Recently, I received a comment on one of my articles (Thoughts on the new “pseudo-gay” – another sign of the dehumanization of the modern world???) in which there was a remark about possible solutions. This got me to thinking . . .
First of all, I don’t really see a solution to the “pseudo-gay” at this time. I tend to see a lot of it nowadays as a form of dehumanization and alienation, which makes it part of a broader and wider reality than just the ‘gay situation’. Most certainly, there are things that can help but I tend to see these things as part of the “disease of the times”. This more or less means that the conditions of the times create it . . . only a change in times can create any real “solution”. As a result, there is not a whole lot that can be done as a whole.
I have always said that each era or times has its own “genius” and its own “disease”. It creates these by its conditions and realities. Often, these create unique qualities in each era or times that make them different from other eras. It creates distinctive attitudes, beliefs, points-of-views, and even illnesses that are often unique to its era. It’s no different in the era we live in. In the Victorian era, for example, there were many repressed-based illness, creating different forms of neuroses, particularly in the later half of that era. These types of illnesses are almost non-existent now. Many mental illnesses now are based in growth, developmental, and adaption problems. This appears to be because the modern world is hindering these natural processes from happening properly and in the correct way. In some respects, many problems nowadays is because the modern world is trying to ‘twist them out of shape and in ways they were not intended’, so to speak. This, really, is dehumanization.
And this is a distinguishing trait of the current era: dehumanization and alienation. Everywhere I turn I see some form of breakdown in human society and reality. It seems like there is always something somewhere to undermine human life taking away, bit by bit, our humanness.
Much of this breakdown is caused by:
- Our creations – the effects of modern inventions and systems. All the gadgets and gizmo’s of the modern world have displaced much of human use. In many cases, they have made useless human roles and place in society. In fact, many have been designed to do just that! Supposedly, all this is supposed to ‘help us’ or ‘make life better’. Though it may do this, it often destroys human functions and place. In that sense, it has often had a very “anti-human” quality. In this past 50 years, especially, we’ve seen many human roles fall as a result of this. A good example is the family and sexual identity.
- Our justifications. Another big trait of this era is that these breakdowns are generally done for what is often considered ‘justified’ reasons (such as that it “makes our life easier”, freedom, and such). This gives it this quality of being OK. I’ve sat and watched people literally say things like, “let’s wipe out the whole purpose of the family . . . we’re living in the 21st century now”. To me, this ‘justification’ has always been one of the more sinister aspects of the modern world, perhaps more than the actual “diseases” itself. Perhaps the preponderance of these ‘justifications’ are the real “disease” of this era??? The U.S., especially, has created attitudes and perspectives that are particularly undermining to human culture but in which they look at as ‘justified’. In fact, I don’t feel that a culture can possibly grow with American attitudes. Anything like a morality or role can be made out as some form of ‘oppression’, for example. This makes it hard for things like that to develop and grow . . . and it isn’t.
If we look at things we see a trait where, in a way, we are victims of what we create, and not just what is physically created but mentally as well. Typically, with the modern world, we blame the machines and such. But, it seems that a lot of the real damage is actually being done by the mentality of humanity. The modern world, by itself, is not doing this.
It’s not uncommon that the “genius” of an era or times is closely linked with its “disease” as they are often related to one another. In some respects, the “genius” causes the “disease” (and, maybe, even vice-versa). This seems to be the case in the era we are now in for our “genius” is really strangling us. We have become, in a way, victims of our own “genius” and there is, no doubt, some degree of truth in this.
Certainly there has been a “genius” in these times, consisting of the creation of modern machines, systems, and certain types of knowledge. These have basically gone to excess . . and often extreme excess. In many ways, we’ve succeeded too well . . . that’s our problem. People have often described the modern world as if it was some sort of a miracle but it can’t be . . . it has been created too easily and has developed too rapidly, and its continuing to grow. This would suggest that the modern world can’t be that difficult to create . . . that is to say, it’s no miracle. It just needs the right conditions for it to develop and that’s just what happened. It’s this condition that now exists and, as a result, we are being affected by it and suffering its adverse effects.
But this great “genius” of modernity has created its own “disease” of dehumanization and alienation which we now suffer. Human traits, qualities, and facts seem to be at odds with the modern world . . . there’s a gross incapability. To truly be ‘modern’ requires a loss of humanness. Many people have made that sacrifice. In some ways, this seems the price of modernity.
In general, though, I think most people are having some form of problem as a result of dehumanization and alienation, generally without knowing the reason why. In fact, I feel that many problems people have, nowadays, is probably somehow related with the effects of the modern world and dehumanization and alienation. But these problems are often given something like a ‘diagnosis’ or explanation as if it is some abstract general ‘ailment’. This tends to detach it from the modern world, making it appear like some general everyday ailment like the cold or the flu. This makes it so that many problems or ‘ailments’ seem as separate entities in themselves, detached from the conditions that caused it. My experience, though, is that many problems and ‘ailments’ that people have are very much associated with the conditions they live in and are intimately bound up with it.
Some of the ‘ailments’ caused by the conditions of the these times might include:
- Stress. Feeling that one is overburdened or the world is crashing in around them.
- Depression. Feeling useless, empty, pointless, and without meaning, often to the point of feeling suicidal.
- Feeling alienated and that one does not belong.
- A failure of identity, of who and what one is.
- The failure of male and female identity. Females try to be males and vice-versa, people thinking they are gay when they are not (pseudo-gay), the male or female roles having no use, etc.
- The failure of the family. The role of mother and father having no meaning.
- The failure of any morality or culture. How these cannot be developed and grown.
- Contempt. A sense of despising of the world and other people.
- Problems adjusting socially.
- Struggling with having nothing to believe in.
- Weird beliefs. This includes things such as a belief in things like aliens or government conspiracies. Often, these are nothing but an attempt to create a religion of sorts, something to believe in.
It appears that these all seem to show a pattern of an inability to ‘fit in’ or to ‘get established’ in some way or another. This is not surprising, as these are traits of alienation. In general, much of the modern “disease” seems to be a problem of fitting into the world and finding ones place, a sense of disconnectedness.
There is a natural attempt to try and remedy these dilemmas. In many ways, much of modern life entails these attempts in one form or another. Some works well, some work so-so, and some don’t work at all. What works for one person may not work for another. Not only that, changing conditions require changing attempts. These seems to show that there is a whole range of conflicts which entail many aspects of life and are affected differently by the variety of people’s personalities. Because of this, there cannot be a “one” solution even though they originate from the same modern world and the dehumanization and alienation it causes. As a result, each form of dilemma must be dealt with almost individually. This makes it so that there is only an ‘individual solution’ not a ‘general solution’. Because of this, despite the fact we may be able to help someone, the conditions that caused it in that one person are still there and will continue to affect the rest of the population. In this way, it has the quality of putting a band-aid on a big wound. Anything we do is minimal and ineffective in the greater scheme of things.
As a result, any “solution” is very small and on a personal basis. In fact, it seems to me that the only way to alleviate modern dehumanization and alienation is on a personal basis and as a person. There cannot be, as near as I can tell, any generalized ‘social solution’. Society is just too big, too varied, and too much under the sway of the wills of the modern world. In a way, society has become powerless against the modern world. But we, as individual people, don’t necessarily have to be.
But the social element is very critical. Without the support from society it makes combating dehumanization and alienation a “lonely endeavour”, so to speak, as you will not get much support from the modern world or society in general. This, in itself, takes away from our ability to be human for a part of being human is social and cultural support, which is lacking in the modern world. This, to me, gives the modern world an ‘impairing’ quality.
By its nature, the modern world seems to prevent us from being totally human and living a totally human life. This is why the modern world often has this quality, it seems to me, of having to lug around a ball and chain. Because of this, we have no choice but to “accept” the dilemmas the modern world imposes upon us . . . we don’t have much choice . . . AND that is exactly what we’re doing, though we may think otherwise. As I have said above, we have, in many ways and forms, become victims of our own “genius”.