humanity

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All Our Problems Are Built On Us-Vs-Them Propaganda

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 08/10/2021 - 1:03am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/727a75869dd959b9f62719131468ffb8/href

Liberal pundit Keith Olbermann shared a video the other day where he ranted about people who don’t want to take the Covid vaccine with such emotional vitriol that spittle flew from his mouth and drool poured down his chin. I found it hard to watch, partly because it’s always uncomfortable to see someone come apart like that and partly because it made me realize that I’ve probably spent the last few years making fun of a media personality who has some actual diagnosable psychological disorders.

Rather than lay out what he thinks are the best arguments for taking the vaccine as most of his peers have been doing, Olbermann instead spouts vituperations about what “cowards” and “snowflakes” unvaccinated people are.

“They’re afraid!” Olbermann screams over and over again, as though being afraid of something makes you some sort of monster. As though we’re not all afraid of something, whether it be the vaccine or the virus or being alone or the fact that thawing arctic permafrost is pouring methane into the atmosphere. This commonality should draw us closer together, but here it’s being used for partisan us-vs-them theatrics which drive us further apart.

https://medium.com/media/b86c259506cc1d3d68727a1d45905dad/href

Us-vs-them frameworks are used constantly to manipulate people into espousing various narratives, and narrative manipulation is the underlying source of all of humanity’s problems.

Today’s world is dominated by a unipolar power structure loosely centralized around the United States government. It is comprised of many nations which are ostensibly independent, but, since they move in near-complete alignment with each other on all international issues of major importance, this power structure can effectively be called an empire. This empire sets the economic, environmental and military policies which are causing all the ecocide, war and nuclear brinkmanship we see driving humanity toward its destruction today.

The empire’s greatest weapon is not its military but its propaganda machine. There’s simply never been anything like the global narrative control provided by the western news media, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood. The military fights wars; the propaganda machine wins them long before they even start.

When you use the military to eliminate opposition, everyone knows it happened. When you use propaganda to eliminate opposition, people aren’t even aware you did it. They think it was their own idea to suddenly become super concerned about Saddam or Putin or Maduro or whomever or to go along with this or that power-serving agenda. Beyond the hard, concrete realities of war and militarism there’s a whole other war being fought on a far greater scale and of far greater consequence, and most people don’t even know it’s happening: the mass-scale psychological manipulation of the entire human species.

This is why human behavior looks so irrational when taken together. Why are we fighting all these wars, engaging in nuclear brinkmanship and destroying the biosphere when we know intellectually these are bad things? It’s not because humans are inherently destructive, it’s because a few destructive humans manipulate the rest of us into doing destructive things using propaganda.

A lucid and well-informed examination of the world’s problems will keep bringing you back to this one fundamental issue: that Earth’s inhabitants are being psychologically manipulated at mass scale into organizing themselves in ways that serve the powerful instead of the people.

https://medium.com/media/e518dcdb0118db70613aa66e8335b8b4/href

Most propaganda is based on us-vs-them framing; support the oligarch-controlled Democratic Party because Republicans are bad, support the oligarch-controlled Republican Party because Democrats are bad, those evil Muslims/Russians/Chinese want to hurt us, that evil dictator over there is doing things which we good freedom-loving people cannot allow, etc. A tremendous amount of energy goes into feeding into these us-and-them frameworks to keep the propaganda engine running efficiently.

Manipulative narcissists, cult leaders and propagandists all do this, and they do it because it is effective. A video titled “The science behind ‘us vs. them’” by Big Think does a good job of breaking down how deeply hardwired the human brain is to think in terms of an “in” group who we like and an “out” group who we don’t like, citing numerous experiments which have shown this to be true around the world.

“What becomes clear when you look closely is it is virtually inevitable that we divide the world into ‘us’es and ‘them’s and don’t like ‘them’s very much and don’t treat them well,” explains neuroendocrinology researcher Robert Sapolsky. “But we are incredibly easily manipulated as to who counts as an ‘us’ and who counts as a ‘them’.”

“We could be manipulated by all sorts of ideologues out there as to deciding that people who seem just like us really aren’t, they’re really so different that they count as a them,” Sapolsky adds.

“We turn the world into ‘us’es and ‘them’s, and we don’t like the ‘them’s very much and are often really awful to them, and the ‘us’es we exaggerate how wonderful and how generous and how affiliative and how just like siblings they are to us,” says Sapolsky.

Can you see how easy it would be for someone who understands this aspect of our psychology to exploit it to seed propaganda in our minds? Set up a “them” side who we distrust and an ‘us’ side who we trust, and any information which comes from the “us” side will slide in unchecked by critical thinking.

If you can split the population into two sides and control the “us” narratives of both of them, you can easily insert propaganda narratives into most of the population. If Rachel Maddow is in your “us” team you’ll desire increased cold war aggressions against Russia, if Tucker Carlson is on your “us” team you’ll want more escalations against China, both of which happen to advance the interests of the aforementioned empire. As does the status quo both sides promote in their own ways.

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This happens constantly, throughout the empire all around the world. Fake “us”es and “them”s are set up for us by powerful manipulators, and our receptiveness to the “us” side allows the manipulators who control it to continually feed narratives into our minds about what’s going on in the world.

Power is controlling what happens. Real power is controlling what people think about what happens.

I don’t know exactly what’s going on with this virus and the vaccines; sometimes it seems like I’m the only person on the internet who doesn’t. But what I do know is that the intensely heated polarization over this issue on both sides feeds into the us-vs-them dynamic where power-serving propaganda about any subject can easily flourish. This benefits someone, and it ain’t you.

Humanity’s problems are made possible by mass-scale manipulation, and mass-scale manipulation is made possible by us-vs-them beliefs. If people weren’t being aggressively manipulated into consenting to the status quo they would have used the power of their numbers to end the status quo a long time ago. Divide-and-conquer isn’t just useful because it prevents people from unifying against their oppressors, it also pours rocket fuel in the oppressors’ propaganda machine.

What’s interesting is that humanity does have within itself the potential to dissolve its us-vs-them cognitive habits and thereby render the propaganda machine ineffective. The phenomenon commonly called spiritual enlightenment consists of a shift in perception which causes the sense of separateness to fall away, making it clear on a deep, experiential level that we are one, not just with all people but with the entire universe. You still have your own ideas, disagreements and preferences when it comes to politics and society, but the sense that anyone is some kind of “other” separate from you and yours falls away.

So there just happens to be a potentiality within us all that could solve all our problems if it were to somehow become unlocked at mass scale. Every species eventually arrives at a point where it must either unlock a potentiality within itself and adapt to a changing situation or go extinct. It looks like we are arriving at this point currently, and that collective enlightenment is the potentiality we will need to unlock if we’re to turn away from our trajectory toward doom.

And that will either happen or it won’t. I personally don’t think it’s some random aberration that this potentiality which sages have been writing about for millennia just so happens to be exactly what we need at this particular juncture with this particular collective psychological dilemma. But if I’m wrong and humanity does go the way of the dinosaur, it would be a damn shame if we didn’t at least hold hands on our way down.

___________________________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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A Mind at Work: Remembering Mike Rose

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/10/2021 - 11:36pm in

Tags 

humanity

#122 A Mind at Work: Remembering Mike Rose

In this special episode, Have You Heard remembers the extraordinary Mike Rose. Special guests Erika Kitzmiller, Janelle Scott, Chris Buttimer, Michael Moses and Rema Reynolds help us recall Mike as a scholar, mentor and builder of worlds.

The financial support of listeners like you keeps this podcast going. Subscribe on Patreon or donate on PayPal.

Have You Heard · #122 A Mind at Work: Remembering Mike Rose

We Won’t Be Free Until Our Minds Are Free

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 22/09/2021 - 12:08pm in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/2e528f7da369455f52ccc6972becb993/href

There’s a quote from an ancient Buddhist text called the Dhammapada that’s often translated as, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.”

In other words our mental habits shape our personality and determine how that personality will behave, and that behavior contributes to the shaping of the world.

We see a similar line in the Upanishads of Hinduism: “As is your desire, so is your intention. As is your intention, so is your will. As is your will, so is your deed. As is your deed, so is your destiny.”

These are two different ways of expressing the same timeless observation we see pop up in various forms throughout philosophical traditions around the world: that our actions arise from our thoughts and our thoughts arise from our conditioned mental habits, so we need to be very careful about what those mental habits are since it will ultimately determine our destiny.

But the people who pour the most energy and attention into this timeless observation as a group are not the Buddhists, nor the Hindus, nor any religious or philosophical tradition at all. Those who are the most interested in studying and acting upon this insight are the powerful people who rule this world.

The powerful understand that because people’s actions follow from their thoughts and the destiny of the world follows from people’s actions, if you can control the thoughts people think at mass scale you can control the destiny of the world.

Control the way people collectively think about things and you can control the way they act, you can control the way they organize, and you can control the way they vote. This is important because people have become more literate and better at sharing information over the years, and therefore more aware of the value of freedom and equality, so it’s gotten harder and harder to deny them freedom and equality without sparking violent revolutions and winding up with your head in a basket.

https://medium.com/media/2ee9b5dd931d64a9c4f30922ecbfdf7d/href

Power structures of more “enlightened” societies have addressed this dilemma by giving people the illusion of freedom snd equality while still keeping them enslaved to the agendas of their rulers via mass-scale psychological manipulation. Media institutions, online platforms and think tanks are dominated by plutocrats in coordination with secretive government agencies to ensure that the information the majority of people consume serves the social, political, military and geostrategic interests of the ruling power structure.

This is why when you watch the news on TV it always kind of feels like they are deceiving you; that’s exactly what’s happening. Information that is inconvenient for the powerful is omitted, while information that serves the powerful is amplified and twisted in the most convenient light possible.

This happens not because the media-controlling class is personally leaning over the shoulder of every news reporter and instructing them to lie, but because if you control who runs a media outlet then you control who they will hire and who they will elevate, naturally giving rise to a system wherein reporters understand that the only way for them to advance their careers is to promote narratives which serve the ruling power establishment and marginalize narratives which don’t.

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The best way to manipulate people without their knowing it is to appeal to their strongest and most unconscious impulses. In practice this means tugging at the psychological hooks of the ego, which at their base level are fear and identity. If you’ve made a strong identity out of something like belonging to a certain political party or a certain ideological or ethnic group, then it will carry a lot of egoic weight for you. If you’re in a fear state then there will be a lot of egoic contraction and you’ll consequentially take your thoughts very seriously.

If you can appeal to people’s base impulses of fear and identification it becomes very easy to insert ideas into their minds and give them new mental habits, and that’s exactly what propagandists do. You need to fear the terrorists, the Russians and the Chinese, because they’re going to harm you. You need to support the Democratic Party and everything its pundits tell you, because that’s your tribe. Those anti-vaxxers over there are your real enemy, not the nuclear-armed globe-spanning power structure that is driving our world to its doom in myriad ways. And on and on and on.

They give us the illusion of freedom, but as long as they chain our minds with propaganda we are not free. It wouldn’t matter if they gave us every personal liberty imaginable if a critical mass of us were still thinking in ways which benefit the powerful, because those thoughts would cause us to act, organize and vote in a way that benefits our rulers and not us.

If we want to free our minds from the chains of power, it’s not enough to do research and memorize a bunch of facts about what’s really going on in our nation and our world. The most important step to freeing our minds from their shackles is to remove from ourselves the psychological hooks of fear and identity to which those shackles are attached. This means freeing ourselves from the delusions of egoic consciousness, which, funny enough, brings us right back around to the central tenets of Buddhism and Hinduism again.

As long as humanity is enslaved to the ego it will remain enslaved to abusive power structures, because manipulators will always be able to use our egoic hooks to propagandize us into supporting their interests at mass scale. Until then it won’t ultimately matter how many civil liberties we gain or lose, because we’ll still be unable to move beyond the bonds of our psychological chains.

Not until humanity collectively breaks free from the gravitational pull of egoic consciousness will we truly blast off into the real potentiality of our species.

____________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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The End Of Illusions

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/08/2021 - 10:59pm in

Listen to a reading of “The End Of Illusions”:

https://medium.com/media/8b08a4f07a8e93bddc41e31d954d5827/href

It happened suddenly and unexpectedly, as drastic changes often do.

You awoke in the morning from an unusual sleep, and something about your waking experience was very different. You couldn’t say what exactly, but there was a deep relaxation. A clenching you’d always carried with you simply wasn’t there anymore, a clenching you’d never even noticed until it was gone.

Everything was very still.

You removed your blankets and swung your legs over the side of the bed, just like every other morning before, but this morning something very different happened. When you stood up, “you” didn’t come with.

Standing happened. There just wasn’t anyone doing it. The body was upright, there was the experience of pressure on the bottoms of the feet and cool morning air on the skin. But it wasn’t happening to anybody.

The sensation of being a self wasn’t there anymore. The energetic contraction in the body around the belief in a separate “me” character had left and been replaced with nothing, leaving only wide openness and inseparability.

The eyes moved around the room, and rather than experiencing this as a person looking out at the world it was instead simply appearances appearing to no one in an inseparable field of experience, with the bridge of the nose no more personal than the wall. The bird songs and other morning noises arose in the same way: as impersonal appearances with no separate hearer.

Thoughts about what was happening began to flicker, but they sputtered out and lost their energy as quickly as they arose. They were premised on a context that simply wasn’t there anymore; without the thinker being experienced as a real entity, they simply showed up as mental noises, without being imbued with the power of belief. Thinking could certainly be used as necessary, but putting together a string of compulsive thoughts would’ve been like trying to build a tower on the surface of a bottomless lake. There just wasn’t any foundation to build on anymore.

Without belief in the thinking, knowing, labeling, dividing me-mind, life was suddenly experienced as a perfect mystery. Everything that arose was simply an impersonal appearance appearing to no one in a timeless, boundless openness, with no notion that anything needed to be done about it. Everything was infinite perfection.

This all came with a deep and profound peace, a peace that was clearly seen to have always been there all along, with only the belief in the mind and its incessant babbling stories about “self” and “other” obscuring it. This is the natural state of human consciousness. The unaltered state. The unconfused state. Not even truly hidden, simply overlooked because of its simplicity. The self which seemingly disappeared had never truly been there in the first place. It was all an illusion. A dream.

And it was immediately understood that this is the underlying cause of all misery in our world. Humans mistakenly believing their bodies and minds to be separate from the universe, separate from the swirling sea of life on this planet, constructing psychological me-characters to symbolize the plight of each human organism and then using believed thoughts to try and ensure the safety and security of that fictional character.

And from there those illusory mental ego constructs set about competing with what they perceive to be other selves out there in the world, trying to manipulate and control them to guarantee the me-character is safe from harm and always has enough of what it needs. The cleverest ego characters figure out how to manipulate people at mass scale, using their tendency to believe mental narratives against them and planting power-serving ideas in their minds.

And it was seen that this is all ultimately the result of being a species with a newly-evolved capacity for abstract thought giving birth to babies at a highly undeveloped stage due to the size of their newly-evolved brains relative to the size of the birth canal. We spend our formative years as helpless organisms surrounded by giants, and as our ability to think comes online we start trying to use it to protect ourselves from traumatic experiences like being startled or left crying in the dark a little too long. Before the age of two we’ve constructed a mental “me” character so that we can use various strategies for getting what we want, leading to the construction of more and more egocentric mental habits of increasing complexity that are all geared toward trying to keep us safe.

It’s simply an innocent mistake, made by very young members of a very young species. When people talk about the “ego” they are referring to something that has no actual independent reality; it describes a series of mental habits that are energetically imbued with the power of belief out of concern for the safety and security of the organism. Contrary to what some say, the path to peace is not to “get rid of the ego” or to “kill the ego”, but for life to open its eyes to the reality that the ego never actually existed as a real thing in the first place.

And it was seen that there’s not actually any reason humanity cannot collectively awaken to this perspective. The ability to awaken from the illusion of the mental self exists within us all, and probably exists for a reason. Every species eventually reaches a point where it must adapt to changing conditions in an ever-changing world, and with egoic consciousness threatening our existence with climate collapse and nuclear war we are most certainly arriving at that point today.

But it was also seen that if this does not happen, that too will be perfect. Only the ego seeks to control life against life’s will, and if it is life’s will that humanity go the way of the dinosaur then that will have the same thunderous beauty as every other appearance twirling within this eternal mystery void.

The eyes were open. Everything was clearly perceived. The illusions were no more.

And with that, no one got dressed, and prepared to start the day.

________________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Featured image via Public Domain Pictures, (CC0 1.0)

Humanity Is Sloppily, Awkwardly Lumbering Toward Consciousness

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 21/06/2021 - 10:18pm in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/4971b99f093a511a66b45c1e069e8d8a/href

Humanity is becoming more conscious.

It is. This is not a popular thing to say in the more cynical and pessimistic corners of the internet, but it’s true.

I’m not referring to anything “out there” or “spiritual” when I make this assertion. I’m talking about a mundane reality that is easily verifiable by casual observation, if you just look past all the headlines and narrative chatter to see the big picture as a whole.

Humans are becoming more and more aware of what’s going on, both in our world and in ourselves, as our ability to network and share information with each other becomes greater and greater. Because of the ubiquitousness of smartphones and social media, things like police brutality and the abuse of Palestinians are no longer regarded as mere verbal assertions made by their victims but as concrete realities which must be addressed. The most viral posts of the day on apps like Twitter, Reddit and TikTok are routinely just people making relatable observations about their feelings and psychological tendencies and what it’s like to be human.

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These things matter. Seeing into each other and around our world all the time like this, in a way we never could before the internet, can’t help but change things. It’s a consistent rule throughout history that every positive change in human behavior has been preceded by an expansion of consciousness, whether it’s becoming collectively conscious of the injustices of racial discrimination or individually conscious of the motives and consequences of our self-destructive behavior. Increasing consciousness is always a movement toward health.

And a movement toward health absolutely is what’s been happening. The young today are the kindest, most sensitive and most awake generation that has ever lived, no matter what the bitter old farts say about them. My kids are having conversations with their friends that are vastly deeper and more tuned-in than I was having with my own friends at their age. The independent content that people are creating without the authorization of the cultural filters in New York and Hollywood can take your breath away every single day if you know where to look, while the movies from the eighties which once enthralled us are today virtually unwatchable because of how shallow and artless they are compared to what we’re now used to seeing.

It’s happening in a weird, sloppy, awkward way, like an infant learning to walk, but it is clearly happening. It’s happening through an internet whose origins are rooted firmly in the US war machine, it’s happening through billionaire-owned social media platforms with extensive ties to powerful governments, it’s happening through technologies that are the fruits of all the most exploitative tendencies of global capitalism, but it’s happening.

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It’s happening in spite of all the best efforts of the corporate powers who control the mass media and the government agencies which collaborate with them in doing so. It’s happening in spite of all the mountains of government secrecy which the powerful use to keep the public from becoming conscious of what they’re up to. It’s happening in spite of an entire globe-spanning empire having a vested interest in the public not becoming conscious of the realities of their world and doing everything they can to keep things distorted and unseen. It’s happening against all odds, but it’s happening anyway.

This is very odd, and this is where it does start to look a little “out there”. We know that there are forces in our world which have a vested interest in keeping things hidden and unconscious, yet the light of consciousness keeps expanding. These powerful forces should be able to prevent this, but they aren’t. Even their own infrastructure is used to expand public awareness of their ugly behaviors. The light of consciousness is creeping faster and faster toward them, along wires they themselves laid out. This means this movement is happening in a way they don’t understand, and that it is much, much bigger than they are.

Because of the internet, humanity has probably changed more in the last 25 years than it did in the previous 2500. Practically overnight, we transformed into a completely new species. A species whose brains are networked in real time around the world to a steadily increasing number of other brains in a steadily increasing number of ways with a steadily increasing amount of intimacy. Outwardly an individual human looks very much like an individual human looked prior to the internet, but as a collective we’re mentally a completely different kind of animal than we used to be.

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The powerful people who’ve been poisoning our world with ecocide, oppression, exploitation and war clearly believe they’ll be able to ride this radical transformation and remain in power with the status quo perfectly intact; if they didn’t believe this the internet would’ve been shut down before it even got off the ground. But I don’t see how they can stay in control of this headlong plunge into rapidly expanding consciousness we’re experiencing; harnessing the forces that are at play here would be like trying to surf on a tsunami, like trying to hang glide through a tornado.

There are aspects of humanity which the CIA doesn’t understand, which the plutocrats can’t control, which the manipulators can’t anticipate. Something is brewing here, and we’re almost at the boiling point. I don’t know if it will be enough to save us from all the existential hurdles our species faces in the near future; I just know that we are rapidly becoming a conscious species, and consciousness and dysfunction cannot coexist. We won’t need to wait long to find out which one wins out.

__________________________

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Featured image via Pixabay.

Space Colonization Is A Capitalist Perception Management Op

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/05/2021 - 11:39pm in

Listen to this article:

https://medium.com/media/7b2223ea9e6872c35ce3d3a382ec7b7e/href

The world’s two wealthiest people are fighting over the moon, which just says so much about where our species is at right now.

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are in a dispute with NASA over whose private space exploration corporation will get the $2.9 billion US government contract to return to the moon. I gleaned this annoying piece of information by way of an obnoxiously sycophantic Atlantic puff piece titled “Elon Musk Is Maybe, Actually, Strangely, Going to Do This Mars Thing”, subtitled “From his private Cape Canaveral, the billionaire is manifesting his own interplanetary reality — whatever the cost.”

The mainstream press cannot get enough of these two unfathomably wealthy plutocrats and their outspoken ambition to colonize space, with Musk advocating Mars colonization and Bezos preferring to ship us all offworld to live in giant Amazon space tubes. They love it for the same reason they love war and status quo politicians: it fits in beautifully with the capitalist world order.

Space colonization is largely a capitalist perception management op promoted by the likes of Musk and Bezos to strengthen the narrative that it’s okay to continue the world-raping global capitalist principle of infinite growth on a finite world because we can escape the catastrophic ecological consequences of that paradigm by fleeing to space.

“Ecocidal capitalism is fine, we’ll just go to space before it kills us!” is the message we’re all meant to absorb. And too many do. A large obstacle to waking people up to the existential crises we are facing as a species is the blind faith that technology will save us from the consequences of our mass-scale behavior, and therefore we don’t need to change. Which suits the world’s richest men perfectly.

But it’s a lie. Humanity will never colonize space. We are not separate or separable from this planet in that way.

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People believe we can just snip humans out of their ecosystemic context to colonize space for the same reason they believe in rugged individualism: they don’t grasp how inseparably interconnected each human is. With our ecosystem, and with our society. Separation is an illusion.

We are not separable from our ecosystem. We are our ecosystem. We’re so inseparably one with our ecosystem that we need to send astronauts into space with a little box full of it or they’ll die. Thinking a human can be snipped out of its ecosystemic context and permanently transported across the desert of space is like thinking you can snip a ripple out of a pond and place that ripple in a teacup on the other side of the world. The ripple is the pond. It’s not separate.

We know how to build rockets, and how to keep a human alive in space for a short time as long as they bring part of their ecosystem with them, but there’s no scientific evidence that we can live separately from our ecosystem, and we’ve barely begun exploring our ignorance here.

Many imagine we’ll have people living independently of Earth’s ecosystem within the next century or two, but there’s literally no basis for this assumption; we essentially know as much about how to keep a human being alive apart from Earth’s ecosystem as we knew ten thousand years ago. Our Biosphere attempts to create a closed-Earth system were as clueless and silly as monkeys poking around at a supercomputer, and that was right here on our home planet.

The myriad ways in which we are connected with the ecosystemic context in which we evolved boggle the mind. Science is barely even beginning to explore those connections. There are tons we know about, but that’s just scratching the surface. We don’t know how much we don’t know. We’re only barely beginning to understand our own gut bacteria, and how those mini-ecosystems relate to our health. Those mini-ecosystems have their own relationships with our greater ecosystem. We know next to nothing about any of this. Most of the picture is missing.

And Elon says he’s going to ship humans to live on Mars?? What, because we have the technology to get there? Our bodies might get there, sure, but the whole staying alive part is a riddle that science is not even the tiniest fraction of a percentile close to solving.

https://medium.com/media/dc7aa8cb4c7b8a73e0bf13276653a90f/href

Musk likes to argue that we must become a “multi-planetary species” because if an asteroid strikes Earth or we wipe ourselves out in a nuclear war, that’s it for our species. Our survival as a species, he argues, depends on colonizing other planets.

This is false and toxic thinking, because it will not happen. Our survival does not depend on our becoming a multi-planetary species, our survival depends on collectively waking up and learning to collaborate with each other and with our ecosystem. We’ve got an infinitely better chance of developing the technology to deal with an asteroid than we do of developing technology that will allow us to colonize space, and if we can transcend our self-destructive patterning the threat of nuclear war will be neutralized by our no longer being crazy enough to keep weapons around that make it a possibility.

Some argue for the possibility of terraforming planets like Mars to give them Earth-like ecosystems, but terraforming runs into the same problem: not just humans but all organisms are dependent on Earth’s ecosystem for survival. You couldn’t begin creating an Earth-like ecosystem without snipping out all the organisms which give rise to it. This can’t be done. A tree can’t be snipped out of its unfathomably interconnected ecosystemic context any more than a human can. To terraform you need trees and a near-infinity of other ecosystemic building blocks, none of which are separable from their terrestrial ecosystemic context.

We’re just going to have to make this Earth thing work. People assume space colonization is part of our future primarily because science fiction takes this as a given. But science fiction is just that: fiction, written to entertain and appeal to the same ego which imagines it is separate from the rest of the world. It’s an illusory premise.

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We’re not going to rocket ship our way out of this mess. We’re not going to be able to keep doing things the way we are doing them. The “growth for its own sake” ideology that Musk and Bezos have dedicated their lives to embodying is, as Edward Abbey put it, the ideology of a cancer cell. Such an ideology is unsustainable. We’re going to have to change.

“I must change” is always the first possibility that an ego rules out when evaluating a dilemma, and it’s the same ego which says we are separate individuals, and it’s the same ego which created our dilemma in the first place. But we must change. We must transcend the ego.

That’s always the last thing anyone wants to hear, that we need to change, but it’s true. We’ll either collectively change our minds in a way that enables us to drastically shift the way we operate on this planet, or we’ll go extinct. It is evolve or die time. We’ll either make it or we won’t.

Space will not save us, and we will never colonize it. We can explore space, but it will be done via satellites and other tech, not by living organisms. Our astronauts have up until this point been nothing more than glorified scuba divers, entirely dependent on boxes of Earth’s ecosystem, no more independent from that ecosystem than someone holding their breath. This will remain the case.

Hell, forget colonizing space, try colonizing part of the Sahara Desert. Get everything you need, then seal yourselves in a bubble completely separate from the rest of the ecosystem. Even on Earth, with many of the terrestrial connection factors still intact, you will fail relatively quickly.

Such a project isn’t even on Musk’s radar, which shows his pet space project is really about making money and justifying an economic/political paradigm which will necessarily destroy our ecosystem. It’s justifying his cancer cell ideology, proving Robert Heinlein correct when he said, “Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal.”

https://medium.com/media/ac0695ba1589e41eec647f5a6534956f/href

They work to make it appear that we’ve got some other option than to end our ecocidal trajectory and all the systems which feed into it, because otherwise it just looks like they’re a bunch of psychopaths burning an entire world and throwing its ashes into a gaping hole their hearts that can never be filled. If space colonization isn’t possible, then the people who are destroying our environment for money are just deranged lunatics who must be stopped at all cost.

But they are. And we must.

This is our home. It is our only home. I really, really wish we could stop treating it like a womb we plan on leaving or our parents’ house we plan on moving out of. There is nowhere else to go. This is it.

The earth is not some temporary transit station. We are the earth. We are inseparable from it. We are all indigenous terrestrials. We need to stop trying to move out, and start moving in.

It’s so, so beautiful here. We should be willing to change to keep it alive, like we would if a loved one’s life depended on our changing our behavior. Because that really is the case. I hope we see this before it’s too late.

______________________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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