There are two ways to sleep well at night ... be ignorant or be prepared.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Nyquist Lays Out Fundamental Flaws that Make Us Vulnerable

Last essential dose of J.R. Nyquist for now ...

- "Since authority has broken down, personality takes its place."

- "The 'last man' is led by peer group pressures. He always compromises and retreats. He expertly maintains the lies put into his custody and congratulates himself on being 'practical.' As a coward and subjectivist, he secretly thrills to the notion that truth doesn't anywhere exist and that if it did exist it would remain forever unknowable."

- "American culture is 'economic' in nature. Our system of government was organized so that economic activity, perhaps at the expense of other activities, might thrive. This was a proper orientation for a developing frontier society where life was at first primitive, harsh, and unsettled. But somehow we never managed to evolve beyond these humble beginnings; and as we grew in affluence, we retained our economic fixation, failing to open up other cultural horizons. Today the growth of the economy has become the end-all and be-all. Even our basic view of man is tainted by economism. What defines us now, more than anything else, is our continuing reduction of everything to economics, which we imagine is an entirely rational thing to do. We talk in terms of supply and demand, but we forget that demand is a mystical thing, with its roots going down into the soul.

"Our economism also leads us to forget that there are human crises outside the locus of mutual profitability, in which one man's gain is amother man's loss (i.e., as the fundamental social problem). Question marks seem to mount. Can economics swallow art, religion, and politics without digestive calamity? Does the multiplication of wants through commercial advertising bring us happiness or have we merely reestablished misery by other means? What happens to the virtues of self-denial and self-control under a regime that sustains itself by breaking these virtues down and by cultivating (especially through television) a regime of self-indulgence?"

- "When 'success' became a measure of moral worth in our society, the 'honest poor' had no leg of self-esteem on which to stand. And this is the origin of our modern rabble."

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