Some evolutionary psychologists claim that depression evolved as a response to highly frustrating and intellectually challenging environments. The primitive who had grown up in a tropical jungle, but who found his hunting efforts frustrated by a strange new phenomenon called “snow,” might have been the first human to feel “depressed” as he snuggled into his sleeping furs and procrastinated instead of starting his morning hunt. The theorists speculate that the hunters who felt depressed spent lots of time brooding on tough problems, and thus developed their brains, or something like that. These depression-prone hominids did not spend their entire lives in torpid ennui; they reframed their problems, discarded old axioms, and – after suitable periods of brooding – took actions that led them to pass on their genes.
The modern world offers few opportunities for hunting, but many opportunities for slacking off. Just to enumerate a few of them, we can list:
1. Slacktivism (a.k.a. keyboard commando activism);
2. Television watching;
3. Preaching that all is doomed and the ecosphere will collapse;
4. Preaching that all is saved because the posthuman singularity will save us;
5. Obsessively researching the details of unpublishable conspiracies;
6. Trying to talk about your obsessive research to people who watch television;
7. Blogging about nothing in particular;
8. Writing to your elected representative;
9. Participating in protest marches (and the attendant local politics).
None of the activities above are likely to change how the reigning psychopaths govern the world, i.e.:
1. Sexual abuse and sexual torture.
2. Confinement in boxes, cages, coffins, etc, or burial (often with an opening or air-tube for oxygen).
3. Restraint; with ropes, chains, cuffs, etc. ”We use electricity or hang them upside down, pull out their nails, and beat them on sensitive parts.” said Colonel James Steele
4. Near-drowning. (waterboarding)
5. Extremes of heat and cold, including submersion in ice water, and burning chemicals.
6. Skinning (only top layers of the skin are removed in victims intended to survive).
8. Blinding light.
9. Electric shock.
10. Forced ingestion of offensive body fluids and matter, such as blood, urine, feces, flesh, etc.
11. Hung in painful positions or upside down.
12. Hunger and thirst.
13. Sleep deprivation.
14 Compression with weights and devices.
15. Sensory deprivation.
16. Drugs to create illusion, confusion, and amnesia, often given by injection or intravenously.
17. Ingestion or intravenous toxic chemicals to create pain or illness, including chemotherapy agents.
18. Limbs pulled or dislocated.
19. Application of dogs, ants, snakes, spiders, maggots, rats, and other animals to induce fear and disgust.
20. Near-death experiences; commonly asphyxiation by choking or drowning, with immediate resuscitation.
22. Forced to perform or witness abuse, torture of family.
23. Forced to wear women’s clothes, forced participation in pornography.
25. Spiritual abuse to cause victim to feel possessed, harassed, and controlled internally by spirits or demons.
26. Desecration of Muslim/religious beliefs.
27. Abuse and illusion to convince victims that God is evil.
28. Surgery to torture, experiment, or implant RFID devices. 4
29. Harm or threats of harm to family, friends, loved ones, pets, and other victims, to force compliance.
30. Psyops: Kept awake for four days by loud music.
When one considers the magnitude of the resources applied by the psychopaths along these lines, one might well feel depressed. Even if one tries to avert one’s eyes, one tends to notice that the dehumanization typical of prison environments tends to get exported to non-prison settings:
Modern technology presents new ways to make old methods of abuse more damaging. For example, child molestation was known even in some ancient civilizations; it is not a recent problem. However, photography is a recent technology, and some child abuse survivors report a subjective sense that their abuse was worse because it was photographed.
When I was younger, I would wonder whether people who stared at me did so because of how I looked or because they recognized me from the photos and videos. I worried about what would happen if someone I knew in college or at the jobs I worked found the images. Would they mention them? Share them with others? Confront me about it?
Given my experiences, I also worried whether someone might outright approach me asking whether I enjoyed it.
The public documentation of how uniformed statists torture their prisoners may be necessary to mobilize resistance, and yet it may cause greater suffering for the victims.
Given the horrors of the modern behavioral sink, one may be tempted to withdraw from society as much as one can.
Degrowth and anticonsumerism are valid lifestyle choices, but simply refusing to consume will not cause crony capitalism to sicken and die.
…if we avidly participate in the industrial economy—we may in the short term think we win because we may accumulate wealth, the marker of “success” in this culture. But we lose, because in doing so we give up our empathy, our animal humanity. And we really lose because industrial civilization is killing the planet, which means everyone loses. If we choose the “alternative” option of living more simply, thus causing less harm, but still not stopping the industrial economy from killing the planet, we may in the short term think we win because we get to feel pure, and we didn’t even have to give up all of our empathy (just enough to justify not stopping the horrors), but once again we really lose because industrial civilization is still killing the planet, which means everyone still loses. The third option, acting decisively to stop the industrial economy, is very scary for a number of reasons, including but not restricted to the fact that we’d lose some of the luxuries (like electricity) to which we’ve grown accustomed, and the fact that those in power might try to kill us if we seriously impede their ability to exploit the world—…
Besides being ineffective at causing the sorts of changes necessary to stop this culture from killing the planet, there are at least four other problems with perceiving simple living as a political act (as opposed to living simply because that’s what you want to do). The first is that it’s predicated on the flawed notion that humans inevitably harm their landbase. Simple living as a political act consists solely of harm reduction, ignoring the fact that humans can help the Earth as well as harm it. …
The second problem—and this is another big one—is that it incorrectly assigns blame to the individual (and most especially to individuals who are particularly powerless) instead of to those who actually wield power in this system and to the system itself. Kirkpatrick Sale again: “The whole individualist what-you-can-do-to-save-the-earth guilt trip is a myth. We, as individuals, are not creating the crises, and we can’t solve them.”
The third problem is that it accepts capitalism’s redefinition of us from citizens to consumers. By accepting this redefinition, we reduce our potential forms of resistance to consuming and not consuming. Citizens have a much wider range of available resistance tactics,…, when a government becomes destructive of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we have the right to alter or abolish it.
The fourth problem is that the endpoint of the logic behind simple living as a political act is suicide.
Heirloom consumerism is a form of voluntary simplicity that applies to a few key items that are used every day and can be manufactured to last, such as kitchen utensils, handguns, rucksacks, etc. We can choose to buy a truly high-quality briefcase that will last for a hundred years of hard daily use, rather than buying several shoddy briefcases that will wear out after five or ten years of daily use.
However, if we hope to accomplish any kind of political change, we must choose to consume heirlooms which have some political usefulness – such as firearms.
At least since the time of the War Between the States (1861-1865), Yankees and their ilk have set up racially diverse societies as Heaven-on-Earth utopias.
More than a century of experience has shown that policies of tolerance and racial diversity are unlikely to save all societies that adopt these policies. Instead, these policies seem to produce behavioral sinks.
For example the Netherlands has discovered that two-thirds of their juvenile gang rapists are immigrants, and the victims, in almost all cases, have different ethnicities than the attackers.
Bijleveld Hendriks [and a team have been] doing research for years on juvenile sex offenders. They estimate that it is at a third of all criminal cases in which a young person is suspected of a sexual offense, a crime group. Average life of the groups they examined four boys, they are around the age of fourteen. The victims are slightly younger, on average thirteen. Two-thirds of the group’s immigrant rapists, but the victims are often indigenous girls. The victims have in almost all cases examined an ethnicity other than the offender group.
What we wanted to know, say, Hendriks and Bijleveld is why they do it in a group? The answer is as simple as shocking: because it’s cozier.
It may take more than 40 years for the current system of globalized psychopathy to crumble. There may be little we can do to hasten the inevitable. Jeftovic has suggested that every decent person has a moral obligation to use crypto, because doing so can frustrate the psychopaths, if only slightly. I suspect that the main effect of using crypto is much the same as putting an EFF.org bumpersticker on one’s car; it raises awareness and encourages other folks to surf over to eff.org.
The EFF has declared a victory in its long struggle:
We knew that 6,000+ websites were committing to stand with us in a global day of action, that dozens of advocacy organizations worldwide would fight with us. What we didn’t know was how big today’s stand against mass spying would be.
In one day, over 71,000 concerned Americans picked up the phone and told their Congress to rein in the NSA. Far more sent emails to their members of Congress. Around the world over 200,000 put their name to a set of founding principles against suspicionless surveillance: by the NSA, by their own governments, by anyone who dares to violate our human rights.
We’ve done more in this single day to pressure the U.S. Congress to reform surveillance law than what months or even years of lobbying to date have accomplished.
Cynics will dismiss this as mere slacktivism and keyboard commando-raiding. But while it may not impress the elected officials, it might serve to radicalize the other common folks.
I do not plan to use this blog to raise awareness about pernicious globalization, statist torture, or child abuse. I do not plan to use this blog to lead others to use crypto. I plan to slack off. The problem looks far too big and far too complicated. I plan to act like a cold-climate dweller and spend more time in bed, even if I can’t sleep (the recent onslaught of unseasonably cold weather has played a part in this decision).
I think I need some time off from blogging. I do not plan to spend my entire life in torpid ennui; I plan to reframe problems, discard old axioms, and – after a suitable period of brooding – to take actions.