[Soul, Things I want My Kids to Know, more excerpts from Zubaty's book: The Corporate Cult]
This is The Rude Guy, Rich Zubaty. The Paul Harvey of podcasting. The ideology assassin. The windshield wiper of fear. And this is NOT radio.
Last show we talked about Ideas… the importance of ideas… and, we started talking about Soul. Soulfullness.
So I’m gonna hop right in where we left off… reading some excerpts from my book, The Corporate Cult… From the Introduction, which is subtitled: Things I Want My Kids to Know.
IDEAS FLOW INTO ACTION and action flows into ideas via a process called “soul”. That’s right, a “process” called soul. A movement called “soul”. Your soul is not something that flies out of your body when you die. Your soul is the movement within you, the invisible surf within you, that swells back and forth, constantly re-shaping the shoreline between ideas and action. When you put an idea into action, or when you formulate an action into an idea, your soul is working – integrating the visible and invisible parts of life – consecrating that restless zone between ideas and action, land and sea. Soul is a holy and mysterious process, where physics and metaphysics cooperate, to make timeless ideas come alive in time.
Your soul is at once the most public, and most private, part of you. Soul is: In and out. Full and empty. Worldly and other-worldly. Private and social. For instance, let’s say you believe it’s important to help poor people, so you give a homeless woman a peanut butter sandwich. Here is your soul, the most private part of you, enacting this “idea”, this belief, in public – in the physical world. Your soul is where eternity touches down in real time. Your soul is the invisible part of you that completes your personality, and consummates your worldview, by integrating ideas with action.
According to James Hillman, “The soul reveals itself in its ideas. Ideas open the eye of the soul.” Do not make the mistake of thinking that your ideas are separate from your reality. In a fundamental way, your ideas ARE your reality. “Ideas are life. Ideas are inseparable from practical actions. Every theory we hold practices upon us.” unquote
But there’s a problem. Modern culture slaughters soul. The most obvious deficiency of contemporary techno man, and woman, is our lack of soul. Any native can see it, as clearly as if we were walking around with turtles on our heads. We patronize huge entertainment industries, devoted to cranking out fantasy adventures, and formulaic, emotional, roller coaster rides, but that is no substitute for soul. We are desperate just to feel “something” in our numbed souls. We stumble through a life devoid of useful ideas, entertaining ourselves to death, frustrated by everything, mad at the world, snappy, quick to rally behind the government when it launches cruise missiles, at impossibly distant nations, in the name of our national religion. Demo-cracy. What does this tell us? Somehow our soul is disturbed. Somehow the process of moving ideas into action, and action into ideas, is being interrupted. The link between the visible and the invisible is ruptured. The soul is crying out for attention.
If you believe in democracy, but you can’t find it anywhere in a society that’s supposed to be full of it – you feel disconnected. If you invest in “labor saving devices” and then watch your life speed up so fast that when any of them break down, you’re schedule flies apart – you feel shattered. You scramble to catch up, washing clothes in the bath tub, opening cans with screwdrivers, trashing Bill Gates, and damning all computers. If you’re having trouble finding steady work in an economy that’s supposed to be doing so fabulously well, according to Wall Street – you feel shamed. You feel worthless – like there’s something really wrong with you. This gap between ideas and action, this erosion of soul, has a common name. It’s called “stress”. Stress is what happens when our ideas don’t connect with our actions. Stress is what happens when our beliefs conflict with the truth outside our window. Stress enters, where soul is lost.
And the bad part is, all of us are seething with a perpetual, subliminal level of stress, and we’re not even aware of it. We know what they teach us in school is useless. We know TV is nothing but gossip. We know what politicians yak about is unimportant to our lives. [And that what they AVOID yaking about, IS important to our lives.] So we become apathetic voters, convinced that no matter which party gets in, nothing really changes. We grow cynical. We begin to think we’re stupid, that we don’t understand, that there’s something wrong with us. Well guess what? We’re not stupid. There’s NOthing wrong with us. There’s something wrong with THEM.
They’re lying to us, withholding ideas from us, willfully eroding our souls to advance corporate agendas. They plunge us into an environment charged with stress where nothing makes sense, and convince us it’s normal. “Coping” with stress has become the objective of modern therapy, instead of eliminating the mad commercial causes of it. Are we just flat tires to be patched up over and over again, or is it finally time to fix the road? We pride ourselves on being so “efficient”, and sneer at older cultures – where people live longer and worry less – because their phones don’t work as well as ours. It’s laughable. Humans were not designed to live like we do.
Stress is the destruction of soul. Stressed people, people with damaged souls, are easily manipulated. If we feel rotten enough about our jobs, and rotten enough about our lives, it becomes child’s play for the corporate/government/media overlords to “build up our self-esteem” – inflate our ego-balloons – by enlisting our support for their wars against genocide, or their wars to preserve democracy, or their bombing to bring peace, or their invasions against Islamic “madmen”.
Older nations purse their lips and shake their heads. They’ve seen all this before – hundreds of years ago. It’s pretty sick stuff. And pathetically childish to anyone with a large view of history. French peasants had to take to the streets to pull off the French Revolution. Russian peasants had to take to the streets to pull off the Russian Revolution. Americans had to take to the streets to stop the Vietnam War. Social change doesn’t happen any differently under Democracy – they just tell us it does. And we BELIEVE them????? How stupid can we be? If we wanna stop a war, if we want systemic change, if we want a new president, we gotta take it to the streets. National strike. It’s the only thing that works.
Stress is the product of damaged souls. Damaged souls are produced by rupturing the link between ideas and actions. It’s time to close the gap between ideas and action. It’s time to increase our reservoirs of soul. It’s time to eliminate the causes of stress.
There are a few things you can do to short-circuit the brainwashing. Yelling at the TV helps me. At least I’m venting. I’m not bottling up their deceptions inside me, like shaken soda cans, trying to explode out my ears. Read. Read all kinds of stuff. Get off the internet and read books. History books. Science books. Not novels. Not New Age psychic drivel. And be cynical. Be critical. Don’t believe anything, that anyone, who works for a corporation tells you. They’re the enemy. They’ve been brainwashed with corporate mission statements. They actually believe that Archer Daniels Midland is feeding the world, and that Dow Chemical does great things. They work for an alien army of invaders… And whenever someone gets it in their head, that becoming a lawyer is gonna make them happy, take three steps back, and run. Get as far away from them as you can. You are living among aliens. Strange creatures with programmed minds, who look like people, but think like ants – holding hands and waving their antennas, as they march off the cliffs of history, singing about “freedom” and “democracy” – smashing apart on the rocks below.
This is your soul at stake here. No one can save it but you. Don’t believe things that aren’t true. That sounds simple enough, but in a society as flooded with distortions, and misinformation, as ours, we must be especially vigilant. Suspect anything, anything at all, that is formulated to stroke your ego. If it makes you feel good, it’s probably bad! You won’t hear that from a female talk show host. If it makes you feel good, it’s probably bad! If it sounds wrong, or makes you uncomfortable, there’s probably some truth to it. This is one of the main things men know that women don’t. If it feels good it’s probably bad. It’s just another manipulation. Another glorious, ego-enhancing summons to fight another one of THEIR wars. Does childbirth “feel” good. No. Not until it’s over. But it’s worth the pain. “Feeling good” is a carrot dangled in front of our face, by a society that is incapable of making us “feel good”, and which, in fact, is doing everything possible to keep us disturbed and malleable – because that’s how it can control us. The developed world would be transformed overnight if people regained possession of their own souls.
More than anything else I want my kids to be on guard against loss of soul – in their own lives – and in the lives of the people they befriend, and ultimately come to depend on. A life lived without meaningful ideas, is a subhuman existence. Surrounding yourself with dullards drags you down into a pit of truisms, and soundbites, and pop psychology, and hate radio, that rots your brain and saps your soul. You find yourself constantly on the defensive, trying to explain your purest insights, and most vibrant intuitions, to a squabbling gang of geese, who slurp their ideas off the tube, or Rush Limbaugh, and attack you if you disrupt their fantasies.
Living with a crippled soul is like trying to drive a car with bullfrogs for an engine. It makes a lot of noise, but it doesn’t go anywhere. A person with diminished soul becomes a dull-eyed amphibian, snapping at flies, preyed upon by the eagles of media, and corporate advertising. A person with damaged soul has no ability to step beneath life, and view it from below – to see how it’s put together from the bottom up. She is simply caught up in the latest gossip and newest fad, working her way up a pecking order designed by clucking fashion hens, in the chic henhouses of New York or Paris or San Francisco.
Soul is down, not up. Soul is not sparkling comets and flights of ecstasy. Soul is earthworms and slime and submarine caverns. Soul is not the bright light of knowledge and information. Soul is using your imagination to see in the dark. Soul is mud – the black stew of carbon nutrients, and dead things, where flower seeds germinate, and root, and then thrust upward to bloom. Soul is a slimy trail to the source of things – an earthquake between your ears – a lens aimed at the invisible world. Soul is having x-ray eyes, seeing right through soil and tree roots, from the bottom up. Soul is snorkeling on your belly in one foot of water, fondling starfish and sea worms and other ugly creatures which populate a universe that begins a mere stone’s throw away, from the comfort of dry land.
Soul is a sea turtle with a hard shell and moist eyes, diving on the outer reefs of our consciousness, snapping at flashing, darting schools of thought, crawling onto the warm sand to lay its eggs. And we are the island where this sea turtle of our soul, comes to dive for inspiration, and reproduce its ideas. It needs us and we need it. We are, every one of us, a mythic atoll, an island in the mind, where the forces of sea and land, ideas and action, wash back and forth across the sand. We are living breathing messengers of the cultural myths we inherited. We are walking talking energy fields, where the greatest super nova, and the tiniest electron, pull up a chair to drink coffee, and argue physics. We are charged with the superhuman task of trying to make sense out of everything – but we can’t do it! The world is too big. So we invent mythologies to hold the visible and invisible parts of life together, at the same time, in the same brain. We concoct metaphors to fashion a delicate link between our inner and outer worlds. And we enlist our reptilian souls, to paddle back and forth between the two, plodding through the muck, holding its breath in high surf, dragging its tail through chaos and disorder. This scuba dive in a mud puddle, this swim with the sharks, this juggling act with wet eggs and flippers, is the essential task of soul.
It’s hard enough to begin with, but for modern man the situation has become doubly precarious. Our islands have become radioactive. The waters where our sea turtle swims, are polluted with plastic bags and murky ideas. Our modern myths have become deadly to soul. Contemporary culture has much to say about technology, but little to say about soul. Consumer culture is a bona fide enemy of soul. It cannot thrive in a soulful society. Only a society frantic with fear and stress, hooked on the endlessly proliferating distractions of sense pleasures, ignorant of the deeper requirements of soul, would work so hard, and buy so much, as we. The average American enjoys more comfort and convenience than did the average king 200 years ago, and yet compulsively we seek more. There’s never enough. We “can’t get no satisfaction”. Consumer culture works intently, and relentlessly to strip us of soul – so we’ll buy more and more stuff.
A person with no soul is on sale to the world. The inducement to “be yourself” is meaningless in a society, where everyone gets their ideas off TV. Legions of entrepreneurs devote their lives to inventing some product or service that can be marketed by a large corporation. A new technology, a better kind of soap, a seamy novel, a sci-fi movie – whatever. They’re all the same thing: products designed to be licensed and sold by large corporations. Our perception of self-worth is determined by whether some large corporation will BUY us – or not. It used to be the Church which decided, whether or not we were good enough, to enter the “kingdom of heaven” – that promised land of peace and security and freedom from worry. Now it’s huge corporations that dangle the “keys to heaven” in our faces. What a sorry existential stew.
We’re letting the marketing departments of corporations decide whether we have mass appeal or not, because the only products they can effectively promote and distribute are products with MASS appeal. They have no facility for handling crafts, handmade items, or original thinking. Corporations are too big. Homegrown items – whether tomatoes, honey or books – can no longer find a place on the store shelves. A toy maker with two good toys, a baker with two good breads, a cowboy who mixed up an excellent barbecue sauce, are all told they must come out with 35 items in their product line, because that’s what corporations can sell. And if you can’t somehow get corporate money behind you, you can’t get your goods to market. So much for the “free market”. There’s more freedom of opportunity in any morning market in Bolivia. And yet we believe the rest of the world is so horribly oppressed, and we are so marvelous. Guess what? Walking into Wal-Mart is any spiritual adept’s definition of a trip to hell – millions of bright cheap things, mass produced by corporations, on sale to the world – devoid of soul. Wal-Mart robs YOU of soul. Wal-Mart robs the WORLD of soul.
And what I wanna know is, who cares about mass appeal? Every person is looking for some way to distinguish themselves FROM the masses. By definition, mass appeal restricts original thought and creativity. New ideas, brave ideas, are not going to be instantly applauded, in a society informed by television, and brainwashed with consumerism. Yes, we have a great variety of new and amusing products, but we have very few options for how to live our lives. We can either work for this corporation, or that corporation… or become Fringe Dwellers, living in the cracks of society.
You can drive from one end of America to the other, and every place looks the same… the same lousy strip-mall architecture, the same cheesy corporate signs. Our entertainment industry feeds our cravings for relief from this “sameness”, by cranking out “mythic” stories about freedom, adventure, and the battle between good and evil. But none of this cartoon hysteria translates into our daily lives. There are very few Darth Vaders to attract our wrath. The worst villains are not even people, they’re “legal entities” – corporations. How do you get mad at a legal entity? How do you arrest one or bring it to justice? It can kill people by selling faulty products, and yet its directors, who knew of the product defects, remain immune from criminal prosecution. You can only get the attention of this science fiction monster by making it BLEED money. And if you do that for very long, it just dissolves, and reappears across town under a different name. An amazing trick. Modern day economic genies. Same crooks, different name. Financial giants of shadowy substance. They run our lives, and we can’t even choke them, or kick them in the knee when they genetically alter our food, pollute our cities, or intentionally sell us defective, dangerous, and sometimes lethal products.
Nowadays even farmers are corporations. At least they THINK they are. They must plant a certain seed, and use certain pesticides, if they want to sell their crop to the handful of huge corporate buyers. The bank owns their land and machinery. If nature cooperates and they have a bumper crop, prices drop. If they have a poor crop, they sink deeper into debt. Farmers are, in fact, serfs, living under corporate feudalism. They take all the risks, and the only ones who benefit, one way or the other, are lordly corporations. The “family farm” is kaput. Skilled cultivators fleeing tyranny in Europe, shipped over to America, broke their backs building up farms, sent their sons to war to defend “freedom”, and endured the villainous reversal of being reduced to peasants again – working for banks and corporations – the New Aristocracy of Money. Maybe they’ll remember their past. Maybe they’ll remember there used to be revolutions over this kind of thing. People can depose a duke or king, but how do we depose a corporation? Who do we fight? How do we fight? Where will the leadership come from? Certainly not from the artists or intelligentsia.
The “artists” and “writers” of our era, all work for corporations. They’re not leaders. They’re paid stooges producing mass corporate art. And we used to laugh at Russia for its state sponsored art. What’s any different about these lackeys cranking out corporate art? Grinding out intellectual baby food for the masses? They wear rebelliously long hair, and sing sentimental songs about poverty, then buy ranches in Maui. They are shattered souls, doing drugs to gain ascendancy over their mashed “feelings”. We “resonate” with them because of our own shattered souls, and our own mashed feelings – and because we, like they, have no ideas about how to extricate ourselves from this pain.
(I told ya, last time, this wasn’t gonna be pretty.) The best lie is the one that’s almost true. Our “best” artists engage in a criminally deceptive hypocrisy. Pathetic. Tragic…For 50,000 years art was understood, and appreciated, as a metaphorical springboard, that launched us closer to God. All art was religious art. Now it’s a way to express our “feelings”, in a machine culture. Preposterous. We don’t even know what art is for any more. Deluded or not, Picasso claimed that he made not art, but “religious objects” unquote. At least he had some sense of what he was SUPPOSED to be doing. Our current crop hasn’t a clue. Corporations are not interested in religion or spirituality, unless they can sell it.
Do not confuse sentimentality with soul. They have nothing to do with each other. Our “great” filmmakers never grew up past age 14. They’re still playing with toy soldiers and making dinosaur movies. Or replaying World War II sixty years later. Compressing a gray world, bursting with complex problems and intermingled agendas, into simplistic formulas of black and white, good and evil, right and wrong. But who’s good, and who’s evil? Is an Arab sheik who’s resisting the corporate conquest of his oil reserves, evil? Are the American airmen who go to bomb him, good? How did corporate media become the arbiter of good and evil? I thought that was the Church’s job?…
The “art” of our era will be forgotten in 50 years. It’s not about anything besides “feelings”. There are no great ideas being explored. There are no new insights being delivered to the masses, by corporate artists. They offer nothing that helps us examine the issues of our era, or isolate the causes of our frustrations. How can one raise money for Farm Aid, without attacking the agri-corporations that are causing the destruction of the family farm? We don’t need to take up collections for farmers by listening to Willie Nelson and Neil Young warble about poverty. We, the masses, the spectators, don’t have enough money to spare. We don’t have enough money to make a difference. We need to take money AWAY from corporations. They’re the ones who have it. They’re the ones who should pay some price for their calculated destruction of the family farm. But we whine along with our pop musicians, indulging in sentimentality in E minor, neglecting to pinpoint the root causes of our problems – i.e. that huge corporations have conquered our economy. It’s masturbation. Our most noble efforts are misdirected. Our energy is deflected away from ideas that could make a difference. Our passions are pasted together out of computer wizardry, and special effects. Just because it’s new, does that mean it’s good? Just because it “feels” like the right thing to do, does that mean it’s going anywhere? – accomplishing anything? Something smells. What’s wrong here?
God can’t be filmed, that’s what’s wrong. We’re wearing our underpants on our heads, that’s what’s wrong. We’re eating soup with a fork, that’s what’s wrong. The invisible parts of life are being ignored. The most fundamental ideas about how to live don’t show up in the video store. Our brains are overloaded with info-tainment, and our souls are whimpering like lost puppies. We’re hammered by stress. Media has sold us their version of the antidote to stress, and we’ve tried it, and it DOESn’t work. We’re “entertaining ourselves to death”. The more “labor saving devices” we purchase, the more stressed out we get. Ideas divorced from reality equals fragmented soul. Simple math.
The real cause of stress is fragmented soul – the artificially instilled gap between ideas and actions, intentionally perpetuated by the engines of modern culture. Our brains don’t know what our bodies are doing, and vice versa – our human systems are rattled by stress. But take heart. There IS a way to reclaim our souls. There IS a way to reduce the stress in our lives. There IS a way to poke our heads above the garbage heap of modern culture. But not by taking the prescriptions flaunted in the media. There’s another way, a better way, a way that actually works. But it requires a bit of mental effort. It doesn’t come easily. It doesn’t come in a bottle, and it’s definitely not sold on TV. It’s called “learning.” Yes, LEARNING.
No, not learning about new vitamins or new software. Not learning about stock market schemes or the latest technical gadget. Not learning anything currently taught in the institutions of our era because the institutions of our era ARE the problem. They have co-opted learning. They have enshrined a type of learning that benefits them, and oppresses the rest of us. Does it really matter to you whether or not birds are dinosaurs? The high priests of pop culture want to sit on sofas tossing around high flying ideas, while we build their roads and clean their toilets. These university professors and corporate mavens and government clones are the cultural elite, the self-appointed priesthood of our era. And like every other period in human history, when the priest class grew too numerous, and sucked too many resources out of the local population, there comes a time when we, the peasants, must revolt against them. There comes a time when we must challenge their ideas. Is the Pharaoh really descended from the sun? Is monarchy the only workable form of government? Do corporations really have any place at all in a true democracy? What would our society look like if we abolished corporate lobbying, eliminated Corporate Welfare, and threw some real economic support behind small farmers, and small entrepreneurs? We must begin asking the questions that are never asked.
It’s time to re-invent learning.
OK, more on that next time.
So… Come on you soulful fucks. Help out. Put an idea into action. Go to my web sites… happyfool.orG and, therudeguy.com… and click on Make a Donation… Your donations are keeping me afloat right now. I need and appreciate every one.
Or maybe buy a book. Buy THIS book. The Corporate Cult. Your kids might need this as much as mine do. Or tell a friend about my oil paintings. Go to happyfool.orG and click on Oil Paintings. And try to tell other guys about the show. OK?
What I really need is a computer geek promoter, to help me expand my audience. I have about 500 regular listeners and get about $200 a month in donations. Takes me forty hours to produce each show, two shows a month, so I’m making about two dollars and fifty cents an hour doing this podcast. If I had 5000 listeners I MIGHT get $2000 a month, and I could stop living in my fucking truck. So help out if you can, co-create the future – internet audio.
And… If somebody out there wants to help, we can figure out some kind of profit-sharing plan, so you get PAID for your time and skills. Think about it. I need some help.
This is The Rude Guy. I’ll be back. Stay strong. Don’t let anybody intimidate you. Don’t let anybody shame you. No more bullshit. That’s our motto…. No more BULLssshhhiiittt.
Ahhhh, feels a little better already.