This reddit comment got me thinking about video games. I spent SO MUCH TIME playing video games. If we ever get to socialism, I kind of think/hope they might disappear.

It occurs to me that things like video games and TV emerge in history when large parts of people’s being (and by that I mean their, like, whole set of natural motivations) are just totally useless. There’s nothing for most kids and teenagers to do that’s of any productive or real value in our society. They are useless. If children and teenagers could instead participate in some productive way in our society, some way that would lead in to fuller and more competent participation, they wouldn’t get used to living in La-La Land, completely maladapted to the real world.

There’s an argument that video games are fun–of course. But fun is not some simple thing, fun is not just pure euphoria. Here’s an illustrative graphic.

Image

The point is that video games are engaging. They provide meaningful stimulation. In a world where children and teenagers could get in in some way on the running of the community and society, we could wouldn’t have near-complete atomization as our current society does.

Well, not to worry. As the resources run out–if they run out slowly enough that we don’t have a massive war and all die–we’ll have to go back to doing a lot more things with manual labor. That should provide plenty of real opportunities for the young to be meaningfully involved.

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The tension/philosophical problem of “altruism versus self-interest” is resolved by coming to a place (one of some kind of humility) from which one sincerely appreciates and respects and identifies with the strivings of other people and sincerely wishes them well. If your sincere desire is that another do well, you can be completely “selfish” while at the same time in an open emotional state, not cut-off, not tight-and-miserly-with-one’s-concern. The “contradiction” evaporates and is gone.

“Altruistic” often seems to connote a state of reluctant self-sacrifice. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m just saying it is possible to get to a place where you sincerely wish other human beings well. Think about your relationship with your friends or possibly your family: in such cases, there is often no conflict at all between your will and theirs–in fact, your wills mutually reinforce and bolster and love one another.

Also, this is what we’re talking about when we talk about communism. We’re talking about creating a whole world where economics and politics are set up so that this kind of mutual well-wishing is fostered. Not at all in a brainwashy type of way but in the same way that capitalism, in its material (economic and political) set-up alone, encourages the opposite. The set-up of communism would make it natural and reasonable and prudent–and each individual could easily come to this realization by themselves without any pushing or trickery–and see that, indeed, no miracle and no trick: we have just achieved a situation where it makes complete rational sense to love one’s neighbor as one loves oneself.

The ideology of mutual well-wishing is strongly antagonized by our society’s current material arrangement and STILL it pops up. This strongly suggests that we would have much more of it in circumstances in which the material conditions actually fostered it.

The Bad News about Imperialism, the Good News about Feminism, Socialism, and Humanist Wisdom

This is something I was meaning to write for a long time. Maybe I'll get around to it sometime, but I woke up just now thinking that it might be pretty easy to write a short synopsis of it and let the reader do the rest.

For all I know this has all been laid out before somewhere else. In retrospect, it seems a little obvious. Then again, I don't see a lot of people talk about this One Big Thing, so maybe that's not wholly true. Anyway.

I was going to write a pamphlet or short book. The working title was, "The Bad News about Imperialism, the Good News about Feminism, Socialism, and Humanist Wisdom."

The thesis was this:

1. That all oppressive thinking is of one sort: it can be boiled down to imperialistic thinking–that is, exploitative thinking. What do I mean by that? It is when one aspect of something that is basically whole and coequal decides that another aspect of it should be subordinate to the other and decides to treat it so.

a. Imperialism on a global political-economic scale is when one set of humans (the empire, the imperialists) decides to force another to suffer in some way (by colonizing it, setting it up so that it is easily and consistently exploited) so that the former can "benefit" in some way–that is, so that the imperialist can acquire more of some resource by having the colonized produce it despite not truly wanting to because of a system of violence, coercion, and fear that the colonized is encaged in.

b. Capitalism is imperialism on an intra-national scale: the ruling owning class exploits the working class.

c. Sexism is sexual imperialism: males, especially males that buy into patriarchal masculinity, perpetuate the subjugation of women because of numerous economic and psychological "benefits" that are only possible thereby.

d. Racism is another form of imperialism: white people, especially white people who believe in race as a scientific reality, perpetuate the subjugation of people of color, again because of numerous economic and psychological "benefits" that are only possible thereby.

2. That we have already conceived of understandings of how to cure the world of at least most of the prevailing imperialism that takes place in it. Those understandings can be conceived of in three broad but significantly interconnected categories:

a. Feminism: the analysis of the ways in which women are oppressed (but indeed analysis can and should be brought to bear on racist oppression, anti-queer oppression, anti-trans oppression, classist oppression, and so on, not least because, as bell hooks points out, if you would end the exploitation and oppression of all women, you can't possibly ignore the factors involved in the oppression of women of color, of poor women, of queer women, of trans women, and so on, nor the ways in which this system is damaging to all people regardless of gender, race, sexuality, and so on).

b. Socialism: the analysis of the economic reasons of how these oppressions came to be and why they remain this way, as well as how it all might be brought to an end. This might also be called Marxism. The economic basis of all these oppressions is bound up in capitalism and imperialism's requirement that there by an exploitable working class that will work for less than the value it generates so that an exploiting owning class can profit off of it. The way to end it would be to unite the working class and all oppressed people of the world to recognize their common interest in ending this exploitation in order to overthrow all imperialism and capitalism by instituting a system that would be conscious of humanity's capacity to engage in imperialism of many different sorts and seek to obviate it at every point by ensuring that human beings were universally empowered internally and externally in every sense possible. Included in such an understanding of socialism should also be an understanding of humanity's relationship with nature as not being one of fundamental difference but one of connection and unity, and so socialism would also necessarily seek to end an exploitative relationship between humanity and nature as much as possible.

c. Humanist wisdom: the analysis of the modes of thought that allow the sort of intellectual mistake that would encourage one to think of another human as sub-human in any way. A basis for these modes of thought might be called egoism and conceived of as a sort of inward-facing imperialism, wherein one aspect of the mind has decided that the rest of the mind should be subordinate to it and must serve it. Most religious traditions and secular traditions of wisdom have tried to explain this in some way or another.

i. The basic idea is that the ego believes it IS the whole mind, that it speaks for the whole mind, and that all a self's or a being's desires and feelings are contained in the model of the self (the ego, the internal self-portrait) that the self mistakes for the whole self because the ego believes it IS the whole self–and constantly tells itself that it is the whole self.

ii. In truth, each of us with an ego (which is pretty much all of us, so far as I can tell) is so much more than we know. One of the most obvious proofs of this is the existence of the subconscious.

iii. Whatever of the self does not fit into the ego's model of itself is suppressed and denied attention and encouragement, causing neurosis of some kind.

iv. While obviously there are a great many potential resources for this, one excellent example is The Art of Being and Becoming by Hazrat Inayat Khan.

Posted this as a FB status a few days ago, but reposting here for a variety of reasons:

In 15 or 20 years—maybe 10—due to oil and other resource shortages, there will be a massive economic crisis that will dwarf the Great Recession. From there, it will only get worse.

No government in the world is capable of taking the necessary actions to ramp down our collective energy use and move to a truly sustainable economy. This is because all the governments in the world are controlled by the super-rich, who work together to ensure that every government supports their one collective goal: maximizing short-term profits.

The sooner we achieve real democracy, the sooner we can begin to avoid this catastrophe.

But we won't get real democracy with campaign finance reform or even another form of voting. No reform within the system is enough. The super-rich control every government in the world because WEALTH IS POWER. They have most of the wealth, and they act in unison to guarantee themselves short-term profits. No matter what restrictions we put in place under capitalism, they can and will be subverted by the concentrated wealth of the super-rich of the world.

The only way to reach real democracy is by moving to a system that does not increase wealth concentration. Capitalism is about to threaten the existence of our species. You will live to see this planet descend into hell if we don't replace capitalism with socialism.