A Superficial World

I have a feeling I live in a completely superficial world. It's all instrumental and calculative. Social experience has become something quantifiable like everything else in capitalism. It's not so much about not having friends, but its more like not having 'true friends', friends who are not your colleague for example. The quality of relationship is often missing even for people who are well surrounded. Technology often aggravates this situation by creating a world where you are surrounded by people but find a machine wall between you and them. Sometimes I look at the Amish community and the likes, and I envy them, the simplicity, the community life...
meneope meneope
26-30, M
1 Response Sep 7, 2012

wow!!! Who are you??? I feel EXACTLY the same thing. Add me. :)

We can't be the only ones feeling like this. The more materialist we become, the more selfish and the more we loss touch of our humanity. I don't know I think I'm a bit lost in this world... We are bombarded by consummerism everyday - a lot of these things we don't really need to function as human beings proper. Each individual in a family now have their own smart phone, computer, tele with 30+ channels, their own set of 'friends', processed pre-cooked foods on cue when one is hungry; Where's the family experience gone? We don't have families anymore, we have individuals living under the same roofs. The high rate of divorce makes it even more blatant as families are reconstituted with step-relatives. People it seems are expected to re-evaluate their lives on a constant basis, reinvent themselves, their self-image and their social network on an ongoing basis. Nothing is permanent anymore in this life except oneself - how can one not feel lonely and depressed?

It’s a strange time to be alive. After the sexual revolution the world just become crazy, Puritanism was replaced by hedonism (and I am very liberal). People are being brainwashed by this hedonistic culture, people are being indoctrinated to become sadists, controlled by fear and greed. I am Brazilian, I see my country heading to fascism, to a dystopian future. The worse is that people here not even realize what is going on, they are used to be treated has slaves, to live in chaos and ignorance, its almost surreal, really!!! It’s kind of like that in the entire planet, democracy is in danger in all countries, is like some evil force was trying to enslave the entire planet. I don’t know… Is a really strange thing. Maybe the socialists or the libertarians or someone will be able to fight against this. I am here, alone, seeing the death of liberty and common sense in my country, and others like me are also alone, trying not to kill themselves. I think it would be dangerous to the system if smart and honest people united against all this nonsense and chaos. The world is going to the wrong direction, we must fight, we must do something. It’s practically impossible for any honest person to feel comfortable with this situation. Technology is necessary, it can be good, but things like facebook are killing the true meaning of friendship. An entire generation has become egocentric, they are not citizens anymore, now they are only consumers.

It might seem amusing to many, but actually in so-called Democracies of the West, the Government controls people way more than they should. This is why the gypsies, Amish, Heuterites, fundamentalist mormons and other small minorities always find themselves at odds with the authorities; social services always want to 'confiscate' their children under the excuse of child abuse while other authorities are always on their shoulders for women liberation etc. The truth of the matter is the Government in modern Democracies are obssessed with all kind of data collection and registration on its jurisdiction for population management. The government wants you in one place, at one address, they want to know what you are doing at any point in time, they want to know how you raise your children, how many people are in your house, who you co-habbit with etc etc 'for your own good' of course!!! For example in the UK if I want to build a house extention in my garden or paint the exterior of my house pink, I'd need to ask my local Council permission!?! Yes we have freedom, but in many ways it's a kind of limited freedom. We are seduced by a world of images of reality, what French thinker Jean Baudrillard calls simulacra - i.e. we no longer know what the images represent anymore and become subsumed in what he terms 'hyper-reality'.

Yes. They say to us that we will be happy if we buy a car or a shoe! This is just crazy! And when people don’t become happy by having cars and shoes they are there to sell some anti-depressives to them. I think political freedom is an illusion if is not accompanied by cultural freedom. We have freedom but we don’t have time or true and meaningful social relations. The governments talk about peace and tolerance but what they want is apathy and political ignorance. Television has become the new state church, the new opium of the masses, the new way of indoctrinating the new generations. The shallow contemporary pop culture is the inevitable result of the mechanisms of support of the system trying to maintain the status quo. I do not doubt that some form of dystopian future is going to happen any time soon. How can some intellectuals fight against this system? I really have no idea. When you put a lucid man in an asylum he will eventually became crazy himself. We know that big state trying to control individual choices + political apathy of the people + predominantly corporative culture and interests = fascism. They can’t control everything! They shouldn’t! Lao Zi was right when he wrote: ´´ governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish - too much handling will spoil it ``.

"Television has become the new state church, the new opium of the masses"
I think this is the biggest truth ever. If it was given to me and if I get a compliant wife I'd just through that thing away - I don't think people realise how much they are addicted to tele! At night the family should just get together and TALK, tell stories and play board games. That's how culture used to be past down from generation to generation - the institution of the family had a sense of identity back then! Now it's nothing anymore. A 10 yrs/o girl now in the UK is perpetually hooked on these social networking sites (instead of being with her family), the bible or literary novels have been replaced with SEXUALISING teens magazines, images and posters of saints have been replaced by the new living gods - Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, or worst Kim Kardashian!!! The dystopian future you talk about is already staring at us people are more and more self-centered, depressed and indulge into escapism of all kind. Like you said, put a lucid man in an asylum and he turns lunatic too. I'm pessimistic I think it's gonna get worst and worst. In the West we have achieved materialism but we have lost our humaneness completely.

´´ or worst Kim Kardashian!!!`` LOL
I agree completely, traditional families are dying and I really think social networks should be forbidden to teenagers, if they post the wrong thing in the internet this can hunt them for the rest of their lives, but we can do our part in trying to influence the world around us. The world is changing really fast, the old values are dying, but they can adapt to the new social reality around us. We can accept the good things in the modern world while we denie the bad things. We can always join a political party, a movement, a church or something like that. We must try to see the opportunity in this chaos. I guess the only thing we can do is to be human, to live our own lives, the only lives we can live. We can change the world, we ARE the world, our actions make this world. Don’t be pessimistic, this time of chaos will pass, common sense will survive, we just have to believe in ourselves and keep fighting for humanity. Remember Confucius: ´´The virtue of the gentleman is like the wind; the virtue of the small man is like grass. Let the wind blow over the grass and it is sure to bend.``

In my humble eyes Confucius was a great man; no wonder he was admired by Voltaire. He talks about virtue, duty, and honour. However in todays society with the decline of the chivalric code, the decline of kinship, and the rise of individualism, Confucianism seems like a far away yester-dream - a romantic ideal at most. In Western Societies men are confused and selfish, women are self-centered and no longer want to be or know how to 'be a woman', with the consequence that nobody knows their role anymore; thus: child is treated like pet, pet is treated like child, woman like man, man like beast, mistress like gf, gf like wife, wife like esscourt, etc etc. What is K Kardashain but a courtesan?!? Yet she calls herself a 'model'! You see how far off we are from the simplicity of Confucius...?!?
Yes I think the world can be changed by people getting together against the individuation programmes of the government; a revolt of the proletaria like Marx put it. But change for what? At the end of the day we will get one thing changed, and there will be some flaw somewhere else inevitably. We will never be entirely satisfied. Some people will be, others will not. Some will be at the detriment of others. While a woman sits in front of a computer all day in the UK to work alongside her male counterparts somebody else is sewing her clothes in the third world at the same time. Clothes don't make themselves on their own - they come from somewhere! If you are not making them, then someone else is! This is the reality of things. The one has the material glimmer to boost her individuality, the other has humaneness but lack the material basis to boost her family happinness. Change is inevitable. It will happen. But not all will be happy at the same time and we will never be entirely happy with what we have either. This is why religions and sages again and again have come to the same conclusion: the only escape is within oneself, away from the material world. The problem with this argument is that not everybody is prepared for this leap...
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if it was Trosky who had succeeded Lenin, would he have been able to bring the revolution to the entire world? Would we by now be living in a 'stateless state'? A 'stateless society' where everybody would be truly free, liberated, undivided by religion, ethnicity etc? No rich, no poor, just one big giant community? It is when we look at it this way that we realise what the problem was with communism of this sort - an idealist utopian dream! Old Thomas Hobbes would be laughing in his grave - man is too evil for this!

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