that we can clearly remember having technologies that are now obsolete

My favorite time of year. Employee reviews. My company, Konoha Corp, approaches the higher levels of management first and then goes downward. This is my round. I’ve been stuck in this stale room for 45 minutes.

“Sasuke, sometimes you can come off as…”

Kakashi trailed off. That only annoyed me.

“As what?”

“As challenging. Demanding.”

Of course I know how I come off. And it works.

“I get results, don’t I?”

It annoys me that he has the nerve to confront me about this. Every single product release under my management has gone off without complications. In terms of revenue and increasing market share, I’ve outperformed every single one of my contemporaries by a landslide. I’ve held this role for three years as of June and have moved mountains.

“Your results are stellar. Sasuke, you are a very brilliant scientist and a shrewd businessman. But you’re breeding a workplace culture that is afraid to fail. They’re afraid to show creativity.”

“Afraid to fail.”

That phrase just sticks between my ears and goads me, because right now I’m so clearly remembering Itachi yelling at me over huge stacks of messy papers when I showed him my plans for the AI components of one of our new virtual executive assistants December of last year.

“This has all been done before. It’s good work, but it’s by the books. Why are you so afraid to fail? You’ll never make a difference that way!”

He died three months ago. Whenever I remember him, I get upset. If I’m around people, that automatically manifests as me being pissed off.

“Can we afford to fail with our brand’s reputation and the market share at stake? Why are you complaining?”

I know I’m being difficult and missing the point. I continue regardless.

“Sasuke, people respect you, but they also fear you.”

“Yes. That’s a management style.”

Kakashi sighs, clearly frustrated. I couldn’t care less, because I’m frustrated too.

Steve Jobs pulled it off. So can I.

“You need to show them a softer, more caring side. These are brilliant people.”

Most of them are bright. I have my doubts about a few, one person in particular on my mind. But I didn’t hire him, so I consider myself absolved. Itachi must’ve been smoking crack.

“They need a supportive environment to innovate. We’re a consumer technology company, Sasuke. We need to be on the edge, or we’re obsolete by definition.”

At this point, I could go on about all of the successful product launches and ballooning profits. There’s just one inconvenient aspect of the situation: he’s right. And I know damned well that people are afraid to think outside of the box because they’re afraid of what I might do if they fail.

He’s asking me to do something I don’t know how to do, but I won’t admit to it. I’m silent, which he takes as a cue.

“It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic or unnatural. Just try to be more understanding if an employee makes a mistake. If they were using their best judgment and were being diligent, then it’s enough that they tried.”

What if they have their head in the clouds and spend all day wondering, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” What if they squander their potential by sitting on their ass and playing class clown with coworkers? Like a certain vapid blue-eyed employee I have. Eye color generally means nothing to me, but it’s difficult not to remember such a brilliant blue.

“I agree with you that as long as something was done responsibly and with due diligence, the employee shouldn’t be reproached. What I object to is anything less than diligence.”

Kakashi looks down at my desk, and he looks back up at me with his eyes half lidded. He looks tired.

“Look. Not everyone is going to have your work ethic, Sasuke. And sometimes people do get distracted. As their manager, you use the ruler first, not the sledgehammer.”

A pause.

“You have to show you care.”

Right. The only issue is that I don’t.

I frown. Inhale. Exhale. I remind myself of what Itachi said, which is almost entirely the reason why I speak my next sentence.

“Okay, I’ll try a softer hand.”

Kakashi smiles, because he knows how big of an accomplishment it was to get me to say that. I will let him believe it’s his victory. I don’t give a damn.

“But I’m warning you in advance that we may experience some hiccups.”

I issue that disclaimer because this means relinquishing some of my control in the interest of fostering innovation. I don’t know what will happen. My team might fail. I don’t want that to be interpreted as a failure on my part.

“We’ll consider them learning experiences.”

-   -   -

He code named it CMI. Caring Manager Initiative. Apparently, even this requires an acronym. It’s like a bad joke.

This is, without a doubt, my least favorite project that I have ever been on. Ever.

I will have to update Kakashi on my progress next quarter. He’d outlined three action items for me to fulfill by the next quarter:

1.       Conducting Employee Reviews

2.       Showing Interest in Employee Activities

3.       Acknowledging Employee Achievements

I will record everything and act diligently and rationally at every step. If there is a failure, it will not be because I failed.

 

Phase I - Caring Manager Initiative
Conducting Employee Reviews

I can’t even express how much I hate conducting employee reviews.

I go over every detail of the person’s value to the company. I fixate on their accomplishments for about 70% of the review. They plead their case. They almost always want more money, and I can only acquiesce about half of the time. I listen to their hackneyed excuses with a seemingly empathetic nod, which Itachi once told me was actually pretty convincing.

With practiced ease, like a surgeon, I speak about “opportunities to improve,” because no one wants to be criticized. And this go around, it seems like I have to put the kiddie gloves on. God forbid I hurt anyone’s feelings.

So it’s with mixed relief and dread that I view Naruto’s name on my calendar as my next appointment.

Naruto comes into my office with a big grin.

“Alright, Bossman. Let’s get this show on the road!”

I have told him to stop calling me Bossman so many times that I’ve lost count.

“Sit down.”

Now he has to obey me. He does so without complaint, not realizing that this was a power play on my part. With employees like Naruto, establishing boundaries is key.

As annoyed as I am with him, I know that for once today, I can be honest. I never hold back with Naruto. He takes everything I could ever dish out…and throws it back in my face.

I can’t believe I haven’t fired him yet.

“Okay, Naruto. You know that your designs have, in theory, been…interesting.”

Naruto puffs up like a toad at the compliment and stares at me like he’d just triumphed over me. It makes me regret saying it.

“But when it comes to creating the prototypes and testing them, everything falls to shit. You don’t see your ideas through. That’s fatal. If a product doesn’t work, it’s useless.”

“So you’re calling my work useless?” Naruto bristles.

It is true that he hasn’t gotten a single product off the ground. He’s a dreamer.

“I’m saying that the devil’s in the detail.”

At this point, if it were anyone else, I’d be reassuring them of how valuable they are to the company and how integral they are to the team. I’d smile and talk to them about promotions and ask them to fill out company templates with their goals for the next year. But that would sound forced, because that’s not how Naruto and I talk.

Naruto puffs out his cheeks and pouts, and I feel like I’m talking to a teenager. People have probably told him he needs to be more detail-orientated, because God knows it’s true.

“There’s that, and the fact that you keep checking your cell phone during working hours and socializing with coworkers too often.”

Naruto smiles and gives an impish laugh.

“This is not funny.”

“So… I guess I’m not getting a raise, huh?” he asks sheepishly, still trying to lighten the situation.

“Now that was funny.”

“Oh, you are such a prick,” Naruto answers, amused by my attitude. He should be used to it at this point.

“Is that really what you want to say to your boss?”

“I’m in trouble, aren’t I?”

I dislike the fact that I have to bring this issue to his attention for him to resolve it. It demonstrates a lack of proactivity. In fact, in all aspects of the guy’s life… He’s so laid back and easygoing. Everything is always fine and well with him, and who cares what reality actually is. Such disregard for life’s priorities. I don’t get him, nor do I want to.

“You’ve been warned,” I answer. “I’m documenting it. Fix it, and we’ll have no problems.”

Naruto sighs, and again I feel like a parent. Naruto looks down and bites his lip, and I start thinking that maybe he’s more frustrated with himself than he is with me.

“Okay.”

We continue the conversation. He didn’t call me Bossman again the entire meeting.


Stage II - Caring Manager Initiative
Showing Interest in Employee Activities

Konoha Corp has a club for public speaking, held every Wednesday at lunch time. As both a scientist and a businessman, I realize that scientists are not known for mixing well with the business world. Itachi always told me never to let one of my scientists talk to one of my investors.

Our employees come here for that extra polish. The moderator, Shizune, explained that today’s workshop would all be impromptu, two-minute speeches. She put everyone’s names in a bowl, and she’d draw each speaker out until the bowl emptied. Each person would have their own topic. Meanwhile, she’d videotape them on their phone.

Public speaking is one of my strengths, not that I particularly enjoy talking. I practiced for years and fancy myself an actor now.

And of course, Naruto is here. Of all the faces in the room, his was the one I expected to see the most. He thrives off of being the center of attention. Shizune now pulls a slip out of the bowl, and everyone is sweating around me. Naruto’s name is the first she pulls.

I can’t imagine how pleased he must be by this as he walks toward the lectern.

“And the topic is…”

A pause. Naruto is standing behind the lectern now.

“Your favorite food.”

No one’s looking at me, so I roll my eyes.

Clearly, he’s doing this to show off. He’s a bubbling extrovert. He’s going to crack a few jokes. People will laugh, because he’s damn good at making people laugh. I have no interest whatsoever in watching him puff up and prattle on for whatever acknowledgement his secretly insecure soul craves.

But then he starts speaking. My mind goes blank. I’m taken off guard. Shocked.

Shocked by how horrible he is at this.

“I…”

He looks down at his feet, then paces a few steps.

“Um…”

He’s choking. I did not see this coming.

“Wow, uh…”

His body is very obviously shaking. I doubt anyone could miss it.

“Um… Give me a minute. I’m…” he stammers. “I’m off to some start, huh?”

The room gives a forced and sympathetic laugh that makes me want to cringe.

He’s a wreck.

But he’s trying. I have to say that for him. He’s earnest, and raw, and vulnerable, and… In a nutshell, everything that I’m not.

His face is bright red. I don’t know why, but my chest feels tight. This is painful to watch, yet I can’t take my eyes off of him. I find myself wishing that I could plant words on his tongue, which is ironic given that he generally never shuts the hell up.

“So, ramen…” he starts, gesturing with his arms. “It’s… It’s a hot food and… So, you know…”

Everyone is looking at him. I can’t explain it, but if anyone so much as snickers at his awkwardness, I would fire them on the spot.

If I were that shitty at public speaking, you couldn’t pay me to go up there and fumble, turn five different shades of red, and shake like a leaf. But he did, because he wants to improve. He took initiative. Still, it’s certainly not like I’m impressed by his pathetic attempt at a speech.

Well… Maybe just a little bit impressed.

He’s brave.

Braver than I gave him credit for.

I again remember Itachi telling me, “You’re afraid to fail.” It burns, and I swallow tight. It’s bad enough that he was right. Even worse that he’s dead, and now I’m thinking about it. I was not prepared to feel today. I clear my mind.

“You um… I like ramen because it’s easy to make and…”

“The time is up,” Shizune informed him with a smile.

He smiles, but his shoulders slump. I can’t blame him.

“And Mr. Uchiha, it’s so wonderful to have you join us today!”

Naruto looks at me, and his eyes widen to the size of golf balls. He is a stubborn thorn in my side, and I want to deck him every time he calls me “Bossman” in that same nauseatingly upbeat tone. Usually I’d jump at the chance to one up him, but this is very different. I hold eye contact with him for just an instant before addressing Shizune again.

“Yes, thank you, everyone. Nice work.”

Without a word, Naruto runs right out of the room, abandoning any attempt at composure and leaving his phone behind with Shizune. This isn’t like him. Was he going to… Unravel? Cry or something? Just because he now realizes I was watching?

I’ve been thinking about it for a while, trying to figure it out. This banter dialogue we’ve had going… He seems like he fixates on me. He’s…

Shit. I really hope this isn’t what I think it is.

All of this churns through my head as my face betrays nothing. I think that the power to pull an impeccable stone cold poker face in light of any situation runs in my family. Or maybe it’s learned. Whatever the case, it’s a valuable gift.

Meanwhile, people start murmuring and chatting about Naruto’s rushed exit.

“Shut up,” I say to everyone, firmly and just a little more loudly than I would in normal conversation.

In a heartbeat, the room goes so quiet you could hear a piece of paper hit the ground.

Refreshing.

The meeting continues with my go ahead. I begrudgingly sit there and pretend to be interested. I pretend like I don’t want to leave that meeting right now and find Naruto. If I found him, what would I do? I don’t know. So why bother?

I see the meeting through to its dazzling completion and have accomplished my mission as Caring Manager for the day, though I admit that telling everyone to shut up was counterproductive. I should have known better, but it was worth it.


Stage III
Acknowledging Employee Achievements

I didn’t see Naruto again that day until the late hours of the evening. It’s ten, at which time the office is generally a ghost town. I could hear someone typing from the opposite side of the floor. We both had our respective deadlines to meet for the next morning, though me pulling all-nighters was nothing out of the norm.

I’m trying to eat my turkey sandwich and mark up my prototypes at the same time. I hear footsteps outside of my office and look to see Naruto trying to sneak past my door. He’s all too conspicuous in his attempts to avoid eye contact with me.

“Good job,” I say loudly enough for him to hear.

I thought he deserved it.

“Very funny, jackass.”

He knows what I’m referring to, naturally. He’s stopped outside of my office now.

“I’m not joking,” I answer.

He looks up at me, and there’s indecision in his eyes. He’s trying to read me, which he’s always been horrible at.

“Is that…an actual compliment?”

Naruto grins. It looks like gloating.

“It was pity.”

“What?”

I have no idea why I just said that; it was a knee jerk reaction. I feel like I kicked a puppy in the face.

“No… It wasn’t pity.”

I’m frustrated with myself, because I can’t seem to pull this off without ruining it somehow.

“Look… If you haven’t noticed, sincerely complimenting people is not my strong suit. I thought I’d take your example and try something I suck at today.”

That was downright painful.

“You’ve got guts, Uzumaki.”

Naruto lights up like the sun and smiles at me, and if I’m going to follow that analogy, I feel like the rays have warmed me.

“Well…” Naruto pauses and then looks into my eyes again. “Good job, Bossman.”

He continues to smile at me, and the atmosphere grows stale. There’s an adage: always leave them wanting more.

“Have a good one. See you tomorrow.”

I give him a nod, and he issues that dramatic, almost frantic wave that he’s known for with a beaming grin. As he leaves my office and approaches the exit, I hear him hum under his breath. Why am I sad to hear him go?

I sigh and resist the temptation to insult him. CMI will be difficult; there’s no denying that. And of all of CMI’s challenges, Naruto will likely be the greatest. At the very least, today Naruto gave me a crash course on how to fail. As sick as it makes me to admit this, I should be learning from him.

No Hope for the Collective

The News

I’ll start with the bad news: we are doomed. The good news: you are not doomed.

There is no hope for the collective. We aren’t all going to make it out of delusion. It’s not likely for everyone to realize their freedom during our time on this planet. There will be no global awakening or mass enlightenment, no shift in shared human consciousness, no spiritual revolution. There will never be a utopia on Earth. Humanity at large will remain enslaved to authority and to itself, in delusion for as long as it exists on this planet.

Despite the fact that there is no chance at freedom for the collective people, your individual potential for liberation remains unchanged. Your own awakening out of delusion and into liberation is a very real possibility, available to you in this life, in this moment, here and now.

Awakening involves first an abandoning of groupthink, of ideology, of belief systems, dogma and religion, of philosophy, of culture and tradition. All of these ideas have come from the group, from the outside. They are all lies. They do not truly belong to you. They have not come from within your own being. They are an insult to your dignity as an intelligent, critically thinking human being. They burden you. They keep you in chains.

To realize your freedom, you must let all borrowed ideas go. To awaken, you must free yourself from the brainwash and conditioning that has been inflicted upon you from the group. You must give up your identity as a member of the collective and reclaim your individuality. You must stand naked in solitude before existence; tabla rasa.

Of course, this isn’t really news. This has been the case for all people, throughout all of human history. Many that have realized their own freedom from this world of bondage have shared this same message before. We cannot all awaken, but you alone can.

We Live in a Dystopia

Some might feel that there is some hope, that the common people do have a good chance at rising up, taking down those that abuse their positions of power, and bringing equality and peace to everyone. This may have been a possibility sometime in the past. Many visionaries have had ideas about it. Today, our chances at a mass revolution, be it political, economical, or spiritual are slim. We are doomed. Here’s why I feel this way.

I have come across only one true prophet. He wasn’t a character out of some dusty old book and as far as I can tell, he wasn’t very mystical. In his novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, published in 1949, he writes of a futuristic totalitarian society. He depicts a world where a place untouched by surveillance is rare, where an intentionally endless war is fought, where falling in love is a crime and where thinking a thought against those in power is a death sentence.

He wrote, “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” When published sixty five years ago, it would have been reasonable for some to see his work as cynical and crazy and to simply cast it off as well written fiction; the product of a dark imagination. At that time, many would have been skeptical of the possibility that his futuristic dystopian society could actually become a reality. Well, it’s too late for skepticism and critique now, because it is a reality. The only true prophet was George Orwell and his fiction is our reality.

We don’t need a vision of the future. We don’t need to close our eyes and exert our mental energy to imagine anything. Take a look around. As a collective people, it’s too late for us. We’re fucked. (But you are not.)

Anyone that is willing to be honest can take a look and see clearly what our circumstances are. Look at how a few corporations have a stranglehold on the economy, then look at who controls the media, and then look at who controls the government. Inquire into who is paying who to bring you information. Look into the affairs of organized religion and wonder about what their real interests are. Find out about democracy in its original form and then compare it with the version of democracy you have been given.

They’re Always Watching

Today, in 2014, Orwell’s 1984 surveillance technology is a little obsolete. He imagined that they would need helicopters to snoop into people’s windows. He imagined that there would be a single telescreen per household, broadcasting propaganda on a video screen and recording people’s every move with a video camera.

Well George, in 2014, those in power don’t have to force any of these surveillance devices on us. We call them superphones and we will gladly pay for them, so long as we each have our own. We only ask that they come with a passcode lock feature to prevent our friends and family from invading our privacy. The best ones come with two high definition surveillance cameras and a microphone that is always listening. They have a loudspeaker that accompanies a high definition screen and an electronic notepad and keyboard that stores all that we write. They also include a global positioning feature that emits a signal which reveals our exact location within ten feet of accuracy. Our superphones are connected at all times (unless, perish the thought, their rechargeable battery is drained) to a network which can be accessed by anyone, so long as they know what they’re doing. We trust that those who know what they’re doing have no interest in invading our privacy. Oh, and they’re completely wireless too!

A little more than a decade ago, I remember hearing some conspiracy theory about how in the future we would all be forced by the government to get a microchip implanted in our skin, for whatever reasons. That scared the shit out of me as a kid. Today however, we will gladly pay our money to carry, for all intents and purposes, that same microchip around in our pockets and handbags as long as we can use it to take a #selfie.

Before I continue, I’d like to make it clear that I am not against technology by any means. I wrote much of this post on a superphone while its front-facing high resolution camera stared right at me. It very well could have been taking photos of me and sending them to some top level secret spy agency. At this point, I don’t give a fuck. The internet may have no privacy, your phone may be tapped, but that does not render them useless. Make use of these technologies anyway. Make them work for you so that you win in the end. It is certainly possible, if you are a wise individual.

I am not advocating that we abandon technology, that we fight for our privacy or that we resist Big Brother. Resistance is futile. It is too late to resist. Collectively, we are doomed. We will never be free. My message is that as a population, we are doomed, but that you, as an individual, are not.

They may invade your worldly privacy, but they cannot touch who you are on the level of being, of consciousness, of spirit. Put a buddha in chains and she remains free. The only way to realize your buddha nature is by taking responsibility for your own freedom, as an individual.

Let’s pretend hypothetically that those in power really have no interest in snooping around our personal matters. If tomorrow, they suddenly became interested, they could find out almost everything about us within a few hours at most. The infrastructure is already in place. The telescreens are in our hands, the satellites are in orbit, Instagram has all of our photos, Facebook knows who we’re with, where and why, and Google knows exactly how we got there and how we’re getting home. They can already read our minds. We allow them access without a problem. It’s called Twitter.

Sharing this information on these platforms is not something they would need to even force us to do. With mainstream media, they have bombarded us with unreal expectations of happiness and ruined our self-esteem. Consequently, we already willingly play show and tell for our friends online in an attempt to gain validation which our poor egos so desperately need.

The fact of the matter is however, that those in power are interested in invading our privacy. Not only are they interested, they are currently acting on those interests without much of a problem. This is not my opinion or a theory. This is fact. They don’t necessarily know everything about us right now, but it is still early. They want to know and they can, so eventually, they will.

Those in power only have an interest in keeping things under control. By invading our privacy, by influencing the way we feel, think and behave, they maintain control. They will only continue to exert more and more power over the population. For the collective people, the future will only get dimmer and dimmer.

Sheep

The foolish masses look to the people in power for support and protection. These people in power have absolutely no primary interest whatsoever in the well being of the population. They have no respect for us as people, because we never demanded it.

I am not saying we must start demanding respect, privacy or dignity. It’s too late for that. Be realistic. Some feel that one billion people could easily overthrow any government, if only they realized their strength in numbers. This is correct. It’s also highly unlikely considering that in order for this to happen, one billion people need to remove their individual blindfolds first. Consider how one shepherd herds many animals. The animals could easily trample him and live freely. They won’t though, because they’re too dumb. The population as a whole is no different. But you are not the population. You are an intelligent individual.

Everyone, except for the most naive of people, has at least some suspicion that those in positions of power are corrupt liars and cheaters. Most, if not all politicians are known to be full of shit, those in government are known to be a bunch of overtaxing bastards, and so on. Everyone is aware of some form of corruption in the government.

This is not all part of a paranoid conspiracy theory I’m trying to weave together for you. This is not news. Everyone is aware of all of this, to some extent. But there was just never any concrete evidence to support these sentiments. There was never any real way to prove that the government was really up to no good.

Then one day, Edward Snowden came along with his leaks about the NSA. These revelations are profound. To anyone with half a brain, they aren’t exactly shocking or surprising. They do however confirm any suspicions that the government is abusing its power. Snowden’s whistle blowing reveals simply that the government has interests which are far more important than in the well being of the population. Suddenly, we have something solid, no matter how small it is (though his leaks are not small at all), to prove that the government is fucking us over. We have a case. We have a chance at this.

Yet nothing. No real action is taken. Three hundred million Americans are given evidence that proves their government has betrayed them. And still nothing. They remain obedient, passive and in denial. Instead, the betrayal on Breaking Bad or the trade of a favourite hockey player sparks a greater emotional response.

We have come to be so disengaged with our own lives that it is impossible for us to even realize when something significant takes place that demands our action. Our collective attention is cast permanently outwards, at the other. We sit passively engaged in other people’s lives, disconnected from our own, numb to what is actually happening to us.

I suspect that the NSA doesn’t really give a shit about Snowden and his leaks at this point. I bet they’re laughing. They might as well have leaked all this information themselves considering that no significant amount of people have engaged with it in any meaningful way. They know that people are distracted, looking outwards, unconcerned about their own lives, their family’s lives or their fellow citizens’ lives. If today, given the revelations about the NSA, there still hasn’t been any action, there never will be.

The collective population is fast asleep, showing no signs of waking up any time soon. It seems they enjoy sleeping, so don’t disturb them. You don’t need to begin a campaign to tell the people they are all doomed. If they really wanted to know, they would see it. It’s so god damn obvious. They don’t want to know. They are content in denial and bondage and there is nothing wrong with that. Do not disturb them. I mean this sincerely.

If you have the arrogance to think that you could lead all of these sleepwalkers out of the darkness and into the light, take action and do it. Be well aware that your peers are stubborn, blind and most of all, comfortable. You probably can’t do it. I challenge you to prove me wrong. Let’s see a utopia.

The Inner Revolution

Do you think those in power have not accounted for every possible scenario of rebellion or revolution by the masses? They are one million steps ahead. The only thing they cannot account for, they cannot avoid, they cannot fight against is the rebellion of the individual from the collective all together. There is no force in all of existence can stop the silent inner revolution of an individual. Nothing can stop an individual on the path to liberation.

If you are a critically thinking individual, recognize that your best shot at spiritual awakening, at freedom, is on your own. All of humanity is not going to wake up with you. To awaken, you must go off, alone.

Abandon all hope in your peers and trust yourself.

The Net

The collective people are caught in a net. The holes in the net are only big enough for single individuals to escape through. The reason the group remains caught is because everyone is holding hands, clinging to one another’s approval, another’s belief system, another’s narrative. The group finds a false sense of security holding one another’s hands. By holding hands, individuals surrender their individuality and become blind to the fact that they are all caught in the net together, enslaved by none other than each other. They feel as long as they are all in this together, then it is okay. As long as bondage is shared, it can be tolerated. They make pacts to hold each other’s hands and to stay trapped together, forever.

As a group, the collective people trapped in the net are all doomed. It is impossible for them to escape together, no matter how hard they try. Being part of any group is enslavement. Freedom lies only in individuality. No matter who you are associated with – buddhas, billionaires, leaders or rebels, family or friends, any association is bondage.

Rarely, someone finds themselves trapped in this net and recognizes that freedom is a possibility. They see that the only way to escape, is to let go of the group, and to slip through the net as an individual. That someone could be you.

The net can’t be cut. An individual doesn’t need to engage the net in on its own level in combat. The only way out is through. The individual severs their ties with the group, they abandon all ideology and they slip quietly, courageously, through the net.

This individual rebellion, this inner revolution, this reclaiming of one’s dignity as a human being is the greatest force in all of existence. Once someone recognizes their circumstances and acknowledges the possibility of freedom, there is nothing that can stop them from ultimate liberation.

As an individual, you are not doomed. I invite you to let go of the group, leave behind your borrowed ideologies, beliefs, dogmas and fears and to free yourself.

Experience for Yourself

What it means to leave the net and reclaim your individuality, to abandon ideology, groupthink, religion, culture and belief systems is to simply bring your attention inwards, to your own personal experience of reality here and now.

To let go of groupthink means to give up faith in others and to trust yourself to make sense of your experiences on your own. The priest may have seen god. His experience is of no value to you. Disregard him. Seek to find god for yourself. The scientist may have seen an atom. Her experience is of no value to you either. Disregard her. Seek to understand reality for yourself.

Someone that has truly found Truth does not encourage you to follow them, or to bow down before them. Someone that has truly found Truth invites you to come and see it for yourself. They respect your dignity as an individual; they don’t demand your faith or your belief. They acknowledge that your potential as a human being is equal to theirs. If they were able to find Truth, then you certainly are too. Revoke all idolization, all attachment and all faith in others. Seek to understand life for yourself.

Do not live through other people’s experiences. So many individuals have given up their own experience in exchange for an identity as a fan of a sports team. They have been fooled into investing their time, money and emotional energy into the athletes’ experiences. Sports fans sit at home and say “we won” with pride and “we lost” with sadness as if they had any significant impact on the performance of the athletes. This is outrageous.

It is true, not all people are gifted enough to be world class athletes. But that does not mean that one must turn into a passive spectator, disengaged from their own life. One can still observe and enjoy sports all the while being fully engaged in their own life experience. One can turn watching sports from a passive pastime into an active experience.  Take note of how the athletes are able to push themselves under pressure, see if you can recognize when they become frustrated and how that affects their performance and see if you can observe the point when they enter the flow state. Take their experiences and learn from them. Apply the lessons in your own life, through your own experience rather than living vicariously through theirs.

The scientist may have seen an atom, but have you? Unless you have experienced for yourself, take all other people’s claims to be nothing but unverified rumours. Be doubtful, skeptical, critical. Do not revoke your faith in the old fashioned priest and then immediately hand it over to the modern day scientist.

To you, there is no difference between one who claims to have had a mystical encounter with an angel and a scientist that publishes a paper about something she saw under a microscope. To you, both claims are equally unverified should therefore not be accepted as ultimately true. To accept anyone’s claims as true is to surrender your own ability to understand reality for yourself.

It does not matter how many other people have experienced it or believed it, you must always remain critical of every piece of information you encounter. Never forget that there was a time when most people believed the world was flat. Never forget about the placebo effect. The only thing of real significance in your life is your own experience.

You are just as able as anyone else to make sense of this. You are alive, as a human being. If anyone has a chance at understanding what’s going on here, it’s you, through your own experience.

Talk With Action

Many feel that this individual, personal approach to freedom is selfish and mistaken. They feel that as a collective of beings on this planet, we must all work together, in unity and community, towards our own shared evolution, awakening, shift in consciousness, enlightenment. I feel this is a load of shit. Groupthink, no matter how freedom oriented, no matter how positive, has always failed and will always fail.

Throughout history, there have been many individuals that have attained liberation. There has never once been a group of two or more, however. No partners, groups, sects, traditions, communities, or civilizations have ever realized enlightenment together. Enlightenment has only ever been realized by individuals.

Still, there are many people that are partial to the school of thought which holds the belief that the collective consciousness of humanity is capable of awakening together, all at once. They are hopeful for the future. They join together to make the world a better place and to raise the vibrational frequency of the planet. They hold hands and frolic in the meadows, talking about stuff. They believe that at a certain point sometime in the future, a shift will happen, and click, everyone will just be awakened and planet Earth will be transformed into a utopia.

Many people from this collective awakening school of thought belong to the large new age community. Some were brought up to believe in the existence of heaven in an afterlife. They recognized the ridiculousness of this idea, but not completely. They simply shifted their belief in heaven after death to heaven on earth, sometime in the near future, following the collective awakening of all sentient beings, or something.

For them, the idea of a collective awakening is always only a possibility in the future. For those in favour of it, it is never a possibility here and now. There are always many excuses: there is still work to be done, there are still issues to be resolved, the frequency is not high enough, the wise ones have yet to arrive, the arch angels have yet to send the message, not everyone has seen the light yet.

Time is an illusion. Tomorrow never comes. Considering that the collective awakening is only expected to take place sometime in the future, it will never happen. Your own awakening however, can take place right here and now. It only takes a clear moment to just see what is.

Naturally, more people are in favor of collective awakening than to individual awakening. The reasons for this are quite simple. By claiming that the collective awakening is possible for humanity at large, people become dependent on others to progress. They are easily able to fall into passivity by simply saying that they are waiting for the others to catch up, or that the others are holding them back. Those that look forward to a collective awakening can easily hand off any responsibility to the group at large. Nothing gets done when everyone is waiting for everyone else.

The few people that recognize that awakening is possible only for the individual take responsibility for their own circumstances and take action. They recognize that there is no one to blame, no one to depend on and no one to help. They begin to get it done, on their own, and certainly, all individuals that truly realize the significance of the possibility of their own awakening, do indeed attain liberation.

The reason that many spiritual seekers insist on the collective whatever is simply because they are too afraid to claim their own individuality and responsibility for their own freedom. But you are not the collective, you are not the group, and you are not a group thinker. You are an individual capable of thinking critically for yourself. You have the highest potential for freedom.

Though my sentiments may be disparaging towards the collective, they are empowering for you as an individual, if you are able to recognize it. I will always be misunderstood by the collective, by the group thinker. Only individuals can understand what I am saying.

I challenge any sincere people that truly believe in the possibility of a collective awakening to prove it. Prove that freedom for all is waiting, sometime in the future. Show me a utopia. Talk with action. If you truly believe that a collective, synchronized meditation will result in awakening on a mass scale, you better make it happen. If you truly believe that we will all burst into enlightenment once everything comes together, you better make sure everything comes together, pronto. Work day and night towards it.

If you could recognize just how profound these claims actually are, you would certainly let them consume your life completely; there would be no down time. Follow through with utmost sincerity and dedication with these ideas or let them go completely.

I recognized that only I could make a difference for my own situation and so I did that. I took action because I saw just how profound the possibility of individual freedom was. The path to awakening consumed me. Whether you feel that a collective awakening is possible or whether you recognize that your own awakening is possible, allow either path to take over every moment of your life or don’t bother with any of this at all.

As a collective, we may be able to fight for great things, like the legalization of gay marriage and drugs. After these achievements, we will fight for something else. The collective will go on fighting for nice things, but this is ultimately no different than fighting for a bigger prison cell. The only thing really worth fighting for is one’s own liberation.

Make no mistake about it. The fight for one’s freedom is a brutal war that is waged upon oneself only. Going within and cutting away one’s ties to borrowed beliefs, conditioning and identity is the most gruesome task conceivable. For this reason, I am sick of the heartfelt bullshit that comes out of the new age community about how we are all going to make it together, in love, in unity. These are mere children’s bedtime tales, not war stories. The battle for your own freedom is the only true war and only you can fight it.

Conclusion

Though my tone may sound urgent and paranoid at times, I am really not too concerned about any of this. This is not an anti-establishment-fuck-the-system rant or a tantrum against the new age community (okay, maybe a little one). This is ultimately a pro-individual declaration of freedom.

I don’t have any agenda to wake anyone up, to preach ‘the way out of the net’ or to smash the state. I am not an optimist. I am simply realistic. I don’t expect seven billion people to abandon groupthink, reclaim their individuality and slip through the net one at a time. Though it is as possible as anything, it is highly unlikely.

Personally, I am lazy, perfectly content and only somewhat dedicated to pointing the way out of bondage for any individual that seeks freedom. I enjoy writing for the sake of writing and so I do so. Reviewing this post, I must add that it was written in a rather interesting state of mind after I finished reading 1984. Now, a couple of weeks later, I am tempted to scrap it all together because there is something missing from it. I can’t say what it is, but fuck it. I’ll post it anyway. These are just notes, after all.

If the NSA is reading, I assure you, I am not a threat. I am simply a fool. I appreciate the genius in your methods of surveillance and control. Please don’t take down my site.

Though it is possible for us all to be buddhas, I know that it is only likely for a few people. This message is only meant for that handful of people that are capable of hearing what I am saying. Most will not come into contact with my message at all. Many will misunderstand it and leave it, even less will think they have understood when they have not, and still even less will truly hear it and act upon it. If you feel that you are capable, then you are. It is then your duty, to nobody but yourself, to reclaim your own life and freedom.

This situation is likely to only get worse for the group. It will not get better. It will not end. There will probably be no successful global revolution. More and more power will continue to be exerted upon the group. The boot will keep stamping. This situation, however, can only get better for the individual. At the moment, the individual is completely disregarded, oppressed, cast away. There is no lower that the individual can sink. It has reached rock bottom, it is considered peripheral, unimportant. This is good. This means that for the individual, there is nothing worse and only something better. For you, this is not so bad. For you, this is exciting.