Monthly Archives: November 2015

Ingloriously Apolitical

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints, by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences. (Wikipedia)

Why ingloriously? Well, when one refuses to jump on the bandwagon of a political group but still voices opinions on social issues, they are likely to be sworn at from all directions, whereas normally they would only be targeted by the opposition. For some reason, people feel the need to stick a label on themselves, to get a sense of belonging and backing. And why not, to absolve themselves of any personal responsibility for the world view they are supporting.

So, you’re against demonising economical migrants? You must be a socialist! Commie bastard! You and yours are what’s wrong with this world! Air heads with no sense of practicality! 

So, you don’t think graphic sex-ed should be introduced into primary schools? You must be with the far right! Neo-Nazi bastard! You’d probably love to live in the times when minorities were oppressed!

Public figures I have a lot of respect for have long argued that belonging to groups muddies one’s awareness of the world and imposes conformity on many levels, until an individual is unable to think outside of the party line.

People find themselves rallying for causes they have marginal interest in or little understanding of, at the initiative of party or group leaders, whose sole purpose might even be to lead all members in a different direction or get them to waste their energy in futile ways, having no real impact on their society.

Also, they tend to read publications associated with their political choice, taking the bait on the constant agitation caused by the mainstream media, which leaves people little breathing space between one fit of indignation and another.

In the UK, one way of defining one’s stand is by reading the Daily Mail or the Guardian, aka fascism versus social justice warriors. And fascism this time is no exaggeration. Here is a link to a short test containing ten highly appreciated comments from the Daily Mail and declared far right website Stormfront; see if you can tell where each was taken from. I got half right the first time; less than half the second. We’re talking about the same crowd here.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy reading clever discourse on either side on issues I am interested in; I cannot, however, comprehend how someone can censor themselves to completely acquiesce to a ”collective view”. Humour is a good way to deal with the absurdity of extreme attitudes; however, people seem to take politics very seriously nowadays and become Facebook warriors on behalf of groups which don’t represent their interests and couldn’t care less about them.

We’re starting to see the rise of radicalised majorities in so many countries; radicalisation is no longer associated with fringe groups. I am convinced social media and the participation people imagine they have in the public arena are partially to blame for that. Suddenly it’s acceptable to push for the dominance of one ideology or social category to the detriment of all others. Everyone is a fucking warrior nowadays, ”standing up for what they believe in” to the point of swearing at random strangers on the internet.

If you don’t watch TV and don’t take an interest in the local political scene you’re regarded as strange. Some even burst with righteous indignation that you have a duty to get involved, to be socially active. They fail to understand that one’s main duty is to remain sane by not soaking up the poison of hysteria on a daily basis, often over inconsequential matters, to be forgotten the next day.

Running around like a headless chicken trying to spread ideologies you sometimes don’t even understand does not make you sane, a good citizen, a good human being etc. 

Between signing ten petitions and debating twenty people on forums, all while trying to also survive, one has very little time to reflect on the fact that they are letting an abstract concept made up by others define them.

Labelling oneself as left wing nowadays tends to include supporting the following ideas:

  1. Every demand made by a minority is a civil right.
  2. Minorities are oppressed by default, even when they fail to realise it.
  3. When the member or advocate of a minority is criticised, it’s always on the basis of hatred towards their innate characteristics.
  4. Tolerance and intolerance go hand in hand. Provided you’re on the right side.
  5. One must fight for peace and love with all the aggressiveness they’re capable of.
  6. My ancestors were oppressed by your ancestors or vice-versa; we have unfinished business.
  7. Equality means minority privilege.
  8. Gender is  a social construct with no basis in human biology.
  9. Every social program or art form must be ”inclusive” of categories it has nothing to do with.
  10. Causing offence is a crime.

On the other side of the debate we find these brilliant ideas:

  1. All foreigners are intruders and seek to rob your country, even in discrete ways. They are generally not to be trusted.
  2. Whatever is written in the Daily Mail is true. The Daily Mail isn’t just mindless agitation and manipulation.
  3. Mobs calling for mass deportations and pitch fork community actions are legitimate.
  4. Anyone who rejects right wing attitudes is a Marxist.
  5. Hatred of the poor can be efficiently masked by claiming to stand for a meritocracy.
  6. Immigrants will breed Europeans out of existence. At the same time though, how dare native women breed so much without being able to secure a career first. Shame on them. Screw the next generation; who even cares about that.
  7. The poor should be sterilised. Yes, many right wing individuals include that in their discourse, even if toned down.
  8. Everything is outrageous. Being a quintessential finger-pointing dick is OK if one promotes moral values. Morality and kindness needn’t be related.
  9. Far right groups sporting uniforms and berets are Europe’s hope for tomorrow (as opposed to clowns).
  10. Whatever happens in the world, if you dig deep enough, the Jews are behind it (that doesn’t apply to American right wingers, as they generally support Israel).

 

Meanwhile, both orthodoxies tend agree on a few issues:

  1. People must label themselves and others, playing a part in the farcical game of political debates.
  2. There is no middle ground on important issues (such as immigration).
  3. Political doctrines actually mean something, as opposed to being tools of manipulation and control.
  4. There actually is such a thing as genuine cohesion within ideological groups, although history teaches us that even hardcore groups split into factions eventually.
  5. Debating people on social media regarding political issues – or any issues at all – is not a complete waste of time (although it clearly is).
  6. It’s justified for people to hate each other based on labels and beliefs. It’s worth arguing with friends, neighbours and even family over them.
  7. The average individual has a say in the way their country is run and can influence the decisions of the ruling class by campaigning or other actions (even though it is clear enough that they only have power over their own mind and their will is disregarded unless it serves someone else’s purpose).
  8. It’s worth investing emotionally in a party or politician. Someday the right party with the right leader will come along (of course that never, ever happens).

I see people being bullied by peer pressure into taking on a political label and ”getting involved”, at times being shamed for not joining a crowd, as if their life were incomplete without it. If only they could stop for a minute, take some distance and see the whole spectacle for what it really is.

A few thoughts on a very inspiring talk by Thomas Sheridan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbeWd5m9kIA

 

Since it’s impossible to leave a comment on the YouTube page, I’m posting it here – I’m not sure for what purpose; I just feel the need to, as I can totally relate to these disturbing realities.

The more connected we are with the outside world, through the internet, the more viciousness we experience. Exposing oneself to a wave of criticism, which becomes a psychic attack through the sheer number of minds directing poisonous energy, is like jumping head first into an empty pool. I don’ think human beings are designed to manage that much feedback; it’s frightening to watch how a small gesture such as posting an opinion on the internet can result in immediate hatred from tens of thousands of people.

The first time I deleted my Facebook account I was motivated by the concerns regarding privacy and the very purpose of the platform; in my mind, there was an opposition between the global underclass, which I formed part of, and the elite seeking to micromanage it; at an instinctual level it came down to a blurry ”us” versus ”them”. The second time around, what led me to run was the awareness of its toxic dynamics and how people I knew were drafted into visibly fake campaigns, which they embraced by the dozen.

What alarmed me the most was the prevalence of Facebook lynchings, the quick and monstrous formation of mobs from all corners of the Earth, demanding for the arrest or other types of punishment for the day’s targets of the media. Among these targets were folks who had posted offensive  comments on Tweeter, Facebook etc. If they had made those comments in a pub or in the street, they would have probably received a few frowns. However, on Facebook, mobs have very specific ideas on how to punish them, as the Inquisition had specific ways of torturing  the accused.

What a despicable person! I would throw him/ her out the window! Put this fucker in jail for five years! That will teach others how to be respectful! People like these should be sterilised!  He/she should commit suicide to rid this planet of such stupidity!

Etc. They just didn’t know when to stop. It’s scary to see that in the 21st Century, when all this talk about kindness and empathy and social cohesion goes on – not to mention progressiveness – people still behave like they would in mediaeval times, in a public square.

When they identify an enemy,  there is no limit to their hatred; they see threats in women’s bellies and prams, because ”the foreigners are breeding too fast”. How can one look hatefully at a toddler chewing away at a rubber toy in a park? You have to be demented and downright dangerous – and unfortunately, many today join the ranks of the far right. The ”us versus them” is now a state of mind; the average person joins ideology based groups which oppose other groups, and everyone becomes polarised, radicalised, in a permanent fight mode.

The ones targeted by hate campaigns are usually just regular people; they have families, they have social lives which can be quickly destroyed, if they get away with their physical existence and don’t crack under pressure. A few years ago much noise was made about a woman in England, who lived on welfare and had many children, requiring a large house for them. Although statistically, such cases are very rare (only a handful across the country), the media chewed on that succulent bone for a couple of years, picking on everything but – or including – the kitchen sink.

One has to understand the exploitative nature of tabloids and their talent to stir up tsunamis of mental waste. Even if people declare they are sickened by tabloids and intellectually superior to the average Sun or Daily Mail reader, they still consume these stories on a daily basis and comment on them.

One also has to understand that the people who allow tabloids access into their lives – like the lady with many children – do so naively, having no idea of the real intent behind the reporting. She allowed those people into her home, into her private space, and allowed them to photograph her children, her possessions, her pets. She naively disclosed aspects of her life to those who had come to rip her and her family apart.

The psychopaths – I have no trouble calling them that – who orchestrated this knew exactly what they were going there for. They spent time with those children, smiled at them, laughed with them, knowing they would turn them into living targets of bullying, death threats etc, which will undoubtedly scar them for life. Even doing that to a harmless adult is bad enough. Such people have no conscience.

But how did the population react? Instead of turning against the so-called reporters for their deviousness and the filthy rags they excrete material for, they behaved exactly as planned, or as they’d been wound up to, better said. And this happens all the time. If the truth movement was so successful, people at large would be more self-aware and would not let the media push their buttons.

About celebrities, even if one doesn’t agree with the path they have taken (for instance when they push social agendas), one must remember they are only human; there should be a limit of decency to the criticism they receive. What is the point of analysing their smallest physical imperfections, youthful mistakes, psychological crises etc, as if they were goods for public consumption?  There must be boundaries in place, dictated by common sense. When ”truthers” start uploading videos about how so-and-so sacrificed a member of their family to Satan, using any sudden death in their family to fit that narrative, with no proof whatsoever than their imagination, that is downright disgusting. They got very far in life, they are using certain symbols associated with satanism and a family member just happened to die while they were reaching the peak of their success – for some, it is unfathomable that these were just coincidences.

Synchronicity is indeed real; I have observed it all my life and I can swear to the fact that many times things bizarrely arrange around you to make a situation seem what it is not, consolidating other people’s prejudices. Have you ever had an interaction with someone which started off on the wrong foot and continued that way, despite your efforts to improve matters, because said person kept catching you in circumstances which fitted their wrong impression of you?

Life is sometimes like that; like an absurd film. And the conclusions we draw about others are highly prone to error.If we limited to judging them and moved on, that would be one thing. Setting out to make their lives unbearable is quite different.

A few decades ago, it was enough to move town to start a new life. Today, it is enough for a person to record you on the bus for you to become an international celebrity, usually for some offence, real or imagined, more or less important.

People fear the police state when they should really be fearing the ones among them who are not right in the head; who can be mobilised towards pitchfork action in their hometowns, picking on innocent folks.  I have a feeling if any elites want to cause massive unrest, death and destruction, they won’t need weapons or state force; they will just nudge us to kill each other. The drive is already there for some, as I can see.