Those of you who have been reading my blog for even a short time probably realize that I enjoy shitting all over people’s sacred cows. My current favorite sacred cows to shit all over are, in no particular order, democracy, nationalism, and national heroes (groups of people blindly worshiped as heroes such as the police). While I’m not unique in this, I believe that my motivations differ from many of those who also enjoy defecating on people’s sacred objects. I don’t do is for shock value or to piss of people. The reason I go after idols so fervently is because I’m trying to help people become self-aware.
Most of us have a head full of programming that was instilled in us at a young age. I like to refer to behavior that results from this programming as automaton behavior although an equally accurate term is probably unconscious behavior. Regardless of what you want to call it, it’s performed without thinking. A lot of this programming is legitimately useful. For example, programming that makes you automatically look both ways before crossing a street can save your life. But a lot of this programming is unnecessary or even detrimental.
Nationalism is a good example of programming that is certainly unnecessary and oftentimes detrimental. What value does one actually derive from acting on the belief that their nation is better than any other nation on the planet? With the exception of monetary gain derived from appealing to other people who blindly act on their nationalism programming, very little. But the costs of acting on this belief can be very high. For example, people frequently join the military because of their nationalism programming, which often results in them being killed in a far off country. Another example of detrimental automaton behavior is national hero worship. When a police officer kills somebody under questionable circumstances many people’s national hero worship programming causes them to defend the officer’s actions regardless of how egregious they were. When this programming exists on a sufficiently large scale it shields such officers from the consequences of their actions and teaches other officers that they can get away with such behavior. I’m sure you can see how this kind of automaton behavior, when practiced on a large scale, makes any reformation of policing difficult if not impossible.
Overcoming automaton behavior requires one to first identify the programming. This is where attacking sacred cows comes in. While one simple attack against a sacred cow is seldom effective at helping an individual identify the programming that causes their automaton behavior, enough successive attacks often are. Case in point, I’ve seen several people who have long been acting on their national hero worship programming to defend every egregious action taken by a cop finally admit that there might be a problem with modern policing after the recent shooting in Minneapolis. This admission usually comes in the form of advising people not to call 911. While that isn’t a solution likely to result in fix the problem it is the beginning of overcoming the national hero worship programming.
Until an individual begins to act consciously it’s difficult for me to call them self-aware. I want a world full of self-aware individuals. While a self-aware individual is not guaranteed to agree with my views, and most likely will disagree with many if not most of my views, they will at least came to their conclusions by their own actions instead of having their beliefs instilled in them by others. That, in my book as a radical individualist, is a significant victory.