From the Lost Notes of the Deep Dweller’s Shipyard [New Fragment #4/Human Society]

The societies that humans have built and kept reproducing indefinitely so far all share one basic principle: inegality. The reasons for both the status quo and its continuation have always been provided ex postfacto and ad hoc; why the privileged deserve better than the underprivileged has always been argued for with sophisticated but untrue mental constructions bending reality to a predetermined scheme departing from which has been associated with chaos and the downfall of humankind. Explanations have been lazy and lame, unconvincing at best and ridiculous and insulting at worst. But then again, why would someone born into a privileged position care? Humans take that which they have for granted and will react to its loss as though a limb had been torn from their torso. The truth is that we own nothing: we come to this world naked and with nothing in our possession, and we leave it without anything. If we are buried with a ceremony, taking place for the sake of the living, of course, the body may have some clothes attached to it; yet come to think of it, it is just that, a body, not a person, that is buried. And thus we leave as we came, after all.
But rather than rendering the status quo irrelevant, it makes it all the more important. Conservatism appears to be a default position in many small communities, especially in tribal societies and even modern villages. There is this proverb appearing convincing, or at least having a point to it, that what isn’t broken doesn’t need fixing. What if, however, it is broken without your noticing? Also, that something is not broken does not mean that it is good the way it is. You may have a house consisting of wooden walls and no roof. It is not broken, but a house made of stone and with a roof would arguably protect you better nonetheless.
Change is the engine of improvement, and while things may change for the worse, this is by no means a logical necessity. Instead, history has proven time and again that change will occur at some point or other; if it is brought about controlled by science combined with reason and compassion, for the better; if it is repressed and met with all kinds of artificial obstacles, for the worse, for the result will be chaos and misery – that is to say, exactly that which conservatism seeks to avoid by preventing it from happening.
Conservatism is not only a concrete political conviction, it is an intrinsic part of everything humans do and think, if ever so slightly. Even those among us who consider themselves to be liberal and open-minded will, if entirely honest to themselves, at times catch themselves in the act of telling someone they cannot do something because it does not fit the bill or agenda they have in mind. Whereas we take our own freedom for granted and consider our own desires logical consequences of that which we deem best for everyone, we are way to eager to restrict everyone else’s freedom and dismiss their protest as ignorant, nonsensical, or ridiculous.
And thus it is that people who stand up for other people’s freedom, who come up with new and refreshing ideas the implementation of which would actually improve things for most people are shouted down and met with the most passionate resistance, insults, and ridicule, while dangerous demagogues like Donald Trump, to name just a recent case in point, who barely have any idea of that which they are talking about and wish to do get huge support.
The political and in general social elite, the wealthy and rich, keep playing the same old game to remain where they are: ‘Divide et impera’, this well-known imperative from antiquity and probably before there was any method of pinning the words down, applies today as much as it ever has. For if the majority of people keep arguing and fighting among themselves (dividere), they cannot stand united against the privileged to undo their rule (imperare).
Unfortunately, this is not where the story ends, as history has equally proven. Those overthrowing one rulership always appear eager to establish another not differing much from the one they undo. Is this simply a consequence of human nature, or is it rather the case that each time so far the wrong people have come to power?
Things are seldom as simple as we should like to think or portray them. We all know in principle that monocausal explanations are worthless, yet for the sake of simplicity and laziness and argument and excuse, we pretend them to actually serve a good purpose. They never do, and we never learn, it would seem.


4 thoughts on “From the Lost Notes of the Deep Dweller’s Shipyard [New Fragment #4/Human Society]

    • That the post deals with more general topics does not mean that it has no personal touch. The manner in which the different aspects are presented are clearly a matter of view, rather than mere opinion, but every view still has a personal touch.
      Furthermore, I like to think about other things than myself. If you wish to read more of that which deals with my person, you will have to be patient only for a short while, for I am going to publish more of that.

  1. Well, I am actually starting to agree with the essence of what you’re saying here; about how the prospect of change will bring positive outcome in general — until I saw the name Donald Trump, which seems to contradict your message as a whole. I’ve been following closely the U.S. presidential race since July of last year and an ex-Hillary fan that I was, it has been a breath of fresh air to see a candidate like Donald Trump, who embodies the change America has long needed, enter the political scene. Dangerous demagogue? That’s what the media has been feeding the public since he announced his candidacy. Unfortunately, they’ve had more than mild success in demonizing the man who could only put the welfare of his fellow citizens well ahead of others. It’s the first time that I’ve seen a presidential hopeful willing to risk the minority votes just so he could challenge the status quo.
    I wish to know the person you are referring to “who stand up for other people’s freedom, who come up with new and refreshing ideas the implementation of which would actually improve things for most people are shouted down and met with the most passionate resistance” in contrast to the current frontrunner. Because it’s Trump who, in point of fact, represents the description you mentioned, imo.

    • The change that America needs – that all Western countries need – is certainly not to be found in Trump. He is as much part of a socio-economic elite that takes, exploits, and destroys as everyone else in such an election as the American presidential election.
      Trump does challenge the status quo, to be sure – in an even more socially destablizing manner as those who would rather ignore current issues. He does exactly that which a dangerous demagogue would do: He himself has no idea what it is like to be poor or having to provide for one’s family by means of hard, underpaid work; he has no idea what the actual causes for the issues we face today – globally! – are. Instead, he panders to base instincts of self-preservation, strengthens the feeling of ‘us against them’ and speaks vaingloriously of a golden period the United States of America has never actually seen. It is the same appeal to ignorance and faulty memory as well as wishful thinking and reactionist history as ubiquitously met with religion. There has never been such a thing as a state of untouched purity and unity, and yet we encounter the appeal to this phantasy wherever we find religion at work.
      The only thing, of course, that Hilary Clinton has going for her is that she is not Trump. I do not like her, either, though, but if it comes down to Clinton and Trump, the lesser evil would be the former rather than the latter. It is a selection of the lesser evil, anyway, for I hold the view that no one who makes it as far as being able to run a campaign for the presidential elections cannot be an upright person any longer. The entire socio-economic systems of human societies drip with corruption and egotism. Even if we grant for the sake of argument that we need some form of appeal to the self to keep our societies going, corporate capitalism will always be counter-productive to the common good and increase inequality rather than diminish it. Trump caters to the cult of the self strategically: in words, that is, that the common people understand. What they do not understand, as they are supposed to, is that Trump does not care about them, either. And his ideas of how to tackle alleged, perceived, and even real issues are not only unrealistic and delusional (granted that he himself believes what he says in public, which remains questionable in itself, of course), yet may soon lead to further socio-economic crises not limited to the USA.
      The USA is already in an abhorrent condition – and it will keep deteriorating regardless of who will become its next president. Everyone and everything is under constant general suspicion – guilty till proven innocent, as it were –, the health care system as well as public transport are in a pitiful condition at best, schools and universities are constantly battling financial cuts and pseudo-debates on their campuses, religion runs amok, the police strikes terror in the hearts of American citizens, and everyone who can afford it carries a gun. The wealthy and rich have begun to isolate themselves by means of creating areas exclusive to them, including schools, universities, hospitals, etc., while more and more not so fortunate people are simply ‘taken care of’ by incarcerating them in an ever-growing, profit-creating prison system in an equally pitiful, catastrophic state as the health care and public transport systems. There is no way of predicting when such a society’s downfall will come, but there is a guarantee that if no countermeasures are applied, it will come. Such a society which caters to the interests and wishes of a few select privileged people only will slowly erode itself until it collapses.
      None of the people running for a presidential candidacy could, let alone will be able to bring about the necessary changes, Trump no less than Clinton or Sanders. Regardless of how powerful the President of the United States of America may be, even he or she cannot reign against the rest of the established political system. Since even a relatively considerate president such as Obama has carried on with drone attacks, I shudder to think of what a man like Trump may do in his stead.
      With the last passage you quoted, I was referring to people such as Socrates, or people who publicly stood up or otherwise resisted German fascism, or anyone who actually had the common good in mind rather than their own. But no good deed remains unpunished, as a cynical version of the proverb says.
      But then again, what do I know? I am just a philosopher and a poet – and no one in their right mind would listen to either.

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