Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Stable 5

“Most people spend their lives in a walking daze”
-       Tyler Durden

Here’s a great illustration from ‘The Simpsons’…

Bart: Nothing you say can upset us, we're the MTV generation.
Lisa: We feel neither highs nor lows.
Homer: Really, what's it like?
Lisa: (shrugs): Meh...

The first big problem I see, and this really is a big one, is people just live in this grey area of existence I like to call ‘the stable 5’. They don’t really experience a great deal of emotion, never going too high, but more importantly never falling too low. Of course in every principal there are exceptions, but on the whole, this is society.

I think if anything, this is the most fatal condition to live in. It’s fatal because in this daze you don’t question things. And more importantly, you don’t feel any urgency to question anything. You are a robot. You’re told what to do, or at the very least manipulated. You’re told what to buy – ok you have a choice but you are heavily manipulated and your choice is from a limited selection. Your life is essentially dictated to you.

“Go back to bed America, your government has figured out how it all transpires. Go back to bed America, your government is on control again. Here, here’s ‘American Gladiators’, watch this, shut up. Go back to bed America, here’s ‘Amercan Gladiators. Here is 56 channels of it. Watch the pictuary retards bang their fucking skulls together, and congratulate you on living in the land of freedom. Here you go America, you are free to do as we tell you, you are free to do as we tell you.”

-       Bill Hicks

People have been told and taught that they are powerless, that they can't fight the system - that the only way to live life is to do what they're told, what is expected of them. And that becomes very debilitating. It wears people out – because they feel hemmed it and then it's like they have this idea that life is a struggle with no way out. They then look for escape in wherever they can find it, hence the prolific consumption of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, leading to illnesses, diseases, crime, mental disorders etc it really is a downward spiral. So we shut the fuck up, and we do as we’re told.

We are free to do as they tell us.

I studied graphic design at college, ventured into advertising a little. What I found really opened my eyes to how we are bombarded into feeling inadequate unless we buy what we’re told to buy. Essentially material objects control your self esteem. You buy a new pair of shoes and your self esteem goes up, and you feel good. But that feeling doesn’t last, and you need to buy something else to get that hit again.

Hedonism is your religion. You’re addicted to short gain pleasure.

It seems obvious to me now, but only because I studied the methods and realised the psychology behind them. Make people want something to be sexier, more confident, happier, free. Always more. Rule number one of advertising is make the customer believe they need the object being advertised to experience the emotion or live they life they truly want. Make them feel less if they don’t have it. An outsider.

Once I fully understood how this system operates I could no longer be involved.

The problem isn’t necessarily being another cog in this system, it’s the fact you don’t realise you’re just another cog in the system. You’re asleep. You don’t know you’re addicted to getting your next fix because everyone’s addicted to getting their next fix. You’re asleep. Everyone is complicit in the lie, you feed eachother. Everyone wants more, wants to be more, and you’re following the script as you should, like the good little consumer you’ve become.

Jed McKenna puts it like this…

"Where are the people that chose their lives?

... maybe a life of drudgery and carrot-chasing is exactly what we would choose if we did choose, but we don't. That's what it means to be unconscious; to be asleep within the dream. We slip into the lives that are laid out for us the way children slip into the clothes their mother lays out for them in the morning. No one decides. We don't live our lives by choice, but by default. We play the roles we are born to. We don't live our lives, we dispose of them. We throw them away because we don't know any better, and the reason we don't know any better is because we never asked. We never questioned or doubted, never stood up, never drew a line. We never walked up to our parents or our spiritual advisors or our teachers or our gurus or any other formative presences in our early lives and asked one simple, honest, straightforward question, the one question that must be answered before any other question can be asked:

What the hell is going on here?"

You’re a consumer. You’re brainwashed to never really question things – ‘don’t think too much’. It’s social manipulation.

The main problem isn’t even that so much, it’s the fact that you are happy enough to live like that your whole life. It’s not great, but it’s not bad enough to motivate you to do snap out of it. You don’t know how rich in variety life can really be.

You can see it with children globally. Their care free attitude, the naivety of asking simple questions, the joy and vast range of emotions they express. But you also see how they evolve into lifeless, bitter adults. Sit down, shut up, and don’t ask too many questions is societies real religion.

You compromised the richness of what life could be, for a life that is safe, and known. You settled for the stable 5. I think you know this, if you’re just a little bit curious, if you’re just a tiny bit honest you get a little glimpse of what life could be. But there’s a risk there. It’s scary, you’re afraid what’ll happen if you get too honest and take a good look at that. So you close the box and get on with an average life that isn’t bad enough to change.

The main problem is that people will only pay any kind of attention to this problem when the feelings of shittiness get incredibly painful. It doesn’t exist on their radar unless it all but kills them, such is the level of their delusion and identification.
Then if they decide to take a quick peek into their true feelings, it’s a swirling black hole of pain, and they just slam the door again, to find salvation somewhere anywhere but necessary.

Humans are genetically programmed to avoid pain, so it’s not as if it isn’t counter intuitive. It serves a purpose at least.

I was discussing the subject of distraction with a friend recently, and she said this “yes the drive to develop better and faster technology is the drive to distraction.” Interesting angle, and you have to admit the vast array of technologies available to day is head spinning. You can quite comfortably lock yourself away in some kind of basement and play World of Warcraft until you feel a virtual world superhero. All the glory and none of the pain. Press reset and go again, hero.

It’s interesting how people find redemption in anything they can think of. If that gnawing feeling gets too much they’ll just fucking run and hide wherever it doesn’t hurt too much. With this endless selection of modern distractions, you can lose yourself forever. But people would rather run, and drink, or take drugs, or gamble or do anything to take the pain away for a while. People even kill themselves to escape the pain. Is it really that scary where they’d rather kill themselves than just look at what’s causing the pain?

But that leads to the question of whether they feel they can look at it, because that’s a choice. Do people see they have one? Or is the fear overwhelming them so much they just have to end it?

My point is - do they even question it?

If there is identification with a mind that you assume is you, is your identity, and that mind is feeding negative thoughts which in turn lead to dark emotions, then of course you don’t even think to question it do you? You’re too attached to the data the brain feeds you and there’s no space in between thoughts. You think you are the thoughts, and that’s your identity. Thoughts dominate and control, you are a slave of the mind.

You are a slave of the mind.

What generally tends to happen is you’ll create some kind of identity out of that. Be it an angry violent person, a constantly negative person, a victim etc. Whatever the brain feeds you, you’ll play out. It’s not your choice because you don’t feel you have one. The assumption is essentially that there’s something wrong with you, you’re broken, it’s just you, no one understands, you’re alone, you’re ashamed, and it hurts.

So we’re back to the condition I call ‘the stable 5’. Never venturing too far into what’s uncomfortable, which means you’ll never experience the full richness of human emotions. Compromise. I think this is potentially the most dangerous thought paradigm to be stuck in as you’re just a walking shell of a human being. An autonomous device living out the life you’re drip fed by consumerism and society.

The worst part is you have no motivation to escape this thought structure, and you almost certainly don’t know it is even happening to you. I didn’t at the time, it’s only in retrospect I see what was happening. I think if anything, being depressed is a blessing in disguise, as at least you have the motivation to escape it. You’re honest, it’s fucking painful but it’s honest pain.

If you are suicidally depressed, then there is a huge amount of motivation to escape the pain, and you’re going to be desperate to take action. There is a ruthless honesty to feeling so low, you are experiencing a very powerful emotion that drives you to find a way out.

You’re hungry for salvation, and although you may find temporary relief in an infinite array of mediums, you can never just sit, and just be. You have to distract yourself, keep yourself busy. Hide.

This is resonating with you isn’t it?

You can’t judge the way things are, it’s very difficult to get an outside look at what’s going on whilst simultaneously being complicit in it. You’re brought up a certain way, by certain rules, by certain parents and by certain societies. You are society, you’re just another cog, and it’s takes a pretty big jolt for you to step outside of the machine and see how it really works.

But to understand why we don’t venture into this and explore for ourselves, I think we need to delve a little deeper into what motivates us not to.

I think there the two motivators for keeping people in ‘The Stable 5’ are fear and conformity - i'll break these down in later posts.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post, this remembers me that once we send our kids to school, as from day one, our school systems are not focussing on what young children experience still as fresh and natural, 'life joy' their celebration as each moment.
    It is all based on content and as from day one, competition in collecting knowledge as part of learning and developing is happening. All as part of a community. Trained in becoming a survival expert.
    The basic stuff about the underlying lie should be ‘learned’ also as from day one. Now we are learning them separateness, without the basics of that structure. There is no room for taking their first hand ‘experience’, their ‘magic’ realm serious. We simple ignore it, and pump their young brains full of role playing and becoming a valuable member of some society.
    Their gift of imagination and taking serious their inner world experience and the power of storytelling. Maybe in future as part of their initiation, included in our school systems as natural as one is.