The Big Ideas of 2012

Fear of Flying

Liberating the Left and unleashing its animal soul.
Fear of Flying
Mark Gong

Audio version read by George Atherton – Right-click to download

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Lefty arguments are fraught with asterisks, exceptions, caveats, considerations, footnotes, excuses and pie-in-the-sky moral posturing coded in a lexicon that most people don’t even get.

The right meanwhile is able to stand behind simplistic, strong and wrong optimism, cloaking itself with the grace of God and good intentions. The left is caught navel-gazing and obsessing over whether or not their actions are philosophically correct; stuttering, qualifiyng, apologizing, accommodating … whimpering along the way. The right meanwhile is going with its gut, shooting from the hip, smoking people out of thier caves, straight talking … pick your conservative maxim. The reins of global power are in the hands of those who are able to symbolize a big idea, whatever that idea may be. The fortunes of the global left depend on whether or not they can take a stand on a big idea again. Žižek, Badiou, Hedges, Klein, Rancière, Bifo, have all hinted at what the left has lost, but it’s Jonathan Franzen who hammers the point home:

“Craving sex with her mate was one of the things (OK, the main thing) she’d given up in exchange for all the good things in their life together. Walter tried everything he could think of to make sex better for her except the one thing that might conceivably have worked, which was to stop worrying about making it better for her and just bend her over the kitchen table some night and have at her from behind. But the Walter who could have done this wouldn’t have been Walter.”

You might be wondering what does this have to do with the left? In asking, you, like me, and maybe all of us, highlight a common affliction we suffer – the creeping truth that activism has become a mask for spiritual and character rot. That maybe we have erected a progressive facade to cover the worst of denials, our animal. Sex has everything to do with the current state of things. It represents our most basic human desire and our most common trait of voluntary repression. If behind closed doors we cannot be free, what possibility do we have of offering anything to our world? This doesn’t mean that you need to be an S&M character in order to be progressive, but it shows the point that for a message to be genuine it must come from a place of personal emancipation. Sincerity and liberation are addictive. The most successful entities in any society know this and use it to their advantage. Las Vegas was built upon the principle that if you build it they will come. And they did, making a multibillion dollar oasis in the desert. Las Vegas tells no lies. There is no delusion in traveling to Nevada’s desolate plains and throwing your money away. You get what you pay for – a casino brothel under the baking sun. The sincerity is quantifiable. The potential for financial liberation, no matter how unlikely, is intoxicating. Likewise, if a movement has currency, sincerity, honesty and a hint of real liberation, people will come. Tahrir Square. London. Syria. Vancouver Stanley Cup riot. All sincere regardless of cause.

Australian author and environmentalist Clive Hamilton has been arguing for the past decade that the left has been floundering around like a bunch of whiny holier-than-thou beach bodies, screaming how to save the world without first having ensured that they too won’t be sucked under the wave. The left make poor lifeguards is essentially what he means. They don’t ensure their own safety – personal liberation – and are likely to be drowned by the victim they are trying to save – the converts. This is not an argument about hypocrisy, far from it. It is a psychological assessment of what Hamilton considers the savior complex endemic in the global left. A complex that has no currency without corresponding personal sincerity. Do this. Do that. Don’t consume that. Buy this. We’ll fight the corporations. Lets fight the right-wingers. A better world is possible. A cacophony of soft maxims supported by desperate bodies throwing their personal misgivings and unhappiness onto the altar of activism – the same impulse that drives entire populations into ethnic nationalism, religious conversion and other ubiquitous populist enterprises.

A Christian missionary in Thailand once told me that Buddhists don’t hear what you say, they hear what you do. The villagers observed him and his family closely, how they treated each other, noting expressions of love, equality, respect, humility and modesty. The most important quality of all to them, he said, was whether he had a spiritual revelation manifest in an outpouring of personal joy. This caused great concern to his colleagues and despite several years of effort, they converted no one. He and his missionary friends were gloomy and homesick. They offered a new system to the Thai villagers, but not a new way of being. That is where, as Hamilton argues, the left is today. A system without soul. A people in denial. An obsession looking for a cause. A mass of people looking outward when they should be looking in.

We have all seen it. Maybe we are even these archetypes ourselves. The close-minded open-minded person. Well versed in emancipation and cutting edge lefty rhetoric but altogether intolerable, anal, pedantic, arrogant, rude and fully convinced they know what is best for society. Or the idealist who hops from cause to cause, virulently condemning a belief they wholeheartedly embraced only a short time ago, trying to convert you to direct your energy toward the latest paradigm. Or the usual suspect protesters manifesting a collective oppositional defiance disorder against anything and anyone representing vague concepts of power. Their own lives might be in shambles, without spiritual relief, entirely unable to define their action beyond a sentence, but that does not matter to their leaders. What has become tantamount in activism today is collective, organized action, however weak, regardless of the motivation or the emotional/spiritual source of that action. The left must have more to offer than this. It needs the righteous confidence of the right without the pride and arrogance. It needs the confidence of Evangelicals and the commitment of Islamists without the delusion and apologetics. It needs emancipation. It needs a newfound spiritualism that places a premium on personal enlightenment and monasticism. It needs, in a word, liberation.

All the great religions talk about liberating the self first and how only out of that emancipation can goodness flow. Defiled, this principle becomes the blasphemous health-and-wealth evangelical doctrines sweeping Nigeria, South Korea, Holland and the United States. Undefiled, it is the key that unlocks paradise. In the gospel of John, Christ encourages his disciples, saying people will know you are Christians by your love for one another. His early disciples were afraid and isolated, living under Rome’s heavy hand. To make converts they had to show in their joy that the belief was worth emulating. In Islam, Jihad, the struggle against desire and sin within oneself, is the primary task of the spiritual journey. Observed as intended, Jihad goes hand in hand with the bigger idea that if everyone just focused on being a “good” Muslim, being themselves, the law would wither away and society itself would become the creation of each inhabitants’ revelation. Buddhism’s all-suffering-comes-from-desire equally focuses on righting the self. Without enlightenment, the Buddha insisted, one was destined to replicate the errors of the past regardless of the goodness of intentions. The Dalai Lama’s modern musing, world peace through inner peace, is the greatest political assertion of this principle.

A wedge has been driven between politics and personal emancipation. Activism has been drained of its mysticism and reduced to a sterile rational prop, a blank slate upon which protesters trace their wants and desires – demands impossible for even the most benevolent and wealthy state to deliver. And despite its futile and Sisyphean character, this is still where the bulk of the left in the West finds itself today. Infinite causes, grandiose ideals … and miserable lives. Perhaps it is time to reverse the paradigm and reconsider what was thrown out with religion long ago – liberation of your animal soul.

—Darren Fleet

52 comments on the article “Fear of Flying”

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Food enclosure

Regular store bought cows milk in America is poisoned stuff sold in plastic leeching dirty recycled plastic with shown to be toxic rBST and toxic by virtue of its coming from tumor ridden cows raised in the dark fed Monsanto's inedible chalky bt pesticide covered corn grown with petroleum chemical fertilizer. Cow eat grass and these cows drop dead after a their of their normal lifespan spent and sick from in part from eating corn which even then is now supplemented with dead cats and dogs from the pound because these people can't feed dead cows to cows anymore due to mad cow. These raised in the dark cows have feces (ecoli) in their blood and meat because they don't move but stand in stalls in the dark up to their ankles in their own feces and urine almost their entire lives. These cows are full of antibiotics like tetracycline and virus from hyper vaccination. This contaminated corrupted milk then has its proteins denatured by pasteurization and it fats cut in half into unnatural artery xanthanine oxidase from centrifuging for homogenization. The cows themselves are gmo'd freaks. This makes their milk about the most processed dangerous food there is.

But the law-is-crime types spend money going after raw cow's milk, which is the way it was taken until recently and the way every infant animal takes milk. It comes from non screwed with cows that are grass feed on better than organic lands. As product it's amazing, think of it as concentrated wheatgrass juice. Even a vegan or raw vegan can appreciate its power when used medicinally.

The raw colostrum or first milk is a large part of the immune system imparted to an infant cow and is known as immune milk. It's an old fashioned remedy that can apparently repair a damaged immune system and help people make comparatively miraculous permanent recoveries from allergies and even some illnesses that are regarded as congenital. It has the ability to heal cold sores overnight. I know some of this first hand. But because it threatens the poisoned food that sells what would be otherwise useless but still hardly effective and unsafe drugs it's got to be shut down. What's next? Having to cook breast milk. Raw cheese in the in the majority in the EU

It was their trying make a plant illegal and jail people for it because it will snap people out of the right side religious trance that allows them to be exploited. These are both enclosure movements.

Food enclosure

Regular store bought cows milk in America is poisoned stuff sold in plastic leeching dirty recycled plastic with shown to be toxic rBST and toxic by virtue of its coming from tumor ridden cows raised in the dark fed Monsanto's inedible chalky bt pesticide covered corn grown with petroleum chemical fertilizer. Cow eat grass and these cows drop dead after a their of their normal lifespan spent and sick from in part from eating corn which even then is now supplemented with dead cats and dogs from the pound because these people can't feed dead cows to cows anymore due to mad cow. These raised in the dark cows have feces (ecoli) in their blood and meat because they don't move but stand in stalls in the dark up to their ankles in their own feces and urine almost their entire lives. These cows are full of antibiotics like tetracycline and virus from hyper vaccination. This contaminated corrupted milk then has its proteins denatured by pasteurization and it fats cut in half into unnatural artery xanthanine oxidase from centrifuging for homogenization. The cows themselves are gmo'd freaks. This makes their milk about the most processed dangerous food there is.

But the law-is-crime types spend money going after raw cow's milk, which is the way it was taken until recently and the way every infant animal takes milk. It comes from non screwed with cows that are grass feed on better than organic lands. As product it's amazing, think of it as concentrated wheatgrass juice. Even a vegan or raw vegan can appreciate its power when used medicinally.

The raw colostrum or first milk is a large part of the immune system imparted to an infant cow and is known as immune milk. It's an old fashioned remedy that can apparently repair a damaged immune system and help people make comparatively miraculous permanent recoveries from allergies and even some illnesses that are regarded as congenital. It has the ability to heal cold sores overnight. I know some of this first hand. But because it threatens the poisoned food that sells what would be otherwise useless but still hardly effective and unsafe drugs it's got to be shut down. What's next? Having to cook breast milk. Raw cheese in the in the majority in the EU

It was their trying make a plant illegal and jail people for it because it will snap people out of the right side religious trance that allows them to be exploited. These are both enclosure movements.

Sarkozy has his...

Sarkozy has his head up his ass.

When will the French remove Sarkozy? Since his first days in office he has been complaining that the French at 35 hours a week don't work enough. Today he tried to use globalism as the reason that the French don't work enough. This should make people outrageously angry and cause him to be removed instantly.

What he is saying is that people should spend even more time toiling more at useless unnecessary jobs instead of doing useful things like raising their children and they should do it so that wages can be lowered and they will have to work even more in an endless spiral all so the absolutely useless sit-on-their-ass rich can be made even more rich. People are supposed to sacrifice themselves for people they don't know and wouldn't like so those same people can have even more of what they don't need. He is saying this to a people that see their German neighbors working 28 hrs a week or the amount that we worked 10000 years ago prior to most human technology. Even then 28 hours a week was the amount needed to be self-sufficient. Shouldn't it be less or zero with technology? So why should people prostitute themselves to benefit the useless rich. Sarkozy thinks the French people are slaves. Slavery is murder said on Frenchman. Fuck the rich, they should try slavery instead of feeling entitled to inflict it.

Sarkozy has his...

Sarkozy has his head up his ass.

When will the French remove Sarkozy? Since his first days in office he has been complaining that the French at 35 hours a week don't work enough. Today he tried to use globalism as the reason that the French don't work enough. This should make people outrageously angry and cause him to be removed instantly.

What he is saying is that people should spend even more time toiling more at useless unnecessary jobs instead of doing useful things like raising their children and they should do it so that wages can be lowered and they will have to work even more in an endless spiral all so the absolutely useless sit-on-their-ass rich can be made even more rich. People are supposed to sacrifice themselves for people they don't know and wouldn't like so those same people can have even more of what they don't need. He is saying this to a people that see their German neighbors working 28 hrs a week or the amount that we worked 10000 years ago prior to most human technology. Even then 28 hours a week was the amount needed to be self-sufficient. Shouldn't it be less or zero with technology? So why should people prostitute themselves to benefit the useless rich. Sarkozy thinks the French people are slaves. Slavery is murder said on Frenchman. Fuck the rich, they should try slavery instead of feeling entitled to inflict it.

Anonymous

Typical for the French to believe work is evil - it was God's punishment for Adam having at Eve from behind!

And what's so bad about working? I like working. It makes me happy. It makes valuable things that people need or, I'm very sorry to say this here, want.

I don't think the big idea of the left is to abolish work. If I understand correctly, it's more to abolish exploitation of workers and others who are out of power.

The French are living off their welfare state, funded by arms sales, African debt and what they've built out of everything they stole from the world before WW2, but they're still complaining!

Anonymous

Typical for the French to believe work is evil - it was God's punishment for Adam having at Eve from behind!

And what's so bad about working? I like working. It makes me happy. It makes valuable things that people need or, I'm very sorry to say this here, want.

I don't think the big idea of the left is to abolish work. If I understand correctly, it's more to abolish exploitation of workers and others who are out of power.

The French are living off their welfare state, funded by arms sales, African debt and what they've built out of everything they stole from the world before WW2, but they're still complaining!

Anonymous

Buddhism, like Christianity - is built around the myth of love and tolerance. However, if one look into history of their followers - one find nothing but wars, crusades, destruction and hatred toward other religions. Like Judeo-Christian war against Muslim world - Buddhists too are carrying out genocide of Muslims in Burma and Thailand.

http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/thailand-red-v-yellow-and-muslim-genocide/

Anonymous

Buddhism, like Christianity - is built around the myth of love and tolerance. However, if one look into history of their followers - one find nothing but wars, crusades, destruction and hatred toward other religions. Like Judeo-Christian war against Muslim world - Buddhists too are carrying out genocide of Muslims in Burma and Thailand.

http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/thailand-red-v-yellow-and-muslim-genocide/

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