Tinselcity

The Quest for Meaning

I found myself some days ago reading a discussion about Bread, Circus and how someone argued people are at least partly to blame because they decided not to care and “would rather leave the operation and advancement of society to others”. I suddenly found myself writing the following. In the end I didn't submit the comment, but I'll leave it here, as witness.

I don't believe in the operation and advancement of society any longer. And I know it's sad and unfortunate that I don't. I feel like I'm giving up and surrendering instead of fighting for what I want that advancement to be. I insist that I acknowledge all that and would even accept that I am the one to blame.

And still, I just can't bring myself to believe any longer that there is hope, that there is a chance. I just feel like we've reached a point where my contribution just doesn't matter.

I'm approaching my fifties now. I recall times in my youth were I felt we, as a civilization, as a society, had larger horizons. We looked forward and far. We talked of inventions, of significant discoveries. We imagined a future. I spent most of my life actually helping others do those things, helping them learn maths, and programming, and logical thinking. I felt it was good, a worthy thing to do.

Today everything I see and hear around me is -except for very few exceptions, I concede- people looking under to their noses, to their own fancies and whims. The rich and powerful spend their efforts in the vile and the corrupt and in getting richer and more powerful. And the *not rich* seem to only see as far as their smallest comforts are involved. Technology -in general- seems to go after the quick buck and the easy exit through some of the most inane ideas. Politics is *all* about us vs them, about how to grab a piece of the cake while leaving the other side cake-less, instead of being about how to make more cake. Everything feels like it's about the lights and the spectacle, rather than honest work and collaboration in a common direction for all of us. And very few people seem to actually want to learn anything any more, particularly if it takes even a minimal effort.

So, sure, I do acknowledge that I am, in part, to blame. I openly admit that I've given up. But then again, I am but one. I have little strength left and I'm tired of fighting, of trying to do good for the common and being taken advantage of by the greedy, the capricious and the stupid.

So, yes, I am to blame. I don't disguise it.

But then, a little further down in the discussion there was this exchange:

There’s no higher calling than bread and circuses. As long as the people are well fed and are entertained, what else do they really need?

The illusion that it means something.

That goes on the “entertained” part.

And maybe that's what lies inside all this. Not the realization that it is all an illusion, because we know that, we've always known that. But treating it like entertainment. As if we've all given up believing in any future, as if the search for meaning and progress and advancement is just… entertainment.

Because, sure, there is no meaning, we know that. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't build our own meaning ourselves. And reducing it to “entertainment” is a rather stupid way to give up.