Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On the Nature of Society

The Dialogues of Jeff & Kim: On the Nature of Society
by Alraune

Our conversation continues in the small apartment occupied by our young couple, somewhere in Pennsylvania.

Kim: Here is another mass-produced beer.

Jeff: Thank you.

Kim: Since you claim the way things are run are so horrible, why don't you just make your own home-brewed beer and be a small bug in the system?

Jeff: You make an excellent point, and I move closer every day to implementing such things, but the fact of the matter is (for example), if enough people simply made their own beer, the people for which this society was truly designed and intended to benefit would outlaw the making of such. They'd never allow it if it really threatened their money and their power.

Kim: I don't know about these elite people you speak of, but I think you are probably correct in thinking that someone (probably the major beer manufacturers) would push to outlaw home-brewing if it got to be a threat to their profits.

Jeff: Yes. Thankfully it is not a threat because it costs too much, so if one chooses they may take that route, at least as things currently stand.

Kim: But couldn't we just say that they dominate because they make a good product for cheap and so people are willing to pay for it?

Jeff: Yes we could, and I would go for that, but the fact of the matter is that corporations and individualsI'm not really speaking about beer right now—still use government to make profits by outlawing things or suppressing things, and that is not right. It is no longer the law of supply and demand when they use their money and power to squash the competition.

Kim: Yes. I suppose you are right.

Jeff: Such people are no longer playing by the rules of supply and demand, but instead are trying to cheat the game by buying off the referee. And that speaks directly to why I say society is not designed to benefit us, but to benefit a small few.

Kim: So are you going to tell me what society is supposed to be for and why it is not being used for that purpose already, or are you going to make me wait all day?

Jeff: Yes. I will. Now, what did we say the purpose of man was?

Kim: If by the purpose of man, you mean our purpose as humans in this life..."The purpose of this life is to sustain our existence in the least intrusive manner necessary in order to attain the greatest possible abundance of personal and communal experiences of a positive nature."

Jeff: And by the “least intrusive manner necessary” we mean "the least intrusive manner of necessary self-sustainment,” correct?

Kim: Yes.

Jeff: Well, society has no useful purpose to any individual human being unless it is purposed to aid in the acquisition of the purpose of man; that purpose being what we just cited.

Kim: So you are saying that the purpose of society is also to sustain our existence in the least intrusive manner necessary in order to help attain the greatest possible abundance of personal and communal experiences of a positive nature?

Jeff: Yes, that is precisely what I am saying.

Kim: Well, wouldn't progress be part of that?

Jeff: Yes it would.

Kim: Then I do not see what your problem is. I mean, I understand there are imperfections which need fixed, but you claim the entire thing is broken and never was intended for that. I just don't see it. Furthermore, it seems kind of hypocritical for you to be accusing society of all these wrongs while sitting in a house, drinking a beer, sitting on a chair, and listening to the radio.

Jeff: Look. Just because some dude who works for a major radio or television station tells you something, you shouldn't just go out and repeat it, because frankly, that's what that accusation of "hypocrasy" of your's just was, and we both know it. I am not saying the things we produce are wrong. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that. I am saying it is how we obtain them and who benefits that is wrong. Furthermore, so long as I or anyone else has no choice in the matter, arguing that I utilize things made in the system is a meaningless argument.

Kim: You do so have a choice!

Jeff: Tell me, I'd love to hear.

Kim: Just leave. Drop out of society if you don't like it!

Jeff: And be arrested as a criminal, a vagrant, or mentally ill. Yeah, sure. Because that's leaving it. Having society come and lock you away for refusing to be part of it is hardly what I call a choice.

Kim: Well, then move to another country.

Jeff: It's all the same wherever you go. Different governments and cultures, but the same system. There is no where to go, Kim, so don't play that card. The fact is, I don't have a choice, and neither do you.

Kim: You're sounding like an anarchist again.

Jeff: What is it going to take to get through your head that I am not bashing your precious television or your running water or any of that? It's the root purpose of it all, don't you get that? I'm saying it is what stands at the heart, not what you see on the surface. I don't hate society, I despise the wrongful and manipulative purpose it is used and intended for.

Kim: So you want society to fall?

Jeff: No.

Kim: Then what do you want? You are confusing the hell out of me.

Jeff: That's because you are giving me all your pre-programmed defenses before you even bother to hear what I'm actually going to say. It's alright. You can get them all out and then we can have an actual conversation.

Kim: Don't do that to me.

Jeff: What?

Kim: Your "you are being programmed" hoo-dee-do. Don't even start.

Jeff: Fine. I am sorry if I offended you. I just want to speak without being labelled an "anarchist" or accused of hypocrasy or any number of things. Can we debate the matter and both leave attacks on the messenger out of it?

Kim: Yes. Let's do that.

Jeff: Fine. So tell me then who you think society is supposed to benefit?

Kim: I suppose the majority.

Jeff: And why so?

Kim: Because you can't make everyone happy, so the best thing would seem to be that society should seek to aid the purpose of this life by doing what is best for the majority.

Jeff: So if you believe society is supposed to benefit the majority, then why do you suppose anyone would "sign-up" for it, knowing that sooner or later they would not be in that majority?

Kim: Well, maybe it's not supposed to only benefit the majority then. If the purpose of each and everyone of us is to live as long as possible in order to have as many positive experiences as possible, in the least intrusive way, then I don't see how anyone in their right mind would want to be part of something which only benefited the majority, since you are correct. Sooner or later you will not be in that majority, and the benefits do not necessarily outweigh the negatives if the majority chooses to benefit itself in a way that greatly screws you.

Jeff: Like taking their tanks and their bombs and blowing people up so they can heat their homes in the winter?

Kim: Yeah.

Jeff: And maybe locking you away "just in case" because they just so happen to be blowing up your grandparents over in some foreign country where you originally immigrated from?

Kim: Yes.

Jeff: Or maybe taking your children because you smoke pot, and the majority don't think you should?

Kim: Well yeah, but the majority don't care if people smoke pot.

Jeff: Which would be evidence of why society is not meant to benefit the majority.

Kim: But it can't be intended to benefit the minority, because that's just as bad as benefiting the majority! Society should be in place to benefit the whole.

Jeff: Now we're cooking! It is my belief that the purpose of society is to aid in the sustainment of the existence of the whole of its members, in the least intrusive manner necessary, in order to help as many of its members as possible (all preferably) attain the greatest possible abundance of personal and communal experiences of a positive nature. And if possible, to improve upon the ways in which it seeks to carry out that mission.

Kim: Okay. I can agree with that, and I knew that's what you were eventually going to say, but how is our society (or any society for that matter) not doing that?

Jeff: Well, first let's look at how society aims to achieve anything in the first place. Our civilization, our society, is made up of four great pillars: economy, government, morality (or religion), and science and the arts as well as the dissemination of them (ie. education, language, etc.). Those four things are the tools any civilization uses to achieve its purposes.

Kim: Okay. Now, I'm not accusing you of being an anarchist, but are you suggesting that we should do away with those things?

Jeff: No.

Kim: Good.

Jeff: But I am suggesting they are all used improperly and that is why the world is screwed up. I would also suggest a complete revamping of the pillar of economy. I would not recommend any economic system that currently floats around out there as a solution (especially socialism). I would suggest something entirely different. Furthermore, I would state that the heart of the problem I speak of is that economy, government, religion, and the arts and sciences, particularly the dissemination of them via education, are all used to control us in a very intrusive, ignorant, and malicious manner.

Kim: That's quite the statement. What do you have to back it up?

Jeff: How about two very well respected and prominent philosophers, just for starters.

Jeff reaches for his cell phone and thumbs through it.

Jeff: Here's Socrates...I'll read to you directly from Plato's Republic. Socrates is speaking with Glaucon.

Socrates: And how can marriages be made most beneficial? That is a question which I put to you, because I see in your house dogs for hunting, and of the nobler sort of birds not a few. Now, I beseech you, do tell me, have you ever attended to their pairing and breeding?

Glaucon: In what particulars?

Socrates: Why, in the first place, although they are all of a good sort, are not some better than others?

Glaucon: True.

Socrates: And do you breed from them all indifferently, or do you take care to breed from the best only?

Glaucon: From the best.

Socrates: And do you take the oldest or the youngest, or only those of ripe age?

Glaucon: I choose only those of ripe age.

Socrates: And if care was not taken in the breeding, your dogs and birds would greatly

Glaucon: Certainly.

Socrates: And the same of horses and of animals in general?

Glaucon: Undoubtedly.

Socrates: Good heavens! My dear friend, I said, what consummate skill will our rulers need if the same principle holds of the human species!

Glaucon: Certainly, the same principle holds; but why does this involve any particular skill?

Socrates: Because, I said, our rulers will often have to practise upon the body corporate with medicines. Now you know that when patients do not require medicines, but have only to be put under a regimen, the inferior sort of practitioner is deemed to be good enough; but when medicine has to be given, then the doctor should be more of a man.

Glaucon: That is quite true, he said; but to what are you alluding?

Socrates: I mean, I replied, that our rulers will find a considerable dose of falsehood and deceit necessary for the good of their subjects: we were saying that the use of all these things regarded as medicines might be of advantage.

Glaucon: And we were very right.

Socrates: And this lawful use of them seems likely to be often needed in the regulations of
marriages and births.

Glaucon: How so?

Socrates: Why, I said, the principle has been already laid down that the best of either sex should be united with the best as often, and the inferior with the inferior as seldom, as possible; and that they should rear the offspring of the one sort of union, but not of the other, if the flock is to be maintained in first-rate condition. Now these goings on must be a secret which the rulers only know, or there will be a further danger of our herd, as the guardians may be termed, breaking out into rebellion.

Glaucon: Very true.

Socrates: Had we better not appoint certain festivals at which we will bring together the brides and bridegrooms, and sacrifices will be offered and suitable hymeneal songs composed by our poets: the number of weddings is a matter which must be left to the discretion of the rulers, whose aim will be to preserve the average of population? There are many other things which they will have to consider, such as the effects of wars and diseases and any similar agencies, in order as far as this is possible to prevent the State from becoming either too large or too small.

Glaucon: Certainly, he replied.

Socrates: We shall have to invent some ingenious kind of lots which the less worthy may draw on each occasion of our bringing them together, and then they will accuse their own ill-luck and not the rulers.

Glaucon: To be sure, he said.

Kim: Oh my God! That sounds like eugenics. And what was that about using medicines on the general public and lying about it? And that stuff about festivals and sacrifices and the pairing of the less worthy with the less worthy. That's not freedom! That's total control.

Jeff: Oh, you're quick. But hold it there one second. Allow me to quote a man who is considered one of the greatest philosophers of modern time. I am sure you have heard of Bertrand Russell, the man who wrote A History of Western Philosophy?

Kim: Yeah. I know who that is.

Jeff: Here's Bertrand Russell in his book, The Impact of Science on Society, where he says on pages 49-50: "Scientific societies are as yet in their infancy...It is to be expected that advances in physiology and psychology will give governments much more control over individual mentality than they now have even in totalitarian countries. Fitche [Fitche, as you know, was a prominent philosopher of the German Idealist school, and a proponent of German nationalism] laid it down that education should aim at destroying free will, so that, after pupils have left school, they shall be incapable, throughout the rest of their lives, of thinking or acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished."

"Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible."

"Gradually, by selective breeding, the congenital differences between rulers and ruled will increase until they become almost different species. A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organized insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton."

Kim: Holy s!

Jeff: Hold on. I'm not done yet. Here's Mr. Russell in his book, The Scientific Outlook, "In like manner, the scientific rulers will provide one kind of education for ordinary men and women, and another for those who are to become holders of scientific power. Ordinary men and women will be expected to be docile, industrious, punctual, thoughtless, and contented. Of these qualities, probably contentment will be considered the most important. In order to produce it, all the researches of psycho-analysis, behaviorism, and biochemistry will be brought into play...All the boys and girls will learn from an early age to be what is called 'co-operative,' i.e., to do exactly what everybody is doing. Initiative will be discouraged in these children, and insubordination, without being punished, will be scientifically trained out of them."

"Except for the one matter of loyalty to the World State and to their own order, members of the governing class will be encouraged to be adventurous and full of initiative..."

"On the rare occasions, when a boy or girl who has passed the age at which it is usual to determine social status shows marked ability as to seem the intellectual equal of the rulers, a difficult situation will arise, requiring serious consideration. If the youth is content to abandon his previous associates and to throw in his lot whole-heartedly with the rulers, he may, after suitable tests, be promoted, but if he shows any regrettable solidarity with his previous associates, the rulers will reluctantly conclude that there is nothing to be done with him except to send him to the lethal chamber before his ill-disciplined intelligence has had time to spread revolt. This will be a painful duty to the rulers, but I think they will not shrink from performing it."

Kim: Did he just say they need to kill anyone who gets too smart for their breeches?

Jeff: Yes. That is exactly what he said.

Kim: Okay. I'll have to let these quotes you just read me sink in for a little bit. That's some pretty wild stuff. I can hardly believe such prominent and well-respected men really said those things. And to think, so much of our modern society is based upon and shaped around the ideas of these men.

Jeff: Precisely my point.

Kim: But just because they said some crazy things doesn't mean we are really doing them, does it?

Jeff: Just because Socrates and Russell actually did make those statements, does not mean they are being implemented, but they are being implemented nonetheless. However, that is not the point I am trying to make anyway, so it doesn't matter whether you believe those things are actually being carried out or not (although they are and have been for quite some time, and I urge you to research the matter for yourself). Those quotes were read to you to give you a glimpse of those things, but more importantly to show you that our society, our civilization, is a well-thought-out machine. It is planned and ordered, and neither you nor I are anywhere near those who do the actually planning and running of society. Furthermore, if you read the works of those who mold and shape society with their philosophical arguments, you will see that the four pillars we spoke of are not used to achieve the ends we stated society should seek to achieve. Society is not for the benefit of the whole, it is for the benefit of the guys up top.

Kim: I think you are hitting me with too much at once, Jeff. Let's stop for a little bit, maybe even call it a night. I really need to let this stuff sink in.

Jeff: Okay.

Kim: You'd better stay here tonight. You've been drinking for quite a while now, and you look like you are ripped out of your mind.

Jeff: It's the only way to live.

Kim: Alright then. Let's crash out and we can continue this discussion tomorrow.

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