Awareness Is Overrated

Analysis brings no curative powers in its train; it merely makes us conscious of the existence of an evil, which, oddly enough, is consciousness.

— Henry Miller

Everywhere I hear about the need to raise “awareness.” So much so, that awareness and consciousness appear to have become the goals: ends in and of themselves. If only we were conscious of “what’s going in Darfur” or aware of how “prevalent cancer has become” or whatever else we need to recognize, it seems most folks would be mighty satisfied.

My question: When exactly does all this goddamned awareness translate into productive action and tangible change?

“I expected to die,” Black Panther Huey Newton said back in the day. “At no time before the trial did I expect to escape with my life. Yet being executed in the gas chamber did not necessarily mean defeat. It could be one more step to bring the community to a higher level of consciousness.”

Was Huey right? Would his death have done anything more than create another t-shirt icon, another excuse for Sean Penn to take out a full-page ad in The New York Times? Che Guevara, Ken Saro Wiwa, Fred Hampton, Rachel Corrie, Sacco and Vanzetti, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Leonard Peltier, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mumia abu-Jamal, Tookie Williams, Brad Will—the list grows and grows…as does the homicidal/suicidal human culture that we cannot or will not change. We’ve raised our consciousness to such a high level that we proudly own hybrids and use only recycled toilet paper. But what are the results?

We’re aware of global warming and its causes, factory farms, war crimes, environmental degradation, political corruption, fixed elections, the health care crisis…blah, blah, blah. We know about it. We talk about it. We write about it. We complain about it. We hold meetings, talks, seminars, and classes about it. We march about it. We make signs about it. Nothing changes.

Lesson #1: Awareness is overrated

Lesson #2: The current patterns of dissent in America are long overdue for re-evaluation and overhaul. The powers-that-be have long ago figured out how to either marginalize or co-opt dissent. Until our tactics evolve, we are accomplices to the perpetual global crime we call civilization.

Mickey Z. is the creator of a podcast called Post-Woke. You can subscribe here. He is also the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on New York City streets. Spread the word. Read other articles by Mickey.

15 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. dan elliott said on November 12th, 2007 at 12:42pm #

    Best thing I’ve read in a while. Correctly describes the crux of the situation.

    I’d guess that Brother Z has the next step in mind, but did not want to overstress the readership.

    From here, the indicated next step is to get clear about the role of these self-styled “progressive Democrats”, the PDA, Tom Hayden et al.

    As long as the movement against the War Machine remains itself tied by a million tethers to what it’s sposta be fighting, there is no hope.

    Afterthought: when the Rulers want to coopt an activist, the first thing they do is deluge the target with Flattery.

  2. rosemarie jackowski said on November 12th, 2007 at 1:10pm #

    I agree. Best thing I’ve read in a while. The time for talking is past. Now a new strategy is needed.

  3. Jo said on November 12th, 2007 at 2:22pm #

    I agree a strategy is needed…I have no optimism this strategy will be developed by american minds!

  4. Erik Rose said on November 12th, 2007 at 4:04pm #

    Where are the shooters?

  5. simuvac said on November 12th, 2007 at 5:35pm #

    Power is a dare. Over time in America, the people have backed down from that dare. They refuse to push back, even though they have called the dare of the elites. The elites now know they can do as they please without recrimination. The police and military are now better armed, so any meaningful challenge to elite power today will be met with the overwhelming use of deadly force.

    We can protest all we want, but only two forms of protest are now meaningful: starve the system by refusing to work (which most people will not do, especially because of escalating debt), or use violence. Most people feel they have too much to lose and not enough to gain, to warrant risking their lives in a violent protest.

    We are not desperate enough, but the tipping point for fascist creep was passed many years ago. The time when we could have won a “fight” was over long ago. Now we are basically waiting for the system to collapse.

  6. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 12th, 2007 at 9:16pm #

    Yes. Huey was right.

  7. gerald spezio said on November 13th, 2007 at 7:15am #

    I have a sign on my wall that says;

  8. rosemarie jackowski said on November 13th, 2007 at 7:21am #

    JO…Yes, outside intervention is needed. Those in the usa have been propagandized for generations and don’t have a clue.

    simuvac…Yes, the fight was over long ago. It ended when the CIA and Black Budget were authorized.

  9. Marcelle Cendra said on November 13th, 2007 at 9:46am #

    For citizens who want to “take action” (starting in California) I recommend that interested parties contact moc.oohaynull@ardnecb. — Marcelle Cendrars

  10. MURIMAC said on November 13th, 2007 at 11:15am #

    What you are calling “Awareness” isn’t. It’s received information. Real awareness has the potential to lead to understanding. You can have all the information in the world and no understanding. Information may or may not be true. It is other peoples’ opinions and perceptions and as such suffers from their individual blinkering. Expanding awareness is a process of getting rid of blinkering by open minded observation and study. Ultimate awareness is ultimate understanding and is probably the only hope for mankind.

  11. JE said on November 13th, 2007 at 5:26pm #

    If Mickey’s assertion is correct then why is it some many people are know are ignorant beyond belief. I think Mickey is deluded because he lives in New York City where everyone needs a cause to feel like an individual. Most Americans can’t find Iraq on a map and watch five hours of television.

    so what Mickey wants to do is raise our awareness of how worthless awareness is? what an ironic and obtuse article…

  12. Concete man said on November 14th, 2007 at 3:25am #

    I try to raise awareness about the inequality of workplace issues in my world and I understand where Mickey is coming from, it is very difficult to raise awareness. As Susan Rosenthal says in her great book, Power and Powerlessness, you can bring a horse to water but you can’t make him drink, in so many words. That said, where is the Jewish Controlled Left in exposing the Zionist Power Configuration, and the utter corruption of the Left in cowtowing to Zionist depravity and arrogance in its unwillingness to acknowledge how the Iraq war was indeed a WAR FOR ISRAEL? Where???
    Nowhere to be seen from all of these Jewish Hypocrites and their Brain Dead Goyim Stooges (who are equally culpable in the silence).

  13. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 14th, 2007 at 5:01am #

    Mickey Z. What isn’t?

  14. hp said on November 14th, 2007 at 1:47pm #

    “The future sure ain’t what it used to be.”

  15. dan elliott said on November 17th, 2007 at 5:41pm #

    Dear hp,

    Your point is well taken. However, don’t believe everything you think.