When You Don’t Know Your Choices, You Do Not Have Them. On Unguidedness and the Liberation of Comprehension.
“Why doesn’t she just smile?” They sit at their desk, seething and furious. A frown is plastered across their face. “Why don’t they just smile!”
Now you’re probably asking, what does this statement have to do with abolition?
Let’s break it down.
When we smile, it means we are happy. It means something internally or externally has created a feeling of happiness within us, and its natural consequence is more or less an involuntary smile on our face. Unless we have an ongoing medical issue, we don’t have to study how to smile, we don’t have to tell ourselves, “pull the corners of your mouth, drop your lower lip down, show your teeth”. It comes naturally, we are happy about something, and there is a big grin.
So, when someone says, “why don’t you just smile” they clearly have not made us genuinely happy. So, if they are unable to make us genuinely happy, they do not have the skill to do so. Yet, they need us to smile. So what is that smile actually for? That smile is for them to think that they have made us happy, when they have not.
And why do they need to think they have made us happy? They have to think so because at least with the illusion they may be able to convince themselves they have the skill they deeply know they do not, and it hurts. And you must pay, through forcing yourself to embody what should be a genuine expression, for their shame in knowing they have not taken the time to do the prerequisite comprehension work required to aid people in their paths toward happiness.
And really they need you to smile because maybe, if they can make you happy, they can make themselves happy. But they clearly cannot.
Lack of self-understanding and the compensation of at least getting someone else to supposedly comprehend is present in two other areas; abolition and education. And the solutions are the same in each; if you can’t genuinely comprehend yourself in a way that leads quite obviously to the liberation of comprehension, anybody taught by you doesn’t stand a chance.
Some teachers have a predisposition of “throwing you into the fire”. Instead of guiding you as is the job of a teacher, they say that there definitely is a way to do something. They leave you in the dark, and watch your flail around. Once you find a path out they say, “Very good.” Is there any proof they knew how to do it? No. So all they are is a statement that there is a way to do it. They do not guide as a teacher does. They make one statement, that there is a way, and walk away. Perhaps they are religious leaders, or perhaps they are a torturer. In either case, the assignment of teacher does not belong to them. We call such people hacks. A hack “sees if it works”. They fed you the input, you either crashed or you didn’t, and if it goes well they claimed the result (well-raised). If it doesn’t go well, it’s all on you (criminal). A teacher knows that it will work and why. From the Frontline documentary on Jan 6, the difference between a hack and teacher is the hack “[doesn’t] know the layout.” The teacher does.
Applying this to abolition, we see that in many cases the legal system is like a man asleep on the couch until the cat crashes the lamp. The man has not fed the cat all day. The cat is being fed water full of chemicals, unfiltered. The cat is a cat, all it knows is that its body is going haywire. It doesn’t know why. It thinks it’s because of the lamp, but clearly the unfiltered water and hunger is being misinterpreted by the cat’s brain as having to do with the lamp. So, it has a physiological reaction which results in the cat crashing the lamp at 3 AM. The man wakes out and shouts, “I know you crashed that lamp!” And chases the cat upstairs. He does not think about the fact the cat has no food or no healthy water. In fact, he does not even think about anything but the crime. Would this man make a good doctor? If a patient came in throwing up and the doctors said, “I’m putting you away for not taking good care of yourself”, would this have solved the problem of their throwing up at all? No. Given prison food, it probably would make it ten times worse and now they have to pay someone to clean it up.
Let’s extend our cat analogy a little more. Say we say to the cat, “Well, you could’ve filtered the water.” Really, can a cat do that? The man comes at the crashed lamp from a position of superior intelligence, while in reality possessing little to none. The cat cannot filter the water. The man cannot figure out the cat is attacking the lamp not because the cat’s channeling his mother-in-law but because it’s starving and being fed the local nuclear site. One and the same.
In the same way, many of our incarcerated population before it was incarcerated was clearly not serviced or satisfied by its society. The society clearly does not understand them — if it did, any disabilities would be well accommodated, the systems that caused poverty would be smoothed out. Repeat offenders might have education insurance built in to simulated environments, until their repeats were at a minimum and optimally completely eradicated. Their causes would be studied with compensation and consent, and constant mutual reporting until the true cause and the true solution made itself available. Similarly, prisoners who were not repeat offenders would have their cases thoroughly analyzed to identify true socioeconomic causes. To think we are not victims of incompetent socioeconomics is nothing but vanity. It takes a truly superior mind to survive and navigate severe legal and economic inconsistencies unscathed.
In many ways, we are not made aware of the ongoing legal risks, primarily because people make money on that lack of knowledge. Those who are mentally well would not hesitate to call that what it is, predation. A predator would obviously be the best candidate for a system designed to catch predators. But self-imprisonment of those who willfully prevent education is never the first step. If it were, education would run much smoother. The intentional withholding of life-altering information is a setup, and in this case society is eating its own. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t struggle, but it definitely means we should step in when the struggle gets out of hand.
Is all of this an internal problem? Or is it that people who should be identifying with the constituency that informs the overall tone of the government do not? Instead, they chew each other up and then wonder why everything is so dissonant.
So, yes, in the end it’s a skill of harmony. If even the teacher does not understand how anyone might arrive at each of the available options, wrong or not, who really doesn’t know the layout? Here’s the layout — people are hacks because they didn’t have teachers. And they didn’t have teachers because the country was making money on stupidity.
Why the hell would you smile knowing that?