Cultural Confusion -or- A Nation of Mutts

What is this creature we call an American?  First, he is a human being and as such a paradox.  He sticks out of nature, and yet, is hopelessly stuck in it.  He towers above nature and has awareness of his own splendid uniqueness, while at the same time, in the strangest and most repugnant way, he knows his ultimate destiny is to dumbly and blindly rot a few feet beneath the earth.  What we like to think of as the lower animals are spared this hideous contradiction.  Lacking a symbolic identity and its accompanying “self awareness” they move and act reflexively guided by their instincts.  Nameless faces in a world without time.

Philosophers, anthropologists and Darwinists have long understood that animals, in order to survive, have had to be protected by instinctual fear responses not only with respect to other animals, but to nature itself.  Reality and fear go together naturally.  The human infant is in an even more helpless and precarious position.  To assume that the fear response disappeared in such a sensitive and weak creature is folly.  Our ancestors who were the most realistic about their situation in nature had the highest chance of survival and as survivors passed their “realism” on to their offspring as a direct result of its survival value.  The result is man as we know him.  A hyper-anxious animal who invents reasons for anxiety even when there are none and obsesses on authentic reasons that do exist where ever they are to be found.

Humans, being group animals, out of necessity invented something called culture, quite by accident.  Initially it must have been nothing more than simple agreement on simple things.  As life grew more complicated more and more things had to be agreed upon for the group to maintain any degree of cohesion and functionality as a group.  Because it had survival value, like Topsy, it grew and grew to eventually encompass every aspect to human life and, in the end, came to be the primary identifying characteristic of any group of humans.

And there’s the rub!  Since mankind has always had and probably always will have a thousand questions for every certifiably correct answer available to him, something had to take place to bridge the enormous gap, complete the reality picture and dampen the inherent anxiety of not knowing.  Bullshit did that.  The agreed upon, revered, unquestioned and viciously defended bullshit we have come to know as culture.  The big lies and the little lies that every group agrees to pretend are undeniable truths.  All Gods, Goddesses, demons, religions, magic and “truths” grew and flourished from this soil and the fertile anxiety plagued mind of man.

Now all this was not only good, but essential for the survival of mankind in a hostile and unforgiving world.  A sentient being, after all, cannot proceed without a compass, at least of sorts, in a universe made up of only questions.  Culture, with all its faults and all its misunderstandings provided that compass and continues to do so to this day.

This brings us, at last, to the title of this essay.  “Cultural Confusion”… or “A Nation of Mutts”.  It confronts us with the questions that go unasked, largely, in a nation in the process of tearing itself apart.

If we understand the above and agree that man without culture is not and can never be man, it begs the question, how can multiculturalism breed anything but chaos?   How long can any sentient being pretend that his neighbor, with another compass pointing in a totally different direction than his, is anything but a profound and pernicious danger to everything he holds to not only be true, but holy?

The unfortunate, but entirely natural and utterly predictable answer is every where we care to look.  When truths are no longer universal, and agreed upon, existential anxiety begins to bubble up from the depths of man’s inherent, but carefully hidden, helplessness in the face of unforgiving nature.  He is forced to seek cover in the only place he knows, his culture, now reduced to a sub-culture in a sea of other sub-cultures.  Since a culture, capable of being questioned, no longer serves its function as an anxiety reduction system he stops questioning his culture, his lies, and becomes more and more hostile to those that dare to.  To pretend that this is not the case with America today is to deny the obvious.

What this means is, unfortunately, equally obvious.  Since neither a family, group, nation nor empire can long endure without sharing, in the most intimate and unquestioned ways, a system of anxiety reducing lies humans call culture… the center cannot hold.  It will not hold.

One of three things will take place.

1.  It will collapse into chaos and barbarism.

2.  It will, in the nick of time, invent a new and improved set of lies to teach its children and hold chaos at bay.

3.  It will surrender itself to another more powerful and better functioning culture.

What it will not do, what it cannot do, is endure in its present state of adversarial multiculturalism.  In the face of this philosophical and anthropological reality the only sensible advice that readily comes to mind is…. Hang on to your hat!

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Cultural Confusion -or- A Nation of Mutts

  1. Thanks for coming by my blog. I appreciate your writings (something I cannot do) and agree with you when you say: “Hang on to your hat!’ We do not know what we may face in the near future. Many in our country do not respect Nature nor their fellow man. We are giving in to fear because we have that hammered into us day after day and yes, most of us, have “stopped questioning.”

    • Thank you Mary. You know, if I could have one wish it would be that we DO evolve a brand new “Culture” and that it would be centered upon and revolve around seeing ourselves “coming OUT of the world”… rather than coming INTO it as flawed constructions with a mandate to dominate what we do not understand and little appreciate. Keep your Gods and Demons and childish promises of “life after death”….. Give ME a green thumb! …and mind you don’t step on my seedlings.

  2. lol…I love that…don’t step on my seedlings 🙂

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