Wednesday, March 06, 2013


I did it all for the nookie (c'mon)
The nookie (c'mon)
So you can take that cookie
And stick it up your, yeah!!
-Limp Bizkit, Nookie"

Life is largely frustrating, painful, and empty.  There are moments of joy and happiness, sometimes long ones, but overall it is very depressing to consider.  I wonder sometimes if old people aren't so bent down and weak not because of their bodies but because of the weight of cares crushing them over time.  Think I'm just being downbeat?  No, I'm not particularly depressed; just consider.
A long time ago a guy who wrote under the pen name Koheleth wrote all about life.  He was an ancient king who had riches, power, wisdom, and many women.  He wrote about everything he'd done and experienced, all the things he'd lived through and came to one conclusion: it was all empty.  Sure, for a time it was fun, but in the end it was ashes.
He had lots of women, but after a brief moment of joy came the betrayals, the broken hearts, the disappointments.  In the end beauty comes to ugliness, weakness dooms physical joys, and after all is said and done, what came of it all?  When you're 98 years old and dying in bed, what difference did it make if you bedded 1000 models or were celibate, in the end?  You're still dying and miserable.
He had riches like few others, whatever he wanted, he could easily obtain.  And none of it satisfied, ultimately.  He enjoyed fully every good thing in life, and found none of it really mattered.  One pleasure might give a brief joy, but it never was good enough again.
Koheleth was a king, but he knew that one day all that he'd achieved, all that he'd built, all the laws and roads and peacetime and all the good things he had done for his kingdom were empty.  What would his heir do, would he be a fool or wise?  Would he take good care or squander it all?  And despite his best efforts, he was loathed by many of his people simply for being king. In the end, he would be dead anyway, so what difference did fame or success mean, ultimately?
Popularity fades, and what was once beloved becomes despised.  Wisdom is meaningless, because the fool and the idiot end up the same way as the wise and the intelligent: in a tomb.  A big family leads to fights and bitterness and jealousy and in the end, again, you die and what difference did it all make?
This king wrote all this in the book of Ecclesiastes, and while it seems incredibly grim, he has one point to make: none of this ultimately matters, all that matters is God.  All worth and meaning comes from the transcendent.  If life has any meaning at all, it comes from something outside us, something to look forward to, something greater to reach for and hope for.
Yet modern man has abandoned all transcendent truth.  There is no God, no future, no hope.  All that old faith stuff is okay for old people but we've evolved past that crutch and now we don't have any more religion.  All that is, all that ever was and ever will be is this life, this earth, what we can see and sense and measure.
So Koheleth's prescription for meaning is gone.  All is vanity, as he says, period.  There is nothing else.  And I think people are very aware of that emptiness in their lives, as I have written about before.  That yawning gulf in their lives that all the distractions and pleasures they throw at simply won't fill up.  We all sit next to our open grave and try to look away from it as much as possible.
Only for brief moments can we ignore and forget that emptiness, and those moments are clung to like a drowning man grasps a life preserver.  Increasingly, that's all modern man in the west does, desperately scrape toward those moments and tries to string as many of them together as possible to avoid that awareness.
And that's why every single aspect of modern life for the west is about sex and infatuation. Modern culture in the west is fixated on these topics to a degree and ferocity unmatched since Rome, and for the same reasons.
I listen to popular top 40 music every so often to try to keep in touch with modern pop culture and what kids are listening to.  Its almost without exception just awful, but there are interesting themes in the music that an objective, critical listener can pick up.  In the midst of the mindless chanting about how tough you are and how many bitches and hos you can score, in the sea of autotune and repeated musical patterns and rhythms (is it really fresh and interesting for every single hip hop tune to have "uh huh, yeah" repeated 1000 times?) there are topics that come up.
And the two main ones are these: Affirmation and "you make me feel alive."
Gone are the misery tunes of the 90s with super rich rock stars pushing nubile girls off them and brushing drugs off their chest to write about how awful and sad they are.  Gone are songs about anything deep or meaningful at all.  Even those painfully earnest and pathetic protest songs of the Bush years are gone.
You get songs about how wonderful you are, a shining diamond, a superstar, a hall of famer - the participation trophy generation is writing pop music now - without the slightest support or reason for it.  They don't sing about how great you are because of anything, you just are, because you exist.  You're a wonderful special snowflake that will accomplish wonders because you are alive.
And then you get songs about how infatuation makes you feel giddy and happy and floating and thus "alive."  Over and over that phrase comes up: you make me feel alive, in one form or another.  The presumption is that you're dead inside, until you feel that drugged soaring explosion of emotions that sweep over someone initially when you are in a relationship.  When that goes away, well its time to find someone else to be "alive" with, naturally.  What have you done for me lately?  When we make love I feel like I'm alive, everything is wonderful!  When we're together baby, everything is fantastic.
Because for those few moments - and let's face it even the most amazing lover on the planet can't keep this up for hours on end, over and over - you're so filled with energy and endorphines and pleasure that you can ignore the grave and feel finally apart from that emptiness inside you.  For a few moments.
This fixation on sex washes over everything.  This last presidential campaign, the Obama administration and its various minions repeatedly threw the most fantastical, idiotic nonsense out about Mitt Romney.  He'd ban birth control.  He's opposed to sex.  He wants women to stay in the kitchen and not have fun.  Nothing, no matter how stupid and illogical, was off limits and people believed it.  I saw the most amazingly idiotic claims and assumptions on facebook and would just shake my head that anyone could possibly be that gullible.
Why did it work?  Because the left has so successfully convinced America that Republicans are opposed to fun, sex, and women.  The "binders full of women" was so transparently weak and idiotic that it made people on the right start laughing out loud when it was brought up, but it worked with some people.  People start out presuming Republicans are awful and hateful and mean and want to take away all their fun.  So if someone says something bad about them, well its just proof of what they've always been told.
Compare the reaction to two rape stories.  In one, Mr Akin says awkwardly, but accurately, that women's bodies tend to reject pregnancy from violent assault and he's hated and mocked so badly we are to believe the state chose Claire McCaskill who they hated more than Stalin.  And just recently, after a gun control bill was passed in Colorado, a college there told women to vomit or urinate to stop themselves from being raped (like you can do it on command).  The reaction?  A few mumbles but hey, they mean well and its about gun control and besides, its not like they're Republicans.
And deep down, if you can convince people that Republicans are out to stop you from having as much sex with as many people of whatever combination or type you want without any restrictions or consequences, then you've won.  Because that's what people want to cling to, desperate to avoid that emptiness.
Think I'm exaggerating?  Consider the AIDS crisis.  For millennia, people have struggled with horrific diseases such as cancer, leprosy, muscular dystrophy; terrible diseases without a cure and often without any hope of survival.  Ghastly ailments that ruin lives and bodies.  Scientists work on those constantly to try to find a solution.  Just ordinary virus ailments like the flu, the common cold, and other problems afflict humanity and have since the dawn of time.
Yet when AIDS came out, there was a huge, panicked reaction.  Suddenly we had to cure viruses.  Trillions of dollars were thrown at it world wide.  For every dollar spent on cancer research, nine dollars were spent on AIDS research.  Public campaigns to make it seem like AIDS wasn't some kind of moral statement on the victims were launched, blockbuster movies filmed to defend its victims from any sort of approbation or ill ill.
Just recently, a lab reported that they had managed to eliminate the HIV virus from an infant.  The baby had been born with HIV and the lab claims they have cured the child.  Never before in the history of the world has anyone found a way to do this with a virus.  Why this effort, why the difference of approach?
Because cancer can kill you - some absolutely will - but AIDS keeps you from getting laid.
AIDS terrified people because they couldn't just go out and have sex whenever they wanted, now it could kill them!  After the pill and abortion on demand folks figured it was free game.  Sure there were a few diseases out there, but they were easy enough to avoid.  But AIDS could be anywhere, with anyone, especially people who would have casual sex.  And it was lethal within a few years!  This simply could not be allowed.
And that's the push on abortion.  This isn't about choice or a woman's body, this isn't about convenience and killing babies.  Its about having no consequences, about sex without any future or concerns about what comes next.  Oops got pregnant, well just get it hoovered out and things will be fine.  Doctors who give late-term abortions are being championed by films.  These heroes pull a baby out partly and use scissors to snip the baby's spinal cord, what paragons of medical virtue.  Why this attitude?  Sex without consequences.
This fixation on sex and pleasure and infatuation extends to all aspects of life.  Fitness crazes are not about a wholesome desire for people to be healthy, its about being sexy and desirable.  You get cut and toned not because its good for you, but because that way other people will find you sexually attractive and besides sex is better when you're in good shape. Food crazes are the same way; cut out foods that make you fat or tired.  Eat only what makes you a toned humping machine.
Clothing, music, cars, architecture, food, computers, electronic gadgets, everything is presented in terms of sex.  And this isn't just "sex sells" so beautiful women are draped over the product.  Its not just getting your attention for the product, its about making you want the product because you'll think it makes you more likely to get laid.  Some are a lot more obvious about it (Axe body spray) and some less so, but its permeated our culture almost totally.
Few products even are sold based on their virtues or qualities.  You almost never see a beer commercial that pushes how great it tastes, or how refreshing it is for your thirst.  Its always about hot women and fun, or big horses, or scenery.  Its like nobody even cares how good the product is any longer, only how it will make them feel and appear to others.
Moving from one orgasm or infatuation to another is all that shapes some people's lives, and almost everyone's to one degree or another at some point.  The incredibly popular shows like Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City are simply based all around this.  The fact that these women are utterly miserable and seeking just one person to stay with constantly is a testament to how well we understand that emptiness in our lives.
This sexual fixation, this monomania goes so far as to condemn and even be horrified by anyone who in any slightest way might question it or want to change things. Even people on the right, people who consider themselves conservative lean this way.  Point out that probably it would be best if kids wouldn't film themselves having sex and you get condemned as a prude.  Point out that girls shouldn't dress like hookers and you get questioned for being so uptight.  Note that having sex with a 14 year old is wrong and people call you old fashioned and irrelevant.  Conservatives, people who otherwise are on the right politically and ideologically.
Because we're fish swimming in an ocean of popular modern culture and without even thinking about it we breathe and float in this worldview.  We absorb it so totally without thinking or questioning that we begin to respond the same way as the world around us, even as we reject it.
And without any hope, anything to live for except ourselves, any transcendent meaning in life, how else are people supposed to act?  Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die.  This is inevitably how things get, if you reject God and faith.  If you throw aside objective, absolute truth and ethics, what else is there but ourselves and what we like?  Rome pretended to have its gods and temples, but it was show and tradition.  They ended up with nothing inside, too; a hollow civilization with greatness on the outside and simply nothing inside.  And eventually like a hollow tree, you just crumble under your own weight when that's the case.

No comments: