Friday, November 03, 2006

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES



“So let us begin, by seeing not what people have thought,
but what we should think for the sake of an untroubled life.”
——Julian Offray de la Mettrie, Machine Man

Whether man arose in one spot or in many diverse locations on earth simultaneously, at one stage of history there were many cultures of man from the hunter-gatherers tribal life to the larger agrarian communities living separately as much from desire to maintain their unique language, custom and mythos as to claim any particular location as home. The variety of cultural ideas about their lives in the universe extended to the limits of human’s imagination with minimal consultation with other groups. These cultural differences occured as naturally as the variations they observed occurring in nature. Intellectually, mankind appears to remain in the childhood throes of discovering and naming yet new variations with only Santa Clause myths about their theme or resulting gestalt.

Throughout man’s history agriculturally induced population growth of burgeoning agrarian communities has tended to annex neighboring territories either as a civil development for the common good or the much more vivid occurrence of might being mistaken for right being mistaken for superiority justifying greedy conquests under the banner of manifest destiny evangelism. Agriculture was the magnet that drew enough people together to get the snowball rolling. All such usurpers of other cultures have had to suppress them or to broaden their world view not only to resolve language and mythic differences, but because they are now responsible for that much more of an earth which has buried the records of all previous mega cultures beneath ocean water, desert sand, jungle canopy or conqueror concrete. Which brings us up to the breadth, depth and stability of the world view held by the latest culture to consider itself the leader of the entire earth.

Behavioral psychology can keep an infant a child its entire life with a proper diet of mythical stories and an appropriate reward system. Tales of medieval times tell of peasants tithing to churches and taxed by royalty for protection from evil and the enemy, not to mention the wrath of god and governor. Today we chuckle at the ovine naiveté of those serfs in the fields of their lord because we’ve got the latest version of appropriate rewards and a much more spiffy myth about reality. We ain’t afraid o’ god no mo and taxes are for new roads and good schools (but since a goodly number of folks still claim to need church and government to get through the day their demands incite an equal number of otherwise happy people to oppose them creating the appearance of a state in eternal conflict, syllogistically justifying the existence of both god and governor while simultaneously proving their uselessness). The new myth is based on the avid pursuit of becoming the Joneses.

The Joneses are the coolest family in the universe. They’re the richest, sexiest, funest, most incredibly enviable people Madison Avenue can imagine. The medieval farmhand would laugh out loud at the number of hours modern man spends doing jobs far more demeaning than shoveling the Duke’s horse dookey for the dubious reward of appearing to be more closely related to the mythical Joneses who, themselves, haven’t lifted a finger all day except to play. Corporations lead schools of fashion following fish about on the lure of the latest fad — always a new model, obsolescing yesterday before the tag is off. The peasants of the present either buy the whole myth and consider themselves have-nots, settle for discount store genuine imitation knock-offs and dwell in the darkness of Joneslessness or are hip to the hype and luxuriate in the economy of the barter and yard sale system.

The same psychological engineers that have citizens of capitalism panting like Pavlov’s puppies after the latest and coolest have taken up the job of selling national leaders and international policy to the same pooches, and damned if it doesn’t work. Classifieds, Furniture Sale, The latest Cadillac pickup, 3 wars some where not here… all is right with the world, off to work. And the rest of the world is being taught to salivate to the same hell's bell.

Mankind doesn’t have any wiser or more comprehensive a view of the world than before firelight obliterated starlight, it’s just colossally more ignorant of and antagonistic toward the same amount of evidence. His begrudging realization that money making technology is heating our planet like a pressure cooker was greeted as a good thing by this leader of this latest world leading nation because it would extend the tourist season, the growing season and the work day. And he leads the world?

4 comments:

Pisces Iscariot said...

...yes, and we're still painting stick figures on the cave walls - only we do it using a keyboard now... Progress :]

littlebitofsonshine said...

so true but then again being born a poor Jones in stuff it would seam keeping up with the Jones in stuff thay went the wrong way .Its would seam more like passing the Jones and leaving them all behind.

mullet said...

yes sonshine - it could have all worked out if the jonses didn't eat the apple! You are right - it could have been the other way, it wasn't!

Actually, i want to raise a court action for the absolute distress that these jonse bastards have caused me....me me me

littlebitofsonshine said...

lol mullets Greg Bless you i wish i know just half you do o healing and beinf self religent .I was city raised o well trial and error besides the highways.Be safe walk in peace allways
Sonshine