It’s not often I feel like writing about this subject because I am neither a wistful nor whimsical person. That said I accept that I am prone to cynicism, so just this once I’m going to go with it and indulge myself.
This is about the possible effects and benefits I can visualize happening if something like my personal philosophy were to spread and develop on its own. It will not be an attempt at an exhaustive list; it’s just a few silly and grandiose ideas that are rattling around in my head this evening.
For starters, the ideas on these pages represent my personal pursuit of self honesty and self acceptance. I’ve since realized that more values are required for these to work, including self worth and self trust. My degree of self acceptance a value unto itself but it is also a measure of my success in pursuit of the other three values; it could not be fulfilled without them.
Increased self acceptance and more self honest emotionalism could have tremendous impacts on how we view media and literature. Without valuing the emotional addictions portrayed by the characters in the same way we used to, many of our entertaining shows and books would become cautionary tales of the effects of self dishonesty.
However, this same self acceptance and pursuit of self-honest ways of expressing our emotionalism would also open up new frontiers in art, philosophy, writing of many kinds; even our music would be affected because we would begin to write music to appeal to more honest values. This would permit people the internal license to explore aspects of our creativity we’ve never seen before.
Our views on race and culture would change dramatically. Our view of nations might start to change. All 8 billion of us are basically the same, with the same needs and desires, the same capacity for suffering. This is the best metric with which to measure equality. Each and all of us possess an equal and near infinite capacity to suffer. While our decorative and reproductive features may differ this doesn’t change the sapient animal within, whose suffering is very real.
Gone would be the dishonest desire to exclude and discriminate. Gone would be the conflict arising from our prejudices. It sounds so fantastical given our history but all it requires is honest human beings. I have accepted why we’re so dishonest with ourselves and each other; we’re addicted to the molecules of our emotionalism and we abuse these perceptual experiences in furtherance of denial.
Gone would be the greed of capitalism and the desire to prosper in life by exploiting those worse off then us. Gone would be the never ending addiction to the feelings we induce at the thought of money – any thought of money. We’d have each other to help reinforce our self honesty, rather than to encourage further denial to make our own selfish emotions feel more valid.
Gone would be the fear and shame inflicted upon us by the religious and in some cases their direct descendants, regardless of religious belief. We’d have no place for it in our lives and we’d recognize it for the manipulative power play it is. Gone would be the hate begat of fear of the unknown.
Of course these things wouldn’t be completely gone; we would have to fight for them against people who value our old ways. Regressives, conservatives, religious extremists of every bent, none of these people will willingly learn and grow because their whole identity is based on not doing so. And they will continue to fight to undermine our societies, our democracies, and our quality of life.
For empathy to be real we must value it enough to protect its safe practice and this means standing up to and fighting against regressivism and fascism wherever it may occur. Self defense of our quality of life begins with accepting we are existentially threatened by people whose values directly conflict with our way of life.
We can’t effectively defend ourselves from that which we dishonestly reject, and this is why the world is shifting toward fascism. We pretend it’s either not real or not as bad as it is. And so empathy is no longer safe to openly practice in many social situations. I believe this framework of ideas can help people discover the internal fortitude necessary to make the good fight because it helps lay bare what the fundamental problem really is. Beneath the fascism reside the emotional addictions driving the fascist.
Our views of corporations would drastically change and the mega corporations would be broken up or destroyed in the process. This would probably cause the most social distress of the changes I can imagine, and it could cause real harm to people because the people who value the corporations don’t value our humanity very much, at all. Proportional repudiation may be appropriate.
Our perspective on our climate crisis would change drastically. Gone would be the common attitudes of denial. There may be initial terror among some people whose expectations lead there, but overall, increased acceptance of the scale and severity of our climate crisis could only help us to deal with it more productively.
Considering that our greenhouse gas emissions have risen every year since we started measuring them, and in recent decades have spiked year upon year to form a “hockey stick” on the graph, 50 years of environmentalism has accomplished less than nothing – a net negative – our emissions are worse this year than every year before it, and next year will be worse again.
We are starting to see undeniable impacts of our climate crisis on our agriculture and food supply. We’re feeling these changes in the prices of groceries and other goods. As these trends worsen – and they will rapidly worsen – we will need the additional degrees of self honesty and self acceptance not to do horrible things to each other when things get difficult, and to defend ourselves from those who surely will.
Our views on the judicial process would change. Gone would be the acceptability of the inequities of the systems we have and the corruption they harbour. Gone would be our blind deference to law, as we would make much stronger demands of our system based on conscience. Laws would have to be re-written in many cases, and judicial processes themselves would require reform. Policing… where to start, and don’t get me started.
Reforms across the board would become priority issues because we would accept that our quality of life is dependent upon the quality of our system and the quality of our system is predicated on the honesty and motivations of the people we elect to power.
And lastly for tonight, our views on medicine would change, and particularly mental health. We would realize the terrible mistake and corporate crime against humanity represented by the gross over-prescription and overuse of SSRIs and other medications. And we would no longer tolerate the commoditization of health care. We would demand reforms to the particularly callous treatment of women and people of color by the medical establishment. We would demand reforms in how the rights of children are recognized in medicine.
But if the ideas really spread, we wouldn’t have to demand these things very much because we’d already be electing people to power who share our views. There would still be conflict over it. Revolutions are never bloodless. I guess the success or failure of such a movement would depend on how rapidly it spread and how it was received.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this rant, until I remind myself of the nature of both. Our species has such tremendous potential but I don’t think we’ll choose to collectively leverage it in time to survive beyond this century. At least the suffering will end, eventually.