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Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Social Isolation and Perfidy
parmi les hances ambedeus **
In the Beginning, I was encouraged to embrace my Intelligence, and it’s corresponding Idiosyncrasies.
As a precocious child, I was told about how the world was my oyster…and about success and bootstraps, and College….
Later on, after I had taken the advice to heart, and had Embraced my Smarts and their corollaries…(Weirdo)…the Role Models and Wise Ones, had changed their minds.
Shot through my time at school, from kindergarten, on, was what I now can Identify as “Alienation”…
I embraced it, indeed. (imagine yourself as a literate kindergartner at a Lutheran school, who knows not only the names of all the Dinosaurs, but the Greek Roots of those names and has a rudimentary grasp of Evolution, Plate Tectonics, as well.)
The more my Folks backpeddled, the more I charged ahead…Individuation….Defining myself, with little input from the community I found myself in…except in the Negative(well, I’m Not a Redneck…or a Jock…and I make a rather poor Teacher’s Pet….)
This was hardwired, by the time of the Divorce…and ML’s dad burning their house down(almost a bigger deal than my own Folk’s divorce)
By the time I left Mom’s, under a cloud, I was already well on the way to Unusual.
Concurrently, at this period, was my difficulties with girls…I was already their Virtual Brother.(sigh)….providing a shoulder while they wailed about their Junior High Love Lives….then High School Love Lives…
When ML moved to T-Ball, Freshman Year…that was the biggest blow, yet.
My only True Friend.
I followed, a year and a half later…but it was too late.
Our Paths had irrevocably diverged.
(around the beginning of this period is when I met and fell in love with “Her”)
That summer when I moved to T-Ball, ML was gone somewhere…and I knew No One…I rode my Dad’s bike all over town…alone, and stared at.lol….which is, largely, the story of my life, since then.
I glommed onto the Stoner Set, as they were more open, and tolerant.
There was still the Girl Problem…I was still the Brother…and, admitting this to myself, reckoned I’d go whole Hog in that direction…perhaps one of my Sisters would take notice. Chivalry.
This was a minor reason for my career as Knight Errant…rescuing Damsels, and the like…the major reason was that I considered it the Moral, Right thing to do…
I was a Good Brother, I guess…
But, somewhere in my mind, I hoped for some recompense…the Lady’s Favour, as it were…which was not forthcoming.
I grew further apart.
I Rebelled….and was Cast Out.
At almost the same time, I attempted to Save the Wrong Girl…and due to her Powerful Relatives, was
Cast Out, even More.
So I learned to Drink.
…and found that there is an even more remote region of Outer Darkness!!
By the time I, finally, abandoned my Home Towns…I was Habitually On the Run.
In Huntsville, I began to think of all this mess in a Byronic sense…with a bit of Quixote(and Dean and Sal) thrown in, for leavening.
But H-Ville was still just a T-Ball with a University(and Prisons!)…the Brief Flowering of Miami Apartments, notwithstanding.
My Exodus, to Austin was with all of this, in mind…
Soon, I began to fear that there was no place, for me.
First Real Job in Austin(Olive Gdn doesn’t count.Ugh!), was a Frat Hangout…
I had had dealings with such creatures, in H-Ville, of course…usually by playing their parties.(the Help)…but this was different. I observed, with clinical detachment, their antics…from “the Line” through the little Kitchen window, through which I sent the food(Kitchen, as Blind. They appeared to not even notice my existence.). They all had gold and platinum cards…nice cars…and an almost guaranteed Leg Up…and they Knew this.
I’ve never been exactly envious of such folks…I have never wanted what they had…I hated them, because their Ease translated directly into My Hardship…they were just facile continuations of the Paradigm(I had yet to read Marx)…devoid of substance.
”Hollow Men”, made flesh.
They would fit nicely in whatever Niche had been prepared for them.
My time in Austin…at least at work…was spent like this; observing the Mundanes.
Then I’d go home to my then-wife’s Circus of Strays….
Little Intellectualism to be found, there…although I did have a few acquaintances who allowed me to indulge myself in philosophical rumination, from time to time.
But no where to Belong.
As the story goes, I ended up way out here; and still…no where to Be.
So I know a thing or two about high-fallutin concepts, like “Alienation”, and “Social Isolation”.
Aside from Wife and Mom, the only friends I have are “Online”…and thus exist mostly in my mind.(!)
I suppose that I should try to get used to my current state.
Hot Cousin works at a giant insurance outfit…
Works all the time, and parties the rest…from what I can tell, most of the folks she interacts with are from Work…those that aren’t, are Old Friends,and the like…and seem to serve as Compartmentalised Rocky Islands…just offshore from the Big Island of Work…which is one of the things I’m pointing at.
I talk about “NeoFeudalism”, a lot….and there it is. The Giant Insurance Corporation has several Gyms, Cafeterias, Coffee Shops, Baseball Teams, Softball Teams, Squash and Tennis Courts, and a Swimming Pool.
There is ample “Greenspace” on “Campus”…numerous Hike and Bike Trails…it’s a “Community”…complete with it’s own Dialect(Jargon). The “Associates” are (tacitly) encouraged to “keep it in the Family”…to put a somewhat ugly point on it…
Manorialism, for the 21st Century.
Friends today are , largely, people one knows from Work….with the occasional call from the college roommate, or high school knockaround.
Our Social Lives are, increasingly, Defined by our Jobs…and the Systems that, along with ourselves, they are a part of. Add to this the Omnipresent Media Barrage…what to Do, what to Think…how to look…how to behave…what to Buy, in order to Be Happy…(because You Deserve It!)
(with the recent, exponential rise in Job “Displacement”…unemployment…and the like…I expect a concurrent Rise in PsychoSocial “Issues”…don’t know how to measure it: perhaps incidence of Mass Shootings, “Domestic Abuse”, or Prescriptions for Elavil…)
What I gleaned from Corporate Kitchens(like Olive Garden), was 1. it ain’t “Cooking”…rather, it is microwaving frozen food(compare to the lavish commercials!, of authentic food lovingly prepared, , by real chefs!!!)(Disentangle that Reality!)
2. It attempts to be a “Community”…Pep Rallies, Special Dialect, Emphasis on how all the “associates”, top to bottom, are on the Team….(again, tacitly) discouraged from interacting with one’s counterparts across the street, at Red Lobster. A Facsimile of a Tribe.
Anodyne. Soulless, but with the appearance of Soul.
One of the defining Features of “PostModernism”, is this Disintegral Disjointedness…Isolation, among an apparent overabundance of Choices. Orwell and Huxley (and Atwood, etc etc…and, don’t forget the Matrix!) are used as Metaphor to warn this or that Faction of the Doom to Come…if they vote the wrong way, buy the wrong product, get the wrong degree, or fail to do any of this, and more.(missing the various Points, completely!)
Meanwhile, We are already There. It’s 1984, the Year Zero…it’s Founder’s Day, and we should Celebrate, in our Pods.
The question that nags me…how much of this Isolation is Intentional.
As I’ve said, after 60+ years of increasing Credulity…of Gullibility… of our ever growing Inability to determine Objective Reality…it seems impossible to place Blame for this Condition.
Like Corporate Persons as AI….is it simply the Logic of the System…Automatic?
Is there some powerful Cabal of Social Scientists and Mass Psychologists, engineering these things?
As the last two “notes”(10&11), below, indicate…Our Isolation sure seems to have some benefit for the Top Tier…(by keeping us as fragmented and confused as possible)
But, this does not, of necessity, mean that there is overarching Intention.
Similarly, Sports…especially the Professional Variety…but it’s not limited to the large scale exhibitions.
Mason and Brady no longer get together for the Autumnal Gladiatorial Exercises(Football…they’re in different categories, now), but the rivalry lingers on, from the time when they did.
Fights routinely break out in “Sports Bars”, at sundry “Playoffs”…and other “Important” Games.(oxymoron!!)
Even Riots (!!) are not uncommon.
Folks care so much about the fortunes and accomplishments of millionaire strangers, running with balls, that they will Riot!!!...but not Vote.
Again….how much of this is Intentional? Some, I’m sure…PTB like to pretend they’re in Charge, after all. Most is likely a simple function of Overchoice and Complexity, and the Dis-Integrating Trends operant in (Post)Modern Society(family splintering, suburban isolation, the end of the Career Track Jobs of the middle of last Century, with Pensions,Stability and adequate Wages.) PTB merely takes advantage of this Function.
From link #10;” To oversimplify, one might say that a new determinant
of alienation has emerged, in the course of the
twentieth century, which is not the result of an
insufferable lack of freedom but of an overdose of
`freedom,' or rather, unmanageable environmental
And:” According to Schacht, one cannot
possibly be involved with `society' as one can with
`community,' but only with some of the social formations
within it: i.e., specific processes and institutions,
that definitely cannot be considered to stand as parts
to a whole. Such involvement is necessarily selective
and limited, and depends on individual preferences,
character, and possibilities, sometimes even on a
random and unique series of accidents.”
And:’ The subjects themselves unfortunately have
very little say in the matter, whether lying on the
analyst's couch or standing on the barricades, and
may or may not be or become aware of their alienation,
and may even..rightly or wrongly..deny being afflicted
This is the biggest benefit, of all, to the Ruling Elite….whomever they are: We don’t Know…
Us serfs do not know that we’re serfs…Enamored by the Wall of the Cave, we lash out at the odd rabble rouser, the random Thinker, who intrudes on our enjoyment (as far as we can tell…) of the simulacrum.
From #11:” :” The message contained in THE MATRIX thus is a sustained attempt to get across the meaning of "Temet nosce" (in the Oracle's kitchen, above the door): "Know thyself." We are not capable of recognizing who we are, what we are truly capable of, if we allow the constraints and controls that delimit societal practices, to define "our selves." We cannot "free our minds," and our selves, on our own, independently of others – but, in fact, are dependent on the help of others, to lead, or "trick," us along the path of "self"-discovery. Following this path may be the most subversive activity to engage in, today”
AND:”“ Modern societies continue to hover in a state of suspended animation–allowing for economic and cultural changes, while protecting the social structure and political and organizational systems of power against the implications and consequences that ought to result from those economic and cultural changes.”
And:”Concepts like capitalism, democracy, freedom , and modernity, have become labels that highlight what is to be explained and understood, rather than involving explanatory value. Without determined efforts to maintain a process of reflection upon the historical origins of such concepts, their original meaning in relation to concrete socio-historical conditions and their subsequent, successive transmutations alongside concrete, nationally specific, social, political, economic and cultural changes until the mid-twentieth century, these concepts are barriers against, rather than tools for, explaining and understanding societal realities in their contingent specificity.”
This last is a somewhat dense explanation for the Texas 2012 GOP Platform’s inclusion of a Plank against “Critical Thinking”….meaning the pseudo-neomarxist Frankfurt School variety(13).( while stupidly omitting that distinction,(lol)thus setting themselves up for howls of ridicule) (perhaps they feared that if they were so explicit, some of their Herd would go and read up on the Frankfurt School, appreciate Sense, and leave the GOP.Ha!)
It took me a long time to figure out that the Ostraca (ὄστρακα) had been thrown…that I was unwelcome, back “home”. Not only were my Folks obviously tired of the game….Dad, off in his new life…Mom, with her Belligerent Eunich…but the Society, itself, had no use for me.
My Drunkenness was an excuse…and it was probably a good one. But Psychotic Inebriation was not the whole picture…I caught glimmers of it long before the Drink became a problem. The local Powers that Were didn’t want me around…”too much trouble”…meaning …what? Disruption? Certainly…But there was something more. A Fat Cop told me…as he was “booking” me for “PI” towards the end of my time there,…he said,” I hate people like you”…Not having much to lose, I asked why…”Because you threaten everything we stand for (meaning the town, if not the Civilisation)…you’re too smart…you read the wrong books…and get other kids to read the wrong books…and it just causes Problems…you’re not Moral, not Civilized”….
I’ve rarely spoken of this little interlude of candor…but it has nagged me. Back then, (and for the most part, since!) I never thought of myself as any kind of Threat…indeed, I considered myself a Paragon of Americanism! I was Fighting for Truth, Goddammit! For Freedom!
Looking back, now…we were both right…the Fat Cop, and I….and the two sides to the story were mutually incompatible. They, and the Principality of the School,etc., had been afraid that I’d start a Revolution…an Uprising. LOL.(VP Rick told me as much, while watching the Dogs search my Car, maybe 5 years before Fat Cop. I laughed it off, then.)
The Fat Cops, and the Cheerleading Suits in Corpworld, and the Hair Police, and all of the other Banal(Arendt) mechanics and gears and cogs in the Great Machine…have Won.
All of this will only get worse…because the vast Majority have lost the ability to Think…have lost the Need to Think…
And all of Us, the unhappy few who have, somehow, retained such a Need, and such an Ability…are Isolated…Fragmented…Leaderless…Community-less…save for the odd Arkansas Valley, or “Virtually”, which is Inadequate(if not Pathetic). We watch from the sidelines, from the woods, as our Civilisation Falls into Darkness…
Again, from #11:” We cannot "free our minds," and our selves, on our own, independently of others – but, in fact, are dependent on the help of others, to lead, or "trick," us along the path of "self"-discovery. Following this path may be the most subversive activity to engage in, today”
**”pierced through the ‘thigh’, with a Lance”.(see:Amfortas)