Posts Tagged ‘ Reversal of values ’

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.

 

Keeping Yourself Unstained by the World

Bible Hub James 1:27

This remarkable source gives 21 translations of this scripture. They all assume the same thing – that the world is polluting somehow – and should be avoided. This was an early Christian preoccupation – and their holy men retired from the world, and lived in desolate areas – where they would not be subject to temptations of the flesh.

This changed when Christianity became a Roman Religion – but by that time the early scriptures had already been written.

As my parents used to say “Be in the world, but not of it.” Worldliness was to be avoided. One had to be in the world – because one had a body. But the soul was pure, and had to be kept that way.

They were not consistent about this – and were not sure if the newborn was pure or not. And my mother, in the way she treated her children ( including me) – made it clear that she disapproved of us. And was certainly uncomfortable with her own body.

But the way this attitude is still common, and still powerful, interests me this morning.- when I am in a reflective mood, and scribbling in my blog.

The American People are the example to the world of how to live – whether they want to be, or not. And for that reason, are responsible for the sad state the world is in. They dislike the world intensely and are determined to destroy it. And all the people in it.

At one time, they intended to replace it with something better – based on Calvinist principles. But early in the 19th Century, this was replaced by Capitalism – which was simply the race to get rich. At this, they were more successful – but only in the short run. At the end of this Century and the beginning of the next – everything collapsed. And there was a reversal of values. Human society became a Black Hole – and began to swallow the rest of the world.

For an excellent discussion of Black Holes – with stunning graphics – see the March issue of the National Geographic. But you must read the text – not just look at the pictures. Which, I am sure, few will do.

Why? Because learning about the world, and all its impurities, will defile them. Since they know everything already – they exist in a state of purity or innocence. And they do not want to be stained by the world.