Wednesday, July 1, 2015

In the Service of Madness

I was chatting with a friend about the events in Charleston the other day when he bluntly stated: "I'm racist."

"Not against any one ethnic or cultural group," he added. "I'm racist against humans in general. I think we're the stupidest fucking animals on the planet."

On the surface my friend's statement seems pretty spot-on. Take a look at the state of affairs in the world right now (or at any point in recorded history, for that matter) and you'll find people enslaving and slaughtering each other over imaginary lines drawn on maps or in the name of some invisible Sky Fathers. 

My friend cited climate change and atom bombs as evidence of our stupidity but I see these as evidence of our vast and powerful intellect.

The ingenuity required to dramatically affect the climate and destroy people by the millions is direct, indisputable evidence of our intelligence.

It's not that we're stupid, you see. It's that we're fucking crazy

The way things are right now is not a result of intelligence that's lacking but, as Eckhart Tolle accurately puts it, intelligence in the service of madness.

We'd rather have our cheap thrills and entertainment than overthrow the psychopaths running our governments and industries. And those psychopaths would rather see the earth ruined and humanity decimated than give up a penny of profit or an ounce of power.

What good is money when there's nothing left? What good is power when there's no more people to hoard it over?

The one percenters aren't evil: they're merely a representation of all that's wrong with humanity condensed into a few individuals. They're the worst parts of us magnified and concentrated into a small group of hateful, greedy, and ultimately frightened scumbags.

But they wouldn't exist if humans in general weren't so fucked up.

I've said it before and I stand by it: we're bipolar apes.

Half rational, half emotional. Half logical, half instinctual. Half present, half time-traveller.

We've known this for millennia.

What do you think the Egyptians were getting at when they carved the Sphinx? The body of an animal with the head of a man: that's what you are! A hairless bipedal ape driven by biological urges and instincts but also governed by something entirely different, something capable of discursive logic, reflection, anticipation, and so on.

That's the human head on top of the animal body.



Most of us have been taught to repress or enslave the animal body and all its powerful drives and sensations. We're told to get a grip, to stop being so emotional, to think about it.

By ignoring and silencing the animal we split ourselves in half.

Hence the bipolar ape.

Carl Jung, the Swiss psychotherapist and one-time partner to Sigmund Freud, wrote about this psychological split on numerous occasions. According to him a key step in the development of the human psyche is a process called "individuation" by which the instinctive animal mind and logical human mind are integrated together into a smoothly-functioning whole.

This process produces balanced individuals who are not only capable of rational thought but who are also keenly aware of the unspoken instinctual (or intuitive) function of the older animal mind.

The result is that we cease to be divided and become whole. We stop trying to mediate (unsuccessfully) between the inner-beast and the cold, calculating computer that wants so desperately to run the whole show.

We rise above the two halves and govern them both as one, giving each equal consideration and preventing the extreme mood-swings that currently grip our species.

Until we undergo a collective individuation, ingenuity, intelligence, and cleverness--the crowning qualities of our species--will continue to serve madness, and countless millions will continue to suffer needlessly.

Rather than ignore or repress our inner animal why not get to know it? Why not make it our friend?

Rather than contend with its wild and unruly energies why not harness and turn them toward a purpose of our choosing?

Until we do this we'll only be half of what we could be and twice the crazy. 
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