Living in a Post-Manners World

Way back, before the Middle Ages, we lived in a Brutal world – one where anyone could own anyone else. The sword, club, or pointy stick made right. End of story. We survived, either by owning the pointiest stick or by keeping our head down around the person who did.

The Middle Ages brought a revolution. Sure there were still plenty of people waving pointy sticks about trying to own people but we had really started to work out that people gave their best when they wanted to do stuff for their reasons. You help me build my house and bring in my crops and I will hep you build your house and bring in your crops.

A Magna Carta and a Simon De Montfort or three later and we had a set of universal laws that gave each person core dignities, like their home being their castle – Sovereignty that any man/woman/child could defend to their utmost as of inalienable right.

It didn’t go perfectly of course as pointy stick wavers sill dragged us in to WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq… But overall we did better at letting each person have, and act on, their Sovereignty – ability to chart their own course.

This all came unraveled about 20 years ago. Not that it started then but that it became obvious. Post-Modernism became the prevailing mindset.

postmodernism, in Western philosophy, a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power.

common targets of postmodern critique include universalist notions of objective reality, morality, truth, human nature, reason, science, language, and social progress. Postmodern thinkers frequently call attention to the contingent or socially-conditioned nature of knowledge claims and value systems, situating them as products of particular political, historical, or cultural discourses and hierarchies. Accordingly, postmodern thought is broadly characterized by tendencies to self-referentiality, epistemological and moral relativism, pluralism, and irreverence. Postmodern critical approaches gained purchase in the 1980s and 1990s

Simply put: Post-Modernism seeks to destroy all that came before by making it irrelevant so it doesn’t need to be considered. Anything that is fact is irrelevant. Facts are merely what you want them to be in the moment then something else or nothing. Anything that is older than you today is irrelevant and must be destroyed – or used out of context to try to make yourself look clever because it has no value of its own, only what you ascribe to it in this moment. Only your momentary feelings count and they should only and ever be what you want them to be. All really useful in not having to be a fully realized Uman Bean (yes Carl Sagan, I am winking at you).

This is akin to shooting your parents because they are older than you then wondering where dinner is. Getting angry with the situation, taking your machine gun, and shooting up the school. It is not a successful strategy.

Before you think I am a wacker out on a limb:

There are plenty of thinkers out there past and present who have realized the same things as I have. People who have tried to turn the tide of unraveling everything that we worked so hard to establish over thousands of years. Here are a couple more:

The Mob Rules
Black Sabbath

Close the city and tell the people that something’s coming to call
Death and darkness are rushing forward to take a bite from the wall, oh

You’ve nothing to say
They’re breaking away
If you listen to fools
The mob rules
The mob rules

Kill the spirit and you’ll be blinded, the end is always the same
Play with fire, you burn your fingers and lose your hold of the flame, oh

It’s over, it’s done
The end is begun
If you listen to fools
The mob rules

You’ve nothing to say
Oh, they’re breaking away
If you listen to fools

Break the circle and stop the movement, the wheel is thrown to the ground
Just remember it might start rolling and take you right back around

You’re all fools
The mob rules

Far Side Of Crazy
Wall of Voodoo

I’m Pilate and Jesus
And I wept when Lennon died
Yet I envied his assailant
When I visited the shrine
I cried for all those Beatle Fans
So old so quick they grow
I follow the example to destroy
What I love most

And I remain on the far side of crazy
I remain the mortal enemy of man
No hundred dollar cure will save me
Can’t stay a boy in no man’s land

I once hid my lust for stardom
Like a filthy magazine
I stroked the shaft on my guitar
And watched you on the screen
I’ve become now what I wanted
To be all along
A psychopathic poet
The Devil’s bastard son

And I remain on the far side of crazy
I remain the mortal enemy of man
No hundred dollar cure will save me
Can’t stay a boy in no man’s land

I shot an actor for an actress
But he lived to make a joke
Shot two other men who could have been
The bodys of my folks
I stagger toward the future
I stagger day to day
Plot revenge inside of darkness
I am withering in pain

And I remain on the far side of crazy
I remain the mortal enemy of man
No hundred dollar cure will save me
Can’t stay a boy in no man’s land

Post-Modernism is now at a point where it has little left it can destroy. That now puts us in the Post-Manners phase. The Victorian Era had its drawbacks but where it excelled was in the sense that we must always live by manners, with dignity as Humans. The other bloke may be our enemy but he still deserves dignity. So you couldn’t just creep up on a person and tolchock them or slip in a dagger, verbal or literal, as that was un-mannered. Un-Gentlemanly. Not in keeping with the idea of Sovereignty. Manners were what separated us from the beasts (or the lower classes). Being ill-mannered was cause for removal from society. Behave well or you don’t get invited to the ball.

If you had grievance with a person you had to argue it out in a mannered exchange, or the other person could call pistols at dawn. Ok that only proved who the better shot was but it still reminded everyone that not abiding by manners – the rules that make society work – had strong and possibly fatal consequences.

Taking away that right – Sovereignty: where the man may defend his castle – is very Post Modern. It is Post-Manners. The idea that manners (incl. paying for what you use) count for nothing. We can all go back to stealing from each other.

Robert Smithson - Spiral Jetty
Robert Smithson – Spiral Jetty

Post-Manners: manners may neither be given nor expected. Except if you feel that you are aggrieved then you may claim your right to not be put upon by the bad juju of the person you just dumped a steaming turd on. Dumping the steaming turd is your right because you feel that way and the other person doesn’t exist -has an opinion not yours therefore is irrelevant. No one should make you feel anything you don’t like, like, like.

Fatal consequences we saw when a certain Hitler dude decided that his ideas were the only ones of any value and everyone around him was beholden to him. He had the big pointy stick (or a lot of animalistic brown-shirt thugs who will bump anyone for a buck) so the mob let him take the city. Whereupon he became the mortal enemy of Man (not just Jews, Niggers, Faggots, Gypsys & Intellectuals).

Easy to say it was just Hitler. But what about Mussolini, Stalin, Franco, Mao, Pot, Castro, Guevara, Amin, Gaddafi, Bin Laden…? These are all the logical conclusions Ronnie James Dio & Andy Prieboy wrote about in those songs. These are the very conclusions we see on a daily basis in the Social Sphere. In our Socials.

I met a person at a party the other day who when I said my name snapped back, “Oh I won’t be remembering that”. Sure my name is not Bob but it is not that darned hard. Say Cumberbatch and what does everyone say____? Yea verily I say unto thee, not hard. No cause to be rude like that. I could equally have responded to her, “Oh but I have forgotten your name already” but I didn’t because that would be rude of me. Ungentlemanly and not honoring that person’s Sovereignty. She could just as easily said nothing and asked again if necessary or even said, “Forgive me if I forget as I am terrible with names”. But no.

Post-Manners lets that person feel ok to be very rude because it doesn’t matter. I don’t matter. Only her feelings matter. Everyone lets it pass. I HAVE to let it pass or I will be branded the asshole in the situation if I point out that this is a pistols at dawn moment. Losing that right makes me a slave of that group. The untermensch, the Morlock to their Eloi. Not that they will acknowledge that openly but that is what happened.

I gave away a lot of my old synths and while we tracked many downloads, not a single thank you came. I did however get a Facebook comment about how seeing the sub-title of the pack’s name made reference to a certain singer, it was wrong that I didn’t include a single emulation of the synth he was famous for using for a year or so. How dare I! Now if Capt. Useless had pulled his thumbs far enough out of his fundament, he would have realized that the tagline was explained and the flagship synth was more than capable of delivering the kind of sounds he demands – but doesn’t have the ability to generate for himself seeing his thumbs are busy amusing himself elsewhere – denying him the abilities of a proper human. Post-Manners wot!

I was asked to join a Facebook Group. I answered a Q where someone was asking for assistance in feeling unable to be creative in his chosen genre. He listed all the instruments and genres he has moved through with each move/phase being a result of the same lack of creativity after exhausting the low hanging tropes (it was a long, expensive list in what I assume was a short time seeing he was young). Being me I actually took his request on face value and offered a well reasoned path he could take to tear down the wall of writer’s block forever. I got a couple of likes even. Yay. Oh no, the original questioner wrote a long screed about how I was insulting him by suggesting he do the very thing that was the cause of all music before his exalted existence being utter-shite (try saying that to Don Henley or Mick Jagger’s face – please do, it will be fun – I’ll even drop the dime on the ambulance for you as it will be worth it). It was personal & vile. No one says anything. I look at who he is and guess what? An Admin of that group. I gave a few choice words and left the group. If the owner/policeman of that group sees no cause to have manners or give anyone dignity (let alone himself) then he can pop those choice words right where the sun don’t shine – his brain cavity.

You see how that makes it less than pleasing to be alive in a Post -Manners world. A world where the concept of every person having Sovereignty (the right to dignity and the defense of themselves) makes it a world that is not actually peopled by people. People as in Human Beings.

Rip It Up

Something I thought interesting when I had read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” was how she paints the people who behave in this post-modern manner as being less than fully realized humans. Jordan points to that too. There is another place that people are referred to as losing their humanity – taking on the “mark of the beast”.

Yup Revelations in The Bible. The Bible is a really complex book full of profound thought and I don’t claim to be an expert. Revelations is even more complex. But it struck me that what was being spoken of, what I was seeing, was exactly that. If Hell is actually how we make ourselves unhappy right here on earth then the more we deny what makes us special as humans (the essence of post-modern/post-manners) then more we become like animals in that they are merely programmed beings compared to human’s greater (Godlike) abilities to build things and make choices.

I am not Christian in the churchy God-bothering sense, technically an Atheist, but there is too much corollary here to be ignored. If by giving ourselves over to this initially pleasing fantasy idea that we all deserve to be happy, happy, happy without challenge of right, wrong, A being A, not even having to accept that other people really exist, deserving of sovereignty, are we not actually giving ourselves over to the very thing that the old scholars say is the weakness that will destroy us all? Do we not remove the very things that mark us as Humans (sharing some of God’s qualities) and settle back into being mindless beasts?

Ok, your freedom of choice to do that if you wish I guess. But like zombies, the post-manners crowd are never happy alone, they need to destroy anything and everything around them that reminds them of what being human really is/was. So it is not a live & let live situation. We couldn’t simply say to Hitler or a zombie, “Yeah right buddy, you do your thing over there and I’ll go grow crops and build roads & hospitals over here. Have a nice life.” We all know how that ends.

Of course, we should respect the Sovereignty of our brother, neighbor etc to go do his funky chain gang thang. So long has he stays away from raping and pillaging me then I should not be posting him hand grenades with the pin missing.

Fixing A Hole

How did they say to solve this problem in antiquity when they saw it coming (or come & go as I bet this is not the first time – Flood, Golden Calf, Sodom & Gomorrah anyone)?

This is where it gets tricky. As the solutions sound facile, therefore easy to dismiss (esp if post-modern). Ayn Rand says drop what you are doing, go live in a hidden world where they can’t get at you. Make a society where everyone is able to be free, helps each other build cool things like power stations. All for it. They have power to run my computer and surely another muso with an almost genius IQ can’t go astray. Where do I sign up? Where does the Cessna leave?

Moses did similar, he picked up all his droogs and scooted off across the desert. Once Pharaoah realized that he lost his good productive people he was off after them. Moses does the Red Sea thing (a few other travails) and presto they are in the land of milk & honey. Probably with Dagney Taggart, Hank Rearden and that power station. Stand at the Red Sea as I might (or at least Tallebudgera Creek), the waters do not open. Am I evil?

In Revelation the good people are whisked away right at the start – before things get righteously shitty. Their sneakers remain but poof, gone up to the sky in an instant. The movie I saw on it, they even left their lawn mowers running. That is downright dangerous & irresponsible what with climate change and all. All those abandoned lawn mowers pumping out burned fossil fuels. That is cause for a tribulation or two right there.

How do we get on those lists? Now I absolutely DO NOT believe that this is a simple thing like I get to be happy because I want to be, because I paid my $9.99 per month to Godflix, or talked at Jesus a lot. There has to be a way to understand and follow in the footsteps laid out for us by great thinkers without being facile.

I wonder again what the old Buddha dude suggested. He was a smart chicken (no I am not suggesting he was a chicken – but if you are trying to say I did, maybe you are). Buddha was all about not getting caught up in the hellishness of being on this mortal coil. But I don’t really recall anything about “do this for me and I’ll smite your enemies”. Or “go over there and it’ll be like totally Nirvana”.

Maybe it is really just in the stuff about learning to fill the robes of the Bodhisattva and wish peace on all the beings (even the ones who are total prats – after all they are only turdy-pants because they are unhappy). If I can bring them happiness (freedom from unhappiness – not sure they are the same thing) then we are all winning.

Maybe I am just totally rubbish about wishing others well. Maybe all that stuff I do to try to help people (who then fling turds at me) is me being some sort of evil myself. Maybe I am not noble at all and they are the good ones. Turd flinging being the right response to help unasked for (despite the wording of the question)??? Hmmm.

So it still comes to withdrawal. I can go hide somewhere and think happy thoughts about people being free from pain but next time I go down the shop for a banana I’m as likely to have it all happen again: pain given because I offered $2 for a banana. I can avoid bananas and live on toast but that simply makes my life less instead of more. Where’s the building that Humanses are supposed to do with each other? All Benedict & no non-Benedict makes Benedict a dull Benedict.

If you have genuinely read this far, without feeling your moral right to send me a turd, then I would be delighted to hear what you have to say? How you manage in this Post-Manners society where it seems that any attempt to build or offer solutions to life’s pains is met with insult? If you are living in a true Galt’s Gulch (i.e. not a Cult), please tell me how it works and how I become worthy of an invite?

One thought on “Living in a Post-Manners World

  1. I would gladly send you a beautifully woven basket of turds, hermetically sealed to keep the garden fresh aromas and flavors from escaping, if you weren’t so far from the top of the top of the list of the truly deserving. How about some respect? I know lots of people say they want some respect, but it seems that, for the most part, the respect given by a decent person , doing what decent people do, isn’t worth as much as the kind you have to kick someone’s ass for. You can’t be a hero if you’ve never been a victim.
    In America we have opposing mobs fighting for supremacy, as if any of them actually have the right to rule. The ones who claim to fight the hardest against oppression and bullying are often the biggest bullies and oppressors. Here’s a pretty good example from my own hometown: A guy is walking out of the mall when he happens upon a group of kids harassing a lady on the way to her car. He intervenes and this group then turns their anger on him for ruining their fun. One kid keeps running up into his face. He pushes her away. When she comes back for more, he gives her a left hook in the face to calm her down.
    I don’t like the idea of punching 11 year old girls in the face, but I’m not going to be anyone’s punching bag either. The Root, a racist black publication, reported that the girl’s cousins planned to “Fuck him up”. I wonder if they ever watched the video. If it was my stupid kid I might want to buy this guy a steak dinner for teaching her a lesson that might otherwise have cost her life.
    I read just about everything Ayn Rand ever wrote. I don’t think I could live in Galt’s Gulch, the population isn’t Human enough. I’m romantic but not romanticized. I’m flawed and the flaws in me are real, not a result of the judgement of others.
    My gulch isn’t what anyone would call perfect but you are welcome here. Even if you decide you don’t want to stay, you will always be welcome at all the social functions.
    This post was one mighty tome, to be sure. Thanks for putting it up.

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