Existentialism via your television

A short lesson from the BBC about the problems of post-modernism.

My favourite thing at the moment is the British show ‘Life on Mars’. It’s packaged as a sci-fi police drama. The plot centres around a detective in Manchester circa 2010 who is involved in a road accident. After being run over by a car he wakes up in the same place, with the same name and job, but the year is 1973. The modern glass and steel Manchester he knows is replaced by a dirty, bleak, depressed city still bearing scars from the war. The storyline then revolves around his attempts to come to grips with what has happened, believing that if he can understand what is going on he’ll then be able to get back to modern day Manchester. He does not know if he is dead, in a coma, delusional, or has actually travelled through time. Much of the following story content is about his fish out of water experience of his modern training clashing with the old Clint Eastwood ethos of the police department he is assigned to. Diversity training, political correctness, cultural sensitivity do not exist in the world which he now inhabits. Instead he has to deal with detectives who spend most of their time in the boozer in between chasing after badies, employing a shoot-first policy. Without spoiling the plot too much, he eventually wakes up again in his normal life only to realize that his life in the 21st century has left him numb to existence. The endless procedures and doctrines which dictate a modern day cop’s working life has left him in a sort of limbo, his soul is dead, he has become an android. The real world is merely something he inhabits, but is not connected to or part of. Finally he decides to end his life in the ‘real’ world, his suicide ending with him picking up where he left off in the 70′s. He could not breath in the sophisticated modern world, so he took refuge in the rough and imperfect past.

Currently I have found very few other works of art (other than Radiohead) that so perfectly sum up the existential problem of life in the advanced West. The reason that there are at present, relatively few pieces of art that genuinely reflect the spiritual malaise taking place in our society, is that we live in a supposedly “enlightened” and “progressive” era of history. The accepted narrative of modern social history revolves around the delusion that the future is the story of inevitable progress and improvement. ‘Tommorow will be better than today, and today is better than yesterday’. Hmph. This fallacy is supported with the accepted index of human happiness : materialism. Most people today do live much more comfortable lives than they would have 60 or 70 years ago. And on the face of it, we have more social justice today than times gone by as well. But what does it benefit a man to gain the world and lose his soul? What has been the cost in our own lives for these creature comforts? The cost of these advances cannot be measured materially. The cost is paid in terms of mind and spirit. The reigning Utopian ideals of pluralism, moral relativity, “tolerance” and “inclusion” come at a cost. To make a longer argument shorter, modern man inhabits a system of self-imposed totalitariansim. He dares not hold an opinion that might conflict with the views of his neighbours, or the self-appointed elite .
Peace at all costs is the social mantra of modern man. Even if it means a total denial of the true nature of each individual. Humans are not nice, I’m sorry to say. We are by nature evil, greedy, violent and hateful. But today we see the full realization of the ideals that fuelled the French Revolution to perfect man. Modern man is the result of a long and complex effort at social engineering. Our greed is partially sated by the securities of the welfare state. Our hostility and suspicion towards ‘other’ people is partially suppressed by a concerted indoctrination into the politically correct way of thinking.

What results is a society of schizophrenics. True human nature is merely put into a straight jacket. The changes we think represent the modern enlightened man are as cosmetic as the moisturiser he uses. True change, conversion to true Justice, can only begin within the soul. It cannot be imposed. Every philosopher since Plato has known this truth. Today the voices of reason are silenced before they can speak. The next Beethoven will be censured by this social montrosity before he even has a chance to pen his masterpiece. In an attempt to child-proof the world, man has been arrested into a perpetual intellectual infancy.

Until more people awaken to the present spiritual crisis in the West, the “justice” in our society will be as synthetic as the keyboard that I am typing this on.

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