The machine is grinding us into food for the system. Fight the system. Fight the machine. It is not your friend. 
Sage Against The Machine.
Libertarian Humanist.

Why do you care about people?

October 31, 2020

I'm growing to hate larger and larger swaths of people.

  • People that are irate for having to wear a mask even though there is a good chance it would protect our elderly and sick from dying.
  • People that will blindly stand with police even though we can all clearly see that police are getting away with murder.
  • People that would rather drill for every ounce of oil and coal in every single nature reserve in the world even though the cost of wind energy is on a projection to be cheaper than either of those energies.
  • People that would mow down the entire Amazon forest because it will make them rich.
  • Rich men telling poor women what they can and cannot do with their own bodies.

And those are just the people on "that" side of the coin. I think I am growing to hate moderate liberals even more.

  • Middle class white women telling black men how they should and shouldn't protest.
  • Being "outraged" by every single thing I mentioned above yet too afraid (or too apathetic) to even have the courage to post something about it on Facebook, much less stand up for it in person.
  • Pulling me aside and telling me I'm being too loud. I'm risking too much... by taking a stand for things I believe.

It's the cowards I hate most of all.

Who's worse: the gunman that murders countless kids in American-style school shootings because he can't take it anymore... or the person who does nothing to try to stop the next one from inevitably happening?

There are 7 BILLION of us on planet earth right now and we protect our singular individual lives like they are some sort of sacred idol that must be guarded at all costs.

What are we doing on the planet if our entire mission and vision is to protect our own individual life at all costs so that we can live as long as humanly possible while accomplishing exactly nothing?

I enjoy substitute teaching when I get the chance. I was filling out paperwork yesterday for a new sub job. I got to the point where they ask for two emergency contacts. I could only think of one: my wife. There's really no one else to call, if I fall ill.

I become more and more alone and angry. On a long enough timeline there is a decent chance I will die drunk and alone.

You see... everything I mentioned above has absolutely nothing to do with the people I mentioned. It has everything to do with my perspective on me. I hate people because I hate myself.

I feel that I am not doing enough. That I'm not working hard enough. That I'm not working fast enough. That I could die at any minute and I would have accomplished exactly nothing.

I am the coward.

I am the person I hate most of all.

Jamie, a very good friend I've kept since college, has a belief that no one ever does anything altruistically. That there is always some selfish reason for doing something good. While it's impossible to empirically measure every good deed and understand it's true motive, (although it would only take one act of kindness that was done for pure love to disprove his theory) he is likely right. Every compulsion to do good is driven by an internal motivator that is just some itch to scratch.

Even the motivation of "having a good heart" is driven by a selfish desire to do good.

At that point nothing can ever be pure. Nothing could ever be real. So even my good deeds and fight against injustice is embarrassing and shallow in my mind.

What drives me? Am I really trying to be true to God? Or is it just some basic instinct to pay penance for the mountain of shame I carry in my soul?

My self-hate is a chess game where there is no escape. I can't do or say anything that will ever prove that I'm anything other than a small, self-indulgent parasite. Even this blog post is a humble-brag of self-pity. (Please don't tell me I'm a good person. It will only make it worse.)

I was asked by my young friend, Ashleigh Hughes, why I care about people. It's a seemingly simple question that is actually profound with multiple layers of reality and truth.

I believe the evolution of being a humanitarian goes something like this:

  1. 1% of humanity says: "Hey look! I see a need in society. I want to help. How can I help?"
  2. 1% of those people actually do something. They will go volunteer at the local homeless shelter. They'll will start riding their bike to work. They will become a vegetarian.
  3. 1% of those people will "do their part" the rest of their lives consistently and will actually sacrifice some parts of their lives for the greater good. When they die, the local paper will do a nice little write-up about them. It will be written on page E4... inside the community section.
  4. Then there is a splinter cell: 1% of these people realize that the ACTUAL problem is systemic. The root cause of the problem they are trying to address is caused by a huge machine that is killing the world for one reason: MONEY.
  5. These people go to protest movements. They make signs. They call their government representatives. They will travel to Washington DC to go to bigger movements. They'll write blog posts. They'll yell and stomp their feet and maybe even go to jail for their cause. Sometimes they spend a few days in jail.
  6. If they yell loud enough people will threaten to kill them because there is a slight chance they might make a modicum of difference. They won't make much of any difference.
  7. 1% of these people actually do accomplish something. A bill is written. A law is enacted. Maybe even a constitutional amendment is created. They may even win a Nobel Peace Prize. People will figure out how to flow around the new law and continue their scalping of resources and murdering humans. Nothing much changes at all.

And who cares? Does the machine actually care about any of these people? It can easily wait them out. 99% of people are too busy (because the machine intentionally keeps them busy) to actually do anything to make a difference. Even if a few idealists create something like the French or American Revolution, it's only a matter of time before the machine gets its foot squarely back on the necks of the people again. And the next time the machine won't be so forgiving of those young radicals.

The general consensus is that if you can motivate 3% of the community you are trying to change to join a boycott or attend a protest, the machine will actually stop and take notice. Do you know how absolutely herculean it is to move 3% of anyone to do anything?

You don't have to be particularly observant to realize the futility of every single step along that path. All logic tells you to stop. Quit. Just go eat something and watch the Queen's Gambit on Netflix. Watching someone else do something with their life is much easier as you tell yourself you couldn't actually accomplish something meaningful. You aren't "special."

But this is where it gets interesting. A funny thing enters into the arena. It's a thing that defies all logic. It's a thing that makes no sense. It's a thing that is probably the most human, crazy irrational thing of them all.

It's hope.

Hope shouldn't exist. Hope is ridiculous. Hope is only for children and naive dreamers.

But yet it's not. Hope leads to quantifiable change. Things get incrementally better.

  • Slavery ends.
  • Women get to vote.
  • A 5 day/40 hour work week becomes law.
  • The entire world is moving up the scale of being healthier and wealthier.

All of that only happens because a few people had the ridiculous, audacious belief that they could make a difference.

And it's not an inconsequential number of people. It doesn't take many people to make a difference. Even though it's 1% of 1% of 1% that's still A LOT of people. The history of humanity is filled with incredibly brave, incredibly diligent, unrelenting people. I often think of all the people that hid Jews in Nazi Germany. That was a death sentence for you and your entire family if you were caught.

The White Rose was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in the Third Reich led by a group of students including Hans and Sophie Scholl. Hans, Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst were executed by guillotine four days after their arrest, on February 22, 1943. Their offense: printing pamphlets standing up against the Nazi regime's crimes and oppression. They called for resistance.

Sophie was 21. Hans was 24. Christoph was 23.

Who do you wish you had been if you were a 20 year old in Nazi Germany? One of the handful of White Rose members that died because they had the insane hope that they could topple the Nazi regime? Or one of the countless 20 year olds that kept their head down praying nobody would notice them as millions of people were being exterminated right outside their village?

I know who I hope I had been.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to be inspired just Google "Awards for Courage." There are countless awards and countless people you've never heard of that have done insanely courageous things to help someone they often didn't even know.

Everything good that has happened in society has only ever happened for one reason: HOPE. An irrational hope that the vast majority of people thought was too stupid, too risky and pointless. Every single right, social safety net, and freedom. Every. Single. Thing. ALL is owed to a stupid, naive hopeful person or small group of people.

Who do you want to be? Do you want to be the person who tells other people all the reasons they are doing things wrong and trying to make a difference is pointless and dangerous? Or do you want to be the person that tries to change the world?

I know who I want to be.

Paid For By The People for Sage Lewis

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