by Stefan Schindler
Liberation from self-imposed immaturity is liberation from social conditioning. Liberation from social conditioning is escape from Plato’s cave. Escape from Plato’s cave involves appreciation of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s tragic dictum that “man is born free, but is everywhere in chains” – what Eric Fromm calls “chains of illusion.”
To break the chains of illusion is to become what Albert Camus calls a “lucid rebel.” A lucid rebel engages in Promethean protest against the vast ignorance that Buddha recognized as the primary cause of suffering. Ignorance, Buddha said, manifests primarily as greed, hatred, craving, clinging, and delusion.
To overcome such ignorance is to embrace the point made by Karl Marx: “The demand to abandon illusions about our condition is a demand to abandon the conditions which require illusion.”
For example, the primary function of the U.S. military is make the world safe for the Fortune 500. The primary function of U.S. education is to ignorate. To awaken people to these nefarious facts, Martin Luther King declared: “Wealth, poverty, racism, and war – these four always go together.”
Hence the only way to move from an age of enlightenment to an enlightened age is to recognize that the four vices noted by King are inextricably entwined with pervasive political sophistry, a lapdog mainstream news media, and jingoistic pseudo-history in what Gore Vidal calls “The United States of Amnesia.”
Equally relevant here is Mark Twain’s observation: “It is easier to fool people than to convince them they are being fooled.” Also worth noting is that Emerson, Twain, and William James were members of The Anti-Imperialism League.
The point is this: The U.S. will never be the country it ought to be – and will never be at peace, either at home or abroad – until it eliminates Presidential pardons, throws corporate and Presidential criminals in prison, conscientiously repents for America’s Indochina Holocaust (euphemistically called The Vietnam War), and dismantles the American empire (the largest and most globally devastating in world history).
It is therefore also necessary to transfer most of the Pentagon budget to an educational system in which schools and universities are gardens and palaces of self-actualization, artistic expression, authentic historical literacy, sophistry-detecting critical thinking skills, and cooperative creative evolution.