Another thing that struck me while speaking with my 85+ year old grandparents is that society has changed a fuck ton. Not necessarily human nature, but how society is organized, and what community means, and how we spend our days.
Community used to be something tangible. You physically relied on those closest in proximity to you, and church was where everyone socialized. It was pretty much the only place where socialization took place, aside from the farmer’s markets, and schools for children.
But these days community is abstracted, and we can live next to someone for 20 years and never know them or talk to them or depend on them. There are communities on top of communities, locally and over vast distances. People connected by digital identification markers, entirely and utterly removed from the physical space they occupy.
In this world people’s identity is wrapped up in gross abstractions. We identify with a community we will never meet, we will never actually depend on. The community serves one purpose: reinforce our worldview and strengthen our identity.
In our modern world, these layers of abstracted communities defined by occupation or ethnicity or culture or interest or education or wealth live on top of each other, pass each other every day, and never know each other. They are simply the “other”. And the horrific consequence of this reality is that people get lost, they get forgotten, they become displaced, dispossessed, and long for a sense of belonging, a real sense of community, of connectedness that’s real and authentic. And what they find are other seekers, and so they find each other and band together into a tribe whose only commonality is their ever receding sense of belonging and their desire to persecute those who are responsible for the crisis.
But the “final solution” is not as obvious as pointing to a community whose superficial appearances are foreign or unfamiliar and blaming them.
And it’s not capitalism, overtly anyway.
There is a natural progress toward increasingly abstract structures that we rely on to support the complex population growth, that marginalize individual significance and divide our utility into granular contributions requiring little more than rote behavior, but simultaneously depersonalize and isolate, and ultimately degrade a meaningful sense of self worth.
A man can live a lifetime in this day and age and never leave his home, never have to communicate with a person, never have to depend on an individual and their goodwill, never participate in a tangible community of humans. All that is required is the reliance on digital structures of information, boxes and blinking dots, to get paid, to get fed, to put a roof over your head. We’re in a living simulation, where the collective conscious experience is progressively being driven from the ecology of nature, from the natural community that engages the entirety of our senses and relies on a cooperative effort of give and take for sustainable harmony, and into a static simulation where values are depersonalized from people and deeds. We read words that are assembled into soundbites, sixty character characterizations and pithy headlines, associated with avatars of people with titles and blue check mark’s and followers and likes and we’re told that they are the authority, or no they are not the authority, I’m the authority. And these words become platitudes that slowly desensitize us to what they actually represent, and manifest as empty chattering noise and flashing lights that stroke our amygdala to fight or flight, friend or foe, and we just spend our time reacting to the onslaught of noises and lights, and find others that react similarly to call our people.
And this is the collective experience.
Man builds these abstracted information structures to organize people into efficient microprocessors of ideas and material goods to concentrate resources, influence and wealth. In a word: power.
Progress is a necessary evil that ultimately leaves mankind disembodied.