i apologize for the increased frequency of the blog posts. i have a lot on my mind. also, beware. this is a long post.
i just finished watching contagion. as a lover of dystopian fiction and conspiracy theory documentaries, films about epidemics and genetic engineering appeal to me as including a sort of hybrid of the two. i'm always intrigued by the way these sorts of films depict human nature. greedy. violent.
i grew up listening to rhetoric, from the people who were supposed to be my protectors and teachers, that the world is a frightening place. evil, even. humans are, by nature, destructive and self-serving. don't trust them. trust god. (i have a suspicion that my frequent exposure to this rhetoric has contributed to my trust issues, as well as my paranoia and anxiety disorder. not caused them, per se, but exacerbated my predisposition toward them.) so, i attempted. i attempted to not trust the words of other human beings.
to be honest, i think that advice backfired, in the eyes of my mother. i learned to not take people at their word, but to make inquiries -- and to not stop until i was satisfied with the answers i received. this included those who claimed to speak for god. if i wasn't satisfied with answers, the inquiries weren't over. thus, here i am. always questioning the methods, motivations, necessity and, occasionally, existence of authority. in many forms.
through this process, i developed my own theories about the world. i became more paranoid and distrustful of authority. i became unwilling to accept "because i said so," or, "it just is," as satisfactory responses to my questions. the legitimacy of authority, both conceptual and incarnate, unraveled within my brain. whether it was religion, government, economics, or human nature, i began to believe that no system was absolute. some weren't even necessary. many systems of power and/or control became illusory, to me.
**there are people far smarter and more eloquent than myself who have thought a lot longer and deeper on these ideas. if you are interested, i recommend: foucault's essay, "panopticism," which can be found in his book discipline and punish: the birth of the prison. the whole book is great, as well; chomsky's manufacturing consent; freud's civilization and its discontents. for starters. i have all three. so, if you're ever in the neighborhood, let me know and i'll lend you my copy/copies. anywho.**
i talk about this all the time. money isn't real. 'human nature' is a social construct. and so on. these thoughts resurface when i watch apocalyptic-ish films. when things go wrong, the masses loot. they riot. they become violent and greedy. now, i have no doubt that this would be the result if the same circumstances that are depicted in the film were to arise in real life, right now. however, this is not because of 'human nature.' in my most humble opinion.
see. through my lifetime of inquiries, i've come to believe that people are comfortable with what they know. even if what they know is terrible. for example, i've been subjected to various forms of abuse throughout most of my life. it sucks, and it's unhealthy, and it's done some serious psychological damage. however, it is what i know. people feel as though they can handle what they know, even if it's awful, better than they can handle what they don't know, regardless of how good that unknown may turn out to be. i know how to handle being hurt. i don't know how to handle being treated like a human being.
the same goes for apocalyptic circumstances. in our -- okay, specifically my -- society, people are told that humans are greedy. that the person with the most stuff is either the best or the happiest or something similar, and therefore you, too, should do everything in your power to acquire the MOST of...something. seek out the american dream, even if it is at the expense of someone else. in my society, that 'something' is money. gotta love capitalism. people hear this, and they internalize it -- much the way i internalized that people are not to be trusted. (for further reading on the power of internalized ideas, read huxley's brave new world. or orwell's 1984. preferably both.) these are the ideas that they know. therefore, when something happens that poses a threat to the populous...say, a deadly illness infects the masses...people react the way in which they are comfortable. the way they know. capitalism -- god bless it -- breeds a populous that seeks out the satiation of its own needs and no one else's. you look out for yourself.
this thought makes me depressed. yes, i recognize that things happen in real life, not just the movies, which appear to be the result of human nature in its raw form. that is, uninhibited selfishness and protectiveness of oneself. 'survival mode,' we call it.
but, that can change. i do not believe for a second that all humans are innately greedy and violent. i don't pretend to know what humans are, innately. but i do believe that whatever is instinctive in the human race can be overridden, so to speak. that, even if humans are truly selfish by nature, they can learn to be otherwise.
BUT WAIT! you say. THIS SOUNDS LIKE COMMUNIST PROPAGANDA! YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT BRAINWASHING! perhaps. when it comes from communists, it's called brainwashing. when it comes from christians, it's called finding jesus. americans are fickle, that way. nevertheless, the principle remains. i believe people are capable of being kind. of looking out for one another, even under the most difficult of circumstances. i believe that people can come to realize that instead of a disparity within a community wherein each individual looks out for only him/herself, the needs of all can be met when all are looking out for the needs of one another. it may be an elephantine task to undertake. it isn't probable, and will be met with so much resistance that its efforts may be crushed -- forever labeling it as something to be feared and persecuted. (hello. let us look at the way the united stated views...oh...marxism. or, today's communist project, cuba.) still. i think humans are capable of love and compassion over hatred and greed. they just need some assistance in realizing that.
you may say i'm a dreamer. but i'm not the only one. i hope, someday, you will join us.
bye for now.