Monday, 15 November 2010

Words of Mad Men

'I hate to break it to you but there is no big lie, there is no system, the universe is indifferent.'

This quote is from Don Draper of Mad Men when leaving a party. I hate to say it but the man summed up everything I have ever wanted to say when leaving a certain kind of venue. So many modern day 'liberal' individuals blame a great deal of societies wrongs on some great system, some overarching lie that befouls humanities innate brilliance. As if when we were all left alone without 'the man' watching over us we would be better!

This I feel is one of greatest errors ever made by humanity, that in some previous time there was a golden era. The idea that in this time period, even in the last generation or so, some domineering (often white male) type chaps have taken control of society and imposed their will on everyone else. This concept has repeated itself in various guises throughout human history in the form of doomsday predictions and conspiracy theories.

Conspiracy theorists and doomsday predictors are wrong, the universe is indifferent, there is no big lie, there is no grand design, people have always been just as self righteous, ego driven and easily lead now as ever. These aspects of society are not symptoms of some new malaise, they are part of human culture from the agricultural revolution onwards.

We as a species are fundamentally plastic, we can adapt to whatever is put in front of us. As one of my computer minded acquaintances once said, our minds are an open source programming interface. This means whatever we offer to ourselves in terms of thoughts, beliefs and experiences can, with some restrictions, be made our way of thinking. This is an amazing and liberating tool. The universe is indifferent, open and flexible, just as we are! It turns out that we often reflect the rather shallow values we are presented with rather than a truly open and indifferent universe.

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