Is society increasingly dominated by people who are for all intents and purposes junkies? Look at the evidence. How do our business leaders and our politicians behave? From a review of the 1992 book When Society Becomes an Addict by Anne Wilson Schaef:
Many politicians behave like addicts,as they are hooked on control, promising things will get better(but they do not), denying problems and denying alternative ways of doing things.
Let’s break this down:
- Hooked on control: how often do politicians, bankers, business men resign or take full responsibility for anything when something goes wrong?
- Promising things will get better: we’re all in it together. It will be tough for a time but all hard working people will benefit in the future. Just give us another 5 years and we’ll master the deficit and bring economic growth.
- Denying problems: Climate change is not really that big a problem. Loss of manufacturing is not an issue; service sector jobs can take its place. All problems are down to Muslims, global changes (that will be for the best long run), work shy immigrants, handicapped and unemployed.
- Denying alternative ways of doing things: only economic growth, nuclear weapons, nuclear power, oil, austerity, invading other countries, privatisation, class division, and an old boys network can lead to a better future. Thatcher famously said: There Is No Alternative (TINA).
And then on the personal level we have people addicted to speed. No not the drug, but the lifestyle. Be on-line, contactable 24/7. Post shite on Twitter and Facebook incessantly and check on other peoples’ shite. It’s 09:18 and I am here. It’s 09:19 and I am there. It’s 09:20 and… Look at me. I exist. I make noise. I consume. Race for some target somewhere. Oh damn the local supermarket actually closes on Christmas Day. What are we going to do? We’ll starve. Let’s go at 3am the day before. How did people survive before mobile phones, internet and 24 hour a day open stores?
Exams are hard. Universities are funded according to results. Make the exams easier. Society of people who know very little, can do very little, but with pumped up egos and attitude fueled by Red Bull and a complicit, rampant self-improvement industry. Want to be a champion, a leader? Or do you just want to be some hopeless also ran? Seek out some motivation hip hop video on YouTube and drag your sorry carcass to the gym at 5am (do any gyms open at 5am or is that only in the self-improvement books?). Go to the gym and workout even if you do not feel like it. Feel? Don’t waste time feeling. Down another Red Bull, pop another Ritalin and charge on. Make decisions quickly. Don’t look back. Don’t apologize. Don’t expose any weakness. You are the alpha male even if you’re female. Be the man.
Environment and alternative energy is all very well for tree huggers, spiritual types, but the realistic among us need to stay focused on economic growth, jobs and the next election, next quarterly results. Ayn Rand said people acting in their own self-interests is the best for the whole, and everyone who anyone reads Ayn Rand. The world is so full of complex nuances and infinite shades of grey, get lost in that and you’ll never appear strong. Tough decisions call for tough leaders.
Let’s keep running, chase the end of the rainbow for that pot of gold that awaits us. Climb the ladder of success, salvation awaits. Salvation takes the form of wealth, power, control, fame, a feeling of invulnerability and success. You know like that hit, that rush, that dimming out of reality that most less socially acceptable forms of addition offer.
And when you ultimately fail to live up to these insane demands society places upon you, turn further into your addiction, or to another one. Block out. Deny. Ignore. Go back to the start. Put your head down. Charge on again. There Is No Alternative.