The No Substance Concept (from the Bad Times; Onlin newsletter)
THE CONCEPT: Today, we live in a world that has lost sight of life’s meaning. Our society is more superficial and un-informed than ever before. Most of this can be blamed on the media because more people than ever have the ability to turn on a TV or computer, or pick up a magazine than ever before. With the explosion of media outlets (more magazines, more TV stations, more computer networks for public viewing, more widespread news papers, these are the true fabric of our modern world) the accuracy and thus quality of our information sources has declined drastically in the last 20 years and have become devoid of standards. Because of this, most major industries have also compromised their standards and we are left with products and information that have no substance and hence a public that has a warped sense of value and a desperate longing for meaning. Congratulations. There are more people hungry than ever before also, more people who work their hands off without receiving a fair salary either, and more people hoping and wishing for a better life instead of working together toward a more meaningful society. Much of this of course is due to the logarithmic growth of the world population. It is easy to generalize about the absolute number of desperate people because the world population has never been bigger, and we’ve never experienced such a disparity between the privileged and the needy. Those in the middle of these two groups, the working classes, have been declining in America and Europe because of cheaper labor in developing countries. Hence manufacturing, middle-class jobs are nowhere to be found in the countries that used to set the standards for working-class values. Interestingly, these are also the countries that have the most sophisticated mass media. So there are fewer jobs, but more and more cable TV channels and internet sites to choose from that pacify and hypnotize people into a dream state. That is to say that our minds are thinking of ways to live better, but our bodies are inactive. So there is no way we will ever achieve our fantastic goals because we are forgetting how to work toward a better life. We have become a society of torpid dreamers that have not the means to live the privileged life we fantasize about while we slowly sink into a new style of poverty. Due to the sensational, absurd nature of most media and so-called "news", new standards are evolving that encourage selfishness, lookism, separatism, and above all else, profit. Whether you observe the most popular internet sites or the hottest TV shows, these values are constantly being reinforced. By focusing our efforts on these we have become a hopeless, sad race. We shun the education and worldliness necessary to form meaningful social interactions. We fail to develop a sense of common good which is essential to maintaining a peaceful society during periods of runaway population growth. We have become a people with no idea what it means to be alive, a virtual race. Life has become all obsession with no substance. How can we combat such a tragedy? Well, we can start by buying the new BR CD on May 05th, then we will talk. After that, we can spend less time pretending to be social in the internet coffee-shop chat rooms, less time watching Jerry Springer, less time listening to the Spice Girls and Madonna, less time on the psychic friends network, less time having phone sex, and less time reading pseudo-intellectual treatises on self-help topics and the coming apocalypse. This could be coupled with spending more time interacting with real people, having real sex, reading scholarly works and discussing them in some sort of meaningful chat rooms or coffee shops, more time organizing people into work-groups for social action, more time protesting the low standards that the media industries are heaping upon us, and more time fighting for the benefit of the common citizen. These are just a few of the activities that need to occur in order to reverse the trend of the last two decades and gain back some of the lost substance in our society.