The present, if left alone, never guarantees the future. It is up to us to do our best to guarantee a desirable future from the present.
In this simple statement we can find purposiveness.
The present, if left alone, never guarantees the future. It is up to us to do our best to guarantee a desirable future from the present.
In this simple statement we can find purposiveness.
The essence of the post-pandemic debate is that between necessity and possibility. What do we need to preserve and perfect, and what do we need to throw away in order to open space for the possible Utopia to evolve?
Postpandemic thinking is ‘anti-systemic’ because it sees through the lies of the system and the way the system restrains real progress whilst spreading deeply harmful and destructive ideologies and modes of living.
With the confinements ordered by governments as health-security measures during the 2020 pandemic, many artists have found their forced isolation to be more of a welcome discipline than a restriction.
Discipline leads to inspiration in all creative fields, and when the discipline comes with no other stipulations other than one has to stay at home, then the scenario is perfect for the artist. The experience of pandemic confinement is the first conditioning factor for post-pandemic art. Post-pandemic production, therefore, is nurtured on the artistic values of discipline, frugality, and an autocratic or self-sufficient approach to the art form.
The postpandemic artist comes from the confinement of the lockdown.
The revelatory importance of the pandemic resides in the fact that it managed to put the entire global system on hold for several months. Post-pandemic thinking, therefore, takes this revelation as the basis for its creative inspiration. The post pandemic artist sees through the illusion of reality that says this is how the world is, in order to envision far greater possibilities of how the world could be. In many cases, the solitude of confinement has forced humanity to think about how a better future could be fashioned, and for this reason, the post-pandemic reality is forward-looking and utopian. It understands the fragility of the system and wills to change it.
The pandemic experience was one of limited consumerism and, consequently, post-pandemic art transcends all commercialism.
Aesthetically, the form is unimportant and the essence of postpandemic art is the content, which is always forward-looking, utopian seeking, anti-consumerist and deeply critical of the pre-pandemic world we are emerging from. Postpandemic art strives for depth and is cerebral in nature and because of that it rejects shallowness and cheap sentimentalism which are questions of content not form.
Subsequently, postpandemic art can adopt any form as long as its content is postpandemic.
If the dawning post-pandemic era is not going to fall into the constraining negativism and wall-building, anti-human authoritarianism of the far-right, and for the future to be a positive step forward from the disaster of the global affliction, it is necessary that we comprehend the real nature of the system we are emerging from. Dismantling the Paradigm was contrived before Covid, but it has become even more imperative that it finds readers in order to imagine the world coming next.
Dismantling the Paradigm is now available from the Amazon online store:
At Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Paul-David-Adkin/e/B0082UK618
The System does not lie to us, it deceives us. But deceit is more dangerous than lies, for while the erroneousness of the lie can be, or be made, obviously apparent, deceit takes on a mask of seeming honesty.
When we are deceived, we look at an object and think we can recognise in it what we are told it is, even though, in reality it is something else.
For example: if democratic societies are defined by how widespread the system of suffrage is, then, in a place where every adult over eighteen is allowed to vote in elections, it seems right to suppose that their system is a democratic one. Nevertheless, it may well be that many or all of the elected governors belong to parties that have been bought by interest groups, corporations, or wealthy individuals through campaign funds, favours and/or bribes in order to ensure that government policy favours their own agendas. In this case, the idea of democracy is being deceived, because the importance of the vote, that lies in its empowering of public opinion, is undermined. This situation, where it exists, is most definitely not democratic, and democracy in this case is a deceitful concept.
But if we have been deceived over matters like the very structures that envelope and drive our lives, how should we act when the deceit has been revealed?
In a logical, authentically democratic society, if political parties needed funds and raised those funds through donations given by billionaires, then transparency of interests would have to be a central feature of all campaigns, in which parties would reveal their sponsors and publish all agreements that had been made between them. This would be done in order to give the voters a clear idea of who they should be voting for, because, without that transparency, the democratic process is very muddy indeed.
In a logical, authentically democratic society, governments would most likely be made up of independents who campaigned without donations from corporations and billionaires. The fact that this does not happen, indicates how effective the deceit is within the System.
Democracy is so successful at deceiving us because it tells us over and over again that what we have, and what we are living in is a democracy, even though, in any authentic sense of the word, it is not.
In fact, the lie is so ingrained that those who see through the deceit have to be advocates of a new term whenever they speak of democracy, and hence we now have the concept of Real Democracy as opposed to the normal kind of democracy which is not democracy at all. In a sense, the deceiving System has bought the patent for democracy and it has used it in whatever way it can for its own benefits.
So, democracy exists even though it is not democracy. Then where is the real democracy? Might it exist?
To tackle this allegorically, let us imagine that some other brand of Cola were the real invention of a popular drink called Coka Cola, but never bought the patent. This fictitious company had developed a delicious drink from the African kola nut that they produced to a modest market and called it Koca Kola, which was exactly the same as the Coke that we can buy and drink in our none-allegorical time and space. Then, in the fable, a larger company comes along, with lots more capital, and decides to produce a very similar, but inferior product, at the same time buying a patent for it under the name of Coka Cola. Through aggressive marketing Coka Cola are able to convince consumers that the authentic Cola is Coka Cola, which they claim is a totally original drink for which there can be no substitute. The campaign was so constant and ubiquitous that people who tasted the original Koca Kola would even associate what they used to love with this copy (despite its inferiority). Koca Kola of course, eventually disappeared, although, perhaps, they might have tried producing it again under another name, as Pepsis, for example, but the consumers had already been programmed to see anything other than the product bearing the patent Coka Cola as a pseudo-thing, a not the real thing. Coka Cola had claimed that status for itself.
In a sense, the same has happened with democracy. It is an idea produced by marketing and the social-democrat liberal parties have taken out a virtual patent on it. Nevertheless, once the deception is uncovered, the System immediately looks different. The unmasking of any deception, in fact, is a profound experience, alike to a revelation, and may be a disturbing enlightenment for the one who sees the deceit. The experience may isolate the enlightened one from all the others who just fail to perceive it. The revelation often becomes an obsession and the masking process that takes place to obfuscate the true aspect of the System, might very well take on the form of a sinister, well-concealed conspiracy. Being enlightened therefore is partly a blessing, but mainly a curse. Perceiving the deceitful nature of the System may be not unlike the experience of sighting a UFO or seeing a ghost.
The experience is a revelation and you will certainly find others who have had the same experience, but it is still not something that you should admit to in any circle of friends or acquaintances. It is better to keep it to yourself or within closed circles that understand you, and you must not let yourself believe that your life-changing epiphany will change the world.
However, enlightenment will always gnaw into the enlightened one and such ruminating may well create deep psychological problems for those who bottle up the revelation.
Of course, this plays into the hands of the deceiver, and makes deceit easier. When one lies from a position of authority, then one is always running the risk that your deceit will eventually be discovered by someone. The great deceitful one also knows that his or her deception will affect millions or perhaps even hundreds of millions of individuals but that, in order to believe the one who sees the deception, the enlightened one will have to convince millions of other individuals the truth of their revelation that we live in a lie. And the difficulty of ever achieving the revelation, puts the gambling stakes well in the deceiver’s favour.
* * *
Now, remember we are talking about deceit and not about lies. If democracy were a lie, we would be able to take it before a court of law and expose it because it is quite obviously wrong. But how do you condemn something that seems to be what it says it is? And then again, who really cares? If Coka Cola is not the authentically real thing … who cares? Coka Cola (or the Coke of the real Coca-Cola narrative ) is still the drink that everyone has grown to enjoy. So, what is the fuss about?
Well, as long as everyone is happy with the taste of Coka Cola nothing matters. But what if it was discovered that there are elements in this drink that are detrimental to our health, or that the ingredients are totally addictive, or that studies came out revealing a relationship between Coka Cola addiction and violent crime … in these cases people might start to understand that they were deceived and that part of that deceit contained outright lies. In this case, yes, the need to reveal the truth and unmask the deceit may well snowball into a massive anti-cola campaign.
An actual example of this kind of deceit may be seen if we examine the tobacco industry. The fact that such a noxious product could actually be sold to so many (and still is, despite the campaigns to uncover its deceitfulness) is mind-boggling. The advertising campaigns for tobacco must be the most successful ever made, not only do they sell us a product we definitely do not need, they actually sell us something that no one should ever want.
Of course, tobacco is not really like democracy because the deception used by its manufacturers is so replete with obvious lies that it can hardly be termed deceit. The tobacco industry’s success is better described with the term seduction, but it is in this seduction that we actually find the dishonesty, for it is a deceitful seduction. Tobacco is a filthy great marketing success, and embedded in that unscrupulous marketing is the perverted inveiglement that permeates our whole System.
* * *
The System and its democracy-deceit is not addictive, but it is a monopoly that seems to be the best thing on offer. So seemingly good that, like Coca-Cola against Pepsi, the opposition has to seem to offer something that is very similar to the original product, if not the same, to have any success at competing with it. The system is not addictive, it is simply an omnipresent monopoly. It is the System and it cannot be questioned because it is Democracy. Yet here lies its weakness as well: because the Democracy of the System is deceitful. Like tobacco, the seduction is not harmless because it is through its deception that poverty, corruption, violent crimes, health abuse and wars are allowed to be perpetuated.
The System = Democracy – is really a false equation.
The System ≈ Democracy – would be more acceptable, but the more we examine the deceit the more obvious the falseness in the equation is.
Other equations come to mind like:
The System ≈ (democracy + oligarchy);
The System ≈ (democracy + plutocracy);
or even that we have to remove democracy from the equation altogether.
In any case, the equation always has unequal values. If the value of the System is 10, then A is always smaller than B. So, to be accurate we would have to say:
S = D + O (when D is always smaller than O);
S = D + P (when D is always smaller than P).
If we really believe in democracy, we need to be able to elect governments that are truly anchored to the will of the people and totally divorced from the power of wealthy interest groups. If not, all democratic notions are pure hypocrisy.
The System which rules us and which we benevolently call Civilisation, is actually a despotic plutocracy – a tyranny of greed. This dictatorship of the greedy is also a tyranny of the superficial and, subsequently, the most envious and stupid elements of society. Above all it is a tyranny of purposelessness.
Purposelessness creates shallowness and hates all depth. Without any authentic purpose to thicken its achievements, that which is won remains insubstantial and unsatisfying. Instead of being satisfied by our accomplishments we long for the success of others.
In the tyranny of greed, one follows one’s desires without knowing where those desires come from or where they might be taking us. On the whole, the tyranny of greed is a hopeless affair. Like all despotisms, the tyranny of greed negates humanity and ignores human rights whenever they do not favour its own greedy, superficial, and envious purposes.
The tyranny is so entrenched in our civilisation that it seems unmovable. But immovability has been the symptom of the collapse of all tyrannical civilisations. The stagnation of the system will always crumble under the disquietude of its citizens and their need to move forward.
To vanquish a dictatorship of purposelessness, the procedure is quite simple: inject an authentic purposefulness into that same system … and by authentic we mean meaningful for humanity; we mean an authentic human purposefulness, one that envisions an authentic human progress towards a civilisation with a forever evolving human quality of life.
But for that to happen we have to start seeing these purposeful human aims toward authentic progress ourselves.
Living in society creates a constant preoccupation over the way that others act, whether those actions directly affect our own lives or not. ‘Others’ can be annoying or kind; friendly towards us or antagonistic; threatening or helpful; dangerous or loving. Our attitudes towards them will run between an apathy and an absolute concern, but it seems unlikely that any individual in society would be able to regard the rest of the members with complete indifference. Even the fully-fledged narcissist measures his or herself by how they differ from the behaviour of others.
The same is true regarding how we organise our environment: the houses we live in and the rooms in those homes; the clothes we wear; and even the accents we speak with are designed and refined according to our relationship with the others. They are organised according to the way others organise their spaces. This is how cultural sameness comes about. We compare, we initiate, we learn, we improve on, we invent from … and – at the higher level of progress – we enhance it again.
On the other hand, change can be feared. We compare, we imitate, we learn, we are comfortable and happy – why change?
Despite our fears and our desire for comfort, accumulation of learning mixed with the inevitable decadence caused by stagnation, makes change necessary. Human beings want to live in reality, and that means we want to live according to our own concept of truth. This is why Christ was said to have said “I am the truth”.
For religion to work it has to be accepted by the faithful as true – as real. Scientific truth has always been a thorn in the side of religious reality, as has free-thinking. Religious-truth’s claim is to make us comfortable and happy because we have found the absolute truth and, consequently, there is no reason to change, no need for progress. If accumulation of learning makes change necessary, then that is a dangerous element for religions. And this also means that religions are dangerous elements in progressive societies.
Discovery is a fundamental feature of the human, and discovery always implies change. Any absolute truth must deny the possibility of change, unless that Absolute Truth is that everything must change. Although this idea of transformation is not anathema to all religions and we see it embedded in Buddhist philosophy, nevertheless, it is abhorrent to most monotheistic dogmas. Where change is an abomination, however, we always approach anti-humanism, because, by denying the virtues of progressive transformation we also negate a fundamental human trait and, by doing so, deny humanity itself.
So, to return to our earlier interrogative: why change?
By changing we affirm our own humanity; and by progressing we make humanity purposeful. Our sameness with the others can only make sense if that sameness is always evolving and open to progressive transformation. Humanity only makes sense if we live in creative orientated societies and cultures.
The practical worlds that societies enclose are shared experiences that can exist without a common language. If you have access to money and there is a supermarket nearby, your survival is ensured. Any tourist or ex-patriot who is ignorant of the local language knows how that works: you go to the store, pick what you want off the shelves, pay and leave, without needing to utter a single word.
What this means is, we have created societies in which even dummies can cope … but … have we intentionally made societies for dummies? Is there a structural aim to this simplicity? If the basic elements of survival are quite simply ‘get a salary and close proximity to a supermarket and you’ll be fine’, how can real progress on a human, sapiens level, come about? What is there to inspire the masses for more when they are perfectly comfortable with much less?
The essence of the practical reality boils down to this, and practical reality is economic reality. The progressive motor of the homo economicus is his or her ambition, but the most practical side of the practical world is that ambition and dreams are not necessary – in fact, they are not even practical. The American Dream might hover around, but in general it gets lost in the linings of the corridors of Walmart.
A society that can be imagined without any need for language is a sapiens-impoverished one. The practical world that economists dream of is language-poor and Sapiens deficient. It is an inhuman or anti-human world.
The opposite of this world would be one in which language becomes a priority. This means that a literate society is a human one. Humanity as a purposive, progressive entity, could be measured according to its literacy. Reductionism is a fascist, anti-humanism with a purpose toward creating a silent, ant-like species (although, even ants communicate more than supermarket shoppers do).
Linguistic interaction is necessary for intentionality and its development is necessary for the intentional progress of society itself and for the creation of a human civilisation pushed forward by democratic, intentional progress. A linguistically poor society, on the other hand, is impoverished in democratic intentionality.
Deep thinking requires linguistic richness. Even the ability to synthesise linguistic expression needs linguistic richness as well. One who lacks linguistic dexterity in the first place cannot simplify what they could never express in the first place.
Language, along with our physical motor skills, is the first thing we learn. For human society to properly function in an intentional, progressive way, we should never stop progressing linguistically, even if this means abandoning the practical side of life.
There are two kinds of universes. Firstly, the kind that is perceived in different ways by each and every perceiving entity (Universe A), and, secondly, the universe that encloses and supports these perceiving entities (Universe B). The latter is that which allows perception to take place and part of it is the World. The World is the space in which conditions allowing for consciousness via a conscious, knowing, sapiens life exist.
This description of reality gives us a basic truth: the World is the part of the Universe made purposeful through Sapiens’ perception of it, and each sapiens entity has his or her own singular universe constructed according to the possibilities granted by its place in space and moment in time. Likewise, these individual realities are enriched by the possibilities engendered by the imagination of each and every sapiens entity BUT enclosed within the physical necessities that make up the form of the all-encompassing Universe that is the prime necessity making Sapiens possible.
The World is our world, open to all our possibilities, but at the same time restricted by the physical laws of the Universe and the fragile equilibrium that makes life on Earth possible. Each sapiens stands at the centre of the Universe (as the creator of his or her universe), but depends on the World and its ability to produce and maintain life (and life’s possibilities) primarily for its purposeful existence and, secondly, for its possibilities within the restrictions of that existence.
These restrictions are determined by each subjects’ position in time and space. Possibilities are modified by our accumulation (through education and culture and through the other possibilities allowed or disallowed us by societies).
By anchoring ourselves with the metaphysical truth, we are able to find an equally true teleology or final purpose, and through that a general purposiveness for sapiens entities.
The metaphysical truth that there are two kinds of universes, points to an inseparable connection between the multifarious universes coming from Sapiens’ individual perceptions and consciousness and the reality of the all-encompassing Universe itself. Both forms of the Universe need each other, and must never betray each other. So tightly are they linked that any betrayal would mean the annihilation of both universes. The existence of one, therefore, depends on the existence of the other.
The perpetuity of this existence, however, depends on certain laws that must be, firstly, discovered by Sapiens, and secondly, respected.
The general purposiveness (and meaning) in life has to be anchored to the idea of maintaining a perpetual relationship between universe A and universe B, or between Sapiens and the World.
Through perception, Sapiens has the ability to reveal the Universe whilst, through the creative powers of the Sapiens’ imagination, humans are also able to fashion different worlds of our own, each one replete with its own culture and society.
Sapiens’ creativity is a fundamental feature in the relationship between universe A and universe B. Through universe A, the universe B is not only brought into a purposeful Being (I am known, therefore I am ), it is also enriched and enlarged through the worlds imagined and created from that imagination via the inventive and creative power of Sapiens’ minds and their arts and technologies.
In our relationship with universe B, therefore, we have two purposes that fold over into a singular circular meaning of life: to know that universe and to create within it according to our own imaginations and use of the knowledge we accumulate through contemplating the universe we know.
The first law of purposiveness for Sapiens therefore, which is also a moral imperative, is to be creative and knowledgeable.
But from this conclusion arises another question. If this is an authentic moral imperative for humanity: How can our societies go about fashioning the creative and knowledgeable sapiens entities that are so imperative for a purposeful relationship with the World?
WHAT WE LIVE FOR
Truth implies a communication between people who share a similar view and experience of reality. In a global village, bearing a huge divide between the wealthy and the poor, this similar view of things is impossible. For society to be able to talk truthfully it needs to be authentically democratic and egalitarian. Our civilisation, that has been created and maintained by Wealth for the interests of Wealth, needs to impose its truth by control and repression, but also by concealing its desire to control and repress. This concealment is carried out by arguing that the control it desires is really an uncomfortable condition that is only imposed in order to ensure our safety.
The possessive adjective ‘our’ however, should be substituted with ‘their’ – it is their safety that is being protected, not ours. Our so-called democratic world is not democratic at all. Power operates with abundant freedom to protect Wealth whilst the society itself is chokingly repressed.
Problems are repeatedly decontextualized. A terrorist attack takes place because a group of people feel a need to act against the Power that is plundering the natural resources of its region, or because Power has carried out a military invasion of a certain region, or is occupying a certain area by force. Because Power is the real bad guy in this scenario, Power decontextualizes it. It concentrates on the barbarity of the attack perpetrated by the terrorists, while at the same time playing down or completely ignoring the importance of the underlying reasons embedded in the whole context of the event.
Likewise, the economy, which is all about the distribution of wealth and exchange between people, is also decontextualized through a narrative that concentrates on macroeconomic figures that have noting to do with the economic reality of the person in the street.
The truth is, in society we are all involved with each other. If we work, we think we are working for ourselves, but this is only part of the truth. We are also working for others: for the company, probably in order to produce things that may be used by the rest of the society. This complicity is not ignored, but it is often pushed out of the picture, because the real answer to the question of ‘who are we working for?’ often gives a very ugly answer.
In reality we are all part of the equipment that the System uses to gratify the wants and needs of Power. We are, as the Pink Floyd anthem tells us, just another brick in the wall, a cog in the machinery of the System. We are the bolts and nails that hold things together, the tiny wheels that get the thing running.
Once this fact has been accepted, we must ask another even more important question: ‘toward what?’. Towards which final result are our efforts, as we work in the System, supposed to be directed? What is the purpose of our toil? That the answer is to gratify the needs and wants of Power, needs to be concealed from us and, in order to achieve that concealment, Power invents other ambiguous and decontextualized explanations explaining what we are working toward.
Thus, the System talks about a better life and the obvious happiness that will come with it because through the distribution of money workers are able to buy things that will make that better life possible. In actual fact, the whole narrative of our WEIRD civilisation revolves around this simple idea: if you have the power to buy new things and accumulate objects, you will be happier and your life will be better. The toward what goes no further than that. The message is: you, the workers, are improving your own standard of living by participating in the System. And yet, the real toward is not this reality at all. It is, you are contributing to the desires and needs of Wealth and helping Wealth accumulate more wealth and more power.
By articulating this true context, and only by articulating it, a democratic dialectic is allowed to challenge the system. But is this the towards what that we really want to participate in?
We live in a society of control, but not because of the Covid-19 lockdowns. With the pandemic the control is obvious, what we need to remind ourselves of now is that our control-society existed a long time before the coronavirus spread. Of course, the rationale of lockdown in a pandemic is perfectly understandable, it is common-sense logic, the worrying thing is not the present but how easily we swallowed the perverted logic used to justify control before this actuality. The fact is that we have been in Orwell’s 1984 society for some time and the pertinent question now is, for how long have we been here?
When societies accept the controls of searches and inspections, the same society becomes immersed in a neurosis – a fear which is, for the most part, illogical.
We have been enduring compulsory inspections at airports and the entrances of government agencies or large corporations for decades. Any visitor is symbolically treated like a potential terrorist, and this treatment is in itself a form of terrorism. The best way to cope with the military control dished out at society’s checkpoints is with acceptance, which is resignation, which is the same as submission. We are told the control is carried out to ensure our safety. But is this is a valid reason for our uncritical submission?
For example, in order to discern whether or not the incarceration-style controls that we are constantly forced to endure at airports really do ensure our safety, we would firstly need to examine statistics concerning plane crashes before and after 9/11. If we do, we see that the numbers are more or less the same with a slight increase in accidents after 9/11. For while intense security-checks were made the new normal in all airports, the safety standards on the mechanical state of many planes worsened rather than increased. While society concentrated on stopping potential terrorists from boarding planes, it has been neglecting the vigilance of the emotional and psychological level of the pilots, or the thoroughness of inspections on the planes themselves.
Under any dictatorship, the first victim is always the truth. Power will only tolerate its truth, and control is a tool for turning its truth into the truth. Once established, the fact that its truth is actually a lie, is covered up by the acceptance given to that lie. If everyone accepts the lie as the way things are, then it no longer remains a lie, it is transformed into the way things are.
The problem with these imposed realities is that they are full of cracks. Problems are controlled rather than solved. Sometimes this is because the problems favour the measures the System wants to impose. Terrorism creates a need for maximum security controls and allows State repression of freedom. But the roots of the problem are created by the injustices provoked by the voracious appetite of our very same system-of-perpetual-growth (e.g.: capitalism or the neo-liberal economy). Because of this, no steps can be taken to properly eradicate poverty, which is the real root cause of most of our social problems, creating a breeding ground for most fanaticisms and, in fact, almost everything most people fear.
Likewise, the System, which is imperialistic, will not take measures to restrict the imperialist nature of its corporations, and neither will the neo-liberal financers combat the impoverishing effects of its debt-creating loans that are impossible to pay back.
The result is that nothing can be really done to fight the problems created by the System itself.
Everything we know and talk about is relative to our condition of being-in-the-world. Things can only make sense from the position of this fact. Without the world, there is no existence. This is the absolute basis of all the necessary respect that we must have for the world.
Life perceives, or, instinctively knows that it is immersed in an environment. Reality is that which is revealed. On the primary level, it is that which is revealed to the senses, and on a superior level, it is that which is unconcealed to the mind, or discovered by it.
Language permits reality to be an assertion, and it also permits others, who share the same language, to interpret – confirm or dispute – the assertions. A picture of what is true in the world comes through the confirmation or rejections of interpretations of what is perceived through the senses or through the intellect.