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A Spiritual Critique of Capitalist Society

charleslb
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2/28/2012 8:47:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Human beings are born into a great adventure and mystery, life. But everywhere you see people caught up and engrossed in the sheer economics of their existence; of their bare subsistence, in all too many cases. Yes, everywhere you look you see people struggling to make ends meet; preoccupied with earning enough money to pay their bills, and credit card debt; living to work, rather than working to live, and not even realizing it. And everywhere you look you see stores and shops, businesses big and small, embodiments of the profit motive.

Materialism is the order of the day, the unspiritual spirit of the age. We've unabashedly become a society of consumers and worker bees. It used to be said that England was a nation of shopkeepers, but our modern civilization is truly one of shopping malls and the shopping masses who fill them every day. The foundation of our modern lives is no longer a close-knit village and the social and spiritual values that a real community instills. Village & values have given way to cities populated by businessmen, wage slaves, and wannabe iPad and SUV owners; specimens of Homo economicus whose lives revolve around commercialism, around making and spending money. And who, thanks to the advertising industry, are under the tragic illusion that they can derive meaning and fulfillment from such shallow materialistic pursuits.

Our culture of the rat race, of keeping up with the Joneses, of he who dies with the most toys wins, is premised on and promotes a profane, not a profound, definition of happiness. A profane and bogus definition according to which our happiness is an emergent property, a by-product of having a large net worth, of owning monetarily valuable possessions, of attaining to the lifestyle of the rich & famous.

This is of course a definition of human happiness that leads a great many of us nowadays to devote ourselves, all of our blood, sweat, and tears, to the pursuit not of a decent quality of life, but of affluence. Or at least some of its trappings; you know, designer clothing, high-end name brands, status-symbol automobiles, etc. All of the reputed tangible stuff of happiness that's supposed to make us content with our lives.

Such a materialistic interpretation of happiness certainly helps our consumer economy to keep chugging along, it certainly puts billions of bucks in the coffers of corporations every year, but here's the rub, is it really proving to be the ticket to bliss that it's been advertised to be?!

I'll answer this one quite bluntly, no, chasing the dream of wealth is not proving at all to be a workable path to authentic happiness. On the contrary, a great many people have discovered, with a good degree of disappointment and disillusionment, that it's just a time-wasting distraction. Being well-to-do certainly has its perks, but it doesn't live up to the hype and steers us down an existentially dead-end road to purposelessness and emptiness. What many experience and describe as an "inner void".

Pathetically, though, when many of us find ourselves suffering from the gnawing of the ole "inner void" we seek to anesthetize it with drugs, or we redouble our efforts to fill it with more of the things that money can buy. In other words, we remain in our futile trap of trying to derive genuine joy from the artificial euphoria of consumption, the consumption of chemicals or the consumption of goods. We fail to think outside the cramped cultural box that we've grown up in, the one in which reality's unboundedly vast potential for meaningfulness and satisfaction is reduced to the fleeting, egoistic, puny pleasure that can be obtained from driving down the street in a flashy car, indulging in recreational sex, or taking a hit of cocaine.

The socially catastrophic result of millions of people opting for such quick material fixes for their spiritual malaise, is billions spent annually on therapy, on prescription meds, and on drug enforcement. We've become a society of depressives, anxiety sufferers, and addicts. And it's costing us big-time, both individually and societally. Certainly there are also fundamental economic factors that help account for our society's drug problem and that urgently need to be addressed, but the existential dimension of the disease of addiction is equally in need of being recognized and addressed.

But as a society we don't really wish to come to terms with our deepest shortcomings, we'd rather blame individuals, blame them for being unhappy even though it's society that has pointed their efforts at happiness in the wrong direction; blame them, or their genetic predisposition or faulty brain chemistry for their psychological suffering; blame them, their family history or their lack of character for their alcohol or chemical dependency. Yes, we want individuals to step up and take responsibility for their dysfunctionality, but we aren't ready to admit that our civilization is itself dysfunctional in a very fundamental way.

When individuals do manage to realize that there's something seriously spiritually wrong with their society, with a society that has wandered astray from the rudimentary spiritual wisdom that man and woman do not live by bread alone, when they undertake to discover a different, more enlightened path, well, our secular society doesn't tend to be too supportive of their spiritual intrepidness. It even finds their inner journey to be somewhat subversive and threatening, since it would rather we all stay focused on more external, economic values – this is called economism, which is a nice way of saying that our shallow society wants us all to stay with its shallow-making program and not to seek too diligently for a deeper level of value and happiness.

But there's an even more hidden stumbling block that people seeking such a deeper level of value and happiness are all too likely to encounter nowadays. The pervasive materialistic outlook and zeitgeist of modernity has infiltrated its way even into our modern spiritual worldview. Yes, today the sphere of spirituality is not free from capitalistic anti-values. We find this to be the distressing case just about wherever we look, from popular preachers of so-called "prosperity theology" on the evangelical side, and the tendency of mainline churches to adopt a degree of commercialism and to assimilate to our bourgeois culture, to spiritually-tinged motivational philosophies that emphasize utilizing "metaphysical" principles to attain "success".

So, caveat emptor to anyone embarking upon the spiritual quest, if you're not cautious you may find yourself buying into a faith or philosophy that has itself already bought into the materialistic ethos that you wish to renounce.

Well, what are we to do then, society wants us to remain just as we are, adherents of its materialistic perspective and agenda. It doesn't matter at all to society if we're dying on the inside, it doesn't even matter to society that so many of its members are dying on the inside that its own prognosis is terminal. Our society's bottom-line orientation makes it self-destructively oblivious of its growing spiritual, human crisis. And religion, both old-time and New-Age, are often a part of the problem rather than the solution. But, as the song says, there must be some way out of here. And there is; there's no preprogrammed course that we can simply input into society's spiritual navigation system, our society doesn't even have such a system any longer, but together we can discover the way to a more insightful and joyful life.

The heuristic, creative process involved is a collaborative one to which we each have a unique and valuable contribution to make. The first step for each of us is, as always, recognizing the need to take a first step. When enough of us do so, that's when a new adventure begins for our civilization.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
PARADIGM_L0ST
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2/29/2012 8:24:48 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/28/2012 11:55:07 PM, BlackVoid wrote:
Where is the conclusion???:

+1
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
charleslb
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2/29/2012 2:44:10 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/28/2012 11:55:07 PM, BlackVoid wrote:
Where is the conclusion???

Well, the first step that I refer to is the beginning of the conclusion of capitalism, of its drawn-out dénouement, and the start of a process of palingenesis for our civilization that will inwardly and outwardly metamorphose our lives into something more enlightened, dare I use the word. Such a process of creating an enlightened experience of being human is certainly without conclusion, and since this perennial process is what my OP deals with it's only appropriate that it not conclude on any kind of a final-sounding note.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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2/29/2012 2:45:50 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/29/2012 8:24:48 AM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
At 2/28/2012 11:55:07 PM, BlackVoid wrote:
Where is the conclusion???:

+1

Really, it this all you've got to contribute?
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
PARADIGM_L0ST
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2/29/2012 2:50:48 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/29/2012 2:45:50 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 2/29/2012 8:24:48 AM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
At 2/28/2012 11:55:07 PM, BlackVoid wrote:
Where is the conclusion???:

+1

Really, it this all you've got to contribute?:

What's the point? You know what I'm going to say, I know what you're going to say.
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
charleslb
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2/29/2012 4:34:51 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/29/2012 2:50:48 PM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
At 2/29/2012 2:45:50 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 2/29/2012 8:24:48 AM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
At 2/28/2012 11:55:07 PM, BlackVoid wrote:
Where is the conclusion???:

+1

Really, it this all you've got to contribute?:

What's the point? You know what I'm going to say, I know what you're going to say.

This is just what folks used to call a cop-out.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
PARADIGM_L0ST
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2/29/2012 4:36:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/29/2012 4:34:51 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 2/29/2012 2:50:48 PM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
At 2/29/2012 2:45:50 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 2/29/2012 8:24:48 AM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
At 2/28/2012 11:55:07 PM, BlackVoid wrote:
Where is the conclusion???:

+1

Really, it this all you've got to contribute?:

What's the point? You know what I'm going to say, I know what you're going to say.

This is just what folks used to call a cop-out.:

I figured out what reverse psychology was all about in Kindergarten...
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
charleslb
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2/29/2012 4:40:52 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Judging from the lack of response thus far I suspect that many here simply don't know what to make of this one, of a critique of capitalism from a spiritual perspective, in which the word "capitalism" only occurs once. Well then, perhaps I should clarify somewhat what I'm saying in the OP.

So what's my real issue with capitalism here? Essentially, capitalism, as an ethos, has sold us, as a society and a great many of us as individuals, on a false and flimflamy materialistic concept of happiness. And since as an economic system it leaves so much to be desired, what with inequality and a propensity for recessions being endemic in it, capitalism has little choice, if it wishes to preserve itself, but to resort to panem et circenses, bread and circuses, material goods and shallow entertainment to divert us from our gnawing dissatisfaction. What this means is that capitalism is very much in the business of promoting and propagandizing its profane and superficial definition of the good life, of making sure that we're all inculcated with its worldly worldview and that we don't seek our happiness outside of it.

Well, once too many of us realize the emptiness of capitalism's brand of "happiness", once the ole existential jig is up on the inability of material things to deliver fulfillment and bliss, capitalism's days will be severely numbered, hence alternative spiritual philosophies of life are culturally marginalized, mooted, and muted under capitalism, the result being a thoroughly secularized, desacralized shell of a human life and civilization.

Which of course only further exacerbates the reality that capitalism is an unsustainable, chronically waning form of society, for man and woman truly do not live by bread, or even bread and circuses alone, not indefinitely and without suffering from some bit of spiritual malnutrition. Eventually enough people begin to suffer the symptoms of their spiritual malnutrition sufficiently acutely to awaken to the elaborate cultural confidence game in which they've been the "mark". This is when an inner and a social transvaluation of values, a cultural and a consciousness revolution can occur that will abolish capitalism in favor of a more insightful value system and way of living. A new epoch in humankind's two-hundred thousand year long odyssey and ascent to a higher and more sublime humanness will thus begin, and one day no one will believe that anyone could ever settle for what little capitalism had to offer.

Well, I hope that this helps.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
PARADIGM_L0ST
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2/29/2012 4:44:51 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Charles: If you could live anywhere in the world that most closely resembles the kind of society and economic system you admire, where would it be and why?
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
charleslb
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2/29/2012 4:51:11 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/29/2012 4:44:51 PM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
Charles: If you could live anywhere in the world that most closely resembles the kind of society and economic system you admire, where would it be and why?

Certainly there are communities that embody social and spiritual enlightenment, but alas no large-scale societies. Bringing such a society into existence is still a work yet to be undertaken in a major way in every country on earth, so if you would like me to name an exemplary nation, sorry but I can't. So far they all get a FAIL!
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
PARADIGM_L0ST
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2/29/2012 5:27:00 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/29/2012 4:51:11 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 2/29/2012 4:44:51 PM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
Charles: If you could live anywhere in the world that most closely resembles the kind of society and economic system you admire, where would it be and why?

Certainly there are communities that embody social and spiritual enlightenment, but alas no large-scale societies. Bringing such a society into existence is still a work yet to be undertaken in a major way in every country on earth, so if you would like me to name an exemplary nation, sorry but I can't. So far they all get a FAIL!:

Surely there is one that is the closest. Tell me the name of that nation, and you can even preface where they excel and where they fail to meet your criteria.
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
blackhawk1331
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2/29/2012 5:43:07 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/29/2012 5:27:00 PM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
At 2/29/2012 4:51:11 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 2/29/2012 4:44:51 PM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
Charles: If you could live anywhere in the world that most closely resembles the kind of society and economic system you admire, where would it be and why?

Certainly there are communities that embody social and spiritual enlightenment, but alas no large-scale societies. Bringing such a society into existence is still a work yet to be undertaken in a major way in every country on earth, so if you would like me to name an exemplary nation, sorry but I can't. So far they all get a FAIL!:

Surely there is one that is the closest. Tell me the name of that nation, and you can even preface where they excel and where they fail to meet your criteria.

I'd think he'd pick Switzerland for their isolationism.
Because you said it was a waste, numb nuts. - Drafter

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OberHerr
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2/29/2012 9:19:22 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/29/2012 5:43:07 PM, blackhawk1331 wrote:
At 2/29/2012 5:27:00 PM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
At 2/29/2012 4:51:11 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 2/29/2012 4:44:51 PM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
Charles: If you could live anywhere in the world that most closely resembles the kind of society and economic system you admire, where would it be and why?

Certainly there are communities that embody social and spiritual enlightenment, but alas no large-scale societies. Bringing such a society into existence is still a work yet to be undertaken in a major way in every country on earth, so if you would like me to name an exemplary nation, sorry but I can't. So far they all get a FAIL!:

Surely there is one that is the closest. Tell me the name of that nation, and you can even preface where they excel and where they fail to meet your criteria.

I'd think he'd pick Switzerland for their isolationism.

"In Soviet Russia, Charleslb reads long posts!"
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charleslb
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3/1/2012 2:06:26 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/29/2012 5:27:00 PM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:

Surely there is one that is the closest. Tell me the name of that nation, and you can even preface where they excel and where they fail to meet your criteria.

The various societies of the world have their various smatterings of social, ethical, and spiritual enlightenment, i.e. they can certainly teach each other a thing or two, but nothing much is to be gained by selecting one as my personal, subjective favorite. Now then, is there anyone out there with any thoughts, pro or con, on the thesis of the OP, i.e. the profound and pathetic inadequacy, vis-à-vis our human & existential needs, of the life provided by our capitalist culture, and how this fact should bear on any well-rounded assessment of capitalism?
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
GeoLaureate8
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3/1/2012 2:31:46 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Spot on and excellent critique!

But maybe the games that we play and day to day lives and struggles is all there is and that is the point?

However, I believe you are correct that people get too caught up in the economic enslavement matrix and forget to enjoy each day. It seems there are many miserable people who fail to take a step back from the fray and forget to enjoy themselves.

I agree that the society we live in is a fundamentally sick one spiritually and psychologically, but what would your idea of a fulfilled and sound life be?

.
.
.
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mattrodstrom
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3/1/2012 2:33:26 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/28/2012 8:47:42 PM, charleslb wrote:
Human beings are born into a great adventure and mystery, life. But everywhere you see people caught up and engrossed in the sheer economics of their existence; of their bare subsistence, in all too many cases. Yes, everywhere you look you see people struggling to make ends meet; preoccupied with earning enough money to pay their bills, and credit card debt; living to work, rather than working to live, and not even realizing it. And everywhere you look you see stores and shops, businesses big and small, embodiments of the profit motive.

Materialism is the order of the day, the unspiritual spirit of the age. We've unabashedly become a society of consumers and worker bees. It used to be said that England was a nation of shopkeepers, but our modern civilization is truly one of shopping malls and the shopping masses who fill them every day. The foundation of our modern lives is no longer a close-knit village and the social and spiritual values that a real community instills. Village & values have given way to cities populated by businessmen, wage slaves, and wannabe iPad and SUV owners; specimens of Homo economicus whose lives revolve around commercialism, around making and spending money. And who, thanks to the advertising industry, are under the tragic illusion that they can derive meaning and fulfillment from such shallow materialistic pursuits.

Unduly pessimistic take on reality ;)

People care about a lot of things.. not just Ipads and SUV's... I'd say top on the list would, for many people, be the health and happiness of their family and others that they care for.

Our culture of the rat race, of keeping up with the Joneses, of he who dies with the most toys wins, is premised on and promotes a profane, not a profound, definition of happiness. A profane and bogus definition according to which our happiness is an emergent property, a by-product of having a large net worth, of owning monetarily valuable possessions, of attaining to the lifestyle of the rich & famous.

Everyone would acknowledge that money would make things easier, and perhaps allow them a greater ability to do enjoyable things.. But I wouldn't suggest that people generally think of Happiness as revolving around money. For people would also acknowledge that money Cannot provide various things.. Like meaningful relationships (though it could perhaps help take the stress off of them)

This is of course a definition of human happiness that leads a great many of us nowadays to devote ourselves, all of our blood, sweat, and tears, to the pursuit not of a decent quality of life, but of affluence. Or at least some of its trappings; you know, designer clothing, high-end name brands, status-symbol automobiles, etc. All of the reputed tangible stuff of happiness that's supposed to make us content with our lives.

mmmm... I don't personally know a lot of people who crazily pursue name-brand, status symbol goods... (though, admittedly, a certain popular genre of music seems to revolve around such things )

I know more people who pursue financial stability in order to provide necessities and comfort for themselves and those they love... so that those they care about can live with less stress and genuinely enjoy their lives.

Such a materialistic interpretation of happiness certainly helps our consumer economy to keep chugging along, it certainly puts billions of bucks in the coffers of corporations every year, but here's the rub, is it really proving to be the ticket to bliss that it's been advertised to be?!

The interpretation is Yours... Your interpretation of other people's understanding... not their understanding.

Your interpretation is wrong due to your ridiculously pessimistic, one-sided, look on things.. And all that you write is simply Blabbering on and on based upon this one silly premise.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
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3/1/2012 2:42:22 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/1/2012 2:33:26 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
(though, admittedly, a certain popular genre of music seems to revolve around such things

Also, I admit such silliness might go just a bit beyond rap :/
http://assets.nydailynews.com...

but I think most people think he's a clown too :o)
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
charleslb
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3/1/2012 3:17:47 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/1/2012 2:33:26 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 2/28/2012 8:47:42 PM, charleslb wrote:
Human beings are born into a great adventure and mystery, life. But everywhere you see people caught up and engrossed in the sheer economics of their existence; of their bare subsistence, in all too many cases. Yes, everywhere you look you see people struggling to make ends meet; preoccupied with earning enough money to pay their bills, and credit card debt; living to work, rather than working to live, and not even realizing it. And everywhere you look you see stores and shops, businesses big and small, embodiments of the profit motive.

Materialism is the order of the day, the unspiritual spirit of the age. We've unabashedly become a society of consumers and worker bees. It used to be said that England was a nation of shopkeepers, but our modern civilization is truly one of shopping malls and the shopping masses who fill them every day. The foundation of our modern lives is no longer a close-knit village and the social and spiritual values that a real community instills. Village & values have given way to cities populated by businessmen, wage slaves, and wannabe iPad and SUV owners; specimens of Homo economicus whose lives revolve around commercialism, around making and spending money. And who, thanks to the advertising industry, are under the tragic illusion that they can derive meaning and fulfillment from such shallow materialistic pursuits.

Unduly pessimistic take on reality ;)

No, not on reality, on our shallowly economically-oriented culture.


People care about a lot of things.. not just Ipads and SUV's... I'd say top on the list would, for many people, be the health and happiness of their family and others that they care for.

Ah, but here's the rub, our capitalist society's materialistic ethos defines "happiness" for all too many of us, and in a way that very much works against our ability to attain any true, deep, humanistic, and (dare I say) spiritual form of life-satisfaction.

Our culture of the rat race, of keeping up with the Joneses, of he who dies with the most toys wins, is premised on and promotes a profane, not a profound, definition of happiness. A profane and bogus definition according to which our happiness is an emergent property, a by-product of having a large net worth, of owning monetarily valuable possessions, of attaining to the lifestyle of the rich & famous.

Everyone would acknowledge that money would make things easier, and perhaps allow them a greater ability to do enjoyable things.. But I wouldn't suggest that people generally think of Happiness as revolving around money. For people would also acknowledge that money Cannot provide various things.. Like meaningful relationships (though it could perhaps help take the stress off of them)

Well, there certainly seem to be many folks whose life-priorities and values are arranged so as to give economic success precedence over relationships and what not. And when it does come to relationships all too many of us seem to have decidedly materialistic criteria for potential partners, i.e. we look for someone with money or someone with a potential for upward socioeconomic mobility, not a good personality or heart.

This is of course a definition of human happiness that leads a great many of us nowadays to devote ourselves, all of our blood, sweat, and tears, to the pursuit not of a decent quality of life, but of affluence. Or at least some of its trappings; you know, designer clothing, high-end name brands, status-symbol automobiles, etc. All of the reputed tangible stuff of happiness that's supposed to make us content with our lives.

mmmm... I don't personally know a lot of people who crazily pursue name-brand, status symbol goods...

Oh, and the whole advertising-marketing complex isn't largely premised on the fact that people make purchases out of egoistic motives such as the desire to keep up with the ole Joneses by owning in-vogue and status-symbolic items?


I know more people who pursue financial stability in order to provide necessities and comfort for themselves and those they love... so that those they care about can live with less stress and genuinely enjoy their lives.

Financial security is certainly a legitimate objective and a necessary condition for a decent quality of life, but the economism promoted by capitalism has the tendency to cause many people to develop an excessive focus on material well-being to the neglect of other dimensions of human existence and happiness.

Such a materialistic interpretation of happiness certainly helps our consumer economy to keep chugging along, it certainly puts billions of bucks in the coffers of corporations every year, but here's the rub, is it really proving to be the ticket to bliss that it's been advertised to be?!

The interpretation is Yours... Your interpretation of other people's understanding... not their understanding.

Likewise, your interpretation of my take on capitalist man's (and woman's) understanding of happiness is perhaps just your subjective response, and a quite erroneous one at that.

Your interpretation is wrong due to your ridiculously pessimistic, one-sided, look on things.. And all that you write is simply Blabbering on and on based upon this one silly premise.

Firstly, I'm critical of capitalist culture, not pessimistic about our human possibilities. And secondly, the parting ad hominems aren't really constructive. Nonetheless, I thank you for putting some thought into critiquing my critique.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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3/1/2012 3:40:05 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/1/2012 2:31:46 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
Spot on and excellent critique!

Thank you for these kind words.

But maybe the games that we play and day to day lives and struggles is all there is and that is the point?

Living our human lives to our full potential and satisfaction is the point, is our raison d'etre; and since our capitalist culture's inherent shallow-making tendency to preoccupy us with material and monetary concerns works in a countervailing fashion against our ability to realize this fundamental telos, well, it, capitalism, must be viewed as a seriously deficient and an entirely unacceptable system.

However, I believe you are correct that people get too caught up in the economic enslavement matrix and forget to enjoy each day. It seems there are many miserable people who fail to take a step back from the fray and forget to enjoy themselves.

Sadly this is the case. And one of the greatest indictments of capitalism is that it, its vapid value system, inherently conduces to our entrapment in the ole "economic enslavement matrix".

I agree that the society we live in is a fundamentally sick one spiritually and psychologically, but what would your idea of a fulfilled and sound life be?

A life devoted to the actualization not of our economic earning potential, but of our inner potential for creativity and compassion, self-expression and love, beauty and goodness. The specifics of course depend on the individual.

PS, Thank you very much for a thoughtful and constructive contribution to the thread.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
mattrodstrom
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3/1/2012 3:44:05 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/1/2012 3:17:47 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 3/1/2012 2:33:26 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
Unduly pessimistic take on reality ;)

No, not on reality, on our... culture.

Culture being a part of reality one would think..

People care about a lot of things.. not just Ipads and SUV's... I'd say top on the list would, for many people, be the health and happiness of their family and others that they care for.

Ah, but here's the rub, our capitalist society's materialistic ethos defines "happiness" for all too many of us, and in a way that very much works against our ability to attain any true, deep, humanistic, and (dare I say) spiritual form of life-satisfaction.

Again.. I deny that most people hold to a "materialistic" definition of happiness.
I would think most people would acknowledge that there are aspects of happiness which cannot simply be bought.

Our culture of the rat race, of keeping up with the Joneses, of he who dies with the most toys wins, is premised on and promotes a profane, not a profound, definition of happiness. A profane and bogus definition according to which our happiness is an emergent property, a by-product of having a large net worth, of owning monetarily valuable possessions, of attaining to the lifestyle of the rich & famous.

Everyone would acknowledge that money would make things easier, and perhaps allow them a greater ability to do enjoyable things.. But I wouldn't suggest that people generally think of Happiness as revolving around money. For people would also acknowledge that money Cannot provide various things.. Like meaningful relationships (though it could perhaps help take the stress off of them)

Well, there certainly seem to be many folks whose life-priorities and values are arranged so as to give economic success precedence over relationships and what not. And when it does come to relationships all too many of us seem to have decidedly materialistic criteria for potential partners, i.e. we look for someone with money or someone with a potential for upward socioeconomic mobility, not a good personality or heart.

None of the couples I know personally seem to have gotten together b/c of socioeconomic mobility or money... Rather, for the most part, they seem to enjoy each other in some way personally.

This is of course a definition of human happiness that leads a great many of us nowadays to devote ourselves, all of our blood, sweat, and tears, to the pursuit not of a decent quality of life, but of affluence. Or at least some of its trappings; you know, designer clothing, high-end name brands, status-symbol automobiles, etc. All of the reputed tangible stuff of happiness that's supposed to make us content with our lives.

mmmm... I don't personally know a lot of people who crazily pursue name-brand, status symbol goods...

Oh, and the whole advertising-marketing complex isn't largely premised on the fact that people make purchases out of egoistic motives such as the desire to keep up with the ole Joneses by owning in-vogue and status-symbolic items?

I'm not denying that people care about such things in some degree.. Just that it's so predominant as to Dwarf those other things people care about... It would seem that Extravagant materialistic wants actually take a back-seat to other things people care about.

I know more people who pursue financial stability in order to provide necessities and comfort for themselves and those they love... so that those they care about can live with less stress and genuinely enjoy their lives.

Financial security is certainly a legitimate objective and a necessary condition for a decent quality of life, but the economism promoted by capitalism has the tendency to cause many people to develop an excessive focus on material well-being to the neglect of other dimensions of human existence and happiness.

As I said, I know more people who seem to work to pursue financial stability for themelves/family than those who pursue materialistic extravagance.

Such a materialistic interpretation of happiness certainly helps our consumer economy to keep chugging along, it certainly puts billions of bucks in the coffers of corporations every year, but here's the rub, is it really proving to be the ticket to bliss that it's been advertised to be?!

Me, I care less about such things than do most people..

But Most people also care less about such things than you suggest they do.

I don't doubt that some people turn to abusing drugs to drown out their despairs at not achieving their hoped-for Materialistic goals..

But I would reckon more people turn to drugs to drown out their despairs at regarding various relationship problems.

Likewise, your interpretation of my take on capitalist man's (and woman's) understanding of happiness is perhaps just your subjective response, and a quite erroneous one at that.

Your interpretation is wrong due to your ridiculously pessimistic, one-sided, look on things.. And all that you write is simply Blabbering on and on based upon this one silly premise.

Firstly, I'm critical of capitalist culture, not pessimistic about our human possibilities. And secondly, the parting ad hominems aren't really constructive.
Nonetheless, I thank you for putting some thought into critiquing my critique.

You're welcome 8)
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
charleslb
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3/1/2012 3:45:59 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/1/2012 3:43:21 PM, innomen wrote:
Funny, the most materialistic societies I've been in have been Socialist.

Yes, unfortunately some socialist societies inherited the materialistic capitalist ethos.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Lickdafoot
Posts: 5,599
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3/1/2012 4:02:30 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Charleslb, I agree with your outlook on society at large. It is true that we are a society of over consumers, more focused on what we might gain materially than spiritually. At one time we gained success through survival; learning how to work in cohesion with the earth to gain what we need. Now we reach success through being mentally capable of manipulating or following the status quo in a way that brings us the most. We are excessive. We live in a programmed atmosphere. Programmed to follow the routine, to fit ourselves into the mundane. I'm sure that issues that we face now have resided in us since the beginning, but we are more disconnected than ever. We are actually in a pretty fragile place because we rely on the things around us for a sense of safety. These are things that can be destroyed in a blink of an eye. History shows that we're overdue for a collapse.

I do however think that many, many individuals find their own depth & purpose amidst the complacency that rests at each of our doorsteps. It is common to be conditioned to go the easy route but exceptional people are found all around us. I think we all have the potential, now more than ever, to grasp a firmer picture, to develop a more clear understanding. The materials that we have at our disposal encourage our knowledge and can be funneled for just as much insight as monotony.

I think we need to encourage ourselves and each other to step outside of our comfort zones, with our thoughts and our actions, because this is the only way that we can reach any spiritual fulfillment
WAKE UP AND READ THIS: http://www.debate.org...
charleslb
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3/1/2012 4:10:05 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/1/2012 3:44:05 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 3/1/2012 3:17:47 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 3/1/2012 2:33:26 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
Unduly pessimistic take on reality ;)

No, not on reality, on our... culture.

Culture being a part of reality one would think..

Yes, but not its sum and totality.

People care about a lot of things.. not just Ipads and SUV's... I'd say top on the list would, for many people, be the health and happiness of their family and others that they care for.

Ah, but here's the rub, our capitalist society's materialistic ethos defines "happiness" for all too many of us, and in a way that very much works against our ability to attain any true, deep, humanistic, and (dare I say) spiritual form of life-satisfaction.

Again.. I deny that most people hold to a "materialistic" definition of happiness.
I would think most people would acknowledge that there are aspects of happiness which cannot simply be bought.

Ah, but the question is where does capitalism and its basic values place and hold people's axiological and life focus? If people merely have some awareness of and acknowlede the abstract axiological-spiritual fact that there's more to life than making money and acquiring material possessions but their focus is mainly on such banausic & bourgeois objectives, well, then their vague sense that their human existence should be richer than it is is pretty well mooted. And if this is, as I contend, what capitalism tends to do, then from a humanistic-spiritual perspective capitalism is a pretty darn bad deal.

Our culture of the rat race, of keeping up with the Joneses, of he who dies with the most toys wins, is premised on and promotes a profane, not a profound, definition of happiness. A profane and bogus definition according to which our happiness is an emergent property, a by-product of having a large net worth, of owning monetarily valuable possessions, of attaining to the lifestyle of the rich & famous.

Everyone would acknowledge that money would make things easier, and perhaps allow them a greater ability to do enjoyable things.. But I wouldn't suggest that people generally think of Happiness as revolving around money. For people would also acknowledge that money Cannot provide various things.. Like meaningful relationships (though it could perhaps help take the stress off of them)

Well, there certainly seem to be many folks whose life-priorities and values are arranged so as to give economic success precedence over relationships and what not. And when it does come to relationships all too many of us seem to have decidedly materialistic criteria for potential partners, i.e. we look for someone with money or someone with a potential for upward socioeconomic mobility, not a good personality or heart.

None of the couples I know personally seem to have gotten together b/c of socioeconomic mobility or money... Rather, for the most part, they seem to enjoy each other in some way personally.

Good for them, but are they the rule or the exception?

This is of course a definition of human happiness that leads a great many of us nowadays to devote ourselves, all of our blood, sweat, and tears, to the pursuit not of a decent quality of life, but of affluence. Or at least some of its trappings; you know, designer clothing, high-end name brands, status-symbol automobiles, etc. All of the reputed tangible stuff of happiness that's supposed to make us content with our lives.

mmmm... I don't personally know a lot of people who crazily pursue name-brand, status symbol goods...

Oh, and the whole advertising-marketing complex isn't largely premised on the fact that people make purchases out of egoistic motives such as the desire to keep up with the ole Joneses by owning in-vogue and status-symbolic items?

I'm not denying that people care about such things in some degree.. Just that it's so predominant as to Dwarf those other things people care about... It would seem that Extravagant materialistic wants actually take a back-seat to other things people care about.

Well, this is what we'd all (except for those who are genuine cynics) like to think about our fellow man, but of course there's what we'd like to believe about our fellow man, and then there's what's really the case.

I know more people who pursue financial stability in order to provide necessities and comfort for themselves and those they love... so that those they care about can live with less stress and genuinely enjoy their lives.

Financial security is certainly a legitimate objective and a necessary condition for a decent quality of life, but the economism promoted by capitalism has the tendency to cause many people to develop an excessive focus on material well-being to the neglect of other dimensions of human existence and happiness.

As I said, I know more people who seem to work to pursue financial stability for themelves/family than those who pursue materialistic extravagance.

I'm not denying that such individuals still exist, but this isn't what capitalism as an ethos promotes.

Such a materialistic interpretation of happiness certainly helps our consumer economy to keep chugging along, it certainly puts billions of bucks in the coffers of corporations every year, but here's the rub, is it really proving to be the ticket to bliss that it's been advertised to be?!

Me, I care less about such things than do most people..

But Most people also care less about such things than you suggest they do.

I don't doubt that some people turn to abusing drugs to drown out their despairs at not achieving their hoped-for Materialistic goals..

But if our materialistic culture doesn't impart any life wisdom to them, wisdom about how to cope with adversity and suffering, wisdom about how to attain authentic happiness, then they certainly are more likely to resort to unwise chemical quick fixes and escapes.

But I would reckon more people turn to drugs to drown out their despairs at regarding various relationship problems.

Again, because they've received no psychological-spiritual insight from a crassly capitalist culture about how to deal.

Likewise, your interpretation of my take on capitalist man's (and woman's) understanding of happiness is perhaps just your subjective response, and a quite erroneous one at that.

Your interpretation is wrong due to your ridiculously pessimistic, one-sided, look on things.. And all that you write is simply Blabbering on and on based upon this one silly premise.

I'm sorry that this is your assessment.

Firstly, I'm critical of capitalist culture, not pessimistic about our human possibilities. And secondly, the parting ad hominems aren't really constructive.
Nonetheless, I thank you for putting some thought into critiquing my critique.

You're welcome 8)

Thanks again for some substantive feedback.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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3/1/2012 4:15:58 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/1/2012 4:02:30 PM, Lickdafoot wrote:
Charleslb, I agree with your outlook on society at large. It is true that we are a society of over consumers, more focused on what we might gain materially than spiritually. At one time we gained success through survival; learning how to work in cohesion with the earth to gain what we need. Now we reach success through being mentally capable of manipulating or following the status quo ...

Thank you for your well-expressed input. With a minor difference of emphasis we're fundamentally in accord in our thinking about the anti-humanistic nature and spiritual ill effects of our current capitalist form of society. Please always feel welcome to leave your feedback in my threads.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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3/1/2012 4:42:18 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
None of the couples I know personally seem to have gotten together b/c of socioeconomic mobility or money... Rather, for the most part, they seem to enjoy each other in some way personally.

Good for them, but are they the rule or the exception?

From what I can tell they're more common than the other arrangement.. Granted I only know so many people.. and only know them so well.. but that is how it seems from here! How bout you? you know more couples who're together for Materialistic convenience or who're together b/c it would seem they genuinely care for one another/and or wish for a family?

I'm not denying that people care about such things in some degree.. Just that it's so predominant as to Dwarf those other things people care about... It would seem that Extravagant materialistic wants actually take a back-seat to other things people care about.

Well, this is what we'd all (except for those who are genuine cynics) like to think about our fellow man, but of course there's what we'd like to believe about our fellow man, and then there's what's really the case.

and then there's unduly pessimistic takes on what's the case with your fellow man.

As I said, I know more people who seem to work to pursue financial stability for themelves/family than those who pursue materialistic extravagance.

I'm not denying that such individuals still exist, but this isn't what capitalism as an ethos promotes.

Capatalism is an economic system... I think it would be more clear if you said America's ethos "materialism".. However, to say Materialism is the guiding principle of American culture(by and large) is an undue characterization based upon what could only be a superficial survey of people's values.

But I would reckon more people turn to drugs to drown out their despairs at regarding various relationship problems.

Again, because they've received no psychological-spiritual insight from a crassly capitalist culture about how to deal.

How bout b/c relationship issues are tough.. and drugs are easy...
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
OberHerr
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3/1/2012 4:43:22 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/1/2012 3:25:06 PM, Mirza wrote:
Ah, who doesn't miss the old days with no anxiety and need for mental medicine? What a great place Soviet Russia was.

"In Soviet Russia, YOU support medical."
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johnnyboy54
Posts: 6,362
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3/1/2012 5:58:15 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/1/2012 3:25:06 PM, Mirza wrote:
Ah, who doesn't miss the old days with no anxiety and need for mental medicine? What a great place Soviet Russia was.

This
I didn't order assholes with my whiskey.