I find that quote really interesting because it contains so much. It is a commentary on those who do not think for themselves but rather live their lives going with the flow and allowing the mainstream propaganda to flow over them unmolested by questioning. It also is about those who would actively seek to control you, negate your views and belittle you. It also has that element of civilisation which is about quelling your natural rebellious thoughts so that you fit into your slot in society and become tame.
I like that.
It always seems to me that the most dangerous relationships are from those who almost think the same but are slightly different. They like the same things but not quite the same. They can’t stand for someone to have a different opinion to themselves and so have to quash it. They are like the venom of derby matches, the hatred of Shia and Sunni or the rivalry within some families. They are filled with a desire to destroy at all costs. It is what pulls political parties apart.
“Either you think, or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.”
This quotation from Scott Fitzgerald’s novel Tender Is The Night is really resonating with me at the moment. In recent posts I’ve explored ideas about how improvisation and originality could counter a spreading culture of fixed thinking and received opinion. Cyberspace has become a virtual battlefield where a multitude of rival ideologies compete for our attention.
That some may be indisciplined and uncivilized doesn’t really lessen the thrust of Fitzgerald’s maxim. It may even speak louder in our internet era.
As social animals we naturally internalise cultural conflict but I suspect our solitary online existence makes it harder for us to process so much disparate input. Simply put, when do we get to talk about stuff these days? Evolution has made us…
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