Political consequences of social malfunction

jobs_are_miseryA simple fact of life: people with bad intent will generally recommend things that produce bad results. We are taught to disregard this fact because there are vultures and parasites all around us who benefit from our ignorance.

In politics, a specialized class of people exists to convince us that politics is complicated and separate from all other things, thus we need those same experts to make sense of it. In reality however, politics is not rocket science; it’s the study of how people motivate each other to work together as a group.

They are desperate to convince us to deconstruct politics, or separate it from any other cause and effect relationship than itself. In their view, politics causes itself and its only effects are the ones it intends. They want us to see this as an isolated and specialized definition.

The grim fact is that all of us are political experts. Whether it’s conning the kids into eating their vegetables, or getting a group of distracted people to decide on a restaurant for lunch, we the everyday people are aware of politics. We deal with it at school, in jobs, in families and in non-profit activities.

As such, we are aware that politics is never the cause of itself. Other things cause people to have political outlooks. Very few people listen to a pure ideology and think it’s ideal. Instead they hear it and think: “This explains my failings as not mine, so I’ll take it” or “This seems to give purpose to my life.”

One other thing: they use politics as a way to vent their misery. If someone has a broken home life, they’re going to act out rage against their parents. If they have a failed relationship, they’re angry at people whose marriages have not failed, and they’ll act that out too.

This leads us to the salient point: an ugly life, or a nagging feeling of pointlessness, will compel people to become politically active, but they will be motivated by the worst emotions that humans express. Revenge makes them subvert what they cannot have, envy makes them steal, and misery encourages them to endorse social chaos.

Modern society is unlike any other kind of society in that it is all-enwrapping. To us, prior societies seemed to let people fall between the gaps. Our goal is to have a plan for every contingency and a rule for every variation. This way, no one is unmanaged. Everything is orderly and under control.

This means that there are two types of people in this society: first, those who are obedient to the order, and do what it says. Second, those who are not obedient, and who do not depend on it. However, both of these groups have the same day-to-day experience, but radically different psychological responses to it.

Take the workplace. Your average job is boring because it is dumbed-down so that no one exceptional is required to do it. The most they require are that you jump through a series of expensive and time-consuming educational hoops. But what they don’t want is any kind of unique skill set or mental ability like leadership or judgment. Those are hard to replace and that makes the company dependent on the individual.

As a result of this interchangeability, the average job is mechanistic and simplified. It often entails only a few hours of actual performance per week, but lots of attendance. Attend meetings, attend training, attend to details like your time sheet, your boss conference, and so forth. Jobs are boring and resemble jail except that you get paid.

The obedient person in a horrifically boring job faces a dilemma of two inputs. Their job is boring, but their self-esteem needs to be fed. They can either recognize that the jobs sucks and they’re miserable or, through a mental dysfunction known as “cognitive dissonance,” decide to consider the job a positive thing and support it.

However, there’s a problem with this sleight-of-hand. It causes this person to not only expect that life will be boring and pointless like their job, but to value that outcome. They will fight anything else, because if an alternative to that ugliness is found, it will make the person look like a fool for supporting it.

Jobs in the modern time are jails and there’s no point debating it. As interchangeable cogs, people are required to attend more than be proficient. They are easily replaced. The slow pace of jobs means lots of sitting around but also requires people to look busy. Thus it’s like a form of hell where one is condemned to activity without reward.

The lucky ones get popped to the top of the stack to be doctors, lawyers, architects or generals. However, the paperwork that invades these disciplines makes such people become hateful, because their experience of life is that less competent people force them to do stupid things in order to honor the idea of token equality.

All of this adds up to humans tormenting each other and yet very few escape, which makes almost all of them either obedient tools or angry drop-outs. And they take out this frustration on politics, in addition to one each other. Perhaps the beginnings of our cure for political mayhem lies in making daily life less ugly.

13 Comments

  1. Owl says:

    If all of the articles on the entire Corrupt.org blogosphere were available in anthology form, one anthology for each site, I’d buy them all immediately and buy additional copies to send to my friends and family.

    You have a gift for telling the real truth nobody else can see in a way that cannot be denied.

    Thank you for living.

    Most people never do anything with their time that wasn’t preplanned and approved by someone else with the shuffling of much paperwork – all based on a narrow choice of thoughts all put into their heads by other people.

    Most people never do anything that is wholly theirs, and so their lives are nothing but a waste of death.

    Thanks in part to the writings of this blog ring, I can never be part of that: while I never would have been satisfied to be a drone who never thinks or chooses anything, these collected writings have helped me to figure out much more of what I do not want to become, leaving the door open for me to figure out some positive directions of my own.

    Thank you.

  2. NotTheDude says:

    Posts like this really pick apart how one behaviour can lead to another. As said above, you do have a great skill in putting these things across succiently Mr Stevens. I have to take a leap of faith using what I know so far in my life to understand what you mean at times when you write of people’s behaviour, because I don’t really have enough experience to agree with it all. However your message is clear: stop dretching ourselves by striving to appease agendas that wreck our lives.

  3. “Perhaps the beginnings of our cure for political mayhem lies in making daily life less ugly.”

    As a homemaker I find this concept very intriguing. It makes me more certain that creating a lovely peaceful home is even more important in this ugly modern world. It also strikes me that it’s no wonder that feminism has raged such a war against the home. If you’re working endless hours at a mind-numbing job then you won’t have time to make a home for yourself and your family, and if your home is unwelcoming then you won’t mind leaving it for hours upon hours every day. And when you’re completely miserable and disconnected from the idea of a sacred personal space, then you can rally your government to take over the role of caretaker since there’s no one left at home to do that.

    I guess radical feminist Carol Hanisch got at least one thing right: the personal is political.

    1. crow says:

      Aha! A supportive wife. I must get Mrs. Crow to do the same :)
      But while we’re at it:

      …05 JANUARY 2013
      Learning as I go…

      It’s high time for a new blog post!

      1. You caught me! I’ve been extremely negligent. I’ll try to remedy this soon. Thanks for noticing.

    2. I think a lot of us would feel better about life if we came from “lovely peaceful homes” instead of the divorce battlefields followed by lots of empty days waiting for Dad or Mum to get home from work and microwave us some some box food.

  4. Perhaps the beginnings of our cure for political mayhem lies in making daily life less ugly.

    This to me is the definitive statement of every artist and true conservative I’ve ever known.

    It’s common to want life to be bad and ugly.

    The spirited person wants to make life beautiful, excellent and gorgeous. Joyful, even. It’s why so many of them are religious. It feels great.

    1. RiverC says:

      This is also why there are so many leftist ragbooks trying to magically summon this microcosmos of peace, such as ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. Spirituality is often an all-too-personalized attempt at defining wholeness and order according to one’s own broken pathos.

      Whereas humble and often horribly poor villages in some places have more peace than our inventions. It’s got as much to do with the process itself, the entire process which includes relationships and neighbors, as it does with abstract measurements and ‘green’ programs.

  5. Colleen says:

    Most jobs (even the brainy ones) have become bureaucratized to the point of feeling pointless. The only palatable solution for most of us is to invest less energy into them, reduce our consumption of products and services, and spend more of our energy on building our own lives–which in practice means focusing more on our homes. If people did more of their own cooking, cleaning, farming, sewing, and child care, they wouldn’t have to work long hours at a boring job just in order to pay other people to do those things.

    The bureaucratization of everything also means that no bright, bold, energetic, creative person can make a move without tripping over some regulation or other. As you imply, Mr. Stevens, these people end up caged and furious. Ayn Rand thought that they would stage their own revolt of sorts, abandoning the world and forming their own utopian commune. But I think most of these people are too individualistic to unite in this way. (In any case that group would probably just turn into another political faction, and political factions are part of the problem). What’s more likely is that they will simply become lone wolves adept at gaming the system, or will drop out. A few of them will probably become terrorists.

    The result of all this will be more corruption, more crime, more violence, a larger shadow economy, and more people quietly stockpiling in the fear of or hope for a societal collapse.

  6. Loretek says:

    And here I sit. Teetering on the edge of obedient-tool or angry drop-out.

    It is my confusion in a nut shell. Do I want to be “happy” or “right”. Do I submit so I can prove myself, people will listen to me, and I can be successful and “happy”. Or do I drop-out, stand strong that its a broken system, and be thrown under the bus and die miserable, alone, and “right”.

    My high school had an interesting slogan “Go Beyond” meant to inspire advancement. It was quickly identified and redefined by the student body as “gO BEYond” with OBEY being the focal point.

    I think my dad would tell me reality sits in between, where one must use obedience as a means to an end. Fien OBEY to Go Beyond.

    But he also tells me how many stupid people make him do stupid things for their stupid reasons, both patients and Hospital boards. As an OB-GYN im sure he sees a lot of stupid outcomes, from stupid people, doing stupid things…

    So again after much thought, I am no closer to falling off one side or the other. The only thing that changes is the point im balancing on is becoming ever sharper and less stable.

    1. crow says:

      Balance, and the ability to do so, being what it is all about.
      Either side of the balance-point being no place to be.
      Remember learning to ride a bicycle? Impossible, wasn’t it?
      Then it became so easy you never even gave it another thought.

      1. Loretek says:

        Thank you. With the addition of time. Perhaps the point im balancing on is becoming ever straighter and more stable, like riding a bike.

      2. Anon says:

        I know some people who can’t ride bicycles…though to be fair, they’ve never tried, and assume they won’t be able to whenever the idea of biking comes up.

        I wonder how far we can take this analogy? :-)

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