Herb Ruhs: Comments on recent Ukiah Blog posts…


Peak Denial

From the time that “scientific” (in quotes because science abhors lying) propaganda came on to the scene, ushered in by the book Propaganda by Edward L. Bernays, the entire species has progressively inundated by well crafted lies, denials and fantasies. This has resulted in mass mental illness. Our systems seem to tolerate some level of deceit, but when trusted sources disappear, when the burden of lies incorporated into peoples world view, reaches a threshold then individuals, then whole societies, sink into a condition of cognitive dissonance that leads to serious mental illness. Truth is important.

In R. D. Lanig’s book The Politics of the Family (can’t find my copy to check for sure, it may be in another of his books) he describes a Polynesian custom for dealing with mental illness. Their approach is to bring the whole extended family down to the beach and have them share their secrets and admit their lies. If the ill person remains symptomatic then someone is holding out and nobody gets to go home. Honesty cures. Dishonesty sickens. The whole world is now mentally ill with no beach to go to to sort it out.

Mental houses of cards, whether they are those of delusional individuals, delusional families or delusional cultures, will come crashing down. With the whole species impaired, decline to extinction seems in those cards. We are, as Project Censored’s Peter Phillips says, in a truth emergency with emergency care unavailable. Psychosis is marked by an inability to reality test. By that measure virtually the whole world has become psychotic and suicidal. What an interesting time to be alive!

Of course, maybe some thing unexpected will happen to shock us to sanity. Alien invasion? A solar flair that wrecks this culture and short circuits our industrial culture? Or my personal favorite, and something I try to visualize in an attempt to manifest it, a series of high altitude nuclear explosions with primitive nuclear weapons sent up by minor nuclear powers forced to the wall by the Empire which, like the solar flare scenario, fries so many integrated circuits at one time that this industrial culture will not be able to boot strap itself back to life.

Dreams may be as ridiculous in their content as the products of the lying industry but, by not masquerading as reality, their capacity to do harm to our capacity to test reality is very limited.

Can We Get Along Without Authorities?

I read this with great disappointment. This is a topic close to my heart. It hurts to see inept and obfuscating treatments.

The entire issue has to do with rank. The problem is that all of us tend to defer to someone perceived as having a superior social rank. The seminal work in this area is still The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future by Riane Eisler. In the brief introduction she makes a distinction between natural hierarchies and artificial ones. Natural hierarchies are based on differential abilities, commitments to just action and community acceptance. We live in the later arrangement where artificial hierarchies, without legitimate standing, are enforced with coercion and violence. In artificial hierarchies might makes right, ends justify means and evil thrives.

We have tried organizing our social relations according to the dictates of illegitimate, coercive and self-interested authority. Five thousand years or so later we discover that this system has pushed our species into a mortal corner where extinction stares us in the face.

The Universe is kind, in a sort of tough love way. If we fail to learn from a given situation the Universe will kindly provide a more intense one in an attempt to get our attention. Extinction is the final consequence for a species that can not learn.

So now what do we do to defend life on Earth?

Privilege putrefies. Systems of privilege self destruct. This time around the system of privilege looks likely to take the species to extinction during its self destruction. Any approach to this problem that does not address privilege primarily will fail, certainly. Anything short of mass rejection of the concept of privilege will fail because of this contradiction. This is the toxic influence of power and leadership. Don’t look to gain power for the people. Look to destroy power itself. The People will take care of themselves, thank you.

One Comment

I’ve missed your erudite comments ever since Unknown News sort of petered our and stopped publishing you. Good to read your writings again. Even though your prognostications are quite depressing they are what I recognize in my heart to probably be quite true. Any place I can keep up on your thoughts?