“We have no great war” was Tyler Durden’s reason given for the state of apathy and feminization of men in society. I disagree. The war (or rather wars) we fight are ever present in our lives and affects everyone, yet it is because of our acceptance and apathy that we cannot see them clearly and do not resist them in any way. The wars, the problems in our lives are covert agents that seemingly make our lives better, and that strength is the opiate that puts the public in a state of malaise. We don’t want to react to the problems, or even see them, because doing so would diminish the “quality” of our lives. While we are constantly content with our state, presented with whatever may want that will stimulate us, we stray from any critical perspective that would allow us to fight back. This is a fight that takes two fronts: one against the oppressive enemy, and one against ourselves.
To gain perspective on the problem, recall Thoreau’s purpose for living at Walden Pond: “To live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life”. In our modern age, our lives are so cluttered with everything non-essential that we confuse these distractions with the essential. How many times have we heard someone say, “I can’t live without my cellphone”? The only essentials in life are the things that allow us to continue to live. In our cozy lives, we have grown accustomed to BEING entertained, to BEING fed, to HAVING and WANTING. And the greatest problem is that we are sated.
The satiety doesn’t last long, though. We always want more and will demand more, which is exactly what those who give to us want. Our desire keeps them afloat. Because we know we can get more, we yearn for it, and too much is never enough. The manifestations of this disease of desire can be seen and felt physically as our health declines in myriad ways and monetarily as we sink ourselves further into debt. The manifestations further feed the powerful as we plead for quick solutions to our problems. They have cornered the markets and have us under their thumb.
Who are they? The producers, the money holders, the people who make decisions for us concerning what we buy, how we live, the choices we make – what we want. They hold the power.
The only way to fight against the oppression is to defy it and break our own bonds to it. This is the most difficult task, and the reason we have thus far failed. This is because we are happy – sedated and happy. We have at our disposal almost anything we want, and what makes the situation worse is that what we want is offered at a value; high availability and cheap prices coupled with a greedy consumer base make for both provider and consumer happiness. So why would we want to break away from this state of contentment? The gods are appeased so their subjects are rewarded, and no problems are present, right?
This is a perfect system – if we are willing to sacrifice our personal freedoms. In order to break these bonds we must stop buying what is put in front of us for the sake of convenience. This isn’t just a rant about big business; it’s a rant about becoming aware of our controlled status in life and asking ourselves what is really important. Do we want to be led, to silently follow what others tell us we want, or can we leave the comforts of this sedated life to take personal stock in what we value individually? I’ve left the causes vague intentionally to allow anyone who reads this to think of their own position and their own values, lest I become hypocritical.