The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense. – Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and PrejudiceThe modern person has so deeply internalized self-loathing that she is unaware it thrives in her every action. Infected, she passes it on to her children as if gifting them with great knowledge, and in her dissatisfaction is unable to name her malady, which is dissatisfaction.
How is it that a society so at the heights of its powers, and so rich in technology and resources, can be so self-loathing? To answer that, we have to figure out why people hate themselves. There is no universal reason; we hate ourselves based on what we hate, and that varies with how smart we are and how strong our characters are.
But generally our self-hatred begins when we feel we are unable. We are unable to do what we need to do, or unable to know what we need to do. Or we are dishonest. Or maybe all of the above.
With the “progress” of the West toward an egalitarian society, we replaced the notion of goals, values and reality with the conventions of a society that exists to facilitative the individual. Goals, values and reality cluster together because they depend on each other; to have a goal, one must have values and understand reality, or in other words be a consequentialist like all conservatives are under the skin.
In other words, our greatest strength was also our greatest weakness. The “freedom” of democracy guaranteed that each person could do whatever they wanted. That in turn meant whatever they could afford. This in turn put people into a mindset where society became a hateful thing one manipulated in order to bring home the gold, which then was spent on “personal expression,” something we view with a near-religious sense of obedience.
As a side effect, this mentality made us hate ourselves. It meant that our jobs had nothing sacred to them, but were a dirty means to an end. It meant that when we were not working our jobs, our purpose was entirely disconnected from other people and basically selfish. We started seeing ourselves as whores by day, and keepers of dirty secrets at night.
Even more, the lack of a sense of overriding purpose and values ate away at us. If there was nothing to shoot for, except watching a lot of TV and buying stuff, we would have the most comfortable lives but we also would have removed the only thing that gives value to life, which is striving for a result against adversity. The creative act is not pacifism, but war.
Without some sense of what we should be doing beyond the self, we turned on ourselves. We ate our hearts out, and our souls. Convinced of our plastic irrelevance, we became spiteful and resentful toward life itself. A millennial onslaught of self-hatred followed.
Currently the West faces many problems, but all of those are bound by a single thread, which is our lack of respect for ourselves and our desire to cannibalize and self-destruct our society. It’s amazing that such a simple thing as equality could do all this, but it is our epitaph, whether we choose to recognize it or not