Man was made to strive. Or for strife. One of the other. Which means, yes, I’d like to lodge a complaint with manufacturing.
This is one of those reasons that though I believe in life eternal for the human mind, I’m not even going to ever try to imagine it. Because people who get everything handed to them are some of the most miserable human beings ever.
Mind you, I probably could maintain interest in life simply by trying to write increasingly harder to write (but not to read. That being the trick) stuff. But I’m broken in a special and peculiar way, which I gather is not the normal way of mankind.
The mostly rich, mostly pampered, and in historical terms almost imaginably so, kiddies hitting the streets and burning and looting are demanding more and ore and more free stuff. This is sort of like the drunkard, in the pub, as he’s told closing time is near demanding more and more and more drinks, even though he can barely stand. That which they seek is what is destroying them. They lack sense of purpose, sense of mission, so they’ve appointed themselves the very stupid, brain dead and destructive million of seeking more free stuff for the lumpen masses, whether the lumpen masses want them or not.
If you had grown up in a village, and known the history of many families, or even if you set yourself the task and go read up on it, you’ll find that most of our society (and definitely all the young people) are suffering from what could be termed “Wealthy Heir” disease. You see it enough if you grow up in a small area with little mobility and where a few prominent families go on forever, and you’d be shocked at how very little “wealth and ease” is needed to ruin a person.
It consists of throwing your life away in the most spectacular ways, from stupid and destructive causes to drugs to outre sexual vices. All the while complaining about how hard life is, and with no clue of how hard it is from other people.
If you’re recognizing this as our “would be elites” yeah, they suffer from it too, because the hereditary “everything is easy” always has that result. ALWAYS.
This is why the children of people who are incredibly successful rarely do well, and often the family is extinct quickly. (Whether that is also because in the case of someone who suddenly takes the family to the pinnacle — say Shakespeare — they were too busy to have enough kids (given Elizabethan mortality) or raise them properly is a discussion for another day.)
Most of our society is suffering from this. A lot of our poor are suffering from this.
Humans weren’t made to sit around turning food into excrement, without some sort of goal or mission in life.
But the only way to obviate that, when people aren’t in fact starving (which mind, the very rich in our society are actively trying to bring about. As though instinctively they realize what’s wrong.) is to give people a very strong sense of purpose. Most of the time, when that works for whole societies, the sense of purpose is religious or quasi religious.
Since religion is looked down upon by the “intellectuals” in our um…. mind-classes,from politicians to entertainers, the religion offered, under the guise of religion and social betterment is Marxism. And most young people embrace it because they have nothing else. Also, they’re pig-ignorant on history and economics. (And there is no excuse for that, with information freely available everywhere.)
Which goes a long way to explaining the mess we’re in, but it’s — fortunately? — self-correcting, since the very things they’re embracing for purpose bring hell on everyone.
Anyway, the problem is that they think that life can, or SHOULD be perfect, with everyone instantly handed everything they desire, let alone need.
And my proximate cause of annoyance with this is that — since the black dog has me by the throat and is starting to chew — I’ve been reading a lot of P & P (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen) variations this last month. Look, we know how they end, we know the characters, it’s sort of easy to slide into without much thought, and I don’t require emotional space to deal with them. (At the same time, my husband has been reading the world’s dumbest cozy mystery series. He keeps reading me the worst passages, but he’s on book 14, partly for the same reasons: it requires no thought and is just stupid enough it doesn’t engage the emotions really.)
My problem is that about half of the highly rated ones I can’t really read.
No, seriously. And I can’t understand who or why is giving these books high marks. Unless they’re impressed at the way that the writer goes out of the way to remove any sign of strife or even unpleasantness from the character’s life.
For those who don’t know the plot of Pride and Prejudice, there’s a summary here.
The one book of this kind I read (okay, skimmed) almost to the end (in the spirit one watches a train wreck) took this to the next level.
Not only had Mrs. Bennet (the very embarrassing mother) die in child birth with the last child, but the last child is a boy, so their property is SAVED. Then Mr. Bennet is so cheered by having a son, he makes investments, so all the girls have dowries. Then when Mr. Darcy comes to town there is no misunderstanding and the two fall in love from the beginning.
It’s like the author set out to make the characters’ lives as wonderful as possible.
Maybe that’s what heaven is. Maybe we all get written like that by the Author. But my puzzlement was why none of the characters snapped and went on a rampage because they were SO BORED.
Seriously. Even minor strife or confrontations were removed.
That’s no way to live, unless you have a great task or a great obsession to keep you going.
I just wish our civilization could shift to “let’s go to space to live” as the obsession. Then the human race would probably survive. And not tear itself apart.
Definitely let’s go to space! And under the ocean. And under the mountains. We need frontiers!
Freedom thrives on frontiers.
American frontier closes, within a decade or so we have Woodrow Wilson and his massive campaign to remake America. Ugh.
reminds me of yesterday. was watchign a streamer and he said ” you know what else is at the bottom of the ocean?”
to which i replied ” there is water at the bottom of the ocean. on top of the water, carry the water.”
Then you have TradPub’s idea of striving, like https://www.thepassivevoice.com/the-ministry-for-the-future/
Just based the TPV’s excerpt of the review, I’ll save my wall from damage 🙂
Talking about families dying out, the Bach family is interesting: from a family of well known musicians to the peak (JS) to some good ones (JC, etc) to nobody.
To create entitled adults , I think only children (especially) / only a couple children, late marriages, and career orientation parents (including Tiger Moms) are a great foundation.
— Humans weren’t made to sit around turning food into excrement, without some sort of goal or mission in life. —
There’s a segment fairly early in Olaf Stapledon’s classic “Star Maker” in which he describes a whole humanoid species preparing to do just that: i.e., to sit passively, not working at anything, living vicariously through “radio.” It’s as chilling as anything I’ve encountered in science fiction…but when I pressed the book upon a friend and he encountered that segment, his reaction was “So what? What’s wrong with that?”
I couldn’t think of anything to say.
I have to somewhat agree with Bob about the dangers of drugs in this mix, too. We’re edging closer and closer to “soma holidays”, if we’re not there already. Niven’s “drogue” (sp?) for directly stimulating the pleasure center nerves is probably within reach (if not now, then soon). Individually, who cares? But for a society, it’s a problem (for which I have no solution).
If this is a reference to me, yeah, I’m still pretty hardcore in my opposition to drug use. Recreational use of certain substances definitely won’t make people saner.
But, I’ve actually convinced myself to moderate a little. That theory of ‘humans can only understand reduced order models of society, and the dynamics can surprise’ that I’ve been babbling about? Well, it also cuts against things I want. First, I’ve convinced myself that some of my policy arguments were not valid. Mainly the alarmism and extreme solution stuff, though I do still /feel/ like they should be correct. Second, problems can exist without them proceeding inevitably along lines we imagine, and we can fix problems without first imagining the actual solution. With societies, the last isn’t magical thinking the way it is with machines. But it may require a common perception that a problem exists, and for persons trying to fix it to have correct perceptions of the local parts of the problem. Probably isn’t anywhere near as effective, if at all, in totalitarian societies.
“A neural stimulator is the right of every citizen. If elected, the Stimulus Party will ensure that every citizen will have their very own stimulator, implanted at no cost . . .”
Yeek. What’s the point of reading Pride and Prejudice (or anything else) if the characters are lotus eaters? Drifting along aimlessly, all my needs and wants fulfilled, would make me crazier than I already am.
It would also make me go looking for destruction, which I suppose is what’s happening.
It’s a basic need, I thing – something to “do” – something challenging, interesting, engaging … having life handed to us on a silver tray, trimmed with parsley and radish roses, is ultimately destroying.
I’m thinking of a story I read a couple of days ago on the Daily Mail – about a woman who has been dubbed the pushiest mother ever — she and her hubs are raising two girls, aged 3 and 8, and making certain that the kidlets have chores, earn their own money for doing them, are encouraged to do challenging things like horseback riding. They have limits and standards, and it all seems as if the two kids are thriving on them.
We all need a purpose, a challenge in life – and if we are thinking right, we have set something for ourselves that meets that need.
Goals, or a system for moving ahead, are necessary. I’m starting to get sedentary and passive and I don’t like it. Lacking motivation. I’m prodding myself forward. But, one thing I’ve taken from grad school was the idea of 15 minutes a day…for working on the dissertation. I’ve applied that elsewhere and it works and I’m not “stuck” working on something for hours. I can at least give myself some credit for spending time on said project or task or chore. That begins the virtuous circle and brings me back to a better level of striving.
I can’t understand who or why is giving these books high marks. Unless they’re impressed at the way that the writer goes out of the way to remove any sign of strife or even unpleasantness from the character’s life.
Well, P & P variations is not a genre I read, so take this opinion for what it’s worth, but my guess is that the problem is that it’s essentially published fan fiction. And while fan fiction contains some great works that take the original material and go new places with it, it’s also got a lot of wish fulfillment of the “I’m just like Elizabeth only better because I wouldn’t have made any of her stupid mistakes” type. And there’s definitely a crowd with whom that’s popular. Personally, the very last thing I want to see is Elizabeth Bennet turned into Ariana Black, but there seems to be a market for it.
I’ve seen this sometimes when folks are just sick and tired of characters being the kicking-target of the universe– they’re writing from within the “everything went terribly– what if it didn’t?” framework.
Yeah, it’s fanfiction. Yeah, it’s basically wish fulfillment, or a sort of romance-ish novel version of those obnoxious classic scifi that’s a theory, philosophical statement or “what if” with names tacked in.
I am not a big fan (I can get that for free!) but I can understand the appeal.
Possible overlap with the appeal of fix-it fic, come to think of it…..
My absolute “favorite” in that genre — the one I read with fascinated horror — spends something like a 100 pages in details of financial transactions to convince us that the Bennets really get very rich. Head>desk.
*laughs* That sounds like someone turned a homework assignment into a book!
They must be. They have a bunch of servants.
( Henry Mayhew, in his famous London Labour and the London Poor, made the hiring of servants the dividing line between the poor — and the very poor.)
When I was in college, I started into The Spy Went Dancing by Aline, Countess of Romanones, and though I didn’t get very far into it, I recall her description of her friend Fergie (it seems it was the Duchess of York, but she’s almost a whole generation too young) who’d famously said that a gal could never be either too rich nor too thin– and was now both: anorexic and bored as only the preposterously rich can be.
What if P&P was re-written (and okay, I’m not an Austin fan), so that everything did go astonishingly materially right for the Bennetts, and that very same unwieldy largesse was what was wrong with them and made their lives problematic and difficult, by the very feature of its problem-free-ness and ease?
You’ll find that the warranty expired the minute you drove off the lot…