We Are Already Free and We Don't Know It
I dreamed that I was climbing a mountain, and I was doing it the hard way: straight up a fifty-eight degree pitch through densely matted tangles of alder-brush and some of the spiniest devil's club from hell that you'd never care to lay your hands upon! Typical Alaskan scene. The dream was like real life—exactly as I have lived it, a time or ten, back in my rugged wilderness days. Ahhh. . . those days!
But something was peculiar. In real life, you can reach the end of these mountainsides if you have enough persistence. Eventually, you'll glimpse sky through the mat of choking vegetation and know that the summit is near. You'll break free onto a stretch of talus or tundra, with a final sprint to the top. But in my dream, it didn't work that way. I struggled and struggled; I spat; I cursed. I spotted daylight through the thinning branches but then the scene shifted and changed and I was back in the thickets again, hacking and slashing and negotiating cliffs while the mosquitoes were sucking me dry. . . .
In my dream, I paused for breath. And I said to myself, "why am I doing this?" And straightway I posed the question, it struck me that I was only dreaming!
Now isn't that what they call a lucid dream? When you know that you are dreaming while you are dreaming?
Abruptly, the scene shifted. With no apparent transition (dreams are funny that way), I was standing on a level, rocky heath with a faint view of rolling ridges that stretched away into a hazy distance under an overcast sky. There was nothing memorable or special about the place where I stood; it was an unremarkable place. Yet out of nowhere I heard a voice which seemed to say "this is the mountain-top". And that was all. That was the end of it. The dream faded out . . . .
But the dream has not faded from my memory—and so I share. It is a kind of vision which I cherish because it is lucid in every way. It is not a bit obscure; it is very, very clear. And clearly, it is an allegory about transcendence and the power of epiphany—an affirmational message from below the threshhold, a testimony of power and righteousness to those among us who glory in the life of the conscious mind.
In my own life, especially since the recent hiatus in my blogging, I have finally made the transition to my mountain-top. I have come to understand the futility of hacking at tangled vegetation. I have decided that I have better things to do, and that a novel approach to the matters that weigh so sorely upon us all, is sorely needed.
So how did I gain this exalted state of mind? How did I ascend to this pinnacle? Because rage, despair and futility got the better of me! That's how. One by one, a thousand tiny places died inside of me and turned to ice. And I had no choice about this—how else could I possibly hold on to my sanity? No other road was given me. One by one, those places died inside of me until precious few remained. I won't say none, but precious few.
And now I feel liberated, for the balance has shifted in favor of ice. And ice, my friends, is both power and bliss! But best of all, my sanity and my politics are both fully intact, and stronger than they have ever been.
All right, how shall I explain this?
When the world turns its gaze in our direction, what does it see? A passel of overheated people! People toiling through thickets; people hacking and cursing at brambles; Sisyphus damning the slope! That is what the rest of the world sees. What it does NOT see, is a group of pragmatic philosophers standing on a mountain-top with a perspective glass and their faces to the icy wind, quietly assessing the panorama. But that is what the world SHOULD see, for that is exactly what we ought to be: pragmatic philosophers with a view.
We need to embrace a winning attitude—in preference to a whining attitude—and we need to assume ownership of power. We are already standing on our mountain-top, but we need to KNOW this to a moral certainty; we need to make this knowledge decisive for all of our thinking and all of our doing.
It is time for us to shift into a new stage of our development. We should phase out ranting, and start calmly discussing things instead. We should make this our prevailing tone, what the world will hear most from us—the governing spirit and unifying principle behind all of our rhetoric and behind all of our verbal self-presentation of whatever sort. We ought to appear as cool cucumbers rather than hot tamales—rational agents in full possession of our identities and ideations, with a steady hand upon the tiller and a clear eye upon the compass. Hotheads and firebrands have their place in the scheme of things—no doubt of that! But their place is not in the pilot house.
Remember this: a winning attitude means talking like a winner. And how do winners talk? With cool self-assurance and a sly sense of humor; that's how! Winners don't rant and vent because they don't need to—they're on top of their game! ;-)
The sly sense of humor is especially important, because our enemies are famous for not having any sense of humor at all. (I should in fairness remark that some of them do in fact have a narrow, brittle sense of humor.)
In future writings, I shall advert frequently to the points I have talked about in this article.
Go now, and find your mountain-top!