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Brett Stevens

When this quest started out for me, all that really seemed appealing was smoking weed and listening to death metal. Although education was both easy and rewarding, it held no answers, at least after the first couple years of college. It was clear this civilization was going the way of ancient Athens so there was no hope there either.

However, since the earliest days of my life, a vision had hovered there, tantalizing: the notion that the human experiment was worth doing, that life was good and was animated by creative and benevolent forces, and the thought that if we stopped doing insane things, a new golden age could dawn.

To state the obvious, however, this type of situation happens in life to us as individuals. We cannot get out of a rut; the one thing we need to do we are afraid to do, mostly because it involves letting go of the crutches, lifeboats, and comfortable mental armchairs we have created from simple but incorrect ideas.

Over time it became clear that the problem in the West is individualism. We do not live for anything but ourselves; this makes us treat the world as an extension of ourselves, something to be manipulated for our benefit. That requires we give up on the sacred experience of living for the sake of life itself, and become materialistic egotists instead.

Those who claim the most to be the least materialistic are, in my experience, the most materialistic. They may not crave a dozen Rolls-Royce automobiles, but they want the power of commanding others even if passively through guilt. In this way, they can continue to believe that they are the center of the universe.

However, like Galileo, sane thinkers admit over time that Earth orbits the sun, not the other way around, and we as individuals orbit reality instead of it being an extension of our egos. Individualism in groups creates collectivism or a desire for mutual subsidies, and this kills civilizations.

Dunno about you, but many of us are simply tired of the failure. We are tired of a society where nothing works well because everyone is gaming the system, and no one believes in anything that does not serve them. Even religion is there to make them feel better, not to make them orient their minds toward reality and the goodness within it.

My stoner self believed in living for the sake of life itself. Every day was a sacred joy; even the bad days had moments which could be seized and made into little eternities of pleasure. Not the simple materialistic kind of lust or excess, but getting stoned, going on adventures, and appreciating the infinite potential of life.

When you think about it, that infinite potential is the greatest gift life offers. We have choices; we can pick better options over worse ones. Pure good, absolute morality, and complete guarantees do not exist. Do we need them? We have the option to make ourselves into beauty, goodness, and veracity instead.

At this point, it makes sense to give this thinking a name: aretical, a combination of arete (ascendant excellence as goal) and heretical, because it requires denying the fictions by which humans live unless commanded otherwise. These fictions push humans down toward the ape-stage while seeming to be rising above it.

All of what we know now — equality, altruism, tolerance, inclusion, careers, patriotism, morality — have been rotted by the inversion of their values. That is, people took out the stuff that they were afraid of, and what was left was the same old acceptance of all behavior, subsidy of the bad, and babysitting people to keep fires to a minimum.

For us to get past that, we must embrace taboos like hierarchy, culture, transcendent belief, Darwinism, and competition, but even more, we have to orient ourselves away from the world as extension to ourselves toward a love affair with the world itself. We are its wives and husbands, and we must love it uncritically.

At that point, we can accept that its methods are not arbitrary, but mathematically perfected. They make sense at the informational level, meaning that their logic does not reduce any further. They are optimized for resiliency, endurance, simplicity, and lack of randomness or repetition. Nature is perfect by being imperfect.

The same applies to our gods. Expecting a perfect God is to try to enslave God with human notions. The gods act according to what is logical and because of the complexity of the world, this is messy and requires constant investment of our energy. There are no easy answers to all the problems that we face.

We have lived in the slavery of individualism long enough. Like the Biblical Satan, it promises freedom but delivers bondage as the Crowd traps us in its collective illusions. No one is happy now, and they are motivated only by a desire for revenge on others and a notion of escape with their own loot while the world burns.

Words and ideas have more effect than random violence. They can in fact be infectious. With the notions here, I hope to get us past this very stupid stage in our history as a species and to move on to a time of sanity and balance. Then, I am going to go back to smoking weed and listening to death metal.

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