The Comfort of Being Nothing

We live in a painful world – one that does not like people. We have compensated by becoming super-people, which was satisfying for a while, but that was not enough – we had to become super-super-people – and so on. This was clearly not a winning game.

The only solution was to stop being people – and once we had decided on that strategy, doing it was easy – and amazingly clever, as justifying unconscious decisions always is.

At this point, I have lost my readers. I am aware of this, believe me, but there is nothing I can do about it. If anyone is still with me, I am grateful for that – but I must press on with my thinking, readers or no readers.

The decision not to be is one we are deeply ashamed of – and for that reason, we do not wish to recognize. But we did not have much choice – what else could we have done? We are only human, and can only stand so much stress. We had to do something, and that was the only thing we could think of at the time.

This was a critical turning point in human history, and we could have managed it better – but that hardly matters. The decision was made, and now we have to live with it.

One way of living with it is promoted by MIT’s U.lab – and it is inspiring reading. It says we can feel the emerging future within us – and can help it along. I certainly hope they are right.

But this ignores what I have seen – that we have given up – without knowing it. We have made a very important decision – but made it unconsciously. And now we can honestly deny that we made it.

MIT has not dealt with the unconscious – something every advertiser deals with every day – successfully. It has not recognized the impact of Television – an influence that overwhelmed and devastated its viewers.

TV had a devastating effect – but this effect was subtle and well-hidden. It convinced people that hidden forces controlled their lives. Forces they could not (and should not) control. A more devastating impact can hardly be imagined.

The facts were simple – TV advertisers were manipulating them to believe whatever they wanted them to believe – and their manipulations were becoming more subtle. They were taught to obey authority – and to not think for themselves.

Overcoming this will be a huge task, and I have no idea how to do it. But we should recognize it as our most important task.


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