Reversal of Values

This observation of mine – that our global culture can best be understood by noting its reversal of human values – still appeals to the logical part of my mind, but not to the emotional part. It just says “It couldn’t possibly be this bad,” and refuses to take it seriously.

But here I am (once again) trying to take it seriously.

And this time I am noticing how useful it might be at explaining a lot of what’s going on. Including what is going on inside me.

I might as well admit it – I’m responsible for being a failure. Of course I had a lot of help – almost everyone approved of this and encouraged it. But still, I should have known better – and worked harder at being right.

I got started down the wrong track right out of high school – or maybe sooner. because our school was worthless. I knew I wanted to work outdoors, and could have gone to work for the Park Service (which had jobs at the time) but I became an engineer instead. And ended up working in an office – the worst place imaginable, for me.

No one can believe that the whole world has gone wrong. “No,” they will say most emphatically, “this cannot be!”

Back in the Nineties, when I was working in Silicon Valley – I had therapist after therapist – nearly every kind imaginable – and none of them knew this. They all thought there was something wrong with me – that I had to change, because the world was not going to change to suit me.

It never occurred to any of them, that neither had to change – but I had to find a job where I could coexist. I was not alone in that – everyone, it seemed – wanted to find a good job. But no one was succeeding at this.

Because no one had started out by recognizing how the world really was – really bad. Buddhism thought it knew how to live in a bad world – and its meditation techniques are still valuable. But today’s world (with its advanced technologies) is much, much worse. And we have to recognize that – it is much, much worse.


The breaking point came with Television, in the Fifties – that could easily manipulate its viewers – and turn them into Consumers. This was a huge change, but few noticed it – McLuhan being an exception.

This was quickly followed, in the Seventies –  by the Computer. Which for most people, is just a better TV – and is even better at manipulating its viewers. Consumers were easily converted into Computer Users – with their smartphones in hand.

It can do this because most people do not understand it – and don’t want to. Even those in the Computer Industry – and I was once one of those – carefully overlook its destructive potential – and can see nothing wrong with it.

There is a new interest in ethics in the user experience (UX) as this search shows you. But I do not see it having a big impact.

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