Will fascism destroy us?

Just saw “The Mockingjay Pt. 2” last night!

Powerful movie, very intense and moving on many levels, and – finally! – makes the message of the Hunger Games trilogy+ clear.

Much of the impact of the first three movies seemed to be glorifying militarism and heroism and all that typical Hollywood bullshit, but in Pt. 2, it’s clear that all that heroism, all that rebellion and fighting against evil, is in vain.

For in the end, it’s just “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” One fascist is overthrown by another fascist, who is succeeded by a general, and we never see what the social results of all this are…

As someone wise once said, your means become your ends. Violence, even against ultimate evil, begets violence. The story uses a clever deus ex machina to resolve the whole thing into a happy ending, but a harder-edged, more realistic ending would have made for a stronger message.

The true message – and of course this story is an allegory of our own society, tho many seem oblivious to that – is that authoritarianism is at the heart of what is destroying the earth and its people. That impulse within some to seize power and within others to worship it as salvation is what has brought us to this sorry state in the societies of the world.

Only if we humans begin to understand and look honestly at those impulses to control and be controlled will we be able to begin to design a world that is compatible with the rest of life. The path to that understanding is not clear to me, but I feel the ideas of a “new story” as presented in the work of a number of current thinkers – such as Eisenstein’s ‘The More Beautiful World’ – point the way to next steps.

My cynical, realist side says that all that now stands may need to be destroyed for a new story to take hold. My love of the next generation makes me hope that isn’t necessary.

Looking at the rhetoric from those who posture as leaders now makes me fear that the next year may be critical in which way that goes. Trump’s parallels to Hitler are not as frightening to me as the parallels in our people to those of early 20th Century Germany. I struggle to find ways of expressing this that communicate well to people with little sense of history and understanding of human social psychology.

If we don’t come together in ways that help all our citizens see these things, I fear the results of our next elections may seal things off in ways that will make it hard to come back…

16 thoughts on “Will fascism destroy us?

  1. Well in spite of all the press they got, right wing UKIP only got one seat in the UK election and I’ve just learnt that the far right did badly in France yesterday, so maybe there’s hope for the US presidential elections in due course.
    I have been wanting to reply to this but there’s so much to say it could run to pages! Have you heard of the Darwin Awards? They “Salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it”. I sometimes wonder if we aren’t heading for a collective award for the entire human race.
    Maybe genes play a role in this. “Survival of the fittest” has led to the evolution of a race where the ‘successful’ are often the most single-mindedly selfish. Even those who give, generally take care of their own needs first. To do otherwise would be irrational. Communism (as in give all you can but only take what you need) hasn’t worked, perhaps because human nature prevented it doing so. So maybe we do need a mass-extinction to reset the balance. Maybe the survivors will be those who can exist in the Outback or the Rainforest (if there’s any left). I don’t think it will be the ‘preppers’ in their bunkers with six months supply of food and a lot of guns.
    The climate change summit in Paris gives me hope. Trump will go the way of Palin. I expect there won’t be a Hollywood ending either good or bad for the human race.
    Nice Springsteen quote by the way! Shame we can’t sing “Happy Christmas, war is over” instead.

    • Oops just realised it was The Who, not Springsteen!

    • John Eden says:

      I often trend in this same direction, Rosie. I don’t know if there is a “human nature” involved here, probably mostly conditioning, but there’s something so amiss that it seems uncorrectable! The Mayans are my go-to example – they just walked away from the high civilization they built, went back up into the mountains and exist still in that very simple village-based society… probably very sustainable. So that may be the way it goes for humanity… if we survive at all through this millennia. Certainly the massive scale and complexity of our societies will collapse under its own weight at some point, with the corporate capitalists the first to go. Like a toppling tower, the greatest speed is reached by the tip just before the crash, so their apparent success is an illusion. And yes, the preppers will just kill each other off, and probably resort to cannibalism. BUT – ! – there’s always a ‘but’ I cling to the notion that nothing rules out the possibility that some critical event may reorder things, change some crucial factor that alters the course of it all in some constructive, beautiful way. Because anything can happen!
      Thanks for reading my rants, and thanks for your always enlightening comments!
      I keep thinking maybe one day we’ll come to Spain and visit! 🙂

      • I’ve always been fascinated by the nature/nuture debate. I used to think nuture had the upper hand. Now I think the opposite. Both come into play but you can’t escape your genes.Why is he US so much more right wing than Europe? Could it be because most of you are descendents of a certain type of character? Very resistant to government intervention for example. In Europe we get less excited about the tax man playing Robin Hood.

      • John Eden says:

        It’s hard to sort out, of course. Us ‘norte americanos’ at least in the US tend to react in pretty predictable ways. My friend who wrote Ecology of a Cracker Childhood has this theory that so many of us came from those border regions of the British Isles where no governments ruled, and fighting and drinking was the preferred recreation, that it has created this violent culture in the South. Makes sense. That narrow gene pool is certainly dominant. But then there’s the general question of whether or not there’s some kind of immutable nature of the human… and what that might be. Eisenstein comments on that some though I don’t remember exactly how he comes out on it. No clear answers. Interesting questions!

      • John, it’s a warm feeling to know you, ramblingrosemaryanne and other wise fellows there in the web.
        Probably all the people share the same base structure of the psyche – as Buddhists say, five scandhas and three poisons (1 – ignorance about our true nature; 2 – hatred and the like; 3 – craving and the like).
        And different peoples have somehow different mentalities – ways in which our problems are shaped. They depend on our history and ways of life. E.g. I think the history of England (where robbers, pirates and merchants ruled) made people more individualist and less respecting human lives, than the history of Russia which in turn made people more lazy and careless… 🙂
        So Anglo-Americans might view our Russian collectivism as totatlitarism and inertia, while we Russians might view American individualism as an obsession with competition and rapacity… 🙂
        Are those “national characters differences” real or just illusory, it seems we all have our strong and weak sides of characters, but the general problematic is the same. Let’s develop as “diversity in unity” – without alienation.
        Thank you, friends, I mean, as a popular toast says, “Thank us that we are” (and “thank them that they aren’t” :))…

      • John Eden says:

        Interesting perspective, CI! I tend to see our world problems as mostly socially created, all that complex interplay of persons with geography, history, economics… but how do we account for us anomalies? For example, I am pretty much collectivist, socialist at least, and long for the village with its clear roles and group identity. Individualism is repugnant to me, yet I rebel against the group I should be part of… Is there a clear, rational justification for the humanism we tend to support? I think so, but it’s hard to articulate it to those who so vociferously disagree.

  2. In 2014 I tried to get the support of people on Zen Forum International, to protest against American orchestration and cultivation of a war in Ukraine.
    I presented a lot of info and explanations, but the result was nothing.
    Western people were more ready to protest against Israeli engagements in Gaza border conflicts. Because people got that anti-Israeli criticism from their mass media.

    So my conclusion is that even relatively reasonable men are conditioned to follow the propaganda of their society.

    Why?

    Probably because their TV sets (etc) make them dwell in emotions. That emotional stimulation keeps people zombified.

    On the other hand, people are being conditioned to be afraid of stressful situations. Situations that require you
    – to act personally (like helping people in emergency while you are not ready to mobilize yourself emotionally),
    – to stand as if naked outside of standard conformist actions –
    are stressful.
    And possibly dangerous. You know that many American non-conformists of the past were just killed.

    So, what has to be done, most importantly?

    • Seems governments love wars because it takes attention away from their ineptitude at home.

      • zend0ru says:

        > because it takes attention away

        But also they solve some egoistic tasks like controlling resources through controlling people’s conditions, in different parts of the world.

        Just manipulating attention is a simpler task (as you can see by monitoring web news portals etc). Manipulating info content can make a war virtually invisible. And vice versa.

        So, for example,
        (1) why anyone would need a coup-d’etat in Chile in 70’es?
        Allende had very interesting experiment of practical socialism combined with real-time computer control of economic processes.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Cybersyn

        Maybe such objective tools of self-regulation was the key technology that USSR have lacked for its evolution.
        (A similar computer project was planned and discussed in USSR, but eventually rejected. So in the end there was no mechanism to correct the course of degradation of Soviet elite).

        (2) Why USA – the most powerful country – needed to “defend itself” by attacking small rural land over the ocean (so 3,5 millions of Vietnamese died)?

        And now, as Dennis Meadows pointed out, we are already on the depleting oil curve – since mid-80’es – so for the humanity it becomes harder and harder to leave our self-devouring trail gracefully. “Now we already can’t save everyone” – as Meadows said a few years ago.

        Pure logic hints that an international struggle for resources might take more and more violent forms. And it really does. Problems around Iraq and other countries of the Old World have very clear causes.
        Speaking about “defending democracy” (which means in contemporary language “subdue the world”), NATO armies and secret services cultivate more and more regions of instability and cheap exploitation, like in Kongo.

        Alternative ways just are being destroyed – like in a case of Allende.
        So you can call me paranoid and pessimist, but I feel governments not just love wars – there is a global “Big Game” going… And I’m afraid there are no instruments in capitalist world that would prevent something that could be a suicide of human race. Thus what we need now is at least a clear awareness of what’s going on, why, and finally what should be done.

      • John Eden says:

        Yes, our US media and government have certainly succeeded at making war invisible. Most Americans would likely say that we live in an era of peace. So oblivious are they to the real conditions in most of the world. Until they see jackboots marching down the streets of their neighborhood, they’ll never see the fascists for what they are.

      • John Eden says:

        Certainly one of the tried and true strategies they use… tho it’s not just ineptitude they wish to distract us from. It’s their ongoing crimes.

    • John Eden says:

      Good question, dude. I think right now, keeping the faith, keeping on, just trying to not give in to the temptation to bail out totally and wallow in our depravity is our most important effort. Along with helping others to do the same. Maintain our humanity, I suppose is the more clear way to say it. It’s challenging just to keep struggling to present the human, compassionate response to all the insanity. The presidential media circus amid the racist police state atmosphere is so disheartening here. And the continuing construction of the Empire – wars, drones, propaganda, on and on. I suppose there are even greater soul-destroyers working for you and others around the world.

      Thank you for your response and the opportunity to share with someone who sees it much the same despite our vastly different circumstances and background. I do value your friendship and wish I were a better communicator. Talk again soon!

  3. > Interesting perspective, CI! I tend to see our world problems as mostly socially created, all that complex interplay of persons with geography, history, economics… but how do we account for us anomalies? For example, I am pretty much collectivist, socialist at least, and long for the village with its clear roles and group identity. Individualism is repugnant to me, yet I rebel against the group I should be part of… Is there a clear, rational justification for the humanism we tend to support? I think so, but it’s hard to articulate it to those who so vociferously disagree.

    —-
    > but how do we account for us anomalies? (…)

    Well, first of all, I don’t know other nations really well, as I lived only in USSR, Russia, Ukraine, so my judgments about Americans are based largely on Hollywood movies :), and partly on Soviet newspapers etc. 🙂
    So as I know from the movies, young Americans at schools are pretty violent and divide into groups much, while Soviet / Russian pupils are being oriented less on competition, more on just calmly doing exercises in a collective. And so on: Americans are oriented on keeping smiling, presenting themselves as successful people, while Russians (might be) more tend to be emotionally-aware, less smiling, but more sincere; and prone to talking to others about our beliefs, views on life etc. – what you can expect to talk about with a good barman, random stranger in a train or a psychoanalyst. Some say Russians don’t go to psychoanalysts because they drink and talk to friends instead of psychoanalysts.

    Considering all that etc., I may suppose that we are not really different, and what I thought about our cultural / ethnic character differences are mostly like social norms, rather than actual “inner” differences in characters.
    BTW, I was also “an anomaly”: in an early childhood I got a revelation that *the picture of the world of adults is not true*.
    So I didn’t take things at face values, and happened to be real individualist, usually having my own opinions about what and how to do…

    Anyway, there are useful sides in individualism, such as respect for the views and needs of EVERY one (however special (s)he is), what might be often neglected in collectivist mentalities. And there are useful sides in collectivism, such as the priority of COMMON benefit, rather than egoistic, personal benefit endeavors.

    > I tend to see our world problems as mostly socially created

    About world problems, I think that the root of most problems is a lack of human wisdom. It’s a kind of a cultural problem, manifested in everyone.
    An analogy is illiteracy. There was a time when almost all the people couldn’t read and write; that was because a culture of literacy was not well-spread. And therefore so many individuals lacked literacy.

    The same way, we humans now lack the culture of being awake, and therefore so often we manifest a lack of wisdom.
    I think awakening is a kind of a psychic culture that can be developed, both in individuals and in a society.
    Let’s say we humans have not fully developed our abilities of mental abstraction. We are mostly on a level of substantiated labels and substantiated emotions, i.e. we learned to manipulate stamps etc., a bit in a monkeysh, mechanical way.
    So that we use labels and desires – these are our instruments, – and, in a way, they control our thinking and feelings.
    So now we need to move to the next level of mental mastery: to re-connect our abstractions to the basis of the wholeness of the reality.

    In a Bible it was described as “using the fruit of knowledge of good and bad”. We divided the whole world into things, with labels of good and bad; so mostly we live in a world all lined by labels; a world of dependence on desires. (Desires coming from “Good/bad”, lines of “me/them” rule our reactions. So we play roles built from those mental instruments – labels, desires and the like).
    Now we need to rejoin these derived mental objects back with the reality, and then base our views and actions on the reality rather than on labels and singled out desires.
    According to the Bible – “Use the fruit of the tree of life”.
    “Good” and “bad” are at the sides of the tree of life; it grows between them freely and regardlessly of them. 🙂

    > Is there a clear, rational justification for the humanism we tend to support? I think so, but it’s hard to articulate it to those who so vociferously disagree.

    So the aim of Buddhism for example is to take our mental objects and place them from their imaginary world back on top of real phenomena.
    See here the explanation how:
    https://www.quora.com/Is-Buddhism-simply-psychology/answer/Alex-Zendo

    If you agree with that view, then what we need to articulate is to show – in examples and logics – how does that work:
    – how our mental immaturity is manifested, and why it is bad for any individual to have that immaturity;
    – how to develop our mental consciousness to the level of maturity, and how “good” that could manifest.

    That’s it.
    Sorry if this my writing is a bit sketchy… First I wanted to meditate a lot, before writing to you on such a global subject :); and now I want to throw you this ball before the new year. 🙂 Maybe I will polish such a text later…
    Now I don’t want to miss a chance to congratulate you and wish:
    sound health,
    wholesome feeling,
    radiating happiness and love,
    favorite conditions for Boddhisattvic practice. 🙂
    It’s midnight in Moscow, so I’m called to open a Champagne, cheers to all beings!
    🙂
    _/|\_

    • John Eden says:

      Nice to hear from you on new year’s day!

      Quite a mind full you have written. I am digesting it along with my traditional new year’s day meal – blackeyed peas, turnips and cornbread.😊

      I will do some meditation as well before responding!!

      A most happy new year to you, my friend!

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