The Climate of Lie (Touch 8)

Thursday, 13. August 2009


There are oases of possibility in the desert of life, but the present human condition is predominantly one of disappointment, resignation, mistrust, bitterness, cruelty, cunning, secrecy, treachery, gossip, satire, gallows humour, false hope, pretended fun, double-edged pleasures that never last… And that’s just among the social groups who have most of their lower order needs comfortably met. For the poor, the wounded and the oppressed life is a perpetual nightmare where courage is the only beautiful thing left.

Life as it is now possible to the lazy mind (which is us) is the product of fractured personalities following broken dreams, exiled from their craving to express love, decency, competence, significance, passion, creativity, certainty… the list of true needs is very long. And only a few lucky individuals sometimes touch some kind of fleeting fulfilment, though everyone likes to pretend that they’ve got it made and that who they are is sufficient unto the day.

Sometimes I refer to our human works so far, to the cultures, the behaviours, the options that life here closes down – as a Climate of Lie. This is a very extreme statement, made for effect, without any attempt to be reasonable, but in our current mental ontology it nevertheless makes sense. Everything that exists in the Step 1 world is some kind of lie such that when you are able to compare it with what is possible, which is for the exploration of Step 2 to elaborate, what you get back is a failure to deliver anything worth having, those dream states and longings so desperately craved by our souls, which we will do anything to restore them, even take up substitutes, some of them perverse and all of them ultimately unsatisfying.

Religious ecstasy is the most obvious and ancient example of how we Dervishes do whirl into denial and pain at the first possible opportunity. Entire societies have been infected by this plague and countless cruelties have been enacted to defend its right to dominate the existences of its innumerable victims, many of whom live in a purple haze of feeling “saved”, “chosen”, blessed, righteous, wise, entitled, protected and contented, even after they will die and even after their god has left them to suffer, a special circumstance for which they have the most magnificent doublethink, practised and perfected since the dawn of “civilisation”. Even slaves assuage their lives, even the poor and wretched, while tyrants and parasites live happily ever after because they do their tepid duty to the deity and the huge raft of social control it supports. Most people get a touch of religious passion at some time in their lives, even if it’s only a sort of Zen feeling of wholeness like what guru Tolle recommends; almost everyone, when facing the worst that life can offer, turns in prayer to a god they may not even believe in.

The brother of religion is of course righteous war and we forget at our peril that young cavemen celebrated killing as some young men in tribal societies still do today during their acceptance into adulthood rituals. Armies of mercenaries and zealots have marched forth in brotherhood for all manner of causes since societies first formed, sometimes making rape, pillage and murder into an acceptable lifestyle during times when the only alternatives were all forms of slavery. Young men are intrinsically a menace to society unless their energies are channelled and war is the traditional way to deal with that problem; young men without armies will think up some other cause or obsession, jihad or hooliganism because these things give to millions of nobodies that most delicious feeling we all crave, which is power, the perversion of the significance that every life should enjoy and almost all do not. And frankly, some people get a kick out of hurting others, lots of people in fact, and being able to break the rules is a buzz, just like setting your boot into virgin snow. Defiling, controlling, raping, overwhelming, dominating, threatening, terrifying, smashing, robbing, killing and torturing other people or animals creates a lot more of a cheap thrill for a lot more people, especially men but also women in more subtle ways – than anyone ever admits to except in great works of literature and film.

The third important escape into ecstasy, the real one that is denied to most people by hierarchical societies with corrupt values, by their controlled upbringing that lays in place perverted emotional needs to drive a lifetime, by the clouding of their intellect with memes, especially religions but any passionate obsession will do the same – the third and most important form of ecstasy is of course sex, or sexual love, or erotic intimacy or “relationships” – depending on your taste. The vital thing to understand about this is that it is denied to children, who may become confused and afraid about it, who wonder what it means and will it ever happen to them and where do babies come from. Leading on from that, also important, is that infantilised adults, like domestic pets, have big trouble expressing their erotic needs and often very big problems with finding it anything but fleetingly satisfying. This is such a strong theme that countless people throughout history have turned to celibacy, ploughed themselves into labour and grudges, become embittered with everything in life and turned inwards their own vital energies, darkening their fantasy lives and corrupting their own souls. When I ask myself why do some people try to asphyxiate themselves in order to achieve orgasm, why do most people dwell to some extent in domination or submission fantasies, why is the entire notion of being naked and sexual somehow naughty, why do some people cut their own flesh in order just to feel something – my first response is that it must be generally and pervasively very difficult to find and maintain that happy passion of falling in love.

Yet one assumes that if it can briefly happen it could always happen, that everything flows and energies find new pathways to lift the spirit, satisfy the body, raise the level of decency felt as love spreads out from the lover to the loved one and on to the rest of the world. Imagine a society where that was the norm and I wouldn’t be writing Touch in the first place.

Such is the context of the Step 1 phase of existence we now all live, yet it would not surprise me in the slightest if every single reader rejects what I am saying with a pitying shudder, so deeply buried is the real human being under a mass of extremely convincing pretence. Convincing you is probably impossible, but I must go on talking in greater detail about Step 1 in terms of why people don’t get it and why the wars of the memes go on forever, apparently sustaining us but only with junk wisdom that rarely nourishes the lost potential sensitivity of sensibility that we need to recover to move forward. If I’m wrong then only I look foolish, huh, and you were right as usual.

previous parts of Touch are here

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