If Fear is the Mind Killer, then Obedience is its Drug
“I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and I don’t have time to go round and round and round….”
"Not Ready to Make Nice," The Dixie Chicks (listen) (lyrics)
A Black nationalist told me in the 60’s that when he woke up to the fact that he and his people had been oppressed for so long he was angry, hated white people and felt that violence against the racist establishment was justified and, indeed, possibly the only avenue for change. He had moved on from his anger at that point, but said that it was a natural phase of his “awakening.”
When people finally realize that it is either their own fear or passivity that has made them victims of the abusers, their anger may morph into their ability to change and take control of their destiny if it does not erupt in violence. The bullies who abuse others do so for ultimate control and domination. Their victims obey with docility so as not to be punished, and to be able to lull themselves into a tolerable existence.
From the “Arab Spring” to “Occupy Wall Street” we have witnessed great courage as people have stood up to the abuse of power non-violently, often at great risk. In Libya, Syria and other places, non-violence has not been effective as the regimes used militaristic repression and protesters have had to meet the violence with violence. The “Occupy” movement has also been met with military style provocation but has been able to use the sound of their voices, their steadfast non-violent civil disobedience, and their eye witness reporting via internet and social media to shame the perpetrators, influence public opinion and retaliate for their abuse.
It is significant that those who are awakening are fearless. Their tactics manifest as solidarity, sharing resources, communication and creative non-violence. It appears that gradually, as people in America are waking to the abuse and muzzling of our voices that we have suffered at the hands of corporations and their puppets, this response has been an antidote for anger, fear, hopelessness or depression.
Our so-called “civil society” has until now kept us orderly by institutionalizing and creating “socially acceptable” ways to cope with our fears, opinions and frustrations. Mostly we mask them through being so polite and nice in our day-to-day life that it has become habitual behavior and imprinted in our social vocabulary. In addition, we have some entertainers in the media whose role it is to either help us vent through comic relief or through the aggressive sports of political commentary and talk shows. Besides those avenues there are many other obsessions and delusions available for escaping or coping with an unpleasant reality.
On the other hand, creative mass disobedience can break the spell of our mass hypnosis. We are seeing it actually happening. The establishment says the occupiers have no goals, but the act of organized disobedience is a valid “goal” it is mass, civil drug rehab from our culturally addictive behavior. It is part politics, part theater, and part community building. Our cure is to deprogram and free ourselves and our society from fear, illusion, selfishness and inaction by:
- Eliminating lies and irrational moral, economic, quasi-scientific or patriotic frameworks established as narratives, facts and values to cover-up the truth.
- Delegitimizing the spokesmen, social groups and institutions we have created to spread them and promote them.
- Exposing the fraudulent bases that the media and political parties use to make their positions accepted and legal.
- Creating an active following for efforts to heal communities, reestablish tolerant, fair and civil discourse to solve common problems.
- Focusing attention and prioritizing meeting real human and environmental needs rather than supporting and spreading fear induced social hysteria or fraud.
- Eliminating the delusion that through simply acting obediently we are good citizens to gain social approval and prove that we are happy and satisfied with our life.
These strategies are disobedient and disruptive to the established order. In addition they break the hold of fear and create the willingness to accept diverse people and viewpoints. We don’t need to play at being “good” in order to camouflage our differences, rather we will demonstrate goodwill through our service, diversity, tolerance, respect and constructive efforts as we work together to improve the human condition and to protect our environment.
Unless we do these efforts, we cannot free our culture from the fear-driven, “righteous” fiction it has become. Our economy, our political dogma, our entertainment and our beliefs are all constructed to make that fiction real, and we follow “leaders” who embody them. These are the roots of mindless obedience to totalitarian regimes.
Our culture may change if those who are waking up are able to restore the minds of those whose minds have been killed by fear to the point of gullibility, naïveté, passivity and irrationality. The drug of “obedience,” which has suppressed their will and ability to stand up for themselves and be honest, may be replaced by a new generation of activists who are becoming leaders standing up for the common good.