By L. Reichard White
(Original publication) ©May 27, 2016
There are indeed, many paths through the gateless gate. This one is fairly easy — and when we arrive at the fence-line, there’s a little trick that will get you through. For me, it involved dishes – – –
We’re at the first Way-Stone already – – –
“‘You know what Indian time means?’ [an Ojibwe tribal leader] had responded in a session with local college students. ‘It means, ‘When I’m damn good and ready.’ The old man was operating on Indian time. I was still operating on a clock and a paycheck.” –Kent Nerburn, Neither Wolf nor Dog
The contrast between “Indian time” and author Nerburn’s succinct “clock and a paycheck” marks our path. But “Indian time” isn’t unique to “First Nation” folks in North America – – –
For our sortie into the only legal casino in Malaysia at the time, Ghenting Highlands, our group had rented a high-end condo. The price included cleaning.
About 6:45AM Saturday — approximately two hours after we hit the sack — the cleaning crew — two guys and three girls — rang the bell.
They were from a local family which lived mostly on wild coconuts, mangos, papaya, durian, etc. — and by hunting a few animals I won’t mention. Almost classic hunter-gatherers — as were we in a sense, but I hadn’t recognized that yet.
They didn’t need the money and did cleaning for “extras” as they put it. When and if they felt like it. In other words, when they were “damn good and ready.”
This week that happened to be 6:45AM Saturday morning. Whether we liked it or not. “Indian time” but in Malaysia.
Even though there were three bedrooms, kitchen, two baths and huge living room, they did an excellent job. Including our laundry. They finished in about half-an-hour. Apparently they really were damn good and ready.
John tipped them 20 ringgit. And John never tips.
This “When I’m damn good and ready” attitude still survives, though deeply buried, in certain cultures. Spanish/Latin cultures for example. “I’ll do it ma?na — tomorrow maybe, but not now.” And they have a name for the traditional afternoon nap. Siesta.
Imagine hiring someone with this independent hunter-gather attitude for one of today’s mind-numbing pre-singularity largely meaningless jobs doing someone else’s work.
Well, it was like that for “bosses” during the early industrial age. A lot of the hires — in the New England textile mills for example — were like the Malaysian condo-cleaning crew. A little like the Waltons on TV, their families farmed, hunted, gardened, and were largely self-sufficient. Some of them worked in the mills for entertainment money. Sometimes. They didn’t really need the money or the job to survive.
They ran on “Indian time” and had the equivalent of what we used to call fuck-you-money. They could tell the “boss” pretty much anytime, “You can take this job and shove it.”
While this suited the folks operating the looms etc., it made life difficult for their “bosses” — and for the folks who owned the looms and factories. And it created a certain balance.
There’s something deep and psychological to be learned from this contrast between “Indian time” vs. our modern “clock and a paycheck” mass culture.
The American Indian Movement‘s Russell Means dusts off the next Way-Stone – – –
By then, I was beginning to form an opinion about working in America. Most of my jobs were fun and there were many wonderful people among my coworkers, yet so many of them were unhappy. They couldn’t wait for the whistle to blow at the end of the day. Too many of them absolutely hated what they were doing… I thought, what a weird way to live. –Russell Means, Where White Men Fear to Tread
It’s clear both Russell Means and his American coworkers were doing similar jobs — but clearly experienced them differently.
What causes that “hated what they were doing” difference?
And with that question, we’ve stumbled on the next Way-Stone – – –
“Almost immediately after the Prussian government lost the battle of Jena to Napoleon, a German philosopher named Fichte delivered his famous “Address to the German Nation”…. In effect he told the Prussian people …that the nation would have to shape up through a new Utopian institution of forced schooling in which everyone would learn to take orders.” –New York Teacher of the Year John Taylor Gatto
Translation: They needed good obedient cannon fodder.
Why is that a Way-Stone?
Because it’s the Prussian “forced schooling” “take orders” model that our early 20th Century would-be masters imported into America. It’s appropriately called “compulsory education” — and it’s why the Truant Officer will visit you if you don’t force your children to go. Do you recognize it now?
Why did our would-be masters import Prussian-style forced education?
Those twelve years of training in taking orders from Authority figures (teachers) — often called the “hidden curriculum” — would go a long way toward fixing the problem the bosses and factory owners had with those damnably independent workers — nowadays tellingly called “human resources” — and used accordingly.
The so-called “elite” — via Theodore Roosevelt’s notorious “Brain Trust” — were going to do it to all our kids whether we liked it or not. That should certainly sound radical to a so-called “free people” don’t you think? But now we think that’s normal. Why is it that the opposite, “voluntary education,” sounds radical instead?
Built on that Prussian foundation and fertilized with mostly concocted fear, “taking orders” and obeisance to “Authority” has replaced freedom — and constant surveillance has become the norm. Which is exactly what the psychopath/wiindigo/kunlangeta contingent now running things craves. Especially the obeisance to “Authority” part.
This aberration has now become so firmly entrenched in the official American psyche, that we have “helicopter parenting” and this:
Most Americans Want to Criminalize Pre-Teens Playing Unsupervised –Reason.com poll
As well explained by Lenore Skenazy in her Free Range Kids blog, this over-protective nonsense chills creativity and self-expression by conditioning kids — and everyone else — to think and act as if Authority figures are always surveilling them. It also prevents kids from learning how to take care of themselves and deal with the experiences and problems of real-life. Worse, it steals their opportunities to discover their own abilities – – – and develop confidence in them.
This malarkey has gotten so out-of-hand, according to CNBC, it’s now necessary to coach some kids how to talk to others face-to-face — without their device as an interface. Even setting “playdates” for your kids may now be edgy since, compared to what’s now considered normal supervision, “playdates” are imagined to be “unstructured.” And free-range kids are busted for taking walks in the park. Etc.
For comparison, as a matter of deeply ingrained cultural habit, “Indians” — and apparently some Malaysian condo-cleaners — were brought up being individuals, under their own control, making their own decisions — and not taking orders. Starting in childhood – – –
[American] Indian parents often will not make decisions for their children until they have determined what the children want. Sometimes they will permit youngsters to do things which they know are not good for them simply because they believe in allowing children to make decisions for themselves. –James E. Officer, Journal of American Indian Education, October 1963,
On the other hand, American culture — coming from Europe with all it’s kings, queens, dukes, and other so-called “royalty” — was already conditioned to accept top-down hierarchy – – – control and manipulation by “elite” rulers. And bosses – – –
“The white world puts all the power at the top, Nerburn. …When your people first came to our land they were trying to get away from those people at the top. But they still thought the same, and soon there were new people at the top in the new country. It is just the way you were taught to think.” –Lakota elder Dan, Kent Nerburn, Neither Wolf nor Dog
“It is just the way you were taught to think.”
Where did they teach you to think that way?
And keep in mind, you don’t have to go to government schools to learn things. While literacy in early America — no government schools — approached 100%, even functional literacy these days — with government schools — is often barely 60%.
And another radical idea: According to thrice NY Teacher of the Year John Taylor Gatto, a normal person can learn to read, write and do ‘rithmetic in about 100 hours — that’s about 17 six-hour school-days. That’s less than one school-month. What are they doing to our kids for the other 107 school-months — which works out to be 99.07% of the school-time remaining in that twelve-year sentence?
One candid guidance counselor — Max Williams — confessed to me, “Our purpose isn’t reading, writing and arithmetic, it’s to turn children into good tax-paying citizens.”
And here’s the next Way-Stone: “Taking orders” is unnatural and contrary to human nature. Like this for example:
Briggs tells us in detail how religious services were conducted in iglus [igloos] and how Inuttiag (in the role of religious coordinator) tried at certain points to get his tiny congregation to stand. The community initially conformed, but then more and more people began to disregard his orders until the majority were ignoring him. At that point, he simply stopped trying to command them. (Boehm 1999:54)
Is it a big deal to stand on cue during church services? Yes, and that type of reaction is just about universal among our small-group ancestors — which pretty much proves it’s genetic.
So, in and of itself, “taking orders” makes most folks unhappy. VERY unhappy. And is automatically resisted. And congenital. It’s why you — yes you — likely have a problem with Authority. And should have.
They even have a name for it now: “Drapetomania.” And, ignorant of our genetic heritage, they classify it as a mental illness and call it Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
That’s what American government-form schools were primarily designed to stamp out of those damnably independent potential “workers” and “employees.” And, using much harsher tactics, “Indian” children too.
Were they successful?
The Donald articulates the elite viewpoint: “Getting a job is for losers; the key is to get other people to work for you.” –Donald Trump, The Intercept
So, in sharp contrast to tribal folks, we are brought up and conditioned to unnaturally “take orders” and do someone else’s bidding — so we’ll be good docile little “human resources.” And humbly serve our “elite” masters for the rest of our lives.
And, unfortunately, not just in factories and/or for corporate profits.
In the military, for example, where, to protect our brother soldiers, we get conned into fighting for the state, killing literally millions of innocent men, women and children, usually in foreign lands, based on lies and/or mistakes.
But killing is even more contrary to human nature than taking orders and so requires even more stringent training. “Cannon fodder” comes to mind.
So, via Russell Means above, we Prussian graduates do the same job as “Indians” but they enjoy it and we hate it.
Because we’re not doing things of our own free-will.
You may be thinking, “The Indians weren’t doing things of their own free-will either. They were taking orders from bosses too.”
Right-on! You’ve spotted the next important Way-Stone – – –
“…traditional Indian people have never been able to accept the concept of ‘jobs,’ of forcing themselves to do something they are not happy with. …Traditional Indians wholeheartedly accept whatever they are responsible for — and don’t take time off from responsibility.” –Russell Means, Where White Men Fear to Tread
If — IF a “traditional Indian” accepts a “job,” he makes it his own. To him, the “bosses” are just there to help.
The result of that outlook is likely what Ben Franklin noticed – – –
Happiness is more generally and equally diffus’d among Savages than in civilized societies. No European who has tasted savage life can afterwards bear to live in our societies. –Benjamin Franklin, 1770
AND Jefferson too – – –
I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. –Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 16 Jan. 1787
And I think I just caught a glimpse of the gateless fence-line showing over the next ridge – – –
This all fertilized America for the 1960s invasion of the gurus. Some could see “our” problem clearly. And gave us this parable:
The Happy Buddah is striding along, a heavy bag slung over one shoulder. Someone calls out, “What is the method of Zen?” The Buddah sets the bag down. “What is the result of Zen?” calls out another. Happy picks up his bag, slings it back over his shoulder, and exits stage left, smiling all the way. –my version, lrw
And so we’ve finally reached the fence-line. We’re almost ready to start dish-washing – – – but as you can see, all that mass-culture take-orders B.S. has blocked-up the gateless gate – – –
After ~12 years of Prussian-inspired conditioning — and a life-time of immersion in wage-slave, tax-slave mass culture and its propaganda — you have likely but unknowingly internalized “taking orders.” Unknowingly, you likely do the equivalent of “giving yourself orders.” You may subliminally feel as if you’re on a clock-and-a-paycheck 24/7.
This is most noticable when you’re trying to force yourself to do things you think you don’t want to do. And, like the accomplished drapetomaniac you are, you appropriately resist, revolt, and/or rebel!
So, to get through the gateless gate, it’s necessary to liberate yourself from orders, especially from orders you give yourself.
Now here’s that trick I mentioned – – –
Like this: Pick something you really don’t like to do. Cut the grass? Wash the dishes? Do the laundry? Clean out the garage? Come on, you know what it is.
Now don’t do it. Don’t do it until you want to do it. Not HAVE TO do it, WANT TO do it. REALLY WANT TO DO IT.
If you’ve got a partner, you may have to get their co-operation. Explain what you’re doing — or more likely not doing — and make sure they won’t interfere, either by covering for you or bugging you.
No cheating now. This is a serious exercise, and not as easy as it sounds. You can’t allow yourself to be forced, fooled, or hood-winked by those old long-established slave-culture habits. Those will try to make you do it before you want to.
The trick is learning to recognize the difference. If you’re not absolutely sure you WANT TO, wait longer — wait until you REALLY want to.
Yes, if you do it right, that WILL happen.
My path was to not wash the dishes. This was in an older Vegas apartment without a dishwasher. Once all the dishes were dirty, my usual M.O. was to only wash the one(s) I needed for the current meal. I’m still expert at using very few dishes, a valuable skill in itself. And yes, you can sometimes get away with washing only one side.
Once I accepted that I didn’t have to wash ’em — and stopped trying to force myself — it only took about two days to start looking at the dishes and wishing they were clean and put away.
About the third day, I realized that indeed I did want them washed and put away, and after about an hour of marveling at this odd sensation , I took care of it.
Haven’t had a dish-washing problem since. Usually, when on my own, I do ’em after every meal or in spare moments while I’m waiting for the burger to brown, etc. Because I want to.
Once you’ve mastered this trick, you neither “take orders” — nor give them to yourself. You accept your drapetomania as completely normal. Which it is.
Like “traditional Indians” — and perhaps a few Malaysian condo-cleaners — If — IF you accept a “job,” you make it your own. And, like the Happy Buddah, you do the same things you did before but now you do them because you want to and choose to not because you have to. And so you do them quickly and well. And maybe get tipped.
Despite ma?na and siesta, your chosen work still gets done. And, like Russell Means and “traditional Indians,” you may even enjoy it. And maybe it isn’t “work” anymore – – –
And so, as you exit stage left, you’re smiling all the way too.
This simple exercise is a window into how modern mass culture has twisted us against our true nature. We have been so deeply programmed and conditioned to accept “Have to,” hierarchy — and it’s handmaiden, “Authority,” — most of us think it’s normal. Even after many decades, I still need to remind myself now and then that it isn’t.
When your mind switches out of “have to” “take orders” mode and back to normal genetic hard-wired “want to” mode, it’s strange and noticeable, especially the first time. The feeling of release — maybe even euphoria — is hard to describe. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself. It’s something you probably won’t forget. And shouldn’t. But might.
Because unfortunately, most of us have all those bad habits to overcome. Most folks even eat and sleep defined by a clock-and-a-paycheck — which is why they can sell all those sleeping pills — and 5-Hour Energy.
Once you pass through the gateless gate, though, you’re at odds with the wage-and-tax-slave mass culture we’ve been conned into, almost since birth. Certainly at least since your first day at “Pre-K” or Kindergarten — where the hidden curriculum first began to shape you into a good little tax-paying human resource. “That’s just the way you were taught to think,” remember — in order to keep Napoleon from defeating the Prussians again.
It’s like this – – –
“…the real self is dangerous, dangerous for the established church, dangerous for the state, dangerous for the crowd, dangerous for the tradition, because once a man knows his real self, he becomes an individual” –Meditation by Osho
But don’t worry too much — becoming an individual is good not bad. It’s the ancestral way. And if it didn’t work extremely well, our ancestors wouldn’t have survived and we wouldn’t be here.
For updates, additions and corrections, see Dish-washing Your Way Through the Gateless Gate — updates & corrections
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L. Reichard White [send him mail] taught physics, designed and built a house, ran for Nevada State Senate, served two terms on the Libertarian National Committee, managed a theater company, etc. For the next few decades, he supported his writing habit by beating casinos at their own games. His hobby, though, is explaining things he wishes someone had explained to him. You can find a few of his other explanations listed here.