"Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, no matter what name it is called." ~ John Stuart Mill
The Comforting Lie
Column by Vahram G. Diehl.
I know you often feel alone in this life. I know at times you feel lost and overwhelmed by the seemingly insurmountable forces stacked against you. I know at times you wish you could just forget all this and fade into nothingness. The temptation can be truly unbearable. But the most important revelation you can have is that it is not the world that needs changing. It is this very mentality you must do away with.
I'm certainly not going to attempt to mystify with beautiful lies the enormous atrocities being committed directly against you and those unimaginably more severely upon others. Go find a guru for that. He'd love to have you buy his book or attend his workshop retreat and learn why the universe is just so damn perfect and wonderful. I have little use for flowery rainbow painkillers or esoteric voodoo distractions. We both know the odds are stacked against us.
It is the nature of your mind to seek out order even where there is none. So desperately needing pattern and familiarity, the mind notices only what appears to conform to a presupposed system of coherence and congruity. It needs a map to organize what the senses bring upon it in every moment. It has been shaped with the singular purpose of finding and solving problems every chance it gets, and to do this it requires a superimposed plan of action and order. Left to its own devices, it will never willingly acknowledge The Terrible Truth that pervades our world... the Terrible Truth that THERE IS NO PLAN.
Throughout history, all but a few have been blind to the true nature of things. Where tyrants saw no order, they assumed an authoritarian right to impose it. They made slaves, fools, and soulless halfwit automatons out of those who would otherwise not be so inclined to fit the mold they arbitrarily chose for the world. Every time a spark of natural independence and curiosity arose in budding minds, The Comforting Lie promptly squelched it for the duration of that lifetime.
The Comforting Lie has taken many forms, more often than not invoking an absurd and improvised sense of patriotic duty or supreme mandate from an unknowable higher power. In its principle form, The Comforting Lie enables us to believe stories that our senses and inherent capacity for reasoning cannot normally accept with integrity. It makes the impossible appear natural, and the inconsistent seem logical. It dulls the finer senses of the observant empathetic intellectual and encourages him to ignore the blood-stained elephant hiding in plain sight.
The Comforting Lie creates a psychological social landscape wherein the most barbarous and deplorable acts of inhumanity are transmuted instantly into acceptability and necessity. It condones and encourages incredible amounts of animal and child abuse and control. It turns billions of good, honest, and capable people into debt slaves funding mass murder and decimation, yet being proud and happy to live with an illusion of freedom in exchange for their souls and wages. It destroys ambition and drive for positive change because it never allows you the dread, anger, and sadness which would be healthy reactions to such terminally unhealthy human conditions.
Where there is anger, there is enticement for action. Consciously directed anger can become, through patience and practice, the most powerful and influential force for positive change. Because you grew up in a world which taught you to run from your anger and to shame its unruly hold over you, it remained your enemy throughout life. The fire that burns inside you, if ever let loose, could consume its caretaker who never learned to manage and direct it. No guiding influence over raw passion and fury ever developed in the atrophied minds of the emotionally castrated. Your greatest potential strength now only threatens to destroy you if left unchecked.
I want you to know that no one is powerless. However, if you continue to accept defeat before you even begin, it will indeed appear this way for your remaining days. And then you will die, and no signature of your existence will be left except fleeting memories in the minds of a few of your fellow humans who, but briefly, were aware of the tiny blip on the radar of the universe you called your life.
If you have the courage to embrace your discontentedness with the way things are, there is a small chance you might start to be useful. There is a chance you might start to harness what very little real power you actually possess. There is an even smaller chance you might start to leverage that power into greater and greater avenues for change. There is a fraction of a speck of a potential that you may, with time and discipline, rise up above the masses and establish yourself as an influential figurehead who affects multitudes. You may become a champion for progress by making use of every tool and opportunity at your disposal to increase your power to positively influence society worldwide.
I know your life is not what you ever wanted it to be, and I know it seems hopeless that it ever will be. I know you are terrified because it seems like you are becoming a victim to the unknown and devastatingly unfamiliar. But no matter how obscure yet extraordinary you may pride yourself in believing your thoughts, values, and troubles to be you are never the only one feeling the way you do. Seek out and find that minutia of humanity, which shares who you are, and whom you can call community. Work with them to achieve the goals that none of us can hope to accomplish alone.
You are standing on the edge of the deepest, darkest cliff you have ever dreamed in your most gripping nightmares. All your fears, insecurities, sins, shames, and prejudices expand to fill the void beneath you. Every inclination in your body tells you to run away, to avoid the danger and darkness within you and around you. You will return to the "real world" countless times in futile attempts to forget what lies within, always tearing away at your sanity and consciousness whenever granted a momentary weakness to latch upon.
When you finally stop running, when you face the storm and embrace all that it brings with it, only then will you stand a chance of making it through to the other side. Only then will your life really begin. Only then will you start to make a difference in the world. Only then will you really know what it is like to be awake and alive. Only then will you value your time enough to make best possible use of every moment. Only then will you know what you really want and have the dedication to achieve it. Do not waste another day of your life lost and aloof without this clarity. We need you.