More than once someone accused me of going off on a tangent when discussing something; I can attest that thanks to this tendency of mine I learned that the problem rarely contains its cause, when there is no solution. I was also told that I “think too much,” expected from this days perspective when anything that takes more than three minutes without monetary benefits is considered a waste of time. What's indeed a vicious tendency is this general laziness when thinking, this is harmful at all levels.
Let's start with an example of “cause within the problem”: the specialization of economy has promoted specialization in all professions, a trend that formed whole generations of intelligent idiots, what Americans call “experts.” Once context is lost there's no turning back, the problem is already self-contained, problem and cause mutually feed, from then on cognitive development is artificial. This is a “vicious mind” strictly speaking, the cancerous cell of current society, a cystic thought that eventually bursts (metastasis) on prolific production of “castles in the air.”
These “lost androids of modernity,” as I called them two decades ago in my first novel (Spanish only, sorry), can see little beyond their noses; what happens outside of their microcosm is alien to them. Following the dictates of fashion, they solve anything outside their area of knowledge by paying the respective expert (essential keeping at hand some ass washing expert's phone number!) and address what's in their field of expertise taking into account only the variables directly affecting the issue in front of them, of course from the monetary point of view exclusively. These authentic “monkeys with machine guns” are the professionals of our modern world.
Specialization wouldn't have affected people up to that point without an early conditioning; to form individuals “adapted to society,” generally seen as a positive feature, means nothing but to breed them in captivity as farm animals. A totally controlled and regulated environment kills initiative, ability to think and take decisions. A completely artificial environment disconnects individuals from the fundamental context, Mother Nature, actual main responsible for producing and maintaining not only lettuce and tomatoes but everything (including us) hence undisputed actual basis of economy over any human abstraction (money.) The main fuel of fires is also our bodies main fuel (by the way, people don't see value on breathing because they don't have to pay for it, so far) you can't expect independence, responsibility, maturity, awareness, from someone educated to be a lamb. As a result, we see that for most people life is just a bunch of habits learned by imitation. We see how adult individuals, supposedly in their right mind, don't distinguish need from whim or vice, how they defend their alleged interests in a childish egocentric way, making decisions that far from solving their problems make them worse (mostly debts they incurred fooled by the market) and how, for the same price, they keep feeding those who brainwashed them in the first instance.
Ask anyone why they do what they do, why in the way they do it and, above all, why in such excess, given that, not by chance, it's in this third aspect we see the most serious failure. If it's the way they make a living, the excuse will be Money, end of discussion, otherwise they'll start vomiting nonsense implying that they need to do that or that they save money doing it in that way (obviously they don't) till eventually, feeling trapped, they'll employ the final argument: But, it's “what everyone does”! Furthermore, if they find out you don't do that and in the same way and extent as “everyone does” they'll hurry up to report you to the authorities (probably they already did it whether or not the discussion took place,) sure to be heard since governments, laws and rules are there to take crowd's money and votes, so even if the habit we're talking about is a mere vice whose practice harms not only those interested but also others around, just because, again, it's “what everyone does,” laws will definitely be on their side.
Someone could blame the lack of values, in the moral sense. Moral is religion applied to practical matters. Reason has no effect on people, they're moved by fear, you need to use religion to educate them. The uncertainty at time to choose and take decisions by their own is an unbearable feeling for them, and since they go through life without actual personal goals they don't need to plan, they don't need “to think too much,” they just go with the flow. Any matter, be science, technology, art, all is interpreted and experienced from a religious point of view (eg ecology.) Fear is the boss. To change their consumer habits for cheaper ones to reduce production costs to big companies or to simply recycle people habits to keep them producing and consuming (moving money,) you have to resort to the modern religion: fashion. And, what else is fashion besides “what everyone does”?
As it sounds, don't expect any amount of reasoning will make people change any of their habits, the only entity able to perform this miracle is TV, the magic window showing “what everyone does” (fashion) or, better said, what from money point of view is convenient to make them believe everyone does. Time to time people are re-programmed in this way, upgraded to a new, optimized, “consumption-production machine” version.
As an illustrative real life example let's take a fashion leisure activity; in the few places where still some piece of nature survives (here in Europe there are left only what they call “natural parks,” that seem nature seen from afar) you won't see people going there to take a break from noise and pollution, on the contrary they go there to practice motocross and quad almost exclusively (I live in a small urbanization right next to one of these natural parks, so I know what I'm talking about.) For the reasons already explained this happens all around the world, except for those places without uncensored TV or purchase power (if moving to a smaller apartment and feeding your children with fast food only don't still let you afford some of these expensive toys, as well as to be in tune with the rest of trendy tends, it's because you're surely suffering the “unhealthy” economy of some “undeveloped” country.) It's obvious that people have been “programmed” to consume oil in any activity, the more the better. If you ask those idiots with their quads damaging the little forests still standing why they do it they'll respond it's their “favorite sport,” when it's neither one thing nor the other, a sport should be a healthful activity and, favorite?, how can someone be convinced he's doing what he wants when he can see everyone around the globe doing exactly the same? Undoubtedly, for the human being, denial is the most important resource.
But, we have not yet reached the root of the problem. For individuals to totally ignore their own senses, their own understanding and life experience at time of making decisions and limit themselves to follow the cattle there must be a deeper breakage. A castration at affections level; their mothers' love (constituent of authentic “home”,) their friends' love, love for their family, love for their profession…, nobody has time today for these pretentiousness. Good citizens aren't persons but gears on the system. Their cognitive disconnection is first an affective disconnection.
Countless times I repeated to my loved ones: there are three essential points in any relationship, love, trust and respect. Interestingly, of all the philosophers, sociologists and psychologists I've read, the first one who I heard to say this, and using exactly my very words, was a Mexican dog trainer in an American TV show. First you must love, trust and respect yourself. When the lack of these qualities is severe the individual becomes self-destructive and harmful to everyone around. Life taught me this the hard way, my father and brother were two acute examples of this “lack of self-esteem” pandemic. Not by chance, in this article I'm doing nothing but to insist in the main subject (and motivation) of the three novels I wrote.
All that said, what is the origin of the problem, then?
As for me, you can tie me to a chair in front of a TV set, put in my eyes some contraption similar to the one in the Mechanical Orange film and bombard me for a week with car announcements that, once the treatment is finished, I will jump on my bike without feeling that I'm giving up anything. It's not frugality but the ability to recognize the authentic value on things and to establish priorities, I wasted lots of energy and work in what I considered worth of sacrifice. I've known very few people like me in this sense, I don't know to what extent a few exceptions can refute a conspiracy theory (also fashionable today), specially because in, the long term, conspirators suffer the consequences as everyone else. For example, is family breakage part of the plan? Let's take the New Yorker “modern” woman they sold us in movies and TV shows, wearing her fitted male suit, even when pregnant; is to abandon her children education to institutions (and TV, of course) part of her “emancipation”?, by the way, since when who works is the boss?! You know “mother fucker” is an international insult, though this doesn't corner the cause either. I grew up in what in the '70s was formally understood as a conventional middle class family, a married couple with two children living in a house in the suburbs, car, TV, dog, etc. My father worked in a factory, my mother was a homemaker (she was the boss, of course,) so I enjoyed her love and attention along my whole childhood and teenage years. Besides loving me she trusted me and respected me, it was the only relationship in my entire life that fulfilled the three important aspects I mentioned before. While my father and brother also loved me in their own way, they significantly failed in the two other aspects, suffice it to say that living with them was hardly bearable. But the question related to the subject in question is would it have made me a different person that my mother had also failed in those aspects?, did I learn these values from her or they were already part of my temperament? Let us remember that my brother, who as I'm suggesting had severe self-esteem problems, grew up in that same environment, so the only we can say for sure is that with love, trust and respect happens as with other aptitudes, the one who is not willing to learn won't do it, even from the best teacher.
The original cause is elusive, a “chicken or the egg” dilemma, does the environment condition individuals or vice versa? Is loss of affection a consequence of the conditions that humans themselves have created? Is humans' a “cause within the problem” case, hence it has no solution? Or is humans' destructive tendency also part of Mother Nature plan? Perhaps there is no plan (God?) Perhaps this is just an essay.