Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Pop: Society vs Blip (and consequently itself) or Dystopia in action





There is a fundamental lack of understanding about medicine in this country, made worse by the fact that the media still insist on reporting about it. But worse than the physical medicine, a broken leg or an infection et cetera, there is the phenomenon of social diseases and in this everyone is complicit. Even the doctors and psychologists who are supposed to know what they are talking about fall victim to the bullshit rhetoric that the media spew out. 


What I’m referring to is the belief that there is something wrong with you if you don’t follow the ideal or you hold an opinion that doesn’t quite fit with what other people think. For example, I was watching The Wright Stuff recently and a topic came up about crying. There seemed to be a general consensus that there was something wrong with a person who couldn’t cry, or didn’t want to cry, and the discussion even went as far as to whether these people who don’t cry are psychopaths or not. I understand that this was generally in jest but it exposes the more serious cultural problem I am referring to. Crying is normal, being emotional is normal, therefore if you choose to be a logical and sensible person and not express your emotions – or you don’t seem to have them like my delightful Blip – then you must be a danger and a menace to society. You must be diseased. 


This partly comes from a misunderstanding of health. The medical definition of health is a departure from social, mental and physical wellbeing. However this is more of a philosophical statement than a hard and fast rule, which has been thrown into the public eye because society is obsessed with its own existence. We must be healthy so that the society can continue for as long as possible. Health includes our social wellbeing; therefore we must be ‘socially well.’


The definition of socially well is of course defined by the majority. A schizophrenic person is only schizophrenic because we don’t agree with the way that they view the world, and the way that they view the world is considered to be a danger to themselves and the rest of us. Depression is only a disease because we tell people that they have to be happy, and any deviation from this is bad for the overall happiness of society. A smoking addiction is a bad thing because the goal is to live a long time and there is a small chance that it might make you ill, and of course smoking is considered bad because the alcoholics don’t like the smell of smoke. Just like alcohol is bad because the fat people don’t like watching sluts throw up their stomach contents outside the kebab shops and being fat is bad because the smokers don’t like to look at people who aren’t the exact carbon copy of themselves. 


This has recently been extended to mean that it is okay to call people fat because obesity is now a social disease. It is affecting the NHS, because God forbid we pay for someone who doesn’t look normal, and so now we happily call anyone with a curve on their body obese and throw insults at them as if the word ‘fat’ is now a medical and anatomical description. 


This is the same as the treatment we have for people of different social classes. It is a social disease for people to be rich, because there are more poor people and so we don’t like anyone who dares to be rich. We can call David Cameron posh, but not call a poor person a pleb. And then above that the royal family, who are clearly more posh than David Cameron, aren’t allowed to be called posh or indeed insulted in any way. 


If I want to hide myself away in a corner and never speak to anyone, I must have something wrong with me. Not wanting to be social is now considered a disease, there must be something wrong with me if I don’t know who won X factor and I don’t care which town has now become the subject of reality television. 


To focus on Blip for a moment, I think non-specific mental oddities are a very potent example of this. Autism is characterised by, among other things, not being able to look other people in the eye and not understanding social convention. How have we come to a point where that is characterisable as an illness with a name? Is it really that bad if somebody doesn’t fit in with the rest of society? A family member of mine who works with young children now has to make notes on and judge the social development of the children in her care, but surely that isn’t relevant to anything unless we are saying that there is a wrong way to be. 

Blip’s thought processes mean that he wants nothing to do with people and their distractions, he has no care for societal law and procedure other than that which he sees as beneficial and he shows no emotion unless he has an understanding of the logic behind the application of that emotion. Is there something wrong with him or does he just not fit with the rest of society? Blip copes so well because he is very intelligent, is that a social disease also? Are those of us in society who have an above average level of intelligence now detrimental to its function because we make the finger pointers feel bad, or because we as a general rule want nothing to do with the morons around us? 


Perhaps to understand this further we need to delve into the purpose of society. Human beings take their strength from the fact that there are lots of them and they clump together, seeking this strength. We are an inherently social being at our foundation, as can be seen in the way monkeys interact (if you believe in the theory of evolution). A society is fundamental to this because it allows us to take the fullest advantage of this strength in numbers, the hive mind that we possess because of our social cohesion. Society is much more complex nowadays but it still comes down to this basic principle, we stay together because we are more vulnerable when we’re on our own. There are large parts of psychology which have their stem from this principle; the way we act in car parks for example is a direct consequence of this feeling that there is safety in numbers. All the negative aspects of a society come from this same point as well. We remain in society because we selfishly desire the safety of it and so when it suits us we will take advantage, hoping our car will be skipped by the robber because it’s next to a possibly more desirable option, or we will break away, if we don’t wish the person we live with to be alive anymore. 


The combination of all our brains and skills is the reason for our advancement in technology and the relative comfort that we now live in. None of the luxuries we consider human rights now would exist if it weren’t for the amalgamation of multiple skill-sets. Equally however, the so called ‘corruption’ of society, wherein we all try and dare to do what we want, is a consequence of the fact that we have become too comfortable and have forgotten the vulnerability of being without the society. So while we stay within its boundaries because it has become too big to escape from, we don’t necessarily all want to be subject to the control that is required. 


The answer to this is to apply stigma, no matter how subtle, to the idea of breaking societal law. This began with the legal system, things like murder and rape, which are anti-society, were given sanctions but more importantly, have been declared somehow morally – or inherently - wrong. You are evil if you kill someone, unless you have the proper justification conferred on you by society. This may be by law, or be because you’re a big country with the backing of your people. But this isn’t enough, so the ideas of equality came into existence. Everybody is the same as everybody else, thus creating a docile and efficient work-force to keep the life-force of society going. This led to the decision that people with different coloured skin, and women, weren’t different from anyone else. But the selfishness of the individual members of the whole means that the equality conferred on people will never be enough for everyone. Somebody always has to be superior, which is why we have been put into the position where women are allowed to bully men but men can’t bully women, rather than being in a stable position where everybody has the same rights. 


Equal people have nothing to be against. There is no fighting and without fighting there is the ability to question the requirement for society. We have to have inequality to keep people distracted, so we bully the rich, we bully the fat, and we bully the smokers and the alcoholics because they are identifiable groups who don’t fit with the norm. Because society is increasingly suspicious, we get people in white coats to declare that they are identifiable social disorders, they are the product of addiction and addiction needs treatment just like any other disease. 


So when a person actively doesn’t care about social law, when they actively don’t follow the rules, we decide the degree by which they’ve done it and then we label them. They’re mentally ill. They’re a criminal. If they are deemed to not be too much of a danger we give them lesser labels. They’re autistic. The quieter the people are about their difference the ‘rarer’ the disease. Low latent inhibition tends to come with intelligence and the intelligent stay quiet. They become chameleons when they aren’t hidden in their self-made forts against social reality. If anybody needs to know why, just consider the treatment of actual potential sufferers from the club of society lovers who go around the internet declaring that some people may be accepted to the 'low-latent inhibition club' and others don't fit - happily named the justice league when referenced in the world of this blog.


We need society; we need to be homogenous for our survival. And for people like Blip, who aren’t homogenous, we have to decide whether we can use them in some way or whether we’re prepared to break them into pieces that do fit. We can’t claim that they’re ‘diseased’ forever, because even if we ‘treat’ them and we make everyone the same, all that will do is make it even harder to keep society together. Flaws and impurities are necessary to give the bland majority something to hate. In essence the modified goal of society, which is to keep us all together for safety, and subsequently keep us all the same, is the one thing that would most certainly destroy it. 

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