Friday, January 9, 2009

Teachers and Prison Guards

Much as I hate dualistic thinking, realizing that at some level it to be an axiomatic mistake, my mind is occasionally drawn to it, useful as it is in throwing a sharp contrast onto things that throws certain otherwise difficult to see aspects of reality into sharp relief, much as one might put a filter over a telescope in order to examine the structure of the Sun. For our filter today, let's postulate that there are two sorts of people in the world: Teachers, and Prison Guards.

I'm not necessarily referring to one's profession - though of course there is often a connection - but to one's inherent function within the collective mind of the universe. There are those who seek to understand, and to spread that understanding to others; and those whose primary drive is to gain power through deception, who act to build illusory limits into reality and thus dominate the minds of others. I'm not just talking about what you do for a living, here, for there are certainly teachers down at the local high school who are prison guards by nature, seeking as they do to impose a certain view of the world and no other into the young minds they've been given to mold (though it is only just to point out that the system within which they are paid to work is the primary culprit in this, undermining efforts at true education wherever it may, for though it calls itself an institute of education, the modern school board is in truth on a mission of incarceration.) Equivalently, there may be prison guards who act, in everything they do in their daily life and in the face of desperate odds against success, as teachers, doing everything they can to teach their colleagues and even their prisoners.

Of course, for one to be a teacher another must be a student, just as for one to be keep a prison another must be kept. So you might argue that there's really four kinds of people. But, if you're a teacher, you have to be a student as well: the greatest teachers, after all, are those whose studies of life have taken them to the edges of what might be learned through purely human channels, and whether their further studies are in laboratories or in ashrams they must study the Book of Nature first-hand. They are at the furthest human frontier of a great chain of learning and teaching, from old to young, ancient to modern.

Likewise, to be a prison guard, one must also, in a sense, be a prisoner. Erroneously believing another to be not-self the guard inevitably agrees to lock part of himself away. Whether the prison in the guard's mind reflects a prison in the material world, or whether the mental jail is primary and is then constructed as a physical thing, is immaterial for the end result is the same: a mind clouded with lies, and a world built into jail cells. Kept by his own misconceptions, one part of the psyche walled off from another, the guard has no choice but to attempt to impose those walls on the world he finds.

It is the actions of prison guards that have built much of the world we see around us today. Our institutions of finance and education, our media, our political systems, even our great religious traditions: all have been built, ultimately, by prison guards. The mental fabric is one of lies; the ultimate purpose, control. There's some argument to how far back the corruption goes: some say centuries, others millenia, others as old as the human species. I'd argue it's so fundamental you can see the dynamics going back to the moment of creation, innate in physical law. At any rate the corruption is most certainly there.

One way or another, in the world as it's been, the teachers have become part of that corruption: to believe a single lie, pass it on as a truth, and let it go uncorrected ... it's as simple as that for a prison guard to co-opt a teacher. That's their great power: not the guns, the walls, the cameras, the drugs, or the social conventions, no, ultimately all that is contingent on lies that are taken to be true.

The power of the teacher, however, is truth. Be it through proof or disproof, the truth once seen cannot be unseen. It obliterates the lie forever in the mind of whosoever sees it. The problem, for the teacher, is twofold: first he must apprehend the truth for himself (for otherwise he becomes the an adjunct of the prison), and second, he must find those prepared to learn that truth. It's the old saw about leading horses to water that won't drink it, and you always have to ask why? It's possible the beast's currently sated, more interested in going for a gallop than taking a sip. Then again, it's equally possible that the pond's been pissed in by a herd of buffalo; that there's a carcass just below the waterline that's giving off a bit of a funk your nose hasn't picked up yet; or that the horse saw an alligator that you didn't. Even if the horse is thirsty, you can't just lead it to any old body of water; it has to be the right body.

The metaphor of the world-as-prison is a widely used one. Gurdjieff talked about the world being a prison, in which sleeping inmates have been hypnotized into keeping each other locked up; Philip K. Dick called it the Black Iron Prison, a falacious reality constructed inside our minds in order to keep us locked up; the Matrix series depicted it as a science fiction dystopia; Laura Knight-Jadzyck talks about hyperdimensional pain-eating reptoids that manipulate every aspect of our reality so as to extract the maximum amount of food. The dilemma we find ourselves in is that the world we inhabit is one that has been structured by Prison Guards: instutitions based on lies, built by men who believed them, who may in turn have been influenced in that direction by entities whose ultimate embodiment is the Lie. Those lies permeate our cultures and our minds, and while they have done so for enourmous lengths of time it is in the present, the Kali Yuga, that their pollution is particularly thick and foul. So dense is the fog it's difficult to distinguish reality from illusion from delusion.

It's important to remember, however, that consciousness and time are fractal things. Even when the walls of the prison are at their highest, the bars at their hardest, the guards at their fiercest, even then there is no telling what a prisoner might do in the next instant, for in the final analysis what matters is not whether the man is in the prison, but if the prison is in the man. Do what the guards may, they cannot stop any who wish from dismantling their inner prison, and once its walls are down they have no true control over their 'prisoner'. As with all else in their shadowy world, the prison guard's position of dominance and command is only apparent, an inner illusion that he must convince another to take part in for it to have any real meaning.

So here we stand, gazing before us at a world full of people bound and tamed by a vast web of lies of which few can see anything but a few disparate threads, if even that. Here and there, we come across someone struggling in the web, trying to break themselves free; many are still mostly asleep, of course, their struggles amounting to a reflexive action, and in their thrashing they often ensure only the attentions of a spider. But here and there you find people who are blinking their eyes and looking about them in horror and wonder, and are groggily but deliberately pulling free from the web. There are even some early risers, the already free, who sneak about doing what they can to smooth the escape of those who are awakening.

The world's a prison now, but it doesn't have to be. In truth, it never really was; like everything else, the existence of the prison was a great Lie. It's been a school since the beginning, but the lies have made us forget that. The teachers are coming back, though, as many of them as are needed to teach all those who are ready to learn ... and the more painful the Lies become (for while the first lie might be sweet, they grow more bitter with every drop) the more will awaken, at least enough to desire to be awakened further. The odds against us are long, even desperate. To face down the petty tyrants of our personal lives, the corrupt officials of the police state, the New World Order and the hypderdimensional beings who orchestrate it all. Long odds, sure. How can they lose? It won't be through force, be it food riots or wars: they feed on that sort of chaos. Cultural judo is what's required: passive resistance, non-violent. And if in the face of Their plans it would take a million Buddhas, Christs, and Krishnas, well then that's just what it will take.


nina said...

You once said to me something I'd written was the best from me you'd seen so far and now I'm going to say the same thing to you. This isn't easy reading, it goes right to the core of our "package deals". Prisoners have an awful time escaping because they are ignorant to the boundless beauty that could be theirs but for the comforts of easy supply. Before Animal Farm, there was an earlier work I've heard of, where the horses refused to join the revolution because they'd become so enamored with the luxuries foisted upon them by man.

psychegram said...

Why thank you Nina! Though hopefully this won't be the high point of my career ... now I'll just have to surpass this. Really, though, I shouldn't egoize here: what I've written with this draws so much from so many others. A lazy winter morning, a wake'n'bake, and I just let it flow.

You don't happen to remember the name of that work?

It's just as you said, too. Call it the Black Iron Prison, call it the Package Deal, the meaning is ultimately the same: a structured reality that's put in place so you don't have to think or question, just accept and obey. It's a state of affairs that can't continue ... from a synchromystic standpoint, the popularity of shows like Lost or Prison Break seem to indicate that the package deals are losing their appeal, the inmates are growing restive, and the walls are beginning to crumble.

m_astera said...

I was thinking about Gurdjieff earlier today before I read this. His teaching was such a simple thing: become the observer. That alone is enough to wake up and make some changes.

Randall said...

Great post! Very good reading.

nina said...

I'd have sworn it was The Animals Revolution, written a century before Animal Farm, by two French brothers. I searched long and hard last night, I'm eager to read it. There are still a few more places to look, LA Times book review archives and French Literature sites. I read of its existence around 2003 when we were still getting the physical paper, in the LAT book review about another Orwell release.

I think, if any of us were to meet up with our close friends from our teens, we'd all be asking "What happened!"

First news today on my welcome page is Ex-Oakland transit officer arrested in Nevada. Does he shift into the prisoner now? Will they eat their own to prevent Black Panthers redux? I vote yes. Its already too late. The movement doesn't need a brand name or a color anymore. All it needs are attorneys willing to fight on the elite's turf, a few settlements to appease and then it all backs down to the greater feeding frenzy.