Are You Just a Calculator Attached to Appetites?
(..and is that a Clockwork Orange?)
I found this quote on the twitter-sphere and think it hints at my core suspicion that “the world” doesn’t make sense. I read the full post and he goes off in his own direction and I can’t agree with his conclusions, but he does have two insightful quotes. I am sure a “conservative” would take issued with the “Brutish” and “without souls, hearts, or minds” parts, but capitalism as the invisible hand that works through individual interests to produce an efficient marketplace is bedrock thinking of the modern conservative movement for the past 40 years. And it hinges on the assumption that people by their choices will cause whatever market is most efficient to spring up to fill those needs. You know…Bullshit.
However the part about brutish is in sync if not espoused directly by today’s business world. In that it is the aggressive, hyper-competitive worker offered as the ideal for conservative thinking and business philosophy in general. But that too is bullshit. Hey, I’m the first to admit that people are jerks, but my supposition is that while cruel and aggressive self-interest is part of human nature, there is also a fundamental part that thrives on cooperation and kindness and it is the civilization we build around us that determine which force (among many others) will dominate our lives.
Later I’ll post the books to backup my conclusion of bullshit
The second quote
The richest man in a society proclaims he has nothing left to buy — and so he’s going to shoot billionaires into space — while a third of its people can’t afford food, shelter and healthcare, life expectancy’s falling, the young, who have little future, are shooting themselves with guns or opioids, and retirement, a stable jobs, savings, an income, and a family are unaffordable luxuries.
This too explain displays how each billionaire is just a one or two decisions away from being a Bond villain. And that is because our cultural goal is to be rich, and therefore there is no reason to design a world where there is any limit on individual wealth, or to have any other goal beyond the no-liberal zeal of individual independence (which caries with it independence from working about anybody else). And once in place that wealth is theirs to do with as they wish. The goal is acquisition. I was going to say it is a goal not of what we as a people want but a goal of see who get the richest. BUT really it IS what we as a people want. We want billionaires to literally burn away millions of dollars on a vanity project involving blasting giant phallus symbols in the air. We want it because if we were rich too, we could also ignore the rest of the world and piss money down the drain, just because we wanted to.
SO…I will now cut and paste his quotes for my own mashup of my and this guy's thoughts...
Society has failed because it teaches us that we are something we have never been at all. Competitive, acquisitive beings who at the core are calculators attached to appetites, optimizing our own gain.
And the winners in this digital monopoly game, the richest men in a society show they truly have it all and there is nothing left to buy — for they shoot their money into space — while a third of the world struggles for food, shelter, healthcare, retirement, a stable savings, an income that pays for it all...all of which are rapidly becoming un-affordable luxuries.
That is the goal; that is what we are taught. Perhaps not taught explicitly but by consumer culture we are indoctrinated, and consumerism and conservatism crowd out charity, sharing and kindness since it goes against brand to not sell and buy.
Books on why humans are not logical consumer creatures
The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis
The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery by Sam Kean
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
Why we are NOT by nature competitive, aggressive assholes, but also why we sometimes are.
The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society by Frans de Waal