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A summation of the effects of modernity

A summation of the effects of modernity
January 24, 2011, 05:45:42 AM
If this is has been covered by Conservationist or someone else thoroughly (let alone the main site), then please feel free to direct me there.

However, I am more interested in the ability to communicate the dangers of modernity to those who claim that modernity is a godsend of possibility and freedom. Intuitively, it's as if knowing this imminent danger is approaching is second nature. However, when it comes to articulating concisely and with evidence, it poses some trouble. You then have to express in other people's terms because they jump at you for using "big words", and you lose them there. So you have to sympathize and connect on their level.

First off, I'm wondering if the members here actively engage everyone they meet or do they gauge worthy adversaries and then attempt to confront them under the fair assumption that there's a good possibility of intelligent discussion? In any case, I may be off the mark, but what feels like is needed is to essentially engage everyone to confront themselves and experience a reality check. The difficulty (for me at least) is not coming off as a pompous jerk/total idiot.So basically, what would be a good general summation of modernity's effects as well as adequate evidence for these effects, all presented in such a way that even aspies could understand? The idea arose because directing everyone to ANUS is a surefire way to get people to think you're a pompous blowhard, but on the other hand it might be possible to compose a sort of concise pamphlet to bring people on the same page. My (very basic) thoughts (mostly taken from the main article of the site):

*Ecocide/Overpopulation. I recall a Bartlett video series about the exponential function which serves as an effective summation of the realities of environmental destruction. The only qualm I have regarding this is that while the fact that the US had a significant figure of births/1000, it has gone down since. Can anyone confirm that in terms of overpopulation, the US isn't a big contributor? I would expect China and India to be significant contributors as well as the continent of Africa.
*Diversity. Homogeneity leading to a loss of unique characteristics. People like to argue that multiculturalism helps us understand and tolerate other cultures, which in turn helps breed unity and understanding. However, while I find myself in agreement with diversity being a negative here, how would one go about concisely identifying where diversity goes wrong?
*LCD/Utilitarianism/Boredom. LCD panders to the simple-minded and aims to appease their sensibilities, stops exploring beauty since it's no longer "necessary" and vague, and then sends us into a monotonous stupor till our death. I like to bring up "scenes" (ie. hipsters, club-goers, emos, ravers, indie kids, metalheads, etc.) in an attempt to illustrate the concept of LCD. However, I'm often met with an "argument" that looks something like this: "Why does that bother you? People are free to do what they want. It doesn't affect you". The problem being that LCD thinking, utilitarianism and a boring world does affect us all. The difficulty here is once again expressing beyond intuition to show that these are dangers, rather than just something irritable and to be ignored.
*Selfishness. People love to say things like "I do what I want. Fuck off". People exist to achieve "happiness". The problem being that their idea of happiness is both vague and self-obsessed and can't possibly harbor productive qualities in a civilization. Again, the problem here for me is expressing what it so dangerous about everyone living in their own bubble and united under no common ideals, but rather a consumerist fever that encapsulates the whole of their existence.
*Neurosis/Self-image: People either think doing "moral good" is something like giving a few pennies to the homeless/Africa/struggling hipster artists in need of a bursary or they throw out the concept entirely because they're disillusioned by this and understand that it's a band-aid solution and so decry the concept of the necessity of a "moral good" uniting a civilization together to achieve something. This otherwise positive morality of "selfless" contribution to society at the behest of one's immediate pleasures is taken as crowd mentality because these people have given up on real progress. How do you convince others we must unite under ideals? And what ideals are these?
*Depression. People like to say "all those depressed and lonely people aren't my concern.". They look down on anyone who appears to be of lower status/achievement than them and conclude that they shouldn't concern themselves with others who want to waste their lives. Instead they focus on their own lives. How do you show others that ignorance of the effects of modernity isn't a useful mode of thought?

Essentially, in case you missed my questions, I am basically seeking clarity on how to approach the above problems via concision and adequate evidence so that everyone understands. I understand that some people will fight tooth and nail to deny reality, but surely there is a way to connect with them on some level. Furthermore, I was wondering how and to what extent do the members engage others? Obviously, ANUS wants to spread the philosophy and propagate attitudes and behaviors that are beneficial. I am interested in your thoughts on how to most effectively achieve this end.

Re: A summation of the effects of modernity
January 24, 2011, 01:25:28 PM
For a general principle of the methodology: you need to have an understanding on what it is that people do value, consciously or instinctively (which will, of course, vary from person to person). Then, through a combination of reason and an appeal to the emotions, you form a path from the moral worldview they currently hold, to the one which is better.

You don't want to be too forceful or go for everything at once. You shouldn't make it seem like you're trying to push any agenda, just making observations of the state of life. "I heard that if ecocide keeps going as it is, then in X years there won't be any natural environment left. Humanity's going to be in a serious crisis then, not to mention the loss of beauty and millions of years of development that we won't ever get back", "it's really a shame that there's nothing which ties people together as a society any more. Life just feels so empty with meaningful human connections and the achievement of goals", "look at those people living recklessly like that. They obviously don't care about anyone but themselves, and not even about their own futures - they're probably not even happy now. They really make things worse for the rest of us" <- criticise others who your target won't readily identify with, so that the attack won't be seen as personal - pride's a bitch. By making the convertee see the other person's lifestyle as being destructive, and by contrast see yours as more healthy, they will gravitate towards the better option.

Re: A summation of the effects of modernity
January 25, 2011, 03:17:54 PM
A great problem is that a lot of people are well resolved, intelligent, come from great families and have had a extrmely healthy and rich life, wich they adore. So they're going to say that the problem is with the people, because they are living fine and see nothing wrong.


Re: A summation of the effects of modernity
January 26, 2011, 03:49:58 PM
The best approach I can recommend is slow and steady.  You have to, in some way, approach people at their own level and incrementally introduce honest ideas to them that they are most likely uncomfortable with or in denial of.  Generally, if you come at them with a pamphlet, you'll be treated like those Pro-Life assholes you meet on the street.  Nobody takes you seriously, they just toss the pamphlet in the nearest trash can.

If you find someone interested in the ideas, immediately direct them to ANUS or Amerika.

Re: A summation of the effects of modernity
January 27, 2011, 05:04:28 AM
Hmm, slowly and indirect seems to be a good start. However, if I get past a few hurdles, I still often get the question "How does this affect me personally?".  Of course with ecocide, it's not hard to evoke understanding because it's straightforward. But with topics like boredom/utilitarianism/selfish/neurosis/depression, people have a hard time understanding how the issues of others negatively affects them. Sometimes I even get told that I should ignore that and not bother with something that I obviously can't change/control, and while they sympathize, they reason that if we are actually on a decline, then my bringing it to their awareness and/or their subscribing to healthier ideals won't change anything in the long run.

Basically, what's dangerous about tolerance?