Friday, October 02, 2009

The interesting thing about disliking most of humanity at many points of the day

Is that while I feel it I don't feel particularly superior to anyone. I suppose that if you hate folks you must feel superior to them on some level, but that's only implicit with me. I don't go around thinking about myself as being an elite or belonging to some sort of elite class a la the Church of Satan for instance. They hate lots of humanity too. Instead, if you turned the tables around and focussed on my life I think that lots of the same people I despise in mainstream culture would look at me as a complete fuck up, and I know this, and it impacts the way I think about myself even though I may say that I don't care occasionally. I'm almost 30, have no career, have no really established track record of anything that people from that world really care about. I went to college, but left two four year schools within a year and a half and then finished up my degree at Evergreen, a hippy school with no grades, graduating when I was 26. Of course, I worked my ass off at Evergreen and really did earn my degree, by any measure, but the folks who are paying attention to what college you went to etc.. don't really care about that stuff. Throw in prolonged periods of unemployment, from way before the current economic crisis started, into the mix and I look like a real winner to them. It's not like I'm unaware of these things. But the fact is that while they may view me in absolute terms I tend to view them and everyone else in relative terms, thinking about what cultural influences they came under as well as what power relationships they participate in.

I dislike most of humanity not because I think that they're inferior but because they could be nice, normal, responsible citizens and for whatever reason they've chosen not to be that. Our culture here in America condones unconsciousness. Choice though, I guess that sort of puts a twist on the whole cultural influences thing, but only a little. We can talk until the cows come home about the choices that x, y, and z person or people should have made, what choices it would have been good for them to have made, but in the end we're not really responsible for every little action or preference that we've arrived at. This points to one of the key problems with existentialism as Jean-Paul Sartre defines it. Sure, in the next minute or so I could do something completely and totally out of character, there's nothing literally holding a gun to my head telling me not to, but the accumulated weight of experience and cultural programming makes those sorts of actions that much harder to do. So talking about personal responsibility in those terms, which is what that form of existentialism does under a different name, doesn't really help as much as it could, and frequently becomes an excuse for the person talking about it to evade the weight of life itself. I'm a Marxist, I believe that people are shaped by the circumstances that they find themselves in and that therefore they're not totally responsible for what they do or don't do.

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