In our society, people act out rebellion by getting tattoos, having promiscuous sex, and damaging flags and/or religious books. But this form of rebellion has no relevance as rebellion anymore because it is designed to offend to the system that the last generations’ rebellion has replaced.
You rebel when you destroy something that society considers fundamental to your value as an individual. Thus in the 1960s burning your bra was rebellion. You’re a woman, your power and reputation in life depends on the man you manage to bind to you. Your man is attracted to you because of your breasts. You wear a bra to emphasize this femininity and create an appearance of youthfulness and fertility. When burning your bra, you declare to the world: “This is not who I am.”
In today’s society there’s no real point to a woman burning her bra. A bra no longer represents associations with delicate and sensitive femininity. Instead a young woman might rebel by getting her lips and labia pierced. She signals to the world “I am not a young mother, I am a seductress.” However, this is not rebellion. It is someone loyal to System 2.0 burning down the symbols of System 1.0, and thus is the opposite of rebellion: it is obedience to the system currently in power.
My college was full of young assistant professors with Phd’s and tongue piercings, showing off their kinky side while teaching us how to be good citizens. If anything, the tongue piercing has become a symbol of system 2.0 in its own right. In system 2.0 young women are too busy working on their careers to raise children. At an age where your grandmother was changing diapers, you’re learning about 18th century South American slave revolts. You still want to be seen as attractive however, so you get a tongue piercing as a symbol of your sexual cunning. “I might spend my days in a sexually neutered paper-pushing job as a Phd nerd, but I still give good blowjobs, so if you pass me over it’s you that’s missing out, boy!”
System 2.0 commodified sexuality, transforming humans into neutered exchangeable economic units that produce services in exchange for entertainment products. Sex itself was turned into a profitable entertainment product by separating it from reproduction. You’re free to do whatever you want in your spare time, as long as you use a condom. The system commodifies sexuality to make it a reward that people will work toward. Teenagers look forward to going to college, but not because of all the things they will learn. They look forward to college because of a culture that teaches them that in college they will spend their days intoxicated, playing childish games and hooking up with random people. Inspired by movies like American Pie, they’re paying hundreds of dollars in loans every month to have drunk sex somewhere where their parents can’t see them.
This is why you will never succeed in convincing a teenager not to go to college. It’s not just the fact that their parents push them to go. They’re hoping to go to college because it appeals to their base instincts. They may have a life of debt slavery ahead of them, but in college they are all equal. In college, the poor can borrow money to act like the rich. From the outside they are equal because everyone sleeps in gender-segregated dorms, not unlike Amazonian villages where the men and women have two separate straw huts where they sleep communally. It might cost a lot of money to live like hunter-gatherers for four years, but by the time they’re out of college their newfound job will be more than enough to pay back the debt.
In college they are reliving a youth that was traumatically taken away from them. They revert to childish roles. After four years of this, they stand in line to receive a certificate that declares they successfully jumped through all the officially required hoops. They’re now officially members of the tribe, as long as they obey the rules. The rules essentially consist of tolerating whatever other people do with their body and accepting that a guy in a white coat and a title can tell you something about the fundamental nature of reality after releasing some statistical tricks on a data set. Now you’re a “critical thinker,” which in practice means that you have the same ideology as every other member of the tribe.
What if they rebelled against this new religion? What if they orchestrated a real rebellion, against system 2.0, instead of a symbolic rejection of system 1.0 as they are taught to do? System 2.0 would find its own values challenged. It can’t allow that to happen. System 2.0 welcomes reform, but not rebellion. System 2.0 is all in favor of people protesting against the cost of college. After all, by reducing the costs of college, more people would be persuaded to go to college, where you are indoctrinated with the values of system 2.0. System 2.0 is even in favor of reducing income inequality, as long as you promise still to acknowledge the superior intellect of a doctor, scientist or a college professor. The point is to make you one of the tribe through your rebellion, not in spite of it.
What system 2.0 fears the most is for people to renounce the moral and intellectual authority of its high priests and the rituals that they perform. System 2.0 craps its pants when you no longer trust that a college professor or “scientific” study tells you the truth. System 2.0 is mortally afraid of a systematic rejection of the body of knowledge that its disciples have so painstakingly gathered over the years.
When people choose to go with their intuitive beliefs, rather than the knowledge bestowed upon them by an expert in the field, the authority of system 2.0 is challenged. The first step in that direction would be for people to renounce their allegiance to system 2.0, symbolically accomplished by burning the certificate bestowed upon them. Burn your college degree to emancipate yourself from the mass conformity of rebellion. Instead, strike out on your own path and look for not something to rebel against, but work toward.