My “I QUIT!” manifesto and an invitation for you to join me in something new.

vol. 2 issue 33

Greetings,

It’s time for me to come clean. I don’t want to do this anymore. Blathering on about scoundrels, enjoining others to please vote and to pay closer attention, harping on what I see as true…it’s not soul fulfilling. It’s mind numbing, and as we know, it’s the mind that needs protecting.

So, yes, I do believe the president is an imminent threat, but he’s not the darkest one we face. He’s, as one reader with reason to know said to me this week, “Just the whacko when the real threat are the professionals, like (Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell.” And, I might add, the apprentices like Acting Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and the dark-hearted Attorney General Bill Barr.

And yes, there is corruption at the highest levels of all branches of our government, and in both parties. And we are all enslaved by monopolies, by data, by relentless consumerism, and by our somnambulant willingness to let others suffer. And all of this collectively has led us to unparalleled levels of anxiety and depression.

But these mental ailments are just the surface. They are simply manifestations of something deeper and far sicker: self-hatred.

It’s been there growing all along; this administration is just the one where we unleashed the creepier parts of our collective soul and all the evil within us seems to have crawled, slithered, and flown out across the land.

And we are the ones, all of us, who unleashed it. Not the corrupt among us. Not the power brokers. Not the grifters. Not anyone else. We are the ones who let it happen, or in some cases, willed it so.

Through writing these many weeks and months, I have uncovered facts about the situation of our collective mental health in this country and have come to see how they are irrevocably connected to what we value, and thus, our core beliefs as a democracy. I have opined on this at length. Through these pages and podcasts, I have publicly forced my own personal truths and beliefs about this nation through the sieve of the scientific method: what couldn’t pass through, I’ve dumped. Hopefully, you as a docu-mental reader and podcast listener have, at least on occasion, been inspired to do the same.  

For me, it’s become clear that we might say we value all kinds of things, but what we don’t demonstrate is an authentic sense of how to value ourselves as human beings gifted with the precious resources of dreams, imagination, self-transcendence, regeneration, and boundless creativity. These were the traits I always took for granted were fundamental to the American Dream. I still do, but it has been painful to demonstrate publicly my naivete as to how they have been used against us to trap in in a nightmare.

I am not sure I know why we allowed this tortured state of the American mind to arise. An upcoming podcast guest suggests it lies with the corrupting of our national spirit when we engaged in slavery, and was deepened by our Indian Wars, finally rotting through with an unfettered Capitalism that allowed evil to grow and fester at the expense of goodness and peace.

All of this is up for discussion, but what I think is certainly less controversial is that we continuously strengthen our potential for self-hate when we bargain away our minds in exchange for free storytelling. Now that our attention is routinely aggregated by branding, political platforms, religious dogma, or any story line that is central to the identity of a group, and then sold in bundled packages to the highest bidder, we are accustomed to not being in possession of the key to who each of us truly is: our minds, our imaginations. Put another way, our minds are elsewhere. We have lost them.

We might say we value ourselves, our minds, and our freedom to apply our innate gifts, but clearly we do not.

If we did, we wouldn’t have let these bottom-feeders into office. We wouldn’t have allowed our blindness to the very real differences in reality that whites and brown and black people experience in this nation to have continued for this long. We wouldn’t have allowed the utter desecration of our natural resources, much less even entertain to the point of very real danger of some greedy mother fuckers building a mall on the rim of the Grand Canyon.

We wouldn’t have allowed dubious foreign interests own our water supplies. We wouldn’t have defunded and essentially destroyed our public health agencies. We wouldn’t be sick from our own consumptive lifestyles that lead to 80% of our healthcare costs being due to chronic conditions that result from poor eating, smoking, and other dumb shit we do.

Instead, we would be happy, we would feel free, we would not be sick and in debt. We would love our land, we would love our communities, we would fiercely protect our natural resources, and we would never ever have allowed shallow morons and professional vipers to settle in for life as the corrupt cadre of kings on Capitol Hill.

But, we have done that. In part so we could be entertained, but also because we didn’t know just how incredible we actually are, how special our democracy actually once was. We didn’t understand how limitless our individual capacity for dreaming as Americans actually is.

That’s why we’re anxious and depressed. This goes way beyond the misapplication of Capitalism, friends. This is not just mental duress, it’s fundamental self-hatred. You want this nation to get better? Then own it. Stop hating in your own home.

Stop allowing others to tell you that the American Dream is about winning, about bigger, better, harder, faster, more, more, more. The Christian National’s so-called Biblical notion of “man” having dominion over all the earth has been perverted into “man” dominating the entire earth. Well, good luck with that, because when you rape rather than love, you destroy what you violate, and then guess what: There’s nothing left to dominate, there isn’t even anything left to love.

I won’t partake in the cognitive dissonance that our national obsession with domination creates any longer. It’s nihilism, and it is rapidly increasing in its power to affect our extinction, if not as a world, certainly as a nation.

To all my readers, in the ways that you might honestly admit privately that you do, stop lying to yourself that it is possible to endlessly take and trump and trump without loving, cooperating, bending. Why the hell do you think the angels sent us an avatar with the name Trump? Trumping is a losing game.

And, so is mapping the American states of mind. I’m getting off the game board. It’s gotten so boring, I just don’t want to do it anymore, not until there is something worth seeing.

I have something else in mind.

Right now, the American states of mind are numbed out, psychotic, disjointed, greedy, and desperate. All the good we have to offer is occluded by hate and anger, if not our own, then by those we otherwise would seek to love.

“I will no longer accept what I cannot change, but will change what I cannot accept,” I don’t know who said it. I saw this quote on a sign in someone’s yard today, and immediately resonated with it. It’s probably a meme. But memes become that way because at least initially, they reveal a truth.

What I cannot accept is pretending that I am not thinking of a better way, one that is predicated on different questions than the ones our politicians and media are asking. I can no longer pretend I don’t know people who could give us hope and prompt even the most scared and stuck among us to have the courage to think in a whole new way. I am done feeling bullied into accepting the consensus, the status quo. There are plenty of quiet but effective thinkers you have most likely never heard of, but who are asking different, better, right questions. Those are the people I want to expose you to, not me saying “Look here at the evil among us!” over and again, hoping you vote for what’s good instead.

Oh, please. We need more than a different president. We need a new reason for being.

I don’t know what that is yet, but I want to explore it.

So, I quit.

We can’t map our states of mind until we heal them. And that’s where I am putting my attention now.

Beginning next month, you will hear less from me. I will still communicate with the entire list, but in a more general way to let you know what kinds of bigger things are happening behind the paywall where I will produce once-a-month, in-depth works.

Using the paywall, I want to build a community of others around me who are calm, even in their anger and fear, who are doing the same. People who know the difference between being outraged and enraged and can act from that place. People who are not reductionist, who neither shun science nor stand upon its incomplete foundations, made that way because the consensus mocked what it didn’t understand, or because someone felt threatened by what might lessen their power.

I want to be surrounded by people who are not afraid of the bullies who want to belittle those who hope and dream and see a better way.

For the community, I will offer more podcasts, interviews, book clubs, and other discussions where collectively we ask the questions that lead to practical steps for how to untangle ourselves from the messy nets where we are currently gathered up and ensnared in wrong stories woven of our desecrated democracy, ersatz values, and empty promises of eternal greatness.

I intend to begin with a podcast guest who will help me explore how we can heal our national reason for being, our soul as a collective. This will be the foundation on which I seek guests or community discussions about how to either dream a new dream or at least realize the truth behind the old one, minus the ridiculous notion of a Manifest Destiny that “empowers” us to exploit all that exists between our two shores.

I will also be exploring how to heal our impulse to care for one another. This can be in our communities, but also in our healthcare. I will offer you guests, opinions, book clubs, and other means for re-discovering what has been left behind over the decades and even the centuries in our forms of medicine, typically because these ways were not overtly profitable.

I want to re-imagine how to treat the body and mind without conglomerations that profit off our pain. There are those who are highly competent physicians, fully of this technological age who also are expert in how to deliver care that is very human, and thus humane. I know them and will introduce them to you.

It’s also time to re-examine our relationship with the plant and animal kingdom. No more of this maniacal domination of everything so that we sicken the earth as we rape it and pillage its bounty. No more “crushing it”. What does that even mean? That life in America is an endless monster truck rally?

If you have ideas for what you’d like to explore, send them my way. Just reply to this email. Over the next month, I will create a more specific editorial calendar, confirm guests, research books we might read together, and contemplate other productive community activities. You will have input.

When I started docu-mental, I had expected to turn it into a way of earning income. But now I see what I want to do is effect change and grow a community. The paywall is a way of ensuring we are all invested. Whatever money is raised, I will continue to put into the community through improved production values for the podcasts and videos, through creating transcripts of the podcasts and videos, through sponsoring Zoom conference chats with guests, and other ways that you as community members help delineate.

These changes might mean dramatic shifts in my audience. I accept that because I am not messing around. I have a clear mission now, even if how to achieve it is yet to be revealed. It’s a process. In a very real sense, I see docu-mental as a means to help with America’s soul retrieval, an antidote to our self-hating evil. Ultimately, I expect we will return to mapping our american* state of mind, creating maps that actually do preserve and grow our democracy.

What we do doesn’t have to be big and splashy, just authentic and earnest. I would rather go about this with a handful of people who care, than thousands of readers who simply spectate. But, the more committed subscribers, the stronger our impact.

Think about it, and let me know.

Whitney

*The little “a” tones down all that bigness we are addicted to.

Public domain photo, Pixabay, two eagles landing…on solid ground. How symbolic…