What are we working toward and why does it matter? How do we get there? Should we give up comforts today in pursuit of an illusive utopia that we hope to bring about? These are the questions that need to be answered and understood at a deep level if we actually want to change the world. Will changing the world actually make our life better? Wouldn’t it simply be easier to just make as much money as we can, have as much fun as possible, and take the easiest road? Why bother with anything that could bring unnecessary pain and suffering with little probability of reward?
My Mission in Life
I have long held that my mission is to find free market solutions for securing life, liberty, and property. This mission is deeply rooted in the belief that initiation of violence is not necessary to live in a well ordered society and that everyone’s life would be better off if it could be achieved. This is a belief I choose because there is insufficient evidence to prove violence is necessary.
Many detractors claim non-violence solutions are not possible, but their arguments ultimately fail due to a fallacy known as argument from ignorance. In effect, they claim that because there is no known non-violent solutions (that they believe will work) that it is impossible. They decide to stop looking and/or working toward non-violent solutions. In other words, they choose to believe violence is necessary. In both cases, an individual’s belief shapes their reality and in both cases it is an article of faith.
My mission is a dangerous mission. If I am successful I will make enemies in the highest places of violent power. My very life is at risk the moment I discover any solution that is perceived as a real threat.
Changing the world is a mission that is bigger than any one person. It requires building a new social structure that binds all of society together in a non-violent way. It requires persuading a sufficiently large minority to organize an effective non-violent resistance to government violence. In short, it requires convincing people to take on some of the same risks I face.
If I am to be successful in convincing others to take these risks, then I must face my own demons and conquer my own fears. I must find and articulate an argument that is powerful enough to bring millions of people into a movement. I would be dishonest if I said I don’t struggle with these things. It is because of my own internal struggles that I sat down to organize my thoughts in this article.
Privatized Costs and Socialized Benefits
The core problem with absolutely every resistance movement is a tragedy of the commons. We all want to be free to live our lives in peace and no one wants to face jail time or death by government. The costs to the individual are immediate and potentially infinite, but the benefits they receive, if any, accrue to the masses of ungrateful strangers way in the future, if ever.
This economic reality means that most resistance movements do not gather supporters until the supporters have nothing left to lose. In other words, until the cost of participation falls below the perceived benefit (almost 0). At some point people are willing to die and at this point they are willing to take extreme risks with low probability of payout.
The economic and political enslavement of mankind will continue until Atlas is unable to carry the world on his shoulders and the whole world suffers an economic collapse. It is from the depth of this collapse that people have nothing left to lose and real change is possible.
The Bank of Evil - Despicable Me
Do we accept reality or resist it?
Those who practice meditation or follow Eckhart Tolle know that all suffering is something we put ourselves through by resisting the world as it is now, this very moment.
“Suffering begins when you mentally label a situation as bad. That causes an emotional contraction. When you let it be, without naming it, enormous power is available to you. The contraction cuts you off from that power, the power of life itself.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
From this perspective paying taxes, complying with regulations, and otherwise accepting our status as slaves makes the most sense. There is no point in getting angry or frustrated at the status quo. Our anger and frustration will only serve to further lower our enjoyment of life and have no impact at all on the quality of life of our slave masters.
“If you are in the habit of creating suffering for yourself, you are probably creating suffering for others too.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
When we approach life with a resistance to what is we are tempted to respond out of anger, frustration, and hate. Our actions in turn result in the suffering of others. Their suffering in turn causes more anger, frustration, and the circle of violence continues. The powers that be divide us by causing conflicts and manipulating our emotional responses.
Why should we label violence as bad and non-violence as good? Aren’t these very labels the source of our suffering? And if we remove these labels, what meaning is there in creating a non-violent society? Why should we suffer to bring it about?
Non-violence isn’t a Technique it is a result of Accepting Reality
What is the purpose of violence? Why do we use it? Violence is a response (resistance) to what is. It is a rejection of reality. Violence is the result of an inability to see the aliveness in others; an inability to feel connected with all of life.
Prejudice of any kind implies that you are identified with the thinking mind. It means you don't see the other human being anymore, but only your own concept of that human being. To reduce the aliveness of another human being to a concept is already a form of violence.
So without labeling violence as good or bad, we can see that its root cause is in lack of awareness. One cannot be connected with all of life and simultaneously advocate violence and destruction. If you have no internal resistance, then what basis is there for violence? Is initiation of violence not sufficient evidence of our own disconnect from our true nature, our own fear, and our own defense of ego?
In what situation can someone simultaneously claim they are at peace in the present moment and feel that initiating violence is necessary? What motive is there for violence that is not rooted in an attachment to outcomes? How much more do we suffer from our resistance and attachment than we do from whatever it is we think violence will solve?
When you find true freedom, you have nothing left to lose.
Once you master living in the moment then all of your self-inflicted emotional suffering ends. There is no more anger and no more attachment to things or outcomes. With this you also free yourself from manipulation by the powers that be.
“True freedom is living as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience in this moment. This inner alignment with the Now is the end of suffering.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
This state of being creates a paradox for those with aims to change the world. If you are at complete peace with the way things are, then what motive is there to change the world? On what basis should you choose to act? This is the very heart of economics, the study of human action. This is the root of my current internal conflict.
Is Economic Thinking a Fallacy for Awakened Individuals?
If we view man as a purely economic creature we assume all actions are in someway tied to profit seeking activities. We assume that profit is the motive force. It might be fair to say that most of economics is based upon the assumption of an unenlightened individual stuck in a capitalist rat race.
All of economic calculation boils down to risk / reward or profit and loss. It is our desire for profit and our fear of loss that drive us to make the best decisions we can. An enlightened individual has no fear of loss nor need for more. Their actions are therefore much harder to predict and most economic models cannot fully account for them.
In awakened doing there is complete internal alignment with the present moment and whatever you are doing right now. The doing is then not primarily a means to an end, but an opening for consciousness to come into this world.
Basis for Acting
If we are not motivated by desire for profits or fear of loss, then how should we decide what actions to take each moment? Eckhart suggests that everything should be done from acceptance (fixing a flat tire in the rain), enjoyment, or enthusiasm (creating something).
You have a goal. You know where you are going. The goal has its importance. But the doing is what is truly fulfilling. Every enthusiastic person has a goal that may be important, but the doing is intensely fulfilling, and it is the essence of enthusiasm. ~ Eckhart Tolle
The Means is Everything - The End doesn’t Matter
All of a sudden we learn something profound. If our goal is a non-violent voluntarist society, then there is no point in using violence now. This moment is all there is and in this moment we can choose to use violence or not use violence. If your aim is to bring non-violence into the world, then it must be done by non violent means.
What I learned writing this Article
When I sat down to write this article I didn’t know what my conclusion would be. I just knew there was an internal, and unresolved conflict within. Now that I am 1700 words into it, I have rediscovered and reconnected with the motivation behind my mission.
Each day I act to bring about a non-violent solutions to world governance because I enjoy the creative problem solving process. I do not act out of resistance to the existing government, but in full acceptance of it. I do not act in fear of the existing government, but with rational self preservation as part of the creation process.
The accumulation of wealth, power, influence are tools, but I must not allow my identity to get caught up in it. The trappings of this world are just that, traps. The moment we are afraid to lose our trappings we become trapped in our own delusional ego.
I have learned that each action I take is more powerful if done in the moment, without resistance, and with full acceptance. I have also learned that for my vision to become a reality, I will need to help awaken others to the present moment.
Any economic system of voluntary rules and incentives I create will struggle to gain traction unless it is used and operated by enlightened individuals. Steem can be an incredibly powerful tool in the hands of aware individuals living in the moment, but it will utterly fail if it is overcome by unaware individuals trapped in their own ego.
Jealously, greed, envy, malice, spitefulness, and vengeance will destroy any community. Enlightened individuals living in the moment without any resistance to what is right now experience none of these things. I will keep this in mind as we work to build and grow Steem.