There is a funny thing that happens, when you find out that everything you have ever known is a lie.
I’ve watched friends go through this when they found out they were adopted, or that their parents really weren’t their parents (well, okay, usually the father) or that their parents weren’t the people they thought they were (by which I mean, say, discovering that one of their parents had a criminal record, or even that their parents had never actually got married.)
I’ve never had a revelation of that magnitude, or that personal. I’ve had a lot of small ones over the times, as I discovered that things like teachers’ interpretation of history were not “true.” They were usually just someone’s interpretation, filtered through what was fashionable at the time: and given the time I was in school, that was usually Marxism.
Of when I started correlating things in my head and realized that things like Chariot of the Gods couldn’t be true.
All my revelations came in slowly, on a drip, and not on matters closely related to me. This means that, though you could look at me and see where most of my opinions and interests (not all. I’ve always been a bookish person) have changed since my early twenties, there was never a break, a moment where I wasn’t myself. There was a continuum. It just so happens that I started out as an indoctrinated socialist twerp, (even though I was always anti-communist, and suspicious of socialists, I didn’t realize how much of their philosophy permeated everything I was taught in school. Heck, I’m still having these realizations and I’m past fifty), and ended up wherever I am now, I guess the party of “leave people alone, don’t hurt them and don’t take their stuff.”
Therefore there was never a period of acting out, rebelling against everything, and generally being a crazy woman. My friends who had their reality “ripped” from under them and rebuilt, sometimes in minutes, usually had one of those periods: a “I’m going to go to India and learn Yoga” or “I’m now a Vegan and my assumed name is zityhgmn, pronounced John.” And sometimes, btw, they would hysterically deny what they’d just found.
In the end, they returned to being more or less the people they were before. But sometimes there were very odd years, there in the middle.
Why this is is important: mostly because it can help us understand what society is going through and what lies ahead. It’s an imperfect analogy of course — all analogies are imperfect — mostly because people aren’t cultures. And yet, if you kind of squint and abstract to the highest points, people and cultures are remarkably similar, though most cultures blame like crazy teen people, and some — I’m looking at you Europe — are remarkably emo, sitting in their rooms with the lights off, having bad relationships, and engaging in self-harm.
The point is that all cultures change all the time. The idiots on both the left and the right who think culture is genetic have issues with this concept, but if cultures didn’t change, all the time, very gradually (just like people change all the time, very gradually) we’d all be hunting gathering and living in small family groups/tribes. (Actually most of us wouldn’t exist. The lifestyle wouldn’t support it.)
But some cultures change suddenly and traumatically. What we did to Japan, ripping out everything they ever believed in, and substituting an arguably far less toxic (or at least dangerous) culture is one example.
This seems to have very weird effects, as it does in people. On Japan, it seems to have had the effect of such civilizational loss of confidence that they might go extinct from lack of procreation. If they don’t, at some point they’ll return to something like what they were before, though the details will be wildly different and integrate the change.
The same thing goes for WWI, which sort of ripped the ideas that Europe had of itself in itty bitty bits, and remade them as something else wholly different. Europe is in that emo funk because of it, and exaggerates its crimes and embraces anything different, because everything different must be better. It seems to be wearing off though — not very clear, yet, but there are rumbles — and if it does, it will be suddenly, as it is in people, and Europe will become more or less what it was before. Maybe more so, in fact. It might embrace previous versions of itself with a fervor it never had before, because the emo phase has been so bad for it. If this does happen (and again, it already seems to be) there’s going to be a shock (and awe) heard around the world.
But the same thing applies to groups within a culture. All of us, (except maybe the very young, here) started out living in a world where there was a single integrated media, and the media companies were more or less controlled (by choice, I want to emphasize) by a group who all thought the same, and who had become decidedly Marxist early on.
Since the entertainment companies were the same, the… lie, for lack of a better word (it wasn’t so much a lie because most of the people propagating it weren’t conscious of lying. They were simply watching the world through a distorting political theory) came at everyone as a seamless whole. For instance, the ideas that capitalism was inherently bad for people, or created mental illness, probably first dreamed up in USSR think-tanks, was propagated through slants on news, through story lines in movies and books and even through songs. One of the times I remember seeing the story line was a soap opera where a worthy character who has done everything right kills himself for lack of money, and his son becomes a “righteous communist.”
This “unified voice” has started to break down. In fact, the propagators of the “universal truth” that isn’t, are getting fairly drowned out, and, in their despair, sounding more and more obviously biased and crazy.
To most of us this is funny to watch, because we came of age under the unified lie, saw something that we couldn’t ignore and popped us out of it, and this led to little by little emerging from and rejecting the vision behind the lie.
It was so gradual that we changed without fracturing.
This isn’t true for people who are right now exposed to dissonant “truths” and consciously or not starting to realize there is no one thing “all right thinking people believe.”
A lot of the behavior we’re seeing right now is the result of that dissonance. They’re starting to suspect everything they know is a lie, and most of them are embracing it with twice the fervor and also acting more than a little crazy.
Some of them are already in the advanced stages of this, and landing on the other side with their opinions flipped, but their behavior exactly the same, and just as tiring and annoying to sane people.
And some think their world is coming apart, don’t want to admit it and propagate myths of prison camps and genocide, just to justify their horrible feelings of anxiety that they can’t admit is based on the shattering of former beliefs.
This explains why it feels like everyone (including people most of us thought were sensible) seems to have lost their minds.
It doesn’t help to either get to the other side, or stop the crazy. This thing is a process, and takes its time. Also, the news is never going to be unified again (though many seem to want it) and the trickle will continue. Only believe it or not, that trickle was too rapid for most of them.
We’re just going to have to let them scream and slam their room door till they come out of it.
But perhaps having a comparison and a handle to the situation will make it easier.
Be not afraid. And carry on.