The tyranny of the new philistines.
They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want . . . they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that . . . that doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. That’s right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fuckin’ years ago. They don’t want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers . . . Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money. – George Carlin
Society, or the common good, as Chomsky called it, encourages people to focus on themselves and their own success. Programs such as public education and Social Security, which are now under attack, are based on a different perception. “They are based on the perception that we should care about other people….That’s a dangerous perception. It means you should be a human being and not a pathological creature,”
I was looking to see what new software was available to design printed circuit boards just now. My main criteria was for a package that would easily allow me to use a GUI to design the foot prints of new parts I may come across or old parts I may want to use or even ones I make myself. IE their physical characteristics and how they would fit on the board. I was not surprised to find than few of the packages even allowed this. Most relied on libraries of parts that come with the packages or supplied by the part manufacturers. So I will continue to use the one I have which does allow this even though it is lacking in some other areas. I can get around this.
This seems typical of today that if you want to be out of the mainstream….out of what has been determine as normal, you are at best out of luck.
Homogenized plain vanilla society of robotic programmed thinking and acting and speaking has become more and more institutionalized. And enforced by the police state as we are seeing. Step out of line and the man come and take you way.
And this brain washing and indoctrination begins in the schools. This was the main point of Norm Chomsky’s talk.
I was quite fortunate growing up. I was not really pushed in any one direction by either of my parents. Especially not by my mother who raised my brothers, sisters and I after my father passed away. She was an artist and her temperament and belief was to forge ahead in what every direction ones spirit and interests take. Quite the dichotomy of public education where one is classed in an either or situation. College bound or not. Male or female. And even after civil rights, white or not. And as Malvina Reynolds said in her song, destined for Little Boxes. With the primary focus is on personal gain and consumerism rather than cooperation, common good and concern for one’s fellows. Programmed sociopathy.
Even now the socialization process for US children is strictly slanted to bourgeois standards and geared towards security, consumption and materialist competition. It is a yoke not easily shed, which sadly later on often leads to desperation amidst a fulsome artificial happiness. Listening to that what cannot be thought of is lacking, preventing all access to an inner life. Individual materialist isolation unfortunately creates strangulated human souls. Any deviation from this set pattern is discouraged in pre-school children as being anti-social, nerdish and not mentally normal. Those who infamously broke away were those sensitive individuals who shielded themselves by eccentricity, chemical or alcoholic dependency gathering then in enclaves like Big Sur, San Francisco and the Village and if they could afford it, fled abroad.
Imagination is already silenced in small children when their abundantly produced toys of all description or type pre-empt the eagerly growing mind from wandering beyond the limits of daily reality. Thus isolated from an early age and carefully conditioned to conform to a competitive emptiness, as soon as they are removed from their familiar environment they feel defenseless and out of anxiety react with aggression. This appears daily within the Republic, where threats of unfamiliarity and displacement are counter acted immediately by violent acts and Big Sur was no exception despite its bohemian isolation.
The definition of totalitarian in Webster is: ‘designating of, or like a government or state in which one political group maintains complete control’. One could well expand this definition from the actual political structure of this Republic to a singular mind pattern that seems to define its people. In fact when a human being is fully dependent on outer rules of behavior and when these are internalized as the sole allowable mode of thinking, the individual’s personality is forced to function at the exclusion of any other potential human reality. Even when eagerly seeking enlightenment from the various gurus that came to ply their trade in California the participants in meditation were hampered by their inability to abandon the commands of their positivist indoctrination.
Capitalist reality is the intense conditioning to prevailing standards of a binary either/or social control, like the twin towers of the former World Trade Center in New York which were fully identical but symbolically signified together the indestructible monopoly of American economic power. Similarly the thoughts of US citizens appear to veer between two alternatives which are equal, like the Republican and Democratic parties, as Twiddle Dum and Twiddle Dee, fragile identical twin white eggs with attitude. Either/or exercises of by rote learned and from an early age on deliberately inculcated modes of thought that operate chiefly by what are erroneously called multiple choices, only signify a cosmetic binary difference. But these binary choices are firmly anchored in the underlying tough monolith of established capitalist values. Imagination is entirely suppressed as it would threaten the status quo of socially approved behavior. It prevents a functioning healthy democracy because that demands a manifold spectrum of untainted choices in one’s private as well as in one’s social life.
This totalitarianism of binary thinking is what keeps the Republic in business because its various cultural divergences are a strong centrifugal force. However it impoverishes the exploration of different realities and equally of all political discourse. You are either my comrade or my opponent, either complicit in creating profit or a ‘mark’ to be exploited, either a productive or an unproductive person and in all of these cases of fictitious alternatives the protagonists are unhappily tied into an unbreakable mental bondage. The question is how to successfully disrupt these chains of mechanical thought and how to liberate minds from false opposites. So far the totalitarian base for domination remains untouched. Only when the sheer illogicality of the present system becomes exposed by a slow attrition of these prefabricated beliefs can there be any hope for the struggle of what was already expressed in a Swiss revolutionary song of 1810: ”Die Gedanken sind frei, wer kann sie erraten …” (our thoughts are free, who can guess their content ?).
A rather harsh but fairly accurate description, I believe. Which is why this attack on education and the social safety net. With universities becoming more and more an indoctrination into a robotic business world and public schools attacked for teaching critical thinking skills. Where people would question our capitalistic system geared only toward the elites. The new philistines as it were.
What is ironic in this case is that these attacks are coming not only from the very rich but also from the bourgeoisie middle class and professionals as well. Those with college educations, which goes to show just how deep this indoctrination has gone.
I was lucky in that I had but a brief encounter with the planned suburban communities of boxes and was free to explore my interests in techie things unhindered, if not guided. And that I had given up on school as anything but a source of sometimes useful information. This of course made it difficult to fit into “normal society”, most of which I have come to loath. Free thinkers being the real enemy of such a society as has been shown by Brave New World and THX1138.
But all is not lost or gloom and doom. There are alternative communities and techies exploring new ways to use technology for community benefit. And learning how to make their own drones to keep an eye on big brother. Which big brother grudgingly admits they have little control over. People – few at first but more and more – talking more openly about throwing capitalism out the widow and trying something else. All flying under the radar, as it were. Free thinkers all. Even causing the so called liberals and progressives rancor, as they too have been indoctrinated with the capitalistic myth.
It was the free thinkers that brought us the arts and the technological advances and scientific advances. Robotic mediocrity only brings stagnation and indifference.