Sunday, June 30, 2013
Don't Think... Feel!
This should be obvious: there are times when thinking is not appropriate. In the heat of combat, in the heat of passion, in the performance of athletics, and the passion of musical performance there is no room for the chatter of the mind and no time for reason. We all have moments when to lose oneself is the only option: in a shout of exultation or a cry of grief, mind and individuality vanish. The thoughts of most of the herd of humankind most of the time are repetitive, banal, content-less, and do not confer advantage. The discipline of meditation, of deliberately stopping the mind, can enrich our lives and yield countless benefits.
This being the Age of Pisces, however, the exhortation to suspend rationality and give into emotion is everywhere. Emotion, rather than logic, dominates our politics and social mass-movements. Modern culture now values passion and animal attraction far over long-term viability in marriage: perhaps this figures into the modern rate of divorce. Children, told to follow their dreams and expect the money to follow, graduate from austere halls of learning with degrees in obscure disciplines... straight into the swelling ranks of the unemployed. Politics is an endless cycle of misplaced faith and inevitable disillusionment. The joyous wave of "Hope and Change" of 2008 becomes the uneasy cynicism of 2013. It isn't just the modern day: recall the Children's Crusades, the French Revolution of freedom which quickly became a tyrannical horror, or the Maoist Great Leap Forward which quickly became the Great Chinese Famine. The entire Age is riddled with tales of great acts of Neptunian faith followed by equally great Neptunian disillusionment.
Results aside, the message of "don't think... feel!" echoes unabated through our culture. From Neptune's kitchen in Hollywood, virtually every creation that flickers on our television and movie screens subtly repeats the message. Soap operas and romances glorify emotion over logic. Impossibly beautiful men and impossibly beautiful women surrender to each other in rapture on-screen, and the masses then expect impossible beauty and rapture for themselves. How many find it? The lives of the actors themselves is a soap opera of passion and disillusionment, repeated without end.
In the even-more Neptunian corner of the entertainment world that is science fiction, the message is often even more prevalent and pervasive. In shows like "Star Trek" and "Fringe", among many others, heroes value emotion over logic. The villains, the "Borg" of Star Trek and the "Observers" of Fringe, are reputed to be malevolent, unfeeling creatures of pure rationality and logic, whose logic drives them to eliminate diversity and forcefully conquer the universe. Never mind that diversity is nature's most proven survival mechanism. Never mind that as students of history and as libertarians, we know that all empires fall: the more oppressive the empire, the faster the fall. Never mind that the drive to destroy and conquer is itself a surrender of logic to passion. Only in the mind of Neptune can the purest embodiment of logic be the opposite of logic itself.
This is the Age of Pisces. These currents will continue, and continue to reap their inevitable results both visible and invisible. This is the cycle that we who live in this age must experience. Some of us, however, may be able to employ some of the cold, practical logic of Pallas and escape the worst of the flood.
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