Friday, September 07, 2018

Socialism vs. the Extra-Cranial World

The World Beyond Your Head. First of all, what a great title, even though the book itself is a bit diffuse and half-digested. Like a ruminant, the author should have chewed the material a bit longer before asking us to swallow it. Problem is, now it's up to me to digest it all, and I'm not feeling especially focussed myself this morning.

Still, the theme of the book is sound -- that, largely because of technology, human beings are increasingly exiled from the real world and trapped inside their own heads. And "unexpectedly," the more they pursue this faux-individuality, the more they end up the same, only worse. It's why the left can un-ironically celebrate "diversity" while manifesting such a distinct lack thereof: the proverbial herd of independent minds.

You'd think a situation in which everyone is living inside abstractions within their own heads would lead to mass eccentricity -- a herd of cats -- but instead, we have a compliant and predictable sheepocracy of tenured, media, and entertainment drones. The key, it seems to me, is that ignoring feedback from the actual world is what allows everyone on the left to be the same.

Consider how, for example, since 2016, the left has been unified in their obsessional loathing of Trump. It's all they talk or think about. And yet, the world -- the one outside their heads -- not only keeps turning, but is thriving in every measurable way.

This morning, for example, the headlines on Drudge include


--GREAT AGAIN: Construction Worker Wages Rise


--120 Utilities Have Lowered Rates Thanks to Tax Cuts.

It's like this every day: it must be exquisitely painful for the left to have to deal with a such a constant stream of good news.

Just below the good news is a link to an article on Michael Moore's new anti-Trump film. I wonder what he has to complain about? I mean, outside his own head? Okay, I'll bite. What's going on in there?

"Filmmaker Michael Moore compares U.S. President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler in his provocative new documentary, 'Fahrenheit 11/9.'" Yes, provocative. Not insane.

But what is insanity? It is loss of contact with the real world, precisely. I mean, if Hitler was Trump, then WWII was just a big misunderstanding.

"The documentary examines the forces Moore believes contributed to Trump’s election victory in November 2016, drawing parallels with the rise of Hitler in 1930s Germany."

Being that I am a strong supporter of Trump, I can only assume this means that I am a Nazi. Now, in reality, being that I exist outside Moore's head, only I am in a position to know whether I am in fact a Nazi or maybe even the opposite of a Nazi -- which is to say, a small government constitutional conservative, or classical liberal.

Turns out I am indeed the latter, so Moore has made a rather fundamental error, only multiplied times 50 or 60 million. As in: "I imagined you were Hitler, when you turned out to be James Madison. My bad."

Of course, Moore might have asked one of us how we feel about Nazism, but that would have required too much travel outside his head.

Anyway, since the book is so diffuse, maybe an amazon reviewer can boil it down for us. Let's see.

The overall theme of “The World Beyond Your Head” has to do with seeking out authentic individuality in a social context and culture that is awash in a flattened-out democratic autonomy.... the author sees that presently there “is a crisis of self-ownership: our attention isn’t simply ours to direct where we will...

The book explains

why the modern human is not progressing at all, but is actually regressing in many ways, because of technology. We are becoming dumber, more narcissistic..., and we are unaware that all of this is happening.... The lie that "individualism" and "freedom" is the great savior is the biggest con job ever perpetrated on a people.

Example: If you want to be good at Judo, you have to show up, humble yourself, and learn from the Sensei and from the tradition. This could be said for so many things in life.

Yes. The point is, genuine freedom and meaningful individuality require a long apprenticeship to reality, AKA the world outside your head.

In a note to myself, I wrote "Since few of us are intellectuals or scholars, academia had to invent whole disciplines for the stupid, the lazy, the shallow." Moreover, it has had to change the very nature of disciplines such as psychology, which is no longer tethered to objective reality -- say, the biological reality of two sexes -- but anchored in fantasies and preferences.

In this regard, the less you know, the more you think you know, until you attain a kind of cheap omniscience, whether it comes from scientism, feminism, deconstruction, whatever. Each of these exhaustively explains the world outside your head, without entailing the trouble of actually having to leave your head.

This also results in a pseudo-freedom, because now the person is enslaved in a false understanding, but confuses it with the real thing. Who understands less about women than feminists? Who understands less about economics than a socialist? For whom do black lives matter less than Black Lives Matter?

The author comes from a similar angle and argues that only by engaging with the real world can we truly become individuals. He also says that paradoxically we can only achieve true freedom by submitting to something external -- for example, by submitting to the rules of musicianship within a particular style, you gradually achieve freedom to improvise endlessly within that style.

Another reviewer says that the cogito of this book could be "I do, therefore I am." Or, you could say, "I screw up, therefore I am," for in order to screw up, you need a world outside your head. And now you know why the left is never wrong and can never learn. It is why socialism will always be with us.

Theme Song

Theme Song