The Glass House of Individualism

Bruegel knew the masses preferred the Inn to the Church.

Individualized politics have not-so-coincidentally evolved alongside moral decline and a general lack of discipline among individuals. Alongside this shift in the political consciousness of the masses, many of whom have been taught to perceive themselves as entirely singular free agents in the world, a rise in political media has followed. Politics is its own genre of entertainment. There are infinite idea markets fine-tuned for an ever-shifting mass audience of special snowflakes. Reading books is not encouraged but crass thoughtless debate is. In a situation like this, introspection and reflection are the last priorities on the list.

It’s similarly no coincidence that the delusion of individual democratic agency has reached full force in a completely rigged system, where uninformed masses are distracted enough to believe they can enact historical change through internet petitions and hashtags. Even our forefathers who envisioned such a fickle democracy would laugh with pity, let along their conceptual forbearers, who would likely cry.

Some basic spiritual concepts show us why politics today are not worth wasting one’s time with — they have become fully externalized, void of any connection with honest reality. One’s “views” used to be rooted in generations of cultural, religious, ethnic and familial conditions and traditions, or at least some sort of deep spiritual practice. Today you can read a few think-piece articles and digest a few buzzword flashcards and go to a coffeeshop to find someone to “argue” with about X or Y. Nothing signals a civilization in decline quite like the leaders it creates.

In lieu of political babbling I ask you to look inside yourself. Politics is out there; people use it as a narcotic because they have not been willing to do the work required to forge a real sense of deep-seated personal identity. Sit in silence rather than dousing yourself in ideology. Look into your own mind and let all the falsely moralized dust settle. Give your mind the profound gift of un-posturing itself. Return to a place of natural contemplation. Embrace the indifference and unequal balance of nature as best you can within your own mind, and let it return to a place of actual truth.

If you have to look too heavily outside of yourself to find what sort of truth resonates with you, you’re likely chasing a false prophet. If you sit in contemplation and really give the mind a chance to clean itself off, you’ll reach a place of heightened understanding. Let your politics be your everyday life, in which you make the most of each moment, treating both yourself and your loved ones with respect. To pretend we have any higher ideological cause to devote ourselves to these days means we’ve been misled. If you are such an individual, solidify your politics by cultivating virtue as an individual.

Want to support Daily Zen?
Get the new book
here
Or donate
here.