Scientific Research & Self-Development Activism
We had a member link a video in chat recently about the possibility of a 2nd American Revolution because of all the corruption that exists in the U.S. government these days, and while I'm not sure how likely it is for another revolution to actually take place, it did get me to thinking about revolutions in general, and about civil uprisings and civil rights movements, etc. You know... Activism stuff.
That's what we're all about here, isn't it? :-)
Now I could have asked, What would you die for? but that seems a little bit melodramatic. Plus, since death is such an extreme thing to think about, (and very final,) people tend to think in extremes when you ask them something like that, and I wanted to keep this more down-to-earth and realistic. I mean, when it comes to activism people get arrested and go to jail a lot more than they get shot & killed. So I want you to think in terms of your personal integrity. What do you really think is important? and how much are you willing to inconvenience yourself or suffer for what you say you believe in?
How much personal security & popularity are you willing to sacrifice for a righteous cause?
Would you be willing to have your friends & family ridicule you and lose some social status?
Would you be willing to get fired from your job and lose the ability to support yourself & your family?
Would you be willing to risk getting pepper-sprayed? or beat up and suffer physical injury?
Would you be willing to go to jail or prison?
One of my favorite philosophers while I was attending college was Henry David Thoreau. He wrote some excellent stuff, and while Walden is my favorite, his essay on Civil Disobedience is also a classic, and has more to do with the subject of this post. Thoreau was opposed to slavery and the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and he expressed his opposition at one point by refusing to pay taxes to support either one and was jailed for his refusal; and he wrote Civil Disobedience after his release in an attempt to persuade people that they should not support governmental injustices. It is an excellent essay and has been cited by other revolutionary figures throughout recent history as being very inspirational to them.
Gandhi, for example, was inspired by it. And although most people know that he was eventually assassinated, what many often don't know is that Gandhi spent a hell of a lot of time in jail for his resistance against the British in India. In fact, almost all revolutionary figures throughout history have been jailed before they ever achieved any type of notoriety. Nelson Mandela served 27 years in prison for his resistance to colonialism and apartheid; and Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested 30 different times!
What this all comes down to, I think, is a question of personal integrity. As a matter of ethics & morality it involves "doing the right thing", even in the face of opposition. And while you might think that most people are naturally virtuous to this degree, you would be wrong! Most people would not do the right thing if they thought that they might suffer for it; and this has been repeatedly proven by various sociological experiments. For example, as demonstrated in the famous Asch Conformity Experiments, many people will buckle and give up their integrity simply to avoid criticism or to avoid being at odds with their peers!
Another video of the Asch Experiments: http://youtu.be/NyDDyT1lDhA
Now while the Icelandic Revolution of 2009 was inspirational for many of us because of its lack of violence, it should be noted that Iceland has an unusually high amount of civic participation in governmental affairs (an 84% voter turnout) and has been ranked as the 2nd most Democratic country in the world! They are also the only NATO nation that does not have a standing Army. And, I think we all know that peaceful revolutions are the exception in this world, not the norm. So you can be inspired all you want, but if you intend to resist your own government you had better be prepared to go to jail for doing so. Are you prepared? Have you even thought about it?
We tease each other a lot around here in chat about the U.S. government's NSA & FBI agencies monitoring our chat conversations, (and they probably are, lol,} but nobody ever says much about being arrested for what is said and going to jail for it. I suppose that we're all used to having freedom of speech on the internet and we don't think something like that could ever happen... but it could. During the recent Egyptian Revolution in 2011, their government instituted a blackout of the entire internet and arrested many people for the Twitter & Facebook posts that they made.
Are you prepared for something like that?
How far are you willing to go with your activism?
We are at a crossroads in history. A while back I posted a picture (more of a diagram) outlining all possible forms of government. http://ipowerproject.com/photo/world-governments
We are in the beginning stages of implementing the final form of government: the Direct Democracy. This is covered in the Third Universal Theory (interesting read). And TVP is very good in that it wants everyone to have equal power...but it misses the point in advocating no government. Some things are impossible to solve with technology and the only way we can address certain social issues (like loving your neighbor, not killing someone out of jealousy, etc., can only be addressed in a community of people working together.) Just as guns do not kill people, other forms of technology are not magic pills for fixing sociopathic behavior. That takes a lot of TLC and human effort. It means understanding that everyone has a voice and should be allowed to use it.
Right now, we are set up to have our thoughts and opinions represented by someone else. This only leads to misrepresentation, power trips, and other forms of corruption. Until we restructure our governments (not an easy thing to do) so that each person is truly able to speak for themselves on everything that affects the public, this kind of corruption will continue. Unfortunately, history has shown that those who have power are not likely to relinquish it... and most of the time they use violence to keep the peasants down. (Presumably why there is a huge push for gun control... aka a monopoly on violence.) I have no doubt that something is happening (and happening very quickly.) Will I go to jail for it? That's not my choice. It depends on how much the system hates me. Personally, I think I'm more likely to be taken to a FEMA "Re-Education" Camp. I'm sure the system doesn't like that I speak out against its inhumane practices and all the shady things they do. I figure it's a matter of time till they censor me... whatever that means. Those 1.6 billion bullets that the DHS has is not very encouraging. They know something's up.
Well just look at the people around you and ask yourself: "Would I go to prison for them, possibly for a LONG time?"
I believe in a lot of things, I consider most of my beliefs to be "good natured" at the very least. But there is a difference between being a good person and being a naive idiot who thinks he can help everyone. A lot of people on this planet don't deserve anything better, and risking my ass just to convey a message they will probably not even hear from all that bullshit they are being fed every day by the media, government, and other SMART people doesn't really sound like a good life plan.
So my answer would be: NO. If I was faced with such a risk I would probably rather just get the fuck out of the country, go somewhere far away from all the bullshit. Call me a pussy, call me a fag, but I sure as hell ain't risking my ass for these people.
But then again, if you're smart, you can do a lot of stuff and not get caught in the process :D
Honesty... I love it. Much respect for that Marko. ;-)
I like it Marko. I do sometimes wonder why bother with most people. It just doesn't seem worth it to go to prison for any amount of time for a lot of the sheeple I talk with. I do think my political activism has shifted to more selfish reasons as I'm more or less trying to fight for my own freedoms and those of other activists rather than the common people. Besides, I think I would rather die in battle than go to prison.
To ease my curiousity.
See what it's like to actually be an inmate could be interesting.
heres an experience relating to all of this.
i'm an egyptian. and after all of what happened, i dont think it's worth it.
okay... so, who HAS the power? all of us. ppl can actually do something. but who have the BIG TOOLS? its powerful rich ppl. ppl who are mostly the cause of corruption (not all of them of course). so, what happened in egypt is that; the ppl got rid of the old regime. then what happened? another group of corrupted guys came to power. guys who have BIG TOOLS. like... feeding the poor in the name of religion so they are on their side (and that... is the majority of egyptians). anyone who is an activist or against them in anyway, firstly, they make ppl hate him. then, get rid of him in one of the 101 ways they have.
one of the goals they have is to git rid of all the other groups (religious and other kinds) that are against them by calling them minority and exctuding them in everything, including ppl like christians. And as a christian, i think its not worth it anymore. on one hand, i can stay and fight, and on the other hand, i can go somewhere else that is peaceful and more civilized. and i dont care about the corruption anymore cuz if you fight it, it returns in another shape that could be worst. its just how power and money shapes most ppl who have an excess of it. and as Marko was saying, what is it all for? if you try once and most ppl arent with you, then most ppl dont deserve your effort. and therefore, its a lost cause. it's not worth it. they win! :(
I can think of a few things I would go to jail for (if I had the power/skills to do such things): help get Julian Assange out of the Embassy and on a plane to Ecuador, smash up job centres around the UK so they have to give the benefits out regardless of appointment attendance for a while, sabotage a lot of different government information systems and leak their information a la wikileaks, sabotage oil/logging/anti-environment company equipment and machinery to stop them for a while, steal food and give it to homeless people, give out free food at work to homeless people... etc etc things I see injustice in.
The reasons I wouldn't do it:
I wouldn't be able to have desired effect but would be imprisoned just for trying
Unsure about how the gf would take the news plus I'd miss her
Wouldn't be sure about prison type (would I be put in with the rapists and murderers or with the asylum seekers who get a decent standard of living- some would argue better than those living on minimum wage like me but I'm "free" and get internetz)
The transition out of prison- having to survive for months with next to nothing while looking for a job in this economy which I know can never recover because of technological obsolence of physical labour on top of a criminal record
Now, if I could do any of the things I wanted to without going to prison let me know :D
I acquiesce enough in my life, I'd love to be able to feel like I have some integrity :(