Public discourse and political pressures in our most-modern era

Increasingly I find myself at a loss in comprehending and dealing with people in general. Some days it acutely feels like a deficit on my end, and other days I’m convinced we’re all flat-out going mad.

We humans do love to judge everything under the sun, that is true. Along with that comes all the labeling and divvying up so as to try to make sense of this world as we’re perceiving it at any given time. We humans also adore control and power, that too is true. When we cannot or will not focus on controlling ourselves we’re extremely prone toward exerting control over one another. This becomes manifest in myriad ways.

We humans are an ordering species — it’s simply what we do. We build and create and construct and (re)design. Just in our genes to be this way. We crave certainty and fear losing control over our environment and nearly everything within it. We wish to breathe easily in knowing that what we are surrounded by is rendered predictable, understandable, reliable. There’s comfort in knowing where we stand and being able to have faith in the fruits of human ingenuity.

In this era of technological sophistication like the world has never known we’re capable of manipulating reality to suit our ambitions, desires, dreams, and whims in ways that the ancients undoubtedly would envy and be awe-struck by.

However, Nature has its own agenda that has very little to do with our own. Paradoxes abound everywhere we care to seek, opposing effects always arise (though not necessarily in equal measure), and the law of entropy remains an inescapable fact of life.

Life orders and creates while simultaneously eroding and destroying, ceaselessly seeking some new form of equilibrium.

Yet we humans remain terrified of chaos and disorder and thereby are forever aiming to concoct more intricate forms of ordered reality in hope of them proving resilient enough against natural forces so that we might finally arrive at the formation of some sort of great and lasting “heaven on earth” (or something secular to that effect) where our perception(s) of logic may rule the day, comforts can be regularly and easily attained by the masses, and a sense of widespread peace may be granted unto us. Or so goes the common narrative we keep telling ourselves and one another, year after year, generation after generation, particularly now when our technological prowess and its future potential appears so promising.

We like to think the sky is the limit, that perhaps we’re a species destined to god-like status in due time.

I tend to think we’re deluded, but…

Onward we rush with passionate fervor, having by now established massive nation-states and global economies along with extremely complex political/legal systems. We’ve also been blessed with escalating intellectual and technical resourcefulness, paving the way to increasingly labyrinthine conceptualizations and alienating abstract thought, that allowing the weaving of the most-modern economic/political, socio-psychological, and philosophical narratives better known to us today as ideologies. Evermore complicated and complicating, to be sure. All of which ensures new and fertile battlegrounds for exerting control and influence over one another.

Surely many mean well. This isn’t necessarily some sinister trick humans aim to play on one another. And yet the consequences progressively prove mind-numbing, stultifying, puzzling.

All can be rationalized in the name of Forward Progress and Advancement

Complexities everywhere we turn, to the point of absurdity. Reasoning and rationality give way to sophistry as we strive to convince ourselves and one another that we actually know what we’re doing here, that this or that ideal is proper and good and in need of being adopted unilaterally (because it will be best for us all!), that there must be Order and Law applied in all cases and to all areas (no stones left unturned! lest we open ourselves back up to confusion and chaos and disruptions). This Theory versus that Theory. This supposed Truth versus that one. Political camps locking horns as their adherents scramble to bully and berate others into accepting these “facts” and preferences versus those lesser values and supposed lies.

Up, up and out we build our kingdoms by way of legal sanctioning, formalized educational centers, feats of engineering and scientific innovations, catastrophic agents of war,  material wonders of mind-bending variety — all balanced precariously on our (seemingly) reasonable and rational intellectual scaffolding. Though we forever fight and feud over what’s of greatest importance and what else is being unfairly neglected, what changes ought to be made, what consequences are proving unbearable as a result, etc., etc.

The barks are endless: “Do something!” “Join our cause!” “See things as we do and accept our prescription for righting these (perceived) wrongs!” But it’s been our doings that have brought us to this point in the first place. Plus, there are a multitude of conflicting claims and prescribed courses of actions being proffered these days. For one course to be adopted, countless others will retort that they are being rejected and minimized, possibly even victimized as a result. Is there any “winning” in such a situation as this? Is there any way to truly please even a fraction of people when this is how the gameboard has been arranged?

More importantly, is this game, as it’s come to be ordered and its rules determined, even worth playing? Regardless of what some may allege and enjoy debating about, are there not alternatives likely to prove to be more productive, or at least less schizo, methods for approaching life and living?

One would like to think. Because, as it stands now, everywhere one turns there appear to be symbols of provocation positioned to grab our attention, to incite a sense of guilt and/or fear, before it then presses in with calls for us to alter our ways in accordance with this movement’s/group’s/party’s/ideology’s advocated worldview, or else be scorned and harassed and identified as their enemy. What middle ground or third way exists in circumnavigating or otherwise restructuring this irksome game people insist on playing?

Become a faithful adherent or else be deemed a cretin by other faithful adherents — what other option is available? Join and align with this or that cause and then wind up disdained as an adversary by those who ideologically oppose them and their presumed mission. And if you join none, you are considered by nearly all to be hopelessly confused and lost and only deserve to be taken up time with when one such faction or another periodically ramps up its recruiting efforts.

It’s all rather hilarious, if only the social fallout weren’t proving so disturbing. Yet so many toil on in these roles, imagining themselves righteous warriors in whatever cause they identify with at any given time, viewing all the rest to be obstructions along the way to what they regard as proper Progress. Matters not if one’s political ideology leans Left or Right or even claims to be Moderate, if it’s gender/sex-centric or race-specific, economically-motivated or defended as most politically expedient. Doesn’t matter at all — the strategies employed and long-term outlook remain similar, with the ill-conceived ends envisioned sharing in common means requiring enhanced conformity among the masses in order to operate effectively and efficiently in accordance with the supreme ideal. That conformity can either be brought about through education (er, propaganda) or by law and the threat posed by the foot soldiers paid to enforce the new directives or by good old-fashioned social pressure accompanied by fear of ostracism. Typically a combination thereof.

So, bend willingly or be bent by others — that is the message of this Age, perhaps no different than in any other Age that came before other than how now—possessing extraordinary capabilities through vast networks and public broadcasting across various mediums to proliferate such agendas as well as to monitor and tweak levels of acceptance within populations—the threat has expanded (and continues expanding) insidiously and ubiquitously.

Seems that that capability unto itself is the most unnerving hazard of modern life…regardless of what persons claim to believe or what is professed to ultimately be in the best interest of society.

And with that comes a sense of not being able to contend in this battle without losing. Because, for as rational as we humans like to think we are, the proof of our limitations, both in terms of deep insight as well as foresight, are historically legendary. Tragically so. Today can claim no exception, what with examples visible in all directions, high and low, ever-mounting in number and magnitude of (generally unforeseen) consequences.

It’s also a wonder of how might our own human natures react in the face of what we, whatever our intentions, are cobbling together in this latest millennium. Widespread sanity has never been guaranteed.

Fallible beings — may we never for a second forget that at the core this is what we are and what we will always be. Blame Nature if you must take issue with natural constraints.

Where are we dragging one another now? A reasonable question to ask. And one wonders how might Nature respond, as it cannot help but do in its own fantastic fashion.

Yet we plod along, believing ourselves to know what we are doing, believing our group/movement/ideology/etc. has the next best answer or the truest and clearest vision for a new and improved future. If only all others could get behind this or that conviction or prescribed course of action, then our dream of a utopian society would finally prove possible! It is those heathens to blame for keeping this wonderful (potential) reality from coming into being! Those dreaded enemies of ours and whosoever grants them any power, those despicable scoundrels undeserving of rights nor liberty so long as they keep on mucking up society as they always have! If they could be defeated, or eliminated altogether, our lives would be better off for it! So the rabbling goes…

Where it all ends? Nobody knows. Utopian fantasies are heralded as being on the horizon, but are they really? What is being asked of us in order to live this way? It appears that all idealistic schemes exact conformity as a (pre-)condition so as to be brought into existence. And does that not in some roundabout fashion promise to eventually cater to the lowest common denominator? Considering how not all are capable of being brought up to one universal standard of excellence, nor will all ever possess equal intellectual aptitude. Does this not elicit concern over who or what will eventually win out in calling the shots from on high and whether the rest of us will truly benefit from adapting to its new demands, assuming we’d even want to? And will such a choice even be granted?

Sounds like the same ol’ song and dance up through the ages, doesn’t it? Like no matter how much things change, some parts are determined to remain the same. And on and on go the gnashing of teeth and casting of blame and radiating feelings of tortured malcontentment, and so on and so forth…

What a tiring topic to feel the need to keep returning to. *sigh*

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3 Responses to Public discourse and political pressures in our most-modern era

  1. Wyrd Smythe says:

    “Like no matter how much things change, some parts are determined to remain the same.”

    Because, at root, it’s always humans doing human things, and we humans haven’t changed (except for having better technology) in thousands of years. Ancient Greek plays deal with the same bullshit (on the human level) we do now. We easily find ourselves in those ancient stories.

    Our hope as a species lies in our growing the fuck up. (Hey, it could happen. You never know.)

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