Automatism

By: Ronald Thomas West

I’ve had a number of people over these several years tell me ‘the world will change when people change themselves’.

Many people are not equipped to change their personal world, and what I am getting at here is, most people in the ‘larger’ world are not afforded opportunity at social justice but are indentured to a system of practical slavery where institutions are corrupt and serve wealthy power elite. This is particularly true in poorer nations which are exploited by richer nations.

In these poorer circumstance and nations there is little opportunity to explore, learn and develop the self outside mere struggle for survival, and to some extent it is also the case in the poor of the rich nations, as well in some respects is also true of a middle class citizenry locked into perceptions perpetrating imbalances in our larger human universe. Let’s not deceive ourselves with any thought that, for most, there is some voluntary individual path to social equity and attending world change through personal enlightenment,

Quoting Aldous Huxley’s character Phillip Quarles in the great novel and social essay ‘Point Counter-Point’.

“Drill and uniforms impose an architecture on the crowd. An army’s beautiful. But that’s not all; it panders to lower instincts than the aesthetic. The spectacle of human beings reduced to automatism satisfies the lust for power. Looking at mechanized slaves, one fancies oneself a master”.

In any society so organized, for people to change the world through individual self introspection, a spell must be broken relating to the privileged vis-à-vis the indentured and manipulated minion.

In fact the people who change themselves do appear to change the world, at a minimum; it would appear they change their personal world. When this idea is adopted by the privileged of the richer nations but also coupled to the practical discarding of engagement and working for world improvement through equilibrium found in social justice, and has abandoned endeavor towards providing like opportunity for personal enlightenment to all, it is narcissist in the extreme and is in its own right both a victim of, and propping up, Huxley’s ‘automatism’.

“At this very moment… the most frightful horrors are taking place in every corner of the world. People are being crushed, slashed, disemboweled, and mangled; their dead bodies rot and their eyes decay with the rest. Screams of pain and fear go pulsing through the air at the rate of eleven hundred feet per second. After travelling for three seconds they are perfectly inaudible. These are distressing facts; but do we enjoy life any the less because of them? Most certainly we do not” Aldous Huxley’s character Mr. Scogan in ‘Chrome Yellow’.

Whether the yogi, the psycho-analyst, the gossip columnist, the mainstream news reporter or the educator, professionals of every stripe in western ‘law abiding’ industrialized nations, all of them, and every other person of affluence from the middle class to the 1% at the top of this food chain, each one of them enjoys their standard of living beyond the “perfectly inaudible .. Screams of pain and fear” the diamond, gold, petro-dollar & other diverse concessions of every imaginable import, exact from the abused Brown peoples of this world to feed the vanities and self-indulgence of the automatized and insulated White peoples of this world …And no amount of personal change is going to change this fact short of surrendering narcissistic vanity and devoting oneself to social justice.

Editor’s Note: This will be Ronald Thomas West’s last article at Subversify, as he is parting ways because of philosophical differences.  We will miss him.  He keeps a current events log you can subscribe to at Facebook or you can visit him at http://www.scribd.com/Penucquem

11 Comments on “Automatism”

  1. I think what would be helpful is a discussion on how to do this throwing off-as well as how not to do it.

    Many people may feel,”I am working all the time at helping others.” And yet may not realize they would not be doing so if they weren’t afforded privledge.

  2. If we were to live self-sufficiently or restated, if we were to live solely within an equitable and self dependent wealth distribution sans exploitation at the literal price of other peoples resources, freedom and lives, it would require giving up [throwing out an arbitrary but probably close to accurate figure] 2/3 of our wealth and privilege in terms people do not even consider wealth and privilege. Two thirds of your travel, and forget flying on a jet. One older high mileage car you care for like the 50s vintage vehicles they keep going in Cuba, and only use it on a trip you had saved for at that. Even then, it is a wealthy and privileged life compared to the day laborer in Bihar.

    People who believe they are helping other people by, say, donating to ‘save the children’ amounting to a monthly date with ice cream and a movie as opposed to sacrificing vacation, vacation funds, a new flat screen, lawn mower, house keeper, and their TIME and WEALTH in one hundred more ways, are a part of the problem because they are in actuality propping up the rip-off.

    ‘Save the Children’ [and fat, whiny Sally Struthers heartbreak sobs] are really a psychological placebo enabling people to overlook reality and reality is, all of us, ALL of us in the USA who are not yet put into the street, are riding the coattails of the corporate feeding frenzy that blood sucks other peoples lives, resources and environment and all Americans are a part of the problem.

    The problem won’t change until people understand they are as Americans, collectively responsible and a LARGE part of the problem. And then it still won’t change until they accept ‘the American way of life’ itself must be negotiable [recalling Obama stating “the American way of life is non-negotiable” .. a big red flag]

    My guess is, there are plenty of people who read right here are not prepared to accept they are a part of the problem and that does not change until the equation has been changed. To bring it into balance, the USA takes a huge hit, there is no way out of that if ever there is to be honest living within our own means. I see it like this: either we can let down gently and begin moving towards self-sustainability in local economies that unplugs from the grid of unrealistic luxury [that has become habit] or we collapse traumatically, if only because of the immense resource required to pillage the resource propping up our temporal fantasy.

    You don’t have to believe in karma to foresee inevitable consequence of ripping the world off at gun-point so you can meet up with Dot at Starbucks for a lunch date. Not many Americans are going to be willing to entertain this reality until gun-point is a case of ‘chickens come home to roost’ [quoting Malcolm X] and they will be ill equipped to deal with it when dues are payable in full. What a bunch of fat happy and blind bastards and bitches [is there a nicer way to put that?]

  3. I’m sure there’s a nicer way to put it, but that suffices.

    I would say that’s a good start, but we need to dig even deeper. Buying local for more of our products from food to garments is easily feasable in most places. It allows others to earn a subsistance wage and keeps us from driving about.

    Growing our own food is entirely do-able. I hear people claim all of the time that they “can’t do it.” They have “black thumb” or live in an apartment, which is no excuse. People world over grow food in apartments and they only cure for black thumb is practice. This would offset the cost of shipping food all over the place. It would also help us eat what is in season so we aren’t modifying things at a huge fiscal and environmental cost.

    Downsizing our housing needs would be another thing we can do. Most middle class Americans live in 3 bedroom 2 bath homes. These are more expensive, cost more to keep up and are entirely unecessary. Families might (gasp!) actually even come together more if bedrooms were for sleeping not a private sancuary.

    I like the car solution. I do this myself. I have a couple of beaters but the only time we use them is for trips and severe weather. We moved to a place that would specifically meet our needs for bike travel to everyplace we need to go. To this end, I think bringing back neighborhoods with corner markets, laundrymats, etc withing walking/biking distance would go a long way. The box stores really aren’t saving us a lot of money anyway.

  4. Suffocating the profits of corporations as a ‘consciousness movement’ would be a step in the right direction, but it would be necessary to free people up from what has morphed into 21st century feudalism, that they might more easily move towards self-sufficiency. For that to happen, and manifest away from rules such as you find in everyday ordinances and so-called ‘covenants’ preventing common sense prevailing [like the upscale neighborhoods where it is illegal to hang your laundry out to dry on an outdoors clothesline because it is ‘unsightly’ which requires a dryer, forget vegetable gardening] there need be some strictures placed on corporate friendly greedy people in government from the top down. Just now we have a marvelous opportunity to accomplish this with the outrage at the ‘citizens united’ decision gone so far as to begin a movement for a constitutional amendment. How that amendment is worded will determine a lot. Certainly the people should not trust the politicians to write it, they’d be drowned in money to write it in a way it could be circumvented. Also you’d need to get rid of judges who are in the pockets of special interests.

    I proposed language to my congressmen and it must have been pretty good or I’d not have been taken off the mailing list that solicited opinions on ‘citizens united. 
I’d sent in this [which drew kudos from certain professional people in the field, but then there must be a reason I’m likely the only layman ever to teach the subject of US Constitutional Law at one of Europe’s most prestigious universities ;o]

    The Constitutional Amendment should read just so:



    1) No corporation shall know the privileges and immunities of citizenship but directors shall be punishable under the criminal and civil laws of the United States for any egregious behaviors detrimental to the health, welfare and security of the people of these United States or for violating the rights of citizens secured by the first through eighth amendments



    2) No amendment (or clause contained therein) in this constitution shall be construed to be ‘unincorporated’ particularly noting the ‘equal protection’ clause of the fourteenth amendment, and all citizens shall be provided a paper ballot



    3) Every judge or justice who had affirmed the decision ‘Citizens United’ shall be removed from office and forever barred from the practice of law in the United States of America

    Enough pressure from the bottom up could force language like this into our constitutional law AND send a message to every judge and lawyer where the power to reform/change the paradigm is actually at and where it is at is not corporate boardrooms except the people allow it by default

    Of course things may have to break in a big way to take attention away from Lady Gaga and direct it towards intelligent pursuits ..

  5. And Ronald, I believe our system is faulty at its very core; our system of cognition and the way we interpret the world is at odds with nature IMO. I think it would be accurate to say we are sinful; as in ‘fucked-up.’ I don’t think editing our laws or making new ones would help us much.

    The human establishment on earth is going to die of stupidity if you ask me.

  6. Why am I leaving? Philosophical differences, plain and simple. To be more specific, I have a different expectation or standard of professionalism. The subversify ‘family’ comes off to me as a dysfunctional, destructive and disrespectful lot [with a few classy exceptions] whose often ad hominem attacks of their fellow writers brings out aspects of my personality I’d prefer not to experience. Between bleeding White heart liberals knowing everything but don’t give a careful enough read to respond intelligently, and incredibly immature personalities hiding behind pseudonym giving distinct impression if their parents knew what they were writing here, they’d be grounded and lose their internet privileges, I simply don’t care to be associated with it, but that may be for reason I have different cultural values. If there were an elevated standard of conduct required submitting attacks of the other writers as articles passing quality control equal to the standard of excellence required of other submissions, I would have stayed. But that is water under the bridge, when this last article of mine is off the front page, I’m out of here.

  7. “The human establishment on earth is going to die of stupidity if you ask me”

    You may well be right. I prefer to behave as though you were wrong or restated, I’ll go out living with my conscious because I’d done the best I could to avert that.

  8. I was referring to the attacks in the comments.

    I’m not certain what there is in this following [and ^ preceding] you don’t understand

    “If there were an elevated standard of conduct required submitting attacks of the other writers as articles passing quality control equal to the standard of excellence required of other submissions, I would have stayed”

    But is seems to reinforce

    “don’t give a careful enough read to respond intelligently”

    gossip away and adios

  9. I think you’re leaving because you aren’t getting the respect you feel you deserve here. You seem to feel people are attacking you simply because they question your ideas. Do you know what the academic peer-review atmosphere is like these days?

    Quote: “If there were an elevated standard of conduct required submitting attacks of the other writers as articles passing quality control equal to the standard of excellence required of other submissions, I would have stayed”

    If by this you meant that you want comments to be moderated, then I think you are in the habit of turning the simplest concepts into bizarre complex labyrinths. This doesn’t make you seem sophisticated. Maybe you could try explaining difficult concepts with simple words? Just a thought.

    I hope you get the recognition that you feel you deserve elsewhere. It’s a shame we’re too dumb to appreciate you. And good luck.

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