We humans are unbelievably full of ourselves and Western Culture drives us to the pinnacle of this delusion. Heralding the human race as the best of all beings, we humans fail to realize we are merely a species amongst others and our way of life is no more than a style of existence.
While playing an Xbox game called “Cities” I found myself feeling genuinely accomplished when citizens began moving into my newly created virtual city. This video game, “Cities,” allows the player to act as the Mayor of a new land. The player gets to lay the roads, electrical grid, water lines, zone the areas and decide what taxes and policies to implement. When you get things wrong, for example putting industrial areas too close to residential, thereby getting people sick, you lose citizens and thus, tax revenue. And when you get it right, virtual citizens move in by the droves. This particular night I did really well, virtual citizens were moving in, tax money flowed and I was able to create the most elaborate city I had ever built. I really felt good about my accomplishment.
Then it occurred to me; I’m not a mayor and I haven’t built a city. I was gaining real life satisfaction from an entertainment device created by other human beings. While entertaining, I should never allow it to penetrate my soul unless there was some real world benefit. I’m not a Mayor, racecar driver, a soldier, a martial artist or boxer. In fact, my skills in each of these categories are likely lacking in real life. In truth, I’m just a person allowing mankind’s latest technology to aid my imagination in making me feel like I’m having these great experiences. But in reality, I’m a man sitting on his couch having vivid fantasies; it’s all in my head and simply being aided by technology.
Everything is in the mind. I think of feelings of dejavu, where the sensation of familiarity is so strong that people actually think they’ve had the same experience before in another dimension. Despite no evidence that any other time continuum exists, the emotion of familiarity is powerful enough to cause people to regard first experiences as the second. Technology does the same thing in that it induces emotional feelings that aid the imagination. This is not wrong, and it is very entertaining, however, it can also detract from the human drive to actually create real life experiences and accomplishments. For me I was repairing virtual roads then leaving my home and hitting real life potholes on actual streets. My imagination got to own and race a collection of expensive racecars despite not owning one or having the skill to race at a competitive level. It was the same as me beating Mike Tyson in a game of Mike Tyson’s Punch-out.
Language is Humanity’s Coping Mechanism
Video games are not the first technology to control human behavior. Written words and language are by far humanity’s most distractive and destructive technological innovation thus far. We obnoxious humans think our method of using signs and sounds in coping with the vastness of truth somehow gives those truths life; we have confused human awareness with existence. As stated in my book “To Pimp a Nation,” if we see two rocks on the ground, the fact that we call them “rocks” or have a numbering system to designate how many there are changes absolutely nothing about the fact of their existence or that if one was thrown at you, even without us assigning it a name or amount, it would still hurt. However, our words and numbering system can help one human prompt the imagination of another to visualize and avoid the danger of being hit by one of these rocks. In this circumstance it would merely be us humans coping with a bigger truth. The point is this; we humans regard our meager means of coping with life’s truths as equal to or even a contender with life itself. This is utterly obnoxious.
We use our voices and body language to produce idea templates and rely on established nuance to fill in the gaps. There shouldn’t be any issues with this but sadly, Central Bank induced scarcity causes desperation and thereby dishonesty. A culture’s prolonged experience under these conditions would drive institutional and subsequently cultural dishonesty. Western Culture advanced dishonesty throughout the world and even Western history itself is dishonest because it leaves its own dishonesty. From Pizarro using dishonesty to lure out and capture Inca King, Atahualpa, to the treaties the United States signed with Native American tribes. From the smallpox laden blankets purposely given to Native Americans to get them sick, to the white tradesmen who “just wanted to help Africans” by setting up little trade posts on Africa’s west coast, one thing is obvious, the people being lied to were accustomed to honesty, even from their adversaries. Being such a dishonest culture has affected us socially to the point where we’ve grown accustomed to using words to make untruths indistinguishable from truth. Under today’s standard of integrity, words craftily poised for effect can subvert any unwanted reality; it is perfectly ok to sacrifice nuance if necessary. Just think of how many people think Donald Trump won an election not only tabulated to be a loss for him, but challenged and largely upheld by courts he packed in his favor. The Western lifestyle has engendered a culture where reality is optional if one can posture the technology of words to oppose it.
I remember my first foray into the alternate reality zone when as kids my older Cousin and I would compete on our skateboards trying more and more daring tricks. We came up with the phrase “I didn’t see it so it didn’t happen” to cope with the fact the other might have accomplished a new trick before we did. In reality we were retreating into a fortress of words to protect ourselves from undesirable truths. We subconsciously reasoned that the other could also be using words as an offensive weapon by claiming they had done a trick they actually hadn’t. With these dueling intellectual weapons our competition moved from reality into the intellectual realm when practice and skill should have been the only tools in our belts.
Murder is when someone kills someone else but the technology of words can completely flip this definition. For instance, if four kids get in a car and kill someone in a drive-by-shooting yet only one actually shoots, through the technology of words, they can all become murderers despite only one having actually killed someone. On the other hand a white supremacist cop with the goal of executing a black man can kill one, refer to a supposed gesture made or object carried by the victim, say he feared for his life, and through the use of words, not be a murderer. In both of these cases the technology of words supplanted reality creating a 180-degree effect.
As an adult I explore the subject of race and sociology by engaging people through social media. I noticed many white men who oppose my opinions on race retreat into their own fortress of words when the facts don’t support their case. For example, in September of last year, amidst the summer’s George Floyd protests, two Sheriff Deputies were shot in Compton, California. I keep many friends on social media who aren’t sympathetic to black people’s plight so when I saw one reacting to Sheriff Villanueva’s loaded post about a “protest” blocking the entrance to the hospital the shooting victims were being treated at and protesters yelling “we hope you die,” I immediately engaged them and their friends to understand how they were seeing this incident. Many had negative opinions about the summer’s protests and I knew they gravitated towards any story that legitimized the violence and brutality police practiced on black and brown people. This night Sheriff Alex Villanueva shamefully weaponized words and nuance with a tweet reading;
“To the protesters blocking the entrance & exit of the HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM yelling ‘We hope they die’ referring to 2 LA Sheriff’s ambushed today in #Compton: DO NOT BLOCK EMERGENCY ENTRIES & EXITS TO THE HOSPITAL. People’s lives are at stake when ambulances can’t get through.”
This tweet struck me because we protesters had been fighting all summer to separate ourselves from the violence and “cop killer” image movements like “Blue Lives Matter” and white supremacist groups like the “Boogaloo Boys” had been levying on us. I used Snapchat to see what this “protest” was all about and found absolutely nothing, which is highly unusual in a modern protest. I was dumbfounded and wanted to know more but I wasn’t going to go to Compton and see for myself because I’ve been in gang territory after one of theirs has been hurt or killed and can tell you firsthand that it is a death wish. Since Los Angeles Sheriffs Department functions similarly to a gang, I knew not to go near this area. LASD’s gang-like behavior however, did help me see what Villanueva’s “protest” was referring to when they brutalized N.P.R. reporter, Josie Huang, an Asian American journalist who surely had nothing to do with the shooting. Mrs. Huang and her team were filming LASD’s interaction with these so-called “protesters,” who turned out to just be a group of six guys, one of which shouted “we hope they die.” Sherriff Villanueva lied on black people. Or did he? In truth, he was exploiting language and nuance to subvert reality. The truth was the Los Angeles Sheriff Department earned its rightful reputation for brutalizing and killing black and brown people without warrant. He had nothing real that demonstrated his victims earned this style of policing so he seized an opportunity to attribute the deed of one to a whole group. As a white man I debated later online pointed out, what Villanueva said was technically true but the nuance was pulling all the disingenuous weight and distorting truth to form a heavy weapon against black people and Black Lives Matter. By saying “protest,” Villanueva caused his audience to imagine that Black Lives Matter found its way to a Compton hospital that night. He didn’t have to explicitly say it for them to envision a sizeable number of black protesters in Compton wishing for the Deputies’ deaths. Given all the attention to the summer’s protests a law enforcement agency’s spokesperson calling six people a “protest” without context is deceitful. But our Sheriff assembled his word fortress and allowed nuance to guide his audience’s minds into thinking Black Lives Matter wanted cops to die. The white guy I debated online exhibited this fact when he refused to to acknowledge the nuance and stuck to the technical meaning despite me explaining to him how it mislead readers and created a dangerous situation for innocent black and brown people. Truth didn’t fit his agenda so he obnoxiously made truth accountable to manmade words rather than the opposite.
Recently a company called “Justfly.com” attempted to use words and technology to keep the money I spent for a trip to Australia; a two-layered defense. I purchased the ticket during the COVID19 pandemic to take advantage of the low pricing. The crisis lasted longer than I expected and as the date approached the airline began sending me ridiculous rebookings that would have required a time machine to take the trip. I contacted the company and it wouldn’t let me speak to a human. Via its supposed “refund” process it only allowed me to follow a sequence of actions via its website. These actions ultimately lead to me receiving a company credit as long as I flew to the same destination via the same airline. Here was a company that when unable to fulfill its side of the contract, used technology and its words to lock me into my end of the deal while not fulfilling its own. It was right for them to refund my money because they were unable to provide what I had purchased. Making this case to my credit card company I managed to break down Justfly.com’s word-fortress walls and rescue my hard-earned money from their technological and intellectual dungeon.
Western culture’s claim to fame is written law and “civility.” I think both of these fundamental elements are actually signs of dysfunction because populations operating in harmony do not need formal rules; formal rules only come into play when things aren’t working. Written rules come into play as external references when unwritten formal rules come under stress. The stressing of the resulting written rules by constantly litigating the nuance will cause them to become more and more complex. These complexities will make those subject to them focus more on the words than the reality those words represent. This is what Western Culture has become and its dysfunction is estranging humanity further and further from reality. It’s making humanity obnoxiously obsessed with itself rather than humble to the world that graciously hosts us.