Societal hysteria (morning thoughts on groups, politics and the power of people)

Some thoughts on my mind today. Work is slow this week so I have a lot of free time, so this morning I got up early and researched some topics of interest. Looked more into this whole “histrionic” label, whether applied casually or as a psychiatric term, and read on a couple forums that swiftly reminded me why I cannot stand the psychiatric movement. Creates a huge clusterfuck when people start trying to pigeonhole and then categorically label human behaviors as “disorders,” begging the question of what truly can comparably be considered “normal” and who sets this standard? Normal = functional? Okay, but in what way? Functional in terms of keeping a job and paying bills on time? Functional in terms of maintaining long-term relationships with people? But what about when those we’re in relationships with are screwed up in their own ways as well?  lol  And really, who isn’t, or at least who couldn’t be perceived as such depending on who’s doing the scrutinizing?

Humans are a funny animal. We create these elaborate languages and complex social systems, but now awaken to being caged in by our own complicated constructs. We’re natural game players, but once the game is wholesale rigged we find ourselves competing over nonsense. People follow the money and then rationalize the ethics (or lack thereof) involved to match our decisions and choices. And we’re tribal-minded as a consequence of our evolutionary history, yet today tribes increasingly are big-scale, abstract political/ideological concerns where each “community” is composed of far-flung strangers who doubtfully will ever meet in person.

Game-changing times we live in. Yet there’s this pressure, this expectation that we each should be adapting without any hitch and rationality should rule the day. Nevermind that it’s an unrealistic prospect unbefitting of emotional, social creatures.

One thing I find interesting there is how tolerant we tend to be toward emotions that we appreciate or personally experience or that seem to further our own cause(s). Take, for instance, anger. It’s a volatile emotional response that can drive us toward taking action, though the actions we’re propelled toward in that state of mind very often do wind up being impulsive and even destructive. But people don’t mind so long as it seems to be pushing their own little cart on down the street. Movements tend to rely heavily on the anger of constituents to spread memes and to take a challenging stance against perceived opposition. Movements are also famous for playing on people’s emotions when it comes to in-group concerns, stoking a sense of injustice perpetrated specially against their members. That’s how movements gain and maintain momentum, and it’s one reason why feminism actively encourages its followers to perceive nearly everything as oppressively calculating against them — anything to keep the political movement appearing relevant.

Now we see men attempting to play that same sort of game. Outside of gender politics we see all other political groups operating in a similar sort of fashion, as well as religions. People screaming all over the place about being unfairly persecuted. Yet each group directs the focus of its members on blaming the members belonging to some other group, as if shutting them down would be the answer to all or at least most of our problems.  lol  Not likely, folks.

Maybe humans truly aren’t so good at comprehending complexities, not when there’s such a wide assortment bearing down on us. We like to pride ourselves in thinking we’ve achieved “progress” due to life being fundamentally overhauled, living in concrete jungles surrounded by technologies never before seen or even imagined. But where has it really wound us up at? Bunch of disconnected strangers frustrated by the feeling of having to compete with so many others in order to direct this mammoth vehicle we call a society. Not knowing who or what to trust or believe in, working to protect our own interests from being trampled by opportunists. Instructed that our primary role in life is to earn money, first and foremost, and then to spend it all on bills and bullshit. Experiencing a sense of powerlessness that grows more and more with each passing decade as millions more people are produced around the world, all of which represent more competition in this global playground. If you don’t want to play ball, rest assured that one of them will, so get back in line and learn to conform. That’s the message, loud and clear.

And what do we do about it? Well, we entertain ourselves to death in the face of it if we’re privileged enough to get away with doing so (as plenty of Westerners are). We attempt to psychoanalyze one another because so much of our attention has turned toward gaining control over and influencing one another, because one individual isn’t too powerful on his/her own. Gotta get others to walk and talk our way and to strive alongside us toward reaching aspirations (outlined and explained by the most charismatic amongst us). And if they won’t, then FUCK THEM — THEY’RE THE ENEMIES! So goes the mantra. They’re the obstruction in our path to imagined prosperity and equality or whatever it is we might esteem. Even if they’re not capable of stopping us, their inaction is unnerving to those with a plan to wage battle and push societal changes. Can’t suffer ignorant, lazy fools…

Hysteria ensues on many levels. People go ape in clamoring for what the want and feel they deserve. Horns are locked and blame is cast.

But when do we ever take the time to stop and look up and around, to take in a bigger view of what all is going on here? And even when we do, are we not left feeling powerless to do much about it? So then we may retreat and take solace in what comforts are at our disposal, doing our best to close our ears and eyes to the storm brewing outside our windows. Because can we really do to stop it? Pick a side and jump on board and pray these battles don’t lead to intensified forms of tyranny on down the road? Holler into the wilderness about what we see happening, only to be ignored or, once again, mistaken as an enemy of one faction or another? Hole up and refuse to produce kids since the future looks so worrisome and increasingly exploitative?

It’s a tough call that I suppose we each have to arrive at on our own accord. Been thinking lately about the role of activist and what that might mean for those of us disinterested in adopting some group identity. It begins with a question of what is worthy action and why, then how to go about it. But nowadays the only activism anyone seems to comprehend is squarely political, as if all must revolve around that sphere or otherwise be deemed an ineffective waste of time. Hmmm…

I’ll think more on it.

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