There are no shades of gray but the blog is gray. Get it? No? Good.
I would like to write a brief outline of an idea i have been tossing around in my brain the last few days. Within this quick blog i want do discuss the theory that Americans, and post modern society as a whole, seem to zealously believe that only actions or objects with specific purpose are worth doing or achieving or owning ect.
Quick example to outline this idea: you tell someone you are going to college, they will almost indefinitely proclaim that you are doing a good thing, that college is good. Now college is good why? College is good because it gets you a better job, it accelerates your potential mobility into a higher social class ect ect. It pretty much has an infinite number of practical uses. Now do not get me wrong i don’t believe college is bad. But let me elaborate further. If you tell someone i took 500 dollars out of the bank and proceeded to buy a gratuitous amount of alcohol and then subsequently got smashed with all of my friends, this would likely be frowned upon. This is a bit of an extreme example. But we as human beings ALL have hobbies / things we like that are not useful in anyway at all but make our lives much better.
If we were all to work entirely off of effectiveness we would become machines! Human beings are inefficient and make really really stupid decisions. We enjoy things that don’t logically make sense. For example, emotional attachment and love is, from a utilitarian perspective, extremely wasteful. Try and stay with me here. The argument still is that being efficient is no better or worse than being inefficient and that we should be far less judgmental of ***OURSELVES*** for being being “dumb” and making decisions that dont make sense in terms of economic / social / humanitarian utility.
So back to my argument on love. The thesis is love is anything but efficient. It almost never makes our bank accounts larger (at least not for men anyways), it almost (i stress almost) always ends up in us getting emotionally hurt or us hurting someone else and so on and so forth. Do you see where this is going?
However i can see an arguement against this theory. Some extreme utilitarians might argue like so; “well Mr Silverberg, your actually quite right, and so i would have to say that means in order for us to live an ideal life we must exonerate our seeming inherent human condition to love one another in order to be fully practical”. My response to this would be “bullshit i do”.
Maybe you might agree with me but, life is not worth living if we must sacrifice what makes us happy, purposeful and energetic. If we must live life without things that are irrational then I would rather not live at all!
In conclusion it seems to me that some of the most important things to us as human beings are irrational. Thus we must embrace the compass within us which guides us to something which your analytical sense might object to. However I am also not saying we should go about being completely devoid of ethical or economic judgments. But do not judge yourself for enjoying a beer on a saturday afternoon when the back of your mind is telling you to study.
Our institutions and society have become the driving force behind our entire mental condition. We live our lives on a very specific route; birth, grade school , college , work, retire, die. I do believe it is very dangerous to let ourselves feel guilty for not wanting to adhere to the pressures of our ancestors. They might have been right in their time, but soon our generation will be responsible for this institutions which run the world and I think one of the most pressing questions of the last couple hundreed years is, do we even want this institutions? Are they even worth keeping around?
Happy new years everyone
peace and love,