Saturday, July 2, 2011

Social and Economic Dysfunction

A lot of my darkness stems from the fact that I feel I don't fit in. It's this 'feeling' that I have embraced. I am not saying that I don't fit in.

I do not have an intimate sexual relationship, nor do I have any other types of intimate relationships, aside from maybe my mother.
I see my extended family on special occasions like Christmas or Thanksgiving. I see my mother and daughter and grandson every couple of weeks.
I almost never spend time 'face to face' socializing with friends unless I'm specifically invited out for coffee or drinks or dinner which occurs about once or twice monthly. Occasionally I instigate it. The rest of my socialization occurs via the internet, often with people I've never met face to face.

I have not been able to maintain stable employment at any time in my life aside from a few golden periods of approximately 3-5 years each.
I spend approximately eight months of every year looking for work.
I have a large debt load across several credit cards that I have been unable to pay off because of a lack of work plus the fact that I often have to use them to survive when I don't have an income.

Are the above circumstances a cause for despair? Sure they are. Are they my fault? Maybe, maybe not. Can I change any of it? I try, but I don't believe so. How do I cope?

I embrace darkness. I have let it take me. It seems no one else will.

Okay, that is the cover story, the scum that rises to the surface, or the outer layers of the onion. The deeper problem that has been created by circumstances is something that I have long suspected has larger social and economic associations.

In a 2001 paper titled The Roots of Addiction in Free Market Society, Bruce K. Alexander argues the dislocation theory of addiction:

In order for “free markets” to be “free,” the exchange of labour, land, currency, and consumer goods must not be encumbered by elements of psychosocial integration such as clan loyalties, village responsibilities, guild or union rights, charity, family obligations, social roles, or religious values. Cultural traditions “distort” the free play of the laws of supply and demand, and thus must be suppressed. In free market economies, for example, people are expected to move to where jobs can be found, and to adjust their work lives and cultural tastes to the demands of a global market.


People who cannot achieve psychosocial integration develop “substitute” lifestyles. Substitute lifestyles entail excessive habits including—but not restricted to—drug use, and social relationships that are not sufficiently close, stable, or culturally acceptable to afford more than minimal psychosocial integration. People who can find no better way of achieving psychosocial integration cling to their substitute lifestyles with a tenacity that is properly called addiction.

 My addictions include, but likely are not limited to over eating, coffee, and smoking cigarettes. I can easily get addicted to a television series, work (when its available), a person, love, sex, style, being independent, being dependent, chocolate, not eating, exercise, self-analysis, religion, starting new things, surfing the internet, playing a video game, politics, media frenzy, being nice, being an asshole, meeting new people and being alone. However, I am not addicted to drugs or alcohol.

(when I'm not addicted to being an asshole) I crave to contribute to society. I do art. I suffer. What I do most is hide. I feel ashamed at not being able to live a functional social and economic life. What could I possibly wish for? A better past? A better future? How could I possibly make the present better? How do I make the things I cannot control (love and money) replace my addictions?

Outlook on life is all important. I agree with Mr. Alexander that the roots of addiction are the result of dislocation, both socially and economically. To me, this world is fucked and I've exhausted myself trying to find a cause and affect change in my life and in the lives of those few that I love. I've lost myself in a world of distractions, addictions and coping mechanisms. I'm a dysfunctional product of a socially and economically dysfunctional environment, ad nauseam.

But Mr. Alexander's theories do give me hope. I have always thought there was something very deeply wrong with our culture. I think we've all known it. Actually, when you think about it, there are glaring problems with it that present as problems unrelated to the structure of the culture itself such as the global energy crisis, environmental degradation, religious and political terrorism, drug and alcohol addiction, divorce, and child abuse, to name a few.

I've never ever understood why the 'economy' is more important than the people it supports. An argument of the Conservative Party in Canada, (and all right wing capitalist supporters around the world) is that if we 'take care of the economy, the economy will take care of us.' This theory is as full of holes as the idea that technology will make our lives easier. It hasn't. Think about it this way - machines were made to make doing big or repetitive jobs easier. So those machines replace a few human jobs, right? Aren't those jobs that were lost to the machines now being replaced by jobs to maintain and repair the machines? Not necessarily so. It takes less energy to maintain and repair the machines than it does to do the job without the machine. So a few jobs are lost here and there and before you know it the 20th century has past and our cultural, social and economic structure is in ruin, not to mention the environment.
 I think this industrial and technical revolution has run amok. The film "The Matrix" comes to mind.

Gods I could go on and on but for the limitation of my ability. I cannot wrap my head around the gargantuan issue of the ineffective social structure we live in, its failure to support and sustain us, and our imminent demise if we do nothing about it.

But if I am to survive I have to imagine there is at least one thing I could do - I would ask that you think about the relationship between the social and economic society we live in and do what you can to reveal the inadequacies and inefficiencies. We have to do something about reducing the social-economic divide rather than widening it.

8 comments:

Vincent said...

I admire the optimism in your view that it might be possible to improve the social and economic conditions in society.

I guess I'm much more defeatist. I'm of the view that this big broken machine we're all a part of has gotten way to large and has fallen into such an atrocious state of neglect and disrepair that even if A LOT of us all came together somehow as a single mind and focused our collective energy into a positive force for change it would still be way too little way too late.

Sorry to be a big bitter ball of negativity but this is the view I keep coming back to. It's not very encouraging but, then again, neither is life.

Ms Corpse Cafe said...

Thank you and just so you know, I'm not under any illusions that things could change in my lifetime, at least not in a big way, but for future generations things have to get better or ... yes, your darkest imaginings (and mine) will occur, things have to get started now. I can't live the rest of my life and just do nothing.
Ha ha ha... but it does seem absurd to think that anything could pull us out of our atrocious state though. I'm with you on that one. ;)

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

Hi! Camille...
Another post that give your readers, "food for thought"...I must admit that I agree with quite a few Of author Bruce K. Alexander's thoughts...with that being said, there is one thing I do [I'm not going to express how you should feel,think, or what you should do...]

I know is that I can't escape [my] problems with the use Of any addictions what so ever...I feels that any form Of addiction(s) just compound the problem and can send a person in a downward-spiral.

[Believe me I'm not being judgmental or even a goody-two shoes type-person, but I need a clear head when I have to deal with the darkness in my life...When I speak Of addiction(s) I'm talking about drugs or alcohol chemicals that will affect me from thinking clearly.]

"Are the above circumstances a cause for despair? Sure they are. Are they my fault? Maybe, maybe not. Can I change any of it? I try, but I don't believe so. How do I cope?
I embrace darkness. I have let it take me. It seems no one else will."


I try not to embrace darkness too much even though I know that our lives consist Of both "light" and "dark" too...I guess that I'm a glass is half-full more so than the glass is half-empty type person.

"But if I am to survive I have to imagine there is at least one thing I could do - I would ask that you think about the relationship between the social and economic society we live in and do what you can to reveal the inadequacies and inefficiencies. We have to do something about reducing the social-economic divide rather than widening it..."

I too like your show Of optimism and your conclusion to the causes Of the problem in this world.
Cont...

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

[Now, I'm not going to express how you should feel, think, or what you should do?!?...]

"What I do most is hide. I feel ashamed at not being able to live a functional social and economic life..."

Camille, please try not to feel this way, if you must hide...do it because you want too...not because Of what society say you must do [Be married, have a healthy social life, or else you're doomed...On the other hand, when it comes to economic Of course "we" need money in order to survive in this world, but if we don't have money, a job, etc,etc,etc, there is most definitely, no reason to hide from a society that should place more attention on helping others than judging.]

"How do I make the things I cannot control (love and money) replace my addictions?"

Camille, I don't think that you, can...I think any addiction is an "internal" problem.

Something that you, me or anyone else have to face head-on and change our way Of thinking through something called will-power [and replacing the negative addictions with positive addictions:Such as focusing more on others,volunteering which can sometimes can lead to work, and when it comes to the "external" effect love and money
I don't feel if any woman (or man) find love or acquire wealth will guarantee them happiness...Sometimes that have the opposite effect...For instance, what happens when love stop or greedy friends and relations want their hands, on your money...all I know is that bills, taxes, etc, etc, etc, will never die!

[I know everyone don't share my opinion about love, wealth, etc,etc,etc, but I try to take life in stride...Whatever curve-ball it throw me I'm ready for it...I "hope!"]
Thanks, for sharing!
deedee :-/

Ms Corpse Cafe said...

DeeDee,

You are certainly very generous and supportive with your thoughts and words. It is much appreciated.

I shared some info about me in order to explain a little about my thoughts regarding Western Culture and and to give an example. Please don't worry about me. I didn't say it to get pity. I do feel shame but it is not debilitating and I could not feel otherwise even if I tried. That's just the way it is. I just don't feel proud of the fact that I can't get a job. Anyway, that is not what is important. This blog post is about wanting to talk about Western Culture and its problems and I want to change it if I can.

As for my personal life, what's done is done. It's made me who I am and I survive because I want to survive. If I didn't want to survive I would have stuck a knife in myself seppuku style years ago when the pain of my struggle was much greater. I tell you now only as an example. No other reason.

But anyway you have an interesting mind and I'm glad you visit my blog and we can share some interests.

Thank you,

Camille

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

Hi! again, Camille...
I understand completely, why you posted this post...I didn't feel or think that you posted this post for pity.

Hence, the reason I tried to focus on my own feelings, thoughts, and opinion(s).
deedee

KickinAssTakingNames said...

This is a fucking awesome post. I love your raw honesty and love you all the more for it.

I tend to have the same mindset that Vincent does. However, that doesn't always succeed in stopping me from doing what I can. If nothing else, it gives me a teeny-tiny sense of control.

Ms Corpse Cafe said...

KATN - you're such a sweetheart.... my Gods, sniff. Thank you.