Chapter 71 A Reason for Your Misery is Rooted in the “Power Process”

Even though Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber engaged in criminal behavior, he did cite some important thoughts that deserve attention (which were written in the same form many times before him).  It is important for me to note that his thoughts were not original because I don’t want it to seem that I am extolling and supporting a lunatic.  The manifesto he wrote echoed what he called the “Power Process”.  Intrinsic to his social observation is that human beings need to “Do Something” and readily “Accomplish Meaningful Goals”.  There were three types of achievements that you face, and he put them in three categories, easy, moderate, and hard.  1) Those that are easy to obtain,  2) Those achievements that can be accomplished with moderate effort (medium)   and 3) Those achievements that are impossible or nearly impossible tasks. 


            The more things in a human’s life that are pushed into the third category, the more depression and anxiety fills that person’s life


            Human beings need love and the “power process” as he termed it.  This is not a new way of thinking and every great thinker had noted this about human beings. A human being needs to feel he has some semblance of control.  A human being needs to do work and they need to be able to achieve a measured degree of success in their endeavors.  If their efforts are all in vain and yield no fruit, they will feel suffering as a result of the failure to achieve modest goals. 


For instance, say a man needed to build a small bridge over a creek all by himself.  Well, to gather the wood would be in the first category (something he can achieve with ease).  Being able to tie the wood pieces together and form functional bridge where he may be able to cross would be in the second category (something he can achieve with modest effort.  But say he encounters a situation where he absolutely needs to build a working bridge but due to weather conditions the bridge he builds continues to fall apart even if he puts forth great effort.  Then this would fall into the third category (something he needs to achieve but is an impossible task).  Perhaps the third situation is possible but he needs more men and sturdier wood to build the bridge but he has no access to these necessities.  Then, true suffering would be felt. 


In Ted Kaczyinski’s “manifesto” he discerned that man needs more and more of the achievements in Category 2.  But there are so many cases that prevent even the Category 2 achievements from being accomplished in this modern life.  Modern “
western man” needs autonomy for this, but society all too often puts a man in the third category.  Society is so competitive and unyielding in its desire for progress, profits, and achievements.  There is never an end to build the tallest building, and the efficiency and industry of the corporate machine in America makes it nearly impossible to accomplish this and so many other tasks, because in corporate America the needs of the groups expands over the needs of the individual.  And a man can never accomplish enough.  Society never is satisfied by the accomplishments of a given man.  Society always demands more, and better things. 


So, as the endless array of goals climbs, the modern man increasingly feels helpless.  Even after a successful endeavor, society…without missing a beat, asks the man, “What’s next?”  There is never any rest or feeling that all that is to be accomplished is accomplished.  Society is like an ever thirty beast, and man lives in society (or at least most do).  Thus, a successful man is doomed like in the myth of Sisyphus to continue pushing that boulder up the mountain, only to have it roll down again.


            Suppose you decide to open a convenience store with moderate effort and build a successful business.  You have accomplished everything in Category 2.  But there is no rest for you.  Because the modern engines of commerce and invention progress, a local Walmart or Jewel-Osco store will be built only a short distance away.  Suddenly, his sales in his store drop down to a dwindle.  And his business which used to turn a profit is now turning into a loss.  What used to be a Category 2 effort will quickly change to a Category 3 (impossible) effort.  How can you sell a gallon of milk for $3.99 when you buy it wholesale from the source for $3.49 and the local Walmart sells it for $1.89?  Who will buy in your store except for maybe your parents and siblings?  


            Therefore, these Category 3 firestorms will blaze through your life as it does for most modern men.  And then anxiety followed by depression will follow as you as certain as the day turns into night.  In the example aforementioned, the store owner will burn through his remaining cash and suffer the depression as he sits penniless…or even worse in significant debt.  


            As more and more people get thrown into Category three situations, their frustrations grow and change their psyche.  Once a peaceful and content and happy mind will turn into a whirlwind of frustration, anger, disappointment, and unease.  Once a law abiding citizen may engage in deviant behavior like theft of property…out of sheer frustration he loses his compass of morality.  These desperate minds lash out their inner turmoil against the people close to them, possibly even injuring them. 


            Consider the plight today of an African American male grown up in a poor inner city.  The high school drop out rates are very high.  Without a high school diploma and without anyone to hire them for work, their efforts 


            Artificial forms of the power process are insufficient, as it results in purposeless in life.  By artificial, I mean things which have no real gain or robustness.  You could tell yourself that building a small tree house which nobody will use could be considered an “artificial” gain.  In addition to suffering the acute anxiety and depression of financial negative consequences, you end up with a loss of purpose in life, which further feeds on itself and spirals you into possible depressive psychosis, as you search for fulfillment.


About youngkim3000

I grew up in Virginia and went to a top tier high school, being so ambitious and wanting fame and fortune like the next kid. I received good grades and then I went off to the University of Chicago where I majored in Psychology and Economics. After a brief but successful "Wall Street" career, I realized that I was not happy and left thinking that a career in the medical field would satisfy me. Then, I did some post Bac work at Northwestern and UIC, and then ended up at UIC Medical School. The problem was I was not happy there either. The structure, the repetition, and lack of being able to be free and spontaneously creative really knocked me down. Having to be subject to constant subjective evaluations sucked my soul dry. As I sought another chapter in my life, then came the financial collapse of 2008-9 which destroyed the "nest egg" and saving that I had worked so hard to build after college--which I so "identified with". I was so depressed at the loss of career and the loss of money that I fell into self pity and a deep seated depression. For weeks on end, I could not even get out of bed. I went to many doctors who could not really help me. I took so much anti-depressant medication and also self medicated with alcohol to dull my mind. One day though, I went to the public library in Niles, IL, and picked up some books on "Self-Help". I figured what do I have to lose? I was already so depressed I could barely get through a day. I picked up books by Wayne Dyer (Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life), Deepak Chopra, Louis Hay, Ram Dass, Osho, and Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth), The Dalai Lama, and revisited my faith in Catholicism. I devoured so many books to unearth just why I was suffering so much. I learned so much about myself and realized that my deep suffering was actually a gift for me to discover myself. Simply put, those words in those books saved my life. I was taking so many drugs and my physical health was in serious jeopardy. I realized that I could not live with myself any longer, and I needed to be free. I realized...that it was my own thoughts that were making me so depressed, as was my own "life story" that I replayed over and over. I realized that my mind was busy creating negative thoughts. Thoughts are "things" and expand. I understood that you do not "normally" choose your thoughts. Just like the digestion of a meal, the mind automatically creates all kinds of thoughts whether you like it or not. Just like you do not "choose" to breathe with your lungs or "choose" to make urine from your kidneys, you "normally" do not "choose" your own thoughts. They just happen, just like digestion. And if you had a bad experience, your mind recreates the negative thoughts without your conscious consent but you are forced to relive them endless times per day. It is only through CONSCIOUS INTERVENTION that you can make your mind change course from recycling negative thoughts. This is just like your breathing. You breathe automatically, but you CAN choose to influence your breathing, you can hold your breath if you are going to dive deep in the water, or you can consciously "slow down" your breath if you are relaxing in meditation and prayer. Once I realized I did in fact have an ability to control my thoughts, I consciously redirected the thoughts to positive uplifting notions. I noted that I had built such a large ego that the collapse of it dragged me down in catastrophic fashion. A big ego is different from self esteem. Both were destroyed, but I learned to regain self esteem through positive affirmations and knowing that the negative thoughts are not reality. I was choosing definitively to live in the past via my repetitive thoughts. I was also choosing to live in an uncertain future that I painted with dreadful possibilities. I realized that if I live in the "now", the present moment, I really did not have any reason to be depressed at all. I discovered I really only live in the "now". The past and future are fictions. It is akin to a motorboat on the water on a lake. The "wake" that the boat produces is the past, my vision of the future is what I can see in front of me, but I really only exist ON the boat in the present moment. I was living my life only on the "wake" created many meters before. Soon, my self-pity slowly subsided as I learned to accept "what is" and not grasp for anything and everything that is valued by Society. I concurred that it was my own "expectations" not realized that were causing such waves of discontent. Once I dropped my self imposed sad "life story", my yesterdays, I came to my senses that there was no need to feel upset at all. That realization hit me like "a ton of bricks" and quickly lifted me out of the well, like a rope thrown down the dark walls of the deep well. I would like to share that it was only that single moment of enlightenment, a "satori" event that forever changed my life, but that was not so. It was a gradual climb out of the abyss (over about a year). I realized that my mind was like a superhighway of blazing thoughts that went through my mind over and over based on the recent past. While my "life story" was going great, I believed in those thoughts, and my ego grew such that I became arrogant and sometimes unkind. Then when my "life story" changed for the worse, I similarly believed in those new negative thoughts with the same passion (which hurt me so deeply throughout my waking hours). I noted to myself that this was why I craved so many "tranquilizers" and medicines that would halt my thoughts. I realized that I was drowning in my negative thoughts and that I was CHOOSING to believe in them. But I learned through focusing on positive affirmations, meditation and prayer, I did not need any more drugs to "halt" my mind from stabbing me to death. Through the filter of society's measure I had evaluated my own life, unable to fully realize that it was all a fiction that my mind had created. I was completely unable to live in the present before this profound awakening. My life had turned into a constant "replay" of the past, the anxiety of the uncertain future...and my destroyed ego. Because of my belief that my thoughts were the ultimate truth, I suffered so deeply... but needlessly. Once I changed the direction of my thoughts, everything changed. The way I looked at my own life changed. I realized that LIFE is not a long emergency where the one with the most toys at the end wins. I realized LIFE is something to be lived fully, and joyfully...not some series of problems to be solved. Once I realized these insights, I realized that I was the creation of my own depression. Although a devout Catholic, I am also deeply moved by the ideals of Buddhism. About Karma and "Dependent Arising"...both of which are also in the Bible (Galations 6, Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked, a person always reaps what they sow). And I was...for the better part of my life, a runaway train into disaster that I was blind to...that I had planted the seeds onto. Putting money, fame, accolades, trophies, and so forth as the ultimate end to my goals sowed the seeds of psychological calamity when the inevitable tides of change occurs in every life. A person who extols those superficial qualities dooms himself/herself to disaster. The only variable is "time". Would it take a long time to find yourself in a train wreck or a short time? It doesn't matter. What matters is how soon can you realize the truth of existence and your place in it...and rise above what Society tries to focus you to believe. Society always makes you compare yourself to others, Society never leaves you alone to just be yourself. You have to exert effort and unlearn what Society has poisoned you with. I am now doing various "work" (not holding down any soul sucking corporate job), teaching, making money through various income sources like buying items at rummage sales and reselling them through Craigslist, asking neighbors and doing work they need, trading stock options when my financial tools indicate that there is a good trade. I am not focused on any "ladder to climb" or any "prestigious career"...and I am so much happier and at peace. I'd rather be "waterboarded" that go back to Corporate America. I have also a solid equanimity, and i am OK with whatever happens, and thus accept what God and the Universe wish for me. I wish to share my newly found wisdom and hope that my story and my interpretation of my newly found contentment can benefit others and I also wish to hear similar stories of awakening. God Bless, thanks for reading my "profile" and leave me your stories of awakening. Outside somewhere is a field where all of us are the same, I cannot wait to see you there...Namaste...
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s