HUMAN ISSUES   Conformity
Updates:  09/22/2017; 6/16/2016 originally from Notes 03/29/2014 CONFORMITY AND RELIGIOUS BLINDSETS Moving beyond the Illusions behind propriety and apparent order  Story: The Emperor’s New Clothes  Author: Hans Christian Andersen (1805 - 1875) See the full story at:  http://www.online-literature.com/hans_christian_andersen/967/ Summary:  Imaginary weaving and wearing of clothes that did not exist; charlatan weavers; feeding into vanity; surreptitious subordinates; the power of group think in promoting illusions; how religion can encourage blindsets as mental constructs which can be oppositional to other ideas, insights or facts. The basic plot is about a vain king who had a thing about clothes, pomp and circumstance while using others to do his work and thinking for him.  At one point he hired some dishonest men to make clothes for him which were supposed to be wondrous with unusual properties like showing up false leaders.  All along the way from production to apparent adornment, he was stolen from and lied to as people took advantage of his vanity and unwillingness to think things through carefully for himself.  They also were protecting themselves by not ruffling his feathers or making waves in the public arena.  It is likely that because the subordinates around him did not really like his power, wealth or attitude and because he was so willing to be stupid, they decided to suck up to him and let him fall into the hole of his own making.  The truth of the matter was that no clothes at all were being made for him; they were an illusion, a made-up story.  When the non-existent clothes were reported to be finally finished, he supposedly put them on and wore them in a public parade throughout the city, but in fact he really had nothing on at all.  People pretended to sigh in wonder and praise him for his wonderful new clothes.  It finally took the innocence of a child to state flatly that he had no clothes on at all, but was naked.  Once the child broke the ice, other people followed suit and confirmed that the king was indeed naked.  He lost face with his people and the spell of illusion was broken. There are a number of interpretations of this story by various people.  One obvious moral seems to be that people need to stand on their own and not rely too much on group consensus reality.  Another seems to be to not let the ego outweigh good judgment or common sense.  Yet another seems to be people’s willingness to deceive others as long as they feel they are getting something out of it or are protecting themselves.  There also seems to be a work ethic moral, and a moral about the evils of glamor, as if too much gold will spoil the milk. On a metaphysical level, perhaps the story connects with old witchcraft imagery or sorcery and has some hidden meanings along those lines. Connecting the concepts found in the story to the modern world we live in, I suggest that we can find analogies between the government/military system, the banking industry (ie, our money is a floated product on a sea of debt and uncertainty, S&L’s have their show-up, illegal bank fees defaced) and the environment and the morals and themes there.   We can also find universal or timeless ideas found in human nature no matter the country, culture, era or location - for example, the idea that people will play out certain sociologically definable behaviors within any group setting.  Holding on to the illusion that everything is OK as long as we have a job and a house to live in, even when the money to pay for these things coming from environmentally and often socially disabling practices, is a way of denying reality of a deeper truth.  Coal-fired power plants and oil and gas might pay the bills for now, but they are eating away at the core of our real survival - the planet itself.  People in these industries might adhere to the illusion that they are feeding their families and keeping people out of poverty by giving them a better standard of living, but ultimately it’s a lie. People are creating deserts while living in artificial oases. Whole communities can create and maintain the lie.  This social fabric covers everything like religion and social ties to economic purchasing power.  What they prefer to buy (like big trucks or SUVs) and the services they need to maintain health while working at these places (ie, dentists, doctors, hospitals) all help keep up the lie by bringing other people into this network of need and focus.  Ultimately it becomes more and more difficult to face up to the lie or to topple it.  The magical spell of denying reality weaves its patterns throughout the whole area to the point it might even become dangerous to speak out or push back.  People feel their livelihoods and safety depend on the underlying thing that keeps them afloat for now while the roots of the most basic aspects of survival - water, air, and soil - are being ripped out from under them.  In the meantime, this behavior is often rewarded by group dynamics.  Consensus reality makes it OK to act like this and to question this reality is seen as threatening and possibly even madness.  It’s a way of making normalcy abnormal. Madness and that which is not truly healthy or common sense can be suppressed beneath a veneer of shallow and inappropriate reasoning.  People learn to play and even be cute about living the lie - it becomes a glamor point.  If people can dress well, have nice houses, pay their bills and drive in popular modes of transportation, they feel they are safe in the space of fitting in with other people doing the same thing.  As an example of  illusion-based madness, look at how one kind of common sense - the one about having a job and making money - overrides the broader and more whole-brained form of common sense - that of precious water resources and life on earth as a whole.  This includes the idea this kind of job/money source  today will prevent future jobs in the future once everything is dried up and gone.  Things like fracking take way too much water in some of the drought scourged areas of the United States, but people in the oil and gas industry fight zealously to overcome environmentally oriented blocks to get their way in these matters.  In the meantime, desertification and polluted ground water sources increase.   In addition, artificial oases created by water brought in from other regions (like via the Colorado River)  lose what is left of their natural groundwater base.  People keep turning up their garden hoses and music to drown out the draining and toxification of the earth  going all around them. The other lie which becomes set up in these areas of confusion and distortion is that the fossil fuel driven industry’s approach to religion blesses these people for their “true” Americanism and adherence to the only way of believing in God or spirituality.  By creating a culture which both benefits the people and makes them feel safe spiritually, they feel immune to outside information and approaches which might tell them their version of reality is a lie.  In other words, if they have their flags and God by their sides, they feel they are not only untouchable but seen as a special people saved from the wrath of God in the afterworld.  They tell themselves they are buying good boy tickets to heaven.  We cannot break through the fabric of truth they weave around themselves because anything that tells them another story is seen as the devil or crazy. Although unpopular and seen as suspect or even dangerous, we might also suggest that the blind adherence to the Jesus story might parallel the tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes.  People are told Jesus is our Lord and Savior and people recant this at the drop of a hat.  In many of these Christian circles, the name of Jesus and Christianity is associated with man as head of household with a hierarchical system between men and women firmly entrenched in the family-marriage-work paradigms. We see a lot of this in communities entrenched with the fossil fuel paradigm. These people seem to refuse to look at the evidence of another Jesus unfolding in the actual historic and archaeological record - a Jesus who might have suggested that women can find equality and deep spirituality when they become like men - or that a highly metaphysical system of order outside of the physical world was considered during his lifetime.  Jesus definitely seemed to have a strong connection with the woo woo world many conservative Christians hold as suspect.  The other issue that is often overlooked among normative Christians is that there were a number of different sects associated with Jesus and his followers around the period of time of his life, and that this can be connected with earlier systems of thought.  We are seeing evidence that the ancient mythical sun god Mithra had similarities to Jesus.  Some of the sun god prayers used by the Babylonians, Egyptians and others were incorporated into the bible with some changes in language or wording.  The real Jesus and an amalgamated Jesus seem difficult to separate out from each other - the Jesus that people seem to pray to today seems to be a mixture of ideas across time and space.  The people’s confirmation of the invisible clothes of the Emperor and group adherence to the interpretations of Jesus, despite evidence to the contrary in both cases, seem to go together.  This is not an argument against Jesus as a spiritual leader or someone with an important spiritual message; it is a suggestion that we allow ourselves to be careful about making assumptions or being afraid to retain a rational mind.  To use Jesus to make people feel guilty seems to cast a shadow on his life, no matter the truth of his spiritual nature.  People refer to the feeling they have that he died for our sins; this is a shame-blame-game.  I also hear things like If you don’t believe in Hell you had better be right” or Unless you can walk on water, keep your mouth shut - or the equivalent.  I see things like this on bumper stickers, too.  I think the shaming hurts people.  It sets children up for failure by creating fear pictures. In cases where the mind is blocked and the will empowered toward wrong goals and ideas, we have to ask ourselves what torch will break the spell.  In the case of the story, it was the light of a simple yet profound truth coming from innocence.  In many cases we have learned to unlearn our basic innocence or connection with reality.  We have taught ourselves to put on masks and to do a double-twist with reality so that “1 plus 1 equals 3” - not two.  We learn to recapitulate the basics into something else - like saying that dirty air or water and depleted soil make both a high cost home in a desirable housing district and an equally costly truck with expensive tires.  As long as we look and smell good, we push away the thoughts about what it took or what went down to get us to that point.  As long as we have pro-American military bumper stickers on our expensive trucks, wave flags and put up Jesus Saves signs, everything is under control and our loyalties and safety well defined.  In many areas of the country, Americans do in fact act like this, whether the main employer is related to fossil fuels or not.  We have lost the art of beauty and misplaced the value of the simple yet profound.  We have settled for junk but if it has a sizable price tag, we say it’s good.  We have started seeking crude acts of glamor - as did the king in the story - to replace the timeless awe and beauty found in nature.  We have replaced feelings of harmony and flow with jagged pretensions of I’m just a country boy forced to make a living in the city or by buying into the commercialism programmed into us from birth onward.  We have learned to accept the gradual replacement of most things Made in USA with Made in China.  Illusions and settling for less lead to this problem as import taxes were dropped and corporations learned it was easier and less costly to send jobs to other countries while making global links with controls outside the USA.   Men who pride themselves on real American know-how drive large trucks which are built mostly of imported parts and consume large amounts of gas.  They also use tools made in China.  There was a time in this country when these men knew better and purposely sought quality tools designed to last a lifetime which were made in the USA.  The best of our strongest men have been emasculated by a system of illusions catering to egos focused on the non-substantial.
System Abuse System Abuse
Far Zone Far Zone
About About