Blasphemy is more complicated than the simple act of cursing God. It is an attempt to remove our cultural eyeglasses, or at least grind the lenses to make our focus broader, clearer. There are deep strictures against removing these eyeglasses, for without them, our culture would fall apart. Question Christianity, damned heathen. Question Capitalism, Pinko Liberal. Question Democracy, ungrateful wretch. Question science, just plain stupid. — Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words

If you are reading this newsletter, it is probably because you are suffering, and you are tired of all the gold-stamped, socially accepted, shrink-wrapped, commercial “solutions” that have failed you again and again. So many of the popular diet plans, medications, therapies, surgeries, dogmas, and new-age techniques are marketed in insidious ways, convincing you that you’re the one who’s out of balance—chemically, hormonally, calorically, or otherwise. If that’s the case, I will tell you what I wish someone had told me thirty-five years ago: You are suffering because you have surrendered your power to the social juggernaut.

The Health Sciences

Whether sanctioned by the government, medical science, or industry, most of the information and products offered in the name of the “health sciences” is dangerously misguided. Our culture aggressively promotes the ingestion of substances that do not belong in the body. Profit-driven social forces, dressed up as well-intentioned authorities, are slowly but surely destroying us all. Humankind is being ravaged by cancer, infertility, autism, diabetes, obesity, substance abuse, mental illness, and countless other manifestations of toxic life choices! We are destroying our blood chemistry and triggering terrible mutations with every unsustainable, life-degenerating choice we make.

Our herd beliefs are not only making us sick and fat and sad, but they are robbing us of the joys of autonomy and innovation. We will not find solutions at fancy fundraisers, in laboratories, or in any big-name institutions until we have profoundly changed our social blueprint. That means opting out of the herd, rejecting the status quo, and choosing life, glorious life, with our every breath, thought, purchase, and action. We cannot afford to wait for others to save us—to invent a miracle pill for the heart, liver, skin, or whatever else is ailing us—as we inhabit increasingly compromised, acidic bodies.

It’s a mad, brainwashed group that follows and feeds this juggernaut that would run us over, body and soul. As long as you subscribe to this cultural paradigm, you will drive yourself crazy trying to create the kind of life and body you want. You must begin right now to sow the seeds of what you want to grow. The first step is to identify those things in your current paradigm that do not support life, that are fundamentally life-deteriorating. Like a gardener, train your eye to identify the network of weeds that are crowding your life and choking off your life force.

The Cattle Call Library

Think of the cultural paradigm as a library of all the conventional wisdom that has accumulated over years of modern living. For example, if you want to lose weight or feel healthier, you go to the Cattle Call Library and pull out all the popular programs and prescriptions available on health and weight loss. You try out the popular medications, procedures, recreations, spa treatments, therapies, vitamin supplements, and even some really alternative ideas like eating only raw, vegetarian foods. If you’re lucky, you might actually lose some weight and feel better than before, but deep down, you know it’s only temporary and you’re still in a rut. You still don’t love or even like your body all that much.

You are getting tired of putting so much effort into being a little less heavy, a little more youthful-looking, a little more fashionable. Eventually, you can’t keep it up any longer. Your symptoms and weight return with a vengeance. Dissatisfaction and depression come with them. You like yourself less and less. Meanwhile, many other parts of your life feel out of whack, so you peruse other aisles of the Cattle Call Library, looking for other solutions, tapping the fountainhead of conventional wisdom in each category. Eventually, after trying and getting your hopes up and ultimately failing at program after program, you become utterly dispirited. You concede that this is just life and you try to cozy up to the idea. End of story.

What you don’t realize is that the Cattle Call Library is not some inanimate entity fixed in stone for all eternity. It relies on the membership of the herd, and is actually a living, breathing organism like any other—though bigger and greedier than most. It needs energy to survive, and so it feeds on all the life force it can pull into itself. It has pulled you in, along with most of the people you know.

The Illusion of Choice

Now, if you can, try to see that your mind is locked in this Cattle Call Library, which feeds on your consciousness and subconscious, stocking its institutional shelves with more of the same information that serves no one but itself. It tells you what to think, whom to follow, and what to value. What’s truly disturbing is that you might think you are doing things your way—that you have chosen a lifestyle that reflects your creativity, your preferences, your style, when really you’ve been manipulated to operate under the illusion of autonomy. The herd mentality is fed all kinds of programs for “edgy,” “indie,” “rebellious,” “cool,” “artistic,” “avant-garde,” etc. That’s the whole idea: you’re not supposed to know you’re just falling into line like the good livestock you are. You’re supposed to think you’re working for yourself.

As long as you get your information from the Cattle Call Library, you will stumble through life with blinders on. When you decide you want real health, beauty, and wholeness, you will have to dare to be different, to see with a whole new set of eyes. Real, transformative change requires paradigm jumping—which, for most people, is scarier than cliff-diving! But once you’ve overcome your fears and experienced the thrill of seeing the world with your own eyes, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to give it a try.

Yes, a better world awaits, but you will have to dig deep to reclaim your power and realign yourself with nature’s laws. Remember, every moment of your life is an opportunity to exercise autonomy, to make life-generating choices, to care for your body not like some cheap commodity, but like the amazing organism that it is. Imagine waking up each morning feeling rejuvenated, in a body that looks better au natural than all dolled up. Imagine feeling like a million bucks in nothing more than old jeans and a T-shirt—good-bye, expensive designer clothes! Imagine glowing with freshness and generosity born of true inner beauty and confidence. This is all within your reach, in this lifetime—not in some fantasy world that is dangled on a stick before your nose so that you’ll always reach but never arrive.

Our culture is cursed by vanity, greed, and narcissism. It has certainly made a mockery of our ability to care for our own bodies. We live in a world of illusions—trendy clothes, chemically whitened teeth, organ-slicing liposuction, yo-yo dieting, endless dietary supplements, gastric bypass surgery, plastic surgery, and medications for every diagnosis—all of which come at a terrible price. These are illusions that can kill.

If you wish to live and thrive, it’s time to stop giving your power away. Dare to diverge from the herd. Begin with your mindset and your knowledge base. Don’t let yourself be bullied into leading a life you don’t want to live!

This concludes our fourth lesson. In next week’s edition of The Rose Program Insider, we will build on this discussion with the fundamentals of cleansing.