucking apple. Three hundred comments later, after multiple threats of violence, promises of guaranteed death from carbs, about 50 pictures of Abs and or pictures of nutrition cult leaders, I watched as two 50 year old red fat men battled to the end. Both claiming 5% body fat, one paleo, the other low fat high carb, and judging by their pictures they were 20% body fat.
I thought that is it. Enough madness.
Never looked back. Sick of it all. I read some Twitter posts every day like the Babylon bee for a laugh and not much else.
THIS is the real problem…. “luxury retirement villages” + “demand our young kids carry a huge financial debt to keep them safe”
The REAL LIFE is that the old sacrifice their life for the next generation.
If it has not changed… the young are still the ones to preserve if we want the next generation to exist… and the old are only worth the experience they can transmit, because we learn better from OUR successes + OTHERs’ mistakes + our only occasional mistakes.
We have been fooled by the message “life starts when you retire”.
Actually, most parents and grand-parents would still agree to make some sacrifices for their genes, if the problem was not that others than their children make some profits…
“We have a booming debt fueled real estate market, where baby boomers who have lived under stable employment conditions now sell multi million dollar properties, hide their assets, get the pension and move into luxury retirement villages and demand our young kids give up their life and then later on carry a huge financial debt to keep them safe.”
The global median age of Covid death is about 80, meaning half of deaths are above, half below. In the UK, as just one example and there are many, the average age of Covid death is 2 years higher than average all-cause death. Covid is simply culling those past expiration date owing to some light years of influenza and pneumonia death. This is all normal shit, and ignorance combined with social media and the opportunity to signal has created a global hysteria corporations and institutions are all but too happy to promote for influence, power, and profits.
One of the very early things you would see a lot on social media back in March, April, and May of 2020 was the admonition of young woke morons, “don’t kill my gramma.”
(…One of my best mates here in Thailand is an Oz expat of over 30 years.)
Richard, en France il y a eu un meme assez officiel du médecin conseil, disant “je ne tue pas papi” et “Je ne tue pas mamie”, avec 2 enfants masqués et dos au mur, les bras dans le dos, comme une photo de criminels…
The world is full of old people ready to “sacrifice” their GRAND-CHILDREN! But only one thing can be sacrificed, and it is what is ours.
BTW last year I wrote 3 textes for Easter 2020… about the real message, which is what sacrifice means…
Why don’t we sacrifice anymore nowadays? Because those who benefit are precisely not our grand.children!
Big root of social issues there right?
This is the best, most convincing case for getting off of Fakebook that I’ve read anywhere.
Remember that movie about Fakebook’s founding? “The Social Network” I think. Zuckerberg was portrayed as an endearing, smart dork fighting for truth, justice, and the American way against the evil Winklevoss twins. Yeah, right. They forgot to mention the CIA’s involvement, intelligence gathering, and millions of dollars of government money.
It’s all propaganda, all the way down.
Next up: do we really need Amazon listening to us? How much government money do they get? Alexa, and possibly your Kindle, really are spying on you. (One simple thing you can do right now is cancel your Amazon Prime membership. If you order something, pay outright for the damned shipping. It might motivate you to spend less on frivolous made in china junk.)
I’m also concerned about getting off of Windows 10 and Android. It’s all very clunky spyware. Does anyone even care about the secret IME spy processor running MINIX hidden in their computer?
There are many fronts in this war to cut the technocratic mind-control out of our lives.
Back for my last few years up in the Sierras, a mountain home in Arnold, CA, I had both a Prime membership and an Alexa. Oh, many cool things about Alexa, though I used it only to set timers when i was cooking, as it was positioned on a kitchen counter, and to play music on demand.
“Alexa, play prog rock.”
“Here’s something you might like.”
Then, I start getting ads scrolling through social media strangely reminiscent of shit I very much recall talking about in my damn living room with family and friends, in-person, or on the iPhone, which also implicates Apple, and whatever apps I had installed.
Deeply, deeply pernicious, intrusive, and criminal.
Android/Google is no better. I dumped the iPhone here in Thailand over a year ago in favor of a $300 phone. Basically same shit.
Next move will be to just go burner. I’ve actually looked into burner phones that take a sim card, as I’ve had the same cell number since 1993.
A great summation Richard, I’m forwarding to those remaining friends who have stupid media accounts.
Maybe they’ll wake up……………………….
This turned into a very long comment so I apologize — but writing it helped me have what feels like a breakthrough idea for myself.
I deactivated my ID’d FB years ago, keeping a sock puppet account for group conversations with my anarchist friends from NY (we’d already started dispersing and now zero remain in NY). It was the next logical step after years of avoiding TV news at all costs, then avoiding corporate media except to laugh at it.
I was briefly tempted to re-engage on FB when I moved to a new community and wanted to connect names with the faces of all the new people I was meeting. But I could just search from my sock account and get connect the dots that way.
I missed out on perhaps more breadth in my connections, but I also really didn’t want to ruin budding friendships by seeing what dumb stuff people were posting, especially about politics. I’d rather not know.
In short, the trade-offs were not worth it to me. Many people really don’t like to think about trade-offs, and the widespread cultural assumption now is that it’s an “injustice” to have to make them, rather than the inherent nature of existence.
In the middle of all this, after 35 years of exploration and independent study, I began a year-long process of converting to Orthodox Judaism. That only deepened my disgust with the dark consequences of the so-called Enlightenment, including the near-decimation of global Jewry. The effects are felt to this day, with born Jews obliviously enacting a self-Shoah so brutal it makes what Hitler did pale in comparison. And the parallels with the social media age are too glaring to miss. THE SCIENCE!!!! is the new “reason” — make middling IQ people feel extraordinarily clever for buying into harmful, self-limiting BS and doing everything they can to force it on others. And of course soon enough the well-intended but foolish segment of Jews urging their fellow yidden to participate in these reforms turned into appeals to government authority to enforce participation and ban the “wrong” kinds of knowledge.
<>It’s absolutely fascinating to explore the parallels. It started with the so-called maskilim (Hebrew for “scholars”), surely with the best of intentions, telling Jews to “broaden their horizons” (red flag) and concern themselves more deeply with the interests of those outside their own cohort. It was sold by these “rationalist” academics as something that would improve their lives, something as pressing as a religious requirement (sound familiar?). “Moreover, a Jew who ignores or denies the Torah of Man is unfulfilled as a human being. Maskilim thus grounded the demand that Jews become active participants in the culture of their surrounding society on the assumption that human culture is universal, neutral with respect to religion and nationality.”
There are even parallels with woke BS we’ve seen emerge via social media: “Despite the revolutionary character of these ideas, Wessely was convinced that the Torah of Man had always been an integral part of the Jewish tradition. He explained that Jews of his time had been cut off from worldly knowledge due to discrimination, segregation, and persecution. For Wessely and his colleagues, the Edict of Tolerance issued by Joseph II in 1781 showed that a momentous change was taking place in the status of the Jews—and it was incumbent upon Jews to prove their willingness to integrate into the cultural, social, and economic life of their surroundings. To that end, an extensive reform of Jewish education was essential.” You can guess what that looked like: indoctrination in other cultures’ “truths” and “lived experiences,” with opportunity to learn Jewish law severely limited — only those intent on pursuing religious careers were allowed to study Torah, which had been the focus of Jewish life for millennia.
The results were all too predictable: the merchants who’d been funding this reform were soon more interested in advancing their political interests and the children of the original maskilim drifted away from their heritage of indefatigability and morality — having been deprived of any knowledge of it — for pursuit of political power and junk culture. This extended to doing everything possible to extinguish Chasidic Judaism, which had begun to thrive since its emergence in Galicia. Yosef Perl, a leader of these efforts, started by writing parodies of Chasidic books to present them as grotesque and insane. Soon he was urging the authorities to intervene and get rid of the Chasidim, and was ultimately awarded medals for “contributions to education” by Tsar Alexander I. I could go on for many more pages, but we all know the end result and I’m probably the only one here who’s interested in the fine details of the foreshadowing.<>
So the daily tension I experience is as someone who’s immersed in contemporary culture but tries to limit its effect on me. It’s a bit like trying to swim in a pool with a pissing section and remain clean. I’ve become much more separatist in mindset and only wish I had the fortitude to place more boundaries between myself and the emptiness that surrounds me.
As much as I disdain narishkeit (concern for empty, everyday matters that border/plunge into degeneracy), it’s hard to leave it all behind in one go. I was raised on junk values and junk culture, a latchkey kid in public school who went home so TV and processed food could spend more time with me than any parent. Just as I didn’t lose 100+ pounds overnight but over several months nearly 20 years ago, it’s taking time to untangle myself from the enmeshment with ugliness I’ve known for 44 years. I’m frustrated, and think daily about getting rid of my iPhone in favor of a “kosher phone” that’s set up to restrict contact with the worst of humanity.
BTW, I don’t think one need be Jewish or religious to relate to this. Rav Yehudah Leib Ashlag once said “What’s the difference between gashmius (physical pleasures) and ruchnius (spiritual pleasures)? Gashmius everyone wants, but once you have it, there is no feeling of fulfillment. Ruchniyus on the other hand, nobody wants, but when you have it, there is such a deep feeling of fulfillment!” Changes in one’s spirit don’t have to be consciously connected to any religion. I feel like the changes in your spirit since your move to Thailand are very pronounced, and we all know you aren’t into Higher Power concepts.
What I’ve done so far: Left FB, ignore Twitter (while retaining my verified account in case I ever want to use it for something that matters), and…doomscroll on Instagram way too much. That’s a big struggle, because I get a lot of brilliant, useful content on things like somatic experience and Judaism. And yes I’m aware of the irony of trying to drink only potable water from the cesspool.
I’m not sure what it will take to get me to give it up, but the urge to do so is reaching a crescendo as we prepare for Yom Kippur in two days. The Hebrew word “teshuvah” is often translated as “repentance,” but it actually means “return.” Much like FTA has had a running thread of liberating your ancient core identity from the shackles of contemporary “wellness” BS of all kinds, Judaism teaches that there’s an inherent perfection in our souls that gets encrusted with the shmutz of profane culture and “education,” but never goes away — we just have to choose to clear away the crud and come back to that core. Every year we spend over a month in hardcore focus on this concept and practical efforts to enact it, which culminate on Yom Kippur with a 25+ hour dry fast. I doubt anyone’s ever told you that they see a lot of parallels between your content and Judaism, but I think you can see why I do. 🙂
This year I moved thousands of miles to live in a more Orthodox community on the east coast. I feel most at ease and uplifted living amongst a concentration of those who are visibly Jewish. My idea of bliss is spending three consecutive days offline in my Jewish bubble during a holiday, enjoying great meals and conversations with friends, playing with their kids, and studying. (At least I get this one day a week, every week, thanks to Shabbat.)
While I lived in one of the most famous Orthodox communities in the world in LA, it was still LA — there was so much glorification of trash values in that community that I was always deeply uncomfortable. I’d see friends of mine obsessing about their new kitchen remodel, pursuit of the perfect dress, or next real estate deal to the exclusion of concern for things that actually matter.
I tried very hard not to judge; after all, I have a full time job on my hands just minding my own business and keeping myself upright. And I’m pretty shallow in that I like nice things and I’m a hardcore proponent of wealth creation as one of the most crucial and potentially holy activities we undertake as humans. (The Torah teaches that helping someone get a job, start a business, make a deal or otherwise increase their livelihood is one of the biggest mitzvahs you can do. And there is an emphasis on making money with work that provides some useful, constructive service to ease and improve the lives of others. We’re taught that work has an invaluable role in our lives for the precious opportunities for spiritual challenges and elevation that it presents.) But it was undeniable that being in a city that values ostentatious consumption above all else was not part of the solution for me.
That’s the parallel with my efforts to extract myself from internet-based activities. I know it’s not good for me but I’ve remained unconvinced that the benefits of deleting it all will outweigh any losses. What I’ve been examining is the extent to which my attempts at rationalization are just lies I’m telling myself. “I’ll buy the Oreos and just have one per day” is a fairy tale I haven’t told myself in years. It’s hard not to hear its echoes in “I’ll just limit my time on Instagram.”
Not coincidentally, I got a boyfriend this year who isn’t on FB and is adamantly disgusted by (his concept of) social media. He was dismayed to learn that Instagram is social media. 😏 He doesn’t post but he follows sports, news, and Jewish accounts along with family and friends. It’s been instructive watching his very sharp, knowledgeable Boomer brain try to rationalize his assumption that Instagram isn’t social media. Every time we talk about it, we end up looking at each other like, “Shit, we’re going to have to delete Instagram.”
Aside: His lengthy marriage disintegrated over a long time, and at the end his ex-wife was spending hours a day on FB, railing against Democrats and vaccines of all descriptions. Since their divorce, his kids tell him that’s literally all she does. She hasn’t worked in years, she’s making $XXk/month in alimony and the “best” thing she has to do all day is sit on FB. Apart from all the fun she could be having living a life, she has young grandchildren but thinks her time is better spent posting political screeds on FB than engaging with them. As you know, there are hundreds of millions out there just like her. Perhaps my motivation not to be like this specific shrew will be what pushes me over the edge to delete IG.
Balance has been elusive in all areas of my life but I started pursuing it in earnest 15 years ago. I bemoan my shortcomings but the big picture reality is that I’ve come a long way. It’s hard to focus on progress, not perfection. I’ve given up a lot of things that weren’t part of the solution for me anymore — first alcohol then much more — and replaced them all with things that serve me well. There’s no reason I can’t do the same with Instagram.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov said something in the late 1700s that is more relevant than ever in the age of COVID and crisis-mode-as-normal:“Know that a person has to cross a very narrow bridge in this world; the essential thing is not to make himself fear at all.” The second part is often mistranslated as “the essential thing is not to fear at all.” But fear is a part of life and often a gift when it keeps us away from genuine harm. The reflexive Hebrew verb Rebbe Nachman used specified not to manufacture fear for ourselves. The essential thing is to remain calm and not panic or lose equilibrium.
Yet here we are, in a world hell-bent on making us feel constant terror. Is it any wonder I want nothing to do with it? Is it any wonder I fantasize about living in my Jewish bubble more consistently and hate participating in ugly, empty contemporary culture? If all goes well, you’ll soon have a reader based in one of the most radically separatist Jewish neighborhoods in Israel. 🙂
First of all, in general, thank you very much for the effort put into that instructive and insightful comment. It’s packed full of learning and I really got a kick out of all the—what I presume to be—Hebrew words throughout. Very cool.
Those who have followed along for years have a sense of my own progression. After my parents—a Lutheran German immigrant dad and Idaho Mormon mom—finished with their meandering in terms of religion, they settled on Fundamental Baptist Evangelical when I was about 10. Once I got to about 20, I was done with it, but just by default, i.e., not having any involvement. By 30, I was atheist, though never activist. i just poked fun of literal interpretations of Spirit Gods in the Sky…but I did it often: mockingly, insultingly, relentlessly, mercilessly.
I did that for 25 years. Then, I began to soften for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that I realized I hated the typical atheists and their predictable leftism far more than those on the religious right.
Two things sprung to mind. The first was the radio host, Dr. Laura, and she never ever said she’s Jewish without saying “orthodox,” and from time to time she would explicate a bit. I was aware of all these Jews in legal, politics, entertainment, media, Hollywood, etc. and they are 100% leftist Democrat, and often among the worst. Yet the republican religious right love Dr. Laura.
You do an excellent job giving us lots of clues.
The second thing that sprung to mind is a couple of guys, Michael Miles who has commented here many times before, and Chris Masterjohn, the nutritionist I have referenced in blog posts tons of times going back to 2008 when he was still a PhD candidate.
Both are rather devout and knowledgeable Orthodox Christian. And while no, I don’t do Higher Powers, they resonate with me socially.
I had another friend, Greg Swann, a “conservative” Catholic. He used to say to me, “I like it if the church doesn’t change,” which seems to me like an apt summation of orthodoxy. The folks can do what they want, come and go, we’ll still be here, and should you return, you will find us just as you left us.
There’s a natural and compelling beauty in that and I think an unchanging foundation is a role perfectly suited to a church.
“If all goes well, you’ll soon have a reader based in one of the most radically separatist Jewish neighborhoods in Israel.”
They are all welcome. I’ll find a way to get along. I’m beginning to sense that orthodoxy is not necessarily catechism. Any comment on that? For me, orthodoxy is shaping up to be: here we are, and NOT, here’s what you MUST learn and DO. Feel free to use it. It might help you.
I suppose that if i was ever to embrace a religious tradition ever again—doubtful but I don’t mind playing make believe—my top-3 choices would be Orthodox Christianity, Orthodox Judaism, and “Orthodox” Catholicism, probably in that order. You put all three of those together and you begin to understand that the problem with religion is not really myths taken literally, but how over the last few thousand years they have been corrupted by social imperatives politically and corporately motivated.
Orthodoxy, then, is the stalward against the never-ending long slide towards debauchery, ruin, and lowest-common denominators.
Again, well done and thank you enormously for that contribution.
A lot of people make a difference between spirituality and religion. Yes there is corruption in religions as in anything social, but all humans around earth have had some sort of spirituality!
It does not mean God exists, but at least that it is useful enough to have been a logical conclusion to all the people. If you have read me in other comments, you will not be surprised by my thnking/feeling about what spirituality is… Merely but importantly enough, it is working on our own Nervous System and its regulation.
And a religion is just the way people have found to do it together in a similar enough way. Before migrations, you would have found a mix of religions only by changing place, because connexion included not only the people but their land.
Then, as working on our nervous system needs the use of imagination, even if you believe that God exists, you have to acknowledge that you have to imagine “them”.
I loved this paradox and laughed, the day I thought that science cannot prove that God exists, but can prove that believing in God is as good as its universality shows!
It also means that even if you are sure that God does not exist, you can still decide to believe in God, and choose whatever religion is at hand or whatever group suits you to share their practice.
Scientifically, you can also say that though there is not proof of God’s existance, there are enough prooves showing that atheism is a pity and not the best choice. Just by learning a bit better can help us see the advantage and escape the manipulations! I love ANS science… And I have mainly learned behavioral science, so it makes sense and is very practical and useful.
Good move Richard,
I joined Facebook out of curiosity when it launched and I probably still have a dormant account with 7 family members who were my initial friends. I am told that one one can never really completely delete an account once created.. anyway, I don’t care. never joined any more of them..
The issue, I think goes much deeper than what it appears on the surface. My take is bit philosophical, but for whatever it is worth here it is.
I think the PTB figured out quite early how to get to control their wild populace. They knew they had to constantly sell fear and keep them occupied, and to do that they had to break up the social structures as they existed with support systems that they provided.
As humans, for any number of reasons, every once in a while each one of us will sit silently. Really silently, and the first thing that one will experience is a tremendous loneliness, and a fear that arises out of it, and some anguish.
Whenever this loneliness surfaces, one starts to feel as a stranger in a vast world, an infinite abysmal world. And one is there, just a tiny speck – although conscious – but so tiny, so helpless, so powerless, and all alone. That creates a strange anguish, almost panic. So we rush back into some activity, start doing something or other that keeps one away from this truth. In modern times, the all pervasive social media has provided that opportunity – by design – and I will to come to that a bit later.
So, there are only two types of people – ones, who escape from their loneliness – the majority, 99.9999%, who escape from themselves; and the miniscule remaining (I guess most paying members here) are the one’s who probably say, “If loneliness is a truth, it is a truth. Then there is no point in running away from it. It is better to go into it, encounter it, see what it is face-to-face.”
The Eastern philosophies, for example Buddhism and several others, have encouraged going into loneliness wholeheartedly, to discover it, to investigate it by not escaping anymore. Even though it may hurt, one has to face it and to inquire as deeply as possible into it because it is the reality. And by knowing it deeply it will endow true wisdom.
So, If one goes on this journey of a courageous encounter, then one day loneliness changes its color: it becomes “Aloneness”. They don’t mean the same thing, although the dictionary will tell that they are synonyms.
Loneliness is when one hankers for or misses something.
While when one has started to enjoy austere beauty of being alone, the silence, the stillness, the joy of just being utterly here-now, a great joy arises.
Loneliness is a negative state of mind. Aloneness is positive.
In loneliness one is constantly missing the other; In aloneness one constantly delighted in oneself.
Loneliness is beggarly, dependent & miserable, Aloneness is blissful & sheer independence.
Alone is elegant and has satisfaction.
To some, this may sound very narcissistic and will question how can any one build a relationship and strong social structures while enjoying their ‘Aloneness’.
Strong relationships and social structures are built when there is no exploitation.
if anyone moves into a relationship when feeling lonely, they will exploit the other. The other will become a means, just to satisfy. Everybody resents being used – because no man or woman is here to become a means for anybody else. So any relationship born out of loneliness is already on the rocks. Also – a relationship like this will most likely be with someone in a similar plight of loneliness, multiplying the after effects. It is like 2 beggars meeting and fighting for the crumbs. More misery.
So – if we learn to begin enjoying ourself, love ourself, First become so authentically happy that if nobody else comes, it doesn’t matter, one is full and overflowing, it will be true aloneness. A relationship now with a similar person will be like a meeting of happy emperors, there is sharing, not exploitation.
Why is the all this important. Over the decades, the only way to sell fear and get control was to enforce loneliness and abolish the independence provided by individuals who were enjoying their aloneness. In a very subtle way, inch by inch, by design, we are now witnessing the success of this strategy.
Find me a happy social media user who enjoys “Aloneness”
Now it’s going to seem like I’m just sucking up to my commenters, pathetically….
“Whenever this loneliness surfaces, one starts to feel as a stranger in a vast world, an infinite abysmal world. And one is there, just a tiny speck – although conscious – but so tiny, so helpless, so powerless, and all alone. That creates a strange anguish, almost panic. So we rush back into some activity, start doing something or other that keeps one away from this truth. In modern times, the all pervasive social media has provided that opportunity – by design – and I will to come to that a bit later.”
This is a good insight because if old enough to remember, parents and grandparents—long before social media and “smart” phones—were oft heard to says things like, “go do something,” or “keep yourself busy.” With limited options, this is not bad advice.
They would roll in their graves if they were aware that today, that means get on social media, fire up the game box, or watch anime (an euphemism for mindless comic diversion for older children).
What they meant was on par with “BUILD A TREE HOUSE!”
You get what I mean.
Living here in largely Buddhist Thailand—and I recoil at any tagging of enlightened—I have come to appreciate its practices in many ways. My favorite, and perhaps because few have probably experienced it because you have to get up early:
Out in the rural rice-paddy villages where i built my house, it became my habit to go to bed early and rise between 3-4am, brew coffee, think about what I might write. 4am is when the monks in the local temple and ear-shot away would rise as well, and on the dot, the chanting prayer, of sorts. It’s not like singing, it’s not like talking. It’s not like preaching or any admonishing. It is what it is but in the context of 4am typical stillness where even the nocturnal creatures have called it a night, by then…
It is an experience of aloneness, not loneliness. If you were to run over to say “hi guys,” you would ruin it all.
Thanks for that valuable distinction.
Yep, much in line with what I commented, you are more poetic, which speaks to the right part of the mind, while I was reying to explain that there is some science behind it.
The problem is that we love poetry and are not fond of science about ourselves, which is precisely how we can be manipulated by those who learn this kind of “war”, be it marketing or worse.
No other way to avoid explotation than to learn the easy behavioral science of the ANS actually.
Yes we need connection and support, and we don’t know any more how to give support the RIGHT way, and we don’t even know how to receive it when we get it!
This is precisely what helps to be alone. That’s like paragliding: you ought to try tandem flight first…
Being alone and immobile is challenging because it feels like the freeze response and thus makes come out our sympathetic old inner activations that have not yet been discharged.
It is a physical feeling, and “doing something” is not the right solution long term. We must decide to take the time to do it, and hold the feeling until it discharges. It happens, you sigh, your yawn, you laugh and cry, you burp… whatever is your transition sign, it happens, and if you stay in contact with your body, you can feel the energy leaving and your body cooling down.
The first pitfall is that we have accumulated too much to get rid of those activations in one time. Animals do it several times a day…
The second is that you need to know how to resource, aka to anchor in the present like anchoring a boat in the storm, or else you can get drifted and dissociate, which is unfortunately promoted by certain people who think they are very spiritual, as indeed dissociation from pain feels good. Dssociation is interesting to use, as long as you know how to come back, and not as a permanent or easy place where you go and feel one with everything with no grounding.
One of the best way to avoid dissociation is what monks do, but actually sheep do it very well too! And we dismiss them in contempt… The ANS is very good at connecting with another mammal. Done right it has no cost and enrich everybody. It is just a physical presence, so yes indeed as Richard said, you don’t go to the monks and say hello! You can sit there and join the connexion though. And when you kow the feeling, you can remember it and do it at a distance too.
So we can understand this in a poetic way, in a spiritual way, meaning that it “talks” to our non mental parts, but nevertheless we can get better at it when we know the science, in particular when we have not practised this since before birth or don’t live in a group that can make us feel it.
Learning the science is lie learning aikido: then you can forget about the theory and the learning and use it, and it will come naturally. I can tell you, I went through it.
I agree with deleting all social media.
Re “I think where it’s not creating more and more plain crazy people, sociopaths, psychopaths, and assholes, it’s at least creating a lot of frustration, obsession, anger, and plain unhappiness.”
It certainly creates (secondary) psychopaths because we live in a psychopathic world but the the fact that a bunch of psychopaths rule is only ONE part of the equation. The true, WHOLE, but “politically inconvenient” and “culturally forbidden” reality is more encompassing. Read “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room –The Holocaustal Covid-19 Coronavirus Madness: A Sociological Perspective & Historical Assessment Of The Covid “Phenomenon”” by Rolf Hefti at https://www.rolf-hefti.com/covid-19-coronavirus.html
Without a proper understanding, and full acknowledgment, of the true problem and reality, no real constructive change is possible.
So I have been avoiding news forever, it happened consiously in 2008 when the headlines in the UK papers blasted the great Financial Fall and crisis. I just decided I would not read a word of it. Or listen to a word of it. I would carry on as usual. Listen to the birds in the trees, watch the shows I like for their beauty and creative interest. Read whatever turns my brain on, pursue the things I love. This is largely how I have lived in the last 18 months. I have also slowly removed myself from constant FB daily feeds or Instagram. That happened organically after I watched a movie on how social media is deeply affecting us all. I have family all over the world so the internet is very useful but I watch how easy it is to become addicted as we are experiencing more isolation. These are fantastic times to learn new things, experiment, explore new ideas that interest us and just enjoy a more peaceful time becoming aware of our inner lives and all creativiity springs from there. When you recognise the turmoil everyone seems to be going through it also makes room for more compassion. I have been writing more poetry, embracing the rich diversity of life experiences and enjoying this time of reflection and seasonal solitude. Thanks for a most interesting post.
You’ve got it wired, Pauline. Well done.
This is funny. This post put me back on FaceBook and 2 nice things happened.
1) We have a volcanic eruption since yesterday and I wrote a helping post in my page, which can be very useful for oneself and also to give support to others in general.
2) I have found a helping piece for my health in my mitochondria group…
The problem is like my mother had with chocolate: she had to stop it because she could not take 1 piece without eating the tablet.
This is much like a drinking problem where it’s easy enough to abstain but managing small doses is impossible.
Very exactly as a drinking problem or smoking problem etc indeed!
I concluded 2 or 3 things…
1) It has to do with hormones receptors and we have about 800 hormones acting in the body. More of a substance means the body increases the number of receptors, and then has to reduce them when there is less, leading to cravings during this time.
2) We are not addicted to enough things, and the problem is when one takes over… So it is like foods and seasons, we need to cycle everything and cycling is an essential overlooked necessity. We have to cycle everything, and people who understood this created a symbol that is abe to show the movement in a fixed image. The yin and yang symbol (dunno if it has a global name or just yin and yang!)
The 1st cycle is sympathetic/parasympathetic, as it gives the phases of heart beats and any muscle contraction-expansion, and also the breathe in and out. Then there are all the circadian rythms and their yeary variations.
BTW who has moved and changed latitude and noticed the difficulty to adapt to a different solar pattern? I am still surprised by the length of sun rise and set!
3) We lack communication, in particular real presence, the one sheep are perfectly able to give to each other and that we depreciate so much!
The best working anti-addiction strategies/programs use connection and they say “The reverse of addiction is not sobriety, it is connection.”
That’s also to be found in the kundalini, representing the vagus nerve along the spine, as we have one sympathetic pathway and TWO parasympatheticc pathways… One is well-known, relaxation, rest and digest, and one is not known to also be in balance, and it is called “social engagement”…
Any child and ex-child with memory knows it: the flu and fever is much easier to stand when mom is just sitting silently on one’s side, and it gets harder when nobody is there. It is also harder if the presence is not what it should (just a loving presence, not trying to do anything).
Actually we know it, but the coming up to the awareness has been kept down with a cork since we are able to talk and understand verbal language. When we talk several language, we understand better that translating is more than about one word for the other!
PS: On this:
“…Android/Google is no better. I dumped the iPhone here in Thailand over a year ago in favor of a $300 phone. Basically same shit.
Next move will be to just go burner. I’ve actually looked into burner phones that take a sim card, as I’ve had the same cell number since 1993…”
It is possible to minimise intrusions and other crap on the Android platform – pick a device here:
https://wiki.lineageos.org/devices/ – buy a used one, then install LineageOS without gapps (Google) and only use Free/Open Source software on it:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-Droid – then you are unlikely to have any backdoors, you can still check email and browse on the road, etc.
Now, of course, the reasonable citizen says: “I have nothing to hide”. Perhaps not, but why don’t you help build a community of freedom and join the crusade to help those freedom fighters who do have something to hide?