Monday, May 16, 2011

Are we normal yet?

There was a time in South Africa when damned near every White guy you could meet was a full-blown racist. You could have tortured those people and they would never have given in to save themselves. And then, one day later, suddenly none of them had ever been racist at all, they all knowing that Mandela was a great guy and that he should obviously be the nation's leader. To bring up the unpleasant past was a dirty and nasty thing only a particularly rotten guy would do. Yes, there were still some racists around, but they were few and marginal. Things had changed, and all was well in a multi-multi nation of now.

Those who live like that in the mind are people you want to be around. They are social. They are what a nation needs to be successful and at peace. They are conformists and quiet and committed to little beyond their own lives and private doings. They are insane when the government is insane; they are loving and wonderful when the government leaves them alone to be themselves. Whatever the flavour of the month is, that's what they are too. It is to the good. They aren't wild and rebellious and crazy. They say what others say, believe what their friends believe, and they just live their lives. Just like Obama supporters. Conformity Hippies.

I have always believed.

All good people know.

Only bad people believe.

And tomorrow, when the game changes, all will be well again in a whole different way. Spencer will be everyone's hero. No one will have ever believed that Islam is a religion of peace. Shari'a will be known by all right-thinking people to be a seventh century tribal code inflamed by ethnicity, as E.O. Wilson puts it so nicely. We will all know this. Yes, there will be some dinosaurs left over who don't know that things have changed, but they will be few and marginal. Most people will believe what most people believe. This will be to the good.

Meanwhile, there will be those sons of Walker who don't get along with the norm. There will be those who always demand and criticise and argue and fight. Same people, different issues.

A leftard social scientist, Joanna Bourke, writes in An Intimate History of Killing, that in combat only 15 per cent of men will ever effectively fire their weapons at the enemy. Most will do aid work, loading rifles, spotting, et c. But they will not, unless directly commanded and supervised, fire their weapons of their own accord, and even then, they shut their eyes and fire at random. Most people are not killers. They just want to live and let live. So I look at the 15 per cent and I ask if they are the few who ever do much of anything of their own accord. How many Americans actually do anything of their own direct volition? Maybe 15 per cent. Those are the ones who start businesses, who lead others, who make things happen. The rest of us help out. This is to the good, I think.

I think, further, that the 15 per cent of doers is split between 7 and 8 per cent, some being for, the rest being against, or for something else. Thus, one needs to convince about one per cent of the 8 per cent of the leaders of anything to switch. One won't change that which works, regardless of how poorly, unless there is a great incentive to do so. Change is not welcome in most activities. One per cent of 15 per cent of America's vital thinkers and actors is many indeed, and they have little reason to abandon careers and lives that work already. They believe, and to change to some new idea is to say to themselves that what they have always believed before is wrong, that they were wrong, that their lives were wrong. What are the odds?

Muslims have it made in the West. They have it ready-made. All Muslims already believe in Islam, and to follow Islam is simple and right for a Muslim. Why would they change? Why would they rebel against everything they have always believed? what their families and fellows have always believed? what all good people among them believe? That 15 per cent of activist men and women who do at all will do while the rest help out. In its own perverse way, this is to the good. It provides whatever stability there is in Islam. Without it there would be total chaos and destruction of all that they know and value. Where's the incentive? It doesn't come from the West. Who among us would really like Ali Sinas by the millions? Who would like a man who rebels against everything his culture values? Imagine millions of such rebels. The world as we know it would fall apart and there would be terrible catastrophes everywhere. As much as we might hate Islam, we would not like chaos better. In effect, we would prefer occasional jihadi violence to chaos in the Muslim world. We can control the occasional jihadi bomber; we can do nothing but suffer if the Muslim world collapses into anarchy. To like that idea is to be a particularly nasty and inhuman kind of person, which nearly no one is. Most of us just want to get along and live privately. Thus we have conformity hippies echoing George W. Bush claiming Islam is a religion of peace. We say what others say because we don't like the idea of being strange or evil.

Personally, I don't mind being thought of as strange or evil. I do notice, though, that I don't get invited out a lot. Free thinkers are not popular for a good reason. They think freely. Very few people like that in a man. If most people were outsiders, the world would collapse. So, I find myself concluding here, which will offend some, that the jihadis are doing exactly the right thing within the context of their lives. If we understand that and learn to accept it and accept ourselves as opposed to our own who wish to shuffle along quietly to the grave, then we might be able to accommodate our lives as well to the general need to get along. Some men will act, and some will help out. Most will be against it till most are for it. When things flip, the rebel will still be a rebel. Nothing changes. I find it hard to blame others for conforming. I like it. It makes my life easier in most ways. So long as only a very few involve themselves in actual fighting, all is more or less OK. When things go crazy, crazy people will rise to the top. When order is restored, crazy people at the top will find themselves being shot at the post. Such is life. Better to see it for what it is and learn to deal with it effectively.

Most people will not be against jihad till most people are against jihad. Then it will be normal. Till then, ask just what's in it for you to be crazy and antisocial. Nothing good for most. For some, it's the cat's meow.


Anonymous said...

Sorry Dag. You will most likely continue to alienate all the non-bigoted people around you, get invited out less and less, and die a lonely bitter old racist. Which is as it should be.

Dag said...

That was my laugh of the day. Thanks.

You're always welcome to drop in. You might never understand anything much you encounter here, but there is some hope that in years to come, through osmosis, you will see things in a way that puzzles you but somehow, in spite of it all, makes sudden sense. You might say,"Where did that come from?" I'll have no idea.

CGW said...

I'm with you, Dag, only I'm more evil. I believe in the use of unspeakable methods of warfare against the islamics.

CGW said...

Anonymous, you silly-ass coward. You could at least use a nickname. Dag knows your IP address anyway.

Dag said...

One could convincingly argue that I am "Anonymous," and that I'm making up his comments to illustrate my own points.

I don't write off anyone as forever a fool. People are surprisingly interesting, things they never dreamed they were capable of coming out of nowhere to surprise them when they had no idea that it ever could. Today, more of the same. Ten years from now, when he's forgotten where all this comes from, he might just embarrass me with things even I would blush to write. Life is funny that way.

CGW said...

He's still an ass.

Dag said...

Don't get me started.

truepeers said...

It's worth remembering that the contrast here between "conformity hippy" and real thinking only works for an untrue, or minimally true, ideology. If a religion is true and deep in its revelatory potential, as for example Jews and Christians rightly believe theirs to be, then there really isn't a serious conflict between reason and faith (unless someone wrongly makes one through a limited reading). In other words, an intense belief in the ubiquity of the conformity hippy may be a desire to see the world as one big Gnostic or Islamic dream. Even if one is opposed to the dream, one risks being sucked into the terms by which that dream sucks on the world. We can laugh at the leftist's now deeply-ritualized, unoriginal, faith in his being "avant-garde" but how do we avoid falling into the same trap?

Or, put another way, while I appreciate your charitable view of conformity in this post, i don't think it's exactly true that the world would be all chaos without conformity, if only because that could never happen. Even if we, or the Gnostic left, succeed in destroying all normative order, it can't result in some "ideal" chaos. The moment the present system breaks down, people will be already acting in ways that create new norms and rules of exchange. Humans can't do without some degree of conformity. But, it's never really ever absolute, because any exchange of signs, even the most highly ritualized and unthinking, is going to engender personal differences, or mis-takes, leading to the possibility of a revelation "ten years from now", and hence some kind of cultural evolution.

So I wouldn't bank too much or too litle on the role of the romantic who believes he is alone, or among the few, going against the flow. We all conform to various revelatory points in time (not always the latest thing) and also differentiate ourselves in how we try (never perfectly) to conform to the lights that guide. Real thinking, then, would not be something totally different from conformity; it would be a heightened awarenes of a common humanity, a more highly differentiated consciousness founded in conformity to the deepest revelations of human hisotry and an awareness that we are inevitably going to take our lights in a somewhat different way.

Anyway, how's it going Dag?

Dag said...

Thanks for your comment, Peers. That is the usual exceptional that I expect from you and am seldom disappointed in.

Yes, ideal chaos is ever unlikely. That's something of a joke when one considers the utopian anarchist and his retarded brother the nihilist who are such puritans in the field. My example, which I'll note briefly again here, is how shrinkingly small is normal when there's little left to grasp, such as when in war one shrugs at a bombing across town, spits at a bombing on the next block, and expresses little concern for a bullet whizzing past ones ear, and then, finally, expresses delight that one wasn't killed by the injury one does suffer. Conversely, one might be sick to madness over the devastation of Amazon rainforests or Japanese nuclear accidents. It's all ordering ones universe. I think one might even argue that some part of this order-making is "true" in the sense that it's more than trivially not false. Or, a believer in something better than idiocy is finding a truth in an order made up for the occasion, i.e. catastrophe, if his belief could hold up in non-catastrophic events. But I think one must believe in a beneficial order that transcends order for its own sake for order that can stand on its own in most circumstances without the help of others. Nothing, to my knowledge, is perfect. But some orders have value across the continuum, and it is that that I like, if only I can find it or them. Better to look askance at Order and wait, even if forever, than run slap-dash into convenience and safety. Yes, there is something in what might otherwise and impossibly be a moral vacuum, but it can be minimal and changeable. That needn't be anarchic or nihilistic but a matter instead of aporia. If one can maintain, even in the midst of horror, ones openness to possible insight, then, for me, all the better.

To put this in more concrete terms, I have a friend who has been, I've recently found out, in hospital for the past number of months with lung cancer. I think, thank the gods they found it in time to be able to treat him so he didn't just die. I chip away at my grief to make it manageable, and I put it into some kind of form I can deal with that I hope is good enough to hold life for others living in health as well, that they live good and meaningful lives for the same reasons that I can find to claim value for the life of my friend now dying. There is more than nothing, and it is good. I can change my mind about what that good is if I can find some better way of understanding it. I'm not just open to that.... On the other hand, I will settle for less if I must.

I like your point very much about the base of understanding. There is little original, I think, "nothing new under the sun," but there is the unique discovery of the sun by the individual, as if he were the first to know it. I think that is essential, even if we all know the sun is high and it sets into the ocean at dusk. To know that and to not "know" it is to be duped by ones vanity: that one knows enough and need know no more. To have faith without a terror of being mistaken would be for me a bad thing.

Dag said...

There's only so much that one can wonder about, and in my case, only so many things profitable and possible to wonder about; so I try to narrow my wonder to the essential. I'm more than willing to take much on faith if only to give myself a starting place from which to wonder; but at some point I have to step beyond that into my own doubts. Being wrong about everything is a great blessing, so long as I find out. Then I know I didn't know. That alone creates an order of a sort. It also instils in me some deep respect for those whose order is coherent and, even if not for me, valid, e.g. orthodox Judaism.

I've been posting a bit more than usual lately due to a nasty bout of the flu. It's kept me indoors and bored and pensive. I'm back as of this evening to my research into Ecology in the broad sense of oikos or households/ eugenics/ neo-Malthusianism. Two and a half books to go and perhaps I might then find myself gone from here at long last as well. It's long since time for me to move on.

truepeers said...

I don't think of doubt and faith as being opposites. Doubt must be a component of faith; faith is what lets you live with doubt. The "true believer's" faith is actually bad faith because it makes the man who would close the door to the world to control everything that might impinge doubt on his mind into a Satanic double of the source of true faith.

Faith and a regard for the inherent open-endedness of the creation is a possibility of all who are true children of Abraham, who embrace the possibility of a future covenant that is something new, as in as a yet untold possibility of the creation that has been here from the start, a possibility that is not just the eternal return in some entirely cyclical worldview.

I hope you're not looking for someone to tell you to stay, that sometimes you move on by deepening roots. Because I wouldn't tell you what to do...

CGW said...

I would.