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Posted: 2012 Jan 14, 04:02
by Tuxman
Kilmatead wrote:No, I just made that up.
Ah, that's why it is not quite deep.
Kilmatead wrote:And why do you assume one's "will" automatically leads one to want to be a "part" of something larger?
I don't. It's just that, if the Greeks would all say "we're not interested in being Greeks", would they still be Greeks?
Kilmatead wrote:Greeks are useful as they give us x2.
I'd bet each country has useful thinkers. Still, most of them are not quite what I would call a useful person. If you continue this, we're at Godwin's rule again: Germans invented a lot of nice things, too.
Kilmatead wrote:I have always maintained that anything the majority of people agree upon (aside from Pizza) is, by definition, a bad thing.

Posted: 2012 Jan 14, 04:21
by Kilmatead
Tuxman wrote:if the Greeks would all say "we're not interested in being Greeks", would they still be Greeks?
Yes.  Everyone is free to walk away from what others consider their "identity" - such a thing is only recognised by the unimaginative and always imposed externally - which, given time, people soon begin to think of as something they applied to themselves "internally".  It's how nations can develop such dementia as Superiority Complexes or Inferiority Complexes - just like any teenager.
Tuxman wrote:Germans invented a lot of nice things, too.
Yes: Johann Sebastian Bach, two girls from the Black Forest (where are they now, he wonders...), and a very large glass beer stein thing.  For those things you win a prize.  Everything else is mere flotsam in the timestream.

Tuxman wrote:Why?
Well, Pizza speaks for itself.  As for the "majority" idea... well, simple dismissive phrases like "the masses are asses" can be strangely accurate at times without the need for elaboration.  As I said before, it's impossible to think for yourself if you're surrounded by "like-minded people" - and I place a higher value on even the vaguest attempt at someone thinking for themselves than I would any idea that resulted from a compendium of fools.  I will always celebrate the "loner" and dismiss the "joiner" - especially if he ends in failure and sadness.  It (to me) is the whole point of being alive.  Everything else is just the jetsam that wasn't the flotsam (above). :wink:

Posted: 2012 Jan 14, 12:02
by Tuxman
"Masses are asses" does not always fit. There is just a difference between loud and mute masses.

Posted: 2012 Jan 14, 12:37
by Kilmatead
Not as much as they'd have us believe - in the interest of not allowing the malleable young to lose too much faith in the reality that has been prepared for them to live in (for they must not be allowed to live in any other), you still have a herd-mentality that develops no matter what the political ideology of the day might be.

Napoleon knew this, and used it rather masterfully to his advantage (at least for a little while).  Like any "movement" though (bowel or otherwise), due to the simple notion that it is based upon the cooperation of the "willing" masses, it is doomed to failure whenever the figurehead goes off the rails.  Thankfully, as Voltaire knew (or was it Hobbes?  I forget...), it's only too easy to subvert the willing masses with meat, mead, and distracting frivolities.  Unfortunately these days the recognition of this leads only to small minded extremism like Anders Behring Breivik, or hopeful mass psychosis (where no one's really kidding themselves) such as Kim Jong-un.  These ends are somewhat inevitable, because when the "masses" become disillusioned with their baubles (or their threatened punishments) solipsistic political fragmentation occurs, and the game starts all over again, just waiting for a man who speaks with his arse to address those who indeed are the arses!

Thus (in my own small mind), the masses are asses (largely because they are masses!) and no matter the hope, hubris or humiliation of their ideology - they can be nothing but asses, regardless of how noble the cause.  Why do you think people are permitted to watch "reality tv"?  For it's entertainment value?  Hardly.  It's to reinforce their belief in the justification of inherited reality - precisely so they don't go out and create a new one that no one can control.

Posted: 2012 Jan 14, 12:48
by Tuxman
Your ability to connect "reality TV" with "justification" is impressive. I, for one, am not a fan of TV at all, unless some culture is on it.

I mean, what makes you a mass? Are you in a mass? If so, in which? If not, why not? I'd prefer to think of myself as an invividual, although I do know about my cultural background as a German; even as one living in Lower Saxony, so I don't even fit into the well-known cliché of the Bavarian with leather pants and a funny hat. Still I consider myself as a part of the German mass; sounds like a wave rolling over an island, but does not have any influence on my individuality, does it?

'Weird Al' Yankovic told us to "dare to be stupid", maybe he has too many followers yet. However, stupidity theoretically makes life easier, you have less problems with it. German working class is kept simple (in terms of their minds) with low-level entertainment and fast food. The American way of life?

Posted: 2012 Jan 14, 13:24
by Kilmatead
What the Americans did was to turn what Europeans call the "working class" into an aspirational subset called the Middle Class, and then exported that back to Europe in the form of slightly higher-brow "goods and services".  In other words, chubby-housewives who take a two week course in Fine Wine Appreciation and then self-satisfyingly consider themselves connoisseurs in front of their friends.

When I was younger I too used to think that "cultural identity" somehow had a greater meaning (and depth) than the superficial things that were never intended for my eyes and yet I saw around me every day.  I'm beginning to think that this is a biological imperative of the species (but, not one of any fundamental importance), for the older I get the more I learn to recognise the moral disappointment evident in people's behaviour.  It's too easy to appeal to one's sense of belonging (national/cultural identity and the delusions of value therein) - that's what makes me suspicious of it.  When people turn their brains off they fall for the same propaganda every time, and aren't even aware of it (kids love their Pop music and their iPhones and their Parents and their local Football club... it's all so predictable).  Every now and then there's a sufficient shock to the system (the current economic humour of Europe probably won't be much of a catalyst unfortunately), where 1 young person in 10000 sticks his head up and dares to be different - not caring for the clothing of youth, the sexual appetites of youth, or the limited understanding of the world presented through youth's lack of experience.

Once upon a time, this one person would have been heralded as a role model or at least an example of some abstract notion of "freedom" - but interestingly that's not what happens anymore.  The "world" (as it's perceived) has become so entrenched in conservatism and fear (that's what populates culture) that people are weirdly no longer capable of even recognising the truly "different" when it exists right in front of them.  The evidence of this is how loudly they shout about those they decide are indeed "different" (with no real evidence other than a different race or culture or habit).  And when they shout, people get all very excited - but the trouble is that it's all so predictable and blind (that cultural "pride" you keep going on about) that it makes one rather sleepy.  If you lads didn't have the cultural baggage that you do, everyone would just take a nap and let it "blow over" - however, lessons have been learned and anything that has the depraved stench of death about it ("my culture this, my culture that") becomes immediately suspicious.

But it would be so nice to take a nap instead.  Just a short one - a few hundred years should do. :shrug:

Posted: 2012 Jan 14, 13:47
by Tuxman
What did the past few hundred years change that makes you think a nap would help, except the proof for the survival of the fattest thesis?

Modern civilisation is not related to the verb to be civilised anymore at all. Actually, I notice that you are growing old: Youth never had uniformity, neither 50 years ago nor today. "Clothing of youth", habit of youth, young-being of youth, always influenced by the mass but not by being young itself. The same, bacially, applies to our "cultural baggage": We are ndividuals, but it is hard to find the individual in a huge case full of individuals. The choir insists, "we are all individuals", like the youth writing iN wE!Rrd c4SinG and saying "it is my own style", like red-colored hair and running around without covering a large part of the body. What is true today, what is wrong?

"... it's all just a little bit of history repeating..."

Posted: 2012 Jan 14, 14:13
by Kilmatead
Tuxman wrote:Youth never had uniformity, neither 50 years ago nor today.
Of course they have! Youth (in the abstract) is nothing but uniformity, and always has been!  Children (of all ages) love structure and long for it when it is either missing or found to be ineffectual at controlling them (wherein they go out and try to find a greater controlling power to kowtow to).  People never really grow out of this - they love to be controlled by the powers that be and have their limits clearly defined - there's a comforting sense of certainty about it.  And when that goes missing (when the "youth" grow-up) and discover that the world is not what they were taught, told, or threatened it was, they get rather nervous and scared (why else do you think it's so common for children in their 20's get married?  Cultural imperative?  Familial continuity?  Emotional maturity? Hah - you can see it in their eyes, the insecurities and fear of a 5 year old who just had his puppy run over by a car).
Tuxman wrote:What did the past few hundred years change that makes you think a nap would help
Well, true, but I wasn't actually thinking historically - I was more thinking along the lines that if you just wait long enough everyone alive today will be suicided by nature, and that will at least remove some of the dross.  Yes, I know that doesn't work because their offspring are just as likely to believe the same nonsense as their parents, so the case continues - but at least there's always a chance that something will go catastrophically wrong in the meantime and take away the gloss of civilisation that contemporary cultures cling to like a security blanket or teddy bear.

Posted: 2012 Jan 14, 14:33
by Tuxman
Kilmatead wrote:Children (of all ages) love structure and long for it when it is either missing or found to be ineffectual at controlling them (wherein they go out and try to find a greater controlling power to kowtow to).
Maybe I never was a child then. I love chaos. (You should see my bedroom.) The only occasion where I need structure is my hard disk. Sigh.
Kilmatead wrote:why else do you think it's so common for children in their 20's get married?
Funny: Just yesterday I had some conversation with a mother of a boy in his very early 20s who already has a child. We sat in a bus, the rear was full of young, uneducated children, around 8 or 9 years old. One of them sang, her toilet was made for kissing it. I effectively rolled eyes.

When they went out, aforementioned woman asked me if I still want children. I replied, I never wanted them because of such things happening. She nodded, but the boy sitting next to her said, he is only 20 and already has a child. I said, well, bad for you, he said, well, yes, and he agreed it was not a good idea.

Obviously, people think it makes them adult to breed as early as possible. Here in Germany, (IIRC) there are more divorces than marriages per year. Should I really wonder why?

Biologically, a really long nap would succeed.