Politics, wars, work, Capitalism, Socialism, the Middle East, exploitation, oil, imperialism, neo-colonialism, Iran, rent, Chomsky, surplus-value and on and on and on. Yes, I’ve managed to take a vague interest in these generally depressing topics again, in spite of still being entirely demotivated on a personal level, and as a result of this poking around what’s really on my mind at the moment is the question what do people actually want?
You see, like most decent people I loathe Capitalism, rulers, the elite and so on. I even think that at 35 I’ve reached that mature stage where I wouldn’t mind seeing such types beheaded:-) But my problem is that when I turn to the alternative media (ZNet, World Socialist Website etc.) and see what the spokespeople for the exploited and the working classes have to say I don’t generally see people asking for freedom and liberty, no, instead I see them asking for more fucking money, a phenomenon I find really depressing. Sure, I appreciate we all need money to pay the rent, buy food and pay the bills and so on but I would have thought that after that would not the aim of any reasonable being to garner as much free time as possible? Instead of higher wages, shouldn’t people be asking for a reduction in the working day? But no, instead we get the majority asking for more cash, more cash to buy fuck knows what, a bigger house, the new piece of i-bullshit technology, new clothes, pointless vacations etc etc.
So instead of seeing the so-called disaffected try and opt out of the rat race, we see what is, in fact, almost the opposite: they don’t want to get out of it, they want merely a bigger slice of the shit cake themselves. And in doing so, they’re generally offering a form of silent assent to and validation of the entire system that they apparently find so disagreeable. Now admittedly there are many good reasons for this: to try and strike out on your own is both difficult and frightening; one runs the risk of insecurity and isolation etc, but I also wonder if there isn’t a deeper explanation available at the metaphysical level, namely that humanity is fundamentally empty, and that to opt of the system would reveal this gaping abyss in all of its black and pointless nothingness. By staying in the system we can give ourselves a raison d’etre, that is, bitching and moaning about how shit it is and grumbling along with our fellow slaves. So does the majority of humanity want freedom? I’m not so sure they do. We’re fundamentally social pack animals who follow the herd for peer approval and a sense of self-solidity and worth. Personally, being something of a loner and a loather, I find all of this repugnant and depressing. H.L. Mencken put it nicely in his disillusioned old age:
Once I ventured the guess that men worked in response to a vague inner urge for self-expression. But that was probably a shaky theory, for some men who work the hardest have nothing to express. A hypothesis with rather more plausibility in it now suggests itself. It is that men work simply in order to escape the depressing agony of contemplating life – that their work, like their play, is a mumbo-jumbo that serves them by permitting them to escape from reality. Both work and play, ordinarily, are illusions. Neither serves any solid and permanent purpose. But life, stripped of such illusions, instantly becomes unbearable. Man cannot sit still, contemplating his destiny in this world, without going frantic. So he invents ways to take his mind off the horror. He works. He plays. He accumulates the preposterous nothing called property. He strives for the coy eye-wink called fame. He founds a family, and spreads his curse over others. All the while the thing that moves him is simply the yearning to lose himself, to forget himself, to escape the tragic-comedy that is himself. Life, fundamentally, is not worth living. So he confects artificialities to make it so. So he erects a gaudy structure to conceal the fact that it is not so.
Couldn’t put it better myself. And just to clarify, this does NOT mean I advocate, support or endorse the system as it currently exists in any way shape or form. As stated above, I think the French revolutionaries had the right idea with regard to the exploiters, and the idea of living in a fair and egalitarian society is surely the only moral imperative, but the whole scenario does make me profoundly pessimistic in regard to the prospects for any alternative. Ultimately I’m driven back to philosophical basics: life is a nightmare, humanity is pointless, best never to have been.