Friday 13 May 2016

The unbearability of mainstream public discourse

I hesitate to call it unbearable - because it can be can be borne - but it is so harmful, so horrible to feel one's mind slipping into that world view.

It is everywhere and all the time - and requires active avoidance - it is of course in the mass media, and in government speeches, and in the workings of bureaucracies, and in mainstream charities and churches. Sit down in a meeting it is there; somebody giving a speech somewhere and it is there; at awards ceremonies (any kind of award, for anything - indeed awards are among the very worst situations: and modern zombies are extraordinarily fond of giving each other awards!) and one is certain to be confronted by it.

It is the metaphysics of the thing that gets me: we hear somebody in public life give a speech - and it is the world view that the speech comes-from that is most horrifying, rather than the specific elements. It is not so much the individual lies as the root dishonesty which hits home. And this dishonesty is composed of linked elements - such that the lies cannot be tackled one at a time - and the whole basis needs to be attacked; yet of course that is never permitted, is pooh-poohed as fine spun abstraction in contrast with Real Life.

There is also detectable a kind of demonic laughter behind it - somebody, somewhere is cackling with glee at the millions of people being subjected to pernicious, mind-eroding lies from official propaganda and corporate communications and woven into the best and most popular movies and TV shows and novels; soaking it it up, having their deep metaphysics restructured in the direction of hope-less despair enlivened by active destruction of the good (usually the destruction of a greater good by a lesser, as when some 'freedom' or 'rights' are used to rationalise and institutionalize resentment, hatred, and schadenfreude - in other words normal and dominant and universal Left/ Liberal/ Conservative/ Republican/ Libertarian socio-politics).

And how to cope with the fact that so many people seem to seek-out these occasions of horror - and wish to enforce them on others and structure their lives by them; and regard this as the main thing in life, the justification of life, the basis of a proper existence?

And the reluctance to snap-out-of-it; the truly superstitious terror of (even, especially, mentally) stepping out of line... I think of those hordes of middle-aged nice women who are doing the work of demons with a vaguely kindly motivation - pathetically manipulated and praised into assisting their own destruction; those narcissistic young men who live for the mirror - preening their bodies with weights and drugs, self-mutilating, turned-in upon their own self-image; those young women who seek, and get, attention-attention-attention - always and above all things; those older men who want nothing more than to be young, or appear to be young, or to behave asif young.

It is sad to reflect on the worthlessness of the usual, admired human existence in The West, because it is a chosen worthlessness - built-upon the active and impatient rejection of Goodness; a deliberate worthlessness, a worthlessness embraced and made into a philosophy of leaden-featured, dead-eyed, screeching triviality and waste.  

Sadness and anger are the reaction - sadness at the stupidity and self-deception; anger at the lack of resistance to stupidity on the one hand, and on the other hand anger at the sheer viciousness and excitement with which detectable-Goodness is mocked, infiltrated, subverted and macerated.


David Balfour said...

I assume you are not on facebook! And just as well really as I don't think you would approve. I entertain the idea of using it as a place to primarily share photos and commumicate with friends and family (some who live overseas and use fb) but also recently had the misguided notion of using it as a platform to stimulate spiritual discussions or move the narrative onto Christian themes. It was not well recieved. I can just about manage a few well-meaning Dalai Lama quotes from his page (yes he has a facebook page, bizarrely?!) But woe betide anyone who mentions the name of Jesus Christ and submits that Christianity might have anything positive to offer the world! Now, *That* is not acceptable at all! There is even a page specificially dedicated to mocking and tearing down Christianity with sarcastic humour, exploiting the misdemeanors of organised religion to the hilt and disorting the incredible aspects of the gospel stories. Clearly if some priests in the Catholic church have been exposed for Child abuse then *all priests* are de facto, personae non grata?! Or so the reasoning goes. I also note that no other religion or ideology (except perhaps the Tory party) is vilified openly in this way. To hate Christianity and vilify it is openly encouraged and applauded and based on the number of "likes" and positive comments on such posts and pages it is clear that most people are fantastically delighted to watch Christianity be degraded in this way and good riddance!! Frightening and sad times indeed.

I think I have now decisively reached the point that I am only wasting my time or exposing myself to undercurrents of intense, wicked hatred by being publically Christian in such a public forum. There is no point in arguing and trying to reason with people. All I can now hope for is to plant a few seeds of potential future faith that may mature and grow here and there but to do it gently and in passing. Head on doesnt work! I am too weak and the tide of apostacy too great. I believe the most favourable admonition is something like 'let the light of Christ shine through' in your life and people will see this above any tired arguement with an atheist who has already decided what they want to believe already and has a fixed position. The position that Christianity is evil, mad, harmful, hurtful indocrination that should be left in the middle ages.

Bruce Charlton said...

@David - There is also the distinct possibility that 'Head on' Christianity presented as an argument in a mainstream public forum is largely counter-productive - since Leftism (which means all mainstream politics) gets its energies from the fantasy of an almost overwhelming, all-pervasive, powerful 'fascist' conspiracy/ social-domination - which is trying to *take-away* the secular person's core reasons for living, those things which make a meaningless and futile life just-about-bearable (these reasons being mostly transgressive sex, strong media stimulation, and intoxication - or hopes thereof).

William Wildblood said...

For years I tried to persuade myself against my better judgement that there must be some good, albeit misconceived, misapplied and extremely limited, in what we now call leftism; that there was some compassion at the bottom of it or, at least, a desire to be compassionate. But I haven't done that for over a decade. Why give something the benefit of the doubt that is obviously based on the hatred of the good? The pity of it is that so many people meekly align themselves with something that is presumably diabolically inspired. Even if they don't inside themselves they are often browbeaten into going along with it externally, and of those that don't do that many fall into anger and hatred themselves so are caught anyway.

The only answer must be the Christ of the Gospels who is not necessarily the one paid token respect in many modern forms of Christianity such as the liberal versions you drew attention to recently, Bruce.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William. As a young culture vulture I felt a kind of responsibility to expose my mind to whatever was 'highly regarded' modern cultural critics. This resulted in a very great waste of time and energy, and some lasting and cumulative damage to my attitudes and interpretations.

For example, I would have felt obliged to watch the TV version of Game of Thrones which is so highly praised (as is the book series) - I would have appreciated the production values, scriptwriting, acting - and I would have been utterly sickened by the highly realistic, empathically-involving and maximally disgusting depictions of mutilation and torture. This would undoubtedly have done me harm, as I am sure it has damaged many millions of the viewers. I would not have recognized that the high quality of the drama does not excuse such depictions, but makes them manyfold more harmful - and I would not have recognized that this is calculated and deliberate.

The shockingness of modern evil is that so many, such talented and hardworking people are prepared to expend so much money and effort in subtly poisoning the minds of so many of the passively-consuming masses.

David Balfour said...

I wrote a long reply to this but annoyingly it doesnt seem to have posted when I clicked publish! Issues with google account...

To be brief:

Secular cuture is corrupt and getting worse every day!

How can we live in the world and not *be of the world*? Stop watching Game of Thrones? Stop talking about it? Refuse to let teenage children from watching it? But where should we move the line back to? Stop listening to rock music with lyrics that are bad or contain innuendo or references to unwholesome things! Should we burn the misguided record collections of our youth, purge our libraries of secular reading material? The path goes in two directions...the current path is going to a horrific place but where should we redraw the line? A bible and a hair shirt? Yes I am deliberately using hyperbole but as a new parent I am worries about how on Earth I can responsibly parent her and allow her to live in the modern world without going to live in a cave to avoid the tsunami of bad things that towers over us every day! It is genuinely frightening. It is easier to reform when one gets older. I find at 35 i dont really care so much about remaining in a peer group and so I can say that I am a Christian openly and try and be one without worrying as much about being despised and not invited to the next work social or whatever for being 'boring' but what are the teens 20 year olds of the world to do? I feel truely sorry for them because they are literally between a rock and a hard place. I suppose if they are lucky they could join a youth church social group or something but how many of those are left anyway?! The devil and his minions are doing very effective work nowadays. It is hard to understand why they have not yet been cleansed from the system?! Yes, they are potentially edifying as opposition to be overcome or learned from but things are really, really at an all time low!

David Balfour said...

To illustrate I grew up at a time when if you watched a Bond movie or another action movie of similar ilk the camera would cut to another scene when the bad guy got fed to a shark or something similar! But now there would be a 20 minute torture scene to show the deed itself in full focus, flesh torn from bones and wailing for mercy to boot! Why do people even want to see this? I find myself unable to watch modern fantasy dramas like GOT with a clear conscience precisely because of these kinds of debasements...

Ben said...

Well put David. All comments.