Created November 17, 2022
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.
It’s pretty obvious that the human race is somewhat out of control.
It could be that, in the past, it was even more out of control than it is now.
But if we look only at the time period since we learned how to make atom bombs, we are now at an “Out-Of-Controllness” level that is at an all-time high within the defined period.
Maybe we were more out of control during the Crusades, but we couldn’t do as much damage then.
Now as compared to prior to 1945, we have done vast destruction to the environment threatening our own survival, have caused innumerable species to go extinct ahead of us, and are still playing party politics and other warped games as if there are no consequences. That’s how much damage we continue to do every day, and we haven’t even started with the atom bomb toy yet.
Enough self-criticism. Now, what are we going to do about it?
The hub of the problem is the way we don’t use our minds.
We don’t use our minds as they were elegantly designed to be used, the way Socrates used his mind, the way Washington and Jefferson and Franklin and Lincoln used their minds… we have many good role models to choose from, as we come back from a race of neurotics.
What is a neurotic? WebMD tells us that “Neurotic means you’re afflicted by neurosis, a word that has been in use since the 1700s to describe mental, emotional, or physical reactions that are drastic and irrational. At its root, a neurotic behavior is an automatic, unconscious effort to manage deep anxiety.”
Acting irrationally is the core of being a neurotic. But don’t we all? Isn’t it irrational to get emotionally overwhelmed by certain situations? The point of the mind is that it has more than just reason as its powers. It has intuition, feelings, perceptions, conditioned motivations, “realized self” motivations, a subconscious, and more. We act based not only on reason but on all of these functions. And that’s the way it should be. However, we ourselves have very little insight into the way we function so it is all kind of a sloppy process. Until we start practicing what Aristotle called “the contemplative life” which modern science calls meta-cognition: the mind inspecting the mind. This is The Way out of neurosis.
The process needed for the entire human race is a cleansing of the spirit, a self-governed “mind wash” available to each individual. Right now, most people don’t even know that they need it. Most people who know they need it don’t want to admit it (they are the ones closest to leaping over the gap if they could transcend denial).
The estimable Norman Hecht sent me a very insightful New Yorker article which makes the point that Trump may be on his way out but that does not remove the appetites of the core that supported him. And what are those appetites? Fear-driven racism and extreme irrational behavior. And what class of behaviors do those fall in the range of?
Right. Those are neuroses. The class of mental/emotional/physical diseases medical science has been tracking since the 1700s.
Eastern psychology noticed those behaviors going back far earlier than writing, based on memes embedded in time-binding songs that can be tracked back to about 10,000 BC thanks to Herotodus, Plato, et al. We have known about these syndromes for a very long time and have never addressed the removal of the problem.
We talk about schemes to save the environment but not to save ourselves from mental emotional self-destructive behavior. Because that is the reason why neurosis is important to remove, because neurosis works against what the individual is motivated to achieve, which is why it is irrational.
If we continue to ignore the primary cause of all of our lethal threat vectors, and try to use outmoded and failed methods to reach reconciliation with China and the others with whom we are now engaging in reptilian combat rehearsal, we are in for a very bad future, as Fareed Zakaria points out in a recent article.
The international conversation as well as the domestic conversation both have to change if we are to show ourselves truly on the road to recovery from mass neurosis. This fictional conversation between the world leaders is closer to the direction we must go than is our present course.
Step one is to come to a clear understanding that there are other, better, ways to use our minds than the general method in use today. Neuroscience calls it the DEFAULT NETWORK. It is a random walk and results in random noise across the corpus callosum. From there we must go to the Observer state, the state of expert meta-cognition. Ram Dass and Daniel Goleman were generous in their comments on my methodology.
My approach is not the only way to free the mind. Psychotherapy, meditation, yoga, psychedelics under supervision with proper setting and mindset, innumerable approaches exist to move out of the default network, what my manual Mind Magic calls EOP (Emergency Oversimplification Procedure). And into a state of relative free will and autonomy, with full insight into your own conditioning which therefore neutralizes the effect of the conditioning.
Yep, you got it right, this is a rather unusual proposition: upgrade the mental/emotional competency of the entire world population. I totally agree, it’s over the top for me to suggest that such a thing is worth putting time into, when the amount of neurosis and its ingrained nature by this point appears insurmountable no matter how many of us want to change the world.
I just don’t like the alternative.
I say let’s give it a go, shall we?
Love to all,