Over the past twenty or so years, I have come to firmly believe that the largest problem facing humanity is lack of consciousness. Sounds trite, doesn’t it?
But I’m not talking about “mindfulness” or “caring” or any of that New Age woo-woo. What I mean by “consciousness” is the same thing that Douglas Hofstadter means: the ability to temporarily step outside the actions you are performing, or the thoughts you are having, and consider them from a distance, as a whole. If you can’t do that — if you are unable or unwilling to occasionally evaluate your behavior, your preconceptions, and your desires as if they belonged to someone else — then you are truly no more intelligent than a dog or a computer program or a hurricane.
The conscious individual periodically steps out outside his situation so he can consider whether what he is doing makes any sense whatsoever. You can think of it as “the state of stuckness,” as Robert Pirsig did, or you can call it a “strange loop” as Hofstadter does, but you should learn how to do it. Without that consciousness, you will always be the victim of your environment and whatever information you consume. Lack of consciousness makes people susceptible to everything from autonomous-car crashes to investment bubbles to conspiracy theories.
While Jack then goes on from there to talk about electric car sales, of which we’ve little to no interest here anymore than we’ve interest in the sales figures of flying didgeridoos in New Queensland, the point about being able to step outside yourself is indeed as powerful as it is broadly undervalued, or even discouraged.ii We need look only as the “vision zero” campaigns or “slut walk” marches and even more perverse “diversity boards” to see what this looks like in praxis.
To borrow the Pirsigism, what the state of stuckness looks like is “joining the conversation.” Think about it, why would “everyone”‘s voice “matter” unless those in positions of (supposed) power and priviledge were frankly incapable of stepping outside themselves and imagining what the voice of “l’autre” might sound like and what it might say. It’s no grandiose reveal to say that the voices halfwayiii down Fortune’s Well – ie. those who spend their office job days and endless nights virtue signalling on social mediaiv – are whiny, emotional, and self-absorbed, but so too is the ear they’re specially pleading to. What, like any of these shmucks had parents growing up ? What did you expect ? It’s turtles all the way down!
It isn’t this way everywhere, of course, but nor does it need to be this way anywhere. It’s just that muppets like Justin Trudeauv are too dumb to breathe much less explain why they over-promoted half their Cabinet with more erudition than the feel-goodiness of “Because it’s 2016.” That publicly-traded companies and public-facing bureaucracies of the decaying “first world” variety see fit to mask their graft, theft, and rent-seeking with holier-than-thou moralising doesn’t change the fact that they’re killing their golden geese at the same time. If your Executive team or Cabinet is “fair” and “representative,” it can’t help but be tone-deaf. It’s composed of actors,vi and actors don’t have the substance to match their signal much less a voice to call their own.vii Or were you still wondering why they disproportionately took to drink and drug ? It’s not easy coping with the fact that you’re someone else professionally and really no one on the inside.
That and the fact that any stage set with a thousand directorial voices shouting one over top of the other can’t help but be utter chaos pretty much explains why better executives look like entrepreneurs just as better surgeons to look like butchers (and better bureaucrats looks like ghosts).
This isn’t the kind of “diversity”viii espoused by the PC crowd – it’s the kind that works. Any questions ?
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- Dedicated Contravex readers will surely remember Mr. Baruth from In which two fathers attempt to unironically discuss cuckolds, Fellow astronauts, sure. Fellow “American proles”, hmm… , Baruth skips truth, or when Jack went whack, or why the US isn’t important and doesn’t matter, and most recently, my muchly commented guest posts over on his blerg. [↩]
- Of course, your “progressive” “western” “education” is rife with tragedies including, but not limited to, overvaluing conformity and undervaluing the kind of proper parenting that serves as the external voice until a productive internal voice can develop with the external’s help. But you knew that already. [↩]
- Those who’ve watched the Olympics will appreciate the Silver Medal Problem that plagues the middle class. The counterfactual of the middle class is upwards, whereas the upper classes are somewhat less likely to make this comparison and the lower classes are quite a bit less likely. Van Landeghem and Vandeplas sum up this phenomenon well in their October 2017 paper for IZA. [↩]
- Those on the lower rungs of the ladder are too busy working to make ends meet to [↩]
- As an example of the charlatanic IYI (Idiot Yet Intellectual). There are many others. Too many to count in fact. [↩]
- How are actors cum “executives” supposed to know that monkeys are so last season ? [↩]
- No bite to match the bark, if you prefer. [↩]
- As Uncle Al put it:
Then… there was diversity — admission for reason of disqualification. Rather than foster brilliance we allocate for its suppression. [↩]