Breaking out of the machine
My previous post titled The good soldier Svejk - buffoon or reality cracker failed to give the essence of the book. Quoting one of my critics your text simplifies it into some “funny story”, not mentioning the underlying sadness of that story, which is generated from the distinction between a “small” man and a crushing machinery of war.. On one level he is correct but on another level he is wrong. The book is one of sadness but on the other hand, it is a celebration of life. This is what I failed to capture. We are trapped in this crushing machine but have the capability to break out of it.
In my early adulthood, I got an all expenses tour to a war-torn country courtesy of my government. My government even provided me with accommodations, lodging,tour guides and an allowance. With this allowance, I could pursue activities like drinking heavily, learning poker or of course my favorite activity, chasing women. The tour even had tour guides which organized day trips and night trips. During the day trips, we would travel by vehicle, on the night trips we would go for long hikes. Sometimes we would find a place to camp where we could enjoy nature.
My tour guides, unfortunately, where uneducated and lacked personal relation skills. The tour guides could be identified by the hooks on their sleeves and the organizer of the tour was identified by the bars on his shoulders. I often complained to the tour guide about the quality of the accommodations, food, and transportation. Our day trip vehicle I pointed out was noisy, belched diesel fumes which made me dizzy lacked a proper suspension. When I pointed this out to my tour guide, he rudely told to shut up and told me I am not paid to think. He also didn’t like it when I referred to him as a tour guide, he would growl that I should refer to him as Sergeant. He then lost his temper and told me to talk to the tour manager, the man with bars on his shoulders.
I followed my tour guide’s advice and talked to the tour manager, he preferred to be called Major or Sir. I then explained to him my grievances and then I added that the locals are hostile. For some reason they want to kill me, this isn’t what I saw in the pamphlet advertising the tour. When I have finished this tour, I shall be forced to report this agency to the better business bureau. The tour manager was pleasant. He said I read too many books and to stop giving the Sergeant a hard time. He then advised me to find new ways to amuse myself. I decided to follow his advice.
I started interacting more with the hostile natives. Sometimes they would shoot at us or throw explosive devices at us. They also seemed to have organizers, their job appeared to be keeping tourists like me entertained. Sometimes they would organize activities like having women and children throw rocks at us. I then decided to talk to one of these organizers. I pointed out, I traveled a long way to enjoy his country. That I am on a budget tour package and every time he has his entertainers throw rocks at me, I have to notify my tour manager. The tour manager with the bars on his shoulders gets upset. Since it is a budget tour, he expects the tourists to stop these activities. I then asked him not to organize these forms of entertainment while I am on shift. He then indirectly agreed, we then switched to having pleasant conversations. It turned out he was on a tour similar to mine. Granted he didn’t travel as far. We then would complain about the respective tour managers.
After I finished my tour, the tour management had us give feedback on how we could improve future tours. These people for some reason had the title mental health professionals and one was called a psychiatrist. These individuals wanted to know all sorts of details about the tour. How we felt, what we experienced etc. I then pointed out that if they wanted to experience the tour, they could sign up for the next one being organized. Then they wouldn’t need to keep bothering me with annoying questions. Unfortunately, they got offended. They then asked me how I evaluated the tour, I told them I quite enjoyed it. They then asked me to describe one of my enjoyable experiences. To make them happy, I did as they requested.
One of my favorite activities was venturing out on my own. My fellow tourists warned me this was a dangerous activity but I didn’t pay them much heed. Sometimes I would even pack myself a lunch, I would get a pound of bacon and a loaf of bread. If there were French tourists in the area, they had packaged meals called rations. These French rations contained many delights, European chocolate, crackers and even liver pate to put on the crackers. I highly recommend them. When possible I would trade with the French tourists to obtain these rations.
One day I found a ruined villa. It was three stories high, it had a courtyard in the middle. The former occupants must have left in a hurry, many of their belongings were strewn on the floors. Photographs of family members, water damaged books, school work, old identity papers, money that no longer had value. When entering on of these places, it is advisable to take care. Often the building is unstable or the former occupants would leave behind gifts that would go boom. With practice, you can avoid these gifts.
I made myself to the third floor of the villa, then to what was the former master bedroom. It overlooked the courtyard which had a pool in the middle which was now filled with garbage. The wall facing the courtyard had been sheared away. The missile which had sheared away the wall had also left a huge hole opposite. This hole faced west, when I first enter the room, the sun was setting, the whole room was bathed in a beautiful orange glow. The former occupant of the house was kind enough to leave an intact rocking chair. I then sat in that chair to observe the beauty. And then I would ponder and observe.
The natural order of things is to break down. You leave a rock, it eventually breaks down. But within this chaos, fragile things like the rocking chair I was sitting in would escape destruction. And within this chaos, you could see signs of rebirth. The plants and small trees within the swimming pool consuming the rubble and garbage. A yellow flower growing in the crack of a wall. How did that seed get so high up on the wall I would wonder ? How come the explosion which destroyed the wall didn’t destroy the rocking chair ? I would marvel at these things. That even in destruction, life would continue to exist and in some cases even thrive.
That the machine attempts to crush and break down. Yet unintentionally it creates light and beauty. The mental health professions while listening scribbled in their books, they looked at me funny. Then they told me, I was fine, I had nothing to worry about. I politely thanked them, and then made a sarcastic remark that I was happy I had their validation I was fine.
Marx,Lenin,Mao,Stalin etc and the Catholic Church attempted to create a paradise on earth and yet in the process created great suffering. It is simple to label someone like Stalin as evil. When you meet these types of people, the part that is scary is they actually believe they are helping people. Instead of accepting human nature and nature as it is, they attempt to bend human nature to themselves. When you read a book like Young Stalin and Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar you see a man who gave everything to create a paradise but in the process created something far worse than what it replaced. A man who children loved playing with, a poet, a man constantly trying to improve himself, who lived a frugal lifestyle. Yet at the same time personally signed at least 60,000 death warrants in-between giving piggyback rides to children. Eventually, this person might have a sense of self-realization.
After Stalin found out that Vasily had used his famous last name to escape punishment for one of his drunken debauches, Stalin screamed at him. “‘But I’m a Stalin too,’ retorted Vasily. ‘No, you’re not,’ said Stalin. ‘You’re not Stalin and I’m not Stalin. Stalin is Soviet power. Stalin is what he is in the newspapers and the portraits, not you, not even me!’”
In my post Lying to the person in the mirror I talk about how we match reality to our belief systems. We lie to ourselves. Labeling Stalin as evil means we can pretend there isn’t a bit of Stalin in all of us. Knowing that there is this is what scares us. At some point in time, we might have an awakening. Stalin’s quote shows a great deal of self-awareness. He then realizes he has become a larger cog in the machine. Yet he realizes that a machine is needed, this is the theme in my post The way things are, and the way they ought to be, most people need shit to escape reality.
With Stalin, there possibly is a great deal of sadness. His old age, he spent holding parties for the few friends he didn’t kill and young children. There he would often reflect upon his youth growing up in Georgia. In one of his poems written during his youth, he mocks an elderly tyrannical dictator, and yet he ironically becomes one. And yet, he was a product of his times, trapped in the machine or cage. This does not justify the actions of Stalin. Obviously, he is a mass murderer, history should not forget this. The lesson to be learned, it that given the right circumstances, and a weakness of character, we have the potential to be tiny Stalins.
The Good Soldier Svejk takes place in chaotic times similar to our own. It was a time where nationalism and self-determination where desired. It was plagued by terrorists except back then they called them Anarchists. Yet despite wanting to break away from the empire there was a desire for the safety of the empire. Similar to our times, there were many technological advancements which challenged our roles in society. And yet within this chaos, a small sad Army Private manages to escape. This is what my critic fails to understand.
Almost two centuries ago, Darwin published a book called On the Origin of Species, we are all familiar with it. The outrage was caused by people realizing they were no different than animals. We then attempted to rationalize this by saying that our bodies might have evolved from animals but our minds were different. New sciences like neuroscience and evolutionary psychology are showing that our minds in many ways are similar to animals. Books like The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature and The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature. This scares us. Science is also starting to refute many allegations of both the politically correct and traditional conservatives. For example, sexuality isn’t binary like traditional conservatives insist on the other hand there is a spectrum of sexuality which shows the premise of the politically correct is also incorrect.
The only person you can change is yourself. This is what my blog is about. Happiness is temporary but contentment can be permanent.
Within the chaos, humans continue to advance forward Steven Pinker in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined gives ample evidence to show this. These are the issues that my blog attempts to address.
The backlash against the Alt-Right which is comprised of groups like the red pill, MGTOW, dark enlightenment is in response to the mainstream rejecting this overwhelming evidence. I agree with the basic premise of dark enlightenment but I do not agree with their solution. In many ways, they believe in the myth of the noble savage.
In you like my posts, follow me on twitter at @sir_wankalote.
In the meantime, go out and watch some ants. I enjoy watching ants or watch some bees or wasps making a nest. Or find something else to watch and enjoy life. People ask me how come I am so happy ? I tell them I am actually extremely unhappy and discontent but when I accept my situation I become happy. This does not give one an excuse to be idle instead realize you are part of the cycle of death and rebirth.
For the record, yes I have an amazon affiliate account, if you don’t want to use the links, don’t click on them. If you want to get the book for free, go to your local library.
If you want to send me bitcoin, so I can research bargirls, my address is 3NgksauCyuLcVRqLHVLbAnhP2UqmqspJVQ.