Archive for November, 2016
Dealing With Your Alien
By J. Neil Schulman, D.oC
Dedication: To Be Figured Out Later
The idea for this book came to me in a dream I had early this morning, November 6, 2016, the Sunday just before the presidential election between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Yes, I know some people will be voting for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and Green presidential candidate Jill Stein. Yes, I know some people who are eligible to vote in this election will decide not to vote at all. I live in Nevada, which has early voting. I already voted.
In my dream I was talking with Dennis Prager, the radio talk-show host. I was not calling in to his show. I no longer listen to talk radio nor call in to talk-radio shows.
In this dream I had just been a guest on Dennis’s radio show and I was talking to him in the studio parking lot afterwards.
This was not something that ever happened in real life but it’s close to things that happened in my real life.
Back in the 1990’s I was an in-studio guest on Dennis Prager’s radio show.
On one occasion afterwards my parents and I had dinner at Dennis’s house along with his wife Fran and step-daughter Anya, and on another occasion I visited Dennis at home along with my friend and fellow author, Brad Linaweaver. I also ran into Dennis a few times while eating at Souplantation.
In my waking life I haven’t seen or spoken with Dennis in almost two decades. Anya is, however, one of my Facebook friends, although we haven’t written to each other in about a year and a half.
Back to my dream.
In the radio studio parking lot (in my dream) I was discussing with Dennis the important difference between what people said they believed ideologically and how they treated other people in real life.
I’ve spent time hanging around (physically or on line) people who despise welfare and speak out for rugged individualistic capitalism, yet when I’ve been unable to pay my bills have generously given me thousands of dollars with no desire or expectation ever to be repaid.
I’ve spent time hanging around people who consider themselves socialists, progressives, and liberals who have also been generous to me.
I’ve also spent lesser amounts of time hanging around people who consider themselves socialists, progressives, liberals, or rugged individualistic capitalists who wouldn’t give someone a sip of water if they were dying of thirst.
In my experience – I was telling Dennis Prager, in my dream – what people claim they believe is not a reliable predictor for how someone acts in their personal life.
In political discourse – especially in this year’s presidential election – people have said the most awful things not only about the presidential candidates but about their supporters. I, myself, have done this – gleefully. But I’m also confident that while no doubt there are people who would drive by a motorist stranded with their children without stopping because of a bumper sticker for the opposing candidate, there are also people who would ignore the bumper sticker, pull over, and do whatever was needed to render assistance and make them as comfortable as possible.
Why was Dennis Prager in my dream? Maybe it’s because both Dennis Prager and I have frequently quoted Viktor Frankl who wrote in his book Man’s Search for Meaning:
From all this we may learn that there are two races of men in this world, but only these two — the “race” of the decent man and the “race” of the indecent man. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society. No group consists entirely of decent or indecent people.
Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist. An older term for this is “alienist.” This older term suggests that study of the inner human finds something inhuman and alien.
Alienigena (Grey Alien) by LeCire
I think that’s true in the sense that the ideas people believe – in politics, in religion, even in what people consider science – constitute an alien influence on human behavior. Ideologies – ideas – act as alien influences on human beings, and to one degree or another separate us from the empathy that allows us to recognize others as fellow humans.
As I started writing this I thought it would take a book to say that.
I now realize it doesn’t.
Once you know that the ideas you believe are standing in the way of your acting like a human being you’ve dealt with your inner Alien, whom you can regard as a body snatcher, a puppet master, or a zombie.
Oh, the “D.oC” after my name means: Drop out — College. I have no degrees.
Later in the day, in response to email:
My article wasn’t about absorbing a set of ideas by joining a party or a religion or a cult. It wasn’t about getting ideas from voices in the head. It was, I suppose, about what Max Stirner called “wheels in the head.”
I’m not identifying the source of the Alien within us as anything other than human nature as a thinking being. Desmond Morris, the zoologist who turned the tools of his primate studies onto homo sapiens in The Naked Ape and The Human Zoo, focused on what behaviors we have in common with the other higher primates, apes and chimpanzees. I’m injecting what both Rand and Korzybski would notice first, that which we don’t have in common with the other primates — intellect.
It’s when we are at our most human — as abstract thinkers — that we invent the State, and War, and Politics — as well as limited government, Bills of Rights, property, and Agorism. Intellect can do both. Intellect may, possibly, invent the religions or ideologies of Good and Evil as Stirner, Nietzsche, and the God-awful Crowley would note.
But Stirner, Nietzsche, and Crowley would all miss what C.S. Lewis taught us about the Tao that precedes any intellectual formulation of codes of ethics or morality. That Good and Evil is perceived, not conceived.
It was the point I was making, mostly directed at my own life’s history, when I wrote the first part of The Heartmost Desire, “Unchaining the Human Heart: A Revolutionary Manifesto.” Autobiographically, the second part of The Heartmost Desire — “I Met God” — came first, but the point I was making (again, mostly to myself) was that human decency does not arise in our species as an intellectual exercise, but in experiencing feelings. I will admit one unresolved issue in my self-examination. I think the feeling of love is not intellectual. I consider the possibility that the feeling of hate requires a base of intellect.