I gave up social media many years ago, then recently decided to try Mastodon. I am at Mastodon.cloud. I posted about an article that explained more than 1600 Native Americans were systematically slaughtered in California in the 19th century (hundreds of thousands of others enslaved, or driven into places where they starved). So a guy responded by saying “too bad they stopped at 1600 red niggers, should have killed them all”. I looked at his other posts–racist hate for anyone of color, incel misogyny, virulent homophobia. I posted about it giving his screenname, saying he should be banned from this domain of Mastodon. This got me retaliation from his cronies–a couple dozen obscene hate posts from his fellow White Supremacist incel homophobes.
When I got hate posts from the White Supremacists, I’d look at more of their posts to know what to say when reporting them. It was a deep dive into a mind. Post after post after post. Anyone’s posts reveal a mind, but these were all one state of mind; an id oozing like sweat from a person long ill. Claustrophobic. Rants gave way to hate memes; pics of guns, sputtered mocking cartoons, sneers. Over & over. Charnel free-association, random spurts of rage; tormented humor: all of it iterating. Isolated, claustrophobic.
They’re trapped in an endless hunt for the same rage-release spurts. They communicate with one another–but that’s just a hall of mirrors, a paradoxical confirmation of their isolation. All their communication with one another is endless hate ritualism; it becomes a kaleidoscope of their own nightmarish maze of hate…And the great irony is that they believe their maze of hate is a glorious celebration of freedom.
“To develop the mature neurons, the researchers used nanofibers composed of “dancing molecules,”…developed as a potential treatment for acute spinal cord injuries….Stupp discovered how to tune the motion of molecules, so they can… engage with constantly moving cellular receptors. … cellular receptors in the human body can move at… timescales of milliseconds — they become difficult-to-hit moving targets.”
My own opinion is that there’s much organized fascist scheming, and then there’s also much kneejerk emotion-based reactivity, which certain kinds of people are addicted to. Racism, xenophobia, Ayn-Randian libertarian selfish impulses. Those people are like dogs who bark for a treat. “Talk, Rover!” The dog barks and gets a treat. With humans the treat is attention or just a thrill. But demagogues and fascists are the ones training the dogs to bark.
A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it’s a joke.” — Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or pt. 1
There are so many canaries in so many coal mines.
I’ve noticed only a small fraction of the butterflies we used to have, this summer. Last year, experts said butterfly populations have dropped by fifty per cent. Half. Around here it seems less than half. Honey Bees also–very few here. There used to be a grand summer buzz of bees. Not now. Down 40% since last year, the experts tell us. Even the hardy, ubiquitous wasps are few. I’m not fan of wasps but it’s spooky when they vanish. Frogs are vanishing from creeks. I could quote dire statistics on sea mammal deaths. Whales, dugongs, sea lions. Salmon are dying from heat increases in the northern seas.
The causes? Habitat loss, anthropogenic climate change, pesticides, too much land given over to industrial agriculture and meat mega-ranches, herbicides –which harm more than weeds–and other wonderful innovations of humanity. A new giant plastic garbage patch has turned up in the North Sea. Oceanic Dead Zones proliferate. Recently rain and snow has been found to be suffused with tiny plastic particles. Plastic particle pollultion is found s in “extreme concentrations” in the Arctic, I read. NINETY PER CENT of fish stocks are used up. “Bird population in steep decline in North America” the headline says.
It’s all the same cause–humanity. No, more specifically, human greed.
Greed! Greed is behind the mindless use of pesticides, and herbicides; it’s behind the fires in the Amazon destroying the forests needed to clean the air, and destroying the animals, the butterfly and bird habitats there; it’s behind denial about greenhouse gases causing climate change; it’s behind over-fishing and the over-production of plastics and the destruction of habitats needed for …butterflies.
We humans are interconnected with the animal world. I wonder who’s next?
You may as well take another Prozac and turn on the latest tragic superhero fantasy. What else would you do?
People complaining about “voting for the lesser of evils” forget about counting votes. If we don’t have enough votes for radical change & if we opt not to vote for the “lesser of evils”, we let right-wingers redesign our nation. Then we lose medicare, medicaid, the ACA, social security and Civil Rights. If you think Civil Rights are incomplete now, think back to before the 1960s. We can improve them more. Progress does come. The arc of justice is long…
The present moment is my only escape from the barbed-wire maze of regret. Too often I am zipping through the cross-traffic of associations in a mental car, running red lights to evade regrets large and small (small but piquant)…I’ve learned from the impacts of unconscious choices, I tell myself. I need not replay it all to relearn what I’ve already learned. But have I? Running a red light you can get t-boned…It takes a lot of energy to evade as many regrets as I have…
States of mind can be prisons. Some are like parasites. They have their own distorted selfhood, which takes over. These states of mind use disinformation to maintain their dominance. It’s possible to see them objectively. It’s possible to see the state while in the state–some objective part can take a sort-of quick picture of the state. And this gives the possibility of being free from it. It’s a key to the cell door. To see one’s own state of mind is essential.
There is a false self and a real self. There are small “I”s & there is Real I. The false self is a manifestation of addiction to a sort of comfort zone, a place constructed out of fears and floundering habitual attempts to engage with the world in safety. Self protective but protecting a false self we mistakenly identify as our real self. False self uses various guises–small personhoods–in which we reactively center ourselves. We get lost in them. Real self is That Which Sees.
False selves steal energy, and freedom; they steal our ability to make genuine choices…Hence they’re parasitic.
You know what Qanon is? Pathetic in a very special sense. Like, ants infected by the brain worm that in real life turns “ants into zombies…One of the flatworms lodges itself inside the ant’s brain and effectively takes over, controlling the helpless ant’s behaviour.” (Nature Magazine)… Or people infected by tapeworms that have gotten into their brains. That’s real too. The victims are sad to behold: pathetic. Qanon adherents equally so. They’re pathetic victims of a disinformation virus.
Critical thinking is like a mental immune-system, and it’s one that Qanon fanatics and anti-vaccine adherents lack.
My friend & mentor JACOB NEEDLEMAN Died. A beloved professor of philosophy at SFSU, he was author of one novel, “Sorcerers”, and many nonfic works on philosophy and spirituality. These include The Heart of Philosophy, Time and the Soul, What is God?, and The Wisdom of Love: Toward a Shared Inner Search. I recommend them all. He was very patient with me–not endlessly tolerant of my foolishness, but always compassionate. He was a man of profound presence.