coromandal


Striving

Here is a glimpse of a truly dystopian state of affairs within which we willingly live. It’s radically not free. We’re in it’s thrall, we neither see it, nor criticize it, nor act to dismantle it.

No in typical dystopian fashion we have come somehow to not only tolerate it but also to defend it and finally to enshrine it as a central tenet of our society.

It is the mad striving for status and achievement.

Though we willingly live with it, and help to sustain it by our complicity, there are outside forces that greatly benefit from maintaining its destructive effects. These insidiously indoctrinate parents who in turn put undue pressure on their children.

The towns are enshrouded in a dense fog of striving, competition, anxiety and depression.

Surely there is a way out, from dystopia to freedom, through a rejection of the reductive, economic, manipulative society, to a new paradigm that facilitates thriving in every phase of life.

Given what we know about recent changes in the American sociocultural environment, it would be a surprise if there weren’t elevated levels of anxiety among young people. Their lives center around production, competition, surveillance, and achievement in ways that were totally exceptional only a few decades ago. All this striving, all this trying to catch up and stay ahead—it simply has to have psychological consequences. The symptoms of anxiety aren’t just the unforeseen and unfortunate outcome of increased productivity and decreased labor costs; they’re useful. . . . Restlessness, dissatisfaction and instability—which Millennials report experiencing more than generations past—are negative ways of framing the flexibility and self-direction employers increasingly demand. . . . All of these psychopathologies are the result of adaptive developments.

Kids These Days, Malcolm Harris



you were supposed to sing or to dance
January 10, 2013, 11:49 pm
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: , , , ,

From Alan Watts, Life and Music:

Then when you wake up one day about 40 years old, and you say, “my god, I’ve arrived, I’m there!”  And you don’t feel any different from what you always felt.  And there’s a slight let down because you feel there was a hoax.  And there was a hoax.  A dreadful hoax.  They made you miss everything.

We thought of life by analogy with a journey, a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end.  And the thing was to get to that end:  success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead.  But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.



love what it loves
December 19, 2011, 7:38 am
Filed under: the sweet life, unseen world | Tags: , , , ,

Are you hard on yourself?  Do you feel you need to do penance, crawl across cut glass, punish yourself, walk through deserts to find your rightful way in the world?  Are you despairing?

Here is some solace, within reach, that gives relief from the human habit of constant striving.  It’s in the form of a poem by Mary Oliver which tells us up front to end our ceaseless and vain attempts to justify ourselves.  Then it says to simply succumb to what we love.

There’s a yawning void between self justification and yielding to what we love.  We desperately and forever cling to our habits of guilt and self immolation.  But the suggestion here is clear, we should – and it is natural to – yield to what our bodies want.

How can we be sure?   Continue reading