It’s not what we know that kills us… It’s the many things we think we know that just ain’t so – and which might be completely different, in fact.
Take for instance sex – yeah, this early in the day. Let’s have a show of hands. How many of you watched Splendor in the Grass? How many realized it makes no sense whatsoever?
I was probably blessed in watching it now as an adult – a few years ago – and quite conscious of the insidious myths of the twentieth century, including that repressing your sexual drive will make you maaaaaaaaaaaad. Maaaaaaaaaaad.
I’ll head things off here, and tell you right out that no, I don’t think people can be celibate life long unless they’re endowed with a special grace which is more than I – or most humans – have. (Grace or the ability to sublimate to other things.)
Being celibate life-long might make you a little odd. You might develop an obsession with naughty pictures, or something. BUT mostly it will make you lonely and sad, since it’s not good for man (or woman) to be alone. We are, by nature, designed to have a mate.
This is however not in the same realm as “you can’t repress any sexual desires at all, no matter the time, the place, your age or your circumstances and if you try to you’ll become psychotic.”
As powerful a drive as sexual desire is, it’s not magical. Repressing it can’t make a good man into a mass murderer or a rapist. Repressing it – temporarily, because, duh, you’re a kid and unmarried – won’t send a stable girl into the madhouse. (If she’s the kind to go to the madhouse, then she will be in worse trouble if she DOES have sex. I don’t think someone that mentally fragile could cope with the consequences of sex – attachment, fidelity [or lack thereof] and possible pregnancy.)
The idea that it is magical and that if repressed it will make you into a monster is the sort of cheap Freudianism that has infused society since – yep – World War One and which is at the back of much of our entertainment AND our educational policies.
In entertainment it causes people to think that stuff like Splendor on the Grass is “deep” and books with that sort of meaning are “important” (Which is why kids in YA now screw like minxes) – instead of faulty and done to death – and in education it causes people to laugh politely at the suggestion kids should be told it’s best to abstain till they’re in a stable relationship.
It’s so prevalent that the laugh is never explained. It’s all “Oh, my dear, she believes in abstention” as though this were the ultimate stupidity. Because everyone knows that kids can’t control their sex drive, and if they did they’d break out in pimples, or something. Only, of course, while some kids might not be able to abstain (there’s enormous variation in human desire) most can if told it’s not going to make them go maaaaaaad. Maaaaaad.
In the same vein, everyone knows Europe is more sophisticated than the US. Why, my dear, their politicians routinely have mistresses. Publically. And no one minds. But the rubes in the US get very upset if they find their president has a squeeze. As if that weren’t the right of every rich and important man.
Uh… You see, it has nothing to do with sophistication. Unless by sophistication you mean the sort of cultural memory that goes back to Rome and knows, of course, that it is impolite to kiss your spouse in public, but quite all right to kiss your mistress.
The Europeans grant these privileges to their rich and powerful because they believe some animals are more equal than others. They’ve been used to it. There’s feudalism in their minds.
We, on the other hand, founded on bourgeois virtues, believe that contracts are made to be kept, and if a man is married, he’s married. He gave his word, and violating his word without remorse and semi-publically is a severe flaw in someone who’s sworn to serve the country.
Everyone also knows that all cultures are alike – except ours, which is imperialist, colonialist and bad. This too infuses our teaching about other countries and even an entire class of politicians who think that our foreign policy should be based on self abasement and apology.
To maintain this view of the world, our schools teach what I’d call “cute brown people” anthropology. Oh, fine, I don’t think they see it that way. They teach the cookery of the country, and the arts and crafts, and talk about their admirable achievements (usually rather in the patronizing “and they invented a new type of clog” line. I mean, you can’t expect little brown people to have BIG achievements, and you should praise the little ones, because wow, think about it, new type of clog.)
What they don’t teach is that every “underdog” culture was at some point dominant. They don’t teach stuff such as that the Zulus were no more native to South Africa than the Afrikaners. They’d immigrated across Africa in fire and blood, and got to South Africa just about when the Afrikaners did. Assuming they’re “native” because of their skin color is the rankest racism.
What they don’t teach is that EVERY HUMAN race, culture and subtype is two things: intensely racist (in the sense of tribalist. The humanoid band allowed us to survive. We seek the company of those like us) and colonialist (you expand your band’s territory if you can.)
The other thing they don’t teach is that, as an extension of – and defeater – of the tribe, the nation state – EVERY NATION STATE – is out for its own interests. Long before “capitalism” or “fight for resources” or whatever the Marxists think this is all about (and don’t get me started on THEIR illusions. I have a book to finish) the great leaders of the French were those who were out for French interests and French domination. (Read about Napoleon. There were reasons he was called “the monster” – but the French STILL lionize him.)
It is what we think we know that just ain’t so – and it takes a very sophisticated society indeed to have this sort of mass illusion for so long – that is killing Western society and the US.
And it is time we woke up from the screaming nightmare we’re been in since WWI. It’s time to realize most of these ideas are not only wrong — they are, on the face of them and stated out loud (as they never are) laugh out loud ridiculous.
Like the idea that it will do lasting psychological harm to abstain from sex while in high school. Because… because… because… Cheese! Also lasers! Or the idea that people who can tan (like me) are automatically endowed with superpowers of goodness, kindness, and sinlessness. (I prefer the open racism of Patricia Wentworth where a character is clearly a murderer because he’s part Portuguese. At least it’s open.) As for the idea of European sophistication, Europe is the only place where I’ve heard OPEN homophobic, racist and sexist remarks in PROFESSIONAL situations, and no one says anything. (Of course, at least it’s out in the open.)
But out here — and in Europe, even though they’re more blunt about their own prejudices (btw, this is allowable because they “know” the US is far more racist, sexist and homophobic than they are. It’s one of THEIR accepted lies.) — we believe most of these things at a level so deep it filters into all our entertainment and culture, and makes itself accepted without ever being thought about.
In many ways, it’s not very different from having an alien controlling our brain – as in Heinlein’s Puppet Masters.
Go and read that book (again, if you already have). Then take off your overcoat, kill your rider, and start learning what is real and what isn’t.
The sex-soaked, human-despising, self-destroying culture of the past century is dead and stinking. Let’s crawl out from under the corpse of its entertainment and “news” and “scholarship” before it suffocates us.