To step out of the illusion of thinking we exist as a separate self is to recognize—and be born into—our greater identity (whether we call it the Self, Christ, Buddha, etc.), that includes and embraces everything under the sun. The Self—who we actually are—is simultaneously the source and fruit of life itself, enhancing life beyond measure.
In “How Fascism Works,” Professor Stanley addressed “fascist politics”—and repeatedly used that term when describing the Trump-led Republican Party. For those in the USA who recoil at applying such a phrase to today, preferring to call it hyperbole, Stanley’s book sheds clear light on an insidious process that normalizes and obscures: “Normalization of fascist ideology, by definition, would make charges of ‘fascism’ seem like an overreaction, even in societies whose norms are transforming along these worrisome lines. Normalization means precisely that encroaching ideologically extreme conditions are not recognized as such because they have come to seem normal. The charge of fascism will always seem extreme; normalization means that the goalposts for the legitimate use of ‘extreme’ terminology continually move.”
If America enters the next wave of coronavirus infections “with the wealthy having gotten somehow wealthier off this pandemic by hedging, by shorting, by doing all the nasty things that they do, and we come out of our rabbit holes and realize, ‘Oh, my God, it’s not just that everyone I love is unemployed or underemployed and can’t make their maintenance or their mortgage payments or their rent payments, but now all of a sudden those jerks that were flying around in private helicopters are now flying on private personal jets and they own an island that they go to and they don’t care whether or not our streets are safe,’ then I think we could have massive political disruption.” “Just as we come out of our holes and see what 25 percent unemployment looks like,” she said, “we may also see what collective rage looks like.”
Among other things, we may want to simply sign up to become students of uncertainty, or as the Buddhists say, “When you’re falling, dive.” This will require intention and practice. It does not require us to become news anorexics, but it does require us to temper our projections into the future as we practice staying present. This also gives us an opportunity to observe how attached we are to outcomes.
Have you been saying it as long as I have? “I wish collapse would just begin so that people would wake up, and we could just get on with it.” Well, here we are. Is this what you were hoping for? Or are you among the “collapsitarians” who have been studying collapse for years and are now saying, “But I didn’t think it was going to look like this.”
Defying evil cannot be rationally defended. It makes a leap into the moral, which is beyond rational thought. It refuses to place a monetary value on human life or the natural world. It refuses to see anyone as superfluous. It acknowledges human life, indeed all life, as sacred. And this is why, as Arendt points out, the only morally reliable people are not those who say “this is wrong” or “this should not be done,” but those who say “I can’t do this.”
Wait…wasn’t capitalism supposed to bring freedom and democracy with it? Isn’t that whate every American thinker, economist, pundit, politician argued? Isn’t it why America bombed half the world for capitalism’s sake? So…what happened? Here’s what’s really happening. Capitalism’s imploding into fascism. And now it’s going global. The global economy America built is falling like dominoes. Bang, bang, bang. It’s not a coincidence that China and India are imploding into different kinds of authoritarian-fascism shortly after America did. It is a relationship. China and India were the linchpins of America’s model of global capitalism. They are the two countries that bought into it most heavily after America.And now, my friends, they are paying the price: they are collapsing right along with it.
America is the canary in the coal mine of global collapse.
I was recently asked to respond to a short email interview. My response seems like a nice summary of how I’ve spent the last decade and a half of my life, so I thought I would share it here.
The longer we pretend this dystopian world is not imminent, the more unprepared and disempowered we will be. The ruling elite’s goal is to keep us entertained, frightened and passive while they build draconian structures of oppression grounded in this dark reality. It is up to us to pit power against power. Ours against theirs. Even if we cannot alter the larger culture, we can at least create self-sustaining enclaves where we can approximate freedom. We can keep alive the burning embers of a world based on mutual aid rather than mutual exploitation. And this, given what lies in front of us, will be a victory.