I ran this “essay” a couple of years ago on this blog, but most people “following” now weren’t following then. Plus, I’ve done some mega revising, so, if you have the time, read and ponder. And if you have even more time, let me know what you think, and where you believe my rationale is faulty. That’s what blogging is all about.
Of Fremen and Individualism
[observations from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]
I’ve been watching the Dune movie series. I like the way Frank Herbert viewed the world and life. Speaking to Mua’dib (Paul Atreides) Chani explains the ways of the Fremen in the deep southern desert of planet Arrakis or Dune.
“Everything is connected” she says and draws a circle in the sand with snake symbols in it representing Shai-hulud the Great Worm, god of the Fremen. “The living and the dead, inanimate and animate, all parts functioning to serve the whole.” (Dune – the movie, part II)
It seems so “natural” to accept this explanation of life as if it explained all of life. It’s so easy to just nod and agree. We observe this phenomenon of “connectedness” and we accept it as normal and necessary. And we go to sleep knowing we are connected to “all that is” and we dream our petty dreams waiting for the day when we too will be a complete part of “all that is” and “all my struggles, Lord, will be over…”
We have this observation, and the zillions of teachings to back it up. Does that really make it true? Is everything truly connected to (dependent upon) everything else, or is it just one gigantic artificial machine put together with parts that continually pull apart, away from each other?
How would our perception of who we are change if we turned it around? If we said, “Everything is individual. Every bit exists for itself alone. Every part that unites with another to create something “else” does so for a limited time only, knowing that it must return to being an individual “self” among all the other “selves.“
If we were truly observant, we would see that there are MORE manifestations of individualism than collectivism. That collectives coerce individuals to serve them and that individuals push away from the collective all the time, the greatest push being when they “die”.
The problem is one of skewed observation. Bad science. Wishful thinking passing itself off as law. A universe is a collective. It is made up of “things” that serve it. Do these “things” need the universe more than the universe needs the things? Our bodies are made up of individual particles. Do the particles need the body to survive, or does the body need the particles to exist? Is it mutual need? When the organic system we call a body dies, what becomes of the particles who had joined to maintain the body? Do they die?
OK, here’s another one: what is death? When the body dies, what or who dies? What remains? What can once more move freely and decide to join itself to another body… or not? Seems to me that only two aspects of the “body” remain after death: the mind and the particles. These no longer need each other, so go their separate ways. And what of the body of which so much was made “in real life”? Dust to dust, ashes to ashes…
Observation (from memory and awareness).
When particles and mind join into body, a change happens. Both lose their individuality and become more body. Their awareness shrinks. All that they are is taken (usurped?) by the body to serve it’s needs. Individual awareness of self becomes a huge gob of incredible selfishness. From this arises fear. Fear because the body, an artificial concept, a collective, knows that it must control its “event horizon” to survive. It believes that it can somehow survive. And it seeks ways to enhance itself. To protect itself and to please itself. Willy-nilly, mind and particles are conned into this process and convert natural energy to feed the monster they inhabit.
But the amount of energy required to feed the monster is always more than the individual parts can supply. One after another, particles flee the monster. For a time, others are attracted to it and take their place, but eventually the movement is more “out” than “in”. Sometimes, the clouded mind too begins to question her role in all of this and with tremendous effort, reaches out and looks around. Sometimes she actually decides that “enough is enough” and she plans her escape. She knows she must leave or she will be trapped in the throes of the monster’s ultimate death.
Yes, it’s comforting to believe. There are many belief systems. Being systems, they will go along with the truism that all parts function to serve the whole. The Fremen are very superstitious people. And the harsh conditions of life in the deep desert of Arrakis makes it imperative that they work cooperatively. But to take necessary cooperation and translate that into a “whole” is taking too much of a giant step: it is to do the splits. The individual can still exist without “the whole” but “the whole” cannot exist without its captured complement of individual parts.
Why is Earth in such a shambles today? Because individuals have been buying into the collective mindset for thousands of years and seldom questioned it. Individuals have not moved to that magic place of personal awareness and true independence. They continue to serve their collectives because they do not understand the mind space. They cannot, as yet, comprehend the concept of self empowerment.
Serving “the whole” requires the conversion of incredible amounts of energy. The whole would exist just as well, and would not require feeding if it was totally ignored, was not served, by individuals. There would be a whole, observable through natural interaction and cooperation. But to serve the whole you need laws, coercive, heavy, destructive. You need control. That’s what a “served” whole does: it makes laws to control energy so it can feed itself. It has no natural life. Only individuals have natural life.
The whole is not infinite, only individuals. Individuals throughout space, ever moving, ever expanding, ever discovering. Only where individuals have passed can there be a whole. And when all individualism becomes the whole, all that will remain is a hole. Entropy.
In a nutshell then: The whole does not exist as such. However, where individualism expresses, a “background” is formed. Call it history or memory or whatever. That is not “you” but just a record of your passage “there”. As long as background remains as background, all is well. But when the background, when the record, moves to the front and obliterates the individuals that make it, then you have oppression and eventually mass death – oppression, war, genocide.
Earth has become a “whole” and is at an interesting point. Individual humans can no longer support their collectives as these have grown too fat and too demanding. People are dying at a terrifying rate and their death creates a palpable wave of suffering and fear that poisons the minds of those who remain alive and the minds of those being born. Depression, paranoia, anger and hate, along with horrible addictions are endemic. And the old guard which calls itself the New World Order has no way of preventing this from escalating into chaos. So it will attempt to fight fire with fire by initiating “limited and controllable” chaos: a state of permanent war, fought with threats of weapons of mass destruction (but without actually using them, or using them tactically) so the fear, the anger and the hate, the undergirding of every institution, will be manageable and controllable.
That is their hope. And every Earthian human who puts “the whole” ahead of his or her own individuality and personal common sense, will struggle and die to support that hope. Carnage will be the result. As universal carnage was the result of the Fremen finding their collective power and unleashing their Jihad, their “holy war”, upon the entire universe in the name of their new god: Mua’dib.
The individual mind set free is more powerful than the whole. This I have demonstrated to myself and for myself.
Observation: cooperation out of felt need leads to institutionalization and the empowering of the whole – best exemplified by fascist capitalism, corporatism and organized religion (totalitarian theocracies).
Cooperation out of compassion leads to a soft and gentle interplay of energies, not demonstratable except by the individual to the individual.
As to the conditions (and conditioning) regarding mankind and his earth, it is quite likely too late now to honestly speak of choice. Collectivism has pushed all available forms of energy into a process of unavoidable competition. Under increased tension all competition tends to war. The competititve mindset is the mindset of the predator. Man is not just a predator, but an insane one, unfairly competitive. Under current hegemony, man’s legacy is death on a massive scale. Only self empowered individuals carry any hope of reversing this trend. And how likely is that to happen?
How likely is it that “man” wakes up one fine morning and realizes, individual by individual, that s/he no longer needs religion, God or gods, leaders, bosses, politicians, militaries and security agencies, way showers, priests, gurus, counselors, lawyers, a “medical” profession, or the propaganda apparatus called universal education and the info-tainment mainstream media and let’s throw in charitable organizations and the United Nations in the discard pile. How about, not a chance in hell? Man, after all, is a creature of habit. It may not work, in fact it may be totally disruptive and destructive, but its tradition. As the Fremen would say, “It’s our way.”