QUAERE VERUM

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
An Alphabetic Alliteration

Submitted: October 28, 2010

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Submitted: October 28, 2010

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QUÆRE VERUM

by J.D.

 

 

I am attempting to amass and aggregate all my arguments and abstractions about the average person’s avarice, aversion to altruism, and all-around apathy in an alphabetic alliteration. This amalgam of arguably artful aphorisms is an ardent attempt to argue against the ascendance of acquisitiveness, apathy, and atomization; to arraign those advancing these abominations' acculturation; and to advocate an alternative avenue, available to all.

But where to begin?  By bitching about banality?  By blasting those that brandish the blinded and baneful behaviors and beliefs? By blaming big-business…?

Bah.  That's all bunk. 

Our current condition is a consequence of condemnable characteristics of contemporary culture—its commodification of things once considered sacred, its conflict with the cultivation of care for common concerns, and the crux of my consternation with it, its callous consumerism.  Our crass culture corrodes our collective character, and it’s with critique of its canons and consideration of its consequences that my criticism commences.

Dominant dogma dictates that rather than something developed through self-discovery, identity is simply something that's displayed.  So droves duly search for dashing display to make them seem dynamic and different.  This daft desire to distinguish with display draws designer-demagogues, who declare that displaying their designs can deliver the desired dynamism; so many dutifully do, but they have been deftly duped.  Doing so creates a destructive dependence on dastards and dilettantes to determine what kind of display is deemed desirable, as a demented deference to distant decrees comes to dictate desires.  Identity doesn't have to be determined by display, but dominant doctrines dictate it, and so many get duped out of dollars and driven to despair trying to do as god-damn demi-gods do.  They become delusional, distracted and dissatisfied, and a dangerous disservice is done to democracy.  This destruction develops from the daft, discordant desire for an identity derived from display, and dramatically demonstrates the dubiousness and danger of dominant dogmas. 

So it’s evident that to expect an external esthetic to encapsulate one's essence is to enter into egregious error; but it's equally erroneous to expect that the egoism, excess, and emptiness that encourage such entrenched, errant expectations will be eradicated by external efforts.  To elicit an era of enlightened ethics, erudition, and empathy we must all earnestly endeavor to emancipate ourselves from an empty existence.  But before such freedom can be found, we must first find out how we get so facile, frivolous, and philosophically fucked. Where do we get the gall to let our greater gifts grow gaunt?  What is the source of our greed-is-good groupthink?  Why do we hubristically herald hollow hedonism?  What happened to humility?

Implicated in all our impetuous indulgence, infatuation with image, and interest in the inconsequent is the ideology of self-interested individualism, as those indoctrinated in it are invariably inclined to inanely indulge.  Self-interest is in itself innocuous, and in some instances even invaluable (for instance in instituting incentives for individuals); but under ideological interpretation, self-interest is insidious.  Those imbued with its ideological incarnation inevitably individuate their interests; this immovable self-involvement makes them inclined to instrumentalize their interpersonal engagements and interferes with their interest in issues of import, making them islands of indifference and ignorance.  Such interpersonal and intellectual isolation impels their ill-conceived intuitions and ideas, like the incendiary illusion that income and image are more important than integrity and intellect. Ideological self-interest is an injurious insult to what is increasingly important to impart upon the innocent, the isolated, and the insecure: that interpersonal involvement; an intrepid, inquisitive intellect; and individual integrity are what's important.  Those of us who find import in this insight are incensed by the increasing influence of an ideology as illusionary and insipid as self-interested individualism.

But is that it?  Is only ideological self-interest implicated in our intellectual impotence, irresponsible self-involvement, and interest in the irrelevant? 

No.  Such insolent and indulgent ideological inclinations are not innate—they’re instilled.  There are outside parties implicated in our indulgence, ignorance and insularity, some of whom have an invested interest in it.  We must investigate those involved in imbuing us with obsolete ideas on the individual, and so we turn to the judgment of our Judases—those culpable in the culture-kill.  For loners longing for luxury won't be the locus of this lament; it will be the liars and louses who loom large over lackluster lives, like...

Marketers.  Through myriad media these men (and women) mold malleable minds, making them think mortality is made meaningful by things material.  Their maelstrom of marketed messages makes the masses materialistic and makes many look to the marketplace for meaning, imagining the market and its forces as some sort of modern Moses.  Markets are most meritous mechanisms, but free-market as magnanimous monolith is a mirage, a man-made myth.  For when markets mediate meaning instead of merely mustering manufacture, mankind is made myopic and mindless as money and mall become Manna and Mecca.  Mores of maturity, modesty, and moderation are being maimed by modern marketing, and any attempts to mitigate materialism are being made moot as more and more succumb to the messaging.

Next are the media organizations that negate understanding of nuance and the acquisition of necessary knowledge—effectively normalizing nihilism and naïveté— by orchestrating an oppressive and onerous orgy of the ordinary which renders onlookers obstinate and obtuse.  The problem is with their pursuit of profit—primarily procured by peddling promotional placements.  The problem is that purchasers of promos want their products pitched to people with potent purchasing power, and apply pressure for their provision.  This perversion produces a pervasive proclivity for producing only what appeals to predominant purchasing populations and pleases purchasers of promotional placements.  The production of content that is unprofitable or of prohibitive expense—however poignant or portentous—is precluded.  Putting profit paramount in media is producing paltry, predictable content, and in turn, a puerile, pacified populous.

Our next group presents quite a quandary, for we must quash the status quo in which they have us sequestered in order to quarrel our way out of our quagmire and acquire quality.  I refer of course to the rich, mainly those on the right.  Such resplendent rogues will readily rationalize their relative riches with rhetoric of remuneration-for-risk; and indeed, rubrics that reward risk are required—their removal would be ruinous.  But right now the rich receive far too much relative to the rest, as all but the very rich see their real returns regularly reduced. Such repression must be redressed.  For reason, reciprocity, and responsibility will never rightly rule under a reality as unreflective of rudimentary rights as that brought about by the rapacious reign of the rich.

And now to our last suspect, the schoolmasters.  If we seek a successful, stable society, we need a school system that can show students how to be sophisticated and sympathetic (yet skeptical) surveyors of the social scene; a system that shows students that self-schooling should never stop nor slow; and, most significantly, that sensibility, self-search, and service are supreme, not simple do-for-self.  But sadly, the schoolmasters sidestep their responsibility to properly socialize supple minds, taking the specious stance that one goes to school solely to gain skills—surreptitiously supplanting what should be an expansive, solemn schooling of the soul with something shallow, simplistic, and stagnant that socializes cynical solipsism by stressing simple scores and standings.  This shameful silence in schools on subjects of real significance for students is serving to support the spurious assumption that has been systematically spreading through our society—that one's supreme role is that of spender, not citizen.  Our schools are socializing self-seeking simpletons willing to substitute something shared for something shiny.  Those who see nothing sad about this simple-minded search for satiation and status would be well-served to study the story of Sisyphus (the sad soul who had to roll a sizeable stone up a steep slope, only for it to slip from his hands when the summit was in sight); since he and the self-seekers our schools spawn share such a similar scourge. 

And so this treatise has testified to the tragedy of our toxic times and traced the treachery of the traitorous.  We now turn to how all the tedium, temerity, and turpitude can be transcended.

To triumph, we must un-tighten the grip of titans, and trounce trifling and triviality.  We must reclaim the authenticity and autonomy taxed by our totalitarian techno-topia.

But rather than tallying tactics, I tout a trajectory:

Tackle a tome. 

Tear down taboos. 

Take on the tacit tenets we mistake for truth. 

Take time to think about things. 

Travel. 

Seek truth.  For only a tireless individual search for truth will trigger transformation and allow us to transcend our trite traditional trappings.  Because it is only by unveiling the underside of what is understood to be unassailable that we can uncover ways of understanding ourselves that aren't so unimaginative and ugly.

It is time to question the validity of all that we venerate, and to reevaluate what we value.  Only with wisdom will we see the wastefulness of a world where everyone is withdrawn and wallowing in want.  It is time to extricate ourselves from such existence, to no longer yield to yearning—for only then can true civilization be realized.

 


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