God isn’t Love: God is a powerful imaginary being. Love is a real superpower.
Love; The direct kind of reaching out to people with your ability to do something useful for them or with them. All of them. The ones you want to fuck and the ones you have been conditioned to fuck over. The ones who want to fuck you and who have been groomed to fuck you over.
This isn’t about the mamby-pamby ‘love your neighbor’ crap that anyone else is able to say and hope it makes you feel better (or stop shooting at them). This is the truth that people in power don’t want you to know.
If you treat people you’ve never met with open love as though they are a value to the future of everyone else, then most of us lose our will to compete with each other to a profitable death.
Competition is the bedfellow of hate and fear and Death.
This is a good time to point out how close we really are to death at any moment, and how many systems have been created and refined in order to kill us all, whether individually or collectively, for the sake of monetary and egoistic gain in the name of imaginary beings, not real people. Right now, we have a political system (lobbyists, income taxes and media controlled by advertising money) that does everything in its power to kill you in the name of ‘helping’ you gain a foothold in its exploitative mechanisms. It kills you if you don’t buy the right food. It kills you if you don’t buy the right drugs. It kills you if you go to the wrong doctor. It kills you if you get too close to its power. It kills you because it’s profitable to do so and unprofitable (in its context) to let you be without it. It’s killing the ecosystem we depend on.
Its violence is unrelenting and is always meant to flow downhill from the peak of the pyramid to the bottom, and to keep flowing. “My late husband used to say, ‘The only way to make money from poor people is by keeping them poor.’”***
We do our best to avoid being exploited, but each system has its own methods to draw us into participation, willingly or unwillingly, in the self-destruction of humanity. Our generational conditioning through language, habits, family and geography keep us within informational and behavioral bubbles. Economic systems are built on that stability and familiarity, to the point of building increasingly thicker walls with language and conditioning propaganda (advertising, competition, fear mongering, war profits, stock markets, spectacle and disinformation).
It isn’t necessarily intentional. Most things humans do are not. “People do stuff. They have reasons to do stuff; in that order.”* You get the wolf you feed, and the system feeds the competitive asshole wolf, not the cooperative caring wolf.
Here’s the hard part that everyone should know and internalize:
It’s our system.
We are the core of it. Human useful creativity and desires are the power behind civilization’s ways in all things. We have forgotten to maintain those ways in the name of love, rather than profits. We forgot love of place when we created city walls to keep nature out and people in. In forgetting love of place, we eventually forgot love of another person’s place in nurturing our places. We began to take places from other people when ours were depleted (colonization). We began to separate our people into utilitarian members of specialized toolgroups that could either be dominated or exploited for profit. When competition took full hold as the basis of human language (religions), humanity began its tournament of death. “In a society based on competition, you inevitably end up with fewer and fewer winners and more and more losers.”**
We begin from birth teaching children our habits and training them for participation in their own exploitation. If a child doesn’t fit somewhere within the economic and social filtered box, they are abandoned in one way or another. A few humans have managed to convince the system that abandonment of low potential profit humans leads to a lot of distractions from the economic model (violence, homelessness, cluttered roads, bodies lying in the Pretty People’s streets, etc), and subsystems were created to support better ways of discarding people (usually some kind of half-assed charity/government methods of barely feeding and clothing them while hiding them from view).
In the meantime, this competitive mindset permeates everything we do. When we meet anyone new and strange, we generally approach with suspicion (unless you want to sell them something), especially if they are not ‘us’: different sex, different age, different skin color, different language, different clothes, different house, different car). We have been conditioned to automatically ‘brand’ everything and fear brands we don’t know.
One of my brothers noticed how we put a brand on police officers by putting them in uniforms. By doing so, they automatically turn into muscle-bound assholes with guns and attitudes. Without the uniform, they are just another citizen, (albeit with a stupid haircut ;). Why do we torture them (and ourselves) with the added stress of a special, highly visible brand of human whose purpose is to protect systems more than people? Is there a solution that involves another way of implementing civil order? Something with less association to bullying? Perhaps a system that works on our sense of love for each other, rather than fear of each other or fear of losing something?
What other ways have we branded each other, either voluntarily or out of habit? What’s the uniform of capitalist greed these days? It used to be an expensive suit; now it’s a private island and a highly visible ‘non’profit enterprise to ‘save’ us all from the emergent suffering caused by competing systems of exploitation.
What’s the uniform of voluntary branding? How many people wear cheap copies of that uniform instead of going through the boot camps of poverty, blackness, dirty work or personal failure? Who benefits from them doing so? Certainly, wearing pre-torn blue jeans is not of benefit to you, your image, your safety, your usefulness or the future, yet someone makes a hefty profit from selling you a pair of crappy, worn-out pants that pretend you’ve done something that would wear out a pair of pants.
Can we learn to stop branding people and chasing them with sticks and guns? Can we learn to stop wasting resources on wars over brands (or imaginary borders, imaginary beings and imaginary rights to profits)?
We have to start with love of ourselves as participants in the usefulness of our places. Then we can reach out to other people as participants in their places, and perhaps, eventually, everyone as a part and participant of this world/universe rather than imaginary rewards from kissing Hank’s ass.
What have you done for your place lately? What have you done for your neighbor’s place lately? How have you shared with your neighbors lately? How have you participated in the system of exploitation without love? What have you done by habit that you maybe should have thought a little more about? What did you ignore today? Who did you ignore today?
What direction does your love and energy flow on the pyramid of Life? Does your work and creativity benefit those living above you or those below you more? How does your work benefit the future of your and your grandchildren’s world and resources? Does your behavior make the world more useful or less to living things in the future?
Nature gave us a chance to see the future with our imagination. Do you apply your imagination to seeing the actual future, or just the one you wish were true? Do you feel connected to your next meal and your ability to ensure you have one, or is everything you see around you distanced from your mind and hands through proxies of money, mechanisms and other people’s power to take it away at any moment?
Isn’t that the real terrorism we face? The constant fear that we live in fragile homes (“Cedar Rapids doesn’t get hurricanes”), in fragile bodies, on a planet with power to wipe us out, yet we develop and create systems that make us more fragile, not less, and with more and more people exposed to vulnerabilities. It is monetarily profitable to do so, but for how long and at what real costs?
Should we really make all of our decisions for the sake of The Economy: The Invisible Hand Job and those who foist it upon us?
Maybe we should start taking back our ability to live in our places as contributors to those places, not exploiters of anything we can bully just because we are terrified of the power of loving something without expecting a Return on Investment.
- *Dave Maleckar
- **Wendell Berry
- ***Terry Pratchett, “Making Money”