August 1, 2017 at 11:32 am #21041Lauren BelloParticipant
Maybe The System is about challenging preconceived notions that all power must go to selfish reasons, that hyper-capitalism and faux-alpha male style interactions are the only ways to move forward in the world.
I actually love that idea. But I think it’s more likely that you’re trying to make sense/meaning/profundity out of something that is simply chaos for the sake of chaos.
Noah said, “You will pay me to pay attention, and I will abuse you. The System will abuse you. You will not know the rules of The System, because there are no rules. You will not know what the ethical boundaries are, because I am unethical. You will never quite know when it begins and when it ends. You will [not] know if I am teaching a lesson, or just fucking with you because I am bored. Most of the time, there will be no difference. You will misunderstand my point. You will become ‘enlightened’ by mere mistakes.”
I personally think that looking for a benevolent point beyond “turning us into marketers for The System” is, essentially, looking for a System lesson where there is none. Noah is fucking with us, just like he said he would.August 1, 2017 at 2:48 pm #21043Bryan BishopParticipant
There’s a ton of great points in this thread and a lot of criss-crossing conversations. Had a couple of thoughts to drop in, so apologies if most (or all) of these have been discussed before.
1. Watching from afar (and now looking back), it seems pretty straightforward to me that the event was all about teaching people that they could affect the world around them. That the participants had agency. @larry, when you say it was about determining whether you made an impact, I’d actually push back and say it was actually about giving you the opportunity to learn that you could make an impact. Same as your exercise before. Challenge people to do something so they realize they have the potential to do it.
Now, I know you are already aware that you have that agency — but it seems like the exercise took many people out of their comfort zones and taught them that their actions had an impact on the outside world. It resonates with all the other lessons Noah has been teaching with getting people to interact with the outside world in strange and unexpected ways.
2. The idea that this was intended as a PR stunt for The System doesn’t quite ring true to me. The System is literally trying to sell tickets right now, and publicity about them profiteering off of the homeless would kill that dead. I find it more likely that the hashtag was simply an opportunity for The System to track those that found enlightenment or followed through. (And let’s be honest – we pretty much all follow each other anyway, so it’s not like hashtagging our Periscopes would achieve much word of mouth other than letting other LUST participants know that people were Periscoping Sinclair stuff.)
3. The System isn’t Noah, and vice-versa. The positive aspect of the task on Saturday is totally at odds with everything we’ve learned about Noah thus far — but I think that’s to be expected. People were told to drop all preconceived notions before showing up on Saturday for a reason. We actually don’t know how The System works, or what to really expect. All we know is the salesman that pitches it.
Noah is obnoxious, crass, totally doofy (and yes, sometimes hilarious). But we don’t know that he is The System any more than we knew that Addison Barrow was The OOA.
4. That said, if the goal is to teach people to take what’s theirs and become raging jerkfaces a la Noah, then a great first lesson towards achieving that goal is reminding folks that Yes, Your Actions Have Meaning And Therefore You Are Not A Victim To Life.
For me, that puts everything about Saturday in the most interesting context possible. People were taught they could do something good. And many did. Now they’ve learned that lesson, and the same instinct that was used to do a good thing can now be corrupted and utilized towards doing a bad or selfish thing.
The charity of Saturday could be absolutely in line with Noah’s larger teachings… it’s just the first step towards waking people up to the fact that they can impact the world around them. (And hey, if it means people had an emotional reaction and that provided some emotional data… well, I’m sure Horace would be just happy with that, too.)August 1, 2017 at 3:34 pm #21045CristenParticipant
@bcbishop right. we don’t know exactly how The System works. But what we do know is Noah intends to teach us to be more like him and less like us. He wants to train us to be influencers influence. Then we influence others, use them, take what we want, and so on. It’s ok to recognize this for what it is and decide how it can help you, because it definitely won’t be all good deeds forever. But if we follow the path? Maybe we come out with some bigger balls.
To put it in the most Noah way I can manage: be a sheep until someone shows you how to be a fucking wolf.August 1, 2017 at 10:14 pm #21106CassandraParticipant
@superstar I hope you don’t feel too disappointed in yourself! You were voicing an opinion that felt authentic to you! I don’t necessarily believe in an inflexible Truth, but I think the way we come as close to it as we can get is by hearing people’s interpretations of things…one opinion might be an overshot one way, another might be an overshot a different way…if there’s any such thing as Truth, it’s that it’s much more complicated than we like to think it is, and more likely than not to be a composite of many things at once. I think different things that seemingly conflict can both be true. Everyone was just expressing themselves which I think is important and good. It’s good to speak honestly and it’s good to listen to and genuinely try to understand other people’s sides/interpretations, which I think for the most part, we all tried to do. That’s what communication is. And that’s how we get closer to solving problems and inching closer to the “Truth”, by speaking authentically so that we can gift people with the insight we have to offer, and by listening carefully so that we can receive the gifts of their insight as well. It’s hard to inch towards wisdom when you’re just listening to your own thoughts. Good to share thoughts! I think arguing back and forth is a good thing, so long as there is the underlying understanding of mutual respect.August 1, 2017 at 10:18 pm #21108CassandraParticipant
@wanda102 I like that you have respect for Noah and the System, without necessarily over idealizing it. I think that’s a good and refreshing balance and a unique perspective so far.
The “giving” as a power dynamic is really interesting and true. That’s why some people don’t like having stuff paid for for them (dinner, drinks, etc.) (not me, you can all buy me food and drink anytime).
I find that even when giving is truly selfless, it can create a power dynamic inadvertently. In the worst case, it’s malicious the entire time and meant to be manipulative (we see this as a trend in abusive relationships–financial dependency that often starts off in the form of elaborate gift giving). Either way, it’s powerful stuff.
That being said, I think in this specific case, it really was pretty selfless. It’s nice to think that the people behind the System spent all that time putting bagged lunches together and stapling the tops 🙂 Makes them seem a little less dark. And I like that after all this talk of going out and “punching the world in the balls” and “taking what’s ours”, they had us do something genuinely good.
But I don’t doubt the concept at all of giving in general oftentimes creating a power dynamic, whether purposefully or not.
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