Saturday, 5 October 2013

Wholesomeness versus sordidness - in relation to ideas, bloggers and commenters

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There is a thing which I call wholesomeness that is an attribute of some people, places, books, movies...

Wholesome stuff is - perhaps - a low-level experience of transcendental Goodness, a recognition of goodness? And the opposite recognition of unwholesome or sordidness, although not always bad, makes us uneasy at heart.

And ought to make us uneasy, alert, on guard.

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The distinction applies to ideas, discourse, debate  and other similar stuff.

This also applies to blogs - and especially to the comment sections of blogs.

Far too many blogs are a thoroughly sordid environment - including the blogs of people who represent themselves as concerned with making a better world.

In so far as they are sincere in this concern, I would ask them: does the world really need more sordidness?

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Clearly, even the most unwholesome and disgusting people value wholesomeness at some level, because they operate by trying to present their enemies as unwholesome - indeed they present wholesomeness as disgusting, sinister, hypocritical and indeed the very worst kind of unwholesomeness.

This is, indeed, one of the standard tropes, a cliche even, of twentieth century novels, movies and TV; that the apparently wholesome people (the well behaved, bourgeois, married with family and Christian types) are actually the most vile and depraved people on the planet... and this fact is gradually or suddenly revealed over the course of the novel, movie or TV series.

Unwholesome is seen as authentic and adult - like Blue Stilton cheese, unwholesomeness is superficially disgusting, but the discerning palate recognizes it as the queen of cheeses.

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Anyway, my experience is that the feeling of wholesomeness is a reliable indicator of being in contact with good things, and that the feeling of unwholesomeness is like a warning bell.

Blue Stilton is an exception, and disgusting-seeming things nearly always are disgusting in reality.

But I mean in reality. I mean in direct personal experience.

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We live in a world of secondhand experience, and most of what we know about things comes from the descriptions of others - from the mass media especially, and also from official, economic and educational propaganda.

We also live in a world where the people who originate and propagate the secondhand descriptions are themselves mostly unwholesome - in the case of the mass media, the people who dominate public discourse are mostly very unwholesome indeed, and they operate in sordid and corrupting environments dominated by disgusting individuals (places such as the BBC).

These proudly-sordid people naturally convey unwholesomeness in their descriptions, and the more that we dwell in this secondary 'media' world, the less wholesomeness we encounter - indeed there may in practice be none at all.

So as we spend more and more time in the media world, the corruption of the mass media people spreads - and the sordidness taints their accounts of the wholesome world by intention and by association.

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I think we all have 'wholesome detectors', and sordidness detectors too, and I think they work pretty well most of the time.

But we need to bear in mind that the world views of truly sordid people are intrinsically very unreliable - and the internet is full of sordid bloggers and blog commenters; and some of these unwholesome people and places purport to be reactionary and some even claim to be Christian - and maybe a few of them are...

But they are sordid; and this taints their views on everything.

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The trouble is that wholesomeness is humble, while sordidness is attention-grabbing; so the more sordid people tend both to grab the megaphone and shout things that are hard to ignore.

And one of the main things they say, is that wholesomeness is false, hypocritical and dull - and this is surely correct in some instances, but we should never take their word for it.

We need to experience for ourselves who is wholesome and who is not: exercise those wholesome-detectors!

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