The “Why” Part

The Problem With Now Isn't "The Text" and it isn't the dreaded "THEM" (the fault dear Brutus, is not in our stars...)


The world is kind of a mess right now, and because I have spent more than forty years paying close attention to the power and money games being played behind the scenes, I feel a special obligation to write about those things, so that those who have had their attention elsewhere, but are concerned, can better understand the unsettling problems those malign and hidden forces have brought us all.

BUT – the world is a whole lot more than lies, power games, corruption and dirty tricks. In fact, the other side – all of the things we should savour, sacrifice for, regard as precious and important, and humble ourselves in the name of, are actually way MORE important than all of the things that make us angry sad or worried.

This isn’t even just about an ordering of priorities, this is about key nutrients, without which most of us humans do not really do especially well – and also about something we have almost forgotten, JOY.

When we criticize others (our most popular social game?) one of the things we find most irritating is hypocrisy.

Our modern contempt-first sneering culture actually finds other people’s hypocrisy so satisfying and enjoyable to dismantle, that we will even add our own extra imaginative translations to their clear statements – often changing their meaning completely – just to suggest that they must be hypocrites (though they are not actually inconsistent), simply because they disagree with our own immaculate ideas about ultimate meanings and interpretations (and our own personal levels of awareness, integrity, honesty and hypocrisy are usually the very last things we want to confront, or spend any of our energy understanding or overcoming).

Here’s the thing about that though – and this is true regardless of faction, calling or caste – preaching to others without cultivating any humility within yourself, is called BEING AN ASSHOLE.

Western society is now very nearly overwhelmed with such bratty tantrum throwers and psychopaths – which makes it hard for love, friendship and loyalty to function the way they have for us, for so very long. Most horrifying of all, we have become so in-turned arrogant and cynical culturally, that many youngsters don’t even believe love, friendship and integrity are real, let alone recognize them as the source, the savour and the entire point of life itself. The direction of the sun – the pull of the heart.

This is not about the imposition of a paradigm – it isn’t a text based artefact at all – this is about the attainment of human potential, the sprouting growth and ultimate flowering of our seed-self.

None of us has enough time energy and luck in our life to become everything fine that a human can be (we really are remarkably adaptable critters) but all of us do better with love and deep connection as a key part of our lives, whatever else we are able (or unable) to manage.

Which brings me back to an amazingly helpful simple quote that I’ve shared before – the only bit of Wittgenstein I know (a pencil-note that he scribbled in the margin of a book he was reading)

“Don’t think of the meaning, think of the use!”

The human mind can be trained (or retrained) to become specialized for almost anything, if we combine enough time and practise – but many of us never even stop and ask ourselves – what is it that I’m trying to do here, anyhow? What is my goal state, mentally, emotionally, for life in general?

In gamer terms – what are the victory conditions?

And here is where how we use our thinking becomes so crucial. Do we want to spend our energy bringing ourselves into a constant state of despair? Would we prefer righteous anger and plentiful villains, close at hand? Do we actually enjoy walking down the street, wishing we could smite?

Of course not (or at least, if you do feel that way, please call a friend, huh?). Think about sunshine and fresh air and everybody is sharing the warm spring day and you can feel the teasing sense of community almost spontaneously emerging, just from something as simple as the long missed sun.

We could take a scalpel to that feeling. Criticize this person for one reason, and that one for another. Point out that they are different, in ways beyond their control, and this doesn’t seem fair (and isn’t).

And by the end of our autopsy we would have a whole pile of separate categories and kinds of contempt to apply to that profound ascendant shared feeling, and we would have killed it, utterly.

Do you want to live in a morgue? Did you really grow up wishing you could be a Jesuit, during the inquisition? Talented most in the sort of sophistry which can indict even the famous ham sandwich?

No way – you wanted to be a doctor and a vet, a firefighter and an astronaut, an artist, a scientist, a philanthropist, a wanderer, a helper – making more good things happen in the world for others – always among friends with whom you could share the struggle and purpose both.

This is the real problem with the scalpels-first approach. We wreck stuff before we even take the time to see what it really is. We stick a reject label on everything we can, on any grounds we can find, and so talk ourselves out of connection learning and friendship which is constantly trying to find us.

Emptying the gold from our pouch as we go, so we can fill it with wonderfully infuriating dog-turds!

Okay now, just for an experiment – what if we said to ourselves – for this week, my default assumptions about others will begin from respect humility and curiosity, and my victory conditions are to maximize learning, listening and sharing?

How many people unlike ourselves can we connect with, operating like this? So many that our entire picture of the world expands. I’m not kidding, when we let other perspectives in (and respect is the ticket price for this ride, you won’t get it, if you cut in line and try to steal it) we are suddenly offered other hearts and eyes, to add new wisdom and richness to our own necessarily limited store.

Even if we don’t go so far as to make friends (though we will) and even if we don’t find old ideas that we assumed were right, challenged by far better and more humane insights from others who have seen an angle we never imagined, or took into consideration before, we’ll still have a fantastic day.

Every cashier we encounter, every bus driver, every clerk (even at the complaints counter) is always a human being. We don’t have to slow down the line and put on a show, just to practise treating them as humans. But our ‘hood does feel ever more like our welcoming home, the more we make the other people in it our pals by simply noticing their humanity – rather than reducing them to their commercial function and our impatient wants.

It is much harder to be really open to the people that we are pretty sure we disagree with.

It is normal for humans to be tribal and to savour our contempt for others. Ancient (evil) BS too.

But here is where my lifetime of watching the dirty tricks of the powerful and standing with other working class strugglers, rather than middle class snobs, helps me find some choice extra clues.

Woke isn’t utter and complete nonsense because of the code – it is crap in the exact same way that sadistic nuns in parochial school made Christianity look like crap to vast numbers of boomer kids, a few generations ago. The text aspires to virtue – but sadly, the practitioners are furious righteous glassy-eyed dogmatic witch-burners. Other than that though – it is absolutely freakin’ fabulous!

Don’t mean to be one-sided here, those on the right who scorn community and building impress me even less, but they are not culturally dominant at this moment, and most on the right are not even remotely as they are now depicted, in this present climate of low honesty and (suffocating) bias.

The code is not the problem folks – the absolute unending deluge of wild hypocrisy, is.

Just for an example – in the 2016 election, roughly half of America voted for a shameless violent white supremacist, the other half voted for Donald Trump. Yes, many people who call themselves leftists think the destruction of Libya is a “SHUT UP” rather than a war crime. They are hypocrites.

Not long ago, we saw a vast wave of what was called “anti racism” sweep North American culture. You want to find an anti racist now? Find someone putting on a Chekhov seminar in a community college, or still handing out Lermontov to their undergrads. The exact same people who claimed to be serious leftist anti-racist anti-imperialists, are now all-in on gleeful racist war and look forward to a future of endless conflict and mass murder against the many obvious untermenschen elsewhere.

I can’t even use the word hypocrisy here, I have to use the word disgusting. (counter-revolutionary also, but the sting of that one died long ago, at exactly the same time as the general aspiration to overcome self, on behalf of service to others).

And before you get mad at me and look around for ways to challenge me on points of the text (meaning) please take just a moment to THINK ABOUT THE USE.

Kids have been frightened about the environment, and feeling guilty just for existing on this planet, for more than a half a century now (I know, I was part of that first paranoid pleasure-killing generation).

Did this worry make us more ecological, over the course of our lives? Marginally, sometimes, but not in any way which can be shown to be outstandingly different from those who got to such ecological gentleness through simple caring and ever-extended compassion. If anything, all that early fretting inhibited our growth and expression, and made it harder to feel the kind of simple joy which nourishes us all spiritually, allows our caring to grow, and our compassion to find new paths – because we spent so much time feeling it was our duty to suffer, as penance for merely existing!

This is actually a lot worse than original sin (if we go for the full intent of that, instead of a caricature).

I always used to hate the idea of original sin, because I mistook it for a nasty accusation of corruption, rather than a commendation to universal humility. I have come to see it differently, because I’ve spent a lot more time talking to sincere Christians (yes, they still exist, and in large numbers, too).

As a petulant atheist youngster, it was very hard for me to learn anything from friends who seemed so different. I lazily assumed that because they had a different system of belief, therefore we could not see any purpose or morality in common. I was wrong about that, and used my righteous certainty as an excuse to stay closed, where more curiosity and openness would have served me far better.

What do we actually instantly value in common? Love, friendship, honour, respect, and even curiosity (though their version of the humour which powers curiosity best, can sometimes take me by surprise, coming from an unexpected direction). ;o)

You know what else people on the left and right actually share? Care about the earth (ideas about policy vary greatly – but respect for our common home is not at all one-sided, as it is portrayed).

The atmosphere is definitely acting weird, and we ought to be cooperating well enough to make this a priority, instead of gathering resources to plan for decades more of insane war – like presidents and prime ministers alike are doing right across the west – right now – stealing every bit of hope they can from the already imperilled future, like a bunch of drunken bandits on a pillaging spree.

They aren’t good guys (think of the USE). There aren’t any of those old principled types anymore. We’ve all been so busy being screaming hypocrites and enjoying hating our neighbours, that we didn’t even notice we made sane and reasonable people completely unelectable. Just stop it already!

The jerks in power aren’t interested in green (except money). Left and right, they have spent this entire century painting the world blood-red with every penny that should have gone into our environmental transformation. “When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.”

There isn’t any moral difference between Democratic party led racist mass murder and the establishment Republican version of mass murder, except to hypocrites. Heads firmly up asses.

So now let me try adding another couple of victory conditions.

What if we weren’t seeking one simple dumbed-down easy dogmatic code, so that we could find reasons to hate everything we see around us, all day long, but instead we were looking for things like enchantment, subtlety and balance – more richness to our experience than we already had, and more insight and usefulness, along with it?

What if, instead of thinking of mental and emotional effort as unpaid labour, which we win by saving, we thought of them as free educational and workout opportunities? What if we learned to do some difficult things, just for the sake of training our determination, and built up our spiritual heart muscle, so that when we looked at the gigantic problems of the world, we would do so knowing we had already scaled-up our power and usefulness, and we can surely keep doing that and learning more?

What if every single person we saw, struck us as a potential friend or ally, or at very least another mostly mystified wanderer, sharing this strange path place and moment with us? Make what we will.

What if we started with the idea that we aren’t the point of the exercise, but the brush that paints it?

And what if we remembered that humans really can learn more over time. Like this recent bit of joyful science (from a meta-study comparing lifestyle and chemical depression interventions, long term).

Exercise is the single most effective antidote to depression. (I stumbled onto this one when I was a teenager, and I’ve been grateful ever since, but it is so cool to see it borne out by the hard numbers).

But then again, we can actually go a step further than that, and see way way more when we do.

By leaps and bounds, the most effective form of exercise for overcoming depression?


A truth which all of us instantly recognize as a more fundamental shared clue to the nature of our weird wonderful way-more-than-merely-logical and highly chaotic existence, than any ignorant dogmatic joy-wasting contempt fear or hatred ever was, in the history of any and everything

Yes folks, I mean even when the whole creepy power-serving world seems to be sneering and fearing right along with you, so that you’ll happily sign-up your kids for a future of never-ending racist war and thwarted hope (life as autopsy, instead of peace in a thriving garden) without even bothering to read the fine-print.

“I dunno why I signed really, I just liked the cut of his sneer I guess.”


My links today are tangential to the main theme – but juicy as can be, all the same.

Not about making our lives and intentions more useful to ourselves and others – but about finally understanding that our long declarations of western moral superiority ARE the last gasp essence of colonialism and white supremacy. China is absolutely not what people say it is (nor are we).

They are just playing the game of capitalist economics so much better than us, that we can no longer even hope to compete (that is, overcome the parasites and financializing gamblers who have corrupted everything here that used to work) except by starting a war with them. (and frankly folks, even then, if we were paying attention, we’d know we lose ten times harder, down that evil road).

I am furious that the current irresponsible and incompetent regime in Canada is so determined to sell-out our long term national interest to foreign war-mongers and investment profiteers, and our future peace and sovreignty, right along with it.

Here is a piece from Mark Wauk’s fascinating “Meaning in History” which makes clear the evil intent (and horrifying cost) of the AUKUS pact. So ashamed to see Canada sign-on to this late sign of desperate white supremacist madness. (And please say we can back out of this devil’s bargain, sharpish, without having to give the yanks the nice side of Niagara Falls as a penalty).

Pivoting to China, My Head is Spinning

And this piece from the same wide-ranging substack, borrows from a very big idea from Alastair Crooke (former diplomat and British spy) which suggests we’re doomed because we’re Kantians!

Here is the inimitable Simplicius the thinker with a tour de force ‘round the world head spinner!

“Yellen Dispatched to Beg China for Face-Saving Slowdown”

Finally, let me leave you with something sweet – Dylan Levi King writes about his experiences in China and Japan with extraordinary poetic insight, and an ear for the evanescent. Like reading Chatwin’s diary, as he travels – deluxe!

Here is his extraordinary Dylan Levi King substack – you’ll want to subscribe here for sure (no one I know has too much poetic insight in their hopper, let far alone wonderment and subtle pleasure).

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