In a flood it’s impossible to swim until the water reaches your butt!

The title is a paraphrase of a native Brazilian proverb mentioned by Vanessa Andreotti in her presentation, ClimateExistence Day 1: Existence Beyond the House that Modernity Built

The status-quo is defended since it is all there is for an alienated self within an alienating society to identify with. The alienated self has no awareness of even the possibility of an integrated self. All movement in that direction, whether internally or externally motivated, is seen, and rightly so in the narrowest sense, as an attempt to destroy the cobbled-together Ego-sense of a self. Individuals see themselves in no other way than as being caught in a battle whose outcome appears to be self-preservation. Unable to see that what goes on in the name of this self-preservation drives a rush towards mutual-annihilation.

It was inevitable that the alienated self would be reduced to self-harm since this is the only avenue left that provides any feeling of some sort of existence. This is a result, and a cause, of an ongoing process of dis-integration that leads inexorably to destruction. The outwardly oriented violence this brings about is, ultimately, a means to self-harm and self-destruction. This process is opaque to the individual and repressed, both within the alienated individual and within the toxic culture that creates and maintains these creatures and blocks any effort at their self-integration. What is defended against, above all else, is any attempt at arriving at insights that may upset the precarious pseudo-balance provided by the status-quo. This perverse self-defense justifies any and all repression. Repression that then feeds an onward downward spiral. The only ameliorating actions allowed within this delusion are forms of self-comforting. These acts follow tacit rules. They can include ignoring, repressing, and when these are not enough, venting and acting-out – seemingly in rebellion against the the conditions perceived to be harmful – but any such rebellion is never intended to do more than, “Let off steam.”

Any attempt to transform any of these incidents into anything more, or any attempt to act on them in any substantive and direct manner leads to a loss of social acceptability. Anyone pursuing these avenues is conveniently placed in the broad category of kooks and nuts. Their actions simply taken as “bad form,” a transgression of acceptable boundaries. At some level these actions are recognized as an attack on the precarious status-quo and therefore intolerable. They must be stopped. Stopped by “dropping it.” Stopped by meeting what is being proposed with willful misunderstanding. Offense is taken. Resistance to such a break with the acceptable will risk an escalation of repression to any level necessary.

In this way authoritarianism can be flavored by whatever ideology one is preconditioned to follow. Each faction only differs in which elements of repression and control are celebrated and which are themselves acted on within a veil of self-delusional self-justification

However, everything does change once the flood begins to sweep you off your feet….

By Antonio Dias

We fall for lies because we want to be told what can't possibly be true. If learning is to be more than the acquisition of facts, then it is important that we realize its process is not dominant/passive. No one simply teaches another. We don’t learn what is pushed at us. We take in what we can absorb and we reflect upon insights as they arise. This is a sharing of gifts. To enter into this is to join in collaboration; each/both, teaching and learning in the mutual reciprocity of dialogue.

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