Growing up in the 1980s, we felt a sense of impending doom through a daily ritual of dread: one had to confront the world and interact with it, which was guaranteed to go badly because even when you won, it forced you to interact with it according to its thought processes, and deep in our hearts and guts, we knew these were based on lies.
The society outside seemed to consist of people zooming around in cars, high on self-importance, while doing tasks unnecessary to the process of life itself. Office work was shuffling paper and moving investments around. Products were all junk that fell apart within a few years. Socializing consisted of memorizing the appropriate lines from television shows to recite at the right times.
We knew that our society had lost its soul and with it, any legitimacy. How do you defend a civilization that exists to consume junk food and junk products, and justifies itself as good because everyone is always at work, “taking seriously” activities which do nothing for anyone? There was no way to look at adulthood as anything but a prolonged jail sentence designed to erase the soul through tedium.
Having stepped outside of the mental ghetto that forced us to consider society as good because it was better than the true incompetents in the Soviet Union, we could also admit that the sexual revolution was a loser. Yes, we could have sex more easily, but the consequence was that everyone was broken and it seemed like all marriages ended in divorce or lengthy bouts of everyday psychosis between codependent parents.
Adults were oblivious. On one side we had the new agey Leftists who were trying to fill their own inner emptiness with “helping others” that was both condescending and destructive, and on the other side were the flag-waving patriotic idiots who insisted that every problem was solved by spending more hours at the office or voting for new wars.
We were aware how broken everything was through the simple fact that life was divided into public and private truths. In public, we had to repeat what the television, politicians and corporate pamphlets said; in private, we could admit that nothing was working and no one cared, which meant that we were all trying to survive at the expense of society.
The world in which we lived had become an ersatz or substitute world. Everything was fake; nothing was meaningful. Everyone was thankful for what they had because the alternate was worse, but also deeply unhappy, leading to the norming of low-grade commonplace mental illness. We were surviving for the present, but no one was looking forward to the future.
With the advent of the 1990s, the cork popped. The Soviets, who were apparently even stupider than our leaders, self-destructed in a blaze of cold entropy. And then we had nothing to compare ourselves to, so the mania for distraction accelerated. People consumed media voraciously, bought more products which were now cheaper thanks to Chinese labor, and existed more in bubbles of their own abstraction and justification.
Our fake world continues today. Since we rely on the reasoning of idiots, public life is dedicated to explaining away the fact that we are in a civilization in full Roman/Athenian style decline. To this end, every sentence uttered in public has become a lie of the form that omits key facts and implies an untrue direction by reading in a detail, and ignoring the larger pattern. This drives people insane.
The decline began long ago. When a society succeeds, it loses purpose, and people turn into bickering monkeys fighting for power. The question now is whether we can pull out of it. Clearly we cannot do so with any of the methods that are endorsed by the public eye at this point. People fear that kind of uncertainty, especially as regards jobs, income and how to be fed.
As our society has become more democratic, not just in politics but in who can participate and how much power they have, things have gotten both worse and more fake. We have replaced leadership with popularity and whatever the mob chooses is a lie. This makes it clear what is required to get out of this mess: democracy has died, and most finally be removed, and whatever comes next must be more honest and real.
What stands in our way is classic monkey dynamics. Each monkey realizes that society is doomed, but wants to save himself instead of stopping the decline, since he knows he can save himself easily, where fixing the whole is a bigger task with no guarantee of success. Locked in ourselves, we sail onwards to doom, afraid to admit what our souls tell us is true.