Thursday, August 09, 2018


Putting two things together, I'm reflecting on this notion of "emotion hunger" and relating it to the Enlightenment value of not showing emotion.  What if we really ARE starved for emotion, crisis, emergency?  I know people who will pick a fight for the sake of emotional contact with another person.  That would explain a lot about our news feeds.  And it addresses the media characters and evangelical pulpiteers who are all emotion and no content -- they rant and testify about things so trivial or preposterous that it would be impossible to talk about them rationally.  I recall the clergy sermon note saying,  "Argument weak here -- pound pulpit."

But then I want to relate that to our acceptance of corruption, our belief that everyone cheats, all governments lie, the individual morality is only to stay in accord with everyone else.  After all, God is dead and there are no angels now that Charlie is not around.  It turns out that we made rules assuming deviation would be punished, but without knowing who or why anyone would hold the line.  In reality, the designated line-enforcers just stood there, doing nothing.  Who was going to punish THEM?  We had assumed they would do the right thing out of good character, but they didn't HAVE good character anymore.

Perhaps there's a relationship to the exploding technology, a kind of science derivative that seems to evade some of the morality of the old-fashioned kind.  If it works, that's what counts.  Unlimited practicality.  Willingness to kill and steal without bothering to demonize the enemy.  They are simply in the way. 

Humanities are withering in the colleges, replaced by social success, making points, getting rich in the name of cyber-unicorns, still mythical beasts.  We've lost our stories, our consciousness of the things that can't be bought or gamed.  No more heroes now.  Sidney Carton in the tumbril sneers "eat shit and die."  Yet most of these corrupt old rich men were produced by Enlightenment values:  connections, power, hierarchy.  Aren't they?

But wait -- there's a third competing past system/ideology affecting what we do.  It's the old pre-Enlightenment world of king and courtiers, favors and secrets, preserved in their vid stories.  This old world was what everyone took for granted before the formation of the Middle Class -- shopkeepers, teachers, guilds, fabricators, artists -- and the Protestant movement disrupted the corrupting power of a central authority called the Pope -- defining a new day that made room for science by inventing secularity, which some defined as dropping morality since that's what they took religion to be.  What today's old red-faced big-bellied mistress-keeping power mongers, who have insidiously acquired control, want is to go back to that privileged day when they could have done whatever they wanted so long as they were patrons of the highest power.  Putin, Trump, and Hitler and all the other Empire-Seekers want that whole system back so THEY can be the highest power.

So now that we've got three systems on the table, I suggest a fourth, that of the autochthonous people who have kept their indigenous ecologies in economically sustainable ways.  They are NOT alike.  Aztec/Mayan empires based on irrigation were not like the cultures built around salmon, corn, or bison.  But in modern times the tribes can't sustain their ways because their containment in a particular place and time has been broken open.  Poverty traps them.

The big fear about radical democracy -- true one-person/one-vote -- is that the crowd out there is stupid and selfish.  They are vulnerable to populism that is nothing more than high school rules -- popularity, social networks, easily bought.  But we have been baffled into much the same thing -- that is, our systems of checks and balances about voting just don't work.  Lowest common denominator still votes for pretty faces and loud voices. Too many simply don't bother to vote.  Except that this time that's not what happened.  Instead, the old Empire-Builders, used the newest hacking and advertising and other sneaky gimmicks like gerrymandering, electoral college, market analysis, voter discrediting, and straightforward data altering, to control the outcome.

But one of the shocking sides of the technology dawn is that eventually all secrets are traced now -- we are all monitoring and recording each other.  There are records of the hacking and who did it.  All that begins to be controlled by the early Millennium thinkers, people born since 2000, whatever they turn out to be like.  They grew up gaming.  The quiet simmer of graft is not taken well and the whole game of pretending to be faithful while keeping adjunct partners will no longer work.  These people fuck in the open, because sex is not the rule-driven behavior now.  Nor is money.  What is?

It's not as though one of these big convictions of "how the world works" go along until a certain date or event and then suddenly change to the next.  It's not even that we can know what will happen next.  Our ideas about going to another planet are laughable since it's clear we don't even have the will to save this one.  The nature of our relationship to this planet and each other will determine what we do now.  Some have pointed out that those who are frightened, esp. by global warming, will trend towards dictatorships and law-driven control.  We're past doubt now.  The petrified old are simply denying.

"As of August 8, 2018, 5 senators are in their 80s, 18 are in their 70s, 32 are in their 60s, 30 are in their 50s, 14 are in their 40s, and 1 is in his 30s."  it's not just their chronological ages, but the kind of educations that built the world in their heads.

Another strategy for survival is not a "big picture" but rather a mafiosoid intertwining among the other elements, always changing.  This is opportunist strategy for survival of those outside the establishment and it will change to fit whatever establishment there is.  A strong illustration of what a sub-group can be -- its effectiveness at using corruption (bribery, blackmail, extortion, violence, secrecy) can echo the corruption of the legitimate elected elite lawmakers.  Again, it recalls the pre-Middle Class always-existing planners and plotters in opposition to polite society, especially when it tries to mimic it as a disguise.

Given all this, given our difficulty with our young nation and its governance, what do we do?  Indeed, what can the old nation of England do with her own governance?  What about the vast parts of the worlds barely beginning to grasp the idea of governance because they just got smart phones and feel like a group for the first time?

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