Our compass for morality is no longer reliably pointing where it should be. On the one hand, ruthlessness and shrewdness, which often lead to financial success and are therefore acknowledged, are sold off as desirable, using euphemisms such as “drive”, “enforceability” and “negotiation skill”. On the other hand, persons displaying humanity and compassion are denigrated as doogooders.
In reality, it is not life, but ourselves, who collectively turn the world into a vale of tears. At the risk of repeating myself: we are the ones who can change that again. Here are some of the observable signs of the lapses of our collective feeling.
Black and white thinking
We do not have any capacity for differentiated consideration of a situation, we want to quickly divide and check it off as done. The one side of a conflict is evil, the other good. The examples of this are countless, and go from divorce to wars.
Obviously, the depiction of people or points of view on such a spectrum is always a crude simplification, which can be misused by clever selection of the right question, to manipulate opinion. Finally, someone can be completely wrong in one point and right again in another – how can a placement on a good/bad scale take this into account?
What is also done frequently, is to represent as natural opposites, things which in truth are not. Thus, elm is not the opposite of linden, plague is not the opposite of cholera and capitalism is not the opposite of communism. Both are ideologies that have wrapped thick layers of half-truth around a true core , speckled it with a few straightout lies, and portrayed the result as an untouchable edifice of ideas.
Greed / Consumerism
It is never enough – the accumulation of things is consolation and need at the same time – yet we are never satisfied. Buy and throw away, want and immediately lose interest.
Not only do these countless subliminal messages cost mental capacity, they also arouse despondency and dissatisfaction on a level where we are defenseless. The argument of the mature consumer is unfortunately simply not valid for our subconscious mind.
We do not want to see anyone getting even a grain of sand, which in our opinion is not due to him.
This measure, however, is only applied to the weaker ones, whoever is at the top is always admired, whether he has inherited or developed his property, whether he builds or destroys, whether he helps or sabotages.
Overemphasis on extroversion
Anyone who is introverted, needs to be repaired. The way to be, is wired, hyperactive, bright, cheerful and sociable. People who need a little more rest, are considered to be inhibited in the world of the open-plan office. Whoever thinks too long before making decisions is reluctant. Anyone who appreciates profound films more than action kills, is boring.
We deprive ourselves of everything that could be contributed by calm and thoughtful people, because they take themselves out of the hectic outer world, increasingly hiding out on their sofas and simply no longer interacting with others.
We pursue a sparkling ideal, want to realize the image of wealth and beauty presented at every corner, without realizing that its production really requires a whole team of stylists and then it only exists for a moment. We judge each other according to what we have, how we are styled, and what career we pursue.
We are flooded with pictures of half-naked women, sexy schoolgirls and guys with washboard belly. Sex sells and it is getting more and more provocative and aggressive.
Even the incomprehensible amount of pornography that lurks on the Internet behind every corner does not make the world any better – not on account of offending prudence, though, but because the portrayal shows almost never loving or stormy, enthusiastic encounters between people appreciating each other.
We see cold, stylish mass-produced goods, which start us at every corner on the Internet, a glorification of debauchery of all kinds that makes you feel like sex with no rolling-play, toys or acrobatics is for stuck-up bores.
“Different strokes for different folks” is valid without restriction, as long as all are mature and voluntarily participating . But the fact that shops, which are aimed at teenagers, have rather large lingerie departments with somewhat naughty adult subject matter goes a bit to far for me. As does the trend that genuine perversion (in the sense of, no satisfaction can be achieved without the respective fetish) is being stylized to an artform.
All past mistakes in medicine and science were also beginners’ mistakes; This time around, however, they are all infallible and incorruptable professionals, meaning that whatever they say is true. Thus, we nonchallantly wipe ancient spiritual wisdom aside, or destroy other countries’ basis of life just as casually – in the end, after all, they are all mere barbarians, except for us.
Those who wish to behave morally correctly will suffer disadvantages: Fairtrade products, environmentally friendly products, goods produced in ethical livestock, etc. are disproportionately more expensive – where are the subsidies to allow low-income consumers the exercise of their alleged power through buying decisions?
Those who denounce social grievances are denigrated as utopians. We are all angry about when it happens to us – and yet we do not intervene when it meets others. As long as we do not demand, defend and live fairness, it will not be our own. Unfortunately, destructive and antisocial behavior is the best and most rewarding strategy, as long as it has no negative consequences.
This attitude leads to a complete arbitrariness of statements in the public space – and to shoulder jerks when it occasionally flies.
Who could be so naive to believe a word out of a politician or CEO, after all – they do not even have the choice to be honest.
And this is indeed true – the own party would tear apart any honest politician, and as statistics clearly show, so will the voters, just like practically any given corporation would swiftly exchange a morally acting manager with one who achieves maximum profits.
“Cool” is our ideal
But have we ever wondered what the term really means? Sure, anyone who’s cool, will be shaken by nothing, they’d simply be above it. But how do you get into such a position? Quite right, by nothing ever getting to you at all. We have, in fact, raised psychopathy to the ideal.
According to numerous studies, socio-psychopaths are disproportionately represented in leadership ranks – no surprise there.
Intellect versus intuition
We seem to have lost ourselves in a thought-trap.
In the meantime, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the best scientists have their breakthrough ideas very often through intuitive processes, and that creative techniques often lead to results more quickly, albeit less comprehensibly.
They are therefore not a precursor to intelligence, even if they are evolutionarily older, but simply something entirely different, equivalent. It is one of our deepest problems: brain over heart. Everyone remembers from their own experience situations, in which the brain took forever to catch up with what the guts had long known.
To make matters worse, we also tend to see these qualities as male/female, although both sexes display them – unless, of course, one part is suppressed.
A few generations with more progressive views (and a few well-meaning but moronic rashes to the contrary ideal of a complete negation of differences) can not simply undo this division. This requires either conscious work or much more time.
What is going on here is bizarre and frightening. We have gotten completely lost and strayed – so much so, that we no longer even know where we want to go. No wonder so many people don’t see what the meaning of life is.
If we were a bit more robust in our mental health, we would know that the sense is to be there, to enjoy the moment, and to love one’s family and friends – and anyone who is a little more contemplative will feel for themself if and when they might need to go on a spiritual or philosophical search for meaning.
Instead, we drift unstintingly into a void of meaning, because we are having biscuits whoved down our throats, when all we needed is a sip of water. We get stimuli, rewards, suggestions for new desires, information and pressure. We get everything, just no reflection.
For lack of peace, our civilization runs into a new barbarism. At no time did the active, that is, the restless, have a higher status. It is, therefore, one of the necessary corrections which must be made in the character of mankind to strengthen the contemplative element to a great extent.
|They Live!||Eduard V. Kurganov||CC BY 2.0|