Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Pop: The uncomfortable necessity of despair

It is hard in society to embrace your own intelligence. You are trained to believe that being intelligent is a bad thing, that by being intelligent you are at an inherent, unfair disadvantage and encouraged to strive for the opposite, for ignorance rather than any sort of intellectual enlightenment. It is arrogant of me, according to society, to make what I know known, unless I am within a group of my peers who are all likely to know that same information already. Intelligence has been destroyed and broken for the purposes of an equal society. 

However, as anyone who reads Brave New World by Aldous Huxley will know, true intelligence cannot be suppressed and whatever happens there will be people who cannot fit in to the world because their brain won’t allow them. This minority will always exist and will always observe from a quiet place while trying not to make their intelligence known for fear of the retribution society may bring. 

But for the purpose of discussing what I intend to discuss I feel I must break this unmentioned barrier and declare my position. I am intelligent. I am smarter than most people although fully aware that there are still vast numbers of people more intelligent than me. For the point I want to make however, all that is important is that I cross a certain line of intelligence. 

For a quick clarification, intelligence in the sense I’m talking has nothing at all to do with what facts I could spew out, what books I’ve read or how many languages I can speak in. Intelligence is the understanding and application of subtlety, the willingness and the speed with which a person learns and the ability to stand back and question. Obviously this tends to come with a wealth of knowledge gathered from the interest in the pursuit of such knowledge, but it isn’t intrinsic. This means that there are people the general populous would consider to be intelligent who I wouldn’t count in the category, but this is simply because intelligence has been destroyed to such a degree that it is, in part, now a popularity contest. 

In the past, I would have added an understanding of freedom, an acceptance and understanding of the free will of the self to this ‘definition’ of intelligence. I no longer do so and this is relevant to what Blip and I refer to as the ‘intellectual melancholy.’

The intellectual melancholy can be brought on by many things or sometimes seemingly brought on by nothing. It is a feeling of immense dissatisfaction with the cutting and dissection that the intelligent mind does without consideration, or, to put it in simple terms as it's binary opposite, ignorance is bliss. I love my mind, but there are times when I wish that I could just stare at x-factor and be one of those people who sees no problem with it. I wish I could hate the government yet love the monarchy, play sport, hate fat people and truly believe that I can make a difference on the world. I don’t have this ability, I cannot sit back and accept the world without question and there are occasions where I truly envy those who do. I hate my understanding.

The general people of the world, the cattle who do have this ability, hear people like me speak and rather than listen to my words they hear only arrogance. They see something they don’t have, they believe that it either isn’t appreciated or that it is simply elitist and snobby, and they attack it. This is best explained with an analogous situation. If a rich person says that they have struggled in life, if they say they have spent their life being discriminated against because of the wealth they are born into, they are attacked by the majority – the poorer people of the country. They are told that they can’t possibly understand discrimination and that the poor have it worse. 

This is because discrimination is ranked. It is, in essence, a contest. We decide who deserves equality more and therefore attack anyone further down the scale who mentions the area where they are disadvantaged, which is, ironically, the only area where we are equal. We are all disadvantaged. A rich person does not suffer more or less than a poor person, being discriminated against for money is the same as being discriminated against for gender or race. But we have a society where discrimination is as much a popularity contest as everything else and the majority minority groups, the more popular minorities, take the largest share of attention and care when it comes to the fight for ‘equality.’ To put it more simply, we care more when a gay couple is not allowed to sleep in a bed together than when a rich person is banned from listening to a song because they ‘aren’t the right kind of person.’ 

Intelligence is very low in the discrimination popularity contest. It isn’t allowed, it isn’t accepted. My struggles with my mind are not allowed and therefore they are dismissed whenever I try to bring them up. I am attacked and beaten down, I am arrogant and ungrateful. 

I am, however, not considered to be discriminated against. That’s a protected term, owned by the populous. 

And so I sit in my flat, I watch the news until the despair of the intellectual melancholy comes over me and I turn it off. I put music on, it is sung by people who like the world or people who have been sanctioned by the populous to ‘rebel.’

I turn the music off. I sit in silence. 

The rock stars and indie groups are not different and rebellious. They are part of the populous. They are the exact, state sponsored opposite to the normal. Snake bites and tattoos are accepted and allowed, but ‘frowned upon,’ and this is an important part of the structure of society. To keep it together, the people must be given the perception of choice. So as a teenager they are given two wardrobes, the band t-shirt with the rock music in their ears and the thick eyeliner and the piercings, or the blonde hair and pink designer clothes and orange faces. A side is chosen and yet everyone ends up looking the same by the time they’re married and expecting their first child so that the cycle can be continued. In short, society has successfully kept them within itself. 

There is a level of intelligence, the level where the intellectual melancholy sets in, where the most depressing realisation occurs. The point in my life where I realised that I was never going to be the normal person society has attempted to groom me to be. 

The point in my life where I stepped back and I realised it was necessary. 

We need society, we need a government for the people to hate and a monarchy for the people to love. We need the bullshit arguments about politics on the news and the fake democracy that never changes everything. The people need the illusion of choice, that believe that they can be who they want and change the world. They need their running around and jumping over things, they need to give medals to the people who do it the best. They need contest, competition, the distractions of life that make them believe they are any different from the person next door watching the same television made by the same factory with a different name. Most importantly of course they need their heroes and their villains, because they don’t have a full understanding of subtlety. They hate sugar today, salt tomorrow. They want more regulation, less regulation. All the government and the media actually do is tell us all who we are supposed to hate next. The smokers, the fatties, the drunkards, the junkies. Always some element of freedom that might damage the health of society, some element of freedom we can be coerced to drop that will be given back to us tomorrow to make sure that we don’t notice they’re taking something else.

We need it, because it is as natural to our human biology as our digestive system or our immune system or our hepato-billiary system or our discriminatory system. And those of us who have stepped back and have seen this, we have to accept our position within it to be able to carry on. We sit in our identical chairs with the rest of the cattle and we fulfil our role with the only difference being that we are fully aware of the trap that we are in, purely to maintain the society for the purpose of the next generation. We have to make the active choice to give up our free will for the good of the society that we need to survive.

I defy anybody to realise that and not feel despair.  

There is a cure. To sit down, wrapped in a brightly coloured blanket clutching something cuddly (in my case a stuffed tiger called Kitty, and in Blip’s case a stuffed lion called Lion – we have no requirement for inventiveness) and to stare in silence at the wall until the taint of society washes itself off just a little bit and we can start the cycle again. We stare at the emptiness and paper over the cracks that our intelligence has wrought in us, until we can stand up and carry on with the façade of normality that we are required to maintain in order to fulfil our roles in society. We wait until we can stomach the opinions we are supposed to hold, the ones that are ‘morally correct’ and until we can look each other in the eye without wanting to cry at the knowledge that we can never vocalise our understanding of what the other one is feeling, but knowing that we can’t cry because intelligence tells us that crying is too illogical. 

We wait until we can pretend to the rest of the world that we never crossed that line.

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