This Civilization Is Deeply Unnatural

There is nothing natural about this. The way things are. The way we are living. If this was the natural and healthy way for human society to exist, it wouldn’t require mountains of propaganda spin to keep it going.

Without copious amounts of mental narratives being fed to us by people in power, it would never occur to anyone that it’s a good or normal idea to commit to wars of aggression on the other side of the planet, or to back genocides, or to militarize globally with hundreds of military outposts around the world, or to foster systems which allow a few people to have far too much while others have far too little, or to destroy the biosphere we depend on for survival for the sake of shareholder profits. It would never occur to us to accept these things if we weren’t living our lives saturated in a nonstop barrage of narratives explaining that we should accept them.

We live like this throughout our entire lives. Through mass-scale psychological manipulation our minds are twisted into freakish and unnatural shapes to ensure that we will think, speak, act, work, spend and vote in ways we would never otherwise would, all to keep the wheels of this freakish and unnatural dystopia turning. If the powerful did not control the dominant narratives of this civilization, we would be living in a very different world than the one we live in today.

Narrative is how humans tend to get themselves into trouble. The believed thought stories in our minds are what drive us to hate, abuse, harm and kill our fellow humans. They’re what drive us into a state of anxiety even in moments when our bodies are completely safe and all our material needs are being met. They’re what have convinced humans to march out and fight wars and commit atrocities throughout the ages. Most of human suffering ultimately arises from believed thought stories.

But believed thought stories are what shape this civilization. The only reason why power exists where it exists, why nations and their borders exist as they do, why money operates the way that it operates, why laws are written and obeyed, is because we’ve all agreed to believe a bunch of made-up narratives saying that these things are true. Tomorrow Americans could all agree that Taylor Swift is the Dictator Supreme of the United States and that copper pennies are the only form of money with any value, and if enough people believed those narratives, those narratives would become reality.

That’s the power of narrative, and that’s why powerful people pour so much energy into harnessing it. Through the power of narrative, we can be convinced to consent to things as absurd as weapons contractors using their wealth to lobby for wars and militarism, which gives them more wealth that they can then spend on more lobbying. Or working forty hours a week making our boss far more money than we get paid in a company that’s killing our ecosystem just so that we can give our paychecks to some landlord in order to live in a building on the dying planet we were born on, solely because the boss and the landlord happened to luck into owning the company and the building. Or world leaders brandishing armageddon weapons at one another.

This backwards, insane civilization only looks normal to us because it has been deliberately normalized throughout our lives via careful narrative control by the people who benefit from it. Narrative rules our lives.

Without any believed narrative in your head, there’s just peaceful being with what is, and the human animal body tending to its few human animal needs. Add in a bunch of believed narrative and then all of a sudden you’ve got a self, others, desires, agendas, enemies, social standing, goals, inadequacy, stress, a painful past and a frightening future.

It is possible for the human organism to live without believed narratives in the shift in perception commonly known as spiritual enlightenment, and it is possible for humans as a whole to drop the believed narratives that are being imposed on us by the powerful in the same way. And just as enlightenment brings with it the realization that the old way of perceiving was actually an unnatural way of operating, awakening from the dominant narratives of our day will allow us to move into a much more natural way of existing with each other and with our ecosystem on this planet.

You can call this a lofty and unattainable goal if you want, but to me I’m just talking about the one and only adaptation that has any chance of steering our species away from annihilation. Every species hits an adaptation-or-extinction juncture at some point in its existence, and we’re arriving at ours right now. We’ll either transcend our unhealthy relationship with narrative, or we’ll wipe ourselves out via nuclear war or environmental destruction.

Every sign I’m seeing right now suggests we have the ability to go either way.

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

0 thoughts on “This Civilization Is Deeply Unnatural

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *