Lust, anger, values
We take a grim view of statistics up here in the High Doganate, polls especially, & election results in particular. But that does not mean we don’t throw numbers about. One cites them by way of confirming the obvious, when the obvious is being denied. Advocates of “democracy” like to say that voting beats violence as a way to change a government (I don’t have a number for that), but become so mesmerized by this glib nostrum, they cannot see it is possible to have both. Or, that the one may lead to the other, as in Greece, Egypt, &c. Or, that mass murder is also compatible with statistics. Or, that citing statistics is often the first stage in what our generals like to call “graduated escalation.” (I love such pleonasms; “hack journalist” is another favourite.)
An alternative way of avoid violence, as we were mentioning in Comments the other day, is to chemically lobotomize anyone who looks angry all the time. “Anger management” courses may be specified for those who have a good reason to be angry, & are able to explain it. This serves as a useful warning to them, that they had better regulate their emotions in a more passive-aggressive way, if they are going to get results in a modern democratic system, wherein the provocateur enjoys the moral high ground.
These are for the special, stand-alone cases. For the population at large, the Internet has become, on balance, the most effective pacifier. Those who become addicted to, & dependant upon, are neutralized in a hypnotic state, even better than television because aethereally interactive. Thanks to hand-held & other miniaturized technology, they progressively withdraw from interaction with the biological environment, & hardly notice the provocations. I’ve seen this on trolleys in the Greater Parkdale Area, where it is now possible to pack hundreds into a car which seats forty-seven: the people who are wired feel no pain.
I call this phenomenon “electronic” or “virtual death,” to distinguish from biological death, which presents fewer symptoms. The subject mimics death in the sense that he is always elsewhere, with respect to space & time. The power of suggestion continues to work, but involves zombification. Sex & violence continue, but in a distracted way, at greater & greater distance from intention. Take an email from him, & you find he isn’t really there, either, but constantly “moving on.” This is “progress” in its most poignant form.
But I started by mischievously hinting I might offer a statistic, & here it is. One-in-seven Americans, according to the Pew polling organization, not only aren’t on the Internet, but refuse to get aboard. The proportion is higher for the dirt poor, & the geriatric, but even among the young & hip, better than one-in-eight stay intentionally offline.
This contrasts with the situation one full generation ago when, basically, no one was on the Internet except computer nerds. The trend was sharply upward in the interim, but as we like to say, all trends are reversible, & this one hit ceiling a few years ago. We are dealing with people who are no longer “not on the Internet yet,” but positively failing to queue. Their numbers could be slightly enhanced if we added those who have jobs, & are thus compelled to connect with the Internet at the office, but walk at the end of the day.
Such refuseniks offer a challenge to government & industry, for how can they be monitored? How can they even be reached with demographically-targeted, mass advertising? I suppose at some point with electronic anklets & forced implants. Meanwhile, video cameras are being installed all over the place, to catch those who have, in fragrante delicto, strayed offline.
Not statistics, but proportions, have long intrigued me. The proportion one-in-seven corresponds, I would guess from the extent of my inquiries, to the number of Christians who opted for some version of the monastic life in the High Middle Ages, when it was generally available & a visible alternative to the more worldly familial calling. Then, too, there may have been a disproportion of geriatrics, & the dirt poor in need of some wardship, but the monasteries also attracted many of the young & hip. It is a little-known fact, at least to our contemporary world — one might almost call it a scandal to the worldly — that many actually prefer the celibate, eremitical life, & would choose it if they could. Others, though goaded by sexual desire, sometimes rather intense, might nevertheless take celibacy as their least bad option, on a broad view of life, love, Heaven, Hell, & so forth. This is to reduce the religious mind to a view of sexuality: but I am addressing my contemporary world.
On the modern view, the erotic & the sexual are interchangeable terms. In the pre-modern view, they were not, nor did they much overlap. The relation between teacher & student, for instance, is erotic but not sexual; or else it may become sexual but not erotic. Eros drives art, & much spirituality, of just the kind sexuality kills. Let me recall the case of Michelangelo, as an obvious example; beyond him, many other great artists, craftsmen, thinkers, perhaps even saints who were, disproportionately, of the homosexual inclination. Indeed, our modern toleration, nay encouragement of homosexual practice, has had a devastating effect on the production of art. So, too, through previous generations, the dispersal of (often “heterosexual”) monks & nuns.
The recent triumphs of homosexual activism have depended on this background social condition, in which it is inconceivable that persons who suffer from sexual desires would keep their pants on. They are now “expressing themselves,” & of course they are helped by the detachment of sex from childbirth in the popular imagination. By a subtle hocus-pocus, or not so subtle, an Ought is derived from an Is, & the people are instructed to “go to.”
Sex is also presented as prophylactic against anger, by an extension of the “make love not war” propaganda, disseminated in the 1960s; though again, as in the case of voting & violence, it is quite possible to have both. Verily, the older school of psychological wizardry was given to observe that wrath & lust are related conditions, sometimes two sides of a spinning coin. Look around, & gentle reader might see this duality in action among the hormonally charged.
We all know this, at least in our hearts, but there is another fact to which we are blinded by that very knowledge, in its current form. What I see all around me is the young forced into sex, often against their weak wills & better judgements. Virginity is rejected on the analogy of illiteracy; sex is assigned as part of education. Quite literally, as it were: for the idea is reinforced by the constant extension of “sex education” to younger & younger children in our schools. When teacher says it is “natural” he really means it is mandatory. Violence is also perfectly “natural,” to human nature. When teacher says violence is “unnatural,” however, he means that it is banned.
The Internet is a teaching medium. What it teaches, we might want to discuss. We might actually be appalled by what it teaches. The idea that teaching anything is good, is yet another of those strange, indefensible notions, necessary to the sustenance of the progressive mind, & to the general emancipation from reason. The older notion, which survives in parody, was that teaching requires moral intelligence; that right & wrong must be carefully distinguished; that character & good habits should be instilled. On this view, the essential education is “home schooling”; classroom instruction is supplementary, specialized. Thanks to “democracy,” this is now reversed, & it is the task of public education to instil the new “public values,” such as self-expression through sex, & the need for violence to be sublimated. Moreover, to overwrite any “private virtues” that may have been contracted from old-fashioned parents, or by reading non-approved highbrow literature.
Note the opposition of “values,” which are transient, to “virtues,” which are non-transient. Our politicians discuss “values” only. I have even noticed that the more progressive the politician, the more he will blather on about “values.” The vacuity of the term is appealing, for the purpose of conning the simple-minded, when they are unsure how to vote. Note further, that the Internet has proved a useful & important teaching aid, for while it may inculcate little in the way of general understanding, & nothing in the way of self-knowledge, it is an exemplary source of “values.” It shows the student that depravity is perfectly natural, & widely available, & that by suppuration he can fit right in. It is why we need computers in our schools. The Zeitgeist absolutely demands it.
But what to do with that minority of kids who refuse to “hook up” — in every current sense of that term? Who are, by the received modern definition, anti-social? Who, even after generations of progressive indoctrination, persist in living life in the raw, in the flesh as it were, without access to pornography? Who may be privately indulging in celibacy, or other forms of chastity, & thus intentionally cultivating independence of mind in defiance of our “community values”? And what if they aren’t paying their taxes?
Surely the government will have to intervene.