The Great Lie is that this is civilization. It’s not civilized. It has literally been the most blood-thirsty brutalizing system every imposed upon this planet. This is not civilization, this is the Great Lie. Or if it does represent civilization, and that is truly what civilization is, then the Great Lie is that civilization is good for us.” –John Trudell
What is the great lie? Does it go deeper than Trudell’s quote above? Is it more than just the physical apparatus of civilization and it’s fundamentally unhealthy and unsustainable infrastructure? Might it also be the psychological apparatus of our culture and its lack of a healthy community and rampant nature deprivation that spills over into an even more dire spiritual deprivation? Might it also be the particular flavor of “freedom” that’s being shoved down our throats by the powers that be; which isn’t freedom at all but a kind of indentured servitude (debt-slavery) that wears a mask called “freedom”? As Charles Bukowski pinpointed, “Slavery was never abolished, it was just expanded to include everyone.”
This article would be a mile long if we listed all the aspects that “the great lie” might consist of. But for the sake of brevity, and for the importance of moving toward updated questions to outdated answers, let’s go into four ways we might stop telling ourselves this lie…
But first, we need to let ourselves off the hook here. Let’s get something off our chests. We’ve all been bamboozled by The Great Lie. We’ve all been psychologically hoodwinked and spiritually swindled by a system that simply does not work for healthy human beings. Our cultural conditioning and systemic brainwashing is gargantuan in proportion to our ability to question it. But, we have to come to grips with it. We must be able to embrace the existential misery of it, question it, learn from it, recondition it, un-wash our brains of it, adapt and overcome it, and then let that shit go! We let it go so that we can get out of our own way. So that we can move on to a healthier world, a more sustainable mode of human governance, and a more balanced system between nature and the human soul. Like Eliezer Yudkowsky said, “You are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in.”
1. Speak Truth to Power
“When an honest man realizes that he is mistaken, he will either cease being mistaken or cease being honest.” –Anonymous
The Federal Reserve Bank, as well as other world banks, are the primary reason for the systematic destruction of our economy, our currency, and our political dynamic. They are privately owned corporations with the monopoly on printing fiat money, backed up by plutocratic governments with the monopoly on military force. They are the leading cause for the uneven distribution of wealth and the socioeconomic stratification of basic human rights. Debt slavery is the totalitarian force that threatens all of humanity. We have come to be ruled by the men our founders warned us against and fought against. But we each have the power to turn the tables on such power.
Like Krishnamurti said, “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” And so it is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick method of supplying debt-based, fiat worthless paper money into circulation by a gang of private bankers with no accountability to the people.
Let’s undermine and mock the Federal Reserve every chance we get, while also creating new economic infrastructures. Let’s put the “eco” back into “economics” by taking what little good there is in the current monetary-based system and rolling it over into what is progressive about the resource-based system. There are strategic antidotes to oligarchy and plutocracy: stop bailouts, dismantle the Federal Reserve, withdraw taxpayer support from central banks, allow development of alternative currencies, and refuse international taxes. Better yet, let’s think outside of the box with “Federal Reserve” writ large upon it. Let’s flatten it and then use it as kindling for something new. We can have rules without rulers, through bottom up leadership as opposed to top down leadership. It begins by speaking our own truth to power, and becoming leaders of our own. Like Marcus Aurelius said, “The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.”
2. Build Eco-centric Communities
“The cynic can still argue that it doesn’t matter and it isn’t going to work. You have probably had arguments with cynics, the realists who explain why any idea isn’t likely to succeed. Maybe you argue with your inner cynic, who says the same about any change in your life. Well, all those cynics are right. From within the boundaries of their world-story, it IS unlikely to work. A kind of miracle has to happen: for example, the right person selflessly stepping in to help at the right time, or someone having a change of heart and acting against their rational self-interest. If we are to have a livable planet in fifty years, such things have to happen on a massive scale.” –Charles Eisenstein
In order to no longer be a victim of “the Great Lie,” we need a new way to protest against collective oppression. The most effective way is to build something new, to be creative despite the destructive system. The battle here is not against people. It’s against an abstraction of an abstraction. It’ against being “distracted from distraction by distraction.” This type of battle requires updated strategies in the face of outdated complacencies. The answer is not to win, or to give up, or to get revenge, but to create something new –in this case, new ways of being a human being in a world that is fast forgetting the meaning of being humane. Like Dr. Richard Bartlett said, “You are more than your thoughts, your body or your feelings. You are a swirling vortex of limitless potential who is here to shake things up and create something new that the universe has never seen.”
It’s time we built a new world in the shell of the old. Better yet, new worlds: plural. The more “paths” the better. Diversity is the key to healthiness within nature. The same applies to human nature. Between sleep and awake, between dreaming and making a dream come true, there is a third thing: metamorphosis. What we need is more metamorphosis. We need creative ways to bridge the gap between the outdated way of being human in the world and the updated way. What’s outdated is what doesn’t work anymore (and probably never really did). If, as James Russell Lowell said,“Time makes ancient good uncouth,” then it’s up to us to figure out what “ancient good” has become “uncouth,” and then let that so-called “good” go. Letting go of the outdated model of ego-centric, divisive families, and embracing the updated model of eco-centric, interdependent communities is a good place to start.
3. Guerilla Garden (or at Least Garden)
“A miraculous healing awaits this planet once we accept our responsibility to collectively tend the garden rather than fight over the turf.” –Bruce H. Lipton, PhD
We have a choice of what kind of world we leave to our children and our children’s children: burnt-out husk, or thriving garden. The spell that the current system has over us, and a huge aspect of the Great Lie, is one that will most certainly lead to a burnt-out husk. The spell is turning food into products and then making us dependent upon products. We depend upon large farms for our food, and so we depend upon the system to sustain us. This dependency is called codependency, and it is extremely unhealthy. Not only that, it is dangerous. Like Daniel Quinn wrote, “Putting food under lock and key was one of the great “innovations” of our culture. No other culture in history has ever put food under lock and key – and putting it there is the cornerstone of our economy. Because if the food wasn’t under lock and key, who would work?”
Locking up the food and creating a hierarchical society, has led to an immensely powerful and corrupt system that lays down and enforces the rules of society. Locked up food leads to a prison, a prison, which will require re-thinking about culture itself in order for us, the prisoners, to escape. One way to rethink it is to use Daniel Quinn’s Takers-Leavers perspective. The premise of the Takers’ story is “The world belongs to man.” The premise of the Leavers’ story is “Man belongs to the world.” We’re currently on a Takers trajectory heading towards a burnt-out husk and straight into Armageddon. We need to adjust the sails to a Leavers trajectory, bearing True North towards a thriving garden for our grandchildren.
Like Richard Neville powerfully articulated, “What’s needed are battalions of eco warriors with science degrees, gardening skills, and the capacity to create zones of survival. We need to move beyond the world of the possible, and the maybe, and prepare for what may soon be urgent and imminent. Are we preparing “safe passage” for climate change refugees? Are the tents being tested and the food kitchens assembled? If not, why? From where will food and freedom come?”
4. Start a Grassroots Activist Group
“Revolution is at once the most tragic and redeeming social experience. It is what societies do instead of committing suicide, when the alternatives are exhausted and all the connections that bind men’s lives in familiar patterns are cut.” –Andrew Kopkind
To overcome tyranny, we must first overcome ourselves. We must be able to slap ourselves with the truth and avoid being kissed by lies. This is profoundly difficult, especially in a system that is designed to make us comfortable and complacent. Lies disguised as kisses are everywhere. Sometimes doing the right thing means rising up out of our dusty morality and doing the amoral thing so that the immoral don’t get a free pass. Like David Harris said, “It’s a sad and stupid thing to have to proclaim yourself a revolutionary just to be a decent man.” But here we are, having to do precisely that. So we might as well choose to be decent human beings, and seek out those who have made a similar choice.
The best way to stop telling “the Great Lie” is to surround ourselves with people who are not afraid to speak the truth. People who have chosen to be decent humans in an indecent world. Amoral people who have the audacity to disturb the too-moral people and have the courage to put the immoral people on notice. Progressive, social evolution is the best revolution. And it begins with “comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable.” Whether those who are comfortable are overly moral or overly immoral, it matters not. What matters is getting back to a healthy, sustainable mode of human governance that brings back the delicate balance that must be maintained between what it means to be human and what it means to be humane, between cosmos and psyche, and between nature and the human soul. And the only way we get there is through moderation, the Middle Way, armed with the Golden Ratio, cloaked by the Golden Mean, staring the powers that be in the face, drawing a line in the sand, and declaring –balls-to-bones, ovaries-to-marrow, as Thoreau did, “I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.”
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