We all know a bunch of deep stuff and are trying to learn more. We know so much more deep stuff than we used to yet often find it difficult to share what we know with family and long time friends. Many times because of the new knowledge […] we call ourselves conscious and our family and long time friends unconscious. I find these terms degrading and elitist. In any case, we then move to create new circles of acquaintances based on our new standards. There are many good reasons for this. There are also many consequences of this.
One of the consequences of this is our own separation from our family and long time friends. In addition to that, so-called people who have studied under one teacher or system of deep stuff sometimes disbelieve others and get into arguments with others who have studied under a different teacher or system of deep stuff. The separation continues ad infinitum.
The following paragraph was written in 1944. Check how the process of isolating us began many years ago and has grown exponentially with the advent of the internet.
Isolation by Communication
Modern communications media has an isolating effect; this is not a mere intellectual paradox. The lying words of the radio announcer become firmly imprinted on the brain and prevent people from speaking to each other; the advertising slogans for Pepsi Cola sound out above the collapse of continents; the example of movie stars encourages young children to experiment with sex and later leads to broken marriages. Progress literally keeps people apart.
The little encounters in railroad stations or banks enabled clerks to talk and joke with their colleagues and customers. The glass windows of modern offices and the great halls in which innumerable employees sit down together and can easily be supervised by the public and managers prevent private conversations and moments out of time. In administrative offices the taxpayer is now protected against time wasting by employees. They are isolated in the collective system. But the means of communication also isolates people physically.
Railroads have given way to private automobiles, which reduce acquaintanceships made during journeys to contacts with hitchhikers – which may even be dangerous. People travel on rubber tires in complete isolation from each other. The conversations in their vehicles are always identified and regulated by practical interests.
The families in specific income brackets spend the same percentage (of money) on housing, movies, and cigarettes as the statistics prescribe; the themes of conversations vary with the category of vehicle. When visitors meet on Sundays or holidays in restaurants whose menus and rooms are identical at the different price levels they find that they have become increasingly similar with their increasing isolation.
Communication establishes uniformity among people by isolating them.
From the Dialectic of Enlightenment by Horkheimer and Adorno; pp.221-222.
Originally published in 1944 © Continuum Pub. NY 1994
The above was written in 1944. Think of the progress we have made since 1944. Think of how great our isolation has become since 1944. They speak of “the example of movie stars encourages young children to experiment with sex and later leads to broken marriages.” Throughout the first half of the 20th century young men and women were expected to marry before living together or having children. Shacking up was socially frowned upon. It was called living in sin. During those times it seemed that street hustlers and entertainers, especially movie stars, were the main people living together without being married.
Ordinary working people who had children without marrying were the worst offenders. The entire community felt they set a bad example. Scientific progress made startling advances in contraceptives after 1945. Birth control pills were made available in the USA only to married women in1965 and made legally available to single women in 1972. In 1973 abortion became legal everywhere in the USA.
It is now 2008. In less than thirty-five years hundreds of years of socially supported behaviors that promoted stable family life have been destroyed. The entire apparatus of this society promotes increased sexual activity among all and especially young people. Parents now encourage their young teenage daughters and sons to postpone getting married until after they each make enough money to raise children without economic assistance from their mate. As young adults they do not want to have children together and they don’t want to put their money together. Young people no longer wish to build a life together.
The basic foundation of the marriage contract has been turned on its head. The goodness or badness of the situation is not the point being raised. Many of the abstract concepts we observed as objects that were real and tangible in order to sustain marriages have been altered. Many abstract concepts that were previously considered false are now considered true. The marriage contract has weakened considerably due to an all-pervading pressure shift. The strength of the bond between family members has also weakened.
We communicate with people all over the world on video screens thinking we are establishing greater connectivity with diverse populations. Is this true? What standards set the parameters for our personal interactions? For many people it is their college alma mater and the friends they made while in college, their income level, their job, and the location of their home. The members of the diverse populations of the world with whom we communicate hold values and objectives similar to our own. They are not different from us in the things we hold important to our lives.
As social beings we must discuss our interests with others in order to maintain a grip on reality. Many of the abstract concepts we used to observe as objects that were real and tangible in order to maintain strong bonds within a family have been altered. Family members that do not quite fit the same standards you now observe are subtly, naturally phase shifted to a secondary level of personal interaction. This is not a slam on highly compensated overachievers. Low compensated underachievers give the same reaction. To discuss our interests with others in order to maintain a grip on reality we reach across the internet.
Horkheimer and Adorno stated, “When visitors meet on Sundays or holidays in restaurants whose menus and rooms are identical at the different price levels they find that they have become increasingly similar with their increasing isolation.” WOW! In 1944 most people waited until Sundays or holidays to eat out at a restaurant.
In 2008 many people eat out at restaurants everyday. Next time you’re out and about check out the people in your local fast food restaurant. Just go inside to see how they dress, listen to their conversation, and observe their interactions with each other. Now try the same thing at another fast food restaurant in your city located a similar socioeconomic area then go to one in a different socioeconomic area of your city.
When I did this I observed similarities in physical characteristics and similarities in the behavior and interactions of customers at all the fast food restaurants. Make the same observations at several exclusive restaurants in your city. There will be similarities between the patrons of different exclusive restaurants as well.
Not surprisingly I found more differences between patrons of exclusive restaurants and customers of fast food restaurants. The reduction in diversity on socioeconomic level more than cancels the increase in diversity on racial, ethnic, and national levels.
You and I are communicating on the internet. We are, at this moment, using this technology for a higher purpose. Be that as it may […] the most popular and profitable destinations have consistently been pornographic sites. Men and Women who go to those sites spend time and money and emotions and elaborate fantasies creating the perfect love. Doesn’t that indicate that something is at least a little bit warped in male/female interactions?
Warped male/female interactions warp interactions within the family. Our two parent-two child nuclear family does not possess the accumulated energy and wisdom to positively utilize the myriad data and knowledge that society has so beneficently placed before us. We miss the extended family. The extended family was the basis of society and culture for thousands of years. Now, since the advent of radio, TV, movies, and the internet it has crumbled under the weight of social, economic and mental pressures artificially created by amorphous state bureaucratic processes in service to the military/industrial/political complex further contributing to our isolation.
As individuals what can we do? Well first, what have we done? Have we done anything to replace or rebuild the thousand years old biological extended family? Yes, as in the example above, we’ve created pseudo-family units based on our jobs, our education, our scholarly interests, our religious interests, and our specific housing location. All of these areas are controlled by the bureaucracy and contribute to the further dissolution of the extended family in particular and the nuclear family specifically.
In western society we have allowed our means of communication to isolate us according to our desires. Many of the abstract concepts we used to observe as objects that were real and tangible in order to maintain similar desires within a family have been altered. Our increasingly specific desires separate members within a nuclear family from each other. Children think they know more than their parents and parents think their children are disrespectful towards their elders. Even if you believe your children are on the right track when you critique a few things about their friends, associates, and peers the division continues.
You can take issue with the above examples but try not to criticize either the examples or me. Think about the concept for a moment. You may find several examples in your own life.
This is not a black thang. This is not a conscious vs. unconscious thing. This is certainly not a democrat vs. republican thing. Everyone is feeling the shift and stuff is chaotically breaking down haphazardly.
Another example: Tattoos look great, yet they have always been a symbol of accomplishment for achieving certain levels of accomplishment in rites of passage ceremonies conducted by the Elders of the community or the Elders of a particular group (the Yakuza come to mind). But here in the West people get tattoos just because they look good. We are inking up our bodies from head to toe for individual and/or group meanings that are incomprehensible to the Elders of the community. Most Elders do not have a clue why people even want to put ink in their skin!
Shifting modes of communication have led to a shift in community groupings that have led to further divisions in the family groupings which have created more isolation for individuals. It appears that practically everything we come up with in an attempt to resolve the continuing process of isolation is used as another method to create more isolation. New ideas are considered simply opinions and everybody has a valid opinion. There is no consensus among the masses.
Look at the proliferation of people claiming to be motivational speakers. And don’t get me started on the subject of the jackleg metaphysical speakers. They are inundating whole communities of people who are truly seeking to find answers to life’s mysteries. By any standard, with and without degrees, they are simple hustlers who half read books and are unable internalize the wisdom they read. These mad misguided human missiles of mayhem drink, smoke, and suffer through all the same worries of life you experience yet think their every thought is a revelation. They organize charismatic presentations using power point, videos, lights, and sound systems to deliver diamond laced mystifications off platinum tongues taking your time, money and sex to benefit a childish ego.
I return to the authors who inspired me to write this blog.
Excerpt from intro to Dialectic of Enlightenment by Horkheimer and Adorno pp. xiv-xv
The fallen nature of man cannot be separated from social progress. On the one hand the growth of economic productivity furnishes the conditions for a world of greater justice; on the other hand it allows the technical apparatus and the social groups which administer it a disproportionate superiority to the rest of the population.
The individual is wholly devalued in relation to the economic powers, which at the same time press the control of society over nature to hitherto unsuspected heights. Even though the individual disappears before the apparatus which he serves, that apparatus provides for him as never before.
In an unjust state of life, the impotence and pliability of the masses grow with the quantitative increase in commodities allowed them. The materially respectable and deplorable rise in the living standard of the lower classes is reflected in the simulated extension of the spirit.
Its true concern is the negation of reification; it cannot survive where it is fixed as a cultural commodity and doled out to satisfy consumer needs. The flood of detailed information and candy-floss entertainment simultaneously instructs and stultifies mankind.
Originally published in 1944 © Continuum Pub. NY 1994
Let me repeat a key phrase from the previous paragraph, “the simulated extension of the spirit.” This culture that we have built, the same culture that supports us, the same culture that we maintain with all our time and energy is based in moral cowardice and intellectual corruption. We must remove the underlying negative conditions that are now infused in all we are and all we want to be.
“The flood of detailed information and candy-floss entertainment that simultaneously instructs and stultifies mankind” has been extremely effective in geometrically increasing the number and types of abstract concepts that we treat as if exist as real and tangible objects. The results of our expanded reification process constrict our ability to know any eternal truths.
We live on raucous islands of ignorance fearing to swim in the eternal seas of cosmic awareness. Our personal search for eternal truth will greatly enhance our souls and all of existence when we first internalize that truth then attempt to share that truth with our family and friends by our deeds not our words. Our deeds will be the living proof of the eternal truths we embody.
Truth + Deeds = Sharing leading to Harmony when Sharing is Mutual.
Truth + Words = Recruiting leading to Chaos when Recruiting is Proselytizing.
We have much work to do. I will end for now and revisit this subject […] with suggestions for using the wisdom of Ancient Kemetic culture to remove the underlying negative conditions and gently, peacefully grow together again. Why Kemet?
To quote Jeremy Naydler, “The religious life of the ancient Egyptians (People of Kemet) was never really separate from the rest of their lives. The whole culture was infused with religious awareness, with an awareness that the spirit world interpenetrated all spheres of existence. Ancient Kemet was a sacred culture. When we go back to Ancient Kemet we are also going down to a deeper more archaic level of human experience that is closer to the gods (NTRW), closer to a half-forgotten awareness of transpersonal beings and primal encounters with archetypal realities”