A species of poseurs


Where is the root of our downfall? Clearly we are fallen. Some claim Christianity, others democracy and its precursor, equality. An older origin exists however.

The fundamental moral challenge to humans involves getting outside of our heads. We are not born solipsists, but social interaction makes us so, paradoxically by causing us to view ourselves as others view us. Then with our big tool-using brains we make ourselves into tools so that we may make others into tools, and use ourselves as actors to manipulate them.

From that pretense of equality comes and, because it is socially unacceptable to deny it, spreads to everything. Religion. Society. Even conservatism. Nothing can escape infection by this social virus. But it arises from our own individualism because it is in the name of what we want that we manipulate others.

This creates a society based on appearances as decided by the fastest plurality to recognize the appearance. This means a race to the bottom: those who win will be those who over-simplify in such a way that a large group understands and claps along. Naturally, this means changing the meaning. What was once a normal question of life becomes a marketing question as in, “How do I sell this product to a large number of people?”

A society based on appearance and not reality will be based on methods and not goals. You cannot touch or feel a goal; it is something you must understand. Thus when the question of a goal comes up against the question of a method, the method wins out. It is easier to understand.

This creates a society that in addition to lacking goals lacks honesty. Truth is irrelevant. Image is the path to success. And thus from an early age, its citizens learn to paint themselves, to contort and disguise, and most of all to lie in such a way that if accused of lying they can fall back on ignorance. The only safety can be found in being a victim or being an ignorant.

If we want to turn the West around, we must bypass politics for a look at our society itself. What do we have in common? What do we want to achieve? And do we want a society based in methods and appearances, or one based in results and goals? Political questions are mostly designed to avoid this.

When individualism takes over, equality and democracy are sure to follow. After that, truth becomes a rarity that is outright persecuted wherever discovered by the mob. They want it their way. They want to be able to do whatever they want, and skip the consequences. This is individualism as its core pretending to be a collective.

For centuries we have fought this battle by attacking the group. But it merely reforms under a new goal. What about finding time to call out the real culprit, which is the individualism and selfishness of average people that leads them to form this mob? At the core of the human experience, this moral dysfunction leads us to self-destruction.

5 Responses to “A species of poseurs”

  1. Toby says:

    I’ve been thinking for quite a while about appearance taking precedence over substance. The problem is, at least for those that get it, is that it becomes obvious. For myself, I have finally understood to a much greater degree that if you just keep working on substance, appropriate appearance will come from that. And in my own experience, people are attracted to real and genuine appearance, appearance that is a product of true substance. At least quality people are.

    But I get that many people are incapable of true depth of substance, so they put all their energy towards a carefully crafted appearance. But because deep down they know they are phonies, they end up as either bitter or narcissistic or having some level of personalty disorder or whatever. But once you open up and can see all this for what it is, they tend to be pretty obvious most of the time.

    Do yourself a favor and work on your own personal substance of being. That doesn’t mean you neglect your appearance in regards to good hygiene, taking care of yourself, dressing nice, etc. (In fact, those things are a part of substance really.) It means be genuine, keep growing in those regards, and know that if you do work on your own substance, you really are that much better than so many out there. Though as stated, they’ll create mobs of half-thens (if they are even that) that will all pat each other on the back to convince themselves and each other of how great they “really” are. Not sure how you handle that part. They’ll do their best to make you feel less-then, most likely because you are a threat to their cover.

    • Toby says:

      I just re-read what I wrote, and I suppose it really is just an echo of much of what has been said on this site in various ways. So much so it made me chuckle. None the less, it makes sense. I’m not perfect, but I know I at least try. I often notice I’m a bit off track, but at least I notice. Since I’m one of those types capable of holding within contradictory views, it can be a real pain. But I do keep trying to sort it all out. There is a reason I keep coming back to this site, as it forces me to critically think and take personal responsibility. I totally see how ****ed things are. Not sure what the answer is, but I do know I can at least control my own life, no matter what else is going on out there. I can at least own that.

  2. Individualism and the lack of community-feeling was identified as the origin of spiritual sickness in modern society long ago by Right-wing German thinkers, such as Othmar Spann, Edgar Julius Jung, and Hans Freyer (of course, this conclusion is also upheld by New Right thinkers more recently). No society afflicted by the collapse of cultural and social solidarity and the rise of individualism can remain healthy and uncorrupted. From my view, those who say the root of the problem is in Christianity or democracy are clearly mistaken. Christianity is subject to interpretation, and throughout history people have found various ways to reconcile it even with Pagan values and traditions. As for democracy, it is not destined to egalitarian and liberal forms; democracy clearly has a long history and has sometimes taken on organic, non-liberal, and anti-individualist forms (as pointed out by Alain de Benoist, Julien Freund, or Alexander Dugin).

    • Repair_Man_Jack says:

      Indeed. Mankind was “fallen” eons before Christ or Thomas Jefferson. Another way to put this was that man was genetically designed to work best in platoon-sized groups of hunter-gatherers. Pack 8 million of them in NYC, make them operate complicated devices and solve differential equations and eventually the fit will indeed hit the shan.

  3. NHA says:

    Hyperreality is significant as a paradigm to explain current cultural conditions. Consumerism, because of its reliance on sign exchange value (e.g. brand X shows that one is fashionable, car Y indicates one’s wealth), could be seen as a contributing factor in the creation of hyperreality or the hyperreal condition. Hyperreality tricks consciousness into detaching from any real emotional engagement, instead opting for artificial simulation, and endless reproductions of fundamentally empty appearance. Essentially, (although Baudrillard himself may balk at the use of this word) fulfillment or happiness is found through simulation and imitation of a transient simulacrum of reality, rather than any interaction with any “real” reality.

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