The Intense Satisfaction of Supporting the Big Lie

This is another effect of the reversal of values I keep harping on.  In a normal society, people derive satisfaction from helping each other. In our present society, they derive satisfaction – and a lot of satisfaction – from deceiving and exploiting others. While having no awareness of this at all.

The lack of awareness is crucial. One thing Buddhism taught was awareness, but present-day Buddhists have no more awareness of this, than anyone else. When not being aware gets too pervasive, it becomes invisible.

When did this switch from being aware, to not being aware, happen? How did it happen? Why did it happen?

These are big questions, far too big for me to answer. All I can say, with complete assurance is – that it did happen. And few people are aware of it.

While plenty of bad things are going on – there are plenty of good things also. Making your way through the minefield of goodies and baddies, is a challenge – and one that not all are up to. If you are up to it, you can learn programming at the Microsoft Virtual Academy, as I am – where they work hard at making this painless.

One of the baddies was taking Science too far. This was not the fault of the Scientists themselves – who were keenly aware of their limitations. But of everyone else, who thought that Science made them all-knowing. They had discovered the laws behind everything – and these laws put them in charge!

A host of ills resulted from this – the American Civil War, WWI, the Depression, WWII, and the Holocaust. Bad things all – but the perpetrators of them, thought they were Good!

Advertisements

Smart People in a Stupid World

How can they survive?

Stupid people took over in the last half of the last century. And have no intention of relinquishing their power. I watched this takeover in amazement – but to everyone else, it seemed perfectly normal. To their minds – stupidity was seen as its opposite – intelligence. And not only that – but an extreme form of intelligence! And they did not mind allying themselves with it.

I could go on a long rant here about the evils of – Industrialization, Capitalism, the Market, etc. – but to my mind, these are nothing compared to the destructiveness of a reversal of values. There was no way this culture could be attacked – because attacking it only made it stronger!

Their logic is simple – might makes right! This can only be shown to be false much later, when that might can no longer make itself felt.

What will happen, and is happening right now – is a moral and economic collapse. The two go together. This is the end of the world, for the stupid people now in control – but they don’t know how to stop it.

But it may provide an opening for some smart people.

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.

They Are Not Connected to Anything Else

A fundamental fact of any organization is its connectedness – everything is connected to everything else. This is what makes it an organization. And in life-forms, this connectivity is carried to new levels.

Since being obsessed with the Computer we tend to think in terms of of information – but one of its key features is its networks – that turned it into a supercomputer that covers the whole world.

This was a capability that the forces of evil in the world quickly took advantage of. The forces for good have not been so apt (as they usually are not) but they are catching on to it also. I am taking two MOOCs now – one of them about connections. And, of course I have this blog, which is very active – at least on my part. I am connected – and I like being that way.

One of my favorite activities is writing about them – the strange people that now populate most of the world. Human Culture has gone through a strange evolution – being heavily affected by our technologies. Which have not made us better. And which have turned us into strange creatures – which seem to me, to not be human at all.

One of the characteristics of these creatures is that they are not connected to anything. But live in an alternative reality where connections are not necessary – or even desirable. Which means they do not exist, they are not real. But to their way of thinking they are better than real.

This is a strange situation – to say the least. And will  take some explaining. But that is what I do – I try to explain everything. A job that keeps me constantly amused.

One of the characteristics of the new state of affairs is its destructiveness. Millions of people are being destroyed. For a variety of reasons – the main one being that no one wants them around. There are just too many people in the world – and the loss of a few million of them, here and there, is not seen as any big deal.

This is related to something else:

No one is responsible for anything anymore.

This is not what I believe – I still believe in old-fashioned morality – but what they believe – in their alternative reality – where values are reversed.

It took me quite awhile to realize this – but once I did – I understood things much better. To their way of thinking, they are perfect – while to my way of thinking they are horrible.

And the gap cannot be bridged.

It Seems to Me You Gotta Fight Back

And one way you do this, is to write about it. It probably won’t change anything – but it will make you feel better.

And, based on what I have seen happen to other people – it may save your life. We live in a murderous world that is out to get you – and you gotta make it clear to them that you are not easy picking.

Although, somewhat to my surprise, I have discovered another way – leave that scene altogether. This may take some doing – I found my way entirely by accident. I ended up in Costa Rica in a beautiful little town with high-speed Internet access. This is right for me, but other people have left in a panic. Paradise is not for them.

What’s going on here? Here I get into some murky waters – and I am lead to conclusions that make sense to no one else.

Perhaps I should have been a philosopher, where I could have found other thinkers who feel much the same way. And I could have elaborated my own way – and been respected for it. But when I was young that way was not open to me. And I went down the wrong path entirely.

I am reading The Soul of the World, which goes into this same material. And which pointed me to the concept of Lifeworld, of which Wikipedia has an excellent discussion. It seems to me this is solid stuff – which has been sadly neglected. I am discovering it late in life – but better late than never.

I think these philosophers need to take their gloves off – and put their findings in context – the way things are right now. In many ways the worst of times. But there have been many times like this – as another book Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero, has shown me. I can also think of the Soviet Union under Stalin – where millions suffered and died. Even more than under Hitler’s regime.

Surely, Mankind has suffered enough – why not end it? This is not an idle question – I really want to know the answer. And I think I can answer part of the question.

Part of which is clear enough – people do not want to end it. They like things the way they are. And they only want to make them worse – which, to their way of thinking – will make things better.

I see this as a reversal of values – a shocking situation, it seems to me – but perfectly normal for most. Who can see nothing wrong at all.

Except for all the bad guys out there – who have to be destroyed.

Manufacturing

We are proudest of, and identify the most with, our high-tech achievements. I ended up there – first in the Southern California high-tech scene in the Eighties, when we didn’t quite know what it was yet. And then in Silicon Valley in the Nineties, when we knew what it was all about – Computers.

But, in the background, Manufacturing continued to make all marvelous things we used every day – including, in the last analysis, our Computers. The wide variety of things that we can manufacture is amazing (especially in plastics) – but we take them for granted. Refusing to think what would happen if we lost this ability. A very real possibility.

I think we ought to consider this possibility – before it happens.

The world is full of feedback loops that can produce strange results – and we need to be aware of them before they go too far. The most important one, I believe, was when we started to compare ourselves, as humans – with ourselves as superhumans, enhanced by our latest technologies, the Television and the Computer. Which we trend to think of as the same thing.

I must stop to clarify what I mean by “we” here. I mean the vast majority of people who do not think, who do not act on their own – but only react as part of the crowd. Something that has been recognized for some time – but not taken very seriously. We should take it seriously, because this is now the way most of the World works.

But as I started to say – we compared ourselves, as humans – to ourselves as superhumans. And promptly turned against ourselves as humans. Not having any idea of what we were doing. We just did it – because everyone else was doing it. It seemed the right thing to do.

And we entered into this change of direction with enthusiasm. This was something we knew how to do – destroy everything! Creating everything (our natural inclination) was too difficult.

Why was it difficult? Because we could not put ourselves first – but had to put our things (our cars, for example) first, instead.

A Reversal of Values

More and more I am forced into believing in this idea. It seemed entirely esoteric at first – in other words, a crazy idea – but it seems to fit the facts. And that is all we can ask of a theory.

Somewhere, buried deep in our minds, there must be a switch – which if flipped, reverses all values. The most fundamental of these is the instinct towards self-preservation – of individuals and groups. I am watching with astonishment as the human race self-destructs, While everyone is convinced that just the opposite is happening – that things are better than ever.

They are not entirely convinced, however – they also believe the bad guys are out to get them – and are about to succeed in their nefarious plans. Never considering for a moment that the bad guys are them.

Perhaps this has happened before, many times – as people turned against the empire that was ruling them – and destroyed it – and in doing so – themselves also. In the case of the Roman Empire, this resulted in the Middle Ages, which lasted for over a thousand years. Since we now live in a global empire – nicely linked together by the Computer – it is hard to predict how long this collapse will last.

I took down The Question of Value from my bookshelf, dusted it off – and will be reading it again. I was tremendously impressed by this book and ordered all the subsequent book from James S. Hans – but was disappointed by them.

I am convinced that all these thinkers – some of the world’s best – (with the exception of Boorstin, in his book The Image)  have overlooked the effects of Technology – evidently considering it a subject beneath them.

I am convinced that technological advancement has gone too far, too fast – and we have responded by destroying everything. This is not hard to understand – once you make up your mind to see things the way they are.