Converting reality into a static medium

Reality is a constantly changing thing with consistent eternal principles. This tends to fool us simians, who can confuse the eternal and the temporal.

One confusion of this type is confusing what is becoming for what is and vice versa. Most things in life are a process, but we frequently confuse the end result for the process.

No better example of this can be found than in The Woodlands, TX. This is a planned community north of Houston which was created in the late 1960s from former lumber company land.

The initial concept was simple: in an antidote to the city, separate the community from roads with acres of forest. Allow businesses in specific areas and nowhere else. Make certain types of socially destructive activities illegal.

In short, it is the exact opposite of what most communities do. Most places are unplanned, allow business wherever it can fit, and sacrifice greenspace for more parking or shops.

Ever since The Woodlands was created, people have been trying to destroy it. Not as outright evil, conniving overlords plotting doom, but by trying to get their piece of the pie.

To them, The Woodlands is a nice neighborhood which is affluent, safe and has good schools. To them, it just is. They don’t understand why the process that made it pleasant is different from the process that made anywhere else miserable. It’s just random, they think.

They are blind to the process which created this, which starts with planning and includes shutting out all the destructive behaviors which are considered normal in most cities.

Of those behaviors, the most prominent is the idea that one moves to a place where there is wealth, and finds a way to partake in it without any other rules applying. There is normally no sense of place, propriety or purpose — or process.

Instead, it is a simple mechanical process. Find wealth, participate, take wealth away. The problem with this process is that it destroys nice areas.

For example, if you move to a new town and find empty land, buying it and building on it. Maybe put in a fast-food restaurant, a boutique or a pornographic theater. The wealth is there for the taking.

It doesn’t matter whether that land served a purpose, like as buffer between the church and the ale-house. Now you can make money off of it. And if the church folds or the ale-house moves, hey, that’s not your problem.

Suppose what you add is ugly, or encourages destructive behaviors, or sickens the people who are silly enough to partake of it. True, it’s still not your problem. But the consequences of your actions are plain.

Humanity follows this pattern where something new — a town, a brand, an idea, a band, a nation, a religion — starts up and is seen as a cut above the rest. Then in moves the Crowd, which wants to make profit, and so it adulterates it down into the same mess the Crowd was trying to escape.

This moribund tautology occurs every time because things like profit motive, personal choice and democratic choice do not reflect a viewpoint beyond the individual. The individual is thus content to sacrifice the whole for itself, and is most likely oblivious to the process, which is encouraged by the formalization of democratic, consumerist and social values.

If you wonder why our misfortune seems to follow us like a shadow, this is it. We have no centralized authority which can help with these things. If we did have such an authority, we fear it being ideological crazies like the Communists.

Of course, we could trust nature itself and pick people not by ideology, but by personal quality, like we did when we had kings. But that will offend the liberal in us that demands we all start out equal, and be rewarded based on how much of our time we invest in the System.

Thus our pretense keeps us from seeing a working solution. However, this is changing. Conservatives can no longer afford to defend capitalism alone. We must defend what is good and right.

If we do not, we’re right back to where we started, which is that commerce, popularity and demagoguery take over our society and create a liberal majority that is oblivious to the consequences of our actions.

Like what is happening in The Woodlands, the lone inventor breaks away and implements a good centralized idea, and then the Crowd in a gnashing of teeth and grumbling of stomachs intervenes, and converts it back to the Same Old Thing.

And since it was done with socially acceptable intentions, not Voldemort-style evil intent, our society is oblivious and watches disinterestedly as another good thing is destroyed. Repeatedly.

18 Comments

  1. crow says:

    Awareness.
    It is not a state where everything stops at the limits of the individual.
    Awareness begins at the individual, and continues outwards, forever.
    Thus it is not about the individual.
    It is about the individual’s place in the whole.

    Awareness is a concept that needs grabbing back from the new-agers, who have redefined it into being all about mememe, so that it may be re-employed as a quality goal, for the benefit of the larger society.

  2. slumlord says:

    Perhaps the papacy was not such a bad idea after all. Working out what is good and right is the problem.

  3. Dirk says:

    Great post.

  4. ferret says:

    Great post.

    “Ever since The Woodlands was created, people have been trying to destroy it.” – this was my concern about any Mayberry, that a kind of isolation or protection of the community from the outside world seems necessary.

    It is interesting, how a planned comunity co-exists with the capitalist economy, what were the measures to prevent businesses from spreading despite the plan.

    1. crow says:

      Seasonal Affective Disorder.
      Yes.
      It’s sad all right.
      Make sure you have a working bulb for your super-duper fake-sunshine lamp, before you, too, become a casualty!

    2. Anon says:

      What about the Standard American Diet? Will they allow that in Woodlands?

  5. Everdarkgreen says:

    This sounds exactly like what is happening to my community right now. Although it isn’t the only area within the city (though far enough from the dirty bustle of the core) to have a stronger sense of community and a pleasant aesthetic, it is the only place that has a quaint small-town charm without being in the suburbs and has a by-law in place so that no developer can simply tear any building down and build an intrusive condo as tall as he likes.

    However, whatever the specific story was, the church on the main road stopped being used and eventually condo developers were allowed to purchase it. They’re destroying the church as we speak and making way for the foundations of the condo. Though the condo is only about 6 stories high (and I presume that this satisfies the conditions of the by-law), it’s still a) higher than all of the other buildings around and thus b) intrudes on the sanctity of the initial community plan, let alone replaces what was once an important community building (and also signifies the further destruction of religious communion) and also c) brings with it a modern aesthetic that sticks out like a sore thumb among the rest of the traditional-style buildings. Notable parts of the community have signs outside their homes in an attempt to petition its creation, but I don’t see how this will do anything.

    1. crow says:

      Creeping entropy. There’s no stopping it. It just seems to be the way humans are.
      I have noticed, though, a tendency for a fake neighbourhood to become fashionable, once in a while, usually called some ‘Quarter’ or other, intricately constructed to look like something it isn’t.
      Like a stage set, and always filled with unlikely merchants.

  6. Jacob says:

    I like the approach you’ve taken. Fixing something that is broken requires a mature mentality and hard work. Like being a farmer. This is in direct opposition to the magic-talk of internet extremists who insinuate mass violence or some other revolutionary act could perhaps fix things. The historic examples of the Bolsheviks demonstrate that sort of “fix” is entirely destructive – and so it is surprising to see individuals coming from the opposite end of the spectrum calling for the same.

    I think, as you may have suggested, they use this as an excuse for personal failings. They claim they are losers because the system is flawed, and then claim that the only way to fix the problem is to fix the system, which can only be fixed through some revolution that will never come to fruition. This insulates them from change because “the only solution is X, but X can never happen because Y.” So they can keep ranting on the internet and have an excuse for never actually producing something of worth in their world – or even something as simple as picking up litter in their community.

    Perhaps the worst side-effect of internet-losers is the individuals, often ignorant youth, who actually believe what these people say and either do something stupid and ruin their lives or simply give up on life and never attempt to create or do something productive and wonderful.

    Congratulations on being one of the few bright-spots on the internet. Your write hard-truths that do not have false simply solutions. I imagine a home in foreclosure and you’re saying “let’s just fix the roof, fix the drywall, and repaint everything” while the internet losers would rather just scream “someone needs to burn it down!” while sitting outside shooting heroin because finding a brush and can of paint is too hard and would destroy their ego.

    1. crow says:

      Horribly accurate.
      It all gets a bit daunting, sometimes.
      I’ll just go and sort out my paintbrushes and drywall trowels…

  7. Van Bryant says:

    I just finished my honeymoon in Disneyworld. It’s sad when you realize a resort is closer to a sane, stable society than anything in our consumptive real world.

  8. Geoff Miller says:

    We can go faster, further, anywhere – but we go nowhere. We have cars and TV, but know less about our surroundings. We have unlimited amounts of information, but know less about our souls and lives. We have more people, but less geniuses. We’ve used more resources, but have nothing to show for it – except our ability to consume. All our endless action, but a mask for emptiness. We have destroyed and transformed much, but have nothing worthwhile to show for it.

    1. crow says:

      Addiction, in a word.
      Great comment!

      1. Geoff Miller says:

        Thank you. I am very worried about our future. Even the left admits we are using too many resources – though only offers token solutions. The right instinctively rejects this insight on the basis that the left is always plotting to undermine business and give the government more power. We have what should be the practical right hoping God will take care of us (but God has allowed many people to be destroyed and suffer) and the left just uses people’s hope for a solution to funnel money to friends who can’t run competent solar panel businesses.

        We are at a total impass. Unfortunately people won’t wake up until some disaster happens (run out of cheap oil? Crop failures?) and at that point we will be looking at worldwide suffering and destructive wars over remaining resources. I just hope someone in charge has a plan… No one in power seems to have any interest in doing anything but reinforcing their power.

        1. ferret says:

          “No one in power seems to have any interest in doing anything but reinforcing their power.”

          Who are in power?
          Is there a chance we can suggest a plan they would support?

      2. Geoff Miller says:

        Also a concern is if we did moderate our usage, the Chinese or Russians or someone would eat it instead. We are seriously like little kids fighting over a pile of candy. For all the complexity and rationalizations, fundamentally it is so stupid.

        1. crow says:

          A fundamental part of any new conservatism must be to create the ability, within each of its subscribers, to observe the dysfunction without becoming emotional about it.
          Sure things are bad. Do we allow our own minds to make it worse?
          Or do we observe, record, ponder, without becoming immobilized by it?

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