Thoughts on the unique quality of the American ‘perpetual power vacuum’ – the fear of a person in power, its origins with Moses, and the tug-of-war between a system and humanity

Here’s a thought I had:

It seems, to me, that the U.S. has a unique power vacuum problem.  It is largely a result of its political system.  It creates a condition that leads to a power vacuum that can never be filled.  In this way, it creates what can be described as a ‘perpetual power vacuum’.  This power vacuum has gone on even down to everyday life.  In this way, it has had great impact on the society and people as a whole.

To begin with, the political system of the U.S. has a quality where it tends to “force” conditions in a certain direction as its main motive.  That is to say, it is not a system that “goes along with the situation” nor is it all that reactive to situations (this, of course, is not what it professes).  Instead, it is oriented at forcing things in a usually predetermined direction with the idea that a predetermined result will happen.  This “forcing” is often called “change” and they seem to automatically assume that it is always the right path (regardless if it is or not).  This shows some conditions about this political system:

  • They base everything from an already established interpretation of things.  In other words, its point of view is not based in actual existing conditions, necessarily, but on a way of interpreting things that already exists.  In this way, this political system tends does not react to actual existing realities.  Instead, any current realities are compared to the already established interpretation, which is used as a basis for their actions.  This is one reason why the U.S. is so notorious at misinterpreting things, world situations, and other cultures.  Its also one reason why the U.S. always interprets, and reacts, the same way over and over again and again (such as that all the worlds problems are caused by “oppressive governments”).
  • The already established interpretation is rooted and based in a fear or apprehension.  These have become the attitudes that lie behind this political system.  They often determine its points of view and motivates what it does.  Its the reason why they are always forcing things to happen . . . to avoid or prevent something they fear.  These attitudes are also one of the reasons why the U.S. becomes paranoid so easily.
  • The fear or apprehension makes it so that they tend to “force” things in a certain direction to prevent what they fear.  Often, the solution is based in the already established interpretation and is “forced” over and over again (such as that the solution to the worlds problems is “freedom and democracy” and nations must be “forced” to practice it).
  • It often entails an idea of a already established solution.  This is a reflection of the already established interpretation and is often the same solution over and over again (such as that “voting” will solve everything).  In this way, the solution this political system offers is very limited and not very reactive to actual existing conditions.

One of the things we see is a political system that is based in fear and ideas more than in actual existing conditions.  This makes them “force” an already established solution to avoid this fear or apprehension.  As a result, its not uncommon that this political system becomes somewhat “detached” from the real-world reality and actual existing conditions (of course, that’s not what they say).  This is one reason why many of the solutions this political system offers don’t work.

What is the base of their fear and apprehension?

This is primarily to prevent any one person from having complete political power.  This is the basic idea of democracy where the people are supposed to have power.

Anyone who knows history knows that, though there are examples of this in the past, it has been made out far larger than it really is.  The fact of the matter is that a single person in power is not a major source of the worlds problems.  There are many other factors and elements that create problems in countries than that.  To focus primarily on that as a cause is like saying that good health is rooted in not eating a lot of fatty foods.  In the U.S., this line of thought has been made out so big that one could say that it has taken an almost obsessive and one-sided point of view.  I know people, for example, where it is the ONLY point of view and it explains ALL the problems of the world.  I, myself, have even said that its been made out so big that it its “almost like a religion” and that, I tend to feel, is its origin . . .

I tend to think that the “religious” obsessive fear of one person in control does, in fact, originate from religion.  That is to say, its origins do not really originate from actual experience and events but in a pattern of religious belief.  We must remember that religious belief is very powerful.  The beliefs in religion tend to establish a tendency of interpretation of the world.  As a result, religious belief tends to do things such as:

  • They are used as a base of all interpretations.
  • The interpretation they offer tend to be favored over all others.
  • They tend to neglect other interpretations.
  • They are viewed as the “ultimate interpretation” and so are given great importance, sanctity, and value.

The religious beliefs I speak of originate from Christianity and, through it, Judaism.  In some respects, Judaism sets the stage or, more properly, Moses sets the stage for this whole situation.

A significant part of the drama of Moses is a fight against a single man in power:  the Egyptian Pharaoh.  To make things even worse, the Pharaoh was viewed as a god.  Moses was then fighting not only against a man in power but a god.  Moses ended up breaking away from the Pharaoh and eventually led the Hebrews through the desert for 40 years.  During this time he set up the laws, sacrifices, and general attitudes that have made up Judaism ever since (though with modifications, of course).  In this way, I often jokingly refer to Judaism as “Mosesism”, as it really has a lot of origin from Moses.

In breaking from Pharaoh there developed an attitude of a fear or apprehension of people in power.  In the Jewish people, it seems to me, this appears more as a fear of people in power that are not Jewish.  This created a strong sense of a “Jewish people” as opposed to other people, a “me versus you” attitude.  I have often wondered if this is an origin of anti-Semitism (see my article “Some thoughts on the possible nature and origin of anti-Semitism???“).  Overall, it seemed to create a sense of distrust toward other people and a valuation of ones people.  In other words, it created something like a religious or ethnic favoritism.  This created something like a wall around the Jewish people separating them from everyone else.

With Christianity we see another fight against a man in power:  the Roman Emperor.  In some respects, Jesus Christ became another Moses, following his lead, showing the power and influence of Moses in Judaism.  He imitated Moses in many ways:

  • He was the savior of the people as Moses saved the Hebrews.
  • He was sacrificed reflecting the many forms of sacrifice that Moses set up.
  • He created a new “law” (of love) as Moses had created new laws.

With Christianity, many Jewish attitudes would naturally be extended to anyone who followed him.  Since many non-Jews would end up following Jesus they would end up adopting many Jewish attitudes coming from Moses.

One thing that did not seem to pass into Christianity was the “me versus you” wall that the Jewish people developed.  This gave Christianity more of an open, secular, or generalized attitude making it accepting, and appealing, to many non-Jew’s.  A remnant of this attitude, though, probably turned into the idea that the world has to convert to Christianity.  You were either Christian or not Christian (“me versus you”).  But instead of the wall that Judaism created something else appeared:  non-Christians must convert to Christianity.  Instead of a wall, an “everyone must be like us” was created.  In many ways, this is just the “me versus you” attitude in a modified form.  This attitude of “everyone must be like us” is one of the many attitudes coming from religion that would persist into the U.S.  Instead of “everyone must be Christian” it now becomes “everyone must live in a democracy”.  The U.S. trying to make the world a democracy is just a continuation of the attitude behind the Christian conversion of the world.

Jesus Christ’s conflict with the Romans only reinforced the fear of people in power in Christianity.  Since Christianity was prosecuted in its early years, it probably helped this fear and apprehension grow and become more firmly implanted in Christian attitudes.

As Christianity spread the fear and apprehension of a single person in power was often applied to whatever political/social situation that appeared.  It became the “easy explanation” for any problems they may have.  This is because of things like these:

  • It gave the explanation a “religious sanctification” and, accordingly, an authority to justify the blame.
  • It created a “scapegoat” to blame things on.  Oftentimes, governments, Kings, ministers, and anyone in government were automatically assumed to be “corrupt”, “evil”, “greedy”, “power hungry”, “self-serving”, and such (which tended to reflect, oddly enough, Christian vices).

When the tribal monarchies of Northern Europe started to have problems the King would naturally be associated with this Judeo/Christian fear of a person in power attitude.  This became particularly pronounced, interestingly, after the Protestant Reformation in the 1500’s which caused great religious crisis and fervor.  The great Monarch of Northern Europe would become easy targets.  He would become the “new Pharaoh” that we must free ourselves from, just as Moses did.  In some respects, a “great reenactment of Moses” took place in the political theorizing of the 1700’s, with the King as Pharaoh and the people as the Jews.  Democracy would become the new law of Moses.

The political system of the U.S. was created in the late 1700’s, during this time, and is greatly associated with this mentality and the “great reenactment of Moses”.  As a result, the political system of the U.S. was based in this “religious” fear of a person in power.  Because of this, its whole perspective is geared to prevent this from happening.  It does this by things such as:

  • Voting by the people.
  • Limiting the power of those in power.

The idea of these is to prevent the rise of a person in power.  As I said above, this isn’t necessarily because of a historic pattern of abuse by people in power (which isn’t as great as is supposed) but more from “religious” attitudes that have become ingrained in the thinking of the culture and which caused them to interpret things in a certain way.  This “religious” origin is why its look at so seriously and critically, as if the whole fate of the world depended on it.  And so we can see that the political system of the U.S. is primarily to prevent the rise of any one person being in power or any one gaining power.  In this way, it creates a system where no one, really, is in control or has control.

The effect of this is that the political system of the U.S. creates conditions like this:

  • There is an inability for anyone to do anything.
  • There develops forms of “underground power”.  That is, power that “goes around” the political system.  In many cases, this is the only way to get things done.  Because it is “underground” it also leads to a lot of corruption.
  • Since no one is in control nothing gets done or, if it does, it takes forever and is often ineffective.
  • There develops a “government apathy”.
  • This apathy tends to create a “social apathy”.
  • It creates an atmosphere of continuous bickering and complaining.
  • Since there’s no one in charge people manipulate the system for their own ends.
  • It ends up creating a condition where there is a continual undermining of power in society as a whole.
  • It tends to create an overall stagnating quality.

Initially, this was only directed to political power but, over time, it has permeated to everyday life.  One effect of this is that it has made everyone powerless down to even parents who, in some places, can’t even spank their own kids!  Not only that, nothing changes nor can you do anything about anything.  In other words, preventing the rise of a person in power has, over time, made everyone powerless. 

But human society is based in power.  This undermining of power goes against the natural conditions of human society.  In this way, the American political system actually undermines human society over all and conflicts with human nature (see my articles “Thoughts on how the U.S. is undermining itself with its own ideals – the ‘God-ordained democracy’ thats frightened of authority” and “Thoughts on how “freedom and democracy” undermines human society“).  The effect of this is that it has an impairing effect on human society.  In some ways, it “bottlenecks” human society not allowing it to function properly.  There are times, I must admit, when I wonder how anything gets done at all.

This undermining of power causes a power vacuum that’s never resolved:  the ‘perpetual power vacuum’.  In other words, the undermining of power creates a power vacuum.  But the natural tendency of human society is to have power.  As a result, humanity tries to fill the vacuum but it can’t because the system won’t allow it.  This causes great tension in the society.  One can also look at it this way:

  1. The American political system undermines power in politics and society (I always jokingly say “. . . its a crime for anyone to be in control in this country”).
  2. A power vacuum is created because no one is in power.
  3. There are attempts to try to try and fill the vacuum because human society needs power.
  4. None of these attempts works because the American political system makes it so that power by anyone does not work.
  5. A tension is created by the continuous power vacuum which remains.

It creates things like these:

  • A continual political and social stress.
  • Continual battles between different points of view.
  • The use of underhanded techniques (“underground power”).
  • Many things are never solved.
  • A sense of disappointment, frustration, and anger.
  • Illusions of power or people thinking that they have power when they really do not (you see this in a lot of “educated” people or people in the government).
  • A quality of hypocrisy, of people thinking that they are greater than they really are.
  • The creation of “pseudo-powers” or things that appear to be power but isn’t (such as making a lot of money).
  • A tendency of “pointless scrambling”, of continually fighting for something that isn’t there.
  • A sense of helplessness which can turn into a hopeless attitude.
  • An apathy.

The fact is that human society needs power to function properly.  This is one reason why “real democracies” don’t work and fail after awhile.

This power in human society creates things like:

  • The “origin of influence”.  This refers to the source of the source or the impetus of power.  It is the thing that power originates from (such as a leader).
  • A “rallying point”.  This refers to having something to stand behind and follow.  One could say that this is what the leader represents.
  • A “following”.  This refers to the people who follow the source of power.  Without the people who follow there is no power.

Taking away power destroys the “origin of influence” which no longer supplies a “rallying point” making the “following” redundant.  As a result, everything comes to a halt or is impaired in functioning.  Society (which is really the “following”) will tend to become haphazard and disorganized as a result.

Since the political system undermines human power systems something has come in to replace it:  a “system”.   What this shows is that a lot of the “functioning” in this society, it seems to me, is no longer human-based.  It is based in the ultra organized system that the U.S. has created.  It is this system that keeps the U.S. going and functioning.  This is true with much of the modern world.

We must then make a distinction:

  • Human-based society.  This is society that is based on the naturally appearing human tendencies and qualities.  It is based in social power.
  • A “system”.  This is a society based more in regulations, rules, laws, organizations, etc.  If the “system” is organized enough then it can be run purely as a “system”.   When it becomes particularly strong I call it “systemism” (I’ve written a number of article on this in this blog).

The fact is that the undermining of power in human society has only led to the growth of a “system”.  In fact, its made it a necessity.  Without the “system” the U.S. may of deteriorated long ago.

What we are seeing, then, is a replacing of power with the “system”.  In that way, the system becomes the new “power”, so to speak.  The “system” makes power redundant and useless.  But, as I said above, humanity still fights for power, even though there is no power to gain.  This turns the fight for power as something like an empty cause, a useless struggle.  This is the ‘perpetual power vacuum’ I speak of.

I have often speculated that one of the reasons for the “apathy” in white males (as many white males have little drive to do anything) is because of the futility of “fighting for power”.  Its not surprising that this “apathy” would first affect the white males, who are part of the group that created the “system”.  Being on the front lines of it all, they are the first ones to feel its effects.  Many white males, I think, are looking out into the world where they have no power, hence the apathy (though they are unaware of it).  Its almost as if many white males has had the carpet pulled from under their feet.  Other people, such as females and minorities, are “trailing behind” and this fact has not hit them yet.  They still think that there is power there.  The “apathy” will probably soon catch up with them as well.

Interestingly, I often feel that a lot of the anger against politics and society is caused by the conditions this power vacuum causes.  What’s odd, though, is that the solution that they offer to solve it – the political system of the U.S. – is what’s causing it!  In other words, the solution to the problem is the cause of the problem.  In this way, something like a vicious circle has been created.

Because the “system” uses laws, organization, etc. on such a large scale it seems possible that the tendency to create a “system”, in Judeo/Christian-based societies, may have origin in the laws of Moses, though I cannot say for sure.  Moses created a multitude of laws and sacrifices that must be performed and which could be very complex.  This, over time, would create in Jewish people an attitude of laws and organization as part of “how the world works”.  This, of course, would be transferred to Christianity and would, no doubt, make up much of the attitude of Christian-based societies.  Its no wonder, then, that European society, which is Christian-based, would naturally turn to a “system” as part of “how things work”.  Because of this, we might be able to say that “systemism” has origin with Moses.

Overall, the undermining of power gives the U.S. a quality as if everyone is trying to climb a mountain that isn’t there or a people trying to grasp smoke.  It has given the U.S. a reputation, at least to me, as a place with qualities such as these:

  • That there is a “void” in society.
  • A sense of “something missing”.
  • A sense of having no direction.
  • A sense of “having nothing to belong to”.

In a way, it gives society a quality much like a “lost society” or a “bankrupt culture”.  This is quite significant as it shows that there is an inherent need for power in society.  That is to say, not only does humanity require power for society to function but it needs it interiorly.  Power affects a society on a deep level.  Here it affects each person individually.  In this way, society is not just something you are a part of but something that is a part of you.  One could say that this can become spiritual-like in some ways.

More specifically, there is a need for a “power image”.   This “image” is a something to “rally” around, so to speak.  It could be things like this:

  • A person, such as a leader.
  • A belief.
  • A way of life.
  • A “familiarity” (that is, something common between people that make people “connect”, such as race, family, occupation, etc.).

This “power image” is very important as it creates:

  • Something to look up to.
  • Something to belong to.
  • Something to give meaning and purpose.
  • Security and well being.

In this way, we see that human society is, in some sense, created by the “power image”.  It becomes the bonding agent and guide of the society.  The degradation of power, and its “power image”, then tends to degrade human society as a result.

In many ways, this situation describes a “system versus human institutions” problem.  Basically, the American political system has created a condition where the “system” is above human institutions and tends to undermine them.  Despite this, the “human” keeps wanting to play a part in things.  This makes something like a tug-of-war between the “system” and human tendencies (the ‘perpetual power vacuum’).  Since the “system” has so much influence, and is now a necessity, this tug-of-war will probably go on indefinitely . . . or as long as humanity can hold out.  In this way, we are seeing a conflict between a system and humanity.  This means that we are now fighting the very thing we have created.

Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Christianity, Christian conversion, Post-Christianity, and Christian influence, Culture, cultural loneliness, etc., Government and politics, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, Society, The 'system' and 'systemism', The U.S. and American society | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the phases of Victorian society – defining what an “era” is

Here’s a thought I had:

It seems to me that we are still in the “Victorian” era.  That is to say, we are still under its sway and influence.  Perhaps, we could say that we are in a “post-Victorian phase” of the Victorian era.  Some things that show this include:

  • Though we are not “Victorian”, in the popular society sense (we don’t necessarily wear their clothes, uphold their moral standards, etc.), we are under its influence, of its ideas and ideals as well as what it created.
  • We are still pursuing the “ideal society” that was begun in the Victorian era, namely a “modern world”.  The “modern world”, really, is a Victorian idea.  All of our modern gadgets, toys, and gismo’s have a base in the ideas and ideals of the Victorian era.  Many of them were even initially created during that era as well.  In some sense, all the technology, gadgets, gismo’s, and such of the “modern world” are nothing but continuations of what was created in the Victorian era and reflect its ideals.
  • A lot of society is still based in “rebelling” against the strong Victorian codes, ethics, and morality.  Interestingly, many of these no longer exist anymore as they’ve been destroyed by the “rebelling”.  Despite this, the “rebellion” continues.  One could even say that a “blind rebellion” exists, rebelling against things that aren’t there.  This shows how the “Victorian sense” is still very strong.

In this sense, we live under the shadow of the “Victorian” era and, as a result, are really still in it.  If we look at things in this way we could then say that there are, so far, various phases in the Victorian era:

  1. 1800’s – ideals and ideas are created.
  2. 1900’s – these ideals and ideas come to fruition and are created.
  3. 2000’s – the problems of these ideals and ideas become apparent.

Actually, there is an overlap or, rather, one phase blends into the next phase.  I put them in centuries for simplicity. It seems, to me, that the latter phase began to be seen a lot in the late 1900’s and is being seen increasingly.  Many of the problems we have been seeing in the late 1900’s to today appear to be a result of the ideas originating in the Victorian era as well as conditions begun in the Victorian era.  These include things such as:

In effect, these have all created serious problems.  To put it another way, the “creations” and “solutions” of the Victorian era are now starting to create problems. The important point about this is that what we create, and think’s great, ends up creating problems later.  In this sense, the last phase of the Victorian era will be the problems its “creations” and “solutions” cause.  But since the Victorian era created the modern world we could say that the fall of the Victorian era will be the fall of the modern world.  Once that happens then we could say that it has truly fallen.

This, it seems to me, reveals an aspect about what an “era” is.  In some sense, an “era” can perhaps be defined with these three phases:

  1. The creation of the “idea” of the era.  This “idea”, then, defines the era as a whole.
  2. Making the “idea” a reality.
  3. The reality of the “idea” undermines and eventually destroys the era.

An “era” can be described as a historical circumstance where an idea is created and dominates the period of time.  Eventually, though, the very idea that defines the “era” ends up destroying it in some way.  In other words, an “era” is defined by an idea that ends up killing itself. 

If this is the case, then it shows that there is an inherent self-destructiveness to “ideas”.  This is not surprising as any “idea” is too specific and narrow to encompass the greater reality of life.  An “idea” may work under specific conditions but life consists of many more conditions than any “idea” can encompass thereby making any “idea” fail after awhile.  To put it another way, an “idea” has a life span.  This life span is the “era”.  And, as with all life spans, it has a birth, a life, and a death.

The “idea” of an “era” can refer to a number of things:

  • An actual idea, principle, or thought.
  • An organized system (such as a government or religion).
  • A condition.
  • A belief.
  • An attitude.
  • A stance or point of view.

Basically, an “idea” is the bonding element that holds everything together during this time.  It is something that affects everyone and as if “harnesses” the society.  Its this “harnessing” power that helps bonds things together and this bonding, in a sense, creates the “era”.

This bond continues to work while the conditions support the “idea”.  Inevitably, though, the conditions change and the “idea” becomes irrelevant.  Despite this, the “idea” tends to be continued.  Being irrelevant, the “idea” becomes alienated from the conditions and, accordingly, it ends up undermining itself.  In fact, the “idea” is often what is responsible for bringing the “era” down.

When the “idea” and conditions no longer correlate a number of conditions can bring the “era” down:

  • The “ideas” destroy itself.  This is particularly so when the “idea” has created specific rigid “creations”, such as systems, governments, organization, inventions, machines, etc.  Since the Victorian era, and the modern world, have these “rigid” things its probably more likely the “idea” of this era will end up destroying itself.
  • The “idea” fizzes out.  Basically, changing conditions cause the “idea” to become irrelevant and useless.
  • The “idea” is overtaken by another.  When the conditions change the “idea” loses power and a new “idea” takes over with more power.
  • There is a conflict with another “idea”.  Sometimes, new conditions cause the rise of other “ideas” which may have to “fight it out” to determine which one will be dominant.

During the era the “idea” is often viewed as a truth.  This shows that truth is often determined not by actual truth by because it reflects the “idea” of the era.  Once the era ends, the “idea” fails and the era’s truth dies.  What this shows is that the bonding element (the “idea”) of an era creates its own truth in things.  We could, perhaps, speak of this as the “truth of the era”.  We must remember that it is a truth that only exists during the era.

Many “truths” that people believe are probably of the “truth of the era” sort.  This is particularly so with social-based truths, such as religion or politics or popular opinion.  This fact shows that an “idea” tends to be social in manifestation.  This is not surprising as the social manifestation is the best means of the bonding element for a population of people.  This would particularly be so in mass media society and “advanced” civilization.

In societies that are not mass societies, “advanced”, or have mass media, the best bonding element would probably be things like conditions and lifestyle . . . how one lives and not the social situation.  As a result of this, in older societies a lifestyle becomes the “idea” that bonds everything together.  Once that lifestyle falls that “era” falls.  This has been seen in the fall of many primitive societies, for example.

Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Britain and British things, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, Philosophy, The U.S. and American society | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on my saying “education is nothing but learning the repertoire of the modern world” – some myths and conflicts of knowledge

Recently, I made this statement:

“Education is nothing but learning the repertoire of the modern world.”

One could go on to say that this is true for any condition where there is a “power” that one must follow:  a “power-that-be”.  Since any condition contains a form of “power-that-be” it requires a person to learn its “repertoire” in order to be able to live in it  (the “repertoire” is really the knowledge that surrounds the “powers-that-be”).  If one lives in a specific country, for example, one must learn the “repertoire” of its ways and knowledge to live in it, if one gets a job one must learn its “repertoire” to maintain it, and so on.  In other words, any “power-that-be” develops a “repertoire” that must be followed.  This becomes important as one benefits from the “power-that-be” by following its particular “repertoire”.  Education, or the learning of its “repertoire”, is not about gaining “truth”, in actuality, but in gaining the power and benefit of the “power-that-be”.  As a result, each time a new “power-that-be” appears the “truth” changes to conform to it. 

In the modern world, for example, a person must learn the ways of the modern world (its “repertoire”) in order to live in it and benefit from it.  This “repertoire” now consists of a whole mess full of information and facts which a person must “learn” to survive (and it takes years to learn its “repertoire”!).  What do you think schooling is about?  What do you think education is?  Do you think its to discover some great Divine truth, the great mystery of life?  Its only to gain benefits from the “powers-that-be” by following its dictates, its “repertoire”.  This is not because the “repertoire” knowledge is “right” by its nature, but only in the fact that the modern world is the current “powers-that-be”.  As a result, a person is, in some respects, forced to learn it whether they want to or not, whether they believe it or not.

We could then revise the statement as:

“Education is nothing but learning the repertoire of the powers-that-be.”

This fact is revealing about the nature, and myth, of knowledge.  The most important aspect of this is that it shows that the “powers-that-be” make knowledge “right”.  To put it another way, education is a form of gaining power, not of seeking “truth” or “right”.  This power is achieved by following the “repertoire” of the “powers-that-be”.  Following it helps you gain its power.  This gaining of power has the effect of making its knowledge “right”.  It gains power in a number of ways, such as:

  • It makes knowledge valuable.
  • It makes knowledge useful.
  • It gives knowledge power.
  • It creates a unifying effect.

In some respects, the “powers-that-be” lay the foundation for all these to function.  It becomes the platform, so to speak, that all these are built upon.  As a result, the stronger the “powers-that-be” the “stronger” the power and, accordingly, the knowledge . . . but only within the “powers-that-be”.

This strength, though, is often confused with “right”:  the “power/right confusion”.  Another expression of this confusion is “might is right”.  The problem, of course, is that “might is not always right” but power gets things done, making it seem right.  This really shows a basic inherent problem with power and its deceptive nature.  Because power accomplishes and gets things done it tends to give the illusion that this is because it is “right”.

Knowledge (that is, knowing its “repertoire”) creates the means for gaining the power of the “powers-that-be”.  Learning the “repertoire” of the “powers-that-be” gives one advantages, such as:

  • It allows a person an “in” with the “powers-that-be”.
  • It gives one power or the benefits of the powers that the “powers-that-be” contain.
  • It gives a person advantage over other people who do not know the “repertoire”.
  • It allows one to fit in to the “powers-that-be” power structure.

Knowing, then, is not this “great knowing of truth”, as is often supposed.  There is nothing Divine, mystical, or magical about it . . . its just a means for power.  In addition, it does not make people “better”, sophisticated, “educated”, etc.  That’s just a reflection of the power it gives and how that power affects people by giving them advantage.  One can see that it is really nothing but a conforming to the “powers-that-be” by using its “repertoire”.  In this way, “right” really means “gain by conforming”, in actuality.  This discrepancy between the power of the “powers-that-be” and real “truth” has caused a great myth and misunderstanding about knowledge and education, in my opinion.


The influence of the “powers-that-be” show that it is a social power.  In other words, its a “social-based knowledge”.  The main benefit of this form of knowledge is its social consequences.  Since society has a great impact on a person this often becomes a dominant form of knowledge (in some cases, it becomes “the” knowledge, the “accepted” knowledge).  As a result, knowing its repertoire is critical in social situations.  This seems particularly prevalent in large societies and, especially, “advanced” civilizations such as the modern world.  This is because these societies are so large that social institutions, ways, associations, etc. become a basis of ones life.  It sets the pattern for how life is lived.  The social repertoire, then, becomes critical.

Because its social-based, one effect that the learning of its “repertoire” can make is that it makes one “appealing” in the society as one reflects the social ideals.  In other words, it can make a person “stand out” and “be favored”.  This isn’t necessarily because they are better than other people but because they are catering to the ways of the “powers-that-be”.  In this way, it shows how powerful the “repertoire” can be and that it can give one great social power and influence and meaning in society.

But life is not all social.  There is the deeper personal and individual “knowledge”.  This can be described as “personal-based knowledge”.  Typically, this viewpoint is developed as a matter of living and experience.  It often contains what can be described as ‘inherent truth’ (see my article “Thoughts on ‘inherent truth’“).  This ‘inherent truth’ usually does not require an external or social power to make it relevant.  It is a truth coming from within a person.  As a result, it is not a result of conforming to an external power.  This point of view is seen a lot in smaller societies where the control of society does not play a strong part in life and in conditions where the act of the individual person is more critical.  In some sense, we could say that it is a manifestation of a “personal power”.

Knowledge that is social or personal-based tends to have advantages and disadvantages.  “Social-based knowledge” is based in ones social conditions which force people to have to conform to social conditions, neglecting their personal qualities.  In this way, “social-based knowledge” tends to have an alienating quality . . . it develops social standing but on the person.  “Personal-based knowledge”, on the other hand, tends to have a tendency for self-growth, being more focused on “personal power” and the person.  But this is at the expense of society . . . it develops the person but not social standing.  These tend to give these a contrariness or opposition quality.  In other words, they are not compatible.  In this way, “personal-based knowledge” tends to alienate ones self from society and “social-based knowledge” tends to alienate ones self from ones self.  This shows that there is an irreconcilable tendency between these two forms of knowledge.  Its no surprise, then, that there is a great history of the conflict between “social-based knowledge” and “personal-based knowledge”. 


This conflict between the “social-based knowledge” and “personal-based knowledge” appears in ways like these:

  • Confusion – the two forms of knowledge are equated and treated as the same when they actually are not.
  • Incompatible – the two forms of knowledge simply don’t work together.

These forms of conflict can appear a number of ways:

  • As a social conflict
  • As a private conflict

Social conflict can cause things such as war, divisions, disputes, different theories, and such.  When there is a serious dispute between two forms of knowledge, and an actual conflict occurs (such as war), the “winner” tends to view their truth as “right”.  As a result, a lot of truths are not a result of them really being “right”, inherently, but that they, for whatever reason, happened to of won.  This is “right-as-a-result-of-winning truth”.  In actuality, this has determined a lot of “truth” in the world which has, accordingly, created a lot of popular opinions and points of views. What many people think is “right” is often because, somewhere in the past, that point of view happen to of won against another point of view.  Not because it is actually “right”, as is often supposed.  Had it not of won their whole point of view would be different.  What this means is that a lot of the “right” of truth is actually based on historical circumstance. 

Mass society also creates “right-as-a-result-of-trend truth”.  In other words, because it is a trend, or popular, it makes it “right”.  My experience, though, is that there is no correlation between trend, and being popular, with what is “right”.  As a result, popular opinion is not something to be relied upon.  This particular point of view seems particularly popular with people in large cities (that is, live in mass societies) and females (who tend to be imitative and so rely on things like trend to determine how to behave).  There are even some people who feel that it has been given a “validity” in democracy as there is a mistaken notion that trend and popular opinion represent the “will of the people”.

Private conflict can appear in a number of forms, such as:

  • Passive – Many people will hold the two different forms of knowledge (social and person) as separate in their minds.  Their “social mind” will reflect “social-based knowledge”.  Their “private mind” will reflect “personal-based knowledge”.  In this way, many people actually develop a “multiple truths orientation”.  As a result of this, “truth” will change depending on their state of mind.  Sometimes, these truths can even contradict each other.  This usually does not create any problems as the two minds, with its two truths, are kept separate and, as a result, never conflict.  Its not uncommon that, in a mass society, people often develop a strong “personal-based knowledge” because society is just too big and varied (this is common in modern society).   The society basically offers no solutions or answers.  This forces people to have to rely on their personal truths as a basis of life.  Since these personal truths are typically different from the popular social views they develop a “multiple truths orientation” and, in some cases, almost have two separate lives as a result, a social and private life, each with their own separate truths.
  • Active – For some people, they cannot keep the two truths separate.  As a result, “social-based knowledge” conflicts with “personal-based knowledge” creating great crisis and pain.  It can cause great inner turmoil as well.  In this form of conflict they cannot reconcile the two and they fight it out in their mind.  They often will end up taking one point of view and then go against the other point of view (sort of like an “either/or” situation) to reconcile the conflict.  This can turn into an extremism (favoring ones point of view) or a rebellion (going against the other point of view).  If one does not do one of these it can even turn into a great questioning of ones self and a questioning of life causing great confusion, and despair.  This can even turn into apathy, depression, and giving up on life.  We see, then, that the conflict between the two forms of knowledge (social and personal) can have great impact on a person.

So we see that the conflict of these two forms of knowledge causes great despair on all levels of human life, social to private.  In fact, much of history is often nothing but this conflict of knowledge (social versus personal).  Many wars, political conflict, social disputes, religious wars, etc. have origin here.


But human cultures often do develop a reconciling of the two.  In some respects, this reconciling is one of the traits of a stable culture.  It does this by putting the different truths in their respective place in society.  In other words, they allow both truths to exist and give them a place, in society, for those truths to be manifested.  By giving them a place these different truths are given things such as:

  • A place to be so that they can grow and develop.
  • They are separate from each other, avoiding conflict.

What often ends up happening is something like a spectrum of “knowledge” in the society.  A good example is the ecclesiastical order of the Catholic church where there is something like a spectrum in the theology (from social to personal orientation):

  • University theology.  This is the “formal” knowledge of the church and tends to be impersonal.
  • Monastic Priest theology.  This is “applied University theology” applied to monks.  It has to be modified to fit the monastic life but tends to still retain much of the “formal” knowledge of University theology.
  • Secular Priest theology.  This is “applied University theology” directed to the population.  Here it has to begins to change (often dramatically) to fit the individual and personal situations of the people.
  • Lay Monk theology.  This is theology applied to the lay monk (non-priest) and tends to lack a lot of the “formal” qualities of University theology. 
  • Hermit Monk theology.  This is so personal that each hermit monk develops their own specific form (which can even conflict with “formal” University theology).

Though they are all part of Catholic theology each is different with different characteristics.  They may even contradict each other (and have, in fact, created problems in the past).  What works for one may not work for another but each is given a place separate from the other.  In this way, they as if develop on their own, often oblivious of the other.

But most societies don’t develop such formal organizations.  Many societies, though, develop conditions where a spectrum can reside, though unorganized and informal.  This spectrum would go something like this:

  • Social  – “accepted”.  This is what’s formally “accepted” by the society as a whole.  Often, this is dogmatic and formal.
  • Social – “useful”.  This is practical knowledge the society accepts as a whole.  This is usually the knowledge finds “what works”.  It often appears like the “accepted” form but is, in actuality, modified to make it “useful”.
  • Combination.  This is a combination of the social and personal forms (see two entries below) that works for both.  It is the “median line” where both are used but modified so that they work together.
  • Personal – “useful”.  This is personal knowledge that one uses in day-to-day living.  It often consists of how a person does things and what a person must do.
  • Personal – “private”.  This is personal knowledge that one uses for ones self and no one really knows.  These include things like personal belief.  This can be so “private” that a person may not even realize they believe it.

Most people live on many levels of this spectrum, though they tend to favor one particular spot.  Often, people will bounce around, going from one to the other depending on the circumstances.  This shows that many people practice many “truths” and cater to different forms of “knowledge”, which can even be contradictory.  In this way, it shows that life isn’t as “single-minded” as it may seem.  Often, all a person has to do is watch ones self, what one does, and how one thinks to see the different levels one lives on.  It can be quite surprising.

Finding out where one is on the spectrum can, I feel, have a great impact on ones quality of life.  In other words, a person should try to find the “spot” where ones orientation best lie and try to put themselves in that “spot” in life.  A person can do this by finding a correlation between:

  • Ones character traits.  That is, is one social or personal in orientation.  It refers to ones natural tendencies.  In my opinion, a person is happiest when they are following natural tendencies.  As a result, its critical to learn what ones natural tendencies are.
  • The conditions one lives under.  For example, does one live in a very social orientation which forces one to be social in orientation?

Both of these requires that a person must know themselves and be aware of their surroundings in order to determine the situation.  What one wants to do is to put ones self in the conditions that match ones character traits.  For example, a personal oriented person should avoid strong social conditions, a strong social oriented person should try to put themselves in strong social conditions, etc.

In finding ones “spot”, though, a person must keep several things in mind:

  • An awareness that there are many forms of truths.
  • That your truth isn’t the same as everyone else’s.
  • That one should not equate ones truth with everyone else’s.
  • That each truth has its place and form.

In the more personal orientation, though, a person must often create their conditions.  This is often an easy thing as a personal orientation tends to conflict with the social orientation, particularly of modern society.  In other words, the preference for “personal-based knowledge” can force people into a solitude and isolation from society.  Sometimes this can be forced upon a person causing great conflict.


In the modern world, with its more social orientation, there is a tendency to think that there is only one truth and knowledge.  There is a tendency where people will try to conform themselves, and their truths, to the “accepted” truth causing all sorts of problems for themselves.  In many ways, a lot of personal problems in people in the modern world are manifestations of this tendency.  Much of this is rooting in having to learn the “repertoire” of the modern world, the primary “power-that-be” of today.  In other words, education causes a lot of problems for people by deceiving people into thinking that its “repertoire”, which is the socially “accepted” truth, is everything and what life is about.  

Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Education and learning, Modern life and society, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on different aspects of the “beauty of nature”

I have always loved nature.  Most people, though, tend to think that this is for the physical and pleasant beauty of nature.  I disagree.  I agree that nature can have a pleasant beauty at times.  I also think that there is a beauty that goes beyond physical beauty.  The beauty of nature, that most people refer to, almost always applies to specific “ideal” aspects of nature:  a good view, a nice pleasant spot under some tree’s, a good camp site, etc.  These are generally conditions that are “pleasing” to the human person and the human condition.  No wonder there is such pleasant physical beauty there.

Anyone who really looks at nature, though, can see that there is dark side to nature.  All you have to do is go out of the areas that are “pleasing” to the human person.  Go into areas that you have to stoop to get through or push away branches to walk.  Sit where insects are crawling all over the place.  Walk up the side of a hill that has a 70 degree incline.  Trudge your way through mud.  You do things like this and the beauty of nature vanishes.  In addition, one must remind ones self of all the hidden dangers.  You could slip and fall and break your leg.  A tree can fall on you.  A moose might attack you.  Its because of this that I often say, when I go into the woods:  “there is danger here . . . hidden behind the flowers”.  Its also not uncommon for me, when I walk in the woods, to state to myself, “If a tree falls and lands on me, killing me, no ones going to cry for me.  You won’t be seeing the birds, squirrels, and deer line up in a row and weep.  Nothing will happen.”  Here another side of nature appears, a very unforgiving and cold side.

Truly, nature is “un-human”.  That is to say, it is not a world that “conforms” to humanity and the human condition.  Its not a place that conforms to us.  Instead, we must conform to it and follow its lead.  That is to say, we must take what it offers.  In addition, we must create a niche, in the midst of nature, in which we can modify things so that it fits our “human nature”.  We must keep within a certain temperature range.  We must have food that is edible.  We must make chairs, beds, etc. that our comfortable for us.  This shows that “nature” and “human nature” do not correspond.  This fact causes a need to create what can be called the “human niche”.  This is that reality which we must carve out of nature, in the midst of nature, to make nature fit us.

This “human niche” slowly becomes human society and civilization over time.  When this gets too big we tend to become arrogant and begin to think that “human nature” and “nature” are the same thing, forgetting that they are actually different.  Eventually, we go on to think that we have control over “nature” and that we are above it.  In this way, the “human niche” takes on an illusionary quality about “nature”, making it appear smaller than it is.  As a result of this, it tends to develop misconceptions about “nature”.  Commonly, there becomes a tendency to downplay “nature”, almost as if it is a minor influence in life.  As a result, the “human niche” begins to be perceived as the everything in life.  “Nature” becomes viewed as subsidiary to the “human niche” and may even be viewed as its servant.  In some societies “nature” can practically disappear as a presence in life . . . “nature” literally disappears.  In addition, we tend to lose the “nature” side of our selves as the “human niche” grows.  In other words, an overly strong “human niche” makes us lose touch with “nature”.  This even includes our “human nature”.  In short, as the “human niche” grows we tend to lose touch not only with “nature” but with our selves.

One effect of all this is that the “beauty of nature” is looked at from the context of the “human niche”.  This point of view tends to look at nature from contexts such as these:

  • It is looked at from the comfort of the “human niche”.  As a result, it is “pleasant” and “good”.
  • It is looked at from a distance, as if seeing nature only from a context of a documentary.
  • It is looked at from the context of people who do not have the proper sense of what “nature” really is.
  • It is looked at from the point of view of people who have lost touch with themselves.

The effect of these is that this form of “beauty of nature” tends to be illusionary and lacks depth.  In addition, it does not really hit one deeply at all.  This is why the “pleasing” side of nature is emphasized.  The “beauty of nature” that this condition creates can be described as the “human niche-based beauty of nature”. 

But if one goes beyond the “human niche” one see’s another form of beauty, one that isn’t so pleasant, easy, simplistic, or shallow.  Unlike the “human niche-based beauty of nature”, which is generally pleasant-oriented, it can be hard, difficult, painful, and even horrifying.  In addition, it is so deep that it can change the person and alter the self.  This, really, is when “nature” hits deep as it changes ones self.   In this way, the self is as if transformed and altered by “nature”.  In some respects, one becomes a part of “nature” by being transformed by it.  In so doing it seems to have these effects:

  • “Nature” takes on the quality of something that is animate or alive.  We see, then, a natural tendency to see “nature” not as an inanimate object but as something alive and living.  This sense, really, is the source of god and spirits.  In this way, any form of spirituality is related with “nature”.  As a result, any spirituality based in the “human niche” (such as organized religions, learning spirituality from a book, etc.) tends to be shallow or superficial-like.  They are a good guide, and a support, but the heart of any spirituality lies in “nature”.
  • It makes one alike or akin to “nature”, almost like we are relatives or brothers.  In this way, “nature” becomes something more like a relationship, something you associate with, much like another person.
  • There becomes a strong sense of “self-in-the-world”.  In some sense, the self is felt strongest in “nature”.  Not only this, the self is perceived as being in-the-world.  This gives a great sense of “aliveness” and of living.  Perhaps one could say that life is found in “nature”?
  • One as if becomes closer to “human nature”.  In other words, by becoming closer to “nature” one becomes closer to ones natural self.  Because of this, “nature” can have great impact on becoming a human being.  One could very well say that a person finds “human nature” only in the midst of “nature”.

This transformation, and its effects, creates a whole other form of “beauty of nature” which can, at times, have great influence on a person and even become profound.  We could speak of this as “transformation-based beauty of nature”.

This transformation, though, requires going beyond the “human niche” and abandoning it, at least to some extent.  I do not believe, necessarily, that “living in nature” (that is, like an Indian or mountain man) automatically does this.  That is to say, living “living in nature” does not necessarily create a “transformation-based beauty of nature”.  In fact, it may not do any transformation at all!  This form of living, it seems to me, can create a “practical” version of transformation, based on active living and participation, which is more akin to learning a lifestyle than anything else.  It often only creates a “living in nature lifestyle” which is not the same as a real transformation.  In other words, knowing “how” to live in nature is not necessarily transformation.  It requires more than that.

I believe that, in transformation, we are looking at something that is deeper.  It requires a mental attitude and quality.  One could say, I suppose, that transformation requires, as a prerequisite, a “spiritual” sense.  This means that transformation is more spiritual than physical or practical or a lifestyle.  It happens in ones mind.  I also think that only some people are prone to this.  Many people don’t have this frame of mind.

Because it happens in ones mind (that is, interiorly) it is not solely based in the physical fact of “nature”.  That is to say, being in “nature” doesn’t just automatically cause a transformation.  This fact shows that there is more to “nature” than “nature”, that it is an experience and a phenomena.   Because of this, “nature” appears in different ways:

  • As a reaction to physical “nature”.  Being in the midst of “nature” can affect a person interiorly and affect a person deeply.  In this way, it can promote and cause an experience and phenomena.
  • Having a “non human niche” perspective.  In some respects, anything that is not part of the “human niche” is a form of “nature.

We see, then, a pattern where “nature” really means an absence of the “human niche”.   Accordingly, it does not necessarily mean being out in physical nature. So we see that, since transformation requires “nature”, the abandoning of the “human niche” is necessary for transformation.  In the end, one does this interiorly, in ones mind.  Being in physical nature can have great impact on this interior sense and, in some cases, be critical.  But to be in physical nature alone, with no interior sense, does nothing.  In this way, we see that transformation is rooted in ones interior self. 

With this we can see that there are two ways to abandon the “human niche”:

  1. Being inspired by physical “nature”.  This only leads to the second way.
  2. By abandoning it interiorly. 

The power of physical “nature”, in this process, shows that we have a deep association with nature.  In actuality, “nature” is a part of us and we are a part of it.  This fact tends to be forgotten in the “human niche” which tends to make it appear as if we are separate from “nature”.

When we move away from the “human niche” (both physically and mentally) one ceases to have its security, identity, and support.  One is now exposed to “nature”.  In this way, one really stands naked in the world . . . there’s nothing to hide behind.  Not only that, we must remember that “nature” does not conform to us . . . it is “un-human”.  In this way, “nature” as if squashes the self . . . “nature” kills ones self.  This is what I found.  For many years in fact, after loving to be in nature for many years, I found I avoided nature.  Looking back on it now I know that it is because of its squashing quality.  Nature actually began to scare me.  Its because of this that I find myself often stating:  “nature destroys me”.  Later I would begin to say, “I go into nature to be destroyed by nature”.  In effect, its squashing quality causes a death in the self.  The self is as if insufficient in the face of “nature”.

When in nature I saw nature as “beyond me” and “more than me”.  It seemed incomprehensible, beyond my reach.  My human mind could not comprehend it.  Knowledge such as “cumulus clouds”, “sequoia trees”, “strata of rock”, etc. were only words and ideas from the “human niche”.  What use are they out in real “nature”?  I could sit and pretend to know, using fancy words and ideas as they do in the “human niche” (particularly if they are scientific), but these truly, deep down, do not explain nature and are insufficient.  Words have little use.  “Nature” is beyond me, beyond words.  This makes me feel so small and insignificant, a nothing.  This creates a great sense of humility.  I often call this one of the “great truths” for in accepting it one is accepting the first “great truth” of life, that one is small and the world is beyond ones self, mind, and understanding.  This means that this “great truth” is not a knowing of information or facts, as is often supposed viewed as being “truth”.  Instead, it shows that “truth” is an awareness of a condition and an acceptance of it.  In other words, “great truth is awareness and acceptance”.  Humility, then, is the accepting of ones insignificance and inability to comprehend. Of all the “truths” I’ve learned it has the greatest sense of “truth” I have ever felt . . . but yet it consists of not “knowing” anything.  I call this “wonderful humility”.  This sense can be so deep that it often becomes profound, almost unreal.  In this way, it shows that “humility is the base of profoundness”.  This profoundness is a beauty in itself, a “humble beauty”.  It is truly wonderful to walk in the woods feeling this humility and insignificance and inability to understand.  The world becomes something to marvel (see my article “Thoughts about learning to ‘marvel’“).  This beauty, interestingly, is a beauty of a relationship, not of a sight or image (as we generally see in “human niche-based beauty of nature”).  We see, then, that there is beauty beyond a sight or image but in something as simple as an awareness of a relationship.

Its not uncommon that this “humble beauty” makes me feel like a child in “nature”.  I feel simple, helpless, and vulnerable.  I feel innocent, dumb, and naïve.  But, like a child, I find a reliance on a parent . . . “nature”.  In this way, “humble beauty” tends to create a trust and a faith.  This also leads to a relationship with “nature” as if it were a person.  As a result of this, there becomes an awareness that nature is lord and master.  That is to say, it dictates things.  We follow it.  In some sense, we serve and must submit to nature.  Only in serving and submitting to nature do we truly know it and see its beauty (also see my article “Thoughts on the importance of subservience and submission“).

But this sense of humility and insignificance also “destroys me”.  My self is as if squashed by it.  But there is a part of me that lives and grows, a “nature” part of me.   It is a deeper self that is awakened by this squashing of my self.  It is as if awakened.  In this way, it shows that there is an “outer self”, which is based in worldly things and the “human niche”, and a deeper “nature self”.  The squashing and death of my self, my “outer self”, becomes the birth of a new self, the “nature self”.  This death/birth becomes the transformation.  In this discovery of the “nature self” a person becomes changed, a new person.  With this new “nature self” the world changes and new beauties appear.

Through this new “nature self” there is a sense instilled in me that there is a deep and strong connection between nature and me, that we are “bound” together.  I feel nature as a part of me and it a part of me.  As I said once many years ago:  “when I looked out into the world I see my self looking back at me”.  The sky, the trees, the mountains, seem as much a part of me as my hand or foot.  In this world, then, “nature” and me become so bound together that we seem as if one entity.  This is a great expression of the self, of what I call extension and projection (for example, see my article “Thoughts on the importance of spatial relations and the self – the creation of a “self-space” and its effects” and “Thoughts on the progression of projection“).  The self is as if expanded to encompass the whole world.  It creates a bond, a belonging, a being-a-part-of.  “Nature” is no longer just a place but “me”.  This creates a beauty based in the expression of the self.  This expression of self, this sense of being “bound”, and the beauty it creates, is “beauty-by-being-bound”.  A person becomes a part of all nature, including all the things that have no apparent beauty, such as the horrid heat, the insects, the mud of the marshes, the dead branches, the spiders, etc.  This bond, this being bound to nature, is one of the great beauties of nature I think.  Its also difficult to achieve and very transitory (meaning that it comes and goes).  As a result, one is always seeking it.

This “nature self” is not something that, once found, is always there.  One must continually hunt and seek for it.  The “nature self” is a deeper self and an experience that comes and goes, is found and lost.  In this way, the “nature self” becomes a continual questing, and endless seeking, and an ongoing hunt.  This shows that “nature” requires a continual seeking of a death and a birth to discover the “nature self”.  Its this death and birth that leads to transformation which creates new forms of beauty.

I know, from experience, that the “nature self” is really a sense of the pre-self, which is what I call the self before a self actually appears (see my article “Thoughts on the pre-self, primal self, world self, post-self, and the greater self“).  This causes a number of responses:

  • A sense of “uncontaminated self”.  That is to say, the self is felt in a pure way, without all the conflicts, burdens, and dilemma’s that the self develops later.  The self is as if “pure”.  In some sense, its a “primal sense”, of “life at the beginning”.
  • A progression of self’s.  The sense of the pre-self as if starts a “new beginning” with the growth of the self.  One goes back to the “self before the self” (the pre-self) and progresses through the different self’s again (such as the primal self, world self, post self, greater self).  In this way, the self’s are as if renewed and reestablished.  One effect of this is that it makes it so that the self is dynamic and is active on many different levels.

The effect of these is that the different self’s as if revolve around and around like a big wheel, going around and around from one to another.  This gives a great sense of life, a growth, and insight coming from the different self’s.  Hidden aspects of the self as if appears from nowhere and one develops new awareness and growth.  The self changes.  The perception of the self changes.  The perception of the world changes.  This causes a new form of beauty, one based in experiencing the self.   This is the “beauty of the revolving self”. 

Interestingly, the more the “nature self” is practiced, the more the “human niche” seems small in comparison.  This has become so powerful that I often view the “human niche” – human society, human lifestyle – as a separate entity, a separate world removed from nature.  Human society, to me, takes on this quality of being nothing but a big shell that separates itself from nature and as if protects itself from nature.  It makes it appear that nature and the “human niche” are separate distinct places that are, in actuality, incompatible.

When I do not practice the “nature self” I find that I slowly become absorbed into the “human niche”, usually without my knowing.  Accordingly, I find that nature moves further and further away from me and the “human niche” mentality becomes dominant.  In this state the “external self” becomes dominant.  Because of this, the “human niche-based beauty of nature” becomes the beauty I see.

Its as if there is a great tug-of-war between “nature” and the “human niche”.  One continually goes back and forth in an endless struggle.  Though this is hard and painful, at times, it is much like the revolving of the sun, which creates day and night in an endless never ending cycle.  There seems a naturalness in this revolving of “nature” and the “human niche”.  They reflect two aspects of the human self.  Like night and day they, too, are opposing elements.  And, like them, they have moments of conflict and moments of glory.  This tug-of-war, of going from one to another creates a particular quality of beauty.  There becomes a beauty in the glory of “nature” and the “human niche” as well as the conflict that happens between them.  This becomes a beauty in conditions.  We could call this the “beauty of opposing qualities”.  I find this the hardest beauty to see and the one I most struggle with.  I often feel this is because of a number of qualities:

  • Its hard to go from one extreme to another.
  • Its hard to see beauty in all the qualities at one time (“nature”, “human niche”, the glory of each, and the conflict between them).
  • The birth/death (transformation) is painful.

All these put great stress on the self.  The tendency is to “favor” a specific quality at one period of time.  In other words, we tend to be ‘quality focused’.  Since this is a cycle of opposing qualities this ‘quality focused’ orientation hinders the cycle nature.  This form of beauty requires one to see things as a whole.  In other words, to be ‘cycle focused’.  One cannot really see the “beauty of opposing qualities” until one becomes ‘cycle focused’.  This seems to be something that takes time to develop.  Time develops things like this:

  • Experience
  • A growth of self
  • Observation
  • Awareness

These add up, over time, and allow one to be able to look at things from a distance.  This is because the ‘cycle focused’ orientation is an orientation based in looking at things from a distance.

What we see in all this is that the beauty of “nature” goes way beyond physical beauty to the depths of ones self.  Not only that, it appears in different ways, such as a beauty in experiencing the self or in a relationship.  Because it goes into the depths of ones self it requires a change of self to achieve (transformation).  This opens up new aspects of the self and, accordingly, new forms of beauty.  In many ways, this shows that the “beauty of nature” is not only found in actual nature but within ourselves.

Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Contemplation, monastacism, shamanism, spirituality, prayer, and such, Dehumanization and alienation, Existence, Awareness, Beingness, Consciousness, Conceptionism, and such, Philosophy, Religion and religious stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on ‘political theory based society’

Here’s a thought I had:

I’ve often found myself stating, recently, that since about 1990 (the end of the cold war) we are moving into an era resembling the Nazi’s.  When I say “Nazi” I mean it from a certain perspective.  Namely, it is trying to make life fit a political image.  In other words, political theory becomes the basis of society and how it functions.  In this way, political theory supplants and replaces things like tradition, religion, belief, customs, morality, etc.  This is what the Nazi’s basically tried to do which is why I used them as a comparison.  I spoke of this as the ‘political theory based society’.  I’m under the impression that we are now slowly moving into a ‘political theory-based society’.  In fact, I can see a time in the future, perhaps, where practically everything, in some way or another, will be based in political theory.  I should also point out that law is closely associated with politics.  In this way, there becomes a close connection between politics and law.

An aspect of this is the idea of “political correctness” (see my article “Thoughts on the ridiculousness of political correctness – another example of cold war paranoia“).  In many ways, this idea, and its implementation, is a sign that political theory is infiltrating our everyday lives.  Its acceptance, and enforcement, only shows how political theory is starting to be a basis for our lives.

I often feel that there are a number of reasons why there is a general movement toward politics as a basis for life.  These include:

  • It replaces the void caused by lack of religion, morality, etc.  In effect, politics replaces the void left by the fall of the power of human society.
  • Its a power that is continuously in use.
  • It is a rigid and solid framework, giving it a constancy.
  • The foundation created by the already established use of politics as a power in western society.
  • Because of the different cultures, ethnicities, etc. of people in society politics establishes a “common ground”.  In other words, politics is without culture, without nationality, without ethnicity, etc.

In some respects, the conditions of the times has made it so that politics is the only thing left standing.  It is the only thing constant enough, solid enough, and common enough to deal with mass modern society.  In other words, politics becomes the primary “social power” in a mass society.  Things like religion, tradition, culture, morality, etc., and many other aspects of human society, such as marriage and social hierarchy, which have been a part of human society since time began, tend to fall in mass society, leaving politics as the primary power.

If this is the case, then it would mean that politics is going to become more and more the basis of the mass human society in the future.

There are problems, though, with politics as a basis for human society:

  • It lacks wisdom.  Political theory is only looking at things from a specific direction.
  • It is narrow.  It tends to overlook and neglect other aspects of life.  It lacks the deeper aspect of life life becomes shallow and it misses the important aspects of life.
  • It is idealistic and not grounded in the real world.  In this way, its often striving for what one would like, not how the real world is.
  • It tends to be one-sided.
  • It tends to be self-righteous.
  • It does not cater to human needs.
  • It plays favoritism.
  • It develops illusions about things.
  • It is too abstract.  It does not cater to “deeper” more mystical or religious aspects of human nature, for example.  The emphasis is on the “idea” of the political theory.

In this way, political theory is a point of view that is only looking at things from a certain angle and direction.  In short, its too specific.  This is one of its great weaknesses.

It seems, to me, that a ‘political theory based society’ develops qualities such as:

  • A distorted way of life.
  • A tendency to mania and fanaticism.
  • A tendency to blind following.
  • A tendency to neglect and favoritism (even though it professes to do otherwise).
  • A tendency to a sense of emptiness in things.
  • A tendency to superficiality and shallowness.

In effect, using a political theory as a basis for life tends to lead to a life based in the “idea” of the political theory, not on real-world human life.  In this way, life revolves around an “idea”.  In so doing, life is limited by that “idea” and made narrow and specific by that “idea”.  The fact is that politics is only good as politics.  It is not good as a basis for everyday life (see my article “Thoughts on how political theories do NOT reflect human life – the insufficiency of political theory as a model for human life“).   To base life on political theory is absurd but, yet, that is exactly what is happening.

Another aspect of ‘political theory based society’ is that it turns people into something like drones.  This is because of the inherent aspects and abstract quality of political theory.  It makes is so that people become “followers of political theory”.  In this way, political theory creates a conformist attitude, of just doing what the political theory states.  If you do what it says then you are OK.  This creates a tendency where it  makes it so that you must “do what it says”.   In this way, ‘political theory based society’ tends to be a controlling society.  Usually, a person doesn’t notice its controlling quality until one is at odds with it.

I do not believe that people really realize how much political theory has infiltrated into things.  Its in education, movies, advertisements, and into day-t0-day associations between people.  And, what’s worse, it is only spreading.

Law is often used to “enforce” political theory and maintain it.  In fact, law is often used to punish “non political theory” based behavior and anything else that does not fit the political theory.  Nowadays, a person can get in trouble “legally” if they do not follow the political theory lifestyle or do anything against the political theory.

Children, interestingly, are often used by ‘political theory based societies’ as a means to demonstrate their political theory.  The children become the “proof” of the political theory, to demonstrate its greatness.  As a result, they tend to have political theory instilled into them as well as to emulate its ideals.  This can get to the point of an indoctrination.  Its as if the children emulating political theory is the great example of the truth of their political theory.  Because of this, they often go through great pains to do this.  I have often been appalled how my generation, and earlier generations, used the youth as something like a “show pony” to demonstrate their political theory.   This is why I often speak of the generations from about 1990 as the “show pony generations”.   In many ways, the younger generation become the victims of the older generation in a ‘political theory based society’ (for example, see my article “Thoughts on an aspect of the youth of today . . . the creation of “the machines of the economy”“).

Much of so-called “education”, nowadays, is really nothing but an “indoctrination” of the youth to this politically theory based life and the use of political theory as a basis for life and living and as a source of ideals, beliefs, and behavior.  This is particularly so with public school.  In this way, education is somewhat comparable to the Hitler Jugend.

It appears, to me, that societies that develop a ‘politically based society’ fail after awhile.  This, I believe, is a result of the narrowness of political theory, as mentioned above.  Some examples of this include the Nazis and Communism.  This seems particularly apparent when it is forced upon the people, and particularly in a small period of time (as was the case with Germany and Russia).

The US, on the other hand, developed it slowly.  It did not really have a ‘politically based society’ until the 1970’s.  This was primarily a result of the Vietnam War and the Cold War which made politics an issue.  In addition, the US continually used law as a way to enforce political theory.  Also, the end of the cold war even made it stronger as the US viewed themselves as “victors” thus proving that their political theory is right.  In other words, national pride helped in its creation.  Since then, the general movement of the US is to a ‘politically based society’.  As a result, the US has developed it gradually over time.  In some ways, this slow movement makes it worse as it allows these ideas to further “implant” themselves into everyday life making a ‘political theory based society’ inevitable.  Despite this, the destructive nature of ‘political theory based society’ appears to be taking place.  In my opinion, the US is developing a self-destructive perspective that is undermining itself.  Much of this has a basis in the ‘political theory based society’ tendency to fail (see my articles “Thoughts on how the U.S. is undermining itself with its own ideals – the ‘God-ordained democracy’ thats frightened of authority“, “Thoughts on how America is destroying the basic foundations of human society and are a threat to themselves“, “Thoughts on the ‘American anti-culture’“, “Thoughts on my saying, “The U.S. has done great effort to destroy human things but they’ve done nothing to replace what they’ve destroyed” – America’s self-destructive mentality“, and “Thoughts on how “freedom and democracy” undermines human society“).

Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Government and politics, Modern life and society, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on liberalism, with remarks about “70’s liberalism”

Here’s a thought I had:

Over the years, I have grown to despise liberalism.  More specifically, I am speaking of the form of liberalism that developed in about 1970, plus or minus, in the U.S.  This period of time caused the development of attitudes that still persist to this day.  In fact, the general attitude of the U.S. is from about 1970.  Its as if the U.S. is stuck in the 1970’s.  It still maintains attitudes that originated there and interprets things as if we were still in the 1970’s.  Because of this, this era defines the liberalism that is prevalent today.  I speak of this form of liberalism as “70’s liberalism”.

Liberalism from, say, the 1800’s is not the same as “70’s liberalism”.  Supposedly, liberalism (or the liberal attitude) appears to of originated in Italy in the late middle ages.  It seems to be a result of the increasing wealth caused by the merchant class which required changes to the existing social structure, laws, and such.  In short, liberalism seems to be a reaction to the fact that money is power.  This was not the case in the era preceding it in which social structure is power.  During this time, social structure (who’s in charge, where you stand in society, etc.) was the main power in society.  This is common for smaller societies . . . its what holds them together.  This is why it is so important.  As the population grows the social structure starts to be replaced by laws, customs, regulations, etc. and social structure tends to deteriorate in power.  As a result, money becomes more influential and powerful.  In a sense, money “buys” power.  To put it another way, the power of money ends up replacing the power of social structure.  This situation causes a whole change in society and can cause great tension and problems in a society.  What ends up happening is that there becomes a reorientation of things in response to the change in “power”.  This reorientation appears in many different ways depending on the society.  It can appear in ways such as a social turmoil, a civil war, or a political coup, among other things.   In Italy one of the ways it appeared is in the creation of liberal attitudes which became the origin of liberalism.

It appears, to me, that Christianity had a big impact on the development of liberal attitudes in Italy and, in a way, helped create it.  This is no wonder as Italy was the “capitol” of Western Christiandom.  Because of this, the liberal attitude is very much rooted in Christian attitudes.  This is why liberal attitudes have many religious-like qualities that have persisted down to today.  These include:

  • An emphasis on “high cause”, sometimes having a point of view that liberal attitudes will “save” us (just like Christianity professed to do).
  • A self-righteous quality.
  • A tendency to preaching.
  • An emphasis on fairness and being “peaceful”, emphasizing the Christian ideal of peace and love.
  • It tended to cause change by the use of intellectualism and thought (reminiscent of the Christian conversion process which requires a person to “understand” the gospel – see my article “Thoughts on some of the effects of Christianity on the glorification of understanding, reading, learning, and intellectualism“).

We could speak of this as an “early liberalism phase”.  This seems to be before the Protestant Reformation (early 1500’s).

When the Protestant Reformation appeared there developed deeper harsher feelings . . . they were so deep, in fact, that they led to wars.  The Protestant Reformation created another reorientation of power to happen.  Before, it was caused by money as power.  Now it was the question of religion as power.  The new Protestant religions forced a “breaking away” from the power and rule of the Catholic church, which was a significant aspect of the social structure of society.  But much of this “breaking away” was “forced” by war and conflict, which restricted the development of liberal attitudes as a source of change.   Despite this, the great religious conflict that ensued seemed to “force” a liberalism to happen, however small, primarily of an “acceptance” of the other religions as well as a limiting of the power of ones own religion.  But even the effect of this was limited because there developed a “you stay over there and we’ll stay over here” point of view to solve the problem.  As a result, the liberalism this era created was limited.  We could call this “religious conflict based liberalism”.  This dominated in the 1500-1600’s.

Beginning in the 1700’s, the continual overpopulation that plagued Europe caused many social problems.   Because of this, a new power appeared:  the mob as power.  As with the previous situations, this new power caused a new reorientation which caused tension.  One effect of this was the rise in a new form of liberalism and liberal attitudes.  It seems that, now that the mob had power, the liberalism hit deeper into the population and, accordingly, caused a deeper and more extensive reaction.  We could call this “overpopulation based liberalism”.

Overall, then, we can see a pattern that, up to this time, liberalism is a reaction to the coming of a new social “power” that is upsetting the existing “power”.  As  a result, it is a manifestation of a conflict between these two conflicting “powers”.  In this way, liberalism means a “freeing” or “liberation” from the existing social order.

After the Napoleonic Wars new conditions created a new form of liberalism.  The conditions of the 1800’s created many new and difficult social problems that would have great impact on liberalism.  Its here, in the 1800’s, that we see liberalism develop many varied and unique qualities.   Also, during this time, there developed a rise in the merchant class and, accordingly, a rise in the fact that money is power, reviving the earlier conflict.  In addition, the liberal attitude became applied to many different situations creating many forms of liberalisms.  It also infiltrated into the lives of everyday people.  Because of this, we could probably say that it was in the 1800’s that liberalism became closely associated with social problems.  This closeness to social problems brought in whole new conflicts and qualities to liberalism changing its form.  As a result of this, liberalism began to be associated with things like these:

  • A breakdown of an existing social order.
  • A form of restructuring (or an attempt at it anyways).
  • New ideas and points of view.
  • Because this often entails breaking down social conventions its often associated with an attack on society, perhaps to the point of being revolutionary.
  • There’s a sense of self-righteous cause.

These things, based in social conflict, would become associated with liberalism ever since and, in some sense, defines it.  Because of this, we could describe this form of liberalism as “social conflict based liberalism”.  This was prevalent from the 1800’s to the mid-1900’s.

Because there were so many forms of social conflicts there developed many different forms of conflict between the two “powers”.   It could appear in a number of ways:

  • An actual conflict.  A good example is Catholic versus Protestant . . . these were real “powers” that conflicted with each other.
  • A passive conflict.  This means that there are two orientations that are not really conflicting but, being next to each other, they don’t “mix”, causing problems.  A good example might be the problems dealing with homosexual people.
  • An imagined conflict.  This is a conflict that really doesn’t cause any problems but people think it does.  Often, its caused because one group is too adamant about their “cause” (such as vegetarians saying that eating meat is a form of “murder”).
  • The “rebellious” conflict.  This is conflict created by someone who is just rebelling to rebel.  This, I feel, is far more prevalent than it may, at first, seem.

We can see then that, during the “social conflict based liberalism”, liberalism began to be used not only for “real” conflicts but “imagined” conflicts or just any conflict at all.  In short, then, by the late 1800’s, or so, liberalism was no longer based about a conflict of “powers”, necessarily, but as a mechanism for any social conflict, “real” or “imagined“.  In fact, I would even go on to say that, liberalism is now PRIMARILY used when there is some form of opposition to the existing social order.  That, it seems, is the primary “value” of liberalism nowadays.  In a way, it was used to “justify” ones position against the existing society one feels in conflict with.  This is particularly so if one is, in some way, opposing current society in some way, such as:

  • Having a different viewpoint or belief.
  • Being “different” in some way.
  • Not being able to “fit in” to the society.
  • Active opposition, criticism, condemnation, etc. of the society or something about the society.
  • Being rebellious for rebellions sake.
  • They just have some “issue” with the society, whatever its source or reason.

In short, liberalism became a “defense” against conflicting with the existing society.  What this means is that any one taking liberal viewpoints are typically opposing or conflicting with the existing order in some way.  In other words, people who do not have problems with the existing society generally do not take liberal views.  This fact is not surprising as it shows the particularly strong and demanding quality of conformism and values that was found in Victorian society and which caused many people problems.  In this way, the demands of Victorian society helped create the “social conflict based liberalism”.  We could then say that liberalism became particularly prevalent as a result of the social rebellion that strong Victorian values created.  This is because this rebellion pitted the people against the society as a whole.  Liberalism, which was an already existing attitude and point of view, was a likely “support” and “justification”.  In this way, liberalism was extensively used by people who felt a rebellion against Victorian values.  

Its really no surprise, then, that liberalism was used as a justification for breaking the strict Victorian “moral code”.  One particularly strong aspect of the Victorian “moral code” was the issue of morality.   Many people struggled with the strong Victorian moral ethics.  It became a cause, for many people, to rebel against Victorian society as well as to go against it.  As a result of this, liberalism became associated with “lax morality” to the point of “immorality” or even “no morality“.  This is because liberalism was used by people who were “rebelling” against moral codes and conventions.  This, in a way, would establish liberalism as the “philosophical point of view” used by people who were rebelling against society.  This worked so well that it made it so that liberalism began to be used as an “authority” for any “rebelling” against the existing society and social structure.  In some cases, some people even used liberalism as a “justification” for rebellion or immorality and as a “cause”.

Because liberalism is based in opposing existing society it shows that it is primarily a reactionary point of view.  That is to say, its a reaction to the social conditions and reality.  This would be one of its great weaknesses.  Since liberalism is based in reacting it does not really establish anything.  Its almost as if there needs to be “something reacted against” to make liberalism valid and legitimate.  In short, as an independent philosophy liberalism doesn’t have enough to stand on its own (for example, there is no established “liberal philosophy”).  As a result, liberalism is always “hanging on” and never quite completes itself nor does it establish anything.  In some respects, it takes on a quality much like a “leech” or a “parasite” on society.  Its only action is in reactionIts main point of view is always in opposing something else, never in being something on its own.

This tendency of “never being something on its own” tends to make it so that liberalism takes on the quality of a “half philosophy” that never quite becomes “complete”.  This fact tends to make it a “perpetually frustrated” philosophy with “perpetually frustrated” people.  In other words, liberalism tends to be made up of frustrated people which makes them easily or always “upset” about something.  To me, this is one of the hallmark traits of a liberal . . . one can often tell a liberal as they are too easily upset by things.

With the coming of the cold war after WWII, and the social tensions it caused, the liberal point of view would again become prevalent.  This seemed to reach a defined form by about 1970.  This “70’s liberalism” was very much based in the “social conflict based liberalism”.  This especially includes:

  • The idea of rebelling against the social norm and social structure.
  • The idea of a “lax morality”.

This became, it seems, something of a basis for its development.  These are themes that were prevalent in about 1970 and were used a lot.  In this way, we see that “70’s liberalism” is actually a continuation of the “social conflict based liberalism” and, in this way, is really a reflection of the Victorian era.  This is not surprising as the 1970’s was really the end of the Victorian era.

The historical circumstances that surround “70’s liberalism”, though, had great impact on it, giving it many unique qualities and attitudes as well as giving it a specific form.  Some strong elements include:

These historical conditions gave some unique traits to “70’s liberalism”, as a result of the unique historical circumstances that surround the time period, and which give it its particular “flavor”.  Some of these qualities include:

  • Blind fear.  The cold war hysteria has created a deep inner fear that runs through much of “70’s liberalism”.  Often, this is “hidden” deep down.  Despite this, it motivates much of what they do.  An effect of this blind fear is that there is a tendency to see the worst in things.  In addition, they will automatically assume malicious intent (see my article “Thoughts on my statement: “The cold war is over. We don’t have to see malicious intent in peoples actions anymore . . . ” – the cold war warpage of American ideals, law, and political views and other things“).  They will also see hatred where there is none.  I’ve seen many liberals whose whole world view is one of feeling threatened by the world.  They feel as if the world is plotting against them, trying to do them harm.  They also see threats everywhere and in everything.  Because of this, they are often very paranoid.  Much of this has origin in the cold war hysteria.
  • Using the American Constitution, politics, and law as a defense.  In fact, they tend to hide behind it and often use it as a weapon.  Oftentimes, the American Constitution is often used as an “authority” for much of its claims.
  • It believes itself to be a “high cause”.   There is a tendency for them to think that their views are great world-changing views and great philosophies.  In short, they have an over-inflated view of themselves.
  • Blind Idealism.  This tends to develop a pie-in-the-sky mentality which is prevalent in the liberal point of view.  Many liberals have a vision of the world and life that is unrealistic and nothing but a fantasy.  I’ve often been stunned at how the view the world in such a false way.
  • It is reactionary.   All they’re doing is reacting to a situation.  Because of this, liberalism is not an attitude that takes the initiative.  As a result, it tends to always find fault with the existing conditions (which it opposes, of course) and condemns it.  As a result, liberalism tends to develop an attitude of condemnation and criticism.  
  • It often hides a deep mistrust and hatred toward humanity . . . “evil human nature”.  Many liberals, I’ve found, have bad views about humanity that they hide behind the façade of liberalism.  Much of this originates from the cold war hysteria and its attack on “evil human nature” (ideas such as mankind’s love for “war” and “violence”, mankind’s “hate” of other people, etc. – notice how many of these themes are based in Christian principles and ideals!).  Because of this, many liberals have used liberalism as a means to express their own mistrust and hatred toward humanity.
  • It has a “save the world” mentality.  They seem to think that their viewpoint will save the world.  They also think that the world has to be saved.
  • They want to “change the world”.  This shows how self-righteous they are, as if they are the ones who know what’s best for the world.  Of course, they view their point of view as the great-all point of view in the world.
  • It creates a very controlling system.  Liberalism tends to think it is against a controlling system, almost as if they are crusading against it and are liberating society from some form of control (such as from the government or tradition).  In actuality, all liberalism seems to do is to create a new form of a controlling system that is actually ften more controlling.  More than once have I described liberal policies and laws as “tyrannical” and something like a “police state”.  Look at what liberalism creates!  Can’t do this.  Can’t do that.  This is a crime.   That’s a crime.  You can get sued for a simple stupid thing.  You must be careful of what you say.  Everything must be “politically correct”.  Its like you got to walk on tip-toes around liberals . . . everything upsets them, and their solution to getting upset:  CONTROL!
  • It creates a “society of unconscious fear”.  They see threats everywhere, they see bad things in everyday things, etc.  This makes it so that liberalism creates a generalized environment of fear that is unconscious.  They usually don’t see that as they feel their liberal views “protect” them.  As an outsider looking into their world it doesn’t take a genius to see that the world the liberals create is one based in fear.
  • It creates people that are frightened, nervous, and frustrated and get upset over everything.  Many liberals, I’ve found, have an almost neurotic quality about them.

In short, “70’s liberalism seems to entail a bunch of people that are, deep down, frightened and scared of the world.  As a result, they hide behind the “high cause” of liberalism and the Constitution.  In addition, this fear makes them want to “change everything”, thinking that it will end their fears.  This gives “70’s liberalism” a quality of hypocrisy and a lack of genuineness and sincerity.

One of the things we see is that what the 70’s and the cold war created was a tendency where liberalism is used as a “cover” for personal problems, fears, dilemmas, and such.  In other words, personal problems are projected as “political problems”, “social problems”, “legal problems”, etc.  In this way, they try to solve personal problems through the society.

Much of these problems are rooted in the blind fear the cold war hysteria started.  Its as if the cold war hysteria highlighted, and exaggerated, many deep fears people have.  This was exaggerated, and distorted, by the social mania which was prevalent in the 1970’s.  This made it even worse causing a great exaggeration of it all.  In fact, social mania is what made cold war hysteria, with its blind fear, so prevalent and widespread.  

One of the effects the cold war hysteria brought out is a fear of the world.  In other words, people took the stance that the world was against them and they needed to protect themselves from it.  More than once have I said that “70’s liberalism” really amounts to saying “I’m scared of he world” which they are unwilling to admit to themselves.   Because of this, much of liberal thinking, and liberal ideas, is nothing but an attempt at a defense against their personal fear of the world, which they won’t admit to themselves. 

This fear can also appear as a fear of any violence and death.  The best example of this, I think, is how I’ve heard many vegetarians and vegans say that killing an animal is “murder” (see my article “Thoughts on how we kill living things “in their prime” for food“).  Its got to the point, even, that you can’t even spank your own kids.  You can’t get mad and you can’t express bad feelings.  We see, here, the element of control and unconscious fear that is so prevalent with liberal thinking:  you CAN’T because they FEAR it.

Often the blind fear turns into an apprehension of the world.   One of the ways this appears is as an unwillingness to accept certain facts about life.  In this way, some liberals use liberalism as a way to DENY certain facts in life that they don’t want to accept.  For example, the fact that wars happen, that people don’t like other people, that you must kill animals to eat them, etc.  In this way, liberalism becomes a means of denial more than anything else.  More than once have I said that what most liberals need to do is to learn to accept certain “facts” about life.  Once they do this, they will cease having liberal views.  One effect of liberals who take this point of view is that the more these liberals succeed in using liberalism to deny certain facts, the more they tend to develop a pie-in-the-sky mentality.  In other words, they tend to become blindly idealistic and develop a phantasy-like and unrealistic attitude about life.  This makes it so that liberals often develop a very naïve, unrealistic, and simplistic view of life.  They want things to be “rosy” and the way they want it.  In fact, its the qualities of being naïve and unrealistic that often tells me a person takes liberal views.

In some respects, “70’s liberalism” as if offers itself as the “new Christianity”, the “new saviour” of humanities problems.  This is not surprising as it is rooted in Christian thinking, as I said at the beginning.  Because of the use of Christianity they often use the authority of Christianity as the basis of its own philosophy.  In other words, its not their authority but Christian authority that they rely on.  This gives them a sense of self-righteousness and “high cause” and a tendency to use Christian themes.  This “leeching” off of other authorities is also seen in another form:  the authority of democracy and the Constitution.  Because of the historical circumstance of the cold war, which was based in democracy and the Constitution, this became prevalent in the 1970’s.  Liberalism, during this time, used politics for as much as it could.  It found that, by citing democracy and the Constitution, that it gave them power.  As a result, “70’s liberalism” tends to use the authority of politics to excess and in ridiculous proportions.  More than once have I said that liberals “pull politics out like a weapon”.   Both of these situations show a pattern where the authority of “70’s liberalism” is “leeched” off of or taken from other authorities.  In other words, they do not have an inherent authority all their own.  This tendency, to me, is another example how it is not a “stable philosophy”.

What we see, then, is that historical conditions has brought in many other qualities that, in a way, has turned “70’s liberalism” from just a “point of view” or “opinion”, as it was originally, to a “world view”.  In other words, “70’s liberalism” has taken on the qualities of a philosophy of how the world works.  In this way, it has “over reached” itself, and gone beyond the limits of its capabilities.  This philosophy does not have the depth, the breadth, and the extent to be a “world view”.  As a result, liberalism tends to create a limited, naïve, and narrow view of things.

Ironically enough, “7o’s liberalism” is unchanging.  Though it professes to be “liberal” and “causes change” it, in itself, is a rigid and defined point of view.  In my opinion, “70’s liberalism” is usually more rigid than the points of view it opposes.  This is often not noticed as “70’s liberalism” seldom “takes over” . . . it only affects things.  If “70’s liberalism” were to really take over, say, politics then I think people will begin to see how rigid, unchanging, and controlling it really is.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if a rebellion against liberalism takes place.

From how it appears to me, “70’s liberalism” is undermining to society as a whole (for example, see my article “Thoughts on the damaging effects of liberal points of views“).  Despite all its “high cause” and fancy explanations it is still consists of qualities such as these:

  • Its a “philosophy of opposition”.
  • Its a “philosophy of fear”. 
  • Its a “philosophy of control”. 
  • Its a “self-righteous philosophy”.
  • Its a “naïve philosophy”. 

These, overall, are not constructive for any society.  I tend to view “70’s liberalism” as something which “brings us down” or “keeps things on a low level”.

One point that is particularly damaging and undermining about “70’s liberalism”, in my opinion, is that it promotes ‘blind change’.  What I mean by this is that it tends to promote ANY change to the existing social condition, good or bad, and it does it blindly and indiscriminately.  This tendency is a continuation of the liberal attitude, particularly from the Victorian era, where liberalism was used as a means to oppose and rebel against the existing social conditions, moral values, and such (see above).  In the 1970’s this “rebellious attitude” got so “carried away” that it became ridiculous and asinine.  In a way, the mania of the 1970’s turned liberalism into the absurd joke that it is now.  We must remember that the quality of mania is of being “mindless” and having no “common sense”, people are overrun by their emotions and thoughts.  As a result, this mania quality gives “70’s liberalism” a quality of mindlessness.  Oftentimes, this mania is rooted in a social-based mania (no doubt reflective of the many new mass media’s that were appearing at this time of history – see above).  This is one reason why liberalism often follows social channels, following whatever social mania happens to be “popular” at the time.  Because of this, “70’s liberalism” is often nothing but a reflection of the current social mania going on at the time.  This fact gives a “flock of sheep” quality to many liberals.    Another quality that has made this mania and mindlessness even more ridiculous and damaging is a self-righteous attitude.  This self-righteousness attitude, coupled with mania and mindlessness, do not make a good combination.  Comparing it to a flock of sheep, its like wherever the sheep turn they are saying “we’re right, the direction we are going is the right direction”.  They turn one direction and are “right”, turn another and are “right”, and so on.  In actuality, though, all they are doing is following the herd . . . there’s no “right” in which direction they take, they just think there is.  All this gives “70’s liberalism” a quality of a maniacal self-righteous mindlessness This can give liberals a quality of being “insane” at times.  Its not surprising that, more than once, have I heard of people speak of “insane liberal views” (even I’ve said that).

Liberalism, though, has had positive and beneficial effects.  In this way, it has had a constructive impact on society.  I speak, though, of pre-1970’s liberalism.  This early form of liberalism has helped society, for example, move from different phases of society (such as a small society orientation to a mass society orientation).  Some of the ways it was beneficial include:

  • It allowed for a somewhat transition.
  • It does not get too self-righteous and they don’t get carried away with a “high cause”.
  • It is not rooted in fear.
  • It is not that oppositional.  It only went against the existing social structure as was necessary.
  • There is little social mania involved.
  • Once it does its purpose it disappears.

In short, it “doesn’t get carried away”, does its job, and disappears.  These traits are not found in “70’s liberalism”.  I feel that this is because “70’s liberalism” is too rooted in things like these:

  • Excessive blind fear.
  • Self-righteousness.
  • Social mania.
  • Blind opposition and rebellion.
  • A lack of constructiveness.
  • The creation of a controlling system.
  • It gets “carried away”.
  • It tries to leave a lasting effect on the society.

These all, in my opinion, create a philosophy that is more undermining than anything else.  It is totally different than the liberalism that preceded it and is, as far as I’m concerned, a whole other beast.  In this way, I do not really consider “70’s liberalism” as being representative of liberalism, as a whole, but an offshoot that has gone extreme.

Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Government and politics, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, The Cold War, The U.S. and American society | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on ‘secular oppression’

Here’s a thought I had (it seems that I may of spoken of similar themes, or maybe even repeated this theme, in other blogs though I cannot remember which ones):

Recently, I have been speaking of something which I keep calling ‘secular oppression’.   This is a point of view that originates from the “basic idea” of the French Revolution.  It is used as a basis to interpret every social problem that comes along (which is why I speak of it as ‘secular’, as its used in ALL social conflicts for everyone).  It is often used as a basis for social relations in general.

The ‘secular oppression’ point of view would became very popular right after the French Revolution in the early 1800’s and would establish itself in Western societies thinking and mentality down to today.  As a result of this, it would greatly influence political and social thought in the Victorian era and later.  Because of this we could perhaps say it is a defining trait of the Victorian era and later.  It affected things in may ways.  During the 1800’s it would be the basis of many interpretations of social problems.  When the population of England increased in the early-mid 1800’s, for example, it would be used to explain the problems.  Not only that, it would be used to villainize people turning people into tyrants and ‘bad people’ that often were not (such as the aristocracy).  In addition, it would be the basis for an attempted solution to the problems.  In these ways, this point of view would have far-reaching effects and consequences.  Subsequently, it would have deep influence on everyday life.  In the end, though, it would have an undermining effect.

As a general rule, it primarily consists of an attitude.  It is not, really, a formal philosophy or belief system but generally appears as a general stance reflecting a particular point of view.  This can, and did, affect or instigate certain philosophies that used it as a basis of its thinking.  In this way, many different philosophies, opinions, and points of view actually originate, and reflect, the attitude of ‘secular oppression’ even though they may not, at first glance, appear to be that way (such as communism and feminism . . . see below).  One could even say that it has created a particular mood to this era as well.


The “basic idea” of the French Revolution is that the there is the “oppressor” and the “oppressed” and that the oppressed must “free” themselves from the oppressors (portrayed, during the French Revolution, as the supposed conflict between the nobility and peasant class).  This “basic idea” became viewed as the cause of all forms of human social conflict regardless of what form it took and who it involved.  As a result, it was used to explain conflicts involving things such as the class-struggle, political issues, legal explanations, business theory, family association, marriage, the minor problems between people, and so on.  You name it and it was used as an explanation!  In this way, someone is always being oppressed.

The problem is that the “basic idea” was almost “too easy” to use for social problems.  This is because in every situation of social conflict there is always someone who is in power and someone who it not (who is associated with the oppressor and the oppressed).  This condition is almost always existing in any social conflict making this line of thought an easy association and easy explanation.  The problem is that the oppressor/oppressed line of thinking does not explain or address most social problems in its entiretyIt is much too narrow and limited in its thinking and often misses whole points about a situation.  In fact, its narrow thinking tends to make misconceptions a common occurance with this point of view Common misconceptions are often a result of particular assumptions that are inherent in this philosophy, such as:

  • The idea that the oppressor (the person in power) deliberately takes advantage of the oppressed (the person not in power).
  • The idea that the oppressor conspired to have power.
  • The idea that the oppressor is motivated by malicious reasons.
  • The idea that the oppressed are always innocent victims.
  • The idea that the oppressed are “always correct” or “pure” in some way.  That is to say, they can do no wrong.
  • The idea that the oppressed are always fighting for their freedom against the oppressors.

These tend to lead to a lot of misconceptions, myths, and misunderstandings, which have, in some respects, begun to define this point of view.  In fact, over the years, ‘secular oppression’ has begun to be identified with misunderstanding to me . . . because it is so associated with it.   In my opinion, ‘secular oppression’ has created a multitude of erroneous interpretations of social problems and their attempted solutions as well as a misaligned viewpoint of society in general I would even go on to say that it has created a warped view of society in western society.  Examples include:

  • It has created many misunderstandings about society and social relations.  For example, its created this idea that all society consists of is one group of people trying to take advantage of the other group.
  • It has created false threats and enemies.  In order for this philosophy to work a threat must be found and an enemy created.  As a result, it tends to promote false threats and the creation of enemies that don’t exist.
  • It has villainized innocent people.  This philosophy, because it needs the idea of oppressors, has turned many innocent people into threats and turned them into bad people.
  • It has created false solutions (such as communism, feminism, etc.).  Many of these have created more problems than it has solved.  Because it is such a narrow viewpoint it generally does not, in actuality, address the problems nor create an adequate solution.
  • It has also created a mania that its right and the only explanation and answer.  In other words, there tends to be a tendency of self-righteousness with ‘secular oppression’.  If you cite it as authority then its automatically right.  This mentality has turned this philosophy, oftentimes, into a social mania that has, at times, gotten out of control.  In some respects, this self-righteousness is one of the most damaging aspects of ‘secular oppression’.


The “basic idea”, which is the basis of ‘secular oppression’, is not only used to explain-away social problems but also became the basis of points of view of their solutions.

An often used “solution” to the oppressor/oppressed condition is to get rid of the oppressor, who is generally viewed as a force or power over the oppressed and, thereby, is the cause of the problem.  This is often spoken of as a “liberation” or “freedom”.  Once this happens its generally viewed that the “oppressed” will no longer have any problems.  This is often not the case, though.  This is because many problems are not, in actuality, caused by “oppression”.  But the people who believe in ‘secular oppression’ interpret everything from its point of view and, because of this, it appears to be that way to them.  When the “solution” doesn’t work they generally blame it on something else, even by creating a new ‘oppressor’.  Interestingly, even in the French Revolution the people in the French government blamed this person then that for years.  It really only ended after Napoleon took control.  As a result, we see a tendency of the “blame game” with ‘secular oppression’. 

Often, though, once the “oppressor” is done away with the “oppressed” end up becoming their own “oppressor” and the cycle repeats itself with another new “oppression” that must be done away with.  Who was once the “liberator” becomes the “oppressor”.  This, of course, goes on and on to eternity with this philosophy.

Interestingly, its never considered that getting rid of an “oppressor” (who is the power) tends to create a power vacuum and when there is a power vacuum who knows what can appear?  The power vacuum caused by the French Revolution deposing the King of France caused endless squabbles in the government that could never be rectified which allowed Napoleon to take power.  In other words, getting rid of the so-called “oppressor” (the King of France) only led to a power vacuum allowing the takeover by another new “oppressor”.  As a result of this, this “solution” tends to cause things such as:

  • A squabbling between the people in charge that can be endless.
  • A take over by someone or something (such as Napoleon, the Communist Party, etc.).

The condition of a power vacuum can be just as damaging as any “oppression”.  The fact is that both “oppression” and a power vacuum creates problems.

Another common solution to the oppressor/oppressed condition is to give power to the “oppressed”.  Generally, this is called democracy or “people rule”.  This “solution” tends to cause things such as:

  • An absence of anyone “in charge”.  Much of the idea of democracy is rooted in the idea that, by making “people rule”, it will prevent an oppressor from gaining power.  In other words, it assumes a person in power (oppressor) is automatically bad.  But, in so doing, no one has any power.  As a result, democracy tends to create a bunch of powerless people. 
  • An indecision or inability to solve problems.  There’s no one “in charge” to make a final decision.  As a result, there is much arguing that gets nowhere and things often never get done.
  • A lack of unity which causes a continual dissatisfaction.  Because all the people are supposed to rule no one wants to follow.  As a result, no matter what is done someone is always upset about it.  It also makes one group pitted against another group.  This makes it so that there tends to be continual divisions and dissatisfaction in a democracy. 
  • A tendency to have to force policy, laws, or ways.  This is often a result of an inability to make a decision, arguing, and indecision.  Because of this, for anything to happen it often must be forced which can upset a lot of people.  This, though, often requires someone to be “in charge” who, if there are any problems, becomes an easy scapegoat and, as a result, can easily be turned into a new “oppressor”.
  • If there are any problems they try to find someone to blame for it.
  • An illusion of having no problems.  The absence of anyone one in charge makes it so that there is no one (no oppressor, that is) to blame the problems on.  I’ve always felt that this is one of the illusions of democracy . . . the absence of a leader leads to an absence of blame which leads to an absence of complaining which leads to an appearance of having no problems!  But, we must remember, that just because you have no one to blame doesn’t mean the problems are solved.  In fact, I tend to feel that because there is no one to blame many problems remain unsolved in democracy.  In fact, I’d even venture to say that many problems aren’t even noticed!  All this gives an illusion that democracy has minimal problems. 

In short, then, democracy or “people rule” is not the great “solution” it pretends to be.  In many ways, it is no different than any other government or social system, having both good and bad qualities.

Overall, though, we tend to see that the “solutions” based on ‘secular oppression’ are often no better, nor effective, than any other “solution”.   In other words, I see no great miracle that they perform.  They are, in actuality, over-rated.

I tend to believe that the benefit of any of these “solutions” is generally not in the actual benefit or strength of the political theory they profess but, rather, more in the fact that something changed . . . and in the spirit of trying to make things better.  In other words, I’ve always felt that the spirit of trying to make things better has done more than any political theory.  In fact, it seems to me that the more this spirit is associated with political theory the less effective it is.  Politics has this quality that it as if distorts and corrupts the spirit of trying to make things better.  No doubt, this is rooted in the power that politics wields.  Its ironic:  to make things better we need the power found in politics but that very power corrupts and destroys the spirit to make things better.  In other words, the thing we need to help us often goes against us.  This, in many ways, is the “enigma of politics”.


The nature of ‘secular oppression’ tends to create certain traits to appear in a society such as:

  • A paranoia.  This can sometimes become delusional.  They will often either see oppressors where there are none or oppression where there is none.
  • A blind hatred.  They will automatically, and often unjustifiably, hate specific things, such as any image of authority.
  • A tendency to accusation and blame.  They are often overeager to find an “oppressor” to blame their problems on.
  • A tendency to destroy existing social institutions such as traditions, conditions, and ways.  In short, this tendency to see oppression everywhere in society often creates an “anti-society” point of view.  Social things like morality, belief, traditions, and ways become viewed as a form of “oppression” and can be viewed as a threat.  In this way, society becomes a threat.  The effect of this is a deterioration in the good feelings about society and a lack of trust in them.  This causes a tendency to destroy social institutions which undermines society as a whole.
  • A tendency to nihilism.  With everything being a potential oppressor (even ones society) it tends to cause a lifestyle where there is no belief in anything.  Since any social institution can be viewed as a form of “oppression” they will no longer believe in it or anything else.  The net result is that they believe in nothing.

In effect, ‘secular oppression’ tends to actually undermine the society in the long run.  In a way, society is slowly eaten away.  Personally, I think its damaging and destructive.

The undermining effect of ‘secular oppression’ can affect a society in two ways depending on how this point of view appears in the society:

  1. A formalized system or belief.  The undermining will eventually become particularly pronounced if the philosophy becomes formalized into a system or belief (such as communism).  Once this happens conditions are now “locked”, so to speak, into a philosophy that will, by its nature, inevitably spiral downward and eventually fail.
  2. As an attitude.  If the ‘secular oppression’ is only taken as a generalized attitude with no formalized philosophy (such as is common in the U.S.) then it tends to cause an undermining but not to the point that it spirals downward and fails.  This is because the society has not been “locked” into this philosophy.  In a way, it as if waivers in and out of being undermined.

Much of the reason for this tendency to undermining, I feel, is because it is an attack on authority and power.  The fact is that authority and power are needed in society and are part of the human condition.  To condemn these is like condemning the sun for being too bright or hot.  This philosophy basically condemns a necessary part of life that is needed.  In this way, it becomes, really, a form of condemning life. In many ways, one could say that the big failure of ‘secular oppression’ is its lack of respect for social power and social structure.  To this day, western society does not respect these things.  Is it all that surprising that it tends to undermine society?

But its effects even go deeper.  Because we are “social animals” this deterioration in society causes a deterioration in the individual.  This has gone on, in my opinion, to cause a dehumanization in people.  This dehumanization is caused by things like this:

  • The fact that there is no “real society”.
  • The tendency of nihilism or not believing in anything.
  • The reliance on other things as a “social substitute”.  More specifically, this means things like technology, trends, organization, etc.

I tend to feel that these tendencies has helped cause what I call “systemism” which is an ultra-organized almost inhuman society (see my article “Thoughts on the ‘System’ and ‘Systemism’“).  Basically, “systemism” is slowly replacing human society.   In this way, ‘secular oppression’ is not only undermining society its helping to create an “inhuman” society.


Two good examples of the philosophy of ‘secular oppression’ are communism and feminism.  Both of these are direct descendants from the “basic idea” of the French Revolution.  As is common, they sound good at first (particularly if you take the ‘secular oppression’ point of view) but they ended up becoming undermining and failed as a result.


The whole idea of communism, really, is rooted in the “basic idea” of the French Revolution:  the people in charge are taking advantage of the common people.  It became a somewhat formalized philosophy that “locked” itself into a specific orientation and direction.

It promotes the two “solutions”:  getting rid of the “oppressor” and giving power to the “oppressed”.  It tended to try to create a condition where this “solution” would prevail, there being no more “oppressors” and the people ruled indefinitely.  What it did, though, is create a new form of “oppressors” in the ruling Communist class.  In addition, the common people suffered worse than before.  This are some of the failures of this philosophy I described above.

Like a lot of ‘secular oppression’ it sounds good but was doomed to fail primarily because it denied the basic human social need of power in a society.  Not only that, it was a philosophy that “locked” itself into that condition.


Like communism, this philosophy is rooted in the “basic idea” of the French Revolution.  Unlike communism, it never became “locked” into a particular philosophy though.  It became, then, something more like an attitude or a stance that was taken.  Because of its attitude based orientation it does not really become a philosophy that is “locked” which tends to make it so it does not necessarily fail as did communism.

It seems to primary be a statement and did not, as a whole, state any “solutions”.  Its main emphasis was that the female was “oppressed”.  Later, other aspects of it would attempt at a “solution”, primarily with the idea of giving the females power, but it tended to be mild and sporadic.

Many aspects of feminism would be greatly influenced by female psychology than politics (such as the solution of “trying to be like a man”).  Because of this, it tended to make all these weird claims that have nothing whatsoever to do with politics (see my article “Thoughts on the absurd claims of feminists“).  Despite this, they use politics (that is, ‘secular oppression’ and the “basic idea”) as authority.  Because of this, it has developed that self-righteous attitude often seen with ‘secular oppression’.


The prevalence, and popularity, of ‘secular oppression’ shows, at least in my opinion, that there was a desperate need for an explanation of social problems after the French Revolution.  This is because this period of time (the 1800’s) was a time of great growth of society.  The population grew, politics became more involved, the industrial revolution appeared, many countries developed world empires, etc., etc.  This, naturally, led to great conflict and problems which were of a new form and which the society was unprepared for . . . they simply did not know how to explain it.  This fact, even more, made a desperate need for an explanation to the problems as well as a solution.  Since the French Revolution had just recently appeared, and was centered around social problems, it appeared to offer the “easiest” and best explanation.  After all, in the 1800’s, the French Revolution was a recent event and was on everyone’s mind.  Its “basic idea”, as a result, set the stage for the explanations as well as a solution.

The problem, though, is that the “basic idea” was too narrow and limited in its scope, nor did it take into account many aspects of society or the new conditions the 1800’s created.  In effect, it only seemed to work on the surface.  It seemed to explain the problems.  It seemed to solve them.  In actuality, it was ineffective.  But the Victorians persisted and the explanation seemed to make sense to them.  This persistence in trying to make it work only led to many misunderstandings and myths as well as solutions that were doomed to fail (such as communism).  This condition has continued down to today.

Copyright by Mike Michelsen


Posted in Dehumanization and alienation, Feminism: a destructive philosophy, Government and politics, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, The 'system' and 'systemism' | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment