Monday, May 04, 2009

what's important

For too long Western society has been on autopilot. We have come to respect material possessions, credit cards, social status and job titles as more important than character, intelligence or strength. The result is that our society slowly eats itself from within because, discontent with what it has become, it knows no other option.

Politics has come to mean a convenient way of constructing public positions that attract human interest. It does not address decay on such a fundamental level that it corrupts all that it touches. Right or left, black or white, and anything inbetween can agree that our society has thrown caution out the window and gone wholeheartedly into whoredom for money.

Our heroes these days are people who make the tabloids and sell many CDs, movies or books on the basis of their popularity and sex appeal. These factors are in turn carefully managed by industries which derive much profit from this practice, and we cheer them on as well, because there's nothing more praiseworthy than rising from nothing to be wealthy and important, at least in liberal democracies in America and Europe.

While our societies have slowly collapsed from within, we've been distracted by all the things we can buy and the perceived freedom we have, if we just give ourselves over enough to the process of earning money that we can get fanatical about it and earn a small pile. It's mine, get away. There is no higher law than this in the modern society. A home is a castle, and disposable income is for the pleasure of the individual.

For too long "get a job and earn money and work everything else out later" has been the dominant attitude of our society, creating people who function stiffly and inoffensively during the day, but at night go home to alcohol abuse, Internet pornography, drug habits and unhappy marriages. Since what defines character is earning money, our ideal of character is someone submissive to social will while quietly earning enough money to escape society.

Employees hide neuroses and secret desires behind function and feel a secret need for power. They exert it from their families and social groups, seeking to dominate in a time when dominance in any form except that of earning money is frowned upon. Their public faces grow more bland as their private dysfunctions become more bizarre and twisted. Does child molestation occur in every society? Assuredly. But does it happen this much in every society?

You can spend years reading philosophy and politics, trying to find out "where we went wrong." But to me, it's very clear that once money became the only value we had in common, our societies began degenerating. If everything can be for sale, it will soon be sold, and then the power of the individual is only dictated in terms of money. Forests are consumed, families are broken up, and the way we see each other takes on the sinister coloring of intent to manipulate.

This site has many excellent political ideas for you to read and think about. But what I have to tell you today is that in order for any sensible change to occur, we have to abandon this addiction to money at the expense of all else. It's fine to earn a living and have a place in society. But it can't be the only thing we all believe in, or we will come to serve it as, for too long, we have.

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