What is man but the animal who steadfastly refuses to believe he is an animal?
I read with interest the other day that both “postpartum depression” and the “Mid-Life Crises” are psychological conditions that only exist in modern “Western” cultures. Can you imagine my surprise? All along I assumed, as I was informed by our health care professionals and their allies down at the pharmaceutical research laboratories, that they both were simply one more example of that seemingly ubiquitous condition commonly known as “a chemical imbalance”.
The picture you see above is, if we are to be honest with each other, the TRUE depiction of what it means to be an American. The Great Seal of The United States of America badly needs updating. It is wildly inaccurate.
Capitalism and Consumer Culture have not increased human happiness. There, I have said it. What we are left to determine is not what we want, but, what we “are”. What we want is determined and taught to us by culture and, as we all should understand, culture is the pack of lies we, collectively, agree to pretend are truths. What we are… are animals.
Wilhelm Reich astutely observed that “all human belief has essentially the same message, namely that we are something other than animals”. That helps us understand what Ernest Becker said in The Denial of Death: “No mistake- the turd is mankind’s greatest threat.”
…”Our beliefs attempt to distort the apparent truth, which is that nothing makes sense, nothing rhymes, and that we are all rushing toward the the soon to be forgotten compost heap.”…
So, what can I offer you? How can I help the unhappy toward greater happiness? In truth…. nothing. My life makes no more sense and is of no more value or consequence than yours, or, the next guys. But, I can give you this to contemplate. The following is an excerpt from the journal of one Captain James Cook, written in 1770, upon his first meeting with the local inhabitants of a primitive land that would come to be known as Australia.
…”They appear to be in reality far more happier than we Europeans; being wholly unacquainted not only with the superfluous but the necessary conveniences so much sought after in Europe, they are happy in not knowing the use of them. They live in tranquillity which is not disturbed by the inequality of condition; the Earth and sea of their own accord furnishes them with all things necessary for life, they covet not magnificent houses, household-stuff etc., they live in a warm and fine climate and enjoy a very wholesome air, so that they have very little need of clothing….. In short they seem to set no value upon anything we gave them….
“There were several early accounts of the Natives themselves who were baffled by the obvious unhappiness of the European arrivals. They did not dance, sing, or celebrate. They laughed very little unless they were intoxicated. They had no magic. No miracles. The Australian Aborigines, who lacked any signs of pathological anxiety when they were first encountered, were struck by the perpetual agitation of the Europeans, their dumbness about the happiness contained in nature.” (from, “In Search of Happiness” understanding an endangered state of mind)
We were never cast out of any Eden. We were just tricked into believing there was something better. We “made up” all that apple & snake bullshit just to cover up the fact that we, of our own free will, chose to be such greedy assholes.