The Western Path

The Western Path

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Loneliness as a Political Weapon

People today are loners, yes, but it’s not entirely a matter of choice. It’s easier for a governments to control and manipulate people when they’ve been isolated from one another. Most people no longer live where they were born. Quite likely they’ve moved many times over the years. Their relatives live all over the planet. Most people work at jobs where they have to act as robots if they don’t want to get fired. Then they come home, and their “family” quite likely consists of a TV set or a computer, or both.

So they have no real communication, and certainly not on the heart-to-heart level. They have no one with whom they can communicate their questions, their doubts, their suspicions. Each person lives in a glass bowl, like a solitary goldfish. Most people are either stupid enough to believe the brainwashing that they receive through television, or they let the silly chatter and pictures drift through their heads as mind-numbing “entertainment.” And since silence is forbidden on TV, the viewers end up with severe attention-span deficiency. Everything is flash, flash, flash, until it’s time to go to bed and hope to sleep.

So I’m not even sure if it should be said that people are loners. They’re not loners in the Wild West, Clint Eastwood manner, or in the style of Daniel Boone and those other real men and women who were content to travel in the silence and emptiness of the wilderness. What we have, in fact, is widespread sheer loneliness, like bubonic plague, the Black Death.

Of course, most people would rather die than admit they’re lonely. That’s curious -- we become victims of a political system that initiates “divide and conquer,” but instead of fighting the enemy we fall back into self-recrimination. It’s even hard to say what crime we seem to be committing. Being lonely means you’re a “bad person,” yes, but in what sense? We’re guilty of some unnameable evil, a kind of original sin? Or we’re misdirections of evolution, mutations who know they have a moral duty to subscribe to the state’s euthanasia program, allowing more food, more land, more fun to those who follow the arrow of historical necessity? Hard to say.

All that’s certain is that in the Pepsi ads, everyone is mid-20s, well tanned, smiling, and off for a day of catching the big waves. Each of these surfers is a supra-normal stimulus, like a pornographic model -- too plastic to fool the intellect but dazzling enough to awaken some deeper part of the human brain.

Or perhaps we remember the lessons of Judaeo-Christianity, Buddhism, and Stoicism, and we refuse to respond blindly to these machinations. Perhaps we sometimes just stand on a street corner and look at the crowds going by, merely watching for the special face that might be there. Or might not. But either way, it doesn’t really matter, because there’s not the slightest evidence that loneliness is a moral failing.

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