Weather Health the Illusion of Progress and the Mundane
It’s been more than three weeks since I’ve written anything recreationally and I feel congested and groggy. Why human beings allow themselves to suffer the agonies of the gray climate I will never know. This is going to be a morbid piece – fair warning.
It’s often said that if you don’t have your health you have nothing at-all. Such a remark is made in Schopenhauer’s Wisdom of Life. And he and those who make said remark are quite right, though it does sound like one of those flabby statements that are professed as empty kernels of what sounds like wisdom. There is of course also mental health and moral health, but without the quality of functioning of one’s internal structure there will always be a lack of quality of living; regardless of financial wealth or social status which is more or less the main point of Schopenhauer’s work. That the true life is the life of the mind and real richness is that of the internal character and faculties rather than what we are told to value such as money and fame – a great point that elaborates upon the wisdom of the Cynics.
However there are conditions that affect our health, we do not live in a vacuum after-all. And I will summarize such external conditions as weather: political climate, economics, relations with others, the actual state of one’s atmosphere, and so on. We are forever thrown into the fray of this world, the constant back and forth of mediocrity both of life’s activities but of the variables that manipulate us and to a certain degree control us and define us. That is the climate that in-part decides the state of our health and very soul. The weather is constantly in flux, but is usually bad, just as the conditions for most on this planet are deplorable. And just as the weather has no concern for our needs our preferences, so even Governments that in theory exist for the commonwealth’s interests and it would be assumed that society would act according to reason for its own self-interest, the world is largely founded on every level by principles that not only are completely apathetic to the health and well-being of humans act in open contradiction to the now well-known science of how human beings are to live – with degrees of variance depending on the qualities of the individual of course.
It is said that with the raise of technology over the last several decades that we’re living in the most amazing time on Earth – yet most significant things are now and seemingly forever the same. It is true that a poor man in Boston today in some ways can live better than a King in the sixteenth century, but it is also equally true that the world is fundamentally different solely because of technology is the lie of the twenty-first century. Technology only has the effect on humanity and society that society will allow it. With the epochs of Capitalism and Government still with us (and cultural emphasis and degree of control the market has over our lives being more extreme and absurd than ever) technology exists first and foremost for their benefits and to serve their agendas – not to serve the interests of humanity. To expect drastic societal change in any meaningful way solely from the advent of technology is akin to expecting a runner with poor exercise and diet to win an Olympic race simply because he has metal inserts in his legs which give him better bounce. I’m sure there’s a technical term there but I’m currently unable to think of it.
A man can no more live a life of integrity and purpose without his own nature or society encouraging it than a fish can breathe (do fish technically breathe water?) corn syrup and remain unaffected and untainted. With the advent of social media comes the raise of even more celebrity worship, narcissism and self abasement. Things which only encourage the apathy and self-focus on the mundane and meaningless that allows Capitalism to thrive. Social media is not only a tool that humans use, it is a tool that subtly yet fundamentally can change the nature of relations between humans; most clearly in the lack of meaningful connection to others and shame. And with a lack of shame comes a lacking in dignity. This is seen most clearly in the atrocious use of grammar, spelling and the vocalization of the mindless forever posted for the world to see. Before more people it seems showed some degree of modesty and understanding that their more base elements were ones to perhaps indulge periodically (though of course they did so far-more than that; and I’m not arguing we have a raise in Hedonism in Western Culture, simply that such Hedonistic impulses are becoming more acceptable and seen as badges of honor) but not revel in – at-least not so openly.
Today’s culture has all the self-destructive tendencies of a drug den but only one-fifth the enjoyment or stories. Today’s Americans are getting fat off of Twinkies and cheeseburgers, suffocating on cigarette smoke and feeding their egos with Facebook rather than getting satisfaction from reading a real book, and yet their lives, though in some ways in the height of Hedonism are also at the very summit of the bland. This is seen in Justin Bieber (thank Christ Microsoft Word doesn’t recognize his name) pissing in a bucket (which becomes a topic that is actually covered repeatedly in a world where dictators savage and geniuses discover and create) while rock bands in the sixties and seventies did drugs and threw television sets out of hotel room windows for their kicks. We live in an age that has all the despair (though not explicitly stated or even consciously aware for many) and depravation of any other, but a fraction of the rebellion and talent.
And just as with the gray weather of winter, with the sky being a dull and homogenous haze every day, so Man’s environment is in essence the soul crushing bore in all other aspects of life. The life of the mind can penetrate any fog, but if it is not stimulated it will not exist in many (though it could be argued that even in ideal situations it would not exist for many) and most will be damned to live the life of discussing weather and health while being incapable of knowing or understanding why the weather (both actual and figurative) and health of themselves is deteriorating (I actually spelled the word right on my first try – woo hoo!) so, let alone be able to do anything about it.
It is the role of the nobleman of intellect and integrity to rebel against staleness, stupidity and injustice, but if he can only do it in the sense of Camus, in rebelling simply by not conforming or surrendering, in such a planet with such a harsh and unbecoming climate in almost every sense, I would not judge him as long as his mind and soul are still intact by the end of his life. It is of course ideal to act and live a example of creativity and morality that can affect others, and to destroy causes of the evil gray-sky of our world, but human beings can only do so much without the eagerness to change in those he has contact with. Without a spark all the accelerants in existence will create no fire. Fatalism should never be encouraged but can be accepted as long as one still lives the life of the mind. Just as lack of action can be forgiven as long as one always believes in the cause of social, moral and intellectual revolution.