Everyone in the Western World and beyond knows that we hold the key to personal/societal/cultural/financial transformation. We know that everything we do is wrong. Instead of going out and doing exactly what we should, ie stop spending, stop our vacuous pursuits (Plastic surgery springs to mind), stop supporting imperialistic expansionist ideals, we proceed to have larger, more ostentatious weddings, speak in ever more inane rhetorical loops and ignore more steadfastly all
the blatant signs of truth. (Collapse).
Are we dumb, or are we evil?
I’ve found that any persistent negative behavior generally has some legitimate meaning behind it, no matter how worthless it may seem on the surface.
In this case, I think that the excesses of our consumerist culture hide a well-disguised search for meaning. By reducing everything to a fiscal value, we impose an order on the world that gives us (the illusion of) lives that make sense.
To cut to the heart of the matter, people never stop doing wrong things because they learn those things are wrong –they stop doing them only in the case that they learn ways of being that are better. I think it’s ultimately more effective to make ambitious steps to bring new positive things into the world then to try directly to eliminate the old negative things. You’ve asked why people don’t “stop spending, stop our vacuous pursuits, stop supporting imperialistic [expansionism], [stop having] larger, more ostentatious weddings, [stop speaking] in ever more inane rhetorical loops and [stop ignoring] more steadfastly all the blatant signs of truth.” But what do you expect them to start doing once they stop all that? What, in your estimation, is a valid pursuit? What speech is substantive, not inane? What should people expend –if not money –their time and resources on?
This is a real question. For instance, my current efforts are aimed towards shifting our society away from materialistic consumption, and towards artistic production, because in my view, that represents the positive destiny for human beings. But there may be other legitimate answers to that question as well.