Overly Attached Government

overly_attached_girlfriendThe internet meme “Overly Attached Girlfriend” (OAG) ridicules one of the artifacts of modern dating, which is that it creates conditions so desperate that people become obsessive. We find it easy to write them off as crazy because it is easier than noticing the whole process is crazy and that, by extension, we’re most likely doomed.

OAG reveals a more fundamental truth of humanity however, which is how we become obsessively joined. This can happen between individuals, or in groups. It has two components: that which wants to join destroys something that you need, and then replaces it with itself.

In the case of modern society, what is destroyed is your concept of self-worth. This takes several steps.

First: Someone makes language that tells you what is “good” and “bad,” and carefully excludes everything else by making bad into “not-good” as opposed to “the opposite of good.” My way or the highway.

Second: Someone begins doling out praise to those who are good, and does so in a way that attracts lots of people. It’s a lottery, and humans cannot resist playing. So even though these people are perhaps not society’s best and brightest, it’s hard to deny the appeal. Later they begin criticizing “bad” as well.

Third: These people agitate against all social standards, values, mores and even common sense. They do this so that one factor and one factor only determines success: how well people like you. This salesman’s paradise has a secondary effect in that now, by calling someone “bad,” you not only isolate them but make them impoverished.

What has happened is that your sense of who you are and why you’re worth having around has been replaced by obedience. Even worse, you are now addicted to the praise from your masters. Without it, you wonder if you are not indeed actually a bad person, or at least a not-good one, thus a loser.

Overly Obsessive Government is a side effect of this process. As society declines, government rises. When you no longer have social standards, you need more police and bureaucrats to make laws and pass out fines. Soon most of what you do is interact with government or the secondary authorities created by its rules.

Conservatism is not anarchistic; it is something even more radical. Ours is the notion that tradition, and abstract concepts that correspond to reality like “the good, the beautiful and the true,” are better rulers than police forces or bureaucrats. We recognize the need for some government, but not moral government and definitely not government which can invent new uses for itself, justify increasing its size, and then repeat the process ad infinitum.

The grim fact is that no society can be policed. If people are fundamentally of such selfishness and individualism that they will do what is immoral or destructive the instant they are not watched, you would require at least one infallible police officer for every citizen. You could set up a “transparent society,” but without a legion of pathologically honest angels to watch the video screens, it would be useless.

OAG is the symptom, not the cause. The cause is the Crowdist desire to replace your self-esteem with their definitions of right and wrong, thus making you their puppet. But OAG is now their tool, and it was always their intent, because a removed social order must be replaced by a strong force.

Whenever you hear political discourse, it helps to automatically re-spin it using these ideas. Do we need government in every circumstance? How will government make dishonest people into honest ones? There is no replacement for having people of quality and integrity at every level of the process, because they (and not OAG) are the backbone of a thriving society.

8 Comments

  1. EvilBuzzard says:

    In Amerika the government attaches you!

  2. MOAB says:

    Is attachment so bad? To start a family without divorce or cheating, being pretty attached would seem fairly good.

    1. crow says:

      Attachment is one of those things that may seem good, but seeds decay. Much like leftism.

      In the example you give, attachment is often the seed of future troubles. It is closely aligned with need.
      How much better to love, without conditions, and take on the responsibility that entails, than to start out needing to fill only a sexual and/or emotional desire?

      Lao Tzu has much to say on the subject of attachment, and initially it seems at odds with everything Westerners assume to be true.
      Experience shows him to be right, though: there is nothing to be experienced through attachment, that is not far sweeter without it.

      1. Owl says:

        I agree with you. Love and commitment should precede emotional behavior.

    2. RiverC says:

      Attachment generally though, refers to something akin to an addiction. Whereas healthy relationships remain in proportion, addictions, like tumors, don’t really belong there and don’t obey the normal rules and boundaries, sometimes taking over entirely.

      It seems that one of the old impetuses for marriage was simple NEED, the man needed someone to raise kids to help him with whatever his work was, to keep the house, and to mind matters he couldn’t deal with because of work.

      There are some emotional needs as well I think, but that is more fluid; companionship is an emotional need that is not unhealthy, but the OAG takes the 19th century joke name for wives, ‘rib’, to a new and literal extreme.

      A physical analogy might be, imagine if you took your bedroom and put it in the center of the house with doors on every wall and surface, you know, just in case you needed to go somewhere right before or after you woke up. This might be okay for a hallway, but this bedroom would definitely be structurally Overly Attached.

      1. MOAB says:

        I still disagree, and i’m arguing from anti-authority. The “over attachment” meme seems overplayed in mainstream media. I think it is part of an overall effort to undermine family closeness, delay marriage, etc. It fits into the overall agenda of attacking family values.

        I’d say a lot of closeness (like best friends, always want to be together, etc.) is a rare attribute and would be beneficial for long-term family health. This silliness with “we need to live separate lives but be together only for sex and kids” is what would be unhealthy. Surely there is a healthy media hidden somewhere here.

        1. RiverC says:

          If you’re familiar with the meme, it goes beyond ‘normal attachments’ or ‘normal boundaries’.

          Christopher Alexander makes a point about living systems having ‘thick boundaries’. Generally, it is compartments that have ‘thin’ boundaries precisely because nothing need go between them and thus they need only function as a barrier, which overall takes less space than a boundary.

          These boundaries aid, instead of preventing, the exchange and if you will, the attachment and interdependence of the spaces bordering them. So ironically, by spreading things out they can become more attached in this ‘interdependent’ way instead of a ‘codependent’ way.

          The first is the mingling of wholes, the second is ‘part is removed from one and part from the other, to make them fit together.’

          In Orthodoxy this intercourse, or interpenetration is called ‘sinuosia’ – it is the term-of-art applied to the relationship of the members of the Godhead to each other.

          It’s not specifically sexual though when applied to men and women, it does relate to the act of ‘becoming one flesh’.

          I agree though, a lot has been done to try to erect barriers, to try to ‘detach’ people from healthy attachments and attach them to whomever those in power find most beneficial to their ends.

    3. scourge says:

      Apples and oranges. An impersonal bureaucracy isn’t family and it isn’t your friend, citizen.

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