The Wanderer and Her Shadow

Cut off, separated, fractured, on the outside, buying, spending, everything monitored, everything under the hard eyes of the police state, everything kept in check by the gatekeepers of the dream. The smallest move threatening the structure of the institution and the weapons come out in an instant, people dragged away in chains and everyone left cowering on the floor. The USA – where everyone seems like they’re doing what they want, but the entire place is under lockdown control.

Liberty, freedom, democracy are privileges given and taken away. Laws, equality, rights open with the markets and the markets are closed. Torture is not torture, war is not war, and corporations are people. A society of riches built on deprivation; a nation of prison, reality is the yard. When there is a fraudulent essence at the heart of a society, then amorality becomes integrity, stupidity becomes culture, and the shadows become home to those who refuse the lie. We again find ourselves in the best of all possible worlds, the best country in the history of the planet, the freest, bravest, finest. When the constitution is devoured, then that country becomes a monster of negation, an obese anorexic, a foregone conclusion. Idiocy becomes patriotic duty. Six hours of TV a day encouraged, lack of curiosity a virtue, willful ignorance the sign of a normal man. Normality itself, the blanky of the good guy, the shield of cowards, the timeless tool of power, becomes a history of madness by which the madness of history goes on and on and on…

We have already done great damage to the people and this planet, but environmentally, militarily, culturally, we are moving toward inflicting the kind of destruction from which we will not recover. The gatekeepers of our sham culture will mock our urgency, dismiss us as angry outsiders, say that we are uncommercial and incomprehensible – and we are – but their opinions, like their world, have ceased to have any meaning. We have made solemn promises to each other in the dusk of a fading light, bared our souls in the small hours of night. We are indeed the anonymous outcasts of the façade, known only through greater ideals, whose small lives are lost in time, but still we must do all we can to change the destructive path of empire where the cancer of lies is growing, metastasizing; where mass media and corporate delusion have replaced reality so that facts are just another source of control.

We need a new vocabulary, because the ownership of meaning is the working of the system. “Belief” is that which is akin to ideals concealing lies that are implanted in people’s minds by power. “They” are the power of the interests of dominant institutional forces, which usually coincide with the economic interests of the one percent. They want us to believe that meaning is immutable and that values are fixed by god. Concepts like democracy, freedom and, most importantly, what-is-normal, are found in nature like rocks, free and independent of institutional forces, power and control. In other words, what is being intentionally hidden is that concepts are being manipulated, changed, and that even the relationship between fact and thought is being distorted so that society is being tooled. There is no definition of liberty and if there is a definition of liberty then it is subject to being worked by the power forces that benefit from the notion of liberty never getting too all-inclusive. Further, they need us to believe that liberty does indeed have a concrete definition that could never be manipulated so that we neither defend liberty nor inject a real meaning into it. They need us to believe that society is egalitarian, that there is no class; things are good as they can be, like ma and apple pie, and that we can count on the opportunities, protections and safeguards of the American dream. But twist it back to that which we must confront, that the American dream is a construct whose purpose is to conceal oppression, injustice, and the fact that language, freedom and even our concept of time are under assault. This is the battlefield of human evolution. The struggle for meaning behind these concepts – what is democracy and to whom does it apply – is not some theoretical playground, but the frontline of the shifting structure that is the collective mind. It is here that critical thought serves as the foundation of civilization because we insist that our lives be more than the mere expressions of the impulses of the oligarchy of any given time. We are not the mere playthings of the ruling class. We want our lives to have a meaning outside of the dull soullessness of capital. We do not want lives of easy stupefying distraction. We do not want to live cut off from who we are, merely surviving each day in misery that fades away as we bury the last pieces of ourselves. We demand the opposite of what passes as normal existence today: raw philosophical lives of action forged by the process of seeking truth that, in turn, gives rise to a world that reflects that process.

Definitional meanings are fluid, subject to control; the context of history is fluid, subject to control; the nature of existence contorts around the warping of context; institutionalization is the process of warping the context so that we become normal; normalcy is put in place by repetition and punishment, casting each of us into an American prison of psychosis impossible to comprehend because it is experienced as the reality of normal life, so that there is no system playing a synthetic role in the formation of our consciousness, which leads to the terrifying thought that our consciousness as we experience it may not even be our own, that it is a product, a construct, that the thoughts in our head do not belong to us, that the thinker who watches us is a mechanism of control; that we are not free, that all is not well, and that we are caught in a concealed nightmare revealed in the shadows of our wanderings, lost to the world but within ourselves, in the revitalizing storms of our own nature, which is the nature of the universe, which is the spirit of humanity, which is being a human being. Is this possible – that we are more like products than we are human beings?

We are too vast to be products, but normality is so small that it must be. That human nature is squeezed, crammed, forced into this suitcase is the ultimate expression of power. In a thriving and healthy world, one would envision normalcy as nonexistent. It would never be normal to be unconcerned, never be normal to be willfully ignorant, never be normal to be apathetic in the face of this precious gift. The role of a real culture would be a constant deconstruction of normalcy toward a positive ideal so that culture could never be used as a tool to dumb people down into little more than consumer drones. A real culture right now would make us question everything that we are being told about what it is to be a human being.

How many people did normalcy kill in the 20th Century? One hundred million? From World War I to whatever is we are doing now, it has been normal, indeed heroic, to go fight and kill other human beings for reasons of which we are not sure. Torture, human rights violations, the bombing of other people’s children are things just to keep us safe. Almost any act or omission can be justified by citing the need to pay the mortgage, raise the kids – or make money to pay the mortgage and raise the kids. We again require a new vocabulary. “Normal” – usually ascribed to the masses – is acting out the interests of dominant institutional forces. “Excuse” – usually ascribed to the masses – is not standing in opposition to dominant institutional forces. “Normal Excuse for An American” – always ascribed to the masses – is the individual effectively becoming nothing but a living breathing expression of dominant institutional forces. And the good news is that things are getting more normal, more American all the time. Corporate mass media makes the medieval church look like an altar boy, producing an all-encompassing tentacled reality whose warped purpose is the mindless reduction of the viewer. There is no culture outside of what they want us to believe. We are in the death grip of a collective madness that no longer even has a reference point outside the interests of dominant institutional forces. At other times in history, you could at least point to something else. Now, every consciousness is like a setting sun.

The American dream is finally reality. Success, freedom, big rewards: all of it in some colonialized beach with a beer in our hand. In many ways, that’s what the choice has always been: the colonialized mind versus the soul of independence, the known misery versus the challenge of the unknown. There was always time to figure it out, to question the status quo, to become the potential of a fully human being – a wild creature beyond meaning, beyond structure, beyond the emptiness of their belief…But the day has grown short; dusk is falling; it is twilight in the land of the free. We are in the fractured time of doubt that comes before the birth of new meaning.

In the shadows, the wanderer begins her journey. Walking away from their dying world with courage, she sets out into the country of undiscovered truth.