The American experience is hedonistic. Pleasure seeking behavior is overwhelmingly the norm. Unless you consider work an unbearably painful experience, even our daily toil is a kind of pleasure, something we can eventually derive satisfaction from. We work to live, and we assume that if we did not work, that we would starve. But is this the case? If we all stayed home, what would get done? The daily routine of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain has everything to do with the wider social order. The status-quo is what is routine. The mundane aspects of daily life are the most relevant to everyone except when they are trying to avoid them in preference to something else. I.E. Sometimes people just want to get fucked up. People want to impress others, want to be seen, want to be loved. People want things yes, but what are they willing to sacrifice to get them?
Some are willing to sacrifice the well being of their fellow man in order to fulfill even the simplest of pleasures. I would wager that if you examined the lives of both the very wealthy and the very poor that the levels of substance abuse would probably be similar. If this were true...would it mean anything?
Decadence and social decay. (The economy of competing values.)
What values have been put forth in this country as core values? What does value even mean? I might be confused as to what it really means so I'll attempt to make it all a little less ambiguous.
Value is either intrinsic or inherited. Tools and items of basic survival have intrinsic value. They are either consumed or are used to acquire consumable goods. Much of the urban population of the united states does not trade in items of intrinsic value. A person's time is worth what? One man's time is worth $400 an hour, while an other's is worth $6. Their inherited value is different from their intrinsic value. This is the biggest problem with modern capitalism, and depending on where you are in the value system, you may not perceive it as a problem. If you trust that the end result if the system plays itself out, is an egalitarian and enriched society of free thinking individuals, then things like abject poverty are just casualties of war. But we know different. Economic activity should not create poverty but eradicate it. What is happening in America to create such a disparity in wealth? Who is making all the money and why must some struggle and fear tomorrow? Why has money become the main focus of human life? It costs money to eat, to be educated, to get better if you are ill. Etc. The only thing you have is time, if your time is worth less than other people's. what does that mean about you?
The irrelevance of mysticism, prayer, and god.
Look closely at your life. How often do you think or talk about god? Every day? Every hour?
Muslims are supposed to pray five times a day. Why do you think that is exactly?
Whether or not any one believes in a god is almost entirely irrelevant when considering the survival of the species. The human race is either one or many. The individual should be at the center of all discussion, but somehow it always ends up being god. If the same reverence were shown to the nature of man that was given to the false purity as proposed by holy books, then things might have already improved past the point where we are currently.
We already live in an atheistic society. People give lip service to a number of gods, but do little to help humanity along. All we have to offer each other is our support. God does not heal broken legs..given the right set of circumstances, the body heals itself. If left in a state on neglect or decay...things get worse.
In any discussion a there is an inherent reliance upon factual evidence for there to be any coherence. Even when speaking about abstract concepts, there is always an inclusion of everyday experiences that the abstract concept explains or is being explained. Human being are empirical creatures, which means they build knowledge based on experience. If you are not allowed to experience something, how can you know anything about it? Why are things forbidden? Who has the right to forbid anything? If we could all agree that murder is wrong, then we could all forbid it right? And what punishment would be suitable for a murderer condemned by those who universally agree that murder is wrong? Our soldiers kill people abroad, but it is somehow not murder. The willful taking of a human life should be just that. It results in death and it is all murder, except when it is an act of mercy. That is a differentiation that requires factual evidence of consent or suffering. Those pieces of evidence are fairly easy to come by. People will tell you if they consent to something and it is often easy to see if they are suffering or not.
Universities, Corporations, Banks, Prisons and a self perpetuating government bureaucracy that gets larger along with the increase in population. If we do not expect to enter into another global conflict that will thin the population of working males, then something must be done to accommodate them. Military service is one of the best ways to institutionalize a man who might otherwise be your enemy or usurper. You give him every thing he needs, and his responsibility is to be a good soldier. To obey. Why would anyone want to sign up to join an organization that requires obedience? For some obedience is not the issue, but security. Institutions of all kinds promise security, but in defense of what. The Military might send you off to die in battle. A bank might invest your money poorly and go out of business. A university might build new side walks instead of offering more courses. There is no over arching authority that can tell us whether or not we are getting a fair deal, except for our own judgment, we are entirely alone.
We rely on institutions to be there and for their goals to be achieved, but are we willing to contribute? What are any of you willing to do to achieve your goals?
Personality development. (nurturing is natural) (the need for a reordering of psychological study)
There are innumerable sayings and commonly used idioms having to do with raising children. Since we have not vat grown any human beings yet and every human life that has ever taken place had to do so through the coupling of a man and a woman, or at the very least, the sperm of a man and the egg from a woman had to meet. Since this is the case, and no outlying statistics may be introduced such as; babies made in laboratories are more resilient to the flu, and so on, we can deduce that personality development is a naturally occurring thing. Nurturing is natural. There seems to be a focus on studying disorders instead of studying people. There are rules that govern human behavior, but they are not the central focus of modern psychology. We want to understand the brain. We want to understand everything about ourselves and the universe. How can we do that in one human lifetime? So far I don't think that has been accomplished.
A good worker.
Avoiding the fall.
Your fellow man.
Predictions and other falsehoods.
Power, Influence and Hierarchy.