We discern the general from focusing intently on the specific. I have focused a lot of attention on noted leftist writer Chris Hedges only because I think the specificity of his demeanor and actions is crucially informative concerning the sort of general problems that are keeping us ALL perpetually mired in political impotence. What is true of Mr. Hedges, specifically, is true, generally, of most of us, perhaps even all of us.
I most certainly do NOT except myself from that assessment.
We are ALL trained by and in an exceedingly ‘sick’ culture. Some of us may have developed a perspective on this diseased culture that allows us to see ourselves, and our behavior, in it. That perspective imparts to us some small measure of freedom from it. But NONE of us are immune from the effects of this ‘sick’ culture on our own thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and attitudes. Just because we can sometimes ‘see’ ourselves as we are, under the sick culture’s power, we do not break free of that power, any more than being aware of the sun’s gravitational pull on the Earth frees us from same. Our self-awareness, our passing visions of ourselves, only incrementally free us from our culture’s power, and only for as long as we ‘see’ them. Self-awareness is not something that once acquired is then possessed. It is a constantly ongoing struggle to maintain.
Our consciousness of awareness of ourselves as products of our diseased culture is indeed the key to freeing ourselves from the culture’s grip, but the nature of consciousness is that it only expands slowly, and usually in fits and starts. What we ‘see’ one day, we are often again blinded to the next. It takes time, even generations, to learn the most important lessons, and we can NEVER claim to possess the truth. We can only hope to serve it, to serve the truth, as best we can, and only then through fanatical devotion to it.
Our human condition is inherently difficult and painful. Life is desire, and few of us are ever satisfied with what we have. To be human is to want. We always ache painfully for what we don’t have. Once we have what we want, we immediately then want something else. Have a beautiful mate? We then want our neighbor’s mate. Have all the riches we can possibly use? We yet want something else to make us happy.
Our worst enemy, Ego, is imprinted in our DNA. It’s impossible to serve both Truth and Ego. A CONSTANT spiritual battle thus rages between the two. It’s not for nothing that Humanity is on the cusp of apocalypse. Being human is really HARD. We’re ALL just doing the best we can. Even the most brilliant among us are only ‘poor dumb humans’, throbbing with life and Human Desire.
Please remember that I am addressing a select group from among the nation’s intelligentsia. This is NOT a mass mailing, and I am not addressing the general public.
In a nation which we can ALL surely see is ruled over by a cabal of Elite Forces, which are relegating the lives of the Common People into ever increasing degrees of misery, the left is fighting the right, the right is fighting the left, the Democrats are fighting the Republicans, and the Republicans are fighting the Democrats, and thus NO ONE, no one at ALL, is fighting the Elite Forces, who are cunningly manipulating ALL sides through their brilliant use of Mass Media to form and shape our sick culture, which affects ALL our thoughts, and beliefs, and feelings and attitudes.
Divide and rule. THE ‘oldest trick in the book’. (THE oldest). And here we are, ALL of us, each just a poor dumb human, still falling for this same old (same old) trick, after 100 centuries of painful lessons that have tried to teach us better. ‘They’ have us ALL by the ‘sort hairs’. Nobody said that extricating ourselves from this deadly predicament is going to be easy.
Though we all can see that the Ruling Elites have been engaging in a deadly murderous Class War against the Common People for at least decades, (overtly since 1980, and covertly at least since the CIA was created in ’46, and arguably long before that), we have been tricked into throwing aside ALL Class Consciousness in favor of advocating either for or against the primitive tribal and cultural precepts of Identity Politics, which the Elites have imposed on us through their total control over Mass Media.
Copied below (very slightly edited) are my comments attached to Hedges’ most recently published article, which is an incredibly lame, albeit superlatively eloquent, re-hashing of the same article article he’s written dozens, if not hundreds of times before.
I’m not ‘picking on’ this poor man. Some may recall that I recently publicly challenged him to reach deep inside and show us his best. I’m not picking on him. I’m using him as an example of lessons we desperately need to learn.
Hope all are well and strong.
Publicly challenged to reach down deep to find the best in himself, (ahem), this is what Mr. Hedges shows us? He re-writes the same re-hashed article he’s written dozens of times before? He shows off his eloquence in verbiage, yet again, to entertain his fans by so artfully articulating their beliefs, or else by so artfully providing them the opportunity to castigate him for his beliefs and harangue us with theirs?
See how they praise him, (or castigate him), for doing so. Reading the comments here, (there are 35 posted as I write this, and I’ve read every one carefully, and some are indeed deeply thoughtful), is like joining a nihilistic ‘circle jerk‘, as we called such things back in the ‘olden days’, (the 60s). Everyone seems to be having fun in expressing themselves. Nothing wrong with enjoying life, of course, but is there any serious purpose to be found here? Is there a sense of building anything?
Eloquent hopelessness, bordering on outright nihilism, is the Hedges hallmark. This is ‘pure’ Hedges. Waxing dourly eloquent, as few but he can, to lure his followers into despair, preparing them to go even beyond mere despair, to be completely lost into nihilism.
Like a ghastly version of the tune played by the mythical Pied Piper, his hopeless melody is so beguiling in its dour eloquence that the people he purports to want to lead to some USEFUL greater awareness, (emphasis on ‘useful’), are instead beguiled into following him to the land of nowhere, the land of no hope, the land where nihilism and/or apathy always beckons.
One cannot help but see that Mr. Hedges’ skilled technique mimics that of a highly sophisticated operative whose disguised agenda is at diametrical odds with her or his purported agenda. The end effect of Mr. Hedges’ work is so obviously the same as would be that of a highly skilled operative, who pretends to hold the same beliefs as the people she or he addresses, in order to lure them in a direction that will relegate their beliefs into ineffectiveness, that discomfiting suspicion is unavoidably engendered.
A writer/activist whose objective was to inspire her or his readers to constructive action, as Mr. Hedges seems to pretend his is, would propagate a message designed for that purpose. She or he would seek to inspire people with hope. Such a writer would obviously want to inspire her or his readers with the empowering belief that through our specific and strategic actions we can solve the problems the writer describes. “Si! Se Puede!” Yes! It CAN be done! Is Mr. Hedges evenly vaguely familiar with the concept?
Does Mr. Hedges EVER do that? Has he EVER done that?
I’ve been reading his work for many years now. I don’t recall EVER hearing him do that. When, in which specific article, has he EVER tried to inspire his readers with a positive hopeful message designed to inspire us to constructive and effective action? Can anyone cite an article by him that has done so?
I’d like to emphasize that I do NOT think that Chris Hedges is an operative. Although there ARE operatives operating among us with that level of sophistication, I think this particular individual is just a highly flawed person, (aren’t we ALL?), for whom serving his own ego is his most important motivation.
He simply exists in the constant state of the dour despair he constantly expresses. He can’t express hope because he can’t feel any. He’s bitter, (as he so constantly tells us), about being stripped of his social and economic status as an established Mass Media ‘star’. He’s especially bitter that it was his very ‘goodness’, (his very sincere commitment to truth), that caused his exile from social and economic status. His social currency among the cocktail party set has been permanently reduced from “I write for the NY Times”, to “I write for various websites that you’ve never even heard of”. He’s completely overwhelmed, emotionally, by the sheer raw power of ‘the system’ that did this to him.
He writes so eloquently:
“Tens of millions of Americans, cast adrift by deindustrialization, understand that their lives will not improve, nor will the lives of their children. Society, as Durkheim writes, is no longer “sufficiently present” for them. Those cast aside can participate in society, he writes, only through sadness”.
He genuinely feels our, the Common People’s pain, because it is HIS pain. A father of 4, he despairs for his children’s future.
I believe that his pain is sincere and genuine, as an operative’s would not be, but his sincerity cannot and does not change the fact that the net effect of his work, leading his readers to despair, and toward nihilism, is IDENTICAL to that of a cynical and highly sophisticated operative.
A writer/activist whose cause was more important than their own self would realize that propagating despair only damages that cause. Such a writer would stop writing if all she or he had to contribute was despair. What’s a writer’s motive for writing if the net effect of that writing only serves to damage the writer’s purported ’cause’? Isn’t such a writer only then writing to seek applause? Hasn’t such a writer’s purpose been reduced to serving her or his own ego, at the expense of her or his own purported cause?
Hmm… I choose to hold to my faith in this man. I ‘know’, (poetically speaking), that he has within him much better than this. This is, after all, the same person who so recently wrote:
“The public has been siloed into antagonistic tribes. Catering to these antagonistic tribes is the business model of the media, whether Fox News or MSNBC. Not only are these competing demographics fed what they want to hear, but the opposing tribe is demonized, with the scalding rhetoric widening the chasms within the public. This delights the oligarchs.
If we are to wrest power back from corporations and the billionaire class who have carried out this coup d’état in slow motion, as well as prevent the rise of neofascism, we must build a left-right coalition free from the moral absolutism of woke zealots”.
Well… Uhh… Was this just more useless eloquent verbiage from him, simply seeking applause form a wider audience? (The passage above was part of an actual recent speech of his). If that’s what he truly believes, wouldn’t one think that all his energy as a writer/activist would now be focused on “building a left-right coalition free from the moral absolutism of woke zealots”?
Does he think this latest re-hashed article from him contributes to accomplishing that purpose, as therein he expresses a litany of OWN moral ‘woke’ absolutism? He demonizes one side’s leader, while merely criticizing the other side’s leader. He completely ignores the horrific manner in which the Biden Regime, following in the fascist tradition of the Obama-Clintonistas, (FISA warrant anyone? Russiagate?), has fully weaponized the powers of office, has fully weaponized the full power of government against its political opponents, an open expression of actual fascist power that FAR outstrips anything the other side’s leader, Trump, EVER did.
Does Mr. Hedges think his recitation of crazed, self-blinded Woke Ideology is the way we should go about “building a left-right coalition free from the moral absolutism of woke zealots”?
He actually concludes on what I will consider, (in trying to preserve my faith in him), a positive note. He writes:
“Our society is deeply diseased. We must heal these social illnesses. We must mitigate this anomie. We must restore the severed social bonds and integrate the dispossessed back into society. If these social bonds remain ruptured it will guarantee a frightening neofascism. There are very dark forces circling around us. Sooner than we expect, they may have us in their grip”.
In a departure from his usual eloquence, this is rather poorly expressed, but it contains (albeit embedded rather deeply) the message we need to hear. To wit:
We, the Common People, are engaged in a SPIRITUAL struggle. In our current divisive state of hate-mongering consciousness, we, the Common People, are not yet even VAGUELY capable of engaging in a POLITICAL struggle against the Elite Forces oppressing us. We, the Common People, must construct a message that will draw us together in SPIRIT before we will even be vaguely capable of fashioning a credible political agenda, in order to build a political struggle.
One would hope that a writer with Mr. Hedges’ masterful command of the language, (and especially considering that he’s an ordained minister), could apply his talent and skill to fashioning such a message to inspire us, rather than constantly inflict his dour hopelessness on us.
C’mon, Mr. Hedges. Do you think I don’t know that you understand perfectly well what I’m saying to you? C’mon, man. You can do better than this. I yet have faith in you.