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Reasons to be cheerful: Defying the specter of ugly fates.

I’m kicking this back to the top from June, 2010. I had occasion to re-read my thoughts on sex earlier today, and then I went back and looked at this essay. I like it better today than I did last summer, and I hope you will, too. –GSS
 

Reasons to be cheerful, part zero: The ground we stand upon is firm and the lever of the human mind grows ever stronger.

I need to take this someplace else. I am madly off-topic here more often than not, this for the past couple of years. I think I may be in the third act of this spectacle of ideas I have made of my life, and I can’t even say, yet, if it’s a farce in three acts or a tragedy in five. I would prefer an epiphany, to say the truth, a symphony, a grand opera composed of nothing but the simplest and most obvious of abstractions, an idiot’s guide to what every last idiot among us has always known forever, has never once doubted, and has always, always betrayed — until now.

But that’s why I’m cheerful, I think, despite everything. There is still so much time left to us, amidst the crush of on-rushing events. I am thrice lucky, I know it: I can see and I can understand what I am seeing. I can think and I can transcribe my thoughts. And I live in a time when the thoughts of everyone in human history who ever thought productively are instantly available to each one of us — on demand, no charge, quantities unlimited, with every taste in depth and rigor satisfied and then some.

This is an amazing thing. It’s never happened before, and it remains to be seen how deeply humanity is willing to set its roots in the boundless praries of the mind. But the simple fact that this is possible — and that people all over the world are taking advantage of it — is a profoundly important reason to be cheerful, no matter what despair might be unearthed in the day’s events.

Clearly, Barrack Obama is incompetent. That’s scary enough, but I have believed that the man is a malignant narcissist since first I paid any attention to him. This would be an ideal time not to have a boob who may well be a feral tyrant in the White House, but on top of any damage the president might do, we are confronted by the impending collapse of the European Union, the bankruptcy of California and many other states and cities, the foreseeable foundering of the U.S. economy — all this on top of predictable responses to Obama’s weakness in Iran, Korea and now Turkey. This is a good time to put your head in the sand, so I am thrilled to see so many people doing the opposite instead — striving to learn how we got ourselves into this ditch and how to dig ourselves out.

I can see three tomorrows from here, and each one of them seems to me to offer more reasons for optimism than despair. As I get time, I’ll go through them in detail, but here they are in summary:

  • Future number one: Nothing much changes in the grand scheme of things. This is the most likely scenario by far.
     
  • Future number two: We go through a sustained economic collapse, like the Great Depression or Japan’s Lost Decade.
     
  • Future number three: SHTF — The Shit Hits The Fan. A re-org, as it were, perhaps just in what had been the United States, perhaps everywhere. I consider this hugely unlikely, but it seems like something that might be worth thinking about, if only as a precaution.

Why would I be cheerful about fates like these? Because we have so much leverage. Not political power; political power has been the enemy of the human mind forever. What we have is the power of reason, when we dare to cultivate it — and the praries open to our plowing have never been more vast, never more rich, never more fertile, never more accessible to anyone who is willing to dig and husband and harvest and thrive.

We’ve spent all our lives — all our history! — clawing for things, for the tangible, the graspable, the hordeable, the hideable — the things we snatch away with an animal’s cunning and then cringe forever in animal fear that they might be snatched back. That much was wrong, and that is what we are learning at last: The things that matter most to the human mind, the things that yield up every kind of wealth, spiritual and physical, in vast uncountable cornucopian abundance — those treasures of the mind can never be pawed at or swiped.

We stand at the cliff’s edge of greatness, and, suddenly, one by one, we are daring to dive, to submerse ourselves in all the wisdom of all of human history and to come back to the surface as new men, as new minds, as the radiant and resplendent brand new thing we should always have been — had we ever once been willing to dig in and do the work.

People are doing that work now, one mind at a time, all over the world, and that alone is reason enough to be of good cheer. Our governments have screwed up very badly, but the solution to all human ills — the inconquerable human mind — is honing the blade of the plow in preparation for the cultivation we have tried so hard, as a species, never to do.

There is this: We are perched, too, on the cliff’s edge on the singularity. When will it come? What form will it take? These questions no one will be able to answer until it has already happened. But that’s the worst fate that could befall us. Wars and rumors of wars, poisoning our own habitat, financial collapse — these are nothing, really, nothing we haven’t lived through before. But if we miss the singularity, it could take us anywhere from decades to forever to climb our way back to the top of the cliff.

If you want something to worry about, it’s that — humanity so completely destroying itself that we miss out on the chance to graduate, now that we’ve almost earned the right to move on. But that’s the point: At the precise moment that we need the mind the most, people all over the world are waking up to the life of the mind.

Too few of them? Too late? Too hopelessly lost in centuries of carefully-crafted gibberish ever to find their way back to reason? Hide and watch.

Here’s my answer: If I can improve my own mind every day, I am acquiring the very leverage I will need to move the earth and to rebuild it as I would have it, as it should have been all along. I am but one man, one mind — but my name is legion. There are thousands and millions of people like me, some of them immeasurably brilliant. And we are all of us unchained in the praries of the mind at last — free to learn, free to grow, free to thrive.

Free to stare fate in the eye — and defy it.

Free to have the world our way, all the way, all the time.

It advantages you nothing to worry. But it profits you everything to think…


Reasons to be cheerful: Defying the specter of ugly fates.

Manifest your own destiny: You say you want a revolution? Yeah, well anyone can piss and moan about how bad everything is. If you want things to change, I’m making a stout effort to show you how to achieve revolutionary change — from the inside out. But your own efforts at self-improvement will bear sweeter fruit sooner if you share what you’re learning with other people who love to live. You’ve never heard anything like this before. Why would you hoard it to yourself?

Related posts:
  • Reasons to be cheerful, Part 2.9: Marksmanship is a perfectible praxis.
  • Reasons to be cheerful, part 0.5: Sleeping giants can’t sleep forever.
  • Reasons to be cheerful, Part 2.5: It’s raining soup and all you can do is piss and moan that Big Mother hasn’t given you a free bowl.

  • 9 comments

    9 Comments so far

    1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by . said: [...]

    2. Don Reedy June 11th, 2010 6:22 am

      “…..the lever of the human mind grows even stronger.”

      I am first of all in awe of this particular piece of writing. Greg, really. The farce you describe has become an epiphany for me. And you did it by in fact utilizing the “simple machine” each human possesses…the mind.

      Every time you write with such clarity about the freedom of the mind you advantage and move the fulcrum for all the other minds that participate in your exercise.

      Here in San Diego, this morning, it is truly raining soup.

    3. Brian Brady June 11th, 2010 7:33 am

      I first thought Future #3 was inevitable (and prepared for it). Now, after speaking with people on Wall Street, I think Future #2 is more likely. These people are terrified of the Financial Reform Act because of its far reaching powers and attack on innovation (when we need innovation most).

      I was at an industry event recently where all of the top-notch originators were actively discussing alternatives to long careers in lending because of the FRA. The weakest and least talented among us kept towing the anti-consumer, Rotarian Socialist line (this will make our jobs easier because we don’t have to market and deliver good service).

      Expect a similar attack on real estate brokerage soon, most likely within the framework of the FRA

    4. Jeff Brown June 11th, 2010 10:14 am

      I’ve expected the second scenario to play out for some time. It seems we’re closing in on it too.

    5. Don Reedy June 11th, 2010 11:56 am

      Brian and Jeff,

      Was reading on the prognosis that the FRA would be structural or regulatory in nature, and why that’s important.

      Here, in this article by Mark Thomas I think we find the germination of scenario #2 absolutely taking first place around the back turn.

      Regulation creates nothing new. It merely consumes energy and effort. With nothing new, the old and decaying components are sustained, rotting over a longer period of time, but rotting nonetheless.

    6. Greg Swann June 11th, 2010 6:16 pm

      Gentlemen: Ahem:

      > It advantages you nothing to worry. But it profits you everything to think…

      You can spend every moment of your life clinging to everything you have to lose. In futures two or three you could easily lose everything you’re worrying about. What will you cling to then? Whatever your answer, that’s what matters in your life. Focus your thoughts on that instead.

    7. Bob jenkins June 11th, 2010 8:38 pm

      “I can improve my mind every day.” That’s the job, isn’t it, the dharma, and the faith that doing so is not only it’s own reward, but that such improvement will incrementally improve everybody’s world? (That was a question, wasn’t it?)

    8. Teri Lussier August 13th, 2011 6:19 pm

      >We’ve spent all our lives — all our history! — clawing for things, for the tangible, the graspable, the hordeable, the hideable — the things we snatch away with an animal’s cunning and then cringe forever in animal fear that they might be snatched back. That much was wrong, and that is what we are learning at last: The things that matter most to the human mind, the things that yield up every kind of wealth, spiritual and physical, in vast uncountable cornucopian abundance — those treasures of the mind can never be pawed at or swiped.

      >We stand at the cliff’s edge of greatness, and, suddenly, one by one, we are daring to dive, to submerse ourselves in all the wisdom of all of human history and to come back to the surface as new men, as new minds, as the radiant and resplendent brand new thing we should always have been -

      Sorry I missed this first go ’round because that is positively breathtaking.

    9. Greg Swann August 15th, 2011 10:29 am

      > Sorry I missed this first go ’round because that is positively breathtaking.

      Thanks. Tell your friends