3 Feb 2007

Singapore - Affluenza

From the Author of the bestselling They F*** You Up: How to Survive Family Life.

The blurb reads...
An epidemic of 'affluenza' is sweeping through the English-speaking world - an obsessive, envious, keeping-up-with-Joneses that makes us twice as prone to depression, anxiety and addictions than people in other developed nations. And now we are infecting the rest of the world with this virulent virus.

By visiting cities as diverse as Singapore, Moscow and Copenhagen and interviewing a cross section of their inhabitants, psychologist Oliver James has charted the spread of this potentially crippling disease and identified the key factors - vaccines - that will protect us against it.

In this colourful and eloquent account, James reveals how issues like consumerism, raising children, appearances, property fever and the battle of the sexes vary across societies with different governments, values, beliefs and traditions. And in doing so, leads us to an unavoidable and potentially life-changing conclusion: that to ensure our mental health we can and must pursue our needs rather than our wants.

And a little extract to whet your appetite.
I met few Singaporeans who seemed to have any life outside work. Most are doing jobs that entail very long hours (sixty or more a week), dedicating their minds and bodies to selling of sevices or commodities rather than to activities they find intrinsically absorbing. All had been caned as children by parents and subsequently put under tremendous pressure at school. This surely means that they are more easily coerced into subservience to authority and its goals in the workplace, and a sense of filial duty (originally based on fear of the cane) anchors the people-machines in place. Until they are married they remain in the family home, where parents can continue to monitor them; it is barely thinkable for them to take off for other countries where they would have greater freedom.

These examples, and that of Singapore as a nation, were the purest that I encountered on my mind tour of the damage done by the Virus to the playfulness and sense of volition which are so important for well-being. p.67


Matilah_Singapura said...

Every culture, in fact every "collective" belief system has aspects about it which strip the uniqueness out of individuals. You can't have a "culture" without some "same-ness" running through the group. Shit like this pleases the "united" crowd — those folks who define their own identity to the group they belong to. In fact, not belonging to a group for these SHEEPLE sends them into an IDENTITY CRISIS. The function of the group can be political, religious, racial, philosophical — whatever. Belonging to a group means one can fuck-off the personal responsibility and blame the group for any failure.

However, politics is a natural consequence of sheeple grouped together. Eventually the culture of the group itself becomes a political force. To the Sovereign Individuals (real humans — individuals who are their OWN persons) who have decided that they are the centre of their worlds, sheeple could pose as a (constant) threat to liberty and freedom. That is because as a GROUP, the HERD or FLOCK is an awesome force. It seeks to suck unsuspecting Sovereign Individuals into the rabble of fools. And most of the time: Resistance Is Futile, You Will Be ASSIMILATED. Avoidance by the idea of freedom of association, which implies the freedom to dissociate, is always a better option than head-on confrontation with the collectivists and their evil, soul-sucking collectives in my opinion.

I therefore have no sympathy whatsoever to those people who spend all their lives chasing the Almighty Dollar, surrendering themselves to a cold-lifeless materialistic culture; and infect their hapless children with really dumb values. But first, strip the poor kid of his individual spirit and install bullshit into his belief system (surrender individuality, embrace "culture"), so that the kid will always be dependent on The Group — the "needy" obedient minion, jumping at the beck-and-call of the "authorities" all his life.

To the sheeple reading this: You're hooked on a "drug" and it Serves You Right, you spineless, ball-less, dumb addicted-to-collectives junkie motherfuckers. May you continue to get the government you deserve, and suffer for it. The fact that you have no time for the most important things in life — like family, friends and self... and SPONTANEOUS FUN — is your own damn fault. You folks are the same as the mob-democracy killed Jesus and Socrates, so... Fuck you all. Good luck — you'll need it! :)
"The decay and disintegration of this culture is astonishingly amusing if you are emotionally detached from it. I have always viewed it from a safe distance, knowing I don't belong; it doesn't include me, and it never has.

No matter how you care to define it, I do not identify with the local group. Planet, species, race, nation, state, religion, party, union, club, association, neighbourhood, improvement committee;I have no interest in any of it.

I love and treasure individuals as I meet them, I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to".
— George Carlin, an extremely funny guy, quoted from READY OR NOT, HERE COMES ANOTHER BOOK.

Ghormax said...

I agree that Carlin is funny because he is able to write nonsense. I mean, he assaults groups while he is a member of a group himself (and if it's only his family) How could humans become detached from groups when we are group beings? We are influenced by the groups we belong to, even if do not admit it.

That does not mean we do not have individual responsibilities. The individual has special merit, its relationship to a group creates meaning, but it does not supersede the importance of the individual.

Individualism is not Egotism. Membership in a group is not identity with the group.

hippo said...

I believe that the culture of Singaporeans

Matilah_Singapura said...

ghormax wrote:

> We are influenced by the groups we belong to, even if do not admit it. [...]

Membership in a group is not identity with the group. <

I spy.... A contradiction!

> Individualism is not Egotism. <

Yes, but it can be. For example: Many tin-pot dictators are egotists, and they are most certainly individuals, in every conceivable sense.