I often hear ‘we are all one, we are all connected‘ as some kind of optimistic mantra. I believe it to be true, it is the fundamental truth of the cosmos. But it is not exactly optimistic.
If we are all connected, then what I am is partly what my culture is. I have no choice in the matter; what is out there is in here. It is quite evident to me, one who has always been an outcast, a ‘failure’ and even an exile from society that things out there are unhealthy, dangerous and stained with generations of evil. But we are all connected – those things that I oppose are absorbed into me.
The values of an abusive family, of hierarchy and entitlement, violent masculinity and battered femininity – I don’t want it engrained in me, but here it is thirty years on. The values of a shallow, materialistic, sex-obsessed culture which prizes competition and possession over the continued existence of life on earth – it is shallow and vapid but I judge and loathe myself according to its shitty values. Even on a smaller scale the pathetic contest of friends or acquaintances for social power and acceptance – I feel like I need to somehow be involved, and that such things are right. But I know these things are wrong and horrid, but they are not mine to choose. They are there inside, lurking like demons. Even a stone can absorb what it is surrounded by, so imagine how vulnerable we creatures of flesh are.
This is why self-knowledge is so essential; if we can find where something comes from, we can achieve some awareness of it and reduce its power. But I do not believe we can achieve much alone, nor even with the help of an enlightened witness or therapist. It is a cultural exorcism that is needed – the worst values of humanity need to be extracted from us and scorched in cleansing flame. We do not need the mass-violence and mass-death that is awaiting us, we just need to be cleansed on the inside, such that the worst demons no longer even register as a possibility, or at least are so reduced as to be impotent.
This is not about inciting guilt in certain categories of people. It is about the ends – getting rid of all this fucking shit, and exorcizing it into the flames of history.
At this stage of my life, I do not believe we can ever be truly free from evil, we will always be scarred by the past; haunted by dreams, bad memories and associations. I may live out my years broken with no real chance of salvation, no matter what I try to do – I just do not know. Yet what we can do for certain is cleanse society of evil for the next generation – they are the ones who have a chance of true freedom. This is not to say we should live only for them and neglect ourselves. It is to say that we have the power to give them much better lives than we had, and this should be one of our first priorities.
Our all being connected is not, of course, a negative thing. It is our reason for being and its realization the only way to divert the capitalist leviathan from its destructive onslaught of nature. Being connected also means feeling the love and joy of others, the satisfaction and comfort, and our being open and sensitive to others is ultimately worth it. I merely wish to expound upon how vulnerable we are to what we do not believe in.
The self is much deeper than what you say you are.