I read Maddox when I was a kid:
I thought it was really funny at the time, maybe a year or two before I was a vegetarian myself. "That is so funny! He thinks their suffering is meaningless, and just look at the cardboard, lifeless pictures of animals he photoshopped into a cooking pan - like he was just going to cook them like that!".
It's easy to mock vegans and vegetarians, thinking that they're refusing to eat animals just because they're cute. But of course it's not that simple.
They aren't cartoons. They don't go around making cute noises and acting cute because it amuses us. We only find the noises cute because we share in their happiness, and sympathize with it, as an evolutionary bonding mechanism; we enjoy the knowledge of their life without feeling threatened by it, as we might with a lion or a wolf - although we are more than capable of feeling the same way towards lions and wolves that we aren't afraid of, like ones we raised in rehabilitation. There are more than enough videos of people playing with lions and wolves on YouTube to prove that. They accept us as family when they're raised that way.
But the noises they make from displeasure, and pain, are, like the noises we make from the same - expressive of deep suffering, and agonizing to hear. It's not just that vegans have chosen to align themselves with happiness and sunshine and so forth - it's that that we have rejected the corruption, blackness, sickness, and moral deadness that comes with the practice of carnivorism.
So, something like 10 years after reading that Maddox article for the first time, I see it fully for what it is - a patronizing, arrogant, and stupid rationalization of his own sick beliefs.
It's easy to be patronizing when you're wrong, and somebody that doesn't understand that you're wrong may take your arrogance as confidence, as a sign that you're right. That's why it's such a shame that so many people have read that - that he's commoditized the message into a t-shirt, that gluttonous Americans can wear around to brag to others about how they're destroying their own bodies, destroying their hearts, shortening their lives, and so on, just to enjoy a taste that, when you really get down to it, is only satisfying so long as we can ignore the gritty deadness of consuming flesh. When you get down to it, the "satisfaction" that comes with it is a sort of full-stomached, sludgy, weary feeling, that leaves you tired for the rest of the day - tired all the time, really.
This morning, for contrast's sake? I took an avocado - an organic one - cut it in half, ate the smaller half right out of the avocado, and then spread the bigger half of one of two slices of whole wheat bread. I put about 10 halved cherry tomatoes on top of it, and then put two Tofurkey "fake turkey" slices, with "Vegannaise" spread on top of them, on the other half - and then finally, I put a bunch of salad mix dark greens in between them - from "Earthbound Farms", I think. Not my top choices for greens, but I took what I could this week.
And how was it? A meat eater would reel at what I just described - it would make them think that they'd walk away hungry and unsatisfied. But now that I've adapted back to something close to my natural diet, I see it completely differently. The sandwich was bursting with life and vitalizing. It was fit for Scooby Doo, like one of those giant hoagies they used to eat in that cartoon. The avocado and Vegannaise gives it the really satisfying feeling somebody might try to replace with meat, along with the nice, slightly salty "Tofurkey" slice - while the tomato and greens just absolutely bring it to life. Fresh, raw tomatoes - unlike the cooked tomato sauce Americans like to use on lasagna, pizza, ziti, etc. - have an amazing vitality that makes them a total pleasure to eat, and cherry tomatoes are the most like that - as if all the spark of the bigger tomatoes has been compacted into a smaller tomato. I suspect that cherry tomatoes are the more natural variant, but i'd have to look into that. Either way - a total departure from meat, and superior in really every way. The amazing thing about vegan "meat substitutes" is that they keep the satisfying protein-y elements of meat, and leave behind the sludgy, draining, constipating, exhausting, etc., animal fats and other harmful compounds.
So anyway - Maddox probably made, I don't know, a few hundred thousand dollars off of that.
"I can't eat meat." The four worst words to hear when you're going to a restuarant with someone. I literally cringe every time I hear those words because I know it means that we have to drive around the city for 2 hours looking for some restuarant that serves "friendly" burgers, which ironically look and taste exactly like hamburgers--which vegetarians object to eating because it's either A) gross or B) murder. If it's so gross, then why go out of your way to eat something exactly like it, asshole? It's funny how vegetarians suddenly stop bitching about murder as soon as you point out their fancy leather belt or shoes, or that they drive a car and use electricity which contributes to polluting the earth and contaminating everything including the precious animals that they refuse to eat.
This is really pretty brilliant, isn't it? He chose to be friends with the vegetarian, ignored their warnings about what he was doing to himself, and ignored their warnings about the suffering he was causing. He complains about "veggie burgers", which were designed to appeal to help people like him, who, should they become vegetarians, would have to try to get over their psychological conditioning for the consumption of meat, that's taught them to rely on it as a dietary staple. He points out some imagined moral contradiction in vegetarians who wear leather belts and shoes (i've met a lot of vegetarians, but none of those...). He thinks electricity and automobile use make it so that, since they are causing some kind of indirect harm in their lives, it becomes pointless to try to stop some other kind of harm they're causing. As if vegetarians are the people we should be blaming for the corruption and corporate domination that makes us so reliant on oil and gas, as opposed to the other easily accessible energy sources. We aren't the ones who made everything boil down to "dollars and cents", pocketing all the profits from gas taxes and gas price hikes, or who invaded Iraq to secure a nice cheap oil supply, spilling oil all over the earth, just to support the economy. The economy that says we have to drive to our job raising corn and grain for cattle, and then drive to our second job feeding that corn and grain to the cattle, and then slaughtering them to eat their flesh - all while people around the world starve because all the agricultural output got tied up in feeding cattle. We're importing food in this country from all over the world, while people there starve! Of course it's the fault of vegans & vegetarians, the people who consume the least resources to eat, that we're destroying nature to satisfy our appetites.
And to top it all off, he hasn't even looked at the menu of an average restaurant. Besides Joe's Steakhouse in Slaughterhouse, Indiana, just about every restaurant has vegetarian and even vegan options on the menu, especially if you just ask them to hold the non-vegan parts. The better restaurants are the ones that already have that sensibility, in spite of what somebody, who's been trained to recognize French slaughter-and-sear cooking as the pinnacle of deliciousness, might think. A good chef - and especially, a compassionate chef - knows that plant and fungi products are the basis of good, truly satisfying, healthy food.
Food satisfaction, in spite of what a lot of people think, isn't just how you feel during and 5 seconds after eating a meal - it's half how satisfied you are with your condition, your physique, your vitality, your senses - and half how satisfied you are from eating a meal for days after. Learning to understand and respect that balance is vital to maintaining balance in your life, without which you are guaranteed to live less happily, and for a shorter amount of time.
What is it with this society, that every idiot who can stand on top of a soap box thinks that everybody needs to hear every thought he's having? And worse yet, that so many people give them attention when they do? People have limited patience, you shouldn't waste their time filling their heads with garbage. The biggest shame is that so many people over the years read his words and were influenced by them.
These people are our role models? When it's down to Maddox and Glenn Beck, it's no wonder everyone's a blowhard asshole.
This is MY site, and MY blog - I can post whatever I want! What a feeling.
I am a full vegan, after 10 years of wishy-washiness and confusion.
People who don't understand the pain we humans impose on animals - or just mock or laugh about it - are among the most blinded people there are. These are the people who are so often unable to apply those same concerns to human beings, because they've never properly been taught empathy.
Propaganda campaigns from the producers of meat have neglected to mention that the animals they raise for slaughter and consumption are raised in warehouses, while they experience consciousness much on par with our own, meaning that they essentially spend their entire lives in filthy, diseased concentration camps, painfully aware of every moment of suffering and the deep sense that there is something profoundly alien and unnatural about what they're being subjected to - that there's something they're being denied. At least one element of what they're being denied is immediately obvious to them - the ability to MOVE. Imagine being unable to turn around for your entire life! It's unthinkable - beyond horrible. Try that for 20 minutes to see how much fun it is.
All too often, the excruciating, blinding, infinite suffering of animals is simply dismissed in a hasty rationalization for personal enjoyment - and not even something permanent, but a fleeting instant of enjoyment that, when accumulated, leads to dramatic personal suffering for the meat consumer.
In fact, this is the nature of all greed that leads to domination - a hasty, greedy decision, at the expense of others, very rarely has all of its consequences understood.
And as for the suffering of the animals?
Really, in general, one of the worst curses in life is having to live your life within boundaries set by others, as opposed to boundaries set by nature and good sense - whether you're a human or animal (as if there's a difference between the two). The tighter the boundaries, the worse the experience - but in all of the cases, you are denied the ability to live life on your own terms, and are subject to the whims of somebody else - in essence, denied control over your own life. A "no skipping class" regulation in a high school is a light example of this, but in the context of a slaughterhouse, the exercise of control grows extremely more dramatic, and extremely less rational. Animals will be routinely abused for simple refusal to obey their future slaughterers, or often, for no reason at all but cruelty. The animal perceiving this cannot possibly read any sense into it - their entire life becomes a series of events of uncontrollable, nonsensical suffering.
It is not even as though the meat/dairy/etc. Producers have sought to ensure that the animals remain healthy through this hell they're subjected to - their concern is strictly monetary, and applies only to what the market perceives of the quality of their meat. Meat from these places is cooked, not eaten raw, and predictably, little evidence of the diseased state of the animal it was taken from remains past its cooking. Active infections and rotting of the meat, which certainly have taken hold at some point during the life of the animal, and its slaughter and transport, are simply heated until they are no longer in an active state, leaving behind only burnt chemical traces of the infestation, and the decreased nutrition and likely chemical contamination of the meat (hormones, ammonia, etc.) - on top of the already poor nutrition that meat offers. For the small portion of the market that raises "humane" meat - as if it is humane to cut a living being down in the prime of its life - the living conditions, besides the early death, are marginally better - at least resembling the quality of life they would experience in the wild, with the attacks by natural predators being replaced by scheduled, systematic attacks on their friends and family by slaughterhouse workers.
Recognizing these facts, I finally woke up all the way, and saw meat consumption and dairy consumption not as delicious things we can enjoy, not as nutritional necessities that we are forced to eat, not as a God-given gift to men in the form of meat-giving animals, that just cry out in pain because Satan is trying to trick us, or whatever it is that meat-eating "Christians" believe nowadays. I saw meat consumption as a form of psychological infancy, where we try to satisfy our own feeling of misery (a natural result of us failing to live in a reality detached from soulful contact with others) by consuming the lives of innocent animals, who would MUCH rather be alive. I saw dairy consumption as another form of infancy - a failure to ever wean from natural HUMAN milk, which leads somebody to pay an industry to literally pry baby cows away from their mothers and steal the milk they would have consumed.
And the nutritional arguments? I can say after looking into all of them - there isn't a valid nutritional argument in favor of eating meat. "Protein" is the most usual claim - "where do you get your protein?" - but in reality, vegetables offer enough protein, without supplementation, to meat recommended dietary guidelines (between 5-10% of caloric intake). The same can be said of fruit.
The usual suspect nutrients - iron, potassium, calcium, etc. - these are highly present in a vegan diet. It barely even deserves mention, it's so well established. Seeds, fruits, and greens in particular are extremely nutritious in all of these. It seems to be the case that salad dressing helps in their digestions, because those nutrients aren't particularly fat-soluble - plus, it does make it tastier.
Vitamin B12 is the only one people even seem to have any trouble with. It is said that we must get it from eating meat/cheese, or we won't get it at all (question: where did the herbivores get it to begin with?). The natural sources seem unusual to us - nutritional yeast, seaweed, or bacteria living on dirt, to name a few. Cows eat dirt all the time, enough to promote growth of B12-producing bacteria in their gut, but as civilized humans, we prefer to eat a little less dirt. We are very lucky to have that luxury of running water, that lets us eat so cleanly, after all. So what should we do?
Drink some vitamin B12-fortified vegetable milks - soy milk, hemp milk (my favorite), rice milk, almond milk (also a favorite). They supply you with necessary proteins, vitamins, and essential fatty acids, without subjecting you to the hormonal drugging, antibiotic residues, and toxic dairy proteins and fats present in animal milk. Take a B12 supplement. Chew B12 gum. It's not even remotely difficult.
They say that veganism - with its 10-20 year improvements in life expectency, its huge drop in cancer rates, obesity rates, and heart disease rates - is unnatural because we like to get vitamin B12-fortified vegetable milks instead of of eating dirt or animal corpses! Sometimes it's hard to believe how stupid people willingly make themselves just to rationalize something they think they want to do. And I say they "think" they want to do it, because they really don't understand what they're committing themselves to. Its like signing a contract with a landlord that says he can change the rent whenever he wants - you didn't really agree to what was going to happen, because you didn't know. You just made a guess. People who engage in the consumption of animal products exist in a sort of undefined state of confusion, where they watch everyone around them, gluttonously consuming animal babies" milk and animal flesh, developing terminal diseases and growing obese, but misattribute the problem to simply "sedentary lifestyles" or "too high standard of living".
The misery of modern society, the denial of animal sentience, and the belief that it's ethically OK and a necessity to eat animals - that's where the gluttony of meat consumption comes from. To be vegan is to reject the practice of causing suffering for our fellow creatures on this planet, and to reject the excruciating damage it causes to our health. Living your life really healthily, and in harmony with your surroundings, requires a vegan lifestyle.
Horses and cats love each other, and they're probably the funniest pair of animals you can find being friends. Look at that picture - it's not funny to joke about eating them. We can't even stomach the idea of it. Cats are naturally carnivores, and both horses and cats are practically all muscle. The further we go on the "food chain" away from a plant-based diet, the more disgusting the "food" gets.
What is the nature of GOVERNMENT?
Personally, I went through years of political science and pre-law study. I studied history until I knew the patterns. I worked in finance, before I knew what that meant. I spoke to lawyers and veterans. I know all the political theories, from anarchofeminism to LaRoucheism. I read my Kropotkin, Marx, Rothbard, Smith, Hobbes, Dante, Virgil, Ovid, and I read my Jesus, my Buddha, my Muhammed, and my random African and Native American folklore. I heard what the idiots have to say and read what the wise men have to say. And make no mistake about it - the wisest writers in history were the ones who were able to put human behavior in the abstract, and say, this is what's right, this is what's wrong, this is what's smart, and this is what's foolish. Writers like Edgar Allen Poe or Dante tried to describe the nightmares that evil brings into our lives, while teachers like Buddha, Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr., etc., tried to show us better alternatives.
A well-informed and happy person is a well-studied person. Almost all of our problems come from ignorance, in one way or another. It's only because we accept the shape of our society as timeless absolutes that we forget their origins, and who conceived the myths our society follows.
What is going on? Why are things the way they are? What is "government" and how does it shape our society?
We have a theory about how our society works. Our theory is that we need to "pay" a portion of our society to keep everybody in line, without fail, or everything will fall into chaos. That was the first part, before the era of Franklin Roosevelt and the many other 20th century forcers-of-state-control. Now, we also say that those people, our rulers, have to make sure our economy works at all. That's the "New Deal" they gave us, in so many words. The new arrangement - how they decided the situation was going to be from then on.
Here in the U.S., just before the "New Deal", they put in their new system for micromanaging the economy - the Federal Reserve, whose entire business is to make all the money we work for grow continually more worthless. That's simply the law of supply and demand - when more money gets printed, and all the other goods stay the same in quantity, the individual units of money decrease in value relative to everything else. We could be sitting on a million dollars, but it wouldn't mean anything, because they'd just printed 3 trillion more and devalued the entire existing supply of money. That's what happens when you inflate a currency, and anyone who paid attention in high school history knows it.
And our theory, beyond those fundamentals, is that we need to be able to vote to control what this "government" portion of society spends its time doing - in order to keep them in line, and so they will help us in the absolutely perfect way, which we blindly assume is their intention at all.
We think that, because we have that power to vote, that our system is the pride of the world, and that it has the best living standard on the planet. When we're "Democrats", we think that Obama is a great politician, who just has to compromise because of stubborn Republicans, and that Bush was an incompetent idiot with too many ties to industry, and that Clinton was a great guy who they hung out to dry in a political witch-hunt because of totally private sex with a 20 year old he was having in his office.
But what is really going on with them? Past this superficial tabloid bullshit which becomes the public image of "government" - what is this thing that they're running, called "government"?
To answer that question, we have to look at the theories they use to describe why it exists. And when we do, we find the fundamental assumption of the theory of government I just described - that society has to be coerced so that some portion of the economy is guaranteed to exist - is just completely wrong. As human beings, with thought and agency, we are, plain and simple, capable of creating what needs to exist, without being forced to.
Much of the government's claim to legitimacy depends on the claim of being necessary to defend society from violence, chaos, and "terrorism". But remarkably, the so-called "Supreme Court" has the stance that police aren't even obligated to protect people - even in the event of a restraining order having been imposed on someone. It is generally within our power to defend ourselves, but contradictorily, this is a power that the "government" seeks to take away from us through arms controls, and it does so by having its lapdog media report endlessly on violent incidents like shootings, in spite of the absolutely minute impact they have compared to our real problems - starvation, poverty, disease, pollution, economic oppression, and the like. The disconnect is nearly psychotic, just an endless stream of stories about violence attacks and shock incidents - one day it's "Casey Anthony", the next day it's "Sandy Hook", the next day it's "Fort Hood". Some of the stories are extremely implausible on close examination, like in the case of Sandy Hook. Some of the stories - as in the major event of 9/11 - appear to have occurred in a way that bears virtually no resemblance to the "government" and press's narrative - strong, unbiased research in that case will conclusively demonstrate they must have been complicit with the attacks.
But regardless of the incident in question, or even who's to blame, the response is the same - the government cracks down on the population. Everything becomes a justification for the eradication of civil liberties, of privacy, of human rights.
So not only does the government reject the idea it has to protect us when it comes down to its actions, not only does it strip us of our ability to defend ourselves, but it creates an environment of constant fear in order to justify their own militarism, to influence us to fall back on them and trust them to protect us from the dangers they've created. It's diabolical, and sounds almost like the plot of a cartoon supervillain, but it's exactly what the evidence shows to be happening.
Way too often, people fall into the trap of thinking that such a worldview sounds so insane that anyone who perceives it must be imagining it. Naturally it's the opposite - the people who don't perceive it that are living in their imaginations - they take the lies that they're told and built their worldview out of them, inventing a whole theory of reality to explain their surroundings and rationalize their own behavior. Meanwhile, those derogatorily labelled "conspiracy theorists" or "anarchists" are the only ones who have exercised real analysis, with scientific rigor, to discover that our society is built on top of a lie. In the end, it's the dissidents who are forced to put up with all the scorn and hatred people can pile upon them - for warning that we're not going the right way as a society. It's a horrifying situation, and one which has been unfolding for centuries beyond count.
These functions of "government", of "protecting" society - to the degree which we even need to "protect" anything - which should be just about zero, when you consider the potential of our technology to promote abundance and education around the world - this sort of "protection" is something we can handle without their help. We are only at each other's throats to begin with because this oppressive social srtucture has made us so poor that it's become a necessity. Criminality is not some innate evil - cruelty in all its forms is something that we learn, something we acquire or adopt as a means to deal with the world around us - and the worst criminality comes from people whose hearts have been blackened from pain and suffering. That's a fact.
The police - the agents of the state, the people who use their guns, nightsticks, radios, cars, badges, uniforms, and legal trickery (and I mean "trickery") to enforce the government's "law" - do these people actually protect us? The answer is staring us in the face. More often than not, they are the people we need protection from. Even if you ignore the direct assaults on our rights that the police engage in - the random shootings of innocent people, the midnight "no-knock" raids, the shot family dogs, the political trials, the "drug war", the "open container" laws, the harassment, the fear that we must unquestioningly obey and submit to police pulling us over (lest we be subjected to a high-speed chase and possibly murdered), the tear gas, the tasers, the rubber bullets, the beanbag guns, the chemical weapons, the protest suppression, the brutality, the arrests, the abduction, the imprisonment of millions - even if you ignore all of those, what are you left with?
You're left with the fundamental function of the police - to enforce law. They are the defenders of the unjust outcome that is the shape of our society. After we have divided up the profits of our labor, and the rich have made off with the lion's share of the profits, leaving the rest of us to suffer, the police stand in between us and the rich, and tell us that they will do anything up to killing us, if we try to take back what is rightfully ours, and defend ourselves - because what the rich have done is "law".
And then - with a straight face - they tell us that they are the defenders of law and order. That they are the ones who make society peaceful and livable - that they ensure stability.
Now, this business of the rich taking the lion's share of the profits - this is the rest of the nature of "government", besides the tools of government which exist for their own amusement, and the tools of government which exist to preserve the social status quo. It is in the hundreds of thousands of pages in the endless volumes of federal law, and the millions of pages of state and local law - these endless pages and pages that no single human being has ever fully comprehended - that the true secret of our shared suffering, that the government and state have created, resides. Most of this rigging takes the form of "corporate ownership" law, corporate "regulations", "eminent domain" acquisitions and auctions by the state, subsidies of corporations, and any other tools the government has at its disposal to rig the distribution of the goods and services produced by society.
These are the rules we are made to live by. The business of Congresses, Parliaments, city councils, etc., is to decide the rules for the game that we live in. It's foolishness to blame anyone else for the outcome of the game. And the failure of that outcome is right in front of our eyes - the destruction of the environment, the destruction of our happiness, the destruction of our rights, and the subjugation and impoverishment of virtually every living thing on the planet. It is the outcome we've all been cursed with because we fell in line with the rules these vultures created.
That is the nature of government. The rulers are the people who have claimed the right to make an endlessly increasing list of rules that we must live by, and the rest of the staff of "government" are the people who are blind enough to help them. All the teachers, the firefighters, the social workers, the police, the bureaucrats, the politicians - all of them either think nothing about being paid through "public funds", or at one point told themselves that they're justified in doing it, for trying to make the world a better place - or in the worst cases, they just told themselves that it doesn't matter what they do to get ahead. It seems that once you base the ability to live in society on money, people will do next to anything to get it - even far worse things than they actually have to do!
So, with money being thought to be the ideal basis of an economy, and government employees taking their money from a public treasury, the question is, where do the public funds come from? Of course, that's from taxation. And what is taxation?
Under law, taxation is, the only form of fundraising that involves a direct threat, that's not considered illegal. In a very stark contradiction, it's both legal and illegal under the government's own laws. It's illegal under the 5th amendment, and legal under the 16th amendment. It's illegal as a RICO predicate, and as extortion and racketeering, but legal under Title 26 of the U.S. Code. It is maybe the ultimate example of an illegal act that is sanctioned by those in power, and not prosecuted.
So these members of society, who say that they're justified in taking a government paycheck - possibly because they think they're doing the right thing, but more likely, because of their own economic fears or insecurities - what is the right way to think about them?
It's simple. Imagine a lifeboat, with 20 people on it. 10 of them say, "hey, look, there are pieces of our sunken ship floating around. We can simply nail those to the lifeboat and we can all stay afloat and make it to safety". But the other 10 people don't believe them. They throw them overboard, and forcibly drown them, to save themselves, thinking otherwise they'll all sink. Money in this analogy would be their idea of the lifeboat - their fear would be that, without forcing us off of the lifeboat and drowning us, that they would be the ones doomed to sink. Money is what allows some people to excuse their wealth while others seek a way out of their poverty, because it is through money that the excuse of having "earned" that wealth privilege gains its believability. "If I have it, I must deserve it!"
And money - beyond the unfairness it exists to create - is built on a sinking foundation to begin with, because money, in our modern society, doesn't just circulate naturally - it's created and then largely distributed to banks in the bond market, who thus immediately gain an unfair advantage over the rest of society. The currency inflates every single year, but the people never see the increase - banks are the only ones who see that money. And we are left to wonder why the bankers are the richest members of society.
Our entire economy is a system - authored by our rulers in "government" - where we measure our legal wealth in numerical amounts, and where some people have learned to increase their wealth without increasing what they give. That is why the richest people in the world spend so much of their time associating with politicians - not to mention funneling money towards them. They know how the game works, because they wrote the rules, and they want the rules to be just a little more favorable to them, with each passing year.
So that is what government is. (a) People with so much avarice for mankind that they will subject everyone to hellfire just to make themselves rich, powerful, famous, or whatever else, (b) people who are stupid enough to think they're doing the right thing in "government", and (c) people who participate reluctantly. And then, all the guns and nuclear weapons and high-security buildings they've hired us private sector workers to build for them, that they use in the name of "government". It is true that there are awful criminals in the corporate world, rivalling the controllers of government - who do control corporations as well - but they are merely players in the game for which the government has written the rules.
And that is why there is an upper class and a lower class. Our society was not built with universal wellbeing as a goal - the entire structure of our society, constructed through the government's "laws", was always an attempt for the authors of the rules to benefit from the suffering of those subject to the rules. Our entire legal system dates back not only to English monarchy, but pre-A.D. Roman monarchy - so is it really surprising?
What is the natural order of the world?
Who was the one who said that natural life is nasty, brutish and short? Thomas Hobbes in "Leviathan". What other kind of quote would you expect from a privileged Englishman from the late Dark Ages (commonly known as the "Enlightenment") who got all of his patronage from the ruling class?
What are the fears of life under modern state-economic structures? It is awful. Our natural fears, all of which besides natural disaster and time itself are escapable, have been replaced with social insanity - the only escape from which is the reshaping of culture itself. Toil, pain, disease, and heartbreak, are the hardships of life. As our place on the corporate pyramid goes lower - which is so much easier for those of us with unpopular beliefs, or especially, gender, identity, or race - a single offensive word to our "boss" could bring us complete ruination. Bankruptcy, debt, bills going unpaid and our services being shut off, our credit being ruined, never being able to buy a house again. Bankruptcy itself is the legal "declaration of incompetence" - you lose the ability to control your own affairs. So our lives in society are harsh and unforgiving. Unions are crushed, so that we don't control the corporate "body" representing the profit of our own labor!
But, what about the joys of life? Love and what it carries, friendship, food, warmth, water, chemical pleasure, wind, sunshine, the direct joy of natural accomplishment (finding a patch of berries, or vegetables, or maybe the pleasure of the hunt). These are what our society supposedly is shaped to promote.
Love and what it carries
Our dominant culture - the media culture - denies or cheapens the idea of love - evidently the product of natural selection, but also one of the underpinnings of our spiritual life, something that nearly escapes scientific definition. The dominant culture of the Western world cannot admit to the full observance of one being by another, including all the moral qualities that people naturally love in each other, like honor or generosity, because our society exists on a shapeless foundation of amorality/immorality - the ruling class of our society cannot even defend the shape of our society in moral terms. Not only can they not promote love through the media they control in alignment with the promotion of their own interests, but they don't even understand the nature of love itself.
Friendship, which so often naturally occured in the pursuit of the goals of life - construction, food acquisition, or others, has all but been displaced. Our natural activities no longer exist, as they have all been mechanized and economically abstracted beyond recognition. Our lives, if they even involve these pursuits, rarely involve them in any way connected to our existence in this world. So our "friends" are the people we go and get drunk with, to forget our lives, or the people we ask for favors - at least, more often than they should be. At best, we don't develop natural friendships like animals do - our friendships come with all kinds of conditions, distances, and liabilities. We are friends with someone insofar as we've opened up our normally secret world to them, because secrecy, in this society, is the default behavior.
Modern society has extinguished true knowledge of what food is. Agriculture - especially the "modern" agriculture of monsters like Monsanto (almost an anagram of Monster, disgustingly including the word roots for "saint" and "mountain") - is a crucible of the arrogance of mankind, seeking to replace the natural growth habits of life forms which have predated us by dozens of millions to billions of years. Our efforts to that effect have FAILED miserably and completely. We actually DESTROY the very wildness of nature that has created these life forms - meaning vegetables and fungi - in an attempt to impose our failure of an interpretation of how they work, in the form of standardized agriculture. These leads to crop standardization (thus blights), soil depletion, soil erosion, irrigation (thus aquifer depletion), and to the destruction of our food supply itself. But these practices don't even end at food we're eating ourselves - the cheapest food finds its way into the mouths of our prisoner livestock population, who are not even meant to eat the foods we grow (cows do not naturally graze on corn or soy). Their health destroyed by their poor food supply, their selective breeding, their confinement in cages, we pump them full of antibiotics and antivirals to prolong their lives through the sewer pit prison environments we raise them in - not to mention the hormones we pump into their blood to increase milk supply by unnatural sexual differentiation. What we would call crimes against humanity, were they committed against humans, we call a production technique when applied to animals, because we have shut our eyes and blackened our hearts to the fact that their reality is as vivid and real as our own. And then we shoot bolts into their heads, or slit their throats, so we can feast on their dead flesh.
And what of the nutrition of milk and meat? They barely qualify as "food", as far as our bodies are concerned. Our bodies have, within our individual lifetimes, adapted to find them edible, with the presence of some nutrition in what we eat, and the fact that have a limited ability to tolerate them. But milk, in spite of its calcium content, leeches calcium from our bones, because milk and meat alike - along with starches - acidify the entire body. My suspicion is that the tendency of carnivores to eat white bread arises from the same principle, possibly due to our bodies attempting to recognize the quantity of mineral ingestion by secondary traits (such as satiation), and thus rejecting attempts to augment that mineralization from more natural sources, like whole grain or spelt flours. PERSONALLY, I've found those MUCH more enjoyable after eliminating non-vegan foods from my diet, after not being able to eat them at all before.
So our society has all but destroyed food. Some strains of natural crops remain in the wild, and remain as "heirloom" crops, often raised organically - which happen to often be some of the most nutritious and satisfying food. This nullification of real food - the "iceberg lettuce effect" - has reinforced a cultural myth for us - the idea that humans rightfully should gorge on food. We have become so blind that we no longer recognize true food as true food. Crude and imbalanced satisfactions, like the satisfaction of eating meat, have replaced the true, almost spiritual satisfactions of a plant and fungi-based diet. The collapse of our health resulting from these failures is our most obvious clue that something is wrong - our consumption of meat, dairy, refined carbohydrates, etc., is statistically tied to all manner of disease - cancer, obesity, heart disease, hygienic dysfunction, kidney/liver failures, ad infinitum. Meanwhile, vegans, and those with a diet closest to a vegan diet - say, those from Laos, or Japan, who at least have rejected most red meat - have markedly improved longevity, and almost impeccable personal health, not to mention cultures that have maintained so much more knowledge of human nature than American culture, which has degraded it to base pleasures and misled quasi-Hedonism (seeking all the pleasures in the moment, failing to plan, failing to examine's one impact, etc.).
Oil, steam, gas, wood burning HVAC. Destroying the environment, and so often, just to keep our pipes running, our couches warm. The poor can hardly afford heating, but the rich heat all of their enormous mansions, because the environmental impact - and the greed - is secondary to their personal comfort. See diffusion of responsibility.
The pollution in our water, even in the U.S., is obscene. Chlorine and fluorides, lead in city pipes, pieces of dissolved plastic, trace medications, and outright industrial pollution. Fluorides don't belong in water at all. There is the argument that fluorides in toothpastes can bind to minerals in enamel (hopefully not when the teeth are growing, when those minerals are supposed to be binding to themselves), and thus, prevent tooth decay by lowering the pH required to initiate tooth decay. Of course we can alkalinize our mouths routinely just fine - it's called brushing your teeth and eating a healthy diet. The acidity of our mouths is related to the acidity of the rest of our body, so, see back to what I wrote earlier in this post about acidification caused by poor diet. Eating nothing but lemons, limes, Coca-Cola and candy will destroy your teeth, but generally, a whole foods vegan diet promotes great bone health in general. It's hard to believe chlorine is the best way to keep our water free of bacteria - it seems to be much more intuitive to simply remove bacteria from water. In other cultures and boil our water, it can at least be said that they're not introducing poisonous chemicals to treat their water.
Enough has been written about this...marijuana and psychedelics, simply put, open the mind, and are the main focus of the government's "war on drugs". Contrast these with tobacco and alcohol, which are about as healthy as drinking rubbing alcohol and eating soot from a chimney. The government's policies on these substances is just about the opposite of one which is based on destructive potential. Tobacco in particular is like the final piece of the puzzle of self-destruction - it's like a complement to any other measure of self-destruction, whether it's gorging oneself on buffalo wings, binge drinking, or shooting up heroin.
And make no mistake - the misery of our society certainly promotes addictive drug use! Someone overwhelmed with the hardships of life will undoubtedly seek refuge at night in hedonistic pleasures. But then he or she will wake up in the morning, and the fats of 3 pounds of buffalo wings will still be coursing through their blood, and breathing will be that much more difficult with a layer of tar on top. A few deep breaths will bring out the first wad of phlegm - far from the last though, because, since the tobacco has taken such a firm hold as an addiction, it has literally pigmented the tissue of the throat and lungs, and will take MONTHS to fully expel - after which point the lungs will be hypersensitive to any more irritation - basically, the same mechanism as occupational asthma. The breathing, if the smoking has gone on long enough, will begin to flatten out the lungs and make breathing inherently more difficult, which, if the addict is lucky, will be their first hint that something has gone deeply awry with their lifestyle. As if these symptoms and diseases were not bad enough from tobacco on its own, the companies that produce it add a whole vat of chemicals in the production process, designed to do everything from promoting addiction to controlling the burn process of the cigarette. Tobacco is a serious poison. Alcohol is much the same, a long-term agent for self-poisoning - one of the more interesting descriptions I've heard of alcohol is that it "pickles" the body. The attentive will recognize the deleterious effects of alcohol and stop consuming it early on.
Those are the legal drugs - the ones we see commercials for. What of the illegal drugs? Half of them qualify as some form of medicine, psychiatric or even physical. The truly studied doctors recognize marijuana to directly kill tumors.
Opiates are powerful painkillers, but this naturally sedative analgesic (an - without, algesia - pain) has undergone so much manipulation - be it hydrocodone, fentanyl, or oxycodone - that some of its forms are a thousand times as potent, and some of its forms are actually stimulants. Its natural form is repulsive - the poppy pod, consumption of which evokes severe nausea - and it requires agricultural refinement to be palatable at all, in the form of opium - which is hardly pleasant to ingest, as I can tell you. It is only when the chemicals are systematically extracted, as through an acid base extraction, or say, through an acetic anhydrid synthesis process (as in heroin), that the chemical becomes a powerful euphoriant absent of most negative symptoms, and thus, achieves its truly addictive potential.
And this process - where in the world is its capital? I recall roughly 90% of the opiate production of the world comes from nowhere but Afghanistan - a country the ruling powers in the U.S. Decided to recently invade! And guess what happened to the heroin smuggling from Afghanistan post-invasion? Absolutely nothing at all.
Those who study politics well enough know that smuggling of the "white" drugs - cocaine and heroin - is not only allowed by the "government", but is among their primary sources of income. It was under Reagan - who FOX News is now promoting as a hero (astonishing!) that the Iran Contra scandal broke, when we found the "government" was trading drugs for arms. We found that these drugs were smuggled through an airbase in Arkansas, under William Clinton's watch - and that he not only failed to investigate it, but actually lied and evidently sabotaged the investigation into the activities at the airbase during his tenure. But, I digress. The point is simply to establish that the ruling class took over as much of the illicit drug trade as it could, and then set its dogs - the police - on the lower level henchmen.
Opiates have a therapeutic use, in a sense, but the same cannot really be said about cocaine, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, or other drugs people commonly look to for entertainment. It could be said that MDMA possesses psychologically therapeutic properties, but that's about it. These are the drugs that have been most commodified by the portion of the drug market - illicit or corporate - run by the ruling class. Marijuana, psychedelics (i.e., entheogens), dissociatives, and hallucinogens have fallen to the lower portion of the market, and for the most part, have been officially ridiculed, and a mythology has been promoted that they drive their users insane.
So we can observe two clear trends from what has occurred in the recreational drug markets. (a) The ruling class has commodified all drugs that can be sold and that do not promote awareness, and sought to profit from them, and even endeavored to invade countries to control their trade, and (b), the ruling class has discouraged the use of drugs that tend to promote awareness. It is awareness, after all, that brings us closer to knowledge of our animalistic nature - of our basic needs and wants - and that makes us recognize that our society is utterly incompatible with them.
Our wind - our air - is polluted! This is worst in the cities - in parts of nature we can still find something that is not perceptibly different from the sort of fresh air we naturally expect. Even when we are in cities, on rare occasions, we can experience that.
The direct joy of natural accomplishment
Finding a patch of berries, or vegetables, or maybe the pleasure of the hunt. Admittedly, we still have this, in places where nature hasn't been extinguished yet. Let's hope for now that GMO crops don't cross-breed with natural plants in a way that disadvantages them. I get a pit in my stomach even thinking about the possibility.
So our natural lives are full of excitement and joy. We adapt to the pains and take great joy in the pleasures. But social living numbs us to empathy, costs us all of our pleasures, and puts us at the mercy of social ignorance.
I think this is all more or less the vegan, anarchoprimitivist position. I don't reject all technology - 3D printers and the internet are some of the most exciting things i've ever seen - but most of our technology is so ignorantly crafted, and destructive, that it's not even fit to exist. A highway is like a vein of pure cancer coursing through nature - it is somewhere that we have simply choked nature to death, and keep doing so as time and plant life get impatient with our inventions, trying to break apart our concrete and asphalt, and regrow through the holes. And the things that use those highways - these "automobiles" - would leave you choking to death, and filled with cancers, if all you could inhale was their fumes. Watch "Who Killed the Electric Car" for some background on how the automobile industry hasn't even bothered to correct their destruction. I cannot help but imagine that these oil industry giants - sometimes controlled by the same names that appear in the banking or drug smuggling sectors - have played some part in crushing to death alternative energy. It certainly happened centuries ago - why not now? I have heard plenty of rumblings about JP Morgan sabotaging Tesla's plans, but honestly, have never really looked into them. I wouldn't be surprised if Tesla had come up with a free energy schematic, but I'm far from expert on that.
If there is any one word that describes human society right now, it's arrogance. It's unbelievable to see how blind we are to what brought us into existence, and how we try to reshape it to our needs before we even understand fully how it works.
I am just living day by day, hoping for a future where the most important of these truths - that we must live in true harmony with nature, and that we aren't more special than any other mammals or tree on this planet - are actually realized by society. The whole world seems like it's in a stunning disharmony because we live in ignorance of them.
And true scientists have known these truths for centuries, even since before the beginning of the "Common Era" (i.e., since the birth of some nice guy who the Romans crucified because he drove out the merchants, lenders, and animal vendors from the Jewish temple - something about not liking temple taxes and priests eating sacrificed animals). Men like Cicero and Cato talked about the abuses of power, presumably failing to criticize the Caesars and other politicians directly for fear of execution - hinting at this great knowledge that the abuse of power was on the path to destroy everything.
But the hints were ignored, for thousands of years. The Romans worshipped their emperors as demigods, and to this day, we recognize some of those same emperors as superhuman "saints". Our months still have Roman names - January, the Ianua, the door - March, the month of Mars, the Roman god of war - July, for Julius, August, for Augustus, the son of Julius. That is absolute proof that our culture is simply an evolution of what was their culture - if Catholicism and Christianity weren't obvious enough proof of that already.
And look at who we glorify. P! We call two occupations liars in this society - politicians and lawyers - and yet, at the same time, we pretend politicians are the saviors of our whole society, that they are great leaders who are trying to stem the great evils in our society that, really, stem from their own actions, and their own crimes.
So that's what I was thinking about today.
Pompey and Caesar shook hands the same way, before Cleopatra's men had Pompey beheaded for Caesar. Marc Antony took the "throne" after Caesar died, but had no skill for rulership, and what would have been absolute rule quickly folded into the Triumvirate.
Antony eventually lost everything to Caesar's great nephew, who became Augustus - the parallel of the modern day Obama, the ultra-fake politician who pretends to be highly cultured, moral, and sophisticated.
Caesar, and before him, Sulla, had torn so hard at the flesh of the "Republic" - which had retained some semblance of democracy - that, after Caesar, Rome became a dictatorship in all but name. Speaking as somebody with a background in law - Augustus and Obama are also similar in that they have moved nearly all the way to claiming absolute control and impunity. Gross!