It happened far back in enough in the near past that we still played “Smear The Queer,” and picking up your home phone might find your ear blasted by the screech and beep of dial internet interruption. I distinctly remember the excited upgrade from 28.8 to 56.6k dial-up as we moved from archaic to the hyper new speeds of the future.
But, maybe, I am getting ahead of myself. So first to borrow from Tolstoy:
All blue-pill minds are alike; but red-pilled minds are each opened in their own ways.
There were always people, kids really, around when I was growing up. My grandfather had a soft spot for lost sheep so to speak, a soft spot which he passed to my mother. She in turn took in children from any situation so that in the eighteen years I lived at home no fewer than nineteen different kids lived for a time under our roof. This was but a small portion of those who were their after school or on the weekends. A practice my parent were fond of as they required anyone who wanted to be at the house on a Wednesday afternoon to go to the mid-week church service, and whomever stayed over on a Saturday went to church on Sunday morning. We lived right center of a small tourist stop–arts and craft traditionals before homesteading was cool–in the middle of flyover country USA. Needless to say it didn’t take much freedom to make our home the hub my parents wished it to be.
I had been out driving around with Fat Falstaff and a Young Lear smoking cigarettes illicitly obtained through a compatriot at our local convenience store. Falstaff was wont to soap box often. This particular day for whatever reason I was of no mind to tolerate his regularly scheduled delusions most of which were far flung conspiracies, or so in a blue-pill world they would seem. I wonder now, if I could remember his rants in better detail, how many ramblings would be as prophetic as the one on this day. The details of what he said are a bit fuzzy now, but the gist of it was that in Europe there was talk of installing camera all over the major cities, I imagine now that he had read about cameras in London, however, he was so scant on details and rather high on open-source nonsense and generalities. I was under the impression that he had just watched 1984; he wasn’t much of the reading type.
Young Lear and I just wanted to hang out, but the conversation had been commandeered and there would be no going back. We would have been happy to smoke and discuss the merits and demerits of the young ladies at the church youth and our plans to bed them. Poorly laid plans if I recall clearly.
Falstaff would not have it. Would not let it go. Would not relent. Would not let the conversation go its way. I snapped. I started yelling that he should shut his damn mouth about it already, that if things were so bad, and that if he was worried about that sort of thing coming to the US (how far fetched that all seemed to a younger dumber me) he should do something about it. He should stop bitching and carrying on about nothing and do something. Anything. Falstaff was three years my elder and at least thrice my weight. I pushed him back into his seat and resumed my quiet existence. I was
an idiot a brooding artist. So the every act of my out-of-character aggression was enough to unsettle the rest of afternoon.
When I was back home that night the scene replayed in my mind. There was one thought more than the others that I could not escape: the thought of doing something, of doing anything. I knew in a sense that we didn’t do anything, that my friends and I were self absorbed solipsistic young men wasting ourselves, and yet that one thought was the first to rise close enough to the top to be fully seen and understood. I wondered what it was that I was telling my friend he should be doing; frankly, I hadn’t the slightest idea what was involved. I recalled my older brother talking about a thing called the Anarchist’s Cookbook. I never did find it.
I dialed up the internet and head to webcrawler or altavista or whatever people used before Google or like after people stop using Google and moved to DuckDuckGo. I typed the only word I knew that had to do with fighting the powers that be: Anarchism. At the time I remember one paragraph from my history class where from sheer boredom I read ahead and finished the book. The passage described the Haymarket Anarchists in about twenty-five words. The vision of anarchy I had was mustachioed men in bowler had bare-fist boxing and bomb-throwing.
However, on the page, in the age where eighty percent of the internet had geocities in the address and the other twenty percent was mostly porn and warez, I found a website anarchy4all. It is long since defunct. At the time it existed as a whole world apart from country-town existence. There were hundreds of article of corruption and collusion most modern, some from previous ages, Rome, the Decembrists, Bakunin, Goldsmith, Voltarinine de Cleyre, even Lysander Spooner. Then there were quotes from Bush the Elder and the Rapist Clinton.
I accepted everything. Every word I ingested, and I came back. And again, and again. For three days as soon as my parents were in bed and my brother was off playing SNES I dialed-up anarchy4all and read. The third night I found an article. No. Not an article. The article. Not just the article. I found the red-pill. And Morpheus extended his hand out to me and offered the chance to unplugged or to shut off the monitor and go to bed and wake up as though nothing had changed. But we all know that when the offer of the awakening comes it is only because one is already waking up; it is only when we are sitting with our eyes wide that the opportunity can even be seen.
The gist of the article is thus: There is a managerial class of people, the elite upper echelons and through their money and power they influence all aspects of society. We are in fact not free but chained by our own ignorance. Our public institutions were designed, and specifically our public schools, to make the people into sheep who would more easily do as they were needed for their little handouts and pats on the head.
No one wants you to be educated. A rich mind is a free mind and a free mind will not be enslave and cannot be controlled. No one wants you to be educated. The powers in this world do not care if you are smart as long as you are ignorant so that you may be misled and misdirected with the slight of hand and the collusion of the media. Think whatever you will as long as those thoughts are ephemeral and clouded.
No one is responsible for your education, and if you remain uneducated you remain enslaved. There is only one action to take, only one path to proceed. To break free one must read from the greatest minds just as one who would paint must paint after the masters of the ateliers and the renaissance.
And there was my answer to what I could do.
What followed was a list which I copied down into a sketch book that I carried on my person at all times. The list was presented as a starting point the author expecting that anyone who made a start would find the canon of the west opening before them. Naturally, the author wrote, these would lead to more and if one kept reading he would no longer be a slave but he would become a free man.
When I considered this post I thought I should see if I still had the list. I did. And now so do you.
Lao Tzu – Tao te Ching
Confucius – The Analects
Sappho – Lyrics
Sophocles* – Oedipus, Antigone
Euripedes – Medea
Plato* – Apology, Republic, Protagoras, Meno, Gorgias
Aristotle – Ethics, Politics, Poetics, Rhetoric
Plutarch – Lives: Marcus Cato
Virgil – Aeneid
Ovid – Metamorphosis
Marcus Aurelius – Meditations
St. Augustine – City of God, Confessions
Maimonides – Guide to the Perplexed
Avicenna – Psychology
Dante – Divine Comedy
Chaucer – Canterbury Tales
Machiavelli – The Prince
Montaigne – Essays
John Locke – Civil Government, Essays Concerning Human Understanding
Jean Jacques Rousseau – The Social Contract
Musashi – The Book of Five Rings
Adam Smith – The Wealth of Nations
Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America
Voltaire – Candide
*Plato – Complete Dialogues
*Sophocles – Complete Plays
Veritas numquam perit,