Did you realize that pain was a social institution? In some cultures like ours it is very unpleasant to go to the dentist, but there are cultures in which dentistry is no problem at all. On the other hand, they have extreme pain when their fingernails are cut or their hair is cut. We are very largely talked into pain in early childhood.
All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.
I think one thing our generation has lost is the drive to enact change ourselves. We often begin great discussions and raise exceptionally valid points, but I think sometimes we fail to push things far enough.
Our generation has done some great things: pushed for wider acceptance of gay marriage and gay rights, demanded an increase in women’s equality, elected a black president, supported the democratic uprising in the Arab Spring with the unprecedented use of technology, and we began pushing for wealth equality with the Occupy movement.
But I think we need to begin pushing back more. We need to have our voices heard and have a much larger impact on those in charge, to have some of our own demands met. Some older generations call us the “entitlement generation”, but there are certain things we should be entitled to that are unfortunately far out of reach for many of us. Things such as education, health care, well paying jobs, and affordable food and shelter are just some of the things we are entitled to as human beings, but that are being withheld from us while being told we have not worked hard enough, we are not old enough, or we are not rich enough.
I think if the playing field isn’t levelled out soon, our generation will have serious uprisings and causes to protest about. We aren’t saying we deserve to be handed certain things, we are saying we deserve the right to earn it ourselves, fairly. Pretty soon the older generations are going to begin relying on us as we become the primary income earners and providers. You would think that fact would make those in power ensure we are in a good position to take care of them when that time comes. And it is coming soon.
The action orientation of discursive psychology therefore transforms traditional psychology’s concern with the nature of phenomena such as memory and emotion into a concern with how these are performed by people. Thus memory, emotion and other psychological phenomena become things we do rather than things we have.
Vivien Burr, Social Constructionism
Philosophy being nothing else but the study of wisdom and truth, it may with reason be expected that those who have spent most time and pains in it should enjoy a greater calm and serenity of mind, a greater clearness and evidence of knowledge, and be less disturbed with doubts and difficulties than other men. Yet so it is, we see the illiterate bulk of mankind that walk the high-road of plain common sense, and are governed by the dictates of nature, for the most part easy and undisturbed. To them nothing that is familiar appears unaccountable or difficult to comprehend. They complain not of any want of evidence in their senses, and are out of all danger of becoming sceptics.
Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of non-combustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy.
If philosophy and the sciences were born of religion, it is because religion began by taking the place of the sciences and philosophy.
Almost any evening on television I can watch in my own home a celebrity performing in a skit which is the television version of a movie (made from a novel), to the accompaniment of dubbed-in laughter and applause - the whole performance sponsered by a steel manufacturer or an oil company, by a manufacturer of cosmetics to cure imaginary ailments, or by a brewer or cigarette manufacturer of products indistinguishable from those of his competitor - all put in order to create a more favorable corporate image.
My view is that if your philosophy is not unsettled daily then you are blind to all the universe has to offer.
Our opinions, gently nudged by circumstance, revise themselves under cover of inattention. We tell them, in a steady voice, No, I’m not interested in a change at present. But there is no stopping opinions. They don’t care about whether we want to hold them or not; they do what they have to do.
And graver still, we are sometimes only minimally aware of just which new beliefs we have adopted.
Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world. Where none suffered. Where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program… Some believed that we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that as a species, human beings define their reality through misery and suffering. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from.
Christianity is Platonism for the people.