Our Ignorance is not who we are; it’s what keeps us from being who we are. The battle for the planet of the apes has begun. Arm yourself.
By Robert Simmons
At this very moment, there is an Alternate Reality hovering just beyond our collective consciousness. Physically, we cannot get there from here. This parallel universe can only be reached by extending ourselves mentally; to ‘wrap our heads around it’. Only one thing stops us from making this journey: our own Ignorance. Before we can ‘level up’, to this next plane of human existence, we will need to slow down a moment and first address the problem of our collectively immense Ignorance.
Know thy Enemy
Realize, our Ignorance is not who we are – it is what keeps us from being who we are; and no, this is not an informercial designed to con you out of your cash, by tapping into some self-loathing you have about your Ignorance, or your inability to ‘control’ It. The truth is, in a consumerist economy, no one wants you to control your Ignorance; your Ignorance is a capitalist’s wet dream. In this feedback loop between our Ignorance and a system designed to feed off of our Ignorance, we basically eat the world, regurgitate it, then feed it back to ourselves at a marked-up price. On our best day, we are still someone else’s asset, here to maximize our ‘value’, per someone else’s agenda. During the harvesting process, our innards have been shucked and our talent separated out, in order to be fully ‘utilized’.
We can change that. No, we don’t need a donation. Keep your money. Use it for whatever money is good for. We need you to take a cigarette break from playing the current version of yourself – a role, let’s be honest, that was not your first choice – and instead step back and critique your performance for a moment.
Actors must choose their character’s ‘motivation’ – or what drives their choices – in order to deliver a ‘quality’ performance. In regard to your character’s motivation: why are you still letting your Ignorance drive you, while you sit passively in the passenger seat, looking out the window?
Your Ignorance has an obvious impulse control problem, which leads to great drama and conflict, and might even make you mildly entertaining to the rest of us, but ultimately leaves you a static, predictable character. Meanwhile, it is important to note that the ‘vehicle’ you allow your Ignorance to drive around is clearly registered in your name.
It is easy to kick the can down the road by shrugging off all that has transpired as simply being ‘inevitable’, but the concept of ‘choice’ clearly exists, which implies that we have one, even if we are often unwilling to exercise it. While we remain passive, however, by default, we let our Ignorance drive us forward instead, with Its one ‘invisible hand’ on the wheel.
Contrary to ‘popular’ (aka ‘ignorantly formed’) opinion,Ignorance cannot be shamed out of people, punished out of them, or lectured out of them. People have to choose to overcome their own Ignorance. That being said, we need to point out that this is a group project, and, no pressure, but the entire class will fail if you screw up.In order to be helpful to you while completing your part of the project, we hope to provide some ‘decluttering’ tips designed to clear away Ignorance and make room for something better.
We kill all the caterpillars, then complain there are no butterflies.John Marsden
The Four (Known) Levels of Mastery
The purpose of life is Mastery. This is born from our innate drive to consume.
One could easily imagine the first group of Ignorant people, as they looked out in confused amazement at a panorama of earth and sky, and wondered how it all came to be. We are still unsure of the answer today. Did the universe spring from one source (like God or the ‘Big Bang’), and expand outward in a predictable pattern, or is this simply God’s ‘House’, and God, as Master, furnished the universe with lots of accessories, because ‘He’ saw that ‘it was good’. Plan A is about ‘Creation’, inseminating a receptive and fertile soil. Plan B is about ‘Control’, something akin to raping an unreceptive ‘void’ (Note: statistics clearly show that more ‘harmony’ is achieved through some reciprocal arrangement, thus it is the hope that our universe was not forged in violence, but through some more amicable relationship). Sadly, humankind itself has opted for Plan B. This, in a nutshell, is how our Ignorance has been a huge problem for us, and why our existence can be seen as a constant quest for ‘ Mastery’.
We humbly wish to posit this Theory of Mastery as a process, in the hope of speeding it all up a bit.
We hypothesize that Mastery is ultimately about how humans eventually ‘evolve’ from the Ignorant notion that Power is exerted from the ‘top down’ – which is actually the definition of ‘Control’ – to the practice of exerting Power from the ‘bottom up’ (or from a single source within us, then expanding outward) – which is the definition of ‘Creation’.
For this explanation, we have divided Mastery into Four Levels, inversely proportional to our corresponding level of Ignorance.
LEVEL I: Assimilation
The First Level of Mastery (when we are at maximum Ignorance) is ‘Assimilation’, where humans attempt to attain Mastery over ‘others’; to physically consume the ‘other’, in order to create ‘sameness’. Sameness is seen as safe; ’variation’ as threatening; Assimilation is simply a safety precaution for a mind so Ignorant, it cannot even comprehend itself, let alone recognize itself in others. Assimilation is the complete absence of critical thinking; its byproducts are War, Colonization, Conquest, Genocide – in a word, Oppression. The evil that men do.
LEVEL II. Appropriation
The Second Level of Mastery is ‘Appropriation’; where we mimic, extract, or outright steal anything our senses perceive as ‘useful’. This has been euphemistically termed ‘Utility’ (the state of being useful, profitable, or beneficial), which has reached its fruition with the advent of modern Consumerism; in reality, however, Appropriation is about possession or possessing; as John Lennon once quipped, “possession is nine-tenths of the problem”. The most infamous byproduct of Appropriation is Slavery, and while the word ‘slavery’ has been made ‘publicly’ illegal, the practice of it remains ‘privately’ too legit to quit.
One of the countless negative externalities created by this paradigm is that there is no ‘benefit’ (aka ‘profit’) derived from cultivating the ‘whole’ person. This is made clear at the Educational level, which has become more ‘specialized’, and often seeks to nurture only the child’s perceived ‘strengths’. This is a strategy designed to produce minions, primed to consume and be consumed; certainly not to develop free-thinking problem solvers capable of seeing any ‘bigger picture’.
To be clear, people are certainly allowed to retain any parts of themselves deemed valueless to consumers, per their contractual ‘Liberty’, but ask anyone who falls under the category of gender, caste, sex, race, class, sexuality, religion, disability, or physical appearance, and they will likely tell you stories of being squeezed by Assimilation at the same time they are being pulled apart by Appropriation. The feeling is analogous to incarcerating someone in order to ‘rehabilitate’ them, meanwhile allowing them to be gang raped in the process.
We can also add so-called ‘robbery’ – the ‘illegal’ appropriation of ‘stuff’ – to this list of negative externalities, as the so-called ‘legitimate’ appropriation of stuff necessitates the creation of ‘property rights’ (to secure ‘ownership’), which leads (somehow) to people needing to have guns (to protect their stuff), which leads those who have no ‘legitimate’ access to any ‘stuff’ to use said guns to illegally appropriate it (often by stealing the guns first), which leads of course, to an entire infrastructure of police, lawyers, judges, and correctional officers designed to punish people for all basically wanting the same thing, which can never happen in a ‘winner-take-all’ appropriation-driven paradigm.
LEVEL III: Education
The Third Level of Mastery – Education – is supposed to be the turning point in our journey – an introductory weapons training course in how to defend ourselves against ourselves – but to do this effectively, Education will first need to be wrestled from the cold dead hands of the consumerist culture.
Ignorance will not go without a fight, however, and is working hard to assimilate and appropriate the very tool – Education – designed to eliminate it. Ignorance may not have brains, but It certainly has balls. The future battle for the planet of the apes is going to be fought on our school grounds, and will be tantamount to a Second Civil War, again reiterating, to no great effect, that we will ‘no longer serve two Masters’. (The entire purpose of this article is to avoid more external conflict, and instead entreat each of us to fight the battle from within, which is the only place it can be won anyway.)
The metamorphosis of our children into cookie-cutter commodities is nearly complete. Kids routinely perform self-induced abortions on their non-essential selves, then pimp their re-packaged remains on the social media market. Meanwhile, parents-turned-venture capitalists grow their portfolio of child assets, padding resumes and paying off officials, in order to raise the market value of their most natural resource. Granted, parents do not want to see their children fail, but we have failed them already, by feeding them into a system that would gladly consume all of us for a few dollars more.
In Maslow’s era, psychology had a single-minded focus on mental illness. Neurosis and psychosis were the central themes…But Maslow took a different approach. Instead of studying mental illness, he asked a different question: ‘What does positive mental health look like?Scott Jeffrey, on Self-Actualization
Repeat after Me: Do Not Repeat After Me
Mastery over our Ignorance is accomplished indirectly, through a deep dive into a freely-chosen ‘passion’, so-named because we must love what we have chosen so thoroughly, that we are willing to stand up to our own Ignorance, and not back down, in order to (eventually) gain Mastery over it. In essence, this is a practice round against our Ignorance; a scrimmage before the long war that is coming.
The process of destroying Ignorance is simple in design, if not in execution. The chosen passion preferably should challenge us on several planes simultaneously if possible (mentally, emotionally, and physically). Typical choices include art (like music, acting, dancing, singing, writing, or painting) and sports (athletic competition); these work well because they provide a standard by which one can judge success. In this way, we can push each other to excel beyond what we could accomplish alone.
Further, and most crucial, is that something be created, rather than consumed. Besides the fact that there will be an infinite supply of it (because it comes from within), by choosing something that cannot simply be consumed, you are forced to consume yourself in it, or for it to consume you. Through total immersion in one’s passion, we are forced to come face to face with our Ignorance, which manifests Itself in our various ‘weaknesses’, which must be overcome if we hope to ‘break on through to the other side’.
In order to drill down through our Ignorance, we only need three tools: Resolve (to proactively make a ‘contract’ with ourselves to never quit), Self Discipline (quite literally to Oppress oneself, a tool we usually apply toward others), and Effort (which has been marketed in various forms, such as ‘Grit’ or ‘Resilience’).
Because of our current arbitrary and extractive economic arrangement, the focus on Education turns toward the attainment of random ‘skills’, but this is not ‘Education’. Education is actually a ‘process’, centered around the application of unwavering Effort, in order to relentlessly chip away at our Ignorance. To tell children what to learn is just another form of assimilation and appropriation. The job of Education should be to focus purely on the concepts of Effort, Self-Discipline and Resolve, regardless of the chosen subject.
Through total immersion into any topic, the learning turns from the subject to finally learning the truth about ourselves; our strengths and our weaknesses. Effort is like a muscle that grows stronger with use, and that muscle, once fully strengthened, is ready to take on any heavy lifting we may be asked to do throughout our lives. Meanwhile, a process of transformation is taking place within each of us.
LEVEL IV: Self Mastery
The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.Michelangelo
Start Chipping Away
You are a unique statue, encased in a block of Ignorance. To get down to where you are trapped is a daunting task; your Ignorance is seemingly infinite, and as of now, you are not. Know this: we did not get to the top of the food chain without being enormously resilient. We can grow in toxic soil, desert sand, or icy tundra; this is because we carry our roots with us. Like an amputee who can still feels his legs, we likewise continue to feel our roots, and when it ‘feels right’, we attempt to put them down somewhere, if only in a figurative sense. It can be said that the root of all humankind is a mother’s umbilical cord. Be nice to your mother.
The Fourth Level of Mastery is the attempt to gain Mastery over our entire Selves. Through the process of chipping away at your Ignorance, the path towards Self-Actualization has begun, and with each blow, as you bang your blunt-headed brain against your Ignorance, you begin to take shape. This will be encouraging to you, and make the process more and more self-fulfilling. Continue banging away. Transcendence to your new self may yet be revealed.
Through the process of Self-Mastery, ‘Empathy’ is born. Empathy is first achieved, ironically, by only working on oneself more vigorously, becoming vulnerable enough to meet our weaknesses and become intimate with them. This teaches humility, and it is through this that we seek comfort in sharing our vulnerability with others. Empathy is not selfless, it is still self-motivated, but it is a start toward Acceptance and eventually, Interdependence, Interconnectedness, etc.
Through the practice of attacking one small area of our vast Ignorance, we finally grasp the scope of it. Humility is learned. Empathy follows. Confidence is gained. Self Awareness grows. This first battle entices us into the greater War, and eventually leads us to join the Interdependent army of all people, to conquer Ignorance wherever it remains.
The fight is thus refocused, away from each other, away from ourselves, and onto an enemy whose Power, when weakened, transfers into our collective strength. The embodiment of Ignorance is Control. The destruction of Ignorance is Power. In this way, Ignorance is the true ‘Other’, the real THEM, the Devil incarnate; It is the enemy of your Self-Actualization and eventual Transcendence.
Resistance is not Futile
There are many who have already begun to ‘wrap their heads around’ this emerging reality, though they mostly remain isolated in divergent ‘cells’, yet to coalesce into any cohesive body. The goal of The Third Option is to bring these many divergent tribes together…your journey of a thousand miles will hopefully lead to our eventual ‘Interdependence’, somewhere down the road – but we all better step to it.
The Third Option poses this simple fix: that everything, from now on, be built from the ‘bottom up’, with a solid foundation; this is more in line with the laws of the universe. Everything built from the ‘top down’, with no foundation, is a form of ‘controlled chaos’, and will eventually crumble. Currently, scientists seek a unifying formula for describing the Universe (E=mc2 was just too simple, apparently). The Third Option feels that government can likewise be constructed with a (relatively) simple formula, and allow people’s Liberty to expand naturally outward in predictable patterns; if the formula is sound, these patterns will contain a minimal amount of negative externalities. The most important component must always be to guarantee our perpetual innovation. As one person improves the world, someone must be allowed – even encouraged – to come along and improve it further. The Third Option believes we have found the formula to finally unleash the sum total of potential human innovation, while doing it in the most fair, inclusive, and sustainable way.
The Third Option Education Plan would kickstart this process within our schools as well, by having ‘personal tracks’, designed for kids to find – and dive deep into – their passions.
We would also add ‘payback tracks’, where each child’s Education gets ‘paid back’ through the delivery of problem-based learning solutions not only within their community, but to the outermost reaches of the planet. This addition would remind children how we are all inter-connected, and how some effort must always go toward maintaining the infrastructure necessary to sustain our individual journeys toward Self-Actualization.