Sell Out

... selling out means accepting the goals and the tactics of the society as your own, as a way of life, when privately you don't agree with that way of life at all. Going along with stuff that you know contributes to the greater dysfunction. Living off the dysfunction. That's selling out.

If you share the commercial, "me first" values of this society, survival's hard enough. If you don't survival with your values is a great deal harder, because the society doesn't support any of it. Any of it.

[Michael Ventura]
We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy - And the World's Getting Worse, p.207

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The pressure to sell out is such a common and transparent reflection of market discipline, so nearly a capitalist invariable, that it is far more interesting and important to ask how and under what conditions people are inspired to resist it.

Certainly many artists, still hoping to be able to eke out a living by their creative work, have resigned themselves to accommodating the market and therefore know, without ever needing to make a conscious choice about it, that intensely-held radical commitments can only threaten their ability to pay the rent.

[Gene Ray]
Art Schools Burning & Other Songs of Love and War, Chapter II, para. 1-2

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Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.

Proverbs 23:23, The Bible


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Linklater: Most people crave to find that little niche - "oh good, I can be an accountant."

Idler: People grab onto that as a result of fear.

Linklater: Yeah, the most gutsy thing is to reject things you’re pretty good at. If a person’s good at something, everyone encourages you to do that. And yet maybe it’s not what’s right.

I have friends who have quit law school in their third year. Well, they could have been a lawyer, they could have made a lot of money, but they knew that wasn’t spiritually what they should be doing with their time. It took a while for them to find it out because they’d been programmed from childhood. But everyone’s going to stoke you if you do something that makes a lot of money.

[Richard Linklater]
Interview with The Idler, full text here.

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Not long since, a strolling Indian went to sell baskets at the house of a well-known lawyer in my neighborhood.

"Do you wish to buy any baskets?" he asked. "No, we do not want any," was the reply. "What!" exclaimed the Indian as he went out the gate, "do you mean to starve us?"

Having seen his industrious white neighbors so well off, - that the lawyer had only to weave arguments, and by some magic wealth and standing followed, he had said to himself; I will go into business; I will weave baskets; it is a thing which I can do.

Thinking that when he had made the baskets he would have done his part, and then it would be the white man's to buy them. He had not discovered that it was necessary for him to make it worth the other's while to buy them, or at least make him think that it was so, or to make something else which it would be worth his while to buy.

I too had woven a kind of basket of a delicate texture, but I had not made it worth any one's while to buy them. Yet none the less, in my case, did I think it worth my while to weave them, and instead of studying how to make it worth men's while to buy my baskets, I studied rather how to avoid the necessity of selling them.

The life which men praise and regard as successful is but one kind. Why should we exaggerate any one kind at the expense of the others?

[Henry David Thoreau]
Walden, p.19

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While I was staying with the Smanla family in the village of Stok, I heard the father and grandmother talking about the future of the youngest son. Their conversation was typical of many. Abi (Grandmother) wanted the boy to become a monk. She said every family should have someone in the monastery. But the father was eager for him to have a modern education so he could get a job in the government.

Even though the father was religious, he wanted his son learn the new ways. An older son, Nyingma, was already studying at the agricultural college in Kashmir. Abi said, "Look at what happened to Nyingma when he went away to school. Now he has no respect for religion anymore."

Yes," said the father, "but soon he'll be able to earn money, and that's necessary these days. How can we know what's best? Here in the village we don't understand the new ways."

[Helena Norberg-Hodge]
Ancient Futures: Learning From Ladakh, p.108-9

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