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The great awakening

The great awakening
July 17, 2010, 03:37:12 PM
People are starting to snap to an awareness of the long-term trends of modernity:

1. Government, education and laws can't help us; it's a question of the moral, intellectual and physical qualities of individuals.
2. Who watches the watchers is an endless loop; we need people we can trust in power, and that's a product of the abovementioned moral, intellectual and physical qualities.
3. "Progress" and "Utopia" are dirty words for a power grab. There is no perfect system, only less flawed ones.
4. The lowest common denominator of a society is disgusting, stupid and crass and forms a lynch mob.
5. When we allow that lowest echelon to (a) buy whatever it wants (b) believe whatever it wants and (c) vote for leaders, disaster strikes.

Since 1789, we've turned toward a modernist society, which is a utilitarian/secular fulfillment of the vision of Christianity: moral judgment surpassing practical adaptation to reality. Christianity is tempting because it's a way out of competition, natural selection and personal insufficiency. Instead of changing the reality, you change the way you measure it.

Steps on the path:

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Europeans thought they were progressing towards an ideal civilisation. Now time is up, and it hurts

The construction of the welfare state is part of a European narrative that conjures civilisation from chaos. Take France, a country that, in welfare matters, more resembles Mediterranean Europe than its more rigorous northern neighbours. The incremental entrenchment of new rights in law, as a mark of progress towards a better society, dates back to just after the first world war. In 1919 the Senate limited the working day to eight hours. Léon Blum introduced the two-week paid holiday for all workers in 1936. François Mitterrand extended this to five weeks in the early 1980s. He also brought in retirement at 60, and the 39-hour working week. Ms Aubry, only ten years ago, reduced that to 35. By progressively shrinking the number of hours worked a week, or years worked over a lifetime, society seemed to be rolling towards some sort of ideal, with vin rosé and deckchairs on the beach for all. This fits France’s sense of secular, revolutionary History, carrying the country forward, however fitfully, like an “endless cortege proceeding towards the light”, in the words of Jules Ferry, a 19th-century educationalist. Even President Nicolas Sarkozy, usually averse to abstract nouns, has spoken of “the politics of civilisation” and asked economists to measure output in terms of happiness, not just growth.

Put simply, if Europe stands for something, it is decent treatment for all. To this way of thinking, to guarantee a comfortable retirement is akin to banning child labour or giving women the vote: not optional perks, but badges of a civilised society. Such social preferences are what Europe is for, and what makes it different from America. Europe may no longer be a global power, or have much military muscle. Its churches may be empty, its spiritual fibre weak. It may not boast much cutting-edge innovation or economic growth. But it knows how to look after its sick and elderly, take a long lunch break and abandon the office in August. The cold realisation that time is up, and that such progress is over, prompts anger, denial and shock.

http://www.economist.com/node/16595334?story_id=16595334&fsrc=scn%2Ftw%2Fte%2Frss%2Fpe

This is not exclusive to Europe -- in the USA, similar discontent is raging. We're realizing that (a) our politicians are corrupt and (b) that they are that way because so many people are easy to fool and (c) the solution isn't personal, but in a motivation of groups of people to seize power:

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WOULD ANY SANE PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance.

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/4801/

The more extreme elements have realized this first, and as a result gone undercover as moderates who will say whatever is necessary to get elected, then seize power and not relinquish it.

They recognize that most people are oblivious to the problem, and have chosen "not to play the game" because of personal fear:

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If human life is (as secular modernity asserts) ultimately about gratification (about maximizing happiness and minimizing suffering) then it will always seem tempting to take the short-term choice leading to immediate and certain happiness and avoid immediate and certain suffering; and to ignore the long-term consequences of these choices on the basis that the future cannot be known with certainty, and we might be dead anyway before the future arrives.

The resulting mentality is characteristic of the modern secular elite, but has spread to encompass much of contemporary life. Charles Murray has encapsulated this modern ‘sophisticated’ attitude very well: “Human beings are a collection of chemicals that activate and, after a period of time, deactivate. The purpose of life is to while away the intervening time as pleasantly as possible.”

My point is that a society which regards the purpose of life as being to while away the time between birth and death as pleasantly as possible is a society which cannot make tough decisions.

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2010/07/submissive-flaccidity-of-modern-secular.html

Maybe we needs the gods back, so we have a reason to feel good about self-sacrifice... and to stop worrying about death so much. boring!

And while we're on this delusional tear, in the words of one wise sage, "Problems remain!"

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On our current path, more and more U.S. workers are likely to be turned into knowledge workers, meme generators, hype merchants, identity mongers -- making "cool" while transforming their social life into a stream of branded idea-products.

...

Increases in the standard of living may thereby have the paradoxical effect of turning “living” itself into a ceaseless work process. The more leisure eliminates work in the traditional sense, the more it becomes work itself in the immaterial sense. By making traditional types of skills irrelevant, productivity innovations are making us reconceive our leisure time activities as a skill set.

...

The nature of the “skills” being reproduced in U.S., the ones that we can still incorporate into production, are oriented more and more toward lifestyle making. The sector of “productive jobs” in the U.S. seems to be in those areas sometimes decried as inessential if not corrosive to the human spirit—cultural meanings, identity tokens, marketing, etc. Given the proclivities of our workforce, the U.S.‘s comparative advantage is in manufacturing desires and refining them in the realm of language and feeling, as opposed to making things.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/128303-worker-hipster/

We're not going to be taken in by callow Utopians who want us to invent "new ways" of dealing with a bad situation (it's a misdirection: they don't think we can solve the situation, but want to promise us these "new ways" like a snake oil salesman, so we don't stop their decay). Even more, Europeans and Americans are seeing that increasingly racial favoritism goes both (or more) ways; as long as we have diversity, we have conflict, just like as long as we have equality, we have class warfare as people scrabble to be more equal than their equals.

Hard stuff. We've grown up being told 180 degrees opposites of what reality is. But now the awakening is slow, and when it hits a crucial 2-5% of the population, the overthrow will commence.

Even more, we're seeing that some of our greatest taboos -- like censorship, for example -- are misplaced:

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There may be a literal truth underlying the common-sense intuition that happiness and sadness are contagious.

A new study on the spread of emotions through social networks shows that these feelings circulate in patterns analogous to what’s seen from epidemiological models of disease.

Read More http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/07/contagious-emotions/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wiredscience+%28Blog+-+Wired+Science%29#ixzz0tyvblE2I

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A new study has come up with a possible explanation, suggesting that the break-up of relationships within groups of friends is contagious – one couple within a social group divorces and their friends' relationships collapse around them like ninepins.

The researchers have called it "divorce clustering" and say that a split up between immediate friends increases your own chances of getting divorced by 75%.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/04/divorce-friends-contagious-academic-study

Words are weapons, and bad ideas spread through a population like disease, destroying it. In that light, censorship is the lesser of two evils, as is oppression -- let's stop bad and stupid behaviors from happening before they spread, causing the kind of degeneracy that we'd see in a dying society... like our current one.

Re: The great awakening
September 22, 2010, 09:57:40 PM
I'm seeing this new "diversity is not working" idea recur with more frequency lately.

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Since the end of the Civil War, America has embarked on a policy of “racial appeasement,” or gifting minority populations with money and power to stave off the inevitable conflict brought on by diversity. As America wakes up to how easily an accusation of racism can crush a career, people are re-thinking racial appeasement and thinking instead of options to diversity.

http://www.amerika.org/politics/the-end-of-racial-appeasement/

Re: The great awakening
January 23, 2011, 08:06:25 PM
5. When we allow that lowest echelon to (a) buy whatever it wants (b) believe whatever it wants and (c) vote for leaders, disaster strikes.

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A few years ago, Paul Gottlieb, an economist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, took a look at whether growth without growth was possible. He did so by comparing population growth and growth in real per-capita income in the 100 largest metropolitan areas. Most of the results were not surprising. Many thriving metros — Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Phoenix — were above the national average in both categories. Many struggling ones, including Cleveland itself and all the metropolitan areas in Upstate New York, were below the average in both categories.

Surprisingly however, Gottlieb found that almost half of the 100 largest metro areas fit neither category. They're either "wealth builders" — places such as Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Pittsburgh and St. Louis — that saw income go up faster than population, or they're "population magnets" — places such as Daytona Beach, El Paso, Knoxville, Orlando and Portland — that saw the reverse.

http://www.planetizen.com/node/47772

Population growth is one likely side effect of success. Population growth is not a cause of success, a delusion long promoted by mainstream experts.