Oblivion

The path to oblivion lurks behind every step we take and each moment of any day.

As in life itself, we can choose at any time to make an act of self-destruction: throw ourselves in front of the oncoming train, drink the turpentine, or pull that convenient plastic bag over our faces. Each moment can be our destruction if we choose it to be so.

A different kind of oblivion also exists in each and every moment. We can choose to turn away from what we know is real, objective and external and instead hide within our own minds in notions that are subjective and internal.

When a society is formed of laws and economics, there is no actual shared goal, and so people are accustomed to two modes. In the first, they defer to the external, which is either authority or social pressures. In the second, they pursue their own desires, feelings and judgments in defiance of the external. In other words, like miscreants they obey the letter of the law and twist everything else to serve their own wants.

This deference to the external makes it easy for people to ignore the consequences of their own behavior. If the law designed to prevent criminality makes it illegal to steal, they will invent ways to steal by coercing or deceiving others. Other than what the law says is bad, everything is OK.

But they feel justified in what they do because they are obeying the laws, and the laws are forced on them by their fellow citizens, and obeying the law — nevermind the “spirit” of the law, that’s not scientific — is the only requirement.

A milder form of this is found in everyday oblivion. On her way to work, the average person passes at a least a dozen obviously bad behaviors. It’s not our job to fix them; that’s for the cops and stuff, even if this means nothing is ever done. It’s a carte blanche to ignore the world and focus on the self.

They tend to view this dichotomy of modes such that the second mode is entirely “pleasure” and the first mode is entirely “obligation.” This makes them feel like victims of obligation imposed on them by society at large, and thus take great sneering delight in cheating it to support pleasure.

In fact, our tendency toward external authority and social pressures makes it easy for people to ignore the consequences of their own behavior entirely. That in turn means they stop observing consequences at all. When we have elections, the campaign promises are considered to be the event. Those happened. The results of those promises? No one is counting — we have separated consequence from cause.

Instead, they do what they are told and the society becomes one of social image and not actions which are calculated to produce results. The more they externalize, the more oblivious and the more helpless the citizens become. They take image at face value and consider it more real than reality itself.

While they wander down this pleasant-feeling path to oblivion, the myriad details which are the consequences of not-quite-right-but-legal oblivious actions tend to pile up and drag the civilization under, unnoticed by those who are too busy focusing on their own pleasures.

Consequentialism

The worst aspect of mass politics is that none of the basic terms are defined. “Conservative” is a loose grouping of likes/dislikes, and liberal is a social identity.

From that, each person tries to abstract out some heuristics in order to make an educated guess as to any issue. Since appearance is separated by reality through a complex interaction with context, these never quite match up as one might think they should.

As a result, we have so-called “conservatives” voting for all sorts of problems that their ancestors would think were straight out of Red China, and many liberals such as Barack Obama confused on the nature of their foreign policy. It’s chaos, a level removed.

However, it’s important to remember that leftism and rightism are essentially different, even if the examples of them are confused. We might call leftism a form of humanism, or the idea that human notions, feelings and judgments come before all else. And we might call conservatism a form of organicism or integralism, or the notion that life as a whole is more important than our subjective impulses.

Another important concept in conservative thought however is consequentialism. This is a powerful idea and like most of those, is very simple at its essence. Because of this, it has been attacked by those who try to add conditions to it in order to reverse its meaning from the original. (This is common behavior for neurotic humans.)

Consequentialism is a greater concern for results than methods. It’s more than a “by any means necessary” however. What it means is that we look first to how our actions will affect the world around us, and only secondarily turn toward moral, emotional, social and political notions, because those are constructions of the human subjective mind and do not necessarily correlate to reality.

A definition from a source that normally produces analysis of quality:

Part 1
Consequentialism, as its name suggests, is the view that normative properties depend only on consequences. This general approach can be applied at different levels to different normative properties of different kinds of things, but

Part 2
the most prominent example is consequentialism about the moral rightness of acts, which holds that whether an act is morally right depends only on the consequences of that act or of something related to that act, such as the motive behind the act or a general rule requiring acts of the same kind.

“Consequentialism,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

This definition is separated for your convenience. The first part is the real definition; the second part is the socially-acceptable fix that was put in to make this definition pleasant-sounding to many people. Philosophers of the modern sort seem to be only a selective form of consumer.

Consequentialism is paying attention to the results of actions. This makes sense. However, in the second part above, the writers modify that clear definition into a muddled one. How do moral concepts, which do not exist in science and nature, get included as “results”?

As Plato was fond to point out, the human mind is like a projection screen. We project onto our world what we are thinking and then claim that our feelings, judgments and desires are “inherent” to reality. Such is the case with morality, which was never more than a choice for decent people to elect.

If we critically analyze the above definition, it becomes clear that the second part of it is entirely a non sequitur to the first. There is literally no relation. We go from paying attention to consequences to paying attention to our feelings about those consequences, which quickly translates into our feelings about the methods used.

Morality does not regulate consequences, after all. It regulates our actions and makes the assumption that a bad method equals a bad result, when that is only sometimes true (think of how we murder to keep murderers off the street, or kidnap kidnappers to keep them from kidnapping, or even make rules in the name of freedom).

The reason for this clever sleight-of-hand becomes clear later in the definition:

The paradigm case of consequentialism is utilitarianism, whose classic proponents were Jeremy Bentham (1789), John Stuart Mill (1861), and Henry Sidgwick (1907). (For predecessors, see Schneewind 1990.) Classic utilitarians held hedonistic act consequentialism. Act consequentialism is the claim that an act is morally right if and only if that act maximizes the good, that is, if and only if the total amount of good for all minus the total amount of bad for all is greater than this net amount for any incompatible act available to the agent on that occasion. (Cf. Moore 1912, chs. 1–2.) Hedonism then claims that pleasure is the only intrinsic good and that pain is the only intrinsic bad. Together these claims imply that an act is morally right if and only if that act causes “the greatest happiness for the greatest number,” as the common slogan says.

Thus we see that the point of the definition of consequentialism as practiced in modern philosophy is to support the definition of utilitarianism. But the disconnect still remains: even the definition above admits that utilitarianism is a subset of consequentialism called “hedonistic act” consequentialism, and its definition is as much hedonism as anything else.

In a stricter sense, human emotions (which is what morality, hedonism and aesthetics are) have absolutely zero to do with consequentialism, which is the study of effects. Consequentialism measures whether our well-intentioned welfare policy produces more drug addicts or fewer.

It measures whether our environmental regulation leads to more barrels of toxic waste being pushed into rivers, or fewer. It measures whether our moral intentions translated to action, and whether those in turn translated to the changes we claimed they would make.

That is a dangerous philosophy, right there. People do not want accountability for their actions; they want accountability for the image of their actions as filtered through their social group. But that is a form of leftism, and like utilitarianism, is a reversal of the consequentialist principle.

Conservatives make decisions by consequentialism because it always works. Instead of using the laboratory of human emotions and social feelings, we use the laboratory of life itself, and test every factor at once. What was the result? That result will occur again if we do the same action.

As views go, it is an accurate one. It will never be as popular as the idea that whatever we mean in our minds translates to a method which then translates to an identical outcome. But as they’re fond of saying among the intelligent, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The Map and the Territory, by Michel Houellebecq


The Map and the Territory
by Michel Houellebecq
269 pages, Alfred A. Knopf, $16

In The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje uses the map as a postmodern device, a type of meta-plot to a novel that then contorts the character-related plot around its metaphor. This is what distinguishes postmodern novels: the metaphor leads the characters, instead of the other way around.

However in The Map and the Territory, Houellebecq — a more mature and yet more emotionally coherent writer — shows us instances of maps, symbols, sensations and notions replacing actual experience. His point makes itself as his characters scramble to keep up with the metaphor, revealing that beneath all of the formalism and bluster of the human experience, there is a human experience we cannot communicate in public and it is lost to us when we let the public view of experience (the map) replace our actual knowledge of life (the territory).

Writing in the grand tradition of French literary provocateurs like Louis-Ferdinand Céline and Gustave Flaubert in that in order to explore pleasure, he first explores misery, and then like Socrates finishing his dialogue, points toward the empty space indicated by the limits of all that has been discussed. Houellebecq crafts an uneven storyline in which sudden leaps occur through the impulsiveness of the characters, but this saves us his readers from extensive exposition of an ultimately unimportant nature, and delivers us instead on a wild ride that more resembles a descent into madness than the urbane novel of modern sophistication that his writings initially pretend to be. Where the postmodern novel is about an idea, Houellbecq’s novels are about characters reacting to an idea which is incomplete. They are tormented by what is promised but not evident.

This might categorize his work as “black comedy,” or narratives where awful things are described as absurdist and amusing. However, an underlying sense of emotion guides this process, such that the dark humor is a layer of surface on top of an emotional narrative. This does not fit into the modern literature rubric which like the work of Ondaatje combines the “workshop school” with the emotional demands of commercial television and the need for the work to have a semi-technical metaphor; in the workshop school, the writer develops a situation and fills in generic characters who are defined by their reactions, and the film-style emotional ending closes out the book rather abruptly, while metaphor gets layered over the top as a kind of narrative describing the narrative. Houellebecq takes another approach, which is to work from an idea outward to characters and then to put them in a situation that reveals their inner worlds and not just their knee-jerk reactions. The result will seem uneducated to the half-educated modern reader with his heady expectations, but unlike a typical book is not linear, but like an unfolding flower.

For the enfant terrible of postmodern literature, Houellebecq is at his mellowest on this book. The hyperbole is mostly tuned down, replaced with a kind of surreality to events that should reveal an underlying confusion but instead gesture an emptiness. Without giving away too much of the plot, this book can be described as the survey of a photographer who is fascinated by the objects of meaning in life: tools, professions and maps. Each of these implies a certain degree of purpose and selectivity, yet in the artist’s life as well as those of the other characters, what is demonstrated is generally mere reactivity, or finding life as it comes and tossing back a visual approximation of a response to it. Through these he builds a theme of the book, which is the confusion of the tool or labor with the meaning that is conveyed by the sacrifice made for it, a theme echoed in the protagonist Jed Martin’s labors as an artist.

It was then, unfolding the map, while standing by the cellophane-wrapped sandwiches, that he had his second great aesthetic revelation. This map was sublime. Overcome, he began to tremble in front of the food display. Never had he contemplated an object as magnificent, as rich in emotion and meaning, as this 1/150,000-scale Michelin map of the Creuse and the Haute-Vienne. The essence of modernity, of scientific and technical apprehension of the world, was here combined with the essence of animal life. The drawing was complex and beautiful, absolutely clear, using only a small palette of colors. But in each of the hamlets and villages, represented according to their importance, you felt the thrill, the appeal, of human lives, of dozens and hundreds of souls — some destined for damnation, others for eternal life. (18)

Like Scott Fitzgerald before him, Houellebecq receives criticism for the compassionate and yet disinterested way he portrays the collapse of society around him. People stand revealed for what they are, in the overlap of stereotypes and archetypes that most people use as cloaks of personality, and the result is a lifelike impression of modern life. It does not need judgment: like most things Houellebecq, a projection is made an an absence is noticed, like negative space used in a painting of a landscape at night. The empty spaces are both lack and possibility, since they await these characters to wake up and fill them with something meaningful, a light or life.

Translator Gavin Bowd maintains the unique rhythms of Houellebecq’s prose, which is Gallic to its core and in its pacing, but seems “English-aware” such that it seems alert to what will happen in translation. Unlike previous Houellebecq novels, The Map and the Territory replaces much of the quirky and fragmentary prose with solid paragraphs that rise and fall like sand dunes viewed from an airplane. The rhythms are designed to be easy and hypnotic, such that the author can introduce us to new strange worlds and then leave in our minds the barest seed from which revelation will spring. These seeds occur in each quadrant of the novel and are layered with addtional meaning, leading to a spring forth of impressions that are not stated. This allows the postmodern metaphor of the novel to remain mysterious and yet achieve clarity.

For two minutes he went through the owner’s manual of the Samsung ZRT-AV2, nodding his head as if each of the lines confirmed his dark predictions. “Ah, yes,” he finally said, handing it back. “It’s a beautiful product, a modern product that you can love. But you must know that in a year, or two at most, it will be replaced by some new product with supposedly improved features.

“We too are products,” he went on, “cultural products. We too will become obsolete. The functioning of the system is identical – with the differences that, in general, there is no obvious technical or functional improvement; all that remains is the demand for novelty in its pure state.” (105)

Like many of the books we review here, Houellbecq’s latest is not intelligent in the sense of adapting to its surroundings and profiting from them, as he easily could by writing a Barbara Kingsolver or Jodi Piccoult style novel: an enigmatic setting, fractured characters defined by their need, and a bittersweet story with an uplifting and yet moral (or politically correct) ending. While in this book Houellebecq provokes obvious scared cows and taboo gateskeepers less than ever before, the cynical view of modern society as based on lies touches every aspect of the world he portrays, and so little must be said. This is not an intelligent book; it is a genius one, and not for its “intellect” so much as its honesty, and its willingness to speak of the portion of our lives we cannot put on a map, which is the yearning of our souls for purposefulness and meaning in the midst of a modern wasteland.

Behave

When a society collapses, the ideas on the periphery are the first to be subverted. They transmit the infection to the fundamentals, such that after some time “common sense” is lost.

In the modern West we are at the stage where we cannot assume much in common with others. They do not share the same culture, religion, values or way of life, or at least enough of them do not that an assumption is no longer convenient. The result is that the lowest common denominator rules in every area.

One aspect of this is that people no longer know how to behave. In healthy societies of the future, we will discover (again) that common standards include behavior, so people know how to act in such a way that they do not trample on others unnecessarily.

A healthy society knows how lines work and how those who cut in line should be pushed aside. But now our people come in different stripes, including different views on lines. Some wait in orderly queues, while others mill around and then try to push ahead.

The result is the type of behavior lines were designed in order to avoid. Each person must be constantly vigilant against others trying to cheat, and the disorder means that each person waits longer. Resources like the time of whoever is helping the line gets wasted.

On the surface of course this makes for a more interesting society. Don’t do it the same old way each time — we’ll invent new, fresh, interesting ways of waiting in line! Then the reality sets in after a few weeks: other than surface adornments, there are no new ways. Only choosing dysfunction or function.

The same applies to driving. The rules and conventions build up over generations for the safety of all are forgotten. The result is constant competition on the roads, for mere feet of space, while defending against the random and reckless behavior of others.

Unlike the small subset of problems for which government is adapted, these problems cannot be solved by laws. They are cultural in origin and in solution, if culture is the intersection of shared values and customs for a group. Laws require nit-picking rules and nit-picky enforcers. Culture does not.

Even simple things as not running your cart into other people in the grocery store, not leaving trash on the ground, or even the basic principle of being efficient or orderly. We can create government agencies to force people to behave in these ways, but unless it comes from within, such behavior is soon forgotten.

Our zeal for pluralism has destroyed what may have been our greatest strength, which was our ability to cooperate toward a goal. Any tyrant can make laws and selectively punish violators in public show trials. But only a culture can unite us, and make us behave in a way that makes a society we can all enjoy.

Living for the Herd

Modern psychology is in its infancy. It has so far busied itself with the easiest confusions of the human mind, and not looked deeply at all into the day-to-day mundane insanity that infests us and moves easily among us.

In another 200 years, psychologists will have made extensive study of the herding (sometimes called group-think, hive-mind, or peer pressure) instinct in humans. Like other animals, we herd up when faced with a challenge. This is an obsolete response when we face personal challenges that don’t involve others.

However, our tendency is to involve others in our personal challenges. The reasoning is that when faced with a problem, we have a chance to respond and thus a chance to get it epically wrong. If that happens, others will see and judge us as being defective in some way.

We cannot avoid being wrong some of the time, but we can avoid being judged, so we try to change the minds of others so that they think failure is success. One way to do this is through morality. “I did it for the children” will work. The failure becomes a moral success.

Another way to fool others is to insist on equal validity of all outcomes. This is philosophy-speak for what happens when people say “I meant to do that” after they screw up spectacularly. If you lunged for cake and ended up eating feces, insist that it was performance art or religion and others will forgive.

Still another common phenomenon is the one we recognize from children’s tales as “sour grapes.” If you lunge for something, and fail to attain it, make sure you bad-mouth it. The children of rich people who camped out at OWS might have been saying “We have failed at being rich bankers, so burn the rich bankers!”

To this list we can add another method of evading a feeling of responsibility for the outcome of our actions: we can set up a herd of our own that validates us on the basis of nothing more than belonging to the herd. It’s like a multi-level marketing plan, except based on social approval.

For example, if I go to the local high school and I don’t fit in or particularly succeed at anything, I can rope together all the nerds, geeks, dropouts, druggies, freaks and outsiders and have a little herd. We can then agree that we’re great and everyone else is bad and thus we support each other.

Even more, like a ghetto gang, when one member is attacked we attack with the strength of numbers. One 250-lb football player is piddling change against 50 angry geeks armed with feelings of justified vengeance.

The internet has enabled us to take herdness to new heights. For example, internet humor:

Person 1: I came up with this new hilarious thing.

Person 2: But that’s not funny, really.

Person 3: It’s so not funny that it’s funny. Other people won’t get it.

Person 1: That means they’re dumb. We know it’s funny, now.

(In unison) Yes, it’s funny. We know it’s funny.

Outsider: That’s stupid!

Person 1: You just don’t see the humor in it. It’s an acquired taste.

In the same way we have learned to cheer for the home team, even if we don’t play the game; we have learned to demand our side get the votes, even if we don’t understand the issue; and we have learned that if we form a social group, we can insist that anything we want is “reality” and “true.”

The main phenomenon of the modern time, thanks to the breakdown of organic social order, has been the formation of these little herds and then those herds imposing their “truth” on the population at large. It’s no wonder people are so confused — reality itself is buried under mountains of human “reality” that are nonsense.

Legalize lying

Modern society has made itself so legalistic and granular that often it cannot see the forest for the trees. It specializes in deconstruction, or separating details from the bigger picture, much like our machines chew up forests and spit out paper, on which we then write miles of law.

Among our many subterfuges is the idea that we do not need a government we can trust, or leaders we can trust. Instead, we write many laws to limit their powers, and hope that they do not in the many hours they are in office find a way of working around our little rules.

Goedelian confusion aside, this leads to a certain number of sacred cows. Privacy. Miranda rights. Freedom of speech. The right to a lawyer or lobbyist, depending on the circumstances. These “rights” make us stop striving for a trustworthy government, and instead distract ourselves with irrelevancies.

At the center of the case is Xavier Alvarez, a former California county water board member who is an undisputed liar. Among his lies is that he played professional hockey, served in the Marines and rescued the American ambassador during the Iranian hostage crisis. None of those lies was illegal.

But when he claimed to have won the “Congressional Medal of Honor,” that lie was a violation of the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a crime to make false claims about receiving military medals.

Alvarez appealed his conviction and won…The government appealed to the Supreme Court, where Solicitor General Donald Verrilli…soon faced a barrage of questions about when Congress can make it a crime to tell a lie that does not defraud or defame.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg broadened the question further. Could Congress criminalize other false statements, such as denying that the Holocaust occurred? – “Is A Lie Just Free Speech, Or Is It A Crime?” by Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio, February 22, 2012

We never consider that freedom of speech can be a bad thing, because to say that is to say the ultimate blasphemy. It will make you unpopular and feared. Yet it’s unclear what freedom of speech means, and why any society would want to legalize lying.

This shows us the flipside of all politics. Any law we make is not in a vacuum; it has consequences outside of what it specifically does. There is also the question of what will be missing because of these consequences, both because we will not pursue some options and because we get distracted from others.

It is popular to claim that our view that lying should be legalized is somehow “more adult.” Only a child would say that making lying legal is a bad idea, we think. We know how much more complex it is than that. But is it?

If lying were illegal, we would put liars in jail, and people would be careful about what they said.

Detractors claim that this law would then be used to put people in jail for unpopular speech. But we do that already. If they don’t have money and a lot of supporters, they rot in jail and we the society glide right over their dead case files.

Even more, this brings us back to the same problem: if we are making laws because we are afraid of scumbags in government, why not simply go after the real problem, which is scumbags in government?

Further, we have to look at the consequences of legalizing lying. First lying becomes legal. This encourages others to lie. Then to avoid constant conflict this encourages sane people to stop pointing out the lies. Soon the average child or citizen hears 10 lies for every one truth.

Soon we will have people coming to scientists with big bundles of cash, encouraging them to disprove the idea that any idea is more truthful than others. At that point, we will never be able to agree on anything, because it’s all fantasy. Monopoly money and toy soldiers.

What is free speech? As the Founders intended it, the ability to formulate political opinions and publish them without being thrown into jail. That is all they intended.

In our modern deconstructive mode, we have separated their words from their meaning, and used them instead to create a permissive environment. We do this so we do not get shamed for our lies, delusions and half-truths.

It is a sign of sickness to fear reality and fear discovery in this way. But we are too clever for that. We have invented our rights to protect us, while they instead usher us closer to collapse.

Souls of the Living

No term sounds less “political” in politics than talk of the human soul. It embarrasses us, like looking at toys from our childhoods. We view it now as a starter concept, the first fumblings of awareness in an attempt to understand our world, and we push it aside with mortification.

And yet the concept persists, simultaneously with the excessive granularity of our “adult” concepts causing them to lead nowhere, which adds some doubt. (Intelligent observers will note that all experiences aside, ice cream in summer is still the best thing in the universe, which is unchanged from childhood as well.)

When we talk about why we dislike modern politics, or modern society at large, one of the first words that comes to mind is “soulless.” It’s hard to find an adjective that encompasses the degree of obedience to utilitarian standards and lack of consideration for the value of experience and pleasure in life.

Oddly enough it is this soullessness that we desired in the first place. Back in 1789 in France, we the people wanted to overthrow the human hierarchy and make us all equal. In doing so, we signed away our souls.

In terms of cause-and-effect scenarios, equality was the cause; the effect is anonymity, which sets off a chain reaction of other effects. First comes the liberal paradise that we are promised, and then, the effects of that paradise demolish any gains it made and begin the process of destroying civilization.

Among other things, equality creates in us a need for control. If we are all equal, we all start out with nothing and only rise to an acceptable level when we have differentiated ourselves. Since only a few can differentiate themselves by ability, this results in the vast majority of people instead looking for social power, which they assert by controlling others either directly (public shaming, guilt or socioeconomic power) or indirectly (social power, covert implication, infantilization). Control is the byproduct of having no hierarchy. Now instead of having a few leaders, we have a vast sea of equal people, each trying to get his head above those of others.

The nature of equality is to reduce all experiences to their lowest common denominator. Not only does it spread resources too thin to concentrate enough for real quality, but it demoralizes those who might exceed the norm. The result is much like a Soviet collective, where each person does the bare minimum because there is no point doing more, and rising above the herd in any form — including doing more — can get the others mobilized against you.

Another way to view this is that an egalitarian society creates a false goal. Instead of having a clear target of what we want to accomplish, we are given a canvas composed only of the social strata. This becomes our target, and the reality of what we do becomes secondary. In other words, if we are all selling the same mediocre product but I come up with an excellent advertising campaign for mine, I get ahead. The new reality is the non-reality of public opinion, which is subject to trends, crazes, moral panics, illusions and fears.

Equality creates a need for us to compensate for the damage done by our equality. No one wants to be a generic person, but since we are now all faceless equals in a city, the only way to rise above is to push others down. You can do this by being outlandish or ironic, or by presenting yourself as a moral guardian of others, or even simply by having something others want, like money or intoxicants. Then you will be an equal above equals.

The real damage done here is to our minds and souls. Control makes us feel powerful. Equality is not powerful. In pushing ourselves above others, we damage the part of us that cares about real goals and replace it with the part that cares about “goals” in changing the minds of others. Money, popularity, democracy.

As this goes on, society separates inside as people are alienated from each other. It always has been this way; human nature has not changed in the past 10,000 years. And while regaining our souls may save our society, this is ultimately a struggle to behave so that we like ourselves again.

Whose Bitch Are You?

modern_western_male

Remember that if someone who profits from your labor tells you something, you should distrust it. Although you don’t know it, your brain is already pre-programmed with the exception that allows them to manipulate you: freedom.

Freedom is a political concept. You cannot find it in nature. Instead, it is a term we use to describe our state of mind, and then we attempt to impose that term upon the world. But “freedom” is like many things used to control you. You are, in fact, its bitch.

Being something or someone’s bitch is defined by two attributes:

  1. Dependency on its presence: You are addicted to it, and so you seek it. It becomes a positive goal for you, meaning that you will automatically pursue it without stimulus.
  2. Unable to tolerate its absence: You see it as a solution and in its absence become depressed. It replaces others possible solutions in your mind. When it is gone, you function less.

It’s like an addiction. Your job sucks, the city is violent and ugly, people are stupid, and there’s no purpose to your society. But you cling to it like a tit because you’re afraid of losing your “freedom.” In fact, for most people, “freedom” is the only reason they can give for putting up with it.

That’s what it’s like to be someone’s bitch. They hurt you, and you love it, and you come back mewling and crying and begging for more.

The Men’s Rights Movement (MRM) tells you that you can avoid being feminism’s bitch by engaging in typical Men’s Rights Activist (MRA) activities, namely sleeping with neurotic girls, spending money on yourself, and avoiding adulthood (which you will refer to disparagingly as “manning up”).

Then again, you’d have to be wholly brain dead to think that those who profit from you have not thought of this.

If you want to make money from your workers, you can outright enslave them — but then you’re responsible for their welfare. It’s better to make them “free” and force them to take care of themselves, but to tighten the reins around them by also making them crazed for entertainment, pleasure and escape.

Our society excels at manipulating with these carrots. It does it through a method known in every American precinct. Bad Cop tells you about something horrible he’s going to do to you; Good Cop offers an alternative. You choose that. Good — that’s what they wanted you to do, all along. The threat was always empty.

You could be living in 1950′s America. You would get married young, have a devoted partner and lover your whole life, and have twice the salary (in real value) since only half as many people would be working. You could have a functional family instead of living alone in your apartment.

There was a real reason to grow up then: life got better. You had stuff to look forward to. Now, you’re stranded in perpetual adolescence because you don’t want to give in and become like the rest of them. Yet by doing exactly what you want, and abandoning any hope of anything greater, you are like the rest of them.

The 1950′s innocence was actually an impediment to government and big business having power. Happy stable people don’t need a whole lot of products. They don’t need a political system that creates constant drama. The best worker is destabilized, neurotic, single, bored and spiritually empty. They need their jobs to distract from their pointless lives.

Society has a long history of such subterfuges. The British navy was known for “rum, sodomy and the lash” for its habit of bribing miserable sailors with alcohol. Most cool jobs where you can smoke dope or drink at lunch actually pay a lot less than jobs that do not. School rewards you with proms and awards for four years of slavery.

If you think about it for a moment, your concepts of freedom come from movies, books and television. Those in turn are owned by people with a vested interest in keeping you obedient. Many are direct borrowings of propaganda issued by the government. These people make money from keeping you inert. Do you trust them?

Nearly two-thirds of children in the United States are born to mothers under 30…One group still largely resists the trend: college graduates, who overwhelmingly marry before having children. That is turning family structure into a new class divide, with the economic and social rewards of marriage increasingly reserved for people with the most education.

“Marriage has become a luxury good,” said Frank Furstenberg, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania. – “For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside Marriage,” by JASON DePARLE and SABRINA TAVERNISE, The New York Times, February 17, 2012

What’s the real value here? Stable marriages, or lots of cheesy poon, retro video gaming, cheap pot, cheap beer, dubstep and massive credit card debt?

If you don’t own control of your own life, you’re someone’s bitch. Even if you escape what you fear, you’re still in servitude to your lack of ability to think of something better. Whether that’s working a wage-slave job instead of owning a business, nailing airheads instead of having a family, or simply not being master of your own time, you’re a slave who thinks he’s free.

MRAs like to think they’re fighting back against feminism. In fact what they’ve done is invent feminism for men, which produces the exact same broken results that feminism for women did. Instead of relationships, we manipulate each other and hate each other. You never get love or family.

But go ahead, accept second best. You gained a symbolic victory, even if you’re someone’s bitch. If you think you win over feminism that way, then reality just must be as the symbols say it is. After all, employers and big governments never lie. You have your “freedom” after all.

Infantilizer

We are fond of thinking of Natural Selection as a time long, long ago on a planet far, far away. We will acknowledge it as our origin, and then change the topic.

The reason for this is that Darwinism is a binary state. Either it existed then only, or it exists now and much as then, which crashes directly into our own mortality and sense of self insufficiency at the same time. We could become prey and our failure would be visible to the world.

That being said, it’s clear that natural selection exists around us still. It does not magically select the best, only those who breed the most abundantly in whatever environment is offered. If you created a society that rewarded obesity, you would create a tribe of ueber-lards.

Despite all of the finery we put on, justifications we type out on paper, and social finesse we apply to our interactions, we are still basically at war with one another. This is a war for basic supremacy: am I better than this other guy?

This clambering for supremacy takes two forms: first, being better at stuff than other people; second, pushing those other people down “by any means necessary” so you can take their place. It is in that latter arena where society, by suspending the meritocracy of nature, in fact makes us meaner.

If you wonder why wherever you go, you see people misleading, belittling and sabotaging one another, now you know why. It is the animal within attempting to reach supremacy over the other, in an impulse to breed and conquer that is as ingrained in us as whatever makes dogs chase their own tails.

The truest triumph comes from using social pressures to destroy others. The primary method of this is infantilization, which takes many forms but is essentially a process of teaching others learned helplesness, shattering their self-esteem, and then leading them toward repetitive tasks. In other words, making them babies again, dependent on your leadership and friendship just to survive.

Infantilizers come in all form. For some unlucky people, it’s the parents. They never want their kids to truly be able to assess their own directions in life, so they beat on the self-confidence of their own children. Abusive bosses and sadistic significant others do the same thing.

Some pretend to be friends and are later revealed as “frenemies,” that modern portmanteau that reflects how unstable this time is. How can it not be unstable? Once you make everyone equal, all that is left to do is rise — or be dragged down under the weight of many equals.

In politics, the infantilizers delight in putting you on welfare programs, “educating” you as to why certain words or ideas are wrong, or simply forcing you to submit to so many crazy and illogical rules, conventions and customs that you break down.

All of politics can be viewed as a tool of individuals to infantalize others. It’s clear from the disconnect between beliefs and action that most people do not intend to live as they preach we should all live. They are inventing mental viruses, or memes, to infantilize the rest of us.

This infantalization occurs through two methods. First, they fill our heads with paradoxical, illogical and unrealistic notions about what is “right” and “true” and “moral.” Then they trump all of those with some Superman-meets-Jesus plan for ultimate self-sacrifice and moral good intentions toward others. This makes the rest of us look stupid, selfish and clueless. That is what the infantilizer wanted: to rise above socially by pushing everyone else downward.

Significant evidence has accumulated that individuals use politics as a kind of marketing, like flowers use nectar and stores use free samples. When we pontificate on a political opinion, we are offering up pleasant visions that make other people feel warm and happy, so they become addicted to us.

The result is that our society tosses around untold reams of paper and hours of argument, but the topic itself is vapor. It’s not even meant to be honest or true at all. This is why conservatives don’t favor politics as it is, but the idea of time-tested solutions to real-world problems.

But in the meantime the deception continues. Like hypnotized zombies we follow the pleasant voices and ignore the consequences of doing what they tell us to do. We have spent so many years fighting against the evils out there, but will we ever conquer the narcissist within?

Paralyzed

I’m p-paralyzed with happiness. – Daisy Buchanan

Western governments are paralyzed by popularity. The 50% or more of our budgets that involve payouts to our citizens are addictingly popular. People simply love these freebies.

As a result, our society — which long ago made the choice to become pluralistic, eliminating all values except commerce, in the name of equality — is led around by the nose by essentially bratty human behavior.

The brat wants what she wants, when she wants it, and if she doesn’t get it, she’ll throw a tantrum. She does not care about the consequences of (a) her actions or (b) people stopping what they’re doing to take care of her desires.

Parent lore has it that giving out gifts before making the child perform for them is a sure way to make brats. In fact, the best way to give gifts is based on a sense of your child’s overall performance. “You’ve done your homework all week, been nice to your sister, and kept your room clean.”

But giving rewards for certain good behaviors, otherwise known as bribes, or without requiring good behavior, both cause destructive problems. These correspond to government-created loopholes and our welfare state respectively.

However, it’s impossible to stop these programs in a democracy. They’re like a runaway train. Lower classes like them for the freebies, and upper classes support them from a sense of social status, or a kind of moral guilt imposed on them by others. If you want to be “nice,” support these.

As a result the modern government cannot back away from its freebies, even though they are the part of the budget we have lived and can live without. Our military budgets are actually lower than they have been in the past, and our operating expenses while high are nothing compared to entitlement programs.

In Greece they can’t stop them. If the country goes broke, anarchist youth riot in the streets and burn things. If you don’t stop the entitlements, the country goes broke. But if you do stop the entitlements, the anarchist youth riot in the street and burn things anyway. And you get voted out of office.

Our countries are paralyzed. There is no incentive to fix these programs. The first person who does stop the hemorrhaging will immediately be turned upon by an angry crowd who will accuse them of every vile sin in the book.

Never mind that the money isn’t there — and in fact, it was never there, except through the magic of debt we pretend we don’t have to repay — because these programs are illusory. Like running farms on acoustic guitar tracks instead of money, sweat, labor and time. It’s mathematically inviable.

We have structured countries that through democracy, equality and subsidized enfranchisement seem designed to work by uniting the inner brat in our population. The result is a lowest common denominator of human thinking. The Dunning-Kruger effect obliterates the ability to plan for the future.

Slowly we are learning that the problem is inherent to universal democracy (one man, one equal vote, even if the man is unequal to the task). Humanity cannot be trusted when asked about what it thinks it wants or desires. What you get is the monkey within and its illogical demands.

If we wanted to save ourselves, we would turn to an unpopular but functional principle called “leadership.” Like eating your broccoli before dessert, this is a time-proven way of finding the right answer, not just the one that pleases the crowd.