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A short post with no original ideas about why I am disagreeable to a good chunk of the things I see, hear, and read

December 13, 2009

I liked the idea of a long title for a short post.

Last week I read My Ishmael and Beyond Civilization back-to-back, and by doing so also (in all likelihood) concluded my reading of works by Daniel Quinn.  I think it was in the latter that he made this point, although it might have been present in some form in the former (and was certainly present in The Story of B).  Anyway, the point is this: no program (system, policy, whatever—use whichever word you find pleasing here) has ever been designed that will save humanity and create a lifestyle that will work for people indefinitely because every program that exists depends on people just being better.  This is stupid.  Obviously people aren’t going to be better, and these programs/systems/policies invariably fail because of it.  Instead of trying something new, the attempt to reinforce them is made—more money, more infrastructure, more rules, more guidelines, etc.—but people still aren’t better, and so the program fails—again.

He also studies laws.  The people of our culture(s) (civilized, globalized, etc.) create laws that are, in a very real sense, made to be broken.  The people of our culture create laws that state thou shalt not, and they are things that people are going to do, no matter what.  These laws are made for a society of people who are just better, and therefore they do not work in the real world, because people are just how they are.

In tribal societies they do the opposite; instead of telling the people of their culture(s) thou shalt not, they outline what is to be done when certain deeds are—invariably—committed, in order to make things right once again.

This examination of our laws, and by extension programs, shows exactly why our laws and programs will not work: they are reality-denying, and thus can never work in the real world.  Thou shalt not kill/steal/commit adultery/whatever depends on people being better; a law that explains what to do when murder, theft, or adultery are committed depends on people continuing to be the way they are now, the way they have forever been.  This view is not reality-denying, but rather reality-affirming.  People will never be perfect—they’ll change, might even get better in a way we cannot quantify, but they’ll never be perfect.

Today’s politicians—at least the American ones I am familiar with, but I’m given the impression that it is much the same throughout the world—want to create programs to “save the world,” and they will therefore fail because they are suggesting a route that is reality-denying and Utopian.  Since this route is at odds with reality it cannot succeed.  Both sides depend on people being better and not remaining how they are, but the left chooses to hate on one side of human nature while the right chooses to hate on the other.  Both miss the point, which is this: hating either part of us isn’t going to help us find a new way to live on this world that works for people—not aliens, not lions and tigers and bears, not super-evolved robo-humans, but people.  The left will hate our potential for violence, which has always been present; the right will hate our potential for lust, which has always been present; all the while, both will continue hating reality and will therefore remain ineffective.

This is what I mean when I say both parties are much the same.  It has almost nothing to do with their policies—their programs—which will always be ineffective, just in different ways, but with their equal inability to embrace reality.  I’m tempted to go on, but I don’t even see the point.  Until the people of our culture(s) embrace what they are, and until those in power see that programs will not save the world, I’ll continue ignoring every fucking thing they say.  That’s all there is to it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 21, 2010 11:53 pm

    “Until the people of our culture(s) embrace what they are, and until those in power see that programs will not save the world, I’ll continue ignoring every fucking thing they say. That’s all there is to it.”

    I know just what you mean. Similarly, once you understand the origins of our ecological situation, it seems to me that almost nothing of what you hear in the news, almost none of the discussions of problems in the world are of any importance at all. They’re just a lot of bullshit blabbering about nothing.

    I find that kind of freeing, though around many people it does leave me bored and with little to talk about. :-/

    • January 22, 2010 2:50 am

      I find that kind of freeing, though around many people it does leave me bored and with little to talk about. :-/

      I know exactly what you mean! And although I tend to not think about/ignore it (because it doesn’t make for polite conversation any way you look at it), sometimes it’s hard relate to other people when you find your outlooks significantly different (significant enough for it to matter). My friend Jake, who occasionally comments on my posts, actually just said this to me: (paraphrased) It’s kind of weird sometimes just to think about how much people don’t think like us. The us in this statement isn’t something easily discussed; it sounds extremely esoteric—we’re the ones that get it, not them—and elitist, but there is, in the end, truth in it. We watched the news and some other TV shows and The Daily Show with some other people and there were definitely moments, particularly when “political stuff” was being discussed, when we just knew our dissenting and extreme opinions weren’t wanted.

      It’s OK of course, but not always comfortable, and I guess all of that was just to say, again, I know exactly what you mean.

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