When the Sleepers Awaken

When all the complicated calculations prove false, when the philosophers themselves have nothing more to tell us, we may be forgiven for turning to the meaningless twitter of the birds or to the distant counterweight of the stars.

—Marguerite Yourcenar Memoirs of Hadrian

I have other things to say, but shall not detain you much.
 Never go out in a boat with an author—they cannot tell when they are over water.

—John Ashberry, Sleepers Awake

Most of us drift through life aimlessly, disturbed at best by the physical or mental anguish and pain of work, family disputes, squabbles with friends or bosses –  or the general misgivings we have about the economy, politics, looming war, rampant disease, social unrest, and other disturbances that seem to pervade our global nightmare. We just wish to get on with our lives rather than all these seemingly insurmountable problems that continue to accumulate, mount up, encompass and enfold the world around us in both our everyday lives and in the world at large. And, yet, we cannot turn away, we live in a pressure cooker that feels about to burst – as if the world and our lives were becoming day by day more and more bloated and filled with some toxic wasteland of disturbances that disturb our perfectly normal ordinary world and bring us to the end of the mind’s tether. It is during such times as these that certain people begin to awaken from their normal lives, begin to question things around them, begin to ask why it is that the world so full of unrest and hate, why are my children, my wife/husband, my boss, my … why are so many people unhappy and so full of chagrin and animosity. Why is reality, my world seemingly breaking apart? Why do I feel so powerless in the face of this overwhelming shadow that seems looming over every facet of my life?

Members of societies usually turn to figures of authority in Church or State seeking both inner and external answers to the dilemmas that surround them, yet in our time when two hundred years of secularism has infiltrated the minds and hearts of citizens in the major nations of the First World there is no longer any trust in such institutions for the deep and abiding questions. We all know that time has past, that we are alone with our own embittered thoughts, lost among the universal decay and degradation of the earth at the hands of the techno-commercial juggernaut that has for two hundred years bled the earth of both its natural and hypernatural resources to the point of no return. That we are overworked, underpaid, no longer given the standard of living promised by our national myths. We are all destitute among the ruins of a vast machinic civilization that offers us only the mass media glow of the famous, the rich, the Sports moguls, or elite pundits who spout shibboleths and standardized party speeches that no longer suffice. We live in a world that disturbs us, disturbs our normal rhythms, our normal lives. We are all beginning to awaken from a long social and cultural sleep. And we are all doing this together.

This is an age of resurgence, of emancipation, of revolution. We are living in it so that for us it seems both full of pain and suffering, doubt and fears. We are the children of opportunity, the generation that is seeing the death of one civilization and the emergence and genesis of another as yet unknown world arising out of the ruins and decay of this global nightmare. Because it is new, because it is unfounded, because it comes in the midst of death and destruction we feel lost among the ashes as if what we are seeing is the literal destruction of the planet at the hands of greedy and psychopathic nations. But this is not so, we are not those people, we are not the people who are immersed in such realms anymore. We are the sleepers who have awakened. We see things differently now than before.

The Great Myths of the Past were devices of artificial construction built up over generations by small enclaves, tribes, and peoples of specific locales in various parts of the world. These were infused with stories and tales that guided a people in perception and memory to know the truth of life and self within the cultural order in which they were born. As many tribes formed larger entities we term nations out of the age of feudal empires these ancient myths and customs of specific locales were transformed again and again to meet the demands of elites and the structured order of those societies. It was during the so called Age of Enlightenment when this whole unthought order of myth and religious consciousness with all its codes and laws was for the first time questioned and found wanting. No one could find any good reason to believe in these ancient customs and myths, nor see why they should guide and shape peoples lives. That they seemed to benefit only the rich and powerful, and to subordinated the great majority to slavedom or serfdom.

For millennia humans did not have private lives, they lived in communal worlds where every facet of their daily routines was controlled and manipulated by elites, landowners, and Kings and nobleman in a hierarchical relationship that structured every aspect of a persons life to the benefit of a small segment of society. One was a cipher in a vast machine, a creature of no account except for the work one performed for these rich and powerful beings. Only they were alive and free, while the vast majority were slaves and workers in a mindless world bounded by Church and State. Not until the invention of the printing press and the age of pamphleteers did the common man begin to break free of the control worlds and dominator classes that encompassed them. Begin to learn, to read, to think for themselves. It was this ability to educe from books, from literature, from philosophy, history, poetry, etc. that slowly brought a new type of culture which would spawn the great flowering of the Cities around the globe.

Oh to be sure I simplify, I reduce this world of action to a few abstract patterns. I digress. The picture is of the world around us. We are the end product of several hundred years of the emancipation of the common man from his blind obedience to Kings and Lords of the Land. We are supposedly our own masters, private citizens who have rights, living in democratic societies that have laws to protect the weak and the infirm from the corrupt practices of the rich and greedy. But this too is illusion. Oh sure on the surface and in the very words of comfort that we hear from our politicians and our ministers we believe ourselves to be free, to be able to attain lives worth living for ourselves and our families. That if we just work harder, do all the right things, invest, do what our banker or stock broker tells us, what our companies dictate, plan, think ahead, place our signatures on the dotted line that everything will turn out okay. We too will one day become totally independent of work and strife.

Look around you, have things actually turned out like you once supposed they would? Did that expensive university education get you that perfect job? Are you happy with your life? Are you in a fulfilling job? Do your children go to the best schools, are they taught the truth you demand of those teachers? Is the standard of living you thought you deserved turned out to be so? Have you not seen your parents lives in disarray, their pensions taken from them, their insurance skyrocket, their savings depleted, their homes foreclosed, their live left destitute from disease or hospital bills? Is the world a safe place to raise a family? Are our leaders truly leaders anymore, or have they become clowns parading their narcissistic psychopathic dreams before a spectacle of instant mediatainment round-the-clock 24/7 broadcasts that continually are fed and refed into the rhizomatic duplicity of the latest cliché of FaceBook, Twitter, Linked In, etc.? Are you lost among so many darkened thoughts that you just wish it’d all go away, that your life could return to normal? If so then you are on the first stage of recovery, of emancipation, of a revolution in the heart and mind. You have become a part of a generation that is awakening from the sleep of millennia.

Welcome to the Dawn of the Children. We are that generation that will either fully awaken and change the earth or face the extinction and annihilation of the human species at the hands of its own successes. Oh yes, it is the very success of the economic system of Capitalism that is brining the world to an end. It embodies the heart and soul of our inhuman wishes to become other, to become something else, to be elsewhere. Capitalism is the perfection of the Idealist tradition that began with Plato. The sought after transcendence of this world for another more exciting, more artificial, more inorganic and lifeless. A world of machines and machinic intelligences that will surpass the organic makers that spawned it. We have allowed ourselves to become dupes of our own success.

As Sleepers we’ve automated ourselves into oblivion with no recourse other than literally fulfilling its inner urgency, or awakening out of its nightmare into another world outside its dark and deathly terminus. Oh I could draw from the Philosophers throughout time a litany of examples to give all this some authority, but would that really matter. Can you not feel this truth in your bones? Are you so ignorant and blinded and asleep that you cannot see we are at a breaking point, a tipping of the balance of the world? Are you not tempted to challenge the status quo, wishing that others too would do the same, that if such an uprising of lights around the globe were to suddenly awaken and challenge this juggernaut that is destroying the very face of the earth and its organic children: plants and animals, etc. that something strange would happen? That possibly we’d all awaken together, to a new earth and a new vision of reality? That we might suddenly stand naked before ourselves as we are? That we’d realize that we, and we alone are both victims and murderers? That is us who are nothing, absolute nothingness revealed at last. That the final nihilism is that even this valuelessness is of no account because we are all fictions and creators of fictions, that the world we live in is nothing but this artificial paradise we’ve literally built against the truth of reality. And it is at an end… our gamble did not pay off, and we must strip the world of our last vestiges of human fictions or be doomed to live out the myths that are now seeping back into our sleeping nightmares?

Do you need someone to hold your hand, to tell you it’s all going to be alright, turn out alright? It will not be me. No. I stand here figuratively in the midst of this dark age and say it is high time to awaken sleepers, awaken or perish from the earth forever.