In a world where the majority of people are so conditioned by an unhealthy culture that they cannot even fathom equality or the eradication of poverty, nor even perceive them as socially viable, and merely write them off as “it’s just the way things are,” it helps to have some tactics to fall back on in order to prevent our slipping back into our old ignorant ways. As the majority of the world sleeps, we, the courageously awake, must discover new ways to remain diligent. Here are four powerful (and fun) ways to remain awake while the rest of the world sleeps.

1.) Keep Questioning Authority to the Nth Degree

“Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.” –Bertrand Russell

Keep disrupting the disrupters. Keep dissenting in the face of those who are consenting. Stir the pot. Keep the prison you were born into in perspective in order to continuously transcend it. Daily try your best to prove Noam Chomsky wrong: “The general population doesn’t even know what’s happening, and it doesn’t even know that it doesn’t know.” At least admit your ignorance. That’s a huge start. It’s not your fault you’ve been ignorant thus far, because the system is set up to keep the majority of people ignorant so that the powerful few can remain in power. We are all of us ignorant about a great many things. So question everything. Question your peers. Question your teachers, especially the ones who are more interested in money than teaching. Question your parents, especially if they are trying to keep you from “taboo” knowledge, or if they are spoon-feeding you only what their relatives spoon-fed them. Question your police officers, who definitely don’t have your best interest at heart, and only enforce the law as a means to the end of protecting “privileged” property. Especially question all politicians, for power and pride have blinded them to any other course other than their being in power. Question the lot, and if they should pass your interrogation, question them again, and keep questioning them, day in and day out.

Most of all, question yourself. Interrogate yourself. Strap yourself into an imaginary chair and commence questioning your worldview to the nth degree. You are the most important authority in your life. Question your sense of the way things work. Ask yourself if you see how all things are connected, or if you simply see things the way you were conditioned to see things. Are you living with purpose, on purpose, or are you living by cultural programming? Are the lines you’ve drawn in the sand flexible and open-minded or inflexible and close-minded? Can you honestly say you are able to put yourself in another person’s shoes and think compassionately? Will you live a life of contained ownership or liberated detachment? What will you choose to create? What will you refuse to destroy? How do we move forward in a system that is designed to keep us stuck? The only way to stay ahead of change is to question that which is changing and attempt to come up with healthier answers to the way things could go. Then be proactive with those answers, while still questioning them every step of the way. Like Siddhārtha Gautama said, “In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?”

2.) Proactively Dismantle the Illusion and Evolve Humanity

“The revolution begins at home. If you overthrow yourself again and again, you might earn the right to overthrow the rest of us.” –Rob Brezsny

Daily dismantle the false world hanging over you, the canopy built by past generations. Hack into mainstream “reality” and deconstruct the code. Do not trade your freedom for the illusion of security. Instead, take it upon yourself to daily justify your freedom in the face of all illusions. Freedom is not a given. Freedom is a vacuum. It’s up to you how much energy you put into that vacuum. If you want to be free, then you have to prove it. You have to earn it. You have to fight for it. If you earn the right to be free every single day, then you earn the right to free others. You earn the right to dismantle the illusion propped up over the heads of the ignorant. Be compassionate, but be ruthless. Be loving and understanding, but take no prisoners. There is no place for prisoners in a truly free world. Be open-minded and flexible, but question everything to the fullest extent. Put everyone to the test. Use your hard-earned pain as a benchmark. Remember the wise words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

But be prepared. Most people are fickle. Most people are scared. Most people are still living in the prison of ignorance that you’ve already escaped from. They will fight tooth and nail to maintain their illusions, their creature comforts, and their all-consuming hyperreality. Most people would rather be kissed with a lie than slapped with the truth, even if they say otherwise. Like Nietzschesaid, “People don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.”They are blind to their own cognitive dissonance, which has a stranglehold on their perception of reality. They cling to what they know without even realizing they are doing so, because the unknown is scary, and most people are too scared to face their fears. Most people are cowards. Like H.L. Mencken said, “The fact is that the average man’s love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. He is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty – and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies.” Be an outlaw if that’s what it takes to dismantle the illusion and evolve humanity. Just be smart about it and learn from your mistakes.

3.) Systematically Overcome Economic Tyranny and Psychological Oppression

“We are like people born in a cage and unable to visualize any world beyond our familiar bars.. That opinion the few create in order to control the many has seen to it that we are kept in permanent ignorance of our actual estate.” –Gore Vidal

Continually self-realize the actual estate, the actual domain, and the actual wealth of the world. Keep digging at the truth until the truth reveals itself. Then dig some more. The incessant history of so-called capitalist civilization, with its bleeding morals and too-high ideals of globalization has been nothing less than a giant vampire-squid jamming its parochial blood funnels into our frontal lobes, suctioning out wealth and pouring in diatribe after diatribe about how our neatly constructed, neatly falsified economic world, became so wonderful. But a few of us are aware that, really, it’s all just a house of cards built on quicksand guarded by a red herring. It’s all nothing more than a cartoon in the brain. Psychological oppression be damned. We’ve kicked off the blood funnels. We’ve kicked and screamed and splashed our way out of the “pink goop.” And we’ll be goddamned if we’re going back under. We’re no longer a bitch to the Matrix. From here on out, the Matrix is our bitch. It’s your job to remember that. Or if you’re just now learning this stuff, hug the hurricane, baby! Keep your mind open. Keep riding the red-pill wave down the rabbit hole and into a deeper more profound understanding of the Desert of the Real.

Continue to toss a monkey-wrench into any and all immoral systems that advocate keeping the poor oppressed while giving the wealthy everything they need to remain in power. Keep tearing to shreds any and all doctrines that attempt to keep power structures entrenched, lest power corrupt and absolute power corrupt absolutely, creating a hyper-hyper-reality from which there is no coming back from. Like Chris Hedges said, “We already live in imaginary, virtual worlds created by corporations that profit from our deception.” Plutocracy is our God. But you have the power to defy God. Blasphemy is sacrosanct in times such as these. Be audaciously cavalier. Be insouciantly devil-may-care. Disobey to the nth degree. In an immoral world it is moral to act out amorally. Be an amoral agent par excellence. Leave the powers-that-be floundering pathetically under your too-courageous feet, wondering: what can they possibly do to contain you. Then get all up in their fat faces of fuckery. Look them in their eyes, gone purple from too much power. Tell them: “I’m the New Oracle come to tell the old oracles that they have failed. I’m willing to die bringing water to the wasteland.” And then bring it. Daily. Bring it.

4.) Love People and Use Money; Don’t Love Money and Use People

“People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason the world is in chaos is because things are being loved, and people are being used.” -Anonymous

Keep using money as a tool for achieving what you love, and not as something that inadvertently transforms you into a tool that makes money. There is a subtle difference. And only you can know it. In short: use the tool, don’t be a tool. Money should come as a side-effect of doing what you love, lest your life and the lives of those around you become bureaucratic. This will probably go against years of cultural conditioning, since the system suborns us into living bureaucratized lifestyles. So be it. Recondition the precondition. Only you can. Transform yourself into a person capable of turning the tables on conditioning. Daily undermine your conditioning: through mindful meditation, revolutionary wakeup-calls, and self-interrogation. A mind-fuck a day keeps the brainwash away. Like Chris Pyle said, “Every bureaucracy hates dissenters. They must expel dissenters and discredit dissenters, because dissenters force them to reconsider what it is they’re doing and no bureaucracy wants anybody to interrupt what they’re doing.” Dissent anyway. Interrupt anyway. Love will always be greater than money. People will always be more important than profit.

In order to be a compassionate person capable of loving other people, you have to continually remind yourself that you are not “yourself” alone. Self is an illusion, but self is also a mighty tool. You can use that tool to individuate the ego and self-actualized the soul, to become truly interdependent with the mighty cosmos as your infinite playground. You can use that tool to transform boundaries into horizons, wounds into wisdom, pain into art, and best of all: victimization into heroism. Indeed, you are not a victim of the world, you are the world. Everything is connected. Codependence leads to independence leads to interdependence, but only if you remain circumspect. Don’t let the system suck you back into using people and loving money. And if it does, learn from it, use it as a stepping stone instead of a setback, and then get back to loving people and using money again.

Use the money to undermine all power structures hell-bent on keeping economic slavery intact. Use the money to weaken the infrastructure of plutocracy, plutocrats be damned. Use the money to defy outdated immoral laws made by parochial men with a corporate agenda. Turn the tables. Get power over power. Become a force that the world has never seen before. Become a rebellious New Hero with the ability to trump fear with courage and inertia with action, while loving the world so powerfully and so courageously that you compel it to become healthier, more vibrant, more compassionate, more alive, and more humanely robust. Like Niels Bohr said, “Every valuable human being must be a radical and a rebel, for what he must aim at is to make things better than they are.” Love people and use money, in that order, and you can do nothing less than make things better than what they are.

About the Author

Gary ‘Z’ McGeea former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.