When Money/Power Becomes the Decision-maker

In a fully alive society culture is also alive. But what is an alive society as a vital system capable of realizing its potentials? The “organic” criteria of being vital – health and reduced emotional and physical violence – when applied to society it will be reduced quantity and intensity of morbid social practices stimulating in population illnesses and violence and putting everybody under strain and stress. A healthy organism and a vital system are opened to the future, to productive changes. An alive society is oriented on improving its material and psychological conditions and promotes scientific understanding of human life, society, and the world, as alive culture consists of frank opinions, honest concepts and images and straight curiosity on the part of those who participate in it in order to understand better ourselves and life.

Alive culture takes interest in the real issues of life in all its aspects – serious and the funny, while suffocated culture is occupied with profit (people like to feel beyond the reach of dangers and disasters) and entertainment (to feel drugged and relaxed after over-stress). Alive culture is capable of addressing what suffocated culture cannot – it helps people to overcome the excesses of narcissism we all inherit from infancy (our megalomaniacal self-image and, therefore, tendency to scapegoat otherness/dissimilarity). Suffocated societies and cultures either nurture our narcissistic psychological heritage (to keep alive and well people’s suspicion and belligerency), or/and try to add consumerism and entertainment to it to pamper and powder the weak egos (suspiciousness and militancy and proclivity to control other people are signs of a weak ego).

By what and how a suffocated culture is suffocated? – By the necessity to hunt for basic necessities (poor people) and by obsession to hunt for money/profits (rich), and on the level of the whole society – by military adventurism that keeps human beings underdeveloped in their psychology and existential spirituality. Suffocated cultures bribe its flagriots (jingoists) with self-aggrandizing images and the right to hate, harass and wish to eradicate “enemies”, and they bribe consumers with providing the easily pleasurable images and ideas – all of this to distract people from thinking about life in society. Propagandists (consciously) and entertainers (intuitively) get people hooked on the feeling of megalomaniacal glory (through believing that “we” are better than other countries and nations and through consumerist pseudo-prosperity). People hate and consume more when the value of decent, noble and modest living is unavailable to the human mind and heart.

The intellectual bastardization of recent American generations, their transformation into children with money and weapons (creatures who are making money and wars to feel strong and invincible and who prefer glory of power and entertainment to real human life) is a typical phenomenon of a suffocated society/culture.

In this atmosphere people cannot function in full measure of their intelligence – thinking provides less pleasure than feeling of glory and consuming entertainment! Glorified and consumerist identity demands reduction of intellectual power. Intellectual concentration is less pleasurable because it demands postponement of satisfaction (until the moment you understood what you didn’t understand before). To understand something you have to be able first to understand that you don’t understand it. And this is not just unpleasant – it is humiliating (for those who believe that they are superior beings). For them education, especially not technical but humanistic (liberal arts) is really condemnation. To feel like this you have to be almost destroyed intellectually, psychologically, spiritually and morally.

The US reached this condition under BCR (Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld trio) when the corporate banner of power- and money-worship started to preside over the government which quickly assimilated totalitarian mannerisms full of contempt for people and expressing only worship the idols of power and wealth. Society forgot about old dream of historical change from less democratic to more democratic conditions of life. It started to care only about wealth of the wealthy and power of the powerful (and wealth of the powerful and power of the wealthy). History stopped to exist as an abode of progress – suffocated society understands history as a process of an enhancement of the power and wealth of its elites – that’s what the newly elected neo-conservative governors’ (of Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Ohio etc.) mission is – to eliminate the “old” – the democratic concept of history and to follow new definition of history oriented on the ruling elite.

There are no conditions for the works of art, philosophy or humanistic science to be created in a suffocated society. The alternative sensibility cannot show itself alive anymore. Intellectually honest and courageous people still exist but their sensibility is less and less existential – there is a place only for a desperate fight for their political ideals. There is no place for poetry of existential spirituality, only for its politics. Even the best hearts and minds are suffocated in a suffocated society and culture (although they continue to fight for their dreams by which they live and resuscitate themselves).