Friday, December 11, 2015

Unraveling the 'Me'/'Us' Dichotomy, or the Rise of the Individual

Source : Girl with an iPad - Flicker.com



"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all Humanity"
~ Martin Luther King



Warning.

This is a document layered heavily in exactly the kind of imaginary verbal constructs which Korzybski had exposed in 'Science and Sanity'...an overly verbose attempt, bogged down in semantics, to describe what I see as the dominant forces which have helped construct the war for our minds and ultimately our reality.

When a period of history is shrouded in the fog of war or obscured by differing ideological worldviews,
to elucidate the period in question I find it helps to try and articulate in your own words, your comprehension of the major events which shaped that period.

I think it is conventional knowledge that Religion, whether for better or for worse, has always acted as a controlling, stabilizing force in our societies over many Millennia. 

However this control began to finally erode for the West in the mid-20th Century, and it is the social and psychological forces which rose in its wake to shape society, and why they did so, that I wish to explore.

The erosion of social cohesion, the erosion of communities, trade-unions, family togetherness and other traditional civic and religious organizations, and the erosion of what was once known as community spirit and life, it all began in a far more innocent, naive age....all in the name of profit.

I think the erosion began with Edward Bernays in the 1930’s.

His work at the behest of Industrialists and manufacturers collectively manipulated Americans, and any other nations which also marched to the pied-piper of consumer advertising, such as Australians for example.

His euphemistically named ‘Public Relations’ office planned out a campaign to literally increase consumption, with a message which, when employed by the modern media, was a powerful tool that went on to literally shape the Psyche of huge swathes of his western audience, and Bernays has thus thereby helped to shape and construct this present Madhouse.

Alluring and seductive, his message utilized psycho-analytic theories and techniques about the hidden forces of the subconscious which he had gleaned from his famous uncle Sigmund Freud.
 

SIGMUND FREUD


This message said that the pursuit of individualism and materialism was the answer to happiness, not making do or building your own, or attempting to be self-sufficient.

On the contrary it was buying and owning shiny new corporate 'stuff' which led to fulfillment, and it was these rewards which, the difficult pursuits of life were all about.

It was how you became a someone, were defined as an Individual, how you clawed your way out of the mire and into the light of public acceptance.
It was how one achieved status and how one was validated by one's peers.

In that mad, hierarchical, commercial scramble to the top was where identities were forged.

It was about being a success-story i.e a Winner.

A Winner is someone obsessed with beating all obstacles in his path...all competitors, it requires a state of mind that focuses strictly on the individual and marshals his own strengths, as opposed to social networks or family supports.

The 1960’s was the beginning of a psychological Revolution of sorts, a new beginning for society was heralded in which there was a growing awareness of the infinite technical possibilities within the finite world of Buckminster-Fuller, and it began to explore new ways of living and being such as the ESALEN experiments in Big Sur California which explored new forms of communal living, as opposed to the insular individualism of the traditional, corporate owned and operated, American dream.


 


It was an experimental, rebellious age, marked by a rejection of corporate values and memes and a rejection of the nationalistic fervor of the State’s agendas which for example had produced the Vietnam war.

In fact 'Make Love Not War' was a hippie cliche...non-violence was explicitly stated.

This was an age which had held so much promise.

The Counter-Cultural movement had arrived.

This should have marked a pivotal moment in man’s evolution, as the Hippie movement, the Yippie movement, the weather underground, the Black Panther party and all other such counter-cultural organizations called for a change, a shift in the paradigm and in society’s values and priorities.

Instead, after the Haight-Ashbury love-ins at the park were over, the world witnessed the gradual corrupting taint of the San Fransisco city streets via an influx of hard-drug dealers, and the rise of the hippie entrepreneur i.e giving Capitalism a new, but ultimately unaltered face.

Instead of a new world for a new era, it ushered in the new age of cynicism and the hedonistic pursuits of the individual as God's influence continued to decline in its incremental hold, in the face of scientific rationalism, and against an onslaught of cynicism and violence on the nightly television screen.

It was literally a re-design of the moral fiber of a nation for commercial ends.

Old values and mores such as Protestant and Christian morality, their notions of frugality and the negative connotations of the term ‘spendthrift’ for example, were simply dismissed for expediency, drowned out by the siren songs of toxic commercialism...Consumers needed to spend!

I think the new Ethos of the Individualist with its hedonistic siren songs began to fill a vacuum that had emerged from the genocide of World War 2.

’How could God have allowed this?’

This was a deep inner, existential rift which had never been addressed by society before.

Was God dead?

And if so, where was the retribution for supreme wickedness to come in our modern age?

The corporate-controlled Governments?

It no longer existed, in a world where Greed and covetousness were necessary attributes to survive in a dog eat dog world.

Once more it was about competitiveness and ‘getting ahead’ of those around you.

Nothing was sacred any longer in a World unchained from it’s Sun, from it’s moral and spiritual compass...ethically the flood-gates had burst open and in theory everything was now conceivably on the table.

The events around World War 2 had been particularly devastating to societies and to social stability in general as families were torn apart all over the world fighting a monstrous War.

 



But the end of the second world war with Germany did not mark the beginning of peace, instead it led to further insecurity for society, as crisis after crisis began to take shape and dominate the Western headlines including the birth of the Atom Bomb, the power of which was alarming and somehow unnatural...

If Man had so much power to alter and shape his environment was he then, not unlike his own God?

Including the murder of John.F.Kennedy which was a mercilessly cold and calculated act, that had many in the west calling out to God for an answer, as it seemed like such a heinous and godless act.

Many all over the world began to ask ; ‘where was God?’ and Why did God let this happen?

These were common questions being asked quietly, privately.

The Cuban missile crisis in which man potentially came within a whisker of Nuclear annihilation, seemed to further exacerbate the erosion of faith in a God which no longer seemed to punish the wicked, allowed heinous transgressions and in fact seemed to reward power, greed and corruption.

The rise in the Military/Industrial complex was becoming obvious.

These events all opened a rift in the collective consciousness of sensitive people of faith all over the western world.

The insidious, unconscious influence of the imperialist, corporate State continued the erosion of faith, of morals and ethics which were sold to the highest bidder.

The War in Vietnam opened just another schism of doubt in the nobility of our leaders, their corruptibility and their relationship with a God.

Headlines swarmed ubiquitously all around the world, headlines such as the Moon Landing and the rise of the ICBM Nuclear Weapon, all of which distracted and distanced our culture from God and Spirituality even further.

Violence it appeared was the answer after-all, at least according to our Governments.

We had been to heaven and back with our best scientific instruments and God was no where to be seen as a new type of materialism now flourished.

With the rise in air-time for corporate messages about fulfilling oneself, which suggested in unsubtle ways that one’s self worth was tied up in our acquisition of consumer goods and money for its own sake, came a rising tide of TV shows depicting the romance of the wild west, and the celebration of the hero, the outlaw and the individual.

The truly heroic individual rode supremely on his horse or his motorbike or his fast car, or his jet-ski but it was always the same message, i.e the lone heroic Individualist would save the day...

This was a powerful nightly message on radios and televisions around the Western world, a message which somewhat assuaged the decline of ‘old beliefs’ that had previously contributed to the stability of society and to it’s moral compass.

These ‘Old superstitions’ of Religion had helped unify society, ancient memes which stated that happiness and fulfillment in life were to be found not externally but internally in a pious, moral devotion to God.

As the corporate ads and subliminal messages marked the birth of one type of human i.e the individualist, it marked the beginning of the death of the other i.e the social animal, the communal person, the person with supports, and family bonds and a community to interact with.



Happiness we were told was now to be found in the wonderful objects that began to flood our homes with white-goods and the latest electronic gadgets and fads, and not in those around us, our loved-ones and friends, or in our communities.


It told us that in order to be happy one needed to consume, as it was depicted cheerily in a sing-song way, and in an insult to our intelligence, by the gleefully smiling faces which appeared every night in a never-ending stream, glowing lasciviously on the sacred cathode tube.

Marx had said that Religion was the Opiate of the masses...but the vapors of the television screen were of another magnitude, another order of intoxication completely.

At least this is one way of approaching the problem of where we are today.

Why do I assume that I have an entitlement to think and behave in a certain entirely selfish, egoistic way as America best exemplifies?

Because I'm told that this is so whenever I tune in to the hive mind of the Corporatocracy.

Our kulture celebrates, revels, glories in the Individual of the selfish 'ME' ethos.

It does not celebrate human-centrist values, it celebrates corporate values which are actually the lack of real values as they are those of a psychopath...anything can be bought in a world based on money, even death and military mayhem.

How many movies have you seen which celebrate, portray a society of people working towards a common goal?

How many movies and tv shows paint stories about people reaching out and helping each other selflessly have you seen?

Which depict a healthy community sharing and supporting each other to a greater end other than mere consumerism, and the eternal quest, the pursuit of abstract money...?

There is no value it seems in social cohesion anymore...it’s about things you can touch, see, buy and own..,our reality has been inverted, from the sacred to the profane, retracted back to pure materialism.

Equality and a spiritual sense of belonging for all?

A sense of Community and strength in 'togetherness' with social cohesion to spare?

These types of human-centrist memes are, and always have been ignored or disdained by the corporate media, as they hark back to a type of self-reliance within a real community, rather than the pitiful, dependent, and lonely creatures we have become;


cocooned in our technological, blister-wrapped, plastic bubble world, suckling at the cobalt and steel nipple of the corporate system like a manacled beast in order to survive.

Entire populations are now so ill-informed and uneducated due to the generations of corporate cerebral manipulations on the nightly television screen, an onslaught of advertising manipulation so mind-numbingly repetitive, dogmatic and simplistic that it has produced the worst educated population in America's history, having now declined to 36th in world rankings.


Today there are only a handful of true Counter-Cultural forces left in our consumer-drenched, corporate world, and they are ;


THE ZEITGEIST MOVEMENT, The Venus Project, Anonymous and the splinters of the Occupy Wall Street movement such as 'Black Lives Matter'.

With the consumerist paradigm in a state of deliberate and utter denial, the social cohesion which is dependent on trust within our societies is now fading fast all over our world and morality is scarce on the ground.

Thus is the legacy of Banksters, their Imperialistic Wars, and an intrinsic faith in those bright, dazzling Corporations and their benign and benevolent nightly messages.

Confused about the world or your place in it?

Individually alone?

Alas, the final stage of individualism has arrived, a retreat into loneliness in which people avoid eye-contact, and prefer to turn to their phones to communicate rather than actually engage a live human being.

Lonely? Rest assured the corporations have an answer for that!

Turn on the idiot box and let your friends on the tube parade vicariously inside your home and inside your head.

Just conform and do what everybody else does...and remember, follow the glowing, bouncing ball and sing along : Happy, happy joy-joy...