Deprogramming the Last 40 Years

I have read more books in the last five years than in the previous 40 years of my life. I have always loved to read, but have always managed to come up with a range of excuses why I couldn’t. Television, movies, and the Internet just don’t cut it for me like they used to, and honestly there are way more nutrients available via books, than anything I can find online today. Reading is nourishing, but it also has really helped me deprogram much of the misinformation, disinformation, and folk tales I’ve been programmed with as I was growing up, and making my way through this world.

I’d say my deprogramming reading phase begin in 2017 after Trump was elected and I read Bunk, and attended a discussion with the author at the New York Public Library. From there I have been on a quest to read books that help me unpack what is going on around me in the physical world, but also the online world. Since then I’ve done a lot of thinking on white supremacy, patriarchy, and how our works or doesn’t work through public and private institutions. Once I started rocking my foundation with this reading, I found myself wanting more—-I had pulled back the curtain and I couldn’t look away now.

After reading these almost 30 books, nothing will ever be the same. From Angela Davis to David Graeber, I just can’t accept the stories I have been told up until now. I question everything now. I understand that de-funding education and spreading misinformation is part of the design now. The sky is much higher now, and the world is much larger. I have more voices in my head now, and it is comforting not me, even with all of the disruption. Conservatism, white supremacy, patriarchy, the 2nd Amendment, and all of the bedrock narratives from my youth make a lot more sense now. Cities make a lot more sense to me now. I get the fragile white male condition a lot better now-—even if it means my world has been completely rocked.

I realize how much work it takes to understand what is happening. Making the time to read these books and let these voices and stories into my head took an investment, but it is one that is paying off. I feel a lot less frustrated than I was in 2017. I spend less time trying to make sense of people I left behind in rural Oregon. I get the true message behind much of the narrative you hear about the country being divided. I get how power works a lot better now. But it isn’t enough. I want more. Even as I finish this list I remembered a couple more books I have read the I will want to add to this list. This is why I turned it into an official page on my website, instead of a single blog post, so I can keep adding to it, and evolving over time.