Tech Would Be Fine If We Weren’t Ruled By Monsters: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

Militarized robots are the anti-guillotine. They’re the final solution to the ancient “there are a lot more of us than there are of our rulers” problem. Everyone with wealth and power has been eyeing their incremental rollout with intense interest while trying to play it cool.

So many emerging technologies would be cause for celebration if our rulers weren’t so damn evil and our systems weren’t so damn oppressive. In a healthy society we’d be celebrating automation and AI giving us more and more abundance and free time; instead we’re terrified of police robots and technocratic dystopia.

The knitting of neurology and technology would have incredible implications if we didn’t know sociopathic intelligence agencies would immediately insert themselves into the use of those technologies. Virtual reality would be awesome if it wasn’t going to be used to create fake worlds for people to purchase fake goods in so that capitalism can continue expanding while we destroy the real world.

Futurists correctly predicted many of the innovations we’re seeing today, but what they generally didn’t predict was that those technologies would be used to give the powerful more power while everyone else continues to flounder and struggle in a profoundly unjust civilization.

All of this is only the case because we are ruled by tyrants and oppressed by tyrannical systems. It is in fact within our ability to change this.

US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby recently slammed Brazil for “suggesting that the United States and Europe are somehow not interested in peace,” an objection that makes perfect sense if you ignore the entirety of US and European history.

The US and its allies don’t want their people to have freedom, they just want the story of having freedom so they can justify attacking “unfree” foreign countries. So they do this tightrope walk trying to erode as many western freedoms as possible while still keeping the story.

There’s this nonstop calculation of “How much freedom can we take away from our people while still saying we’re better than Russia and China?” And lately they’ve been walking right up to the line: imprisoning journalists, prosecuting dissidents, censoring the internet, etc. The desire to take away freedom from the people is so very, very seductive to those in power that they have a hard time walking that line between keeping the story of being free while eroding freedoms. This is why the hypocrisies of the empire are getting more and more obvious.

They pretend that they see things like free speech and democracy as signs of a healthy society, but they don’t. In reality they see them only as weapons of narrative manipulation to be used against their enemies, while giving away as little freedom and democracy as possible. In school we’re taught that our government protects our freedoms because of values that our society holds; in awakening to reality we discover that our government does not value those freedoms at all and sees them solely as propaganda weapons to advance their own interests.

And westerners still buy into the story, that’s what’s hilarious. I still get people telling me the Iraq invasion was completely different from the Ukraine invasion because the war in Iraq was a free democracy attacking an autocracy while the war in Ukraine is an autocracy attacking a free democracy.

People shouldn’t be punished for revealing the secrets of the government, governments should be punished for keeping secrets from the people.

US politics increasingly revolves around debating whether or not you should be nice to trans people because it’s one of the only things the two parties actually disagree on. If you fully agree on war, authoritarianism and capitalist exploitation, there’s not much left to debate.

On every issue that affects the interests of real power the parties are effectively in total alignment, while all the intense emotional debate gets steered toward issues the powerful don’t care about one way or the other. Only an idiot would believe this happened by coincidence. To quote Chomsky, “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”

One of the most under-discussed political realities of our time is the fact that the shift in functioning commonly known as spiritual enlightenment (A) is a well-documented phenomenon that occurs all over the world, and (B) would solve all our world’s problems if widely realized.

This isn’t some woo-woo, out-there “the space aliens might come and save us” proposition. Researchers like Jeffery A Martin have studied this phenomenon clinically, and have collected mountains of data showing that this is a very real potentiality that exists within our species.

I call this a political reality because that’s exactly what it is: it’s a reality that’s affecting our politics right now. The fact that our species has the ability to move out of its dysfunctional relationship with mental narrative, but hasn’t yet done so, affects everything about our world.

Without our dysfunctional relationship with mental narrative, propaganda would have a much harder time functioning, and we wouldn’t have the psychological strings of fear, greed and discontentment that propaganda pulls on. The propaganda-driven model of ruling would stop working. To quote Chomsky again, “Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.”

The problem of course is that the potential to awaken has always existed in humanity, but has only ever been realized in a fringe minority. What’s different now is that we’re at adapt-or-die time as a species; we’re either going to awaken or we’re going the way of the dinosaur.

Every species eventually hits a point where it either adapts to changing conditions or goes extinct. In our case both the “changing conditions” and the threat of extinction are born of our own minds: our ecocidal models of resource distribution and our plunge toward nuclear war. We’ll either make the necessary adaptation to continue living on this planet by shifting out of our unwholesome relationship with mental narrative, or we won’t. I personally think we have the complete freedom to either pass or fail this test together.

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