Sexually In/Active

There seems to be a power that people gain when they are sexually active. What is it?

A unique brand of social approval and protection. A sense of achieved liberty in, what is supposedly, a liberated society.

Seemingly, ‘sexual energy’ meaningfully expressed can increase the lives of those involved. And it is, in platitudes at least, something everyone can find if they look hard enough.

The trouble is, people who are given sexual power and attention seldom recognize their privileges. What cannot be universalized, is universalized. Desirability is as tied in to class, status, economics, race, and so forth, as any other privilege or oppression.

What if you can only be inactive? Attractiveness is not equal, nor is confidence or mental well being; essential to having a sexuality.

The energy still exists, even in frustration. Yet energy must have some expression. Could it be that frustration is a font of energy which can be channeled anywhere, a constant motive to forward motion? This may be the saving grace of a lonely savant.

To be inactive in our ‘liberated’ society is seen as repression or a poorly made choice. But some people do not have a choice.

The need to be constantly active, or perceived as successful, is itself an oppression.

Why can’t consensual sexuality between adults be treated as value-neutral, rather than an ideal propped over and above our lives?

To cast off chains of actual repression is essential, but to replace it with competition and status anxiety is throwing out the bathwater, the baby and the bath.

A hundred paths to freedom?

Imagine two scenarios.

In the first scenario Jack stands upon a plain, which reaches off into the far horizon. Leading out beneath his feet are a hundred paths. He can see nothing but the plains and the thin little roads leading off to nowhere.

In the second scenario Jack stands at the top of a commanding hill. He is at a crossroads: the path to the north leads into the forest. The path to the west leads to the mountains. The path to the east leads to the coast. The path to the south leads back to where he came upon the plains.

Who is more free?

In the first scenario Jack has a hundred potential pathways. He has a dizzying array of choice. But he knows nothing of where they lead. The paths simply lead off across the empty plains. There are no point of reference or landmarks, making his return to the crossroads all but impossible.

In the second scenario Jack has only four directions he can go. But he is stood upon a hill and can see where the paths lead. This gives him some idea of what lies ahead. He may not be a woodsman, but he knows what to expect from the forest. Trees, streams, birds, folks living in cabins, maybe a bear or two!

Despite the seeming lack of choices in the second scenario, the freedom Jack has is greater. His choices have more context and have more meaning. He can make an informed decision. And if the forest does not work out he can always back track to the hill and try a different direction.

The first scenario is more like a nightmare. It is flat and featureless. With no context to those hundred choices, Jack will have to choose one at random. This might be exciting and ‘adventurous’ at first, but it will quickly grow tiresome and anxiety-inducing.  As the paths lead nowhere, what is the difference between them? They might as well all be the same.

These are idealized scenarios, thought-experiments to get our minds thinking. But they are not merely abstract mind-games. The society of individualistic values and consumer nihilism is more like the first scenario. For instance there are hundreds of TV channels, but they are mostly awful. The promise of quality is false – advertising cuts programmes into three and wastes hours of your life each week; producers have to constantly churn out shows to meet voracious demand, so the quality is low. A hundred paths, but they all lead nowhere.

It is possible to have genuinely meaningful choices in life, but these require context and purpose. This should be our criteria of liberty – ‘meaningful liberty’. We should do away with any notion of ‘maximizing liberty’ as some indicator of moral good. It is hardly better than tyranny to live in a meaningless society.

So where do we find meaning?

Many of the things that are part of our ‘destiny’, things we do not choose, give us a massive sense of meaning. They are a context around which to build our lives. I think of my old friend, a philosopher of great ability, who sticks by Spurs FC through thick and thin.  As goes the tradition, you find the nearest football club to where you were born and then you support them. You do not ‘choose’ a team, it is given to you. Meaning and belonging is found within that context.

Likewise with your family. Your first relationships are with them. This has a massive shaping effect on your later relationships, even if you do not consciously realize how. It is a lifelong journey of discovery to work through these depths and there are no easy answers. But we do not choose our blood-family. Would we be better off if we did? Would the term family be able to maintain its meaning if we did?

And we can pull back further. The society we are born into and dependent upon, the culture that has been created for us, the first languages that we speak; these are part of our ‘destiny’, not of our choice. Yet without them we are nothing. Meaning comes when we realize that our choices effect not only ourselves, but also other people. To find meaning in society we must realize how our choices and desires are patterned by society – our dreams and aspirations do not emerge out of thin air. Knowing the sources of ideas, we can understand the forces that shaped who we are. Knowing humility, we can then create things for others as much as for ourselves; to live for others as much as we live for ourselves. Someone isolated from society, in an individualist bubble, can find no meaning. They are at the hundred empty pathways, every single one leading nowhere. Every adventurer they meet on those paths is going nowhere.

And then we can pull back even further, for society is dependent on Nature for its survival. Without the living world, we could not exist. The ultimate challenge of meaning goes beyond our lives, beyond our civilizations. It is to discover our place in nature, how our culture interacts with it, how we live sustainably within it to ensure a living world for future generations. This is our ‘destiny’.

Our deepest connection to nature is coded into us, evolving with every generation, yet continuous, leading back to some impossibly distant history which should lead us to nothing less than awe. The seasons and cycles of nature, the creatures which populate the environment around us, the plants and trees; all in incredible variety and multitude. We could not, given all the faculties of our minds, create a more enthralling landscape which can satisfy that natural urge to belong to something real and greater than us.

This is what is meant by the four paths upon the hill. The scope of choice is not so large, yet this is why those choices are comprehensible and have meaning. Where they lead is more clear, what they are is visible. Embracing our finitude and the parts of us that are determined is the key to meaningful liberty. And let us also give liberty its due, for what freedom we can have, we ought to have.

Jack shrugged his shoulders, hoisted on his pack and headed for the coast. He always wanted to try going on a fishing ship and with Spring a few weeks away, this was his chance.

Low-energy being, the Parasite, inner conflict

I have been seeing myself as a ‘low-energy’ being these last few years. I am surrounded by active creatures who can rush from place to place, miss a night’s sleep and not be wiped out for the next week, fill their schedules and carry out routines.

Ah, these are the normal-energy people to whom I am in comparison low-energy?

I don’t normally have ‘epiphanies’, but very recently I realized that perhaps my low-energy is not due to a lack of capacity, but that my capacity is constantly drained. As such, taking on new things or doing normal-people things is just too much strain and the system shuts down. The psyche is processing constantly and all the while made anxious by a hostile society, further hampering its processing. Perhaps a degree of ignorance is required to get through it, a mask I simply cannot don so ‘late in the game’ of life. So it must be lived with and dealt with.

This force I have come to personify as the Parasite. There is something which constantly sucks and feeds away at the soul, a force which holds back and prevents rapid growth or moving forward.

But this raises the further question of what is this Parasite and where did it come from? There are definitely social forces at work, values which exalt some people and not others. The effect is something like a parasite – all other things being equal, for a person of my complexion to take a step forward will be harder than for something with a more ‘favourable’ complexion. Likewise people raised with more favourable entitlements, opportunities and expectations will be much more prepared for ‘success’ when they don their smart shoes and step into the soulless world of professionalism.

But I would not stop at prejudice, class and tribalism. That would be to mask another thing the Parasite feeds on – inner-conflict. I believe this inner-conflict to be the loss of much psychic energy, with little to no gain. For years the demands to be loving and forgiving toward abusive people was a great contradiction and waste of energy. A duty fostered by deeply instilled guilt, but also genuine need for suffering people. My empathy and magnanimity is what keeps Parasite alive, I cannot tear it away from me nor tear myself away from it. This pity is a strong source of the conflict. The human psyche is a mystery even to those of us who wish to know it, and the confrontations demanded by the deepest wounded child are the hardest challenge imaginable. But this seemingly unresolvable problem is the cause of endless, enervating conflict.

Where does this black pain come from? Once you are ‘enlightened’ you realize that emotions are ‘psycho-logical’ and that the primal pain you have to carry is forced there from an early age. But what is behind that abuse? More abuse, stretching back into history. But how far can it stretch back and where does it ‘come from’ to begin with?

The suffering we endure and that is forced onto people, abusers and abused and all alike, is an element of nature itself. It is there and it is inevitable, waiting to be inflicted upon things that live. Just as a lie spreads half way around the world before the truth catches up with it, a being suffers a thousand wounds before it even starts to process a single one.

But some of us cause less damage than others. Some of us learn from our mistakes and place onto the scales of balance a greater degree of nurturance. I do not wish to promote a determinist message when I am somewhere between ‘fate’ and ‘freedom’.

We are not doomed to cause ‘evil’ just because it is an inevitable part of nature. To survive being subsumed by that immense force often means going against the grain – against a false family history painted by idealism, against an archaic society that is always a century or so behind, against dogmatic power and the false truths of institutions, against the small percentage of dangerous and deluded psychopaths who stain the fabric of humanity.

To be good and to do good is often an immense and unrewarded burden. But it is still worth it, for without good there would be no reason for a moral being to live in this world. And we can always choose the good, all of us, even if we feel a hateful resentment and will to destroy everything around us.

We will always be flawed and make mistakes, but what can change a man’s intention but himself?

 

 

The man under the railway bridge

There is a man who lives under the railway bridge leading to the busy high street.

All of his possessions are pushed against a wall and his mattress takes up about a third of the walkway. Curiously I was thinking yesterday that if it were me, I would put the mattress against the wall and my things as a kind of barrier. But maybe they would blow away or be kicked by passers by.

The man under the railway bridge has no safety barrier around him when he sleeps. You can look in on him, down from a bus window or directly there. He has no defences against other people’s eyes, no separation or privacy from the outside world.

The fumes from the buses must be poisoning him and the harsh outdoor weather slowing draining him and the light pollution denying him true rest and recovery.

What must have befallen such a person to lead them to this situation? I cannot know what he thinks or feels, whether he is fleeing something, whether he would rather be out there than in some place worse. But I cannot imagine it being a good situation.

If he is a musician he cannot keep his guitar in good order, if he is a baker he cannot work his hands on the dough, if he is a athlete he can’t keep his fitness high, if he is a teacher he cannot order his mind or keep to a schedule.

Whatever this man may have been, he is in a place where that potential is not realized. Somewhere along the way, enough people have failed him and the system has failed to catch him – or deliberately let him fall.

I hope the man who lives under the railway bridge is picked up by the two great, warm hands of society and given walls to protect himself, refind himself, counsellors to talk him through whatever needs to be spoken or just to be there in moments of desperation and friends enough to give him something to live for.

I hate this callous system, its economics and its deranged values. Those at the very ‘top’ must have gouged-out hearts and atrophied souls to allow for, or even cause, so much suffering both to their fellow man and to nature itself.  It must be a heavy burden on them, all that power, all that real suffering they cause.

That is the real tragedy here – all that suffering is for nothing. It does not teach our souls or take us on some spiritual journey. There are people who are forced to suffer, it is immoral and it needs to stop.

The Alienated Man (finds his home)

I am not alone.

Naturally alienation goes hand to hand with isolation, but it is not true.

I am feeling the extent of my socialization, how far I have fallen into the pit.

The malaise inside me, the toxic poison, is spread far and wide.

It is one thing to know it intellectually, but this is still an isolating experience. The intellect is in me, I go round and round in it.

But after reading the ‘manifesto’ of another alienated young man, I really started to feel that is was not just about me.

Low self-esteem, sexual frustration, humiliation, abuse, neglect, isolation, no belonging, no tribe, no purpose… this is the life of a lone outcast. It is the promise of a painful, lonely, unfortunate life.

Attraction to someone, romantic or otherwise, is not purely an individual matter. It depends on being identified with a tribe or community. The alienated male is the ultimate outsider, he doesn’t belong to anything. This is what repulses people from him, not necessarily his own character. But alienation is all he knows, the sweet sense of belonging given or earned by others not yet his, or not enough to nullify the dangerous darkness and resentment bred by wasted, lonely years.

Not all alienations are the same. I feel much distance from other alienated males, who often see no further than their own shadow. My alienation is partly productive – a distancing from a sick and destructive society, and the evils of patriarchy. I am glad I do not fit in, to a degree. This does not make my alienation healthy or righteous – I am yet to find my tribe, the collective that will enable real change and real struggle to happen.

But perhaps I, as a total ‘loser’ in the eyes of society, am perfectly equipped to engage with questions of alienation, drag myself out of this dark pit and maybe encourage others to do so also.

It really feels like I am finally going somewhere, coming to realize the patterns which have caged me. I want to scream and lash out – not to hurt people, but certainly to express the power of my feeling to those who are doing the hurting!

If only men could express themselves more freely and without guilt, how much less suicide and murder there would be. If only we put the blame where it truly lay, upon the shoulders of patriarchal giants who watch us ‘lesser’ beings be destroyed at their feet, who laugh and humiliate down at us. If only we dared challenge the polite society which allows people to fall through the net, distributes wealth and opportunity unequally, disconnects us from the world, ruled by insanely short-termist, stupid bickering politicians and nihilistic businessmen. When there is an explosion of violence or a suicide, these motherfuckers have blood on their hands.

It is no law of the universe that a percentile of men will be fucked up, alienated and vulnerable. We can have a society far less violent and far less deranged if we wanted it. Perhaps people are afraid of the void, of realizing how pointless their labours are, afraid to aspire to anything better than the nihilism of spiritually dead capitalism.  But by daring the dark tunnel of truth we can come out into a world better than this one.

That is to all the people who said I was a cynic all these years! The ‘cynicism’ was necessary to break chains, now I am free, terrifyingly free, to dive deep into myself and the cosmos and emerge, flawed and never-complete, but still empowered enough to howl in rage at the prison we have created for ourselves, and howl for freedom for all.

The unimaginative masses who couldn’t see beyond capitalism, the underachievers who conform to earthly power for fleeting pleasures, the unambitious workers who gave up their dreams to step onto the treadmill and escape themselves – the multiplication of all these short-fallings is the slow death of the world itself! Just ask the climate scientists, and just look at the dispossessed figures on every high street.

But I do not want to paint a dark picture of gloom, because I do not believe it! There are lots of good people out there, good people with good hearts striving for the right kind of change.  Connecting with them is the short-term solution to alienation, and together with them we can build the long-term solution of post-capitalist society.

The alienated, frustrated, lost and lonely male need not be so for long. He can mature, challenge the misogyny around him for something uplifting and magnanimous, he can find the love he seeks once he dares look deeply into himself, learns to laugh at his contradiction, sees women as human beings rather than ‘angels and whores’, realizes that sex and power is not an elixir of self-completion. He does not need to compare himself to ‘alpha’ males or entitled, enabled white middle-class this, that and the others. We can free ourselves from these ‘ideals’ whenever we want, for those ideals are based on an othering, and othering is always a violent affair. Only the most malicious of humanity who benefit from othering and trampling others might want such a system – fuck them!

Two fingers up at the patriarchy, and then a hammer for its heart!

Lets go back into our feminism and our socialism, but also remember that an advocacy for men is necessary and nothing to be guilty for, so long as it avoids the landmine strewn hells of misogyny which stain this movement for recognition. Men need advocacy and can learn much from (the saner-strains of) feminism!

We can rise again! Alienation is just a passing phase, belonging awaits all creatures of nature and spirit, which we inevitably are.

There might always be some void inside us, some capacity to feel alienation and distance from the world around us. I believe this to be a painfully necessary evolutionary adaptation, to prevent society from solidifying too much, or going fucking insane without anyone to say ‘hold on, this is fucked, lets change it’. And further, I believe that like all creatures of the cosmos we face a nature of beauty but also terror, and that all beings experience some degree of naturally occurring coldness and anxious void at our ambivalent situation.

But the great void cannot be endured forever, we need to get a hold on it and regulate it. Cynicism and distance are necessary but must be tempered with intimacy, the intimacy we all need as bio-spiritual creatures.

My own days of alienation must come to an end!

Why?

Why were my childhood years destroyed by two abusive guardians?

Why do I have to deal with regular self-esteem collapse?

Why do I have to shut down and monitor suicidal thoughts all the time?

Why do I have to endure a life void of love or romance?

Why is who I happen to be seen as less valuable than others by a racist ideology? 

Why does morality protect the people who are guilty, but not the innocent?

Why do I have to relive traumatic episodes?

Why do I have to live with insomnia and chronic lack of energy?

Why do I have to cope with alienation from society?

Why do I have to live with the rejection that follows all of this?

Clearly the world is not balanced, and certainly not fair. There are some people for whom none of the above questions are ever asked. And some even more unfortunate people for whom life is worse.

There must be some kind of regulatory principle to account for this, to balance people’s stories. We cannot just leave society laissez faire and expect any kind of meritocracy to be established.  Leaving things be means perpetuating an ever worsening inequality of opportunity.

Some people start with an immense view of the world from the top of a hill, others start in a gutter filled with immense hurdles. Whether people succeed or fuck up is ultimately up to them, but how much harder is is to be something if you are emotionally crippled, living in constant poverty and fear of destitution, drained and trapped in your own body by extreme and disturbing emotion.

I do not want all of the shit that happened to me to stop me from reaching a place of thriving. I want support to flourish in spite of it. Society either needs to give more support and balance the books, or something will snap in all the people like me, and the outcome will force the issue.

The need for Exorcism

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.

Mental illness is a weapon of Power

Power does not like dissidents. Theresa Mays do not like activists and artists, idealists and innovators. Theresa Mays like power. Power needs a way to neutralize dissidents, and in the West this cannot be done with brute force so openly. So power instead uses despair, depression, anxiety as a weapon. Power lets the ghettos it creates do the dirty work. The human cost is immense, their hands appear clean.

Theresa Mays do not want you to be well of mind. These fucked-up soulless people want the well we drink from to be poisoned. It is not enough that their souls are spent in moral underachievement, they must pass on their spiritual disease to everyone else.

You might think that the more the system pushes down the more people will rise up, but this is utterly false. Disempowered, depressed, downhearted people will not strive for change. The riots we saw in London earlier in the decade were a childish lashing out of despair – they were not a rising up for change. Most of the oppressed will take out their anger on whoever is around them, within the cages of the estates they are forced to live on, within the abusive families they are forced to grow up in (I can tell you all about this one for sure), within the broken social systems they are surrounded by. It is people who are well of mind, confident, educated, intelligent, with their heads above the noxious smoke of capitalism who have the power to instigate change.

So the Theresa Mays want  you to be as fucked up and hopeless as possible, hooked on a cocktail of drugs and false hope to cope. You need only be capable of following orders, expending yourself on productivity, waging wars and turning a blind eye to injustice. What happens after your time in the office matters nothing, by then you are useless to them. What happens after you have ticked a box and cast your bullshit vote for some disconnected twat is immaterial to them. None of this requires you to be emotionally healthy, to follow the simple creed ‘know thyself’. We live in a cynical machine.

And a cynical person is an obedient one. They don’t believe change is possible, they will tow the line however much they intuitively know it is wrong. A despairing person is immobile, an anxious person easily controlled and desperate.

Depression is not treated by the system, it is overruled by it. Medication is prescribed, the sad soul is deemed to be a case of ‘chemical imbalance’ or individual malaise, rather than what it really is: a psycho-logical reaction to an entropic system which is destroying itself, disconnecting people from nature, a war against the imagination.

Power may not be the direct cause of mental illness in every case, but it will use it to its advantage in every case. There is no real treatment available for depression and anxiety for a very good reason. Your sadness is their growth and your despair is their hope. The system wants you to destroy yourself – either in service to it, or in the alienation  that comes from struggling against it. The system is inimical to life, beneficial only to a tiny minority. Forget about relativism and atheism and nihilism and all of this weak-hearted  bullshit – we are facing evil. There is evil in this world, something undeniably malign and insane. The worst slave morality known to mankind, where the slaves themselves will keep the wheels turning because to stop is to face a stark reality. And some people would rather die, or see everyone else slowly killed, than do that.

I can try to take a more balanced view of things, write in a more nuanced fashion. The system still provides some free support, it has not completely decayed from the days when you had half-decent housing and a NHS which seemed to give a shit. CBT for instance is still available to everyone, at least in a limited way. You can get some good from this mental training, even if it is poised toward the interests of evil. But the fact remains that this discipline does not serve to make healthy people; it is still a warped intention. It strives to make stoic, obedient drones who know not themselves, still caught in the hive, still lacking in imagination! How can the system which encourages mental illness possibly attempt to heal you?

There is not much nuance to it – the Theresa Mays want you by the balls or dying a slow death.

 

Imbalance

How is it fair that I, and others in a similar situation, have to deal with depression, anxiety, rage, post-traumatic symptoms, low energy, and others do not?

Why was it the case that I had to suffer abuse from childhood, and now have to cope in a society hostile to the ‘unproductive’ and the vulnerable, where others grew up in a supportive and encouraging environment?

Clearly there is no equality and no balance in this world.  Not all are born equal – none are born equal.

Should I believe in equality when it is a viewpoint which ignores the humiliation and pain I had to suffer, and continue to suffer into a humiliated adulthood? Should I suffer  the insult of having to treat abusers as equally valuable and valid human beings?

I cannot have the life promised others, one of being loved, needed and belonging to a worthy social category. It seems that the one consolation I can have, to reach some kind of savanthood through the creative will, a rising above the mediocrity celebrated by the ‘normal’, is demonized in the name of a dogma with no relevance or place in the natural world.

Equality is a rare thing, an earned thing between true friends and great minds. It is a place we attain only after a great journey; it is a beautiful realization made only when we rise above the ego in those moments of transcendence and see the sheer enormity and linked nature of the cosmos. To apply it en masse as some moral dogma is insulting to the human spirit – especially to those who are promised but cannot attain.

Perhaps we will someday reach balance, and societies will account for the destruction caused to some and not to others, showing them the understanding (and love if it is something they care for) they need to truly be on an equal others.

But as it stands now it is an insulting dogma, something that is not true and yet stands like a temple of truth before us.

What little uniqueness and skill I have managed to carve out in a life of horrific circumstances is all I have to maintain the broken esteem of a broken man. It seems cruel to me for someone to try and take that away, to take me back down to the level of those who tore the cavities of my soul out.

I do not understand how we can claim any kind of equality can exist in this world. When I see those who don’t have to constantly re-live childhood trauma I consider their lives extremely easy indeed.

What can they possibly have to complain about?

 

The survival of our species depends on…

Isn’t it insane that we are hurtling toward catastrophic climate change, yet people seem to be going about as usual?

As a short-term survival strategy, going about the standard life of a coffee-chugging capitalist citizen seems sound. You need money to pay your rent and bills, which means you need to be constantly working to get good pay and prospects, which means you need to understand what employers are looking for and conform to these expectations, which means being involved in society’s value system.

The present capitalist system is very well rigged to make you like this. It is a hostile environment whose purpose is to make you feel anxious and afraid. Without constant “productive economic activity” you could lose your shelter, be forced to live in poor and dangerous areas, be unable to afford the luxuries which sustain your lifestyle, be thrown onto the scrapheap along with the “unproductive” worker ants.

There is always a risk of losing your material basis, as the government strips away protections and inspires ever more precarity. There is the shame of inactivity, poverty, being an outcast, or simple boredom (and all of the existential angst that comes from it), hanging over our heads. This makes it seem logical and sensible to conform to the system, even as it gradually serves us less and less. The warped and toxic value-system of our society promotes mindless conformity and hurtling-juggernaught growth over considered choices and gradual, creative growth (it might have some elements of enlightenment, and perhaps some people do what they genuinely love to enrich the soul of man, but we are talking about the masses).

So in the short-term, it makes sense to be a conforma-drone. I imagine that most people don’t know any different from their lives as exploited proletarians, whose biggest offering to society is the sale of their labour to larger, more powerful entities. If they do know of alternative ways of life, it is as an intellectual exercise, an “utopian ideal” which is all well and good, but cannot get in the way of all this labour-selling and moral underachievement.

But in the long-term, there is no species survival in it. The sum  total of the “its just my job” people, all of the “I have a mortgage to pay” people, all of the “my boss might fire me” people and all the “I don’t have a choice” people is a dystopian hell. If the world was left in the hands of such unimaginative souls, we would truly be approaching the end times.

Fortunately, the blinkered short-term thinkers are redeemed by those who see into the long-term; those who have foreseen the cliff that human civilization is hurtling towards. Such people have been around for decades. It is generally such activists and scientists who have taken risks in the short-term; the risk of destitution and humiliation, the risk of imprisonment and punishment, for the long-term survival strategy of evolving our society.

Imagine if all of those activists never took action because they had to work in a supermarket to sustain their mundane lives. Imagine if all of those climate scientists let the powerful corporations silence them, because they had to put their families and reputations above the truth. They would be as much underachievers as anyone who cannot see beyond capitalism and its destructive effects on the present, and the future to come. This is not to separate people into black and white categories of hero and drone, it is to say that most of us can, and should, rise up and strive for the true freedom which can only come in a free, equal, sustainable society.

It is not easy to think ahead – it is extremely anxiety inducing, and not always understood by people why such thinking is important. The future is unpredictable, we cannot map it out anymore than we know which way to turn in life’s labyrinth.

But we can learn from the paths we take, prepare ourselves with a shield and a big ball of wool to help protect us against danger and navigate what lies before us. We can look back on the past and learn from our mistakes, and vow to never again repeat them. Perhaps someday we will live in a world where short-term survival strategies are in harmony with the long-term, but that is a world we must earn.

We are coming to the point where we no longer have a choice but to risk a society-wide evolutionary experiment or face further catastrophe. Perhaps we are already at that point.

But thanks to the rebels (who are increasingly becoming the mainstream) I have hope that there is a future for us, and for our living world.