By guest blogger Regensordo
Preventing the masses from seeing paradise is a full time job for the establishment. There is no paradise. True happiness, we are told, is not possible, just ask academia.
Recently, professional “thinkers” Slavoj Zizek and Jordan Peterson had much anticipated intellectual masturbationfest. It was a debate called Happiness: Capitalism vs. Marxism. These “philosophers” see nothing but misery and denied the possibility of “happiness” for human life. Both were wary and very guarded against this thing called “happiness”. Paradise thwarted. We speculate that they feared looking naive. Happiness, it seems, is the domain of the innocent care-free child. These professors want profundity, and each acquired it by their acceptance of suffering and hardship, even though Zizek cautioned against falling in love with your suffering.
(One wonders those how miserable these highly successful and respected individuals can really be. And if they are suffering, and accept their misery, can they be such authorities on happiness?)
Each had their way of accepting ruling class conditions for the masses. But they didn’t ask why. Why can’t a secure, plentiful society produce happiness? Why must misery prevail? Neither Zizek nor Peterson explored how much their denial of “happiness” is a function of the dominant forces in society. Instead your anxiety is your fault. For Zizek happiness is a psychological game of self deception. For Peterson it is frivolous, one should not look for happiness but for “meaning”. No can accuse them of being utopians.
Abolishing happiness is like removing the foundations that make paradise possible. This is how things always were and always will be, we are admonished. This mentality is deeply embedded in the human psyche even for those who want significant change.
Paul Craig Roberts, a Reaganite turned social gadfly, inadvertently betrays this mentality in an article promoting the idea of a debt jubilee for the masses. With jubilee, he writes
The rulers maintained social balance and, thereby, the life of the society by periodically cancelling debts. The rulers understood that compound interest resulted in debt growing faster than the economy. The consequence would be foreclosures on agricultural land, which would shift riches and power into a small oligarchy of creditors. The ruler and the society would be deprived of a self-supporting population on the land which provided tax revenues, soldiers for the military, and corvee labor to maintain public infrastructure. Disaster would follow.
To protect their societies from dissolution by unpayable debts, rulers periodically cancelled agrarian debts owed by the citizenry at large, but not mercantile debts among businessmen.
The reason for debt forgiveness was stability, not egalitarianism.
Roberts does not ask why society comes to the point of needing a debt jubilee? Jubilee was not for the happiness of the individual but for the stability of ruling class society. Is this the best humans can do? These are questions not asked though Roberts is clearly in search for something better. Can something better be had while maintaining a ruling class?
In addition to embedded thinking, deepening existing divisions in society is crucial to the paradise prevention program. When Joe Biden the race his announcement campaign opened with identity politics exploitation by invoking the infamous events at Charlottesville. Supposedly the dying middling classes can be helped if only government takes on a tiny cabal of right wing extremists. How can the masses realize paradise when they are focused on hating each other? Then again, Creepy Uncle Joe Biden probably thinks the economy’s doing great. What does he know about the terminally ill middling classes?
Similarly, on Morning Joe (4/29), while the average individual of the masses was treading water, the pundits were sounding the alarm over the supposedly growing menace of “white supremacy”. As long as the ruling class exists social differentiation will be accentuated and artificially deepened into our social divisions. Society’s diversity is turned into a tool of its own domination. Exploitation of identity is an effective way to negate happiness. This prevents a harmonious society from setting in.
Or take the New York Times “Upshot” piece, The Neighborhood Is Mostly Black. The Home Buyers Are Mostly White. It keeps focus on the races in competition for real estate, mostly of the ruling class. One individual interview for the piece said,
“Our black bodies literally have less economic value than the body of a white person,” she said. “As soon as a white body moves into the same space that I occupied, all of a sudden this place is more valuable.”
No, your bank account has less value. Do you think a qualified “person of color” wouldn’t be welcomed in that neighborhood? The color of money is what matters, and it is universal. Black and white individuals can understand, if We don’t distract them, that they can’t afford marked up neighborhoods. That most of those individuals are black is incidental. That most of the black masses have it worse than white masses is a result of the ruling class imperative employing racism as a tactic of divide and conquer.
It is a society of inbred personal guilt and misery — the guilt society. This is the main reason why paradise does not “exist”. But it could. Happiness is a healthy state of mind. Paradise is a healthy state of society. Precious human consciousness allows the animal to escape the processes of the natural world. That is the privilege of paradise. But it has to be done right, for the power to bring paradise is the power to bring hell, as We’ve mentioned.
The more one believes it, the more real it is. Paradise is society that does not focus on social stratification but enjoys its fruits. It is a harmonious, symbiotic relationship between the individuals and their society. It is the absence of a patriarchal ruling class and its Great Disparity. Paradise is a power-balanced civilization, one in which no power rises to dominate others. The well-being of the individual and their society is the imperative. Paradise may be glimpsed in the joy and laughter of the individual. These, we are taught, are but fleeting moments in a brutal dog-eat-dog world of “reality”. Under the ruling class, the individual’s imperative is to continue their dedication to feeding the ruling class while accepting less than what one could be and joining the establishment in suspicion of their powerless neighbors.
Contrast the propaganda of divide and conquer with the comments of billionaire Ray Dalio. He is latest nervous nellie to come out of the one percent demanding more largess for the unprivileged masses before they demand the abolition of the ruling class. This breakdown of norms is even affecting rich kids according to the New York Times. The standard tropes justifying excessive wealth just don’t hack it anymore, and it embarrasses them.
The masses do not know how easy it is to achieve paradise. It could have been realized at the dawn of patriarchy. The difficulty does not lie in the implementation of paradise, but in its mental acceptance. Would the masses clamor for paradise if they knew it was accessible? The masters say they want it too, but will not strive for it.
What makes paradise seemingly impossible is the seeming impossibility of a society without a ruling class. Ocasio-Cortez had it right: efficiency should not bring dread of job loss but joy at liberated time or greater abundance for all. Whether she knows it or not, her jobs comment demonstrates society’s unwitting commitment to the ruling class imperative.
The lower orders that don’t think beyond “good jobs”, or a universal basic income cannot achieve paradise. The ruling class can bring society many things but not that. Why follow their lead? Why not take the fork in the road when it comes along?