Staying Sane in an Unsane World


Column by Vahram G. Diehl.

Exclusive to STR

It is no secret that most people do not know what they are talking about, most of the time, on most subjects.  As a young person with an inclination toward the exclusive use of reason, this is for me an especially infuriating environmental defect.  People who cannot use reason (most people) will substitute authority in its place, meaning that the most reasonable of men without the proper arbitrarily designated particularly appropriate social class distinction for the circumstance at hand will find themselves isolated, ostracized, violently opposed, ridiculed, and generally considered worthless.  

These authoritarian social classes are entirely relative, of limited utility, and quite often contradictory to each other.  Among them we find: 
Age (older = wiser, until a peak is reached shortly after middle-age and a downward trend toward senility is the agreed upon course of events)
Fame (greater recognition = greater level of rightness)
Money (owning lots of things through legitimate or illegitimate means substantiates one's opinions)
Parenthood (successful act of reproduction = immediate understanding of the nature of reality and infallible decision-making, especially regarding the lives of others)
Political Creed (a book/majority said so; enforced at gunpoint)
Religious Creed (a book/majority said so; enforced at Godpoint)
Schooling (more time spent = better education; state approval and/or operation determines reputability of educators and validity of concepts; more expensive = better quality)
Title (a particular combination of CAPITALIZED letters and p.u.n.c.t.u.a.t.i.o.n correlates to competency; labeling someone as “your honor” or “your holiness” makes it true)
By these standards, one would do best to promote themselves as a 50 year-old patriotic billionaire judge cardinal PhD, D.D.S., M.D., who spent the first 49 years of his life in expensive universities, siring dozens of offspring, and mass promoting his personal brand name and hosting talk shows to increase his fame while at the same time memorizing and subscribing to every religious text and political law.     
How does one stay sane in a world inundated with such insanity and ridiculous standards of determining truth?  Isolationism works to an extent, but invariably all but the most exceptionally successful at this will still be subject to the whims of the delusional masses.  While the above fallacious categorizations can have a limited accuracy and preliminary utility, a reasonable person will be willing to discard them at once in favor of the ultimate test of reality: “Does It Work?”, which is itself merely an oversimplification of the scientific method.
This is an article for those who have already accepted reason as the ultimate means. This is an article for those who have felt or consistently feel the endless frustrations of being lost in a sea of eccentric voodoo and internal contradictions as a way of life.   The two kinds of freedom one can strive for in the predicament we find ourselves in are “freedom of mind” and “freedom of body.”  
Freedom of mind is the result of a lengthy and arduous journey of self-discovery and emotional turmoil to reach a point where the individual is capable of accepting it, but once that point is reached, it is granted instantaneously.  It is the proverbial “waking up from the matrix,” it is a singular choice made by each individual to stop at nothing short of absolute truth, no matter how comfortable or convenient our relative truths have become.  And just like in the movie, no one can make this choice for anyone else.  Freedom of mind is a personal quest, which only begins when one can no longer tolerate the pain of ignorance and insanity.  Freedom of mind is in many regards the easiest, but most important step, for freedom of body cannot occur without it.      
While freedom of mind takes place entirely within an individual person's internal mental landscape (Lou E. Carabini said it best with "Freedom is a state of mind which does not require the indulgence of others."), freedom of body is inherently more complex and subject to the externalities of one's environment. Unlike the personal and relatively brief developmental journey that frees an individual's mind, freedom of body requires the cooperation of every single volitional being indirectly connected.  Our bodies are enslaved by those around us who do not have the perspective and freedom of mind to understand the folly of their ways and who continue to insist on profiting at our expense.  This is why the temporary solution of isolationism is so appealing, because the task of literally changing the entire human race seems so insurmountable.  It is much easier to cut off the infected members than to heal the organism in entirety. 
In this regard, we can say that freedom of body is the logical derivative of every individual achieving freedom of mind, as enslaved minds lead to enslaved bodies.  When one's mind is enslaved, he can use his body as an instrument to enslave other bodies, even if their minds are protected.  Freedom of mind is a personal choice, but freedom of body requires cooperation of the whole group.  
In the long run though, isolation of the free-minded (a la Ayn Rand's Galt’s Gulch) is counterproductive to the purpose of a totally physically free species.  This is because like insanity, reason is also contagious.  Those who are still trapped in the prison of the irrational mind are not likely to wake up without some positive influence and reinforcement from others who have already undertaken the journey.  If the blind remain condemned to spending their whole lives only interacting with their fellow blind, there is little hope of sight.  Often, as was my own case, the enslaved may be on the brink of freedom and require only the positive encouragement of a freed example to defy the rest of the world's expectations and keep moving toward the light.  Without these positive interactions and intermingling of the mentally free with the mentally enslaved, progress would be slow and sporadic indeed.  The newly freed must know that they are not alone in the world.
This is where marketing becomes crucial.  Networking and communication technologies like the Internet have allowed people to in part overcome the physical limitations of the enslaved world. People all over the world are able to learn and interact with others in ways that would never have been possible for them before.  If new ideas and ideologies are to gain traction against old paradigms, we must learn to band together and hold firm.  Those who ally themselves for a common goal will be exponentially stronger than those who stand alone.  In addition to actually gaining footing against false ideals, I have found linking together with my like-minded brethren to be the only effective way to stay sane inside a hurricane of insanity.  By hearing or reading the words of intellectual giants who have come before him, one may gain an elaborate fortune and community upon which to begin building his identity and contributing to the available knowledge.
The only thing left to do once one has become acquainted with and connected to the freed former slaves is to begin paving the way for more to wake up.  This in principle cannot be enacted through force, because the dedication to truth is a choice each individual must make on his own.  This is why violence, except as an act of defense, can never accomplish any long-term good.  Only the enslaved seek to enslave others, the freed seek to free others.  This is the only battle ever fought throughout human history, with constantly shifting labels, dressings, and techniques being applied.  The outcome will only change when the free outnumber the enslaved, and the rest is just natural selection.  When it becomes more profitable to live with the free in a totally voluntary and moral manner, only the most deluded will stay to rot away in an enslaved mindset.  
As forerunners in the path to freedom, we have the difficult and unrewarding task of maintaining our dignity and integrity in spite of a world that will take advantage of us and spit in our faces in every chance it gets.  We must remain resilient and keep our eyes on the long-term goal.  This is not a task for the lighthearted sunshine patriot; this is a point in history where only those who have reached their wit's end with the present accepted state of society will have the dedication and perseverance to remain true to the cause.  There can be no mediocrity, for to accept mediocrity would be to be content with a certain level of enslavement and corruption.  To accept mediocrity in your own life is to in the long run damn human beings on the other side of the world to a far worse form of human-imposed evil.  While a higher level of freedom is certainly preferably to a previously lower level, in the end we face an “all or nothing” scenario.
Free your mind, and encourage the rest to follow.  There is no more important contribution to the species that one can make.  All technological advances, miraculous cures, and amazing works of art are in the long run meaningless if we cannot accomplish this most fundamental task.  Human liberty is the premise and precipice upon which all other achievement rests.  If we fail here, we fail everywhere.  The progress that one makes in this field, however seemingly small, may provide the reassurance one needs to stay sane and not succumb to the trends of the world.  
And indeed this progress is cumulative; one success builds off of another over the course of history.  Exposure to the works and personal influence of some of my mentors have been relatively small investments of time and effort on both our parts, but the influence will stay with me my entire life and lead me to greater accomplishment than I could have done otherwise.  Likewise, my teachers and influences built off of the accomplishments and work of their predecessors and antecedents. Some go so far as to create vast, detailed volumes that read and cater to mass numbers of people through television, movies, writing, and other media.
Like a network, we must allow our successes and positive influence to have the maximal impact on those around us to really achieve any change.  Without the constant feeling of accomplishment in our struggle, we will hardly feel encouraged enough to go on with it. Always remember who you are, the principles you stand by, and why it is you are doing what you do. This is the only way I know of staying sane in an insane world.      


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