Civilization consumes itself out of resentment

a_city_upon_a_hill_in_stormWhat makes society so destructive?

Day after day, we see our elected leaders making stupid and terrible decisions — with the consent and often encouragement of the populace.

Most seem to at best treat it as an amusing sideshow, and at worst, attempt to sabotage it by choosing nonsense answers and ideology.

Much of this can be explained by stupidity, but the greatest stupidities occur in groups, and they occur not from biological stupidity, but from people following the trend/fad/meme/paradigm because they are afraid (socially) to deviate.

People often seem to be egging the whole civilization on to self-destruction. This, with their children near them while they’re talking about legacies and sustainability.

Some say it is mortality itself. People, knowing they are dead letters after a certain time, rage against mortality by retaliating against life itself.

Others point out that civilization is a weakness incubator because it is based on the notion of an in-group, and once we let everyone in, we have to support them. That means letting them make choices and escape the consequence of those choices.

Eventually, this becomes pluralism, where we assume everyone is equally important thus let them choose whatever reality they desire to live in, and then clean up and send the bill to all of us courtesy of all of us. We call that “socialized cost” which is sensible since really, it’s social.

But there is something more at work here. It may be because we are a leading society, or because we are a dying society. There’s a relationship between those too.

Most empires tend to peak shortly before their fall. Having gotten their acts together, they become highly efficient, and flood themselves with wealth. This separates individual decision-makers from reality, because they don’t cut their own firewood or grow their own food.

They either order other people around because they’re paying them, or convince them with salesperson language to do things for either personal profit (of the person being spoken to) or the “greater cause,” which if used most successfully is used to mask the personal profit motivation.

At that point, the empire is caught out in a state of believing its own press releases. It has no idea what reality is, and so it believes the hype. It thinks it can do anything, is “too big to fail,” and thus it starts gift-giving.

It bribes its citizens with rights, entitlements, bread and circuses. At some point, this causes it to be not a civilization with a single unifying principle (“We are Romans!”) but a commercial construct, i.e. I like living here because I have all these rights and money.

Even more, as the decay comes on, it comes on slowly. Most people think social collapse happens when the vandals are at the gate. This is convenient for them, as it allows them to do whatever they want without fear of consequences, up until the vandals arrive.

However, collapse really occurs silently. It occurs at that moment when society ceases to be unified by a single idea (“We are Romans!”) and instead becomes a place or thing that people use solely for their own self-interest. There is no loyalty there, nor any psychological benefit.

As a result, people turn dark instead, and instead of unleashing their constructive creativity, they become destroyers. Miserable, they destroy the civilization around them and consume it as it is consuming them. And because the virus that gets them is their own selfishness, they can’t stop until it’s way too late.

Take for example this:

In his monologue O’Brien mentioned the story out of the Census Bureau that deaths now exceed births among non-Hispanic whites in the U.S.A.

When they heard him say that, the studio audience broke out in cheers and applause.

I didn’t get up from my chair to go look, but as I recall, Conan’s studio audience is solidly non-Hispanic white. So they were applauding the decline of their own stock. – John Derbyshire, “The Joy of Ethnomasochism,” VDARE, June 15, 2013

That’s akin to people on the Titanic deciding that if the iceberg hadn’t done the job, they were going to go down to the hull and dynamite it, so the ship might sink.

If other nations held the clue to our future, they would have developed it there before coming here.

Our cognitive block here is the assumption that all people are equal, which means “identical” in the common parlance, and thus that we can just replace a whole bunch of our people with others and everything will be fine.

Even more, however, I think our people want to be replaced. They want to die. Just not now, but they want to know they destroyed this society. Because they hate it. They hate it for being weak, for being in a state of dying, for being a hateful place that sucks them in and makes them whores to money with no greater purpose.

So they go down to the hull and start hammering, blasting, even snipping away with toenail clippers, doing whatever they can to send the ship to the bottom. That way they can sit on deck as the cold water encroaches and say it was a shame that this “just happened.”

Just happened, as in was nobody’s fault. The rain just happened. Summer just happened. Social collapse? It happens by deceit and deliberate acts. Wicked acts, soulless acts. The acts of bitter people.

Look at an example of this mindset in action:

I suspect most trolls (and people who engage in e-debates in general) probably share a common personality type. They probably work jobs or live lives that are in someway unsatisfying. They want to feel special and crave attention and respect. They are highly dependent on the opinions of other people.

And this is really at the heart of the matter, a message board troll feels intense shame. It is shame that motivates him to shame others. – James Altucher, “Diary of a 5,000-hours-per-year Internet troll,” TechCrunch, June 15, 2013

It’s amazing how the truth is staring us in the face. Why do people sabotage and rage at others? Shame. Shame for being caught in this mess, for not having a way out, and for having their lives’ future course determined by it.

These people are better than the usual person, who compensates for a failing society by being as absolutely selfish as possible. Those are the true Nietzsche-described “last men.” They have traded their souls for trivial pleasures, like being the 400,000th person to climb Everest.

All of the suit and tie guy, grey world of city misery, ugly buildings and ugly jobs, boring meetings and dishonest people, interpersonal drama, passive aggression, etc. has a huge penalty. It’s the death of a thousand cuts. No act by itself is big, but together, they make civilization a hateful place.

And thus the last people who have the brains to notice this are conspiring day-by-day to destroy it.

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24 Responses to “Civilization consumes itself out of resentment”

  1. crow says:

    I ran into a truly bizarre sight, just the other day, while eating out at a local pub. A ‘Men’s Group’, no less. About ten grey-green, insipid, fake leftist baby-boomers, all jabbering on about utter drivel.
    They attempted to engage me, and even possibly conscript me, but soon wished they hadn’t.
    One, however, listened with rapt fascination, as I demolished every point the others raised. I smiled as his jaw dropped, and dropped more. Then he blinked himself out of it, and smiled back.
    It’s not often a leftist can be reached.
    Socializing can, very rarely, provide small surprises.

  2. Eric says:

    You need to write more articles about things that really matter. I saw on the television news ticker and some internet news aggregator that Kim Kardashian had her baby. We need more stories about stuff like this, stuff that matters. Maybe do a piece on her “baby daddy” as that kind of stuff is what counts. And people dig it too because they just *have* to know ASAP; no waiting for the next People magazine to come out with all the juicy details. We need to know now and really you should help cater to that. You realize, right, that this stuff is *hugely* important and really should not be ignored, here or elsewhere?

    • crow says:

      That’s good advice. In fact I was going to do a piece about it being men’s fault that old women have to go through the inconvenience of menopause, and another about global-warming being exclusively the fault of first-class airline ticket-holders.
      But reality intervened, as I was thinking about these things, and my beloved cat almost died…
      Loving and caring for the world’s best cat is what really matters…

      • Kitties are magic.

        • crow says:

          This one certainly is.

          • Eric says:

            We don’t need articles about menopause or global warming or even kittens (well, maybe some hot lolcat action would be nice.) What we need are some good stories about people that matter, you know people in People kind of stuff. We need TMZ kinds of things, you know, with a bunch of people sitting around videotaping themselves analyzing and joking about the latest celebrity gossip and happenings. This stuff not only sells, but it makes life worth living. It is important, and the people who engage in this kind of media are important. It is a really important part of our economy; don’t you get that? We need more of it in all places and at all times. You could even start catering your site to this kind of stuff and when google glasses take off you could create a custom glasses media stream. 24×7 all the time, news that really matters, streamed straight to the noggin kind if thing. It would be huge and so beneficial. Heck, you could start creating internt memes by the boat loads. Memes are another new yet important part of the economy. You know what they always say – “it’s the economy, stupid!” We all got to get with the program.

            • Eric says:

              Okay, I see on a second read you sort of diss memes in your post. I am guessing maybe you would not be up for creating a site readership self-created version of the Harlem Shake. Maybe forget I said any of all this. I am starting to think maybe none of it is a good idea. But it does seem to drive the economy, and we all know we’re “too big to fail”. So just maybe then…

              • RiverC says:

                If Chesterton were alive, he would never cease to ride the ‘Too big to fail’ joke gravy train.

                “People ask me why I’m so corpulent. One day I hope to truly be too big to fail. So far, it hasn’t worked.”

  3. RiverC says:

    So let’s get this straight

    -What Snowden did was lame and kind of destructive
    -But way better than people who vote for any person with D after their name


    -White liberals want to die

    Too bad people read the wrong story into the Puritans; yeah, sure, their work ethic and sensibility about fun is kind of absurd separated from their faith. But for them, belief is strength.

    Ceasing to have believed in himself, the post-modern solipsist ceases to exist and thereby paradoxically attains Nirvana. However, since Kurt Cobain is no longer with us, the other band members didn’t want to play, so he is stuck in non-existence forever listening to Hall & Oates.

  4. Eric says:

    By the way, I hope I am not coming off as a comment section troll here. I mean, my life certainly is not perfect, so I hope I am not compensating for that. The real hope would be to find increasingly better ways of being, in the truest sense of what that might mean. A work in progress…

    • crow says:

      I had thought you were trying – not very successfully – to get the hang of irony. The biggest hindrance to this being to carry on with it for too long. It didn’t once occur to me that you might be being serious.
      Take an aspirin, lie down, and try again later.

      • Eric says:

        I do try too hard sometimes don’t I, and can get a little carried away ;) I’ll take the aspirin and rest advice and give it a more subdued go some other time.

  5. 03-04 says:

    Modern society has programmed itself to not have a goal beyond itself. It’s like civilization itself is running out of imagination.

  6. Wes says:

    We’re all going to die…..and in a strange way, I find comfort in the group sharing aspect of that… Capitalism, democracy, communism, utopia…..they are all bullshit. It is death that is the great equalizer of all men and it is in death, or the process of getting there, that men learn most clearly what it means to be fully human..only to late. Call me crazy.

    • That’s why writers exist. We remind people of things that they are normally in denial of it. It’s not profundity; it’s carefully-organized mundanity.

      • Owl says:

        Excellent. I agree.

        People who write well don’t come up with new truth, they point out what’s already there that most people don’t notice.

        They remind you of things like the fact that you are now currently breathing and that you are now currently alive – things so obvious they slip under our radar or are forgotten.

        I’m beginning to do a bit of blogging just for its own sake, not really aimed at any reader base, because I too share what I think all writers and philosophers have: the ability to still see life through the unapologetic eyes of a child no matter what their age.

        Somehow, some of us never really learn what we’re “supposed” to think or believe or notice, and so we notice what we will.

    • Eric says:

      I’m going to comment again on this thread, but this time I’m being a bit more serious. I’ll speak only of my own experience, and although I have had and known my troubles, deep down I wanted to do what was right. The thing is, it turns out there are no healthy guidelines for what that right is. It is as if people keep dumping onto you conflicting notions of what is right, and if you have not learned to think for yourself it gets outright confusing. And even when you feel you are thinking for yourself, often times it is based on incomplete or false information that you are feeding off of. I know I have had my own existential struggles, and although at their worst they sucked big time, one thing I did learn is that so much that is out there it a lot of BS. I can at least see a lot more clearly in regards to things than I did in the past when I was to a greater degree a puppet to this or that ideology or thought system as to what was “right”. Not that I have all the answers, but at least now I can accept that I don’t have all the answers, and in many ways that is a lot more right than a lot of what gets fed as “truth” out there these days. I’m learning to clear my mind of a lot of the garbage and try to be more connected with what is real and truly valuable. I’m not there all the time, but I do try and be more there as much as I can. And when I notice I am slipping I try to correct course and get back on track. Being aware of the complexities of things can be a burden, but once you see this I don’t think you would ever really want to go back to being an automaton that many have become. It is kind of an ugly place to be, even if it seems sometimes that “ignorance is bliss.” In a lot of ways it has become bliss because our dysfunctional systems allow and promote it.

      • crow says:

        Being responsible for all you know is not an easy or comfortable thing.
        Anything you have not personally experienced is – at best – suspect information. Meanwhile, experience is not something the young have much of.
        You can’t win.
        But realizing that is a great start to seeing things in ways other than win/lose.
        Once you clear the junk out, however, it becomes relatively easy to know what is “right” and what is not. This can not be explained, but is true, nonetheless.

        • Eric says:

          I’m not young enough anymore to claim “ignorance of youth”. That said, it seems to take people a lot longer to group up these days. I’m no longer looking for others as models of “how to be”, but would rather find those truth and answers from within (much based on observation from “without”.) One thing I know for sure, I’d rather behave more my age, at least how my age should behave. I don’t care if society creates an easy out for this. It is not the right way. And although I do catch myself slipping into poor habits now and again, I see that as experience grows and if one is willing to keep themselves on the right path, it does become easier to know right and wrong. And they are not always what you may have once been told.

  7. Repair_Man_Jack says:

    There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can’t cut it …. There shouldn’t be a presumption that every American worker is a star performer. There are people who just can’t get it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it. And so you can’t obviously discuss that publicly. – Senator Marco Rubio.

  8. […] Our cognitive block here is the assumption that all people are equal, which means “identical” in the common parlance, and thus that we can just replace a whole bunch of our people with others and everything will be fine. Even more, however, I think our people want to be replaced. They want to die. Just not now, but they want to know they destroyed this society. Because they hate it. They hate it for being weak, for being in a state of dying, for being a hateful place that sucks them in and makes them whores to money with no greater purpose. ( […]

  9. Wibbins says:

    White people that cheer when they hear whites died more than were born of all races in America believe institutional racism will finally end. What they don’t realize is that if all the races were truly interchangeable then there would be 1st world countries in all of the continents, only problem is that what sort of resemblance to 1wc’s is wrought by centuries of corruption and despotism.

    These people are so self-loathing, because of their indoctrination and willful ignorance I assume, that they believe that whites are actually the sole racists, and the only reason why Africa still has tribal warfare and slavery, and why South America is a majority 3rd world.

    The intellectuals have done their job well

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