Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The basic problem with so-called "society"

The underlying and unrecognized problem with "society", is the fact that it is not primarily a society at all, but an (artificial, socioeconomic) environment, which state and economy developed over the centuries to facilitate the self-exploitation of, to the main advantage of power, wealth and privilege.
From a human-evolutionary, i.e. Darwinian, perspective it is easy to understand why this should be the case, but massive social, political and personal taboos - the product of a prodigious "prime-ape" brain that evolved to interpret reality (its environment) to its own, now perverted, Darwinian advantage - have thus far prevented this, deluding us into seeing state and economy as serving society, rather than exploiting it.
They DO serve society, of course, and we ALL totally depend on them (for order, security, income, products and services), but as a shepherd serves his flock, which isn't primarily for the flock's sake, but for his own and/or his employer's sake, for the meat and wool the flock provides and can be exchanged at market for MONEY, the most versatile form of POWER, the pursuit and exercise of which (in all its multifarious forms) is what Homo sapiens' primordial struggle for survival and (reproductive) "success", misplaced and perverted in the artificial environment of human civilisation itself, has essentially been reduced to.
If our civilisation is to survive, we must recognise and develop an understanding of this, because it is the root cause of the problems (social, political, economic and environmental), which, unless resolved, will put an end to us.
Currently, virtually everyone still looks to either the state or the economy (or usually a combination of both) to solve "society's" problems, but they are utterly incapable of doing so, since they themselves are the primary cause of these problems. Only it is not in the state's or the economy's (capital's) perverted Darwinian self-interest (in facilitating the pursuit and exercise of power) to recognise this. And because our dependency causes us to identify our own interests with them, our brains prevent us from recognising it too.
One might reasonably doubt that there is a solution, since "society" and the power structures of state and economy which serve and exploit it have never fundamentally been any different to the way they are now. It is just that in the past "society's" privileged elites were not nearly so large or numerous, and the overall impact on the natural environment was far smaller. Now, our collective impact is totally unsustainable and rapidly leading to disintegration of the globalised economy it can only temporarily support.
Of one thing I am sure: if there is to be any hope at all of us (our civilisation) surviving this present century, we must quickly recognise and develop an understanding of the situation we are in (and its Darwinian nature), instead of continuing to deceive ourselves into believing that we can carry on more or less as we are.
It is a very scary situation we are in (another powerful force deterring us from facing up to it), but we need to be scared - terrified! - not necessarily for our own sakes, but for the sake of our children and grandchildren. Even if we cannot be sure of success, we should at least face up to the challenge. That is the very least we (who have had it so good in our lifetimes) owe to them, and to our forebears, who endured and achieved so much for OUR (their children's and descendents) sakes, but for whom state and economy couldn't give a monkey's. On the contrary, anyone making too specific a reference to them is likely to be accused of xenophobia and racism.
The political left and right are not really so different from each other as they like to imagine. Both are intent on maintaining and/or changing the socioeconomic environment to suit themselves. The political right want a state that largely restricts itself to protecting and enforcing individual property rights, which is where their main interests lie, while the political left want a state which gets involved in all aspects of society, because that is where their interests tend to lie. With both sides insisting, of course, and no doubt sincerely believing themselves, that their own interests correspond with those of society at large, since what really characterizes the human brain is not its (hugely exaggerated) rationality, but its capacity for rationalization and self-deception in pursuit of narrow, short-sighted and often perverted or totally misconceived self-interests.
No political party or movement, to my knowledge, has the even the foggiest notion of our true situation and thus of how we might yet save ourselves. All are blindly intent, no matter how sincerely and well-intentioned, on leading us to oblivion.
Having painted such a bleak - but, I'm afraid, only too realistic - picture of our situation, in my next post I will present some of my ideas (which are far from fully developed) on how, once recognised, we might face up to this existential challenge.

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