Posted on (UTC-4)
2015-12-19 @ 11:18:55
I get the spirit of this message, but I’m not sure I agree. I think leading with wisdom, and not because you want power and control, is OK. It’s better than to just sit idly by proclaiming your “humility” at not wanting to get involved in the world. I think a lot of times this is just an excuse used to justify fear.
2015-10-31 @ 11:45:11
I’m not trying to put down your article either. I think what you said is true and makes a lot of sense.
One of the issues though is that pot has great mind-expanding capabilities. It can provide you with a much broader and wider perspective on the world. In my own case, I’ve noticed that while I can “see through the matrix” so to speak, as a lot of people on this site can, I have been completely dysfunctional in real life in terms of interpersonal relations and just being able to support myself.
I think that a lot of people’s minds are expanded on this site, but they are not grounded in reality. I know that’s been the case for me. I don’t think that pot helps me personally to be more grounded in reality. It opens up new perspectives, but in terms of learning how to be a functional person in the world it doesn’t help me very much. Lots of people don’t need more mind expansion. They need more grounding and experience in the world.
2015-10-30 @ 11:50:09
It’s really up to you to figure out if there are negative effects for yourself personally. People like to think that there is some objective truth about these substances. Like they’re objectively good or bad for everyone. Things don’t really work that way.
Negative effects I’ve experienced are sluggishness the next day, like a hangover. I just get a general bad feeling afterwards. Sure there is a euphoric high, but after that there is a reciprocal and equal low. A lot of people who chronically smoke have kind of desensitized themselves from the subtle effects of pot.
I personally notice that if I take half a hit, I get huge psychedelic effects and it’s extremely intense for me. Most people I see smoking take multiple hits, and continue to smoke after that. Again, they’ve desensitized themselves to it. Maybe that’s my personal disposition. Coffee works the same way for me.
It also makes me too open to other people’s emotions and to the “energy” of whatever environment I’m in. Without pot, it’s like I can have a certain protective wall between myself and other people’s negative energies. This wall disappears when I smoke, and I end up absorbing it.
I also get headaches and it feels like there is pressure and energy stuck in my head, and the circles under my eyes seem to get darker.
2015-10-29 @ 12:19:40
By saying that if you want to be happy, you should give, that giving will still be coming from a self-centered motivation. You’ll just be going through the backdoor, trying to get something for yourself through a different means. And it won’t work.
There are plentiful examples of people who give and try to help others, who are themselves miserable. Social justice warriors and many activists come to mind.
When you are happy, you naturally want to give and help people. Giving and helping do not make you happy. Giving and helping are a byproduct, not a means of happiness.
The biggest lie of our culture is that happiness is conditional and dependent on circumstances or actions. I think you are still falling for this cultural lie in the article.
It’s the same mindset that says that by eating healthy and exercising, you’ll be healthy. This is relatively true only. Healthy behavior is actually a byproduct of a healthy mind. You naturally want to act healthy when you are healthy inside.
We need to reverse our perception of the causal nature of health and happiness. They are not conditional like we’ve been led to believe.
Happiness is not dependent on acting a certain way or doing certain things. Happiness arises spontaneously if you let it. And once you are happy, then you’ll want to give. Nothing you do will make you happy. This belief is still rooted in the same mindset that causes the problem of over-consumption in the first place.
Furthermore, your argument plays into the socialist/communist mode of social control. While capitalists say that acquiring things makes you happy, socialists say that giving makes you happy. Either way, both of those beliefs enslave people to an economic system. Neither is more valid than the other.
2015-10-27 @ 17:24:24
Giving and helping are a byproduct of happiness. They don’t cause happiness a lot of the times.
2015-09-18 @ 16:12:27
Good article, but I feel like whenever you rely on a substance to produce certain effects for you, it can lead to dependency. I personally also notice a lot of negative effects of pot.
I really think that while it is overly demonized and there is a lot of paranoia around pot, people also go way in the other direction with it and believe it is a purely beneficial substance with no downsides.
That being said, I think it is a substance that a lot of people who are completely “plugged into the matrix” could potentially benefit from. But on the other hand, it isn’t for everyone.
I personally don’t really like to smoke very often. And I notice that I can obtain all these benefits you listed without it, and without the negative effects I experience from it.
2015-06-14 @ 20:41:48
This is a great article!
2015-06-14 @ 18:12:23
The more people control themselves, and allow themselves to be controlled by other people and institutions, the more repressed they will be. On the surface, this control could appear to be a good thing, because it could for a time being make people appear less violent. I think that is probably the trend Pinker is seeing. The method to make people and nature “behave” eventually reaches its breaking point though. Things can only be repressed and controlled for so long. Right now, we are witnessing the results of thousands of years of control in our economic, ecological, social, political, etc. systems.
The way I see it, people usually act violently not because it is in their deepest nature to do so, but because they are rebelling from the control and force placed upon them by themselves, the culture, their parents, school, government, etc. They see no other outlet. It’s the conditioning that makes them act violently. The institutionalization. Bad parenting. Traumatic Experiences. See the picture? From personal experience, I know the times I lash out have been when I feel trapped, and can’t see any way out.
We have placed increasing amounts of control on ourselves over the centuries. Have you heard the saying, “force begets force”? You see, for example, how through the use of force, the US creates terrorism, and then they just use more fore/control to try and solve the problem they created before? And then it just gets bigger, and they use more force? They do that to their own population as well. Increasingly more fore, control, standardization, surveillance. It’s actually terrifying and mind-boggling to watch.
I’m not sure if this answers any of your questions, but hopefully it clarifies some things. What do you think? Do you think we are becoming truly less violent over time?
2015-06-13 @ 10:31:09
It’s a misperception that our nature is to be violent. It’s a stage in our development of our species. We seek control over our own nature, and the natural world around us, based on this illusory perception. We started out as untamed, and the world around us was untamed nature as well. We became afraid of the chaos and uncertainty around us, and over thousands of years have sought control and dominion of nature based on this fearful perception of it. We willingly gave up our free will, and formed societies which seek to control, coordinate, and tame human behavior and impulses. Just like we seek to tame and control the forces of nature in the world, with countless dire consequences. We willfully give up our freedom in exchange for the perceived security and stability of society. But that security is based on control and force.
Again, I am interchanging the word violence with control/force. In a broad context, violence and the controller mindset (dominator mindset, as Jordan calls it) are synonymous. Our seeking to control the world and force it into our human realm of understanding is violence.
I could see why you struggle to understand what I’m saying based on the circularity of the argument that you yourself are creating. But you can really invalidate anything by creating circular arguments. You’ve created the closed loop yourself based on presumptions and over analyzing the “presuppositions” that don’t exist for anyone except you.
2015-06-12 @ 22:29:09
“considering my relatively low level of wealth, I’m more free today than I would have been 200 years ago.”
That’s not necessarily a given, in my opinion. I would argue that there are unprecedented potentials for both freedom OR enslavement currently. The warfare is mostly psychological now. People’s minds could not be controlled in the past to the extent to which they potentially can be today. But there was also a certain baseline level of control that existed because of the physical, technological and social constraints of the time. The physical violence and control in the past could not break people’s spirits and minds to the extent that psychological manipulation can today. The thing about psychological warfare is that it is subtle to see, but also easier to escape in some ways. You can’t break out of a physical prison with physical bars so easily. So if you can avoid or undo a lot of the conditioning and traumas, there’s the potential for unprecedented freedom. Except I think when enough people start waking up, there will be a backlash in the form of physical violence probably on scales never seen before, unfortunately (because the controlling powers will feel threatened and see it as a last resort… like Hitler’s “final solution”). Maybe this can be prevented, but I’m not sure. .I think things are going to get worse before they get better.
I feel that violence has not lessened over time, it has just moved into different realms. And yes, there is a certain percentage of the population that is “waking up,” but it still does not negate this idea that violence is still all pervasive. I would argue that it’s actually on the rise in many ways. Violence and force, to me, go hand in hand. And we exert more force and control on our planet, and on ourselves and others, than ever before.
2015-06-12 @ 07:04:04
I actually haven’t read Sacred Economics yet. But I would guess he does talk about these things in it, because the economic system that’s been created is deeply connected to his views on human nature.
“Maybe I am a foolish idealist, but I’d nonetheless assert that the very fact that we’re aware of these things and having this conversation from a conscientious perspective that considers all sentient beings is indicative of potential for hope.”
I agree. But why is it that people become aware of things only when they get to the breaking point? I have hope too. But (and I’m not accusing you of this) you can’t have hope out of ignorance of the enormity of the situation. A hope based on false idealism and wishful thinking. There are always two or more sides to a situation. And this is exactly why I think it is premature for Pinker to automatically assume this trend that he sees to be a “good” thing.
Personally, I happen to focus on the “negative” side, because I think it is oftentimes overlooked. For instance, I see where you’re coming from with the internet. But I can personally attest in my own life that the internet can cause further isolation and distraction and lead you down these rabbit holes of ideas that you referred too. The internet is an amplifying tool of human consciousness, for better or worse. Since it is an amplifying tool, we have the ability to use it for unprecedented degrees of imprisonment OR liberation. Or maybe a bit of both at the same time.
It definitely is a complex stage we are at. I think we’re at a turning point right now. And as Eckhart Tolle points out, “We are witnessing not only an unprecedented influx of consciousness at this time but also an entrenchment and intensification of the ego.” And “ego” I think is what causes the violence and control system that we live in, both interpersonally and collectively. And as another thinker pointed out (I forget his name but you can google the quote), “Things are getting better and better, and worse and worse, faster and faster, simultaneously.”
2015-06-11 @ 23:40:39
We’re doing it to ourselves. Everyone is involved. It’s not victimization. Two types of people exist in society. Those who want to control, and those who want to be controlled. It’s a mutually parasitical relationship. Neither side is more to blame. I think you’re making some assumptions about my argument.
2015-06-11 @ 23:38:03
“So is self-control and self-manipulation violence?”
I would say, yes, self-control and self-manipulation are violence against a person’s own nature. I think the definition of violence needs to be broadened. If it remains to be seen only in the narrow realm of physical harm being committed towards other people, we are in danger of ignoring and overlooking its other manifestations.
“Your argument seems to presuppose that we don’t want to live in non-violent worlds, rather that a non-violent world has been violently forced upon us.”
I’m not sure what you mean by this. Can you word it in a different way? I don’t think you can force a non-violent world onto people. Which is why all attempts at utopia fail.
2015-06-11 @ 14:41:35
This book has been sitting on my desk for quite some time. I’ve been meaning to get to it.
2015-06-10 @ 07:39:50
Don’t worry about the book recommendations, I always appreciate them and I’ll give them a look. I actually had been meaning to give you a book recommendation. It’s called “The Ascent of Humanity” by Charles Eisenstein. In it, he talks about a general belief that people within western culture have- that through the use of force, technology, and control we are heading towards some sort of techno-utopia. The scientists and politicians and doctors will eventually figure it all out, so they say, and the history of humanity has been a steady trend upwards.
He also talks about a convergence of crises that are starting to happen right now (socially, politically, economically, ecologically) that are “birthing” use into a new way of being, and I think this has a lot to do with the Partnership shift you’re talking about. Don’t get me wrong, I see where you are coming from. I’m not completely pessimistic. I see the new world rising through the cracks. But its a small minority right now.
Unfortunately, while that partnership culture is arising, the old dominator culture is going through death throws (an exaggerated semblance of life right before its final demise). It is becoming more violent and more controlling. Hence why you see all this increased surveillance, militarized police forces, unprecedented consumerism and escapism and vanity, corporate takeovers of governments, the general trend towards fascism and totalitarianism in the west etc etc etc. The Dominator culture, as you’ve referred to it, knows it’s time is up. It’s leaders are doing everything in their power to maintain control. The rulers of our society know this. I wouldn’t be surprised if violence becomes a last resort tactic in the near future, especially in terms of these protest clashes in the US.
I think Pinker’s idea generally falls into the “Ascent” ideology. It’s easy to make arguments like “look at how long our life spans are,” or “look at how many diseases have been eradicated by our science” and assume based on these factors that we are ascending. But I think this is a narrow point of view, and also a dangerous one, because it assumes fundamentally that we are on the right track.
Another aspect that Pinker does not take into consideration is our wholesale destruction of the environment on a scale unprecedented in human history. That is also violence. We’re on the verge of destroying the planet that sustains us. It’s insanity. Does violence only count when its directed at other people (I’m not saying you agree with this)? Maybe in some ways, we’ve turned our violence away from each other and directed it towards different outlets, different superficially but fundamentally the same?
2015-06-08 @ 19:35:55
I would take a less physically violent situation as well. But I think the course of human history has been a processes of increasing domestication and control of the species. The more domestication (psychological control), the less overt force needs to be applied. I think that can account for much of the reason why there is less violence nowadays.
The use of physical violence was just a necessary stage in that process. It’s no longer as necessary as it once was. Hence the fall-off. Humanity has been inflicted with so much physical violence that it has internalized it.
Would you rather lose your life, or lose your soul? I think that is the predicament we find ourselves in today. Psychological control can inflict a lot more damage than physical in less obvious ways. So personally, I think it does hold a candle.
2015-06-08 @ 18:49:34
What is your definition of violence though? Sure there may be less physical violence, but that’s not the only type of violence that exists. And the reason why there might be less physical violence is because people are more psychologically controlled to obey. No reason to rebel if there’s nothing to disagree with. That is psychological violence and manipulation, and it’s more rampant than ever.
I don’t think we’ve transcended violence at all. It’s merely changed forms and has become more rarified and subtle, especially in the “developed” world. The Stalin’s and the Hitler’s still exist, they’ve only realized that it’s more efficient and less obvious to use psychological manipulation rather than physical.
I think the concept of violence needs to be expanded. People can’t just be looking for the overt instances of violence, and ignore the more subtle versions. Because a world built on forced peace is not a peaceful world at all.
2015-03-20 @ 12:47:40
I wish he’d stop referring to himself as an atheist though.
2015-02-21 @ 14:49:00
I agree. I’ve recently begun to write a lot. Not out of force, but just because of the fact that I feel empty of everything that was bothering me before. If I can get it onto paper, I stop ruminating over the ideas inside of my head.
I don’t really like Natalie Goldberg’s rules though. If I followed those, I personally feel that it would start to become a chore to write, instead of something that flows effortlessly. When I feel like I’m starting to force stuff, I stop. And then maybe I’ll pick it up again later.
2015-02-01 @ 10:46:01
Because psychedelics are nothing more than a tool. And all tools are neutral. They can be used to build and destroy. Sure, for some people they work that way, but for others they have the opposite effect. It’s irresponsible to make blanket statements about issues such as this.
2015-01-31 @ 10:09:41
See how thinking in terms of an ideology, such as that psychedelics are the cure to everything, can bias and obscure your view of information?
2015-01-31 @ 10:09:03
Has nothing to do with the psychedelics themselves. It’s just that people who are more likely to try psychedelics are less likely to commit suicide. It’s not that the psychedelics are preventing it.
2015-01-13 @ 17:48:22
I’m not saying the way we do it now is good either. Ideally, the more natural the better. I think this idea that we can improve upon nature (through pesticides, GMOs, indoor farming, etc) is kind of misguided and leads to unintended consequences.
2015-01-13 @ 09:03:57
I feel like if things aren’t grown in the actual soil on the ground, there are going to be problems. I’m not sure if efficiency and productivity should be the only measures of progress.
2014-11-05 @ 20:42:33
You forgot to mention that if you meditate, you’ll grow perfect rings of hair around your nipples and lose all your muscle mass.
That should be a caveat.
2014-06-09 @ 11:24:41
I don’t really like this. Why not just not buy into the typical 7 day a week convention? It’s just a social construct. Monday doesn’t have to be Monday for you. Days are just days. Monday is only bad if you’re a slave to a 5 day work week, and get to escape for 2 days on the weekend because you’re stuck in something you hate.
Also, I feel like looking forward to things is a trap. “Oh I can bear with this shitty reality now because I’ll have something to look forward to in the future.” But the future really is never guaranteed. And what if you’re in prison for life or something? Or you’re about to die? There is no future.
Yeah sure, the idea you provided to schedule something you enjoy can be useful, but it’s not really getting at the core of the issue
2014-05-12 @ 22:56:14
It’s just bullshit that it’s called the “Wim Hoff” method, as if he owns it and discovered it. I’ve never read or listened to anything by Wim Hof, and I’ve experienced the results of it.
2014-02-27 @ 16:36:42
How do you conclude from that quote that “fear is not real”? This is a dangerous belief propagated by new age ideology. Fear is very real, and is in fact necessary to function in the world. It’s how you deal with fear that matters.
2013-02-17 @ 17:13:50
free your mind from conspiracy bullshit too. See things without your personal preferences and desires getting in the way
2012-06-29 @ 08:28:45
I need to watch the Matrix again
2012-05-07 @ 15:20:21
haha yeah exactly
2012-05-07 @ 12:02:32
Excellent article Martijn. I really think it is interesting that now almost every behavior one can do (like ‘psychosis risk syndrome’ and ‘hypersexual disorder’ like you said at the beginning.. and also things like ‘talking back syndrome’ etc) is considered some form of not normal behavior. They are right in saying that all of these things ARE some sort of dysfunction, except what they fail to realize is that this dysfunction stems from the very same way of being that is considered ‘normal’ in the first place. So it’s like as a society, we are starting to subconsciously realize all the insanity and dysfunction, but we are trying to cure it with the same way of thinking that is causing it in the first place.
2012-04-24 @ 13:37:58
That’s what I’m saying. He inspires people who don’t play basketball. He’s shown how hard work can and true passion for something can pay off. If you act like he acted on the court in everyday life or in whatever field you’re passionate about, you’d be unstoppable. His impact on the world is huge in my opinion. He followed his passion. Not everyone needs to go save starving children.
2012-04-23 @ 22:28:44
Do you realize the amount of people he’s inspired? Not just in basketball.
2012-04-23 @ 22:27:48
I’ll never forget this
2012-04-16 @ 05:17:31
“A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me.” Those words stood out to me too if that’s what you were referencing.