Mikhail Weller - Writer & public figure
OUTLINING A BRIDGE ACROSS THE ABYSS
The essence of writing is to find the right word for every phenomenon. In precise wording lies the right understanding. By imposing his own interpretation of the events on the rest of the world the author assumes great responsibility. Precision and honesty can turn into courage or cynicism, naivety or obscurantism. Our aim is to build a bridge of our honesty into the future, for it is the only suitable material there is. The bridge made of money is collapsing right now as we speak.
Each and every epoch has its own ailments as well as remedies. Philosophy is quite akin to pharmaceutics although surely not as profitable an industry. Both people and philosophers (alas, not a slip of a tongue) have almost forgotten that a love of wisdom and a love of kindness is one and the same thing. By interpreting the world philosophy creates an opportunity to improve it. This is what philosophy used to be all about at the time of its birth on the great land the Ancient Greece.
What people expect from philosophy is diagnosis and prescription, not a postmortem epicrisis. As for the link between philosophy, ideology, economics and art, it is especially relevant today, when our civilization is in times of crisis. The most important thing about philosophy is its omnipresence; everything is permeated with it. Philosophy is a natural habitat for the intelligence.
Our mission is to understand and overcome some basic aspects of the crisis of the Western civilization.
1. I. It would be most logical to start with information, the basic form of the world perception.
Modern media adhere to the principle “no comments, facts only”. It is done in order not to impose one’s opinion on the consumer. People who consume information are entitled to draw their own conclusions, and nobody can take that right from them. Facts, however, are still selected by journalists. Feeding top factual news without the background of other facts that served as foundation, provision and motivation for the main one – this is how truth becomes lies. The main news is taken out of context. Its psychological, economic, ideological and political ties are lost. This way modern journalism basically denies the consumer the opportunity to understand what is going on. To understand is to find familiar in the unknown, to fit the unknown into the existing system of ideas. But a rootless tree cannot be planted. Journalism separates roots from facts and tries to plant them into our heads. Modern journalism strips the events of their meaning and is aimed at dulling people’s minds. While previously information had to be objective it now only has to be sensational, allegedly requiring no comments. – It is therefore very important to define and approve working rules for journalists. Facts are to be presented within the framework of cause-and-effect relation. This alone will teach the consumer some basic understanding skills. If that doesn’t happen the communicatory overflow and filtering of the unnecessary information creates the situation when journalism contributes to the consumer’s intellectual degeneration denying it or her all the prerequisites to independent critical thinking. Advertising boom will undoubtedly lead our civilization to economic disaster. The very aim of advertising is to overheat the economy; the aim of overheated economy is to create more commodity turnover in order to provide employment. Yet taking the employment market to the Third World countries which essentially means putting a line between production and consumption markets strips advertising of its social meaning. And meaning is the key word here. The meaning of life is valued above personal needs; it is a feeling of conscious involvement in a vital and right cause shared by everyone and more important than your self and your life alone. When the meaning of life is substituted by consumer prestige, society enters a spiritual crisis, breaking up into a set of individual consumers. The essence of advertising is placing consumption above production, use above labour. Commercial advertising is a social suicide waiting to happen, creating an antisocial view of life. The ideal of a hero and working man is substituted by a consumer figure, he who lost the ability to think for himself and can now only obediently follow the clues offered by media. It is therefore important to work out some well thought-out legislature that will severely reduce international advertising activity which is currently a blight on so many levels: in the spiritual, intellectual, environmental, social and, finally, economic and political sphere.
Internet culture is a completely new phenomenon. Universal and instant access to any information has essentially turned the humanity into one operating system of communication whose capacity is truly unpredictable. However, human psychology has an ability to reverse the effect of any technical improvement. The industry of Internet porn and entertainment is now turning the computer into a sublimation funnel effortlessly swallowing up great amounts of mental and intellectual energy of hundreds of millions of Internet users, especially young people. This black hole of post-industrial society sucks in social energy and replaces life with its virtual double, essentially being nothing else than a legal form of electronic addiction. The legitimization and socialization of stupidity and vice is another consequence of that. The Internet helps even the most ignorant and defective people find “confederates” and stop feeling defective / inadequate. They no longer have an incentive for spiritual and intellectual growth and begin to speak of serious matters with expert confidence calling for attention. Because intelligent people rarely comment on Web postings made by other intelligent people, the bulk of comments on any material is nothing more than raging mass incompetence. The Internet counterculture constituted by technically advanced people lacking aesthetic and intellectual development who come together to dictate others their will is an indicative example of how democracy degenerates into ochlocracy when modern technical progress reaches its prime. – What we need is a long-term scientific and philosophical prognosis of the positive and negative impact of the total computerization of humankind. With scientific and technical power building up like an avalanche we need to develop psychological techniques and recommendations. Otherwise the man will turn into a meaningless attachment to his or her computer and social degradation on the next historical stage will lead to scientific degradation and cultural collapse, including that of Internet culture, paradoxical as it may sound.
2. Problems with information are closely and essentially linked with cultural problems.
For decades the main problem of all has been a simplified understanding of multiculturalism. Firstly it takes as little as several generations for fundamental cultural relativity to break up any society and destroy any country. The mere existence of the country is based on unity: the unity of territory, language, culture, religion, political system, mentality and ethnical background. By acknowledging all the religions, nationalities and cultures as equal, however, we realize that the deviation on any of the abovementioned levels weakens the country. The morality, rules of behavior, legal liability and unconditioned loyalty to one’s land are the same for everyone, and if the citizen fails to meet these requirements he or she is viewed as a stranger / outsider. Apart from xenophobia, there is another extreme on the opposite side of the spectrum that we shouldn’t give ourselves up to: trying to share our home with people whose ideas of fair behavior and lifestyle are nothing like our own. It contradicts the basic human instinct of grouping and sociality, of trusting one’s fellow creature like you only trust yourself. The theory of multiculturalism is based on behaviorism that long ago proved to be unscientific and leads to no good when implemented for practical purposes. And secondly, cultural relativity, as we have already mentioned not once, denies the whole concept of progress and tries to bring us down to the same level with our predecessors from the Stone Age. We are faced with the situation when the nations that left the tribal community stage a hundred years ago, on the one hand, enjoy all the facilities of modern civilization to the fullest extent, while on the other, say that this civilization has no advantages compare to their own. All this leads to petty nationalism and arrogance that co-exist with an active parasitical attitude. Multiculturalism fills the nations that were only recently stateless, illiterate, and knew no metal or agriculture, with the idea that everyone is indebted to them because they were somehow cheated out of their rightful share.
One of the consequences of cultural relativity is neoracism, when the members of the recently oppressed racial minority demand privileges for themselves not because of their personal characteristics, but basing on their background as a previously exploited minority. – We should emphasize the importance of a strictly scientific approach to this problem. Truth mustn’t be obscured by historical guilt. The principles of equality and justice shouldn’t be broken by pseudoscientific reasoning.
The more developed the culture and the further it steps away from chaos, the more unbalanced its state and the more susceptible it is to entropy under the conditions of equivalent diffusion with a culture more plain and primitive that cannot be assimilated. Multiculturalism is one of the essential factors contributing to cultural degradation of Western society.
Another important factor of cultural degeneration is actual decline in education standards. It’s caused mainly by the introduction of a liberal approach to school education, when the necessity not to inflict a trauma on a child’s personality by causing negative emotions of any kind is placed above all other considerations. In reality this approach encourages laziness, idleness, permissiveness and selfishness. The best systems of education can be found in China, India and other non-members of the Golden Billion (the West) which consistently import qualified professionals from these countries preferring them to their own. – It is therefore essential to substantiate the necessity to impose strict behavioral and learning standards in high schools, to the point of expelling the unwilling ones. Also, one shouldn’t go to far with the idea of co-educational schools for retarded and regular students. By helping the weak and being tolerant towards those who have no interest in learning we continue to destroy the school system and contribute to the decline in education standards.
3. Culture and politics dictate rules to each other: one is the other’s extension.
The problem of political correctness has entangled the world like a spider web. Its humanistic core has long since turned into something completely different. The scientific name for uncontrolled quantity turning into quality, though not the kind of quality originally expected, is degeneration. Terrorism is the most critical political issue. However, political correctness does not allow revealing its psychological background. We are fed with a view of terrorism as a conspiracy theory suggesting that nobody is to be blamed except for a bunch of renegades. It’s been many years since Huntington wrote his book about the clash of civilizations, yet we are unable to admit that terrorists and terrorist organizations are merely the tip of the iceberg. The iceberg lies on tectonic plates. – If a fight that I call bipolarity is the reason for the development of all existence, then why deny that human social development can be based on fighting? Is it because of political correctness? Changing the world for the better is impossible without understanding it, and understanding the world not always requires deep intelligence: all we need is honesty as in breaking down the prejudices. – The instinct of intergroup fighting is strong with humans, and not taking it into account is wishful thinking. We need to admit that terrorists are nothing else than extreme and powerful expression of their nation’s views and dynamics. Therefore we need to consider the psychology of those nations and plan our political actions with their mentality and worldview in mind. We need not plan military operations to destroy the terrorists’ bases that spring up like mushrooms anyway, but aim to annihilate the political terrorist base from inside their own nation. It is essential to bring to the attention of governments loud and clear that terrorism is not a military, but a political issue which can be solved by political methods only and by no means by military force exclusively.
There’s also a connection with the rampant issue of international political bureaucracy. – One should put an active stand against numerous meaningless conferences that lead to no decisions made whatsoever apart from good-for-nothing instructions such as “enter into negotiations”. The conference that we know will not lead to a practical result should not be called at all. The excuse that “negotiations are useful as they are” should be viewed as the government officials’ desire to waste time at public expense. It is vitally important to call an international referendum regarding the issue of denying filicides, serial killers, murderous sadists and committers of calculated acquisitive murders without mitigating circumstances their life immunity. Life immunity for maniacs and filicides is a serious detriment to our civilization. It destroys the basic principle of society existence, that of justice.
4. Our political and cultural flaws are all peculiar in one critical way. They are the signs of a dying civilization.
The demographic situation in almost all Western countries leaves no doubt that in some two generations our nations will be no longer self-sufficient due to depopulation. Two generations at best. There is no developed country even now that does without Third World workforce.
On no account do we question the right of a man not to propagate itself. The right not to marry. To have a conventional sex life or to be gay. To have or not to have children in matrimony. The actual result of our freedom and liberalism, however, is fast depopulation.
Any biologist will tell you that as soon as one differentiates sex and reproduction, the population dies out in no time. Pest and rodent extermination is based on that principle. But now we have adopted the principle for ourselves.
If the policy of sexual liberalism as well as consumer ideology does not change, we are in for ethnical replacement of Western people in their countries. In no circumstances do we question the equality and equivalence of all ethnicities. All we do is note that ethnical replacement can lead to unpredictable cultural changes. Because culture simply does not exist without national mentality formed during the millennia of development by all the historical traits of the nation.
Political correctness does not allow us to bring up the case of Liberia, a country that has an American one-star flag, American constitution and originally had American institutions. We all know the result though.
We either do not separate our personal lives from the prosperity and future of the nation and country, like it used to be in times of better demographics, or honestly admit that our days on the Earth are numbered.
5. And finally, being the writer myself, I cannot but say a word about Art. Much has been said about artistic freedom and quest, about the right to experiment and the need for a new form. But there’s one important thing we shouldn’t forget about. Art is a way of cultural self-reproduction.
We are now facing the paradox when classical art has reached its limits within the framework of positive thinking. All new art has to be either destructive or negative. Elitist modern writing, arthouse movies, avant-garde painting of all kinds rarely advocate kindness or add joy to our lives. Tragedy ending in catharsis has been replaced by filthy depressive fiction. There are no more portraits of heroes and beauties, only dirty blobs of paint.
Philosophy has the power to set ideals of kindness and beauty in art, at least for the highbrow intellectual elite devoid of public snobbery with no respect for trends. It may seem not much, but don’t be mistaken. The society is constructed in such a way that opinions are projected top-down, and people tend to imitate and to follow those who are deemed to be masterminds.