You will either agree, or disagree, with the statement that this civilization is failing.
Having met and known and number of highly intelligent people, especially the young, I have had first hand contact with the belief that this civilization is failing.
Items of contention:
That’s quite a list, but I’m sure I’ve missed a few.
If you ask the smarter kids — maybe your school has an IB, Gifted and Talented, AP or honors program — you will find that they are either cognizant of these and will not discuss them, or are troubled greatly by these.
The first group, from my experience, are the most fearful. They are aware of how badly things are turning out and are focused on having stable careers so they can have enough money to buy their way out. They get really nervous when you point out that laws depend on the society that enforces them, and that the people who police us often join revolutions.
The second group are the interesting ones. They are aware of the problems of reality, but fearless enough to believe it could easily be otherwise, and often have clear ideas how that could be achieved. Interestingly, very few of these are artists.
If you are one of these kids, of either group, this article is for you. I believe, as did Plato, that civilizations have a lifespan, and ours in the long slow process of declining, and that most people are oblivious to this because it threatens them. Further, people are sliding backward into behaviors that are more like monkey behavior than intelligent human behavior. This means that not only is the civilization dying, but everyone behaves like a passive aggressive covert jerk and you can’t call them on it because then the idiots will scream for your head.
Sounds terrible. Here’s some good news:
Life sucks, sure; it sucks more now, because our civilization has gone insane.
However, most smart people freak out when they figure that out, and retreat. They withdraw into themselves.
If smart people got powerful in society instead of dropping out, met decent women/men instead of remaining single, and spread their ideas intelligently instead of having emotional reactions, this crisis would be easily solved.
But even more — it’s stupid to see so many promising lives lived running away from responsibility and stupidity both, when they need to only sidestep and not retreat from the latter.
Keep an eye on the goal
[People who realize society is failing] know modern society is defined by its neurosis and the problems of its crowd-based control. As a result, it is insane, from any kind of design/results-oriented perspective, because each person is so busy justifying their individual life they cannot work together. We all know this is the path to third world decay — and I am not speaking in any way of ethnicity here. Take a group of Nords and subject them to this crap for a number of generations, and you’ll get dumb people who look like Nords.
Many of the smart people I know have suicided or simply dropped out of life. They find some menial job, go to shows and buy CDs, and do things to “uplift” themselves — little rewards are surrogates for fixing the problem — and they make it by, somehow. They deny family and obligation to ideology and obligation to better themselves because they’re caught in the modern neurotic fiction: reward yourself, but don’t make yourself adapt, because that way you feel less in control.
In doing so, they self-defeat. They alienate themselves from the good parts of growing up, and simultaneously kill the best parts of childhood in themselves, leaving behind man-children who are really good at buying CDs, playing video games, taking drugs, getting laid, etc. but are ineffective at fixing the problems they describe. Thus they end up getting more and more bitter as they get tired of the same problems, talk a good game, and sooner or later, end up being hipsters: people who adorn themselves with ideology and art to hide their lack of solutions.
Here’s that conversation:
Me: people who are not outright dumb are generally good, but they need an outlet, and some direction, because none of us has enough time to figure all this out for ourselves. If they were to apply themselves to making ideals real, they’d feel better about life.
Other dude: People feel bad because society sucks. All we’ve got is to make pleasurable things for ourselves, like video games and hanging out with friends. Basically, anything that claims it has hope is a lie.
I guess I’m eternally on the side of “it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness,” because cursing the darkness has to my knowledge never fixed a goddamn thing on Earth.
There’s a lot of people like this: smarter than average, basically nice, but because they’re depressed, kind of screwed up and prone to lash out.
I would like to reach out to these people and help them see a few things:
- You’re going to get old, so pick the best parts of growing up, and face them and make good of them.
- Society sucks ass but can be fixed and it actually does not take much effort.
- Doing things to please yourself only kills your ability to reach out to things of greater beauty in the world at large, so you end up killing your dreams and hopes in order to feel good for a few moments.
- Pretending that you’re cool by shrugging off all obligation is a path to impotent hipsterism.
- If you feel insignificant, it’s because you are. Find truth, join truth and work for truth, and you get a reward not in your ego but in your brain as a whole: what I’m doing is important and correct.
- The illusion is that we’re free of nature and have God-like control of ourselves. We aren’t. We don’t. We’re glorified monkeys struggling to reach the next phase of evolution before we destroy ourselves.
I think we need re-engagement; reconnecting to life through things larger than oneself, hopefully abstract but realistic things like ideology, structured philosophy or religion, or nurturing of organic patterns. Sitting back and saying “society sucks” makes you impotent. Finding a way to engage, and start the kaizen process of improving the non-optimal is not only healthy for you but leads humanity toward a possible survival.
The gloom and doom that oppresses smart spirits is unnecessary. Things are bad; things are always bad. It takes good people to get out of themselves and re-engage with a clear idea of what they do want, as opposed to simply knowing what they do not want, to reverse this pattern.
Give up on yourself as an exclusive goal; reach out to the world, and put yourself into it.
You will feel better, be more effective, and escape the ghetto of individualism which is the hallmark of all dying societies — whether in this modern time or not.
The Manteen Ghetto
There’s something I call The Manteen Ghetto
It’s where adult men, ages 18-48, continue trying to act like children. They do this to defer the questions of life. When you realize society is fucked up, and you don’t want a part of it, you have three basic choices: say nothing, become an “activist” outsider who agitates to destroy it, or join it — and then change it from within.
Of course, we all know that “I’m Changing It From Within” is an excuse for many. I’m changing it from within — by buying this Mercedes-Benz. But… what idea cannot be inverted by hipsters, who use it as a justification and not a reason why? There are ecofascist hipsters, too. Traditionalist hipsters. Anarchist hipsters. National Socialist hipsters. Zionist hipsters. Zoroastrian hipsters. Rastafarian hipsters… the list is infinite, because any idea can go from being an “end” (abstract, ongoing goal) to a “means” (justification for an existence of poverty and self-indulgence, hiding one’s ordinary unexceptional disillusioned underachiever-ness).
In contrast to joining humanity, gaining power in society, and using that to influence people closer to truthful ideas — a process called kaizen or incremental improvement as a method of design — activism and shut-in-ism allow you to drop out. Over time, even if your original motivation was to change the world, you find yourself falling farther away from what anyone can relate to, and so you start using your Motherfucking Important Ideology (MII) as a justification and not a reason why. Soon you’re a hipster by accident, but a hipster nonetheless.
Joining society takes some balls if you’re not going to compromise your ideals, but life was never made for fence-sitters, nancypants, metrosexuals and emos. Joining society requires that you join your ideology to action that also makes itself pragmatic. You live for something outside yourself: family, friends, culture, heritage and ideology, all together at the same time. (And I don’t include in this the odious hybrid of “activist businesses” like eco-coffee and vegetarian restaurants where you pay what you think you owe… the only good examples of this, like Rutamaya Coffee and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, put business first.)
It’s easier, actually, to live for something outside yourself. That way, when you act, you’re not acting selfishly, but to assert a positive order around you. Family. Community. Eugenics. Art. All of these fit those profile.
Your alternative is to be one of those people who has fallen into their own self-conception, and is now using the external world to try to create a self-identity. E.g. a hipster.
These people strand themselves in The Manteen Ghetto. They act like teens, but are grown men and women. They use art, music, ideas, etc. to justify themselves, to hide the fact that they’re living lives of pleasuring themselves alone and are not contributing anything. They are the opposite of living for something outside the self, like joining society so you can have a family, a career, and power and influence to enact your ideology. They’re drop-outs.
What does it mean to mature past teenage years? Back to living for more than yourself.
You start to realize you’re a gradient. From the time you are born until death, you’re slowly eroding. If you make it to old age, you slowly erode before you die, and then at some point, death is a release. So it goes. But you need to plan for the whole lifespan, and you start to see how acting like a teen will be stupid. So there’s a 65-year-old hipster next door who’s still really into punk rock… pathetic. He dropped out, and now he wants you to see how cool he is so he feels better about having nothing in life and having influenced nothing, because he has nothing. Food is wealth, wealth is power, and power is how you change ideas… changing ideas is how you make society better without you and fifteen hundred of your grubby friends grabbing rifles and rushing at the gov’t troops.
You also start to realize that the best rewards are outside the self. Like making change, making a family means you’re populating earth with better people. Only idiots say “don’t breed” to the best and smartest nations on earth. Only idiots insist that, because they are retarded, everyone must be and so they should not spawn. If you’ve got a brain, find someone else with a brain, and make more beautiful, smart kids. Fuck the doubters. Like making change, contributing to your community — gaining power, having people trust you and your wisdom, and thus having Memetic Influence — means you’re living for more than yourself.
There are many ways to start. I know that many of you will offer up that tired modern excuse I’m Busy but I’m sorry to tell you: you’re full of shit. Every person I’ve known who was heading anywhere in life spent some time in unrecognized volunteer efforts. Even when they were in graduate school, launching careers, etc. “I’m Busy” is a coverup for your own disorganization, or your pursuit of dead-end self-stimulus, like masturbating, video games, movies, etc. You can sacrifice some of that time and you won’t miss it, because you’ll have replaced a closed-circuit reward with an enduring one.
Things that unite the self and the world are rare, but they are fulfilling, and make you regret death less. Family, culture and healthy activity come to mind. Working for [a good charitable activist group] also comes to mind: it’s something you can do for a few hours per week or day, see immediate effect as healthier memes dominate over shitty ones, and gain experience you’ll use your whole lifestyle.
Anything else is an excuse to remain in The Manteen Ghetto, pleasing no one but yourself, and being correspondingly empty as a result.
I think there’s only about 5% of the population which realizes how completely screwed this society is.
Not simply “inconvenient to me” or “has problems” but “moribund,” as in on its way to failure, and hell for anyone with any brains in the meantime.
These are the kind of people who tune in to Nietzsche, Burroughs or Slayer.
Unfortunately, they are caught in a horrible dilemma: how to have hope? They are suspended between total hopelessness, and a sense of illusory happiness that they can never fully trust.
It’s tempting to chuck in the towel and say, “Everything is fucked, so I’m just going to survive marginally and take any pleasure I can find.” That’s basically what Satanism, Randism, etc. are. Fuck you, I’m going to get my pile, and stay away. It’s what the hippies did and why those hypocrites became a generation of bankers.
I guess if I could pass on the knowledge of the last two decades, it’d be this: just like a death metal band, you have a choice. You can either decide life is too hard and chuck it all away, or realize that “the end is near” describes a long slow process that can be averted and/or survived by a bottleneck remnant who then dominate in the next cycle of history. If you get bitter, you sacrifice your best years of creativity and end up with nothing AND no power to change anything AND a legacy of even greater bitterness, resentment, and excuses made for poor performance at life. Congratulations, you’ve become an irresponsible disillusioned underachiever like 99% of the people in modern society. It’s like joining a club with no entrance requirement.
All that matters in life is the end result. There will always be bad stuff. Life is always going to be precarious. And idiots will always ruin everything they touch. Societies come and go, and civilizations die. But if people keep on making art, technology, culture, learning, wealth and warfare, there’s a future. But that only happens if they don’t give up.
And it starts with you — the kid reading this — not giving up.
Some things to think about for young people.