Alan Watts delivered this profound message decades ago, and unfortunately not much has changed. This thought-provoking five minute video may give you insights into how we’ve collectively lost our sanity and why so many of us are unhappy.
Watts believes the madness stems from our culture valuing hate more than love. “Expressions of physical love are far more dangerous than expressions of physical hatred,” Watts says. “And it seems to me that a culture that has that sort of assumption is basically crazy.”
He’s 99% of the way there but he loses it at 4:07.
He meant that the kind of behavior and way of thinking that our culture breeds is that “expressions of love are far more dangerous than that of physical hatred.
The Isz says
The fact that hate is more predominant isn’t the problem.. it’s a symptom. It’s because the world itself has a deep rooted sickness, and that sickness is filtering straight from the very top to the very roots of humanity. Because it’s so sick at the very top is why it affects everyone on the planet. Those at the very top are outside the rule of law, and those corruptions seeps down through each caste level, to its foundations. Hence why the world isn’t ‘fair’.. Although those at the very roots may not be educated enough to know how or why, or be able to reiterate what’s wrong in the world, everyone from the bottom up can feel it, if they aren’t already acutely aware of it.
Jay Speed says
“filtering straight from the very top” – how do you define “top of humanity” and who are they? How do we reach them and influence upward? Inquiring minds want to know.
Critical thought. Don’t let others tell you what to think, think for yourself, and don’t accept anything but the whole truth.
The problem. People don’t know where to look for it. Thank God for the internet. Soon they will shut that down and we’ll be as informed as a man in front of a TV.
To start people can start asking and trying to actually answer the exact question you pose. There’s definitely more and more people becoming ‘aware’ and starting to recognize that the world isn’t necessarily what was beat into their head since day one. There is a lot of information out there and I’ve been through all (most) of it. One starts researching and then most start going in circles and get wore out and hopeless. What I see in most of these discussions are people repeating all the problems (which is good because it enlightens people enough to quit being brainwashed) and no one offers a solution or even a best attempt at a solution. We need to fundamentally rethink our approach to everything. I mean it’s so Fucked that throughout most of the developed world, it is ingrained in people, to work hard at an idea, and when one has created something, instead of thinking how this creation could help benefit the most people; instead business teaches us how to restrict access to the many for the biggest profit to a few, and further this is what we think is ‘success’ and how we value ourselves. Is it just me? or is that entire concept that we glorify worldwide just fundamentally Fucked. I mean we are not fucking barbarians anymore we have the intelligence and means to be capable of anything yet we live in the same mindset of of our Hunter and gatherer ancestors. It makes no sense to keep going forward with this mindset our race will never survive it. It’s time to rethink everything. The task seems daunting and but can be done. We need to start with the core and rethink how to actually interact with each other as human beings, we spend all our time chasing money because money is essential to everything but only because we believe that is the only way. We spend most of our time interacting with others for the sake of money. Well what does money buy, goods and services from other people, but guess what, we take the money away and the people are still there and capable of doing the same things. Really it comes down to uniting and coming together as a true community, that takes care of all its community members to prosper as a civilization, to do this we have to live like a community and grow community food, provide the community with education that promotes principles to prosper as one instead of compete for survival. A community that is balanced with the environment. A community that focuses on health as a whole, how can you have a healthy environment if most of us can’t even have a healthy body. And just as important, a community that uses technology, and science to keep everything in a true harmonic balance and if an advancement in these fields does not promote balance in the world, future world and race as a whole then it should not be considered an advancement.
Ernest Stefan Matyus says
ah, but that is a symptom as well, not the cause of the disease. In a sick and corrupt society, the sickest and most corrupt make it to the top.
Human civilization is like a living mas of amorphous fluid. And the surprising fact is that it filters into layers according to its own consciousness.
The top can’t influence the great mass, they have very little power over them, but being the best aligned with the consciousness of the whole mass, it is they who prosper.
True power lies with the many, for it is they who can change the civic consciousness. This however requires a tremendous exercise of coordinated will and thus it is almost impossible to achieve by design.
Changes to the consciousness of a civilization usually happen by accident, through little actions or reactions that ripple out over time to create massive waves which in turn trigger the shift. Some happen gradually, over time, while others in the blink of an eye.
Given enough control of a people’s education, intentional changes may be applied, but these are short lived. Civic consciousness is always changing, fluctuating and the most insignificant of events can trigger radical shifts.
Our current consciousness is that of personal welfare and indifference. Why should we care care that the people building our smartphone live barely above the poverty line or the person who mined that diamond on our fiance’s ring may be starving tomorrow.
The society isn’t messed up because some very few “successful” people are messed up, the society is messed up because most of the people are messed up.
Given the chance to be a billionaire most people wouldn’t act differently.
That means and this is my closing point that it is in the power of each of us to change the social consciousness of our civilization. All we need to remember is that nothing is isolated. Every action we take starting from the groceries we buy to the job we do or how we choose to spend our private time has effects on everything else. Everything is connected. Every ripple no matter how small, every action no matter how insignificant will produce a change. The web is most times so complex that we just can’t see it’s there.
So to anyone who read this I say be kind and be respectful, be skeptical but open minded, learn to understand, believe only what you feel, stay firm but accept change, be active and consistent with your beliefs, learn to give and to receive and above all to evolve. Do all these or only some and you will change the world for the better.
In actual fact the change comes from the bottom up not the top down. And it comes from one person at a time. We aren’t victims we are more powerful than the ones people whinge at.
Lesley Jxsgrma Richardson says
Well said I remember sitting around the dinber table talking about the day no tv allowed not anymore it’s
All utopianism, whether libertarian, collectivist, technocratic, or anarchist, is mind control.
Les Toolish says
Human emotional neurology did not evolve to enjoy a life of chronic fear and deprivation of critical social reinforcers. This poverty of circumstances that give rise to human happiness is, in most cases, engineered by decadent, greedy elites whose otherwise unsustainable lifestyles are dependent upon the wage and debt slavery and overall neurological oppression of hundreds of millions of people. The full panoply of human needs is to broad to enumerate fully here, but people need daily rest, regular respect, reasonable control over their social environment, a high degree of variety in their weekly activities (think about hunter-gatherer societies and all they might do in a particular week), early reproduction in life, healthful, timely food, activity out in daylight, close and regular emotional and physical contact with close family (and babies need CONSTANT physical contact and should never be placed in a room to sleep alone). This is a very short list. The point is, and it should be no secret, we are treated as farm animals and/or slaves where there is really no difference except that slaves are members of the same species. That we are not chattel slaves should not send anyone ballistic about my use of the word. Look at the list of human needs and think of the ways we are forced by cultural narratives and laws to abandon them. Tribal people want nothing of this. They see the scheme immediately, especially when they are not visiting the rich. THE reason the elites prohibit the using of mind-expanding and relaxing drugs is that they want to control when the slaves are freed from the control of fear. The liberation of the mind is inherently threatening to slavery. Sure, “hate” has something to do with this, the elites do not love the slaves. And teaching them, somehow, to love more would be a big help. But understanding the culture and machinery of oppression and dismantling it is a necessary condition of keeping people where they can identify with each other. Several studies have shown that inequality itself fosters disdain and alienation, with the rich being the most disdainful and the most objectifying of the poor.
Anton pulvirenti says
i agree with what you say. But I object to the use of the term ‘elite’. It gives them too much dignity. I prefer the term ‘controlling group’. Anyway, well said, and much food for thought and action here….peace!
Les Toolish says
Well-said. I have abandoned the term as being inappropriate. I prefer to call them “money hoarders” and “decadent oligarchs”.
Marvin Schulz says
I am amazed how Alan Watts already talked about this in the 70’s. More true now than ever.
I heard his speech begin, and it was instantly “Demolition Man,” like he was emulating the fellow — the utopian leader of the sci-fi film — in an effort to carry out an act of digression.
Dietrich Buxtehude says
People don’t watch television anymore. Everything is on the internet.
And “expressions of love” are not exactly hard to find on the internet.
Deborah Massey says
the “average” American watches 1597 hours of TV each year … people watch TV … and “love” as in the real emotional connection between two living things is almost never portrayed. If anyone can point me in the right direction to “view” the portrayal of “real love” on TV I’d love to hear your comments
Dietrich Buxtehude says
Could I get a citation? Because I’m guessing that whatever is cited is a study from a decade ago. Television has been usurped by the internet and video games, which is more interactive and more social than television ever was.
And my second phrase there is not-so-subtly referring to pornography.
Deborah Massey says
Stats for 2014 – reputable source. http://www.statista.com/topics/977/television/
Dietrich Buxtehude says
You also failed on your second point about “expressions of love.” Those aren’t expressions of love.
Dietrich Buxtehude says
no, not over my head at all. Just pointing out both of your “witty” responses are wrong and not witty at all. The first one was addressed already, so I addressed the second one.
Dietrich Buxtehude says
It’s absolutely an expression of love in this context. Especially if we’re counting all the mindless violence as expressions of anger and hatred.
But yes, it’s very “impressive” how you take a light-hearted joke so seriously. You must be great fun at parties.
let us find a way for you to keep your dignity. I’m here to help. Look, I’m nodding politely.
Dietrich Buxtehude says
Yes, I also want to make sure you have that smug self satisfied feeling from such a pointless conversation that you clearly started to sate your ego rather than have an actual point. Clearly you have bested me oh great one. Hail.
Lourdes Betancourt says
Interesting pov. And I totally agree. That said, I have found one show recently that does portray real emotional connection. Medium. I’ve been watching it on Netflix. It’s a couple of years old. And it’s an odd show, but the couple & their kids are portrayed as a close, loving family quite realistically, aside from the weird central theme of the show. I don’t watch “live” television. Not even for the news, which is skewed by the corporations that own the stations, plus there’s too much emphasis on negativity. I watch when the day is done & I need to put my feet up. 😉
Anahit Oha says
we are scared , thats the basis of the culture .
Colin Poole says
This is just commonplace projection as any psychologist would plainly see. The “world” is at the highest stage of tolerance it has ever been. There is no more global slavery. No more global racism. No more global homophobia. 50 years ago blacks and gays any women had nearly no rights at all. There will however always be sad people, depressed people, unhappy people. And from their perspective, they will then project that the “world” is more full of intolerance and hate.
The fact is that now that hate is reduced to small concentrated areas, but our transfer of INFORMATION is so much faster, so much more widespread, our access to great and so global, that we can still fill our days with messages of hate and intolerance…but we are REACHING much farther than ever to FIND it.
50 years ago, the news you got was the news of your town or city, and 30 minutes to an hour of global news, which just didn’t have the TIME to talk about lesser forms of bullying, hatred, etc; though don’t think for a moment they didn’t just exist but flourish. We now have a culture where we call that out! Where to take to the internet, show people the hatred in hopes of changing that persons views and beliefs. We have become crusaders for causes which we wouldn’t have known about prior to this “information age” and so while it may feel overwhelming, you must look at this with some matter of perspective.
If you are a person who is generally happy and satisfied with life, you will feel like things must generally be happy and satisfying for others. If you are a person who feels empty, has no support system, looks at all of the tragedies around the world then you will feel that we are suffering from a devolving culture – because if we weren’t “you” would be happy, and supported.
Once again, take just one moment of historical perspective to look at the atrocities in human history not just by their scale, but by the scale with which they were ACCEPTED. Slavery, sexism, homosexuality, racism, religious intolerance…before this/last century torture and murder of people in the name of those things was accepted by a vastly higher percentage of uninformed people, primarily motivated by fear and ignorance. A fear and ignorance which while not gone, is certainly on the downturn and HAS been BECAUSE of this new age we live in.
A little bit of positivity and perspective go a long way, and articles like this are more of a self-indulgence for those who are truly having a hard time in life…but to rob society of credit for the MASSIVE strides we are making is just short-sighted and reductive.
Anyone else want the soap box now? My legs are getting tired.
Charles B. Burch says
The pathway that our modern society has chosen is a result of worshiping materialism, insatiable greed and desire for more and more. This pathway doesn’t give the fulfillment and happiness, and Love that we are searching so intently for. Failure brings on extreme frustration and more of the same pattern of fruitlessness.
This repeating pattern and pathway to continuous chaos reminds me of similar pattern in man’s inhumanity to man in George Orwell’s: 1984. This novel shook my very foundation. Is not society taking this same pathway! ‘The haves and the have nots.’ The elite and the commoner. Also, this class structure is history repeating itself as it often does. ‘The Lord and the peasant’. Are we going full circle again? Have we learned nothing from life since the beginning of time? Where will it end? Enough already!
d t says
Cannot say it better than Leunig.
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Widchy Joachim says
The video isn’t available