This continues from my previous post - please read it for context.
Renata poses some very relevant questions to the times that we live in in the Talk from my previous post.
Now, psychoanalysts know very well
that people surprisingly don't have
passion for knowledge
but passion for ignorance.
Now, what does that mean?
Let's say when we are facing
a life-threatening illness,
a lot of people don't want to know that.
They'd rather prefer denying the illness,
which is why it's not so wise to inform them
if they don't ask.
Surprisingly, research shows that sometimes
people who deny their illness
live longer than those who are rationally choosing
the best treatment.
Now, this ignorance, however,
is not very helpful on the level of the social.
When we are ignorant about where we are heading,
a lot of social damage can be caused.
Now for me, a question often is
why we still embrace this idea of a self-made man
on which capitalism relied from its beginning?
Why do we think that we are really such masters
of our lives that we can rationally
make the best ideal choices,
that we don't accept losses and risks?
And for me, it's very shocking to
see sometimes very poor people,
for example, not supporting the idea
of the rich being taxed more.
Quite often here they still identify
with a certain kind of a lottery mentality.
Okay, maybe they don't think that they will make it
in the future, but maybe they think,
my son might become the next Bill Gates.
And who would want to tax one's son?
Or, a question for me is also,
why would people who have no health insurance
not embrace universal healthcare?
Sometimes they don't embrace it,
again identifying with the idea of choice,
but they have nothing to choose from.
Now, Margaret Thatcher famously said
that there is nothing like a society.
Society doesn't exist, it is only individuals
and their families.
Sadly, this ideology still functions very well,
which is why people who are poor might feel
ashamed for their poverty.
We might endlessly feel guilty that we are
not making the right choices,
and that's why we didn't succeed.
We are anxious that we are not good enough.
That's why we work very hard,
long hours at the workplace
and equally long hours on remaking ourselves.
Now, when we are anxious over choices,
sometimes we easily give our power of choice away.
We identify with the guru
who tells us what to do,
or we embrace a totalitarian leader
who appears to have no doubts about choices,
who sort of knows.
- Renata Salecl
Why do we give so much attention to fashion but so little to the circumstances of the people making the clothing and accessories? Why do we care so much about finding a partner and starting a family, but so little for the world we are bringing our children into?
There is so much in this life that we have squandered - there is equally as much in ourselves that we have laid to waste. We focus all of our attention on superficial things that are meaningless when you are facing the end of the line. We have truly mastered the skill of being ignorant in such a way that we don't feel guilty. We tell ourselves that climate change is a serious problem and that the world leaders are responsible for solving the crisis so that when they fail we have someone to blame. We tell ourselves that Going Green and buying locally are helping the environment so that we feel like we have done our part and that no further action is required (doing just enough to keep the guilt at bay by rationalising that it is "enough"). We tell ourselves that our lives are more important than other lives so that we don't feel so sad when we hear of the murder, rape, torture, slavery and wars that flourish in so many parts of the world.
The truth is that there are things that we care about. Number 1 is usually me, myself & I. After that you get things like "how I look", "What other people think of me", "My family", "My culture", "my religion", "computer games", "porn", "entertainment", "nature", "Smartphones", "technology", "progress" and whatever else. Most people dedicate themselves to all the little things that are important to them - unfortunately it is rare that these things include really and seriously changing the world on a global scale.
Think about it - when it comes to something you really care about then you will stop at nothing to nurture whatever it is. Now think about the world. Look around you. Look at all the problems that are staring all of us in the faces. Do you care? Do you care about life on earth as much as you care about the number 1 thing in your life?
It's easy to disassociate from the things and people around you. It's easy to ignore the world. It's easy to just carry on trying to be as happy as you can be within the circumstances you've chosen to live in. We aren't born with the innate sense of truly caring about our world. Our parents and schools don't teach us to care about the world. TV and media doesn't teach us to care about the world. The world is screaming at you to live only for yourself and not consider other people - it's not surprising that the result is what it is. Most people don't even know what it means to take responsibility for something, to consider how far that responsibility reaches and the effects your actions can have in so many ways. Few people realise that when they fail their commitment that it doesn't only affect them - it affects everything around them by setting a domino effect into motion.
Our entire world has become one big domino effect - everyone is paying for everyone else's 'crimes' and no one is taking responsibility.