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How to Destroy History in 3 Easy Steps

Destroy history, or be destined to act it out like a shitty reality TV show.
People speak about history as though it exists as a consistent whole. People enjoy talking about this or that piece of history as if it really happened. A woman recently told me about a book called “Don’t Sleep, There’s Snakes.” In the book, a missionary attempts to convert a so-called primitive tribe to the evils of christianity. He discovers that the people of the tribe do not accept as fact anything that was not witnessed by someone present during the discussion.
When he tells the tribe about Jesus, they stop him. One of the tribal people asks everyone present if any of them have met this Jesus character. When everyone says, “no,” they drop the subject and move on to something else. After many trials and tribulations, the missionary converts to the tribal life.
This article is my way of inviting you into the tribal life too, at least in spirit.
“Liberation, in its truest sense, consists of rejecting everything you have ever been taught and replacing it with only that which you have experienced as having value.” -Vine DeLoria Jr.
How to Destroy History:
1. Keep your mind in the same place as your body at all times.
This step will keep you from drifting into fantasy about historical fictions. Many people enjoy using history as a way to feel victimized and/or superior to other people. The buddha walked away from the caste system to explore personal sovereignty. Will you do the same?
2. Explore the difference between the physiological experience of your life and all the stories you have ever heard or read.
Parents, teachers, and friends all tell us stories. So does the TeeVee. The unbroken chain of your life experience is not the same as the stories. Stories have value in limited contexts. Some stories can inspire action and exploration. This story I am telling you right now might inspire you to take action and to explore. When you do so, you will experience your own results. Then you can base further exploration on those results. With your personal experience as a guide, you can use stories for inspiration.
3. Whenever you hear a story, especially a piece of so-called history, ask yourself the following questions:

“Who is telling me this story?”
“What motivated this person or group to tell me this story?”
“How does the story make me feel?”
“What effect would it have on me to believe the story is true?”
“Who benefits from people believing in the truth of the story?”

“Could this story be a form of manipulation? How so?”
You have no need to believe in the truth of any stories. Instead, take stories for what they are: attempts to get you to think in a certain way about certain things. For example, what effect does it have to believe in the presidency? Have you ever met this President? Can you verify the existence of society? Where does the government exist?
Pay attention to what’s going on 6 feet in front of your face. That is the only place you have to operate in. By destroying history in your mind, you can earn the freedom to take part in the only thing you really have, the life going on right in front of you now.

32 responses to “How to Destroy History in 3 Easy Steps”

  1. Avatar Carly says:

    Thanks Garret! I agree, History is entirely malleable, and usually manipulated to achieve an ends. It's important to be aware of History's role in your life and empower oneself to interpret the relevance of the story, instead of the supposed truth. We decide it's signifigance. Wise words! If the only moment we have is now, why limit ourselves to what was… how about creating what is!?! Cheers!

  2. Avatar Megs says:

    Clear insight that I will consider in my hearing-of-stories reality if/when it occurs. I think this is an especially important idea to be aware of in this world of speedy, viral, world-wide, internet information exchange. This can also empower more sheeple to leave the heard and think for themselves. I keep in mind that time is not linear, and that all is happening simultaneously – we are conditioned to an awareness of this 3-D plane where events can usually only be cognitized one moment at a time, therefore we incur the need for past/present/future.

  3. Avatar escapeplans says:

    I like that pun, whether intentional or not, "leave the heard…"
    Thanks for the glowing comments you two. 😉

  4. fent11111 fent11111 says:

    Cool piece.
    "History is written by the victors"
    Which is why it's largely weighted towards those of an aggressive imperialist nature, and of no real concern to the future.

  5. I understand what you're getting at, but I feel like it would be irresponsible to deny parts of history for which there were many witnesses. I guess what I mean to say is that I choose to believe in events such as the Holocaust because these important events have narrative and social value that is valuable to me personally.

  6. Avatar escapeplans says:

    Thanks for the comment, Kara. Regardless of the witnesses, their reports still fall into the stories category. Cheers to you for making a deliberate choice to believe in those stories for the value they have for you. 😉

  7. Avatar Tonja says:

    Let me see if I understand this correctly. If it's not tangible, happening here and now, within my reach and within my view, I should be cautious of the validity of the noun (person, place or thing) and it's existence?
    Would this philosophy be in alignment with the motto — "Trust No One" — that Mulder lived by?

  8. Avatar She says:

    I choose to believe Tupac Shakur is still alive. It helps me in my life, personally. As for "history," I know it's fake because I would never buy pogs or snap bracelets today. They just don't exist anymore.

  9. Kail Kail says:

    Good post and great comments.
    I like viewing history and time in very relative terms, and your post and some of the comments here remind me of Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, a great story by a great storyteller, who happened to witness atrocities during WWII, a war in which both my grandfathers took part (so I'm told).
    In Vonnegut's story, there were aliens for whom time and history as we humans perceive them were just about hogwash…but not because things did not exist or events did not happen; rather, because the aliens were capable of seeing all of time and all of history all at once, experiencing it all at once, and perceiving it all at once, and therefore understanding it (supposedly) far better than us.
    My worry is that if we improperly or wholly limit ourselves to six feet around us, by the time we're six feet under we've turned not to inner peace or a better understanding of ourselves and our own history, (like Buddha, if you believe that story, which I generally do) but rather a bit of nihilism and a belief in a total lack of any truth whatsoever…not what Buddha or Lao-Tzu seemed to have in mind in my humble interpretations.
    While they definitely valued the self, nature, and inner enlightenment in order to understand the world–and also distrusted politics–they definitely wrote about good and evil, wickedness and virtue. And they couldn't have formulated opinions on such heavy topics–indeed, they never would have wandered from their homes–without listening, believing, and experiencing stories before their travels, before Nirvana and before The Way, which of course are both great big stories themselves.
    Of course we're all manipulated by politics, educators, parents, the media, entertainment, etc. And we should always ask those questions you pose when someone is telling us just about anything.
    But I'd argue, and maybe you'll agree, we are mostly manipulated by ourselves–by our imagined selves and our real selves and our parallel selves and our historical selves. We're all storytellers.
    We're all full of shit…but that doesn't mean shit doesn't happen.

    • Avatar escapeplans says:

      You are the truth, Kail…nothing more.

      • Kail Kail says:

        What about you? Are you the truth?
        Mulder and The X-Files may not be the best example, considering their other saying: The Truth Is Out There.
        Aren't you talking about more than being aware of 'immediate filters'? Aren't you advising: reject what you've been taught, what you've learned, because it's most likely all fake/false/lies?
        It's obvious we should watch out for manipulation and that we've all been lied to in school and elsewhere, I agree with everyone about that…but not all history becomes fake/false/lies during the retelling, remembering, or rewriting process. Skewed, incorrect, incomplete, manipulated…quite often. Fake? Untrue? Not always.

    • Avatar llxt says:

      Slaughterhouse Five is a good connection, Kail. This also makes me think of Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried<i/> too. After a collective experience, what do we take with us? And how does it continue to affect us as we tell the story over and over and over again?

      • Kail Kail says:

        The Things They Carried is one of my favorite books! It is an essential story–which even delves into the topic of how stories, people, time, and history can change/meld/skew/manipulate depending on the source/setting/time. But it also shows how vital stories are to our understanding of ourselves and our world…and how fragile–but powerful–the truth can be.

  10. Avatar The Tailor says:

    Garrett, well said.
    It doesn't seem to me that you're arguing "If I don't see it, it doesn't happen," but more that we should be aware of the immediate filters placed on the accounts of events that we ourselves did not witness, because every historical account, be it a history book or a story we are told by someone else, has a bias and a motive. Those things need to be recognized in your decision of how much to value events.

  11. Avatar @JMKom says:

    As I remember it, you didn't write this well before this article.
    Since istoreez all bullshit,,, Great Work, Bro!

  12. I love your article Garrett! Hehe, but how do we know Buddha walked away from the caste system to explore personal sovereignty? Inspiring story, but did he even exist? 😛 🙂
    Might be good to add, that one's personal history, especially from early life, can be more enslaving than that from texts or media. And it takes a lot of conscious inner looking and letting go, not just on the mental level of memory, but in the trapped feeling/energy fields we are not aware we are holding, coloring/distorting all our perception and experience.
    Loved the parts about just being here and now fully! That's the only way to come to life and really release everything old and irrelevant, with equanimity and allowing what is, especially what is felt in entire body. 🙂
    Also could say, all stories, "true" or not, are still just abstractions created by a distracting mind, and a story can never be totally present but an indirect interpretation of what is. Let's just let them all go! 🙂 <3
    With Love…

  13. Avatar escapeplans says:

    Thanks Brandy! I enjoy your further development of the ideas…especially the part about personal history as another piece to break free from.

    • Avatar Brandi says:

      Yaay! It was fun for me too! 🙂 My favorite line from you on this whole page is, "It's already all right here." I just LOVE that one! Perfect! Seems to sum up everything. 🙂 😀

  14. Avatar Bornless1 says:

    History is valuable for pattern recognition. Pattern recogntion is valuable for change. Change is valuable for creating new histories. Spreading historical memes is valuable rewriting histories. Here we go loop tee loo…

  15. Avatar llxt says:

    Another great piece, G. (And we thought you could top last month.)
    One of the favorite things about my family has always been how we sit around and tell stories about ourselves–to each other. It's so narcissisticly delicious. In the {re}telling, we're {re}living, in order to validate our existence. As a writer, nothing has more meaning to me than my own history. But I also love how five different people's version of the same experience will be so different, especially in my family–a family of "storytellers."
    p.s. fuck history. at least "their" version.

  16. Avatar Garrett says:

    Thanks lee lee, I always love reading what you have to say here. Again, I had a lot of fun writing this piece….

  17. Avatar Dan says:

    I enjoyed reading this, thinking about it, and interpreting it in so much as it fit in with my reality.

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Jack Wild About Jack Wild

Jack Wild has spent the last 10 years treading and creating paths of liberation and wellness. He studied yoga in Hawaii; massage, raw foods, martial arts, zen meditation, the tarot, tantra, and kabbalah in Oregon; and Radical Undoing and Energized Meditation in Arizona.

Read more by this author on 30POV .


December 2010
November 2010
On My Honor
October 2010
Witch Hunt
September 2010
If, Then.
May 2010
Small Crimes
April 2010
February 2010
"It's Complicated"
January 2010