THE MASCULINITY CONSPIRACY

08: Conclusion cont’d

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The Solution

Our challenge, of course, is what we then do about it, this thing that has had us duped for most—if not all—of human history. The good news for us is that we do not necessarily have to immediately construct glorious alternatives to bring about great change, rather simply withdraw our support from the conspiratorial status quo. Wink cites the sixteenth-century French political philosopher Étienne de La Boétie who wrote in reference to the masses who allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by rulers who really had very little power over them: “I do not ask that you place hand upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces.”

I’m not sure it’s quite that simple, but it’s a damn good start. In order to withdraw our support we need to firstly and primarily start thinking differently. This is the point where I often hear people moan about over-intellectualizing at the expense of action. But this too is the conspiracy speaking through the person in front of me, a cunning act of ventriloquism. If we do not firstly create a new thinking space there can be no useful action. Without the thinking space we are either rendered impotent by the conspiracy and do nothing, or we act without sufficient thought, both of which play expertly into the hands of the conspiracy.

Creating new thinking spaces allows us two equally valuable options. First is the obvious path of significantly changing our lifestyles. More people than you imagine do this. I have met a number of people who live radically counter-cultural lifestyles who were once some kind of deeply entrenched cog in the machine. These folks are not, as is so easy to imagine, people who never bought into the system in the first place, folks chasing an endless adolescence and delaying the inevitable perils of settling down under the yoke of responsibility. These folks have woken up to the reality that alternatives are possible and take only a relatively minor leap of faith to manifest (relatively minor, that is, to the alternative of spending the rest of one’s life being plugged into the matrix). I don’t want to speak further here about specific alternatives because they depend on individual needs and desires, and I am more interested in catalyzing the thought processes for people to construct those alternatives for themselves.

Second, creating new thinking spaces allows us to think afresh about our current circumstances. You may, for example, perceive yourself to be an administrative drone working for some nameless organization. You don’t need to pack it all in and move to a commune to embody a solution. The solution lies chiefly in our interior, and despite efforts to the contrary in various conspiratorial domains, this still belongs to us as free agents. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re not a free agent, because you most certainly are. You may well be locked into a job and a mortgage with all manner or ties (some you’re happy about, others you’re not), but you remain free to think yourself out of the conspiracy while remaining in your current circumstances.

The conspiracy is a confidence trick, and it is surprisingly easy to call its bluff. Indeed, it may be more valuable to be an “enemy within” the system by reimagining your current circumstances than to opt out of them. You can create a quiet revolution: subtle re-thinking, transgression and subversion. You might be surprised at the liminal space you can make around you which, when connected with that of others, gently transforms rather than overturns the environments in which you live and work.

CONTINUE >>>

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Written by Joseph Gelfer

August 17, 2011 at 7:03 pm

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