Build Back Braver

by | Dec 17, 2020

2020 is coming to a lumbering close.

Thankfully right? I see so many celebrating the end of a miserable year.

I don’t think the New Year matters much though, and I’m always the optimist in the room.

I remember reading somewhere last February, can’t remember who said it, but it was stated that the coming pandemic was going to be a “9/11” for America. I scoffed indignantly.

I was so wrong. That’s precisely what it came to be.

“It’s a virus” I thought. Humans are very aware of viruses and what they are, how they function and it’s a risk associated with being alive on this planet that we’ve all naturally grown to accept. Like tornadoes or mosquitos or driving on the freeway. Yes, I am aware this is a particularly vicious virus. No, I am not happy about its emergence. Yes, I am individually taking what I feel are necessary precautions for myself and those around me. This really should be where the virus story ends.

I published an article last April. Wrote it in March. You can read it here if you wish.

I reread it a couple days ago and believe it or not, even with all the developing and shifting narratives, I still stand behind every word. It holds up.

I posted this on Facebook on March 15th

Scott Shearin

We now find ourselves lost within a delusional, masochistic game of political one-upmanship, from which we don’t understand how to control or escape.

I’m uncertain how anyone can’t recognize it by this point in time. This game has yet to end.

I’ve been pondering the collapse of this empire for some years now. I see this discussion raised constantly on various forums and social media. Every empire in human history has imploded under the pressure of its own accelerating mass. Casual observation shows America will be no exception.

The When and How and Why have always been impossible to predict.

Something about this course of events feels like it has potential for collapse to me. You might accuse me of sensationalism or pessimism. Believe me though, as I mentioned before, I’m always the optimist in every room.

What makes me say that?

I’m still debating internally whether politicians know this or not. I’ve never accused political leaders of being stupid people. They take horrifically counterproductive courses of action, but generally speaking they do this fully understanding the consequences of those actions and typically those actions are productively self-serving, regardless of how many humans those actions harm.

But in the 2020 Covid world, I’m unsure if they see the corner they’ve painted for themselves. Politicians are trapped. Imprisoned by their own actions, hubris and rhetoric.  They can’t walk back from where they’ve taken the narrative.

Through action and rhetoric they have, intentionally, constructed a belief that politicians, partnering with wise agents of Science, can, in fact, proactively solve for and eradicate associated suffering from a virus. They can fix this with policy, action and mandate.

If that’s true (it isn’t, not even close), then what number of deaths, how many Grandmothers, Moms, Dads, children, siblings are acceptable for a population of constituents to lose?

Politicians have convinced the general public, through targeted narrative control, that wise leaders can protect you from a virus. Now that the general population is so convinced, and they now believe that those politicians do have the capacity to fix this issue, what is the specific death count, associated to viral infections each year, that constituents should tolerate?

Well? How many? If politicians do in fact have the capacity to solve for a viral outbreak, it is within their control, then why in the hell should a citizen ever accept any deaths? If they’re actually avoidable with the right policy response?

Honestly. Politicians, whether they realize it yet or not, have created a reality where at some point in the future they will need to get in front of a microphone and state for the world to hear that while yesterday’s 2000 deaths were unacceptable and we’re focusing the entire might of the US government and all of its collective resources to saving your loved one’s lives, but now, today’s 1000 deaths are within range of acceptable loss and we are no longer pushing forward with aggressive virus fighting agendas.

There, there son. Sorry for your loss. If your Mom had gotten sick yesterday, we would have done something for her. You understand right? Besides, we’re really behind on warfighting and it’s what we do best anyway.

How do we bridge that gap? We don’t. Politicians are never going to say that. How could they?

A vaccine you say? Best of luck. Sincerely. I think the best shot we have at a vaccine would be an associated shift in public attitude toward their perceived threat with the vaccine on the market. And if that happens, that’s awesome, I will be elated.

Honestly our culture was ripe for this response.

We are literally at one another’s throat. We’ve been patiently waiting for just such a set of circumstances to come along and so vindictively justify our anger and vitriol.

This kettle has been steadily heating from the very founding of this nation. That last log necessary to push this past the point of no return was honestly 1865. From that moment onward, there was no other destination for this country other than where we are right now.

From that moment on there was a forceful commitment to central authority and planning.

From that moment on there was no legal escape from a blossoming empire. Once the establishment is established then there are no actions, preferences or directives chosen for any reasons other than advancing and protecting the establishment. Period. It’s not avoidable or correctable.

I’ve argued for years that actions of empire are not outreaching as it’s always interpreted and taught. Actions of empire are internally fed and focused. Like a cancer.

If a governing body solves problems for its people, then that body of governing folks are needed less and less. Life is better and better for those within its jurisdiction. To solve for this dilemma, the empire must look for threats to its people that only the empire could possibly solve.

This is the true driver of war. And should the people grow weary of war, well that’s OK, there are so many things domestically that the empire can wage war upon.

Poverty. Inequality. Drugs…….Viruses apparently. Whatever.

Coupled with that we have psychologically gone adrift in this dawning age of Science. Nietzsche recognized this in the 19th century.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a staunch believer and student of evolutionary biology. It’s one of my favorite fields of study. I don’t see the bible or the quran as literal texts.

But you know what I do see in those writings? Us. These books are a genius collection of oral traditions and stories that have been passed along by our ancestors well into antiquity. Far predating writing. Far predating religion.

These stories are metaphors that have long guided people along their journeys of life. Looked to provide comfort. Hoped to provide direction.

You know what else I see? Societies were far better off with religion, than we have been navigating this world without them. We evolved with religion. Belief and adherence to these constructs of spiritual thought increased our likelihood to reproduce, and therefore, evolution rewarded religiosity.

Hence, why you are so religious.

Yes, you. All of you. Including me. This is why we treat government no different than religion. This is why we now, especially in 2020, treat Science as a religion as well. We’re evolved to do so. We even still use all the same terms, it’s amusing.

“Are you denying Science?”

“He’s a non-educated Climate Denier!”

Seriously, listen to your rhetoric. Are you denying Christ? LOL

Are you going to start burning people who are unlike you at the stake? From the debates I’ve seen on the internet I know some of you would like that very much.

Religions have created great evils in history? Really? Has secular nationalism performed any better in that regard? Was there ever a bloodier century than the 20th? There wasn’t.

So it turns out that the root of evil all along was the adherence to the mythological belief in the construct of authority itself. The idea that one equal human has the righteous ability to possess and wield violent authority over any other equal human. What difference does it make whether you wield that violence in the name of religion or government? Is the result not the same?

So why do I, an adherent to the philosophy of evolutionary biology, believe that society was better off centered on religion than it is today, centered on secular nationalism?

Well, this is an oversimplification, but I think it gets at the heart of the issue.

With religion, just about any of them, Christianity, Islam, Hindu, you name it, you have a core ideal that essentially teaches this:

Life sucks. Every individual on the planet is going to suffer. There’s no easy path for anyone. (turns out this is true, even for royalty or the white sons of billionaires, check out the suicide rate amongst that demographic). Here is a collection of stories (hence the word “bible” which is a derivative of the word biblioteca or bibliotheque which basically translates to the word library) which will aid and guide you along your painful journey and will be a collection of metaphors and teachings to help you find meaning that is enriching enough to make your suffering worthwhile.

In spite of the reality that you are going to suffer, be abandoned, abused, tricked, insulted, robbed and even, believe it or not, betrayed by those you love the most, here is an ideal representation of the ways in which you should respond to your betrayal and abuse. Humility. Love. Forgiveness.

The central theme to a religious narrative is forgiveness. The central ideals represent that idea.

With secular government and an associated abandonment of spirituality you are left not with ancient stories that have transcended and survived thousands of generations, but instead you are left with the proclamations of individuals. Well intentioned as they may be. The core values state well meaning and resounding themes such as “liberty and justice for all.”

These things sound fantastic, but there’s a flaw. Do you see it?

With government you are left with a core ideal that essentially teaches this:

Life sucks and doesn’t have to. Suffering is the result of intentional acts of oppression in a definable reality present with “oppressed” and “oppressor.” Where suffering exists in this world it should be eradicated, and justice delivered in the name of those oppressed. Here are a collection of well-constructed laws and mandates which, if followed correctly, will not only redeem the oppressed, but will hold to account the oppressors that exist within society.

Whenever you are abandoned, abused, tricked, robbed or even betrayed by those you love the most, you should construct the properly worded mandates so as to create a world absent of inequity and absolute justice.

The central theme to secular government is justice. The central ideals within our culture represent that idea.

This is why there is no higher pursuit in modern conversations, especially those conducted virtually, than to virtuously and intellectually identify ways in which you’ve uniquely diagnosed the oppression of others and denouncing those you perceive as oppressing them.

There’s no escaping the reality that justice itself, is subjective. There’s no destination down a path constructed like this other than mental illness. Both for a society as a whole as well as the individual.

In a culture centered on the idea of justice, everyone endeavors to be a judge.

In a culture centered on the idea of forgiveness, everyone endeavors to be a Jesus.

The reasons we find ourselves here in Western society are many and complex. This is not the singular answer to all things, but it’s an enormous piece of the puzzle.

I published an article a year ago that tried to explore the ways in which our foreign policy and empire building are directly impacting our culture back home, it’s another piece of the puzzle. You can see that here.

This phenomenon happens over and over. Growth – Collapse. Plato wrote about it nearly 2500 years ago.

Beyond that you can see this theme over and over again in the ancient stories that were passed down orally for many thousands of years.

Conflict – Chaos – Order – Conflict – Chaos -and so on…..

It’s embedded within nearly every culture’s mythologies. These mythos are reflections of humanity.

The most obvious one that immediately comes to mind is Egyptian. You can find a nearly identical theme with almost any culture.

Osiris (culture) grew powerful and wise. Old. An aging, conservative order inevitably results in willful blindness and ignorance, every single time. No exceptions.

That willful blindness eventually creates disorder and chaos. In comes Set. (from which we derive our current term, Satan) He destroys (culture), cuts it in to many pieces and scatters it across the land so as never to be reconstructed.

Osiris’ wife, Isis, furious and saddened, searches for her husband but, prophetically, can only find his magical golden phallus. She impregnates herself and miraculously gives birth to a new messiah, Horace. One of our species’ first Jesus’s.

Horace defeats Set and brings new order from chaos. New life can only be born from chaos. Another repeated theme from mythology. More than that, it’s true. This is why chaos is typically depicted in myth in the feminine form. It’s the female in reality who creates new life, and seemingly she does this from chaos. A chaotic set of cells swirling within her body and from that chaos miraculously manifests order, new life, miracles.

It all connects.

In the end I’m not sure we humans are clever enough to escape these rises and falls.

In some ways I’m not even sure that we should escape them. The sorts of tyranny required to sustain perpetual order would certainly be far more horrific than the peaks and valleys we go through as a species.

In some ways, all this chaos, all this noise, is more than likely a beautiful requirement for life to grow, advance and persist.

And trust me. Life will persist.

If we want to demonstrate our evolved state of intellect, state of morality, state of being, then we can go about this shift in a much less violent way. That would be rewarding, for all humans involved.

I’ve argued in the past that morality itself, is an evolving product of evolutionary biology. I believe that to be true. I believe the species is becoming not only smarter, but also more moral over time. I believe we’re doing this consciously and intentionally through the actions of reproductive selection bias.

We can demonstrate this newfound state of being by eschewing the old constructs of revolt. There’s really no need for revolution any longer is there? Why revolt when we can just as easily ignore?

Is there any other viable path forward, especially in this unique era of corona virus lockdowns?

There’s no need for violence. There’s no need for revolt. We don’t even need to protest. We can simply ignore those who believe themselves to possess authority over us. Stop playing their game and strip any perceived legitimacy they possess with respect to their legal mandate.

Ignore away the state. Embrace non-violent chaos. Watch order be re-born.

What will serve as the golden phallus? Who knows?

It certainly won’t be perfect. It likely won’t even be “right.” Whatever that means.

But it will be something and if history serves as any guide, it will be one iteratively improved step above the place from which we came, even if we aren’t able to immediately recognize or gauge the ways in which its improved.

Maybe all we need is the recognition that the State has consistently failed to deliver upon the actual reasons we’ve all convinced ourselves that they even need to exist?

Maybe all we need is to realize that we’ve all always been providing for ourselves absent any definable protections rewarded by having a ruling class exist.

Maybe all we need is a little courage. This time let’s build it braver.

If there’s anybody out there, Cheers! To 2021

Live that beautiful Life

About Scott Shearin

Scott is a former Marine and Army Intelligence Officer. He's been through the corporate world having worked in Finance as well as leading Talent Acquisition for Fortune 500 CPG firms. For the past 6 years Scott has been an entrepreneur, currently leading a small recruiting firm for military veterans and managing a startup in the HR Tech space.

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