Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Happiness

Happiness is often deemed to be a healthy goal, something worth aspiring to. Countless new-age self-help books proliferate in book stores, advising you how to be truly happy. If you are not accomplishing much in any field, don't worry - you're happy. You have a large family, a fine car, a fine job - you're happy!

People who have this mentality, forgive the snobbishness, largely end up living uninteresting lives. Broadening their horizons isn't on their agendas. They settle down in their own comfortable little bubble. And, as it happens, they do not end up so happy after all.

No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, you will invariably end up vying for better ones. So, if you end up with a large house, a large salary, a beautiful wife and nothing more than that, invariably you end up with the irksome desire for something else. You might want to have a promiscuous fling with your secretary, dabble in drugs or escape on a road trip.

Besides, people who are involved in creative endeavours do not care for this concept. Many committed writers live an austere life in which they strictly adhere to their schedules - up early in the morning, write, eat and finis. Happiness does not enter the picture for them; they just want to finish their creative project at all costs. Likewise, physicists in the past have subjected themselves to the most torturous experiences to unearth new discoveries - even nuclear radiation, possible death.

In the end, it all amounts to escapism. That's one of the functions drugs provide for many people. I will exchange X amount of money for these substances so that I can feel happy for X amount of time. Then you get caught up in a vicious cycle where your mind mutates, your body decomposes, you run out of cash - and all you care about is that momentary, fleeting moment of exaltation.

In the end, that's all both these mentalities amount to. Whether you set yourself the aim of living a happy gentrified suburban life, or if you take substances to feel happy for short spells of time, you are left in a self-perpetuating deadlock.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Pornography

Moralists, religious fundamentalists, conservatives and liberals are on a crusade against pornography. They either say that it's degrading to women, or that it is not real sex. Young boys get the wrong idea and when they eventually get in bed with a young girl, they want to sodomise her - the works.

The first thing you have to realise about pornography is that it's histrionic. It's fake, it's put-on - we all know that. Pornography, unlike eroticism, is raw and crude. Why? It's meant to provide instant stimulation. You don't have to think about it. So, when you watch internet porn, whether you like it or not, an erection is involuntary.

Sex, in itself, is a sordid activity. It is filthy. No matter how good it feels, there's nothing fanciful about it. A lot of people claim that it's an expression of love. Really? It's a chemical activity. It's stimulating. What has it got do with love?

Eroticism tries to elevate sex, make it poetic. When I'm reading literature and there's a sex scene, I don't want to see metaphorical language. It's ridiculous. I'll hastily make up a few examples to prove my point.

Eroticism: I dug my sheath into the depths of her well. My loved one sensually exhaled in pleasure.

Pornography: I came into her cunt. She moaned in excitement.

Literary porn has produced some of the most transgressive, innovative works of literature: Lolita, Naked Lunch, Crash, Story of the Eye. Eroticism is mainly read by bored housewives, who are frustrated by their boring, unromantic and emotionally detached husbands. In fact, eroticism provides very little in the transgression department. It usually just amounts to purple, flowery prose.

A lot of literature which has been pornographic has often provided useful exercises in expiation. All our suppressed sexual fantasies can come out to the open in a way that's healthy and that's not harmful. You might feel emotionally upset but, come on, you can always put the book away, can't you?

And when it comes to visual stimuli, people just want to get their load off as quickly as possible. No-one wants to rationalise their orgasms.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Natural selection

Believe it or not, humans are not endowed with any special powers. We are just like other animals. We are not the centre of the universe. We are not superior beings.

I hardly know anything about Darwinian natural selection, but the crux of it makes perfect sense to me. The main prerogative for humans is to procreate, to pass on their genes.

For such a thing to happen, one needs an understanding of social customs and nuances (which is usually intuited by most). Birds ruffle their feathers; scorpions, to mate, fight each other; male lions often hunt to impress their mates. What do humans do? In general, they go to clubs.

So, to maintain the human species alive and well, without their realising it, the ladies wear short miniskirts to smitten the guys. Guys shout loudly and cavort all over the place to get laid. This is all done, unconsciously, to pass on their genes. We are pre-progammed to find a mate we find attractive. It is usually someone both physically and mentally strong.

As a result, mediocre people meet each other and produce more mediocre people. Those who cannot grasp this process are left out of the playing field. Those who are scruffy and altogether awkward are so because they cannot master the essential thing of human existence - the necessary behaviour to keep the human race alive and well. These people are often shy, clumsy, wimpy. They usually orbit in their rooms. They sometimes have rather interesting, if slightly unusual, ideas about the human condition. These people are doomed to perennial isolation; they are defects. They are too weak and frail to pass on their genes to the subsequent generation. All in all, human procreation can only work with those who instinctively understand this process.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The neo-liberal model

I mentioned in passing in the previous post that countries like Chile suffer from neo-liberalism. I'll just specify what this term is and why it is so perilous.

The neo-liberal mantra could be summarised as follows: obey the law, reward the shareholders. A system of free markets is put in place, with no government regulation. Although, in practice, it purports to be ethical, it gets to the stage where zealots and moguls treat the whole system as one big casino, thus bringing about mass recession. And although neo-liberalism feels that such a practice is just, it does not give a hoot about the broader ethical and moral problems society may be afflicted with.

A sea change came in the late 1970s. Before then, banks did what they were supposed to do - take deposits, control your finances, etc. In short, they just dealt with whatever pecuniary needs you had. Since then, banks have become this mass play ground for business men to invest and they have been deeply ingratiated with politics and politicians.

In 1945, Great Britain voted for Labour because people wanted better housing, better welfare and a better infrastructure. When Magrate Thatcher came in the late 1970s, this was completely torn down. Tony Blair's New Labour did nothing to reconstitute it because, somehow, that system seemed outmoded. Whilst Ed Milliband's talk of 'responsible capitalism' may seem rather vague, at least it signals a shift in direction.

And when free markets and deregulation came, it instilled in people a desire for spend-mongering consumerism. Politics no longer seems interesting, it is not part of the public consciousness. The church is no longer important. All that prevails is consumerism, the need to proffer your credit card and buy, buy, buy. The mass public dissent of a decade prior smoothly led onto this torpid mentality. With consumerism an integral part of everyone's lives, and with egregious bankers perennially investing, it is no wonder that we get stock market crashes.

So, under the John Stuart Mill definition of the term I, and many others, would consider themselves liberals. But it has been muddle-headed after the onset of this model.