The “normalcy” of human society is actually dysfunctional.
So how much worse will it be when that “normalcy” turns into abnormality? Indeed, it’s hard to say that something got “worse” when it was already so bad to begin with.
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Human society is reminiscent of a house divided against itself, much like a dysfunctional soap opera family. Allegiances are made to be broken and subterfuge is rewarded – discord is constant yet concealed behind a mask of civility, and the number one rule is to never speak openly about the underlying malevolence. Yet such pretense requires that complicity with evil becomes commonplace: by paying taxes we fund weapons that kill civilian populations, by purchasing clothes we participate in a system of labor exploitation, and even web browsing transforms our attention into a commodity to be sold by nefarious corporations. But it’s considered impolite to say so, and the ensuing silence is a form of self-denial that allows “business as usual” to continue. Given this web of contradictions, the fact that some people spend years working as bankers, lawyers or even mobsters probably seems less to them like hypocrisy than opportunity. To these people who work alongside the criminal class or participate in it, “ethics” are merely the rules that others have to follow whilst the privileged few are allowed to prosper from their crimes. The self-induced schizophrenia we observe from the public is perhaps the only response they can muster. In the resulting pseudo-reality, the true cause of man’s problems goes unaddressed, and a perpetual state of dissonance takes hold from which the most popular escape is playing dumb. Denial becomes empowering, whilst stupidity becomes proactive, like a political statement. Widespread folly represents less the personal failing of each individual than a massive cultural trend in an age where, despite great advances in science and historical knowledge, mankind hasn’t the faintest idea of who they are or what they’re doing.
The above statements may seem grim, but they’re scarcely grimmer than the absurdities one encounters on a daily basis: the painted-on faces that pass you in the street, the shallow identities that dominate pop culture or the disingenuous mass media figures who lie with impunity. These things exist in plain sight, yet lost as they are within their bubbles of over-valued individuality, humanity seems either oblivious or apathetic to such affronts. It’s as if there was nothing at stake in whether or not we pay attention to our own lives; what questions we ask, what answers we accept, what news we trust, or whether we fashion ourselves as religious, atheistic or amoral. In fact, society seems hell-bent on persuading the world of how normal its dysfunction is, and in spite of all the conflicting evidence, these efforts have succeeded quite well.
Despite the historic failings of political and ideological movements to deliver on their promises of world peace, enlightenment and equality, Western society has still managed to amass a peculiar kind of prestige. It comes by way of a deception which persuades each person that “society” is his own creation, whether by way of his representative government or the culture he partakes in. Society’s action is his action; when it expresses itself,
it expresses him, and when it is praised, he is praised. Hence, a person’s own
self-importance disposes him to resent the idea that his society is dysfunctional, despite all evidence to the contrary. Furthermore, most world leaders are well aware of the error inherent in their governing ideologies, whether it be liberal democracy or communism. They know that belief in such concepts requires a naively optimistic outlook on human nature which they don’t share with the masses. But since these ideas are so influential, politicians are obliged to employ them. So when Western nations reach prosperity by invoking concepts like “justice” and “rights”, whilst the Third World remains in a far less prosperous state despite deploying the same ideas, we must admit that the ideas themselves are as foreign to the success of the West as they are to the failure of the Third World. It’s a different power altogether that shapes the current order of things, which has not been sufficiently examined or remarked upon. But such neglect is the consequence of a society in the throes of decline, as its institutions focus on any number of goals except the most important.
There is something amiss in a world where several millions of people are visibly underfed and homeless, yet almost everyone has access to a smartphone; perhaps what they’ve lost in food and shelter they’ve gained in consumable trinkets. But to be fair, such aberrations in the social fabric have not gone entirely unnoticed. An abundance of articles and documentaries have been produced that outline people’s grievances with society, alongside the protests of activists who decry everything from corporate scandals to financial corruption. Yet these revelations are almost always followed by a comment section or another article full of suggestions for reform that take no account of how entrenched the system’s malevolence is. Alas, only when society becomes weak and ineffective does it begin to talk about the need for fundamental change, no different than a man who talks about health for the first time only after his body begins to fail him.
So on one hand we have those in denial who see nothing wrong with the world, and on the other we have those who perceive some of the problems but insist they can be fixed by adjustments to a broken system. The resulting conflict between the ignorant and the super-ignorant is only for a better quality of delusion, whilst the actual culprits watch and jeer from the sidelines, and the discerning few know better than to get involved – they keep their distance altogether.
Where are the independent intellectuals and philosophers now? In the place of facts we have opinion; in the place of public dialogue we have celebrity chat shows; in the place of a public forum for debate we have academic conferences. A true case of the blind leading the blind – but this blindness seems born of a pathological naivety, the kind anyone could have left behind but refused to for fear of confronting the truth. And so the condition spreads, buttressed by a most virulent mass conformism.
Western civilization does not need defenders so much as critical interpreters, a role its cultural elite have largely failed at, having historically presumed, with very few reservations, that the West was best. But the subterranean stream of Western history is finally forcing its way to the surface, usurping the dignity of their traditions. One cannot pretend that everything is fine when the mistakes fall so disproportionately on one side, nor call the accomplishments of the past one’s “heritage” whilst discarding its failures like a dead weight. There are over a billion consumers in the West, and what are most of them if not sacrifices on the altar of modernity – an offering that has produced a gross kind of depravity among us. Yet man doesn’t fall into cultural decline only because he is depraved, but also because he is civilized. He sinks into his vices because he is experienced, having turned away from his previous knowledge to embrace a delusion, vainly searching for some new sensation. So if in savage countries they eat one another, then in civilized ones they deceive one another, and that is what people call the way of the world.
How to forgive this society for its beauty, which mostly disguises its ugliness? Or for its kindness, which mostly hides its cruelty? In fact, the worst part of what is called
“good society” is not that it offers us the companionship of ignorant, self-centered people, but that it doesn’t allow anyone to truly be themselves. It compels us to shrivel up in
self-denial for the sake of social harmony – one has to forfeit three-fourths of themselves just to become like everyone else. No doubt one gains much company and fellowship in exchange for this compromise, but the more a man is worth, the more he finds that such gains do not cover his loses, for the people with whom he deals are generally bankrupt anyway. For better or worse, such a society is past praying for, but perhaps there’s hope for the individual human if you catch them young enough. Maybe such a belief accounts for the obsession with the promise of childhood that we see in the most popular examples of modern storytelling, from Oliver Twist and Disney movies to Harry Potter.
GREEKSPEEK FOR THOUGHT
Society wants you to believe that it’s fine and that you’re the one who’s messed up. But it’s the other way around – unless you’re going the way of society. Then yeah, you’re the one who’s messed up.
Earth is like a diner at the end of the solar system.
Everyone knows the food is terrible, but the place stays open because it’s the only spot in the middle of nowhere. But when you ask about the pancakes, people say, “Ugh, they’re so bad “, and if you ask about the meatloaf, they say, “That’s even worse! “. But at least the coffee is okay, you ask? “Nope, nothing’s worse than the coffee…“.
So the only response is various levels of disgust, yet people continue to eat there. But why can’t they just make good food for a change? Because it’s a diner, man – that’s just how it is.
People say they want good things, but when you give it to them, they suddenly act like they never wanted it. So don’t even waste your time.
Should we fault the masses, or the institutions that brainwash them? But what if the people are so lazy that they’d rather be one of the masses than study things themselves? Can we fault them then?
Ants know more about their society than humans do.
Does it ever occur to you how artificial society is?
Imagine being on a well-designed movie set – you’d immediately know it was a facade no matter how elaborate or detailed they tried to make it. That’s how I see society.
People really feel like they have more important things to do than learn about the workings of the world around them.
In order to blissfully go about their lives, they’ve chosen to trust the elite classes, ie, their scientists, lawyers, doctors, and politicians, who lie to them unabashedly. But here’s the thing: even the elites are ignorant, so it’s the blind leading the blind.
Sounds like a religion to me.