Oct
24

“One can see evidence of the empty self in current psychological discourse about narcissism and borderline states, the popular culture’s emphasis on consuming, political advertising strategies that emphasize soothing and charisma instead of critical thought, and a nationwide difficulty in maintaining personal relationships.”
Philip Cushman, PhD, “Why the Self is Empty: Toward a Historically Situated Psychology.”

“But, you don’t understand how hard it is to meet people,” my obese coworker said to me one dark and terrible morning. “Nonsense,” I replied sucking greedily on my pure Columbian coffee, “you’re a terrible excuse for a human being. That’s why you can’t get a date.” She was stunned and nearly lost her iron grip on her I-Phone as she recoiled in shock. Her jowls jiggled like rancid Jell-O as she shook her head. “But, I’ve got soo much to offer…”

Lies are everywhere in today’s dying world, and no lie is greater than the one the majority of people wrap themselves in by believing that there exists that “special someone” out there for them and all they have to do is find this mythological phantom. It’s similar to believing that everyone can and should own a house and we all saw how that turned out. It’s simply not practical, realistic, or possible, as the 50% divorce rate points out. And now there is an entire cottage industry that exists for the losers of life’s romance game. Books, self-help liars, advice blogs written by and for the terminally lonely or vapid, online dating, and “just for lunch” networking gurus whom are paid to pimp out techi freaks and losers from the office pool. Well, let Dr. Root be the first to tell you that if you have ever stooped so horribly low as to partake in any way of any of these services, you are a hopeless, lost, internally desolate excuse for a functioning person. Sorry.

And yet, there is a part of my crooked heart that feels sadness for the millions of delusional people who are just waiting for that “right” person. I don’t feel sad because I myself am married to a beautiful woman whom I deeply admire and love; rather, I feel sad because it is the omnipresent technological culture in which we all “live” that has created this generation of social cripples. The average American’s life is so empty of importance and devoid of community as to leave people completely walled off and helpless. Surfing the internet, texting, email, instant message, blah, blah, blogging, all of these varied technological narcotic stimuli have resulted in the opposite of what they were created to do. Instead of bringing people closer together, they have created a generation of failures whose idea of conversation is done with symbols and evil monikers such as ϑ and ): and lol. Gone are the days of sitting face to face and speaking. Even the telephone is being replaced by the text. Shooting the breeze on the train, bus, or at the park has been replaced by a bunch of drones stumbling through their day with I-Pod earphones plugged into their brains.

The art of conversation itself is dead as a result. In today’s world it is hard to have anyone look at you normally if you have anything real to say about anything. People would rather discuss who they would vote for on American Idle than who they would vote for for president and why, would rather discuss what Britney wore to the Whore Awards than what to do about the failed economy or our never-ending wars, would rather hide behind surface nonsense than delve deep into the issues and possibly show how ignorant they are. The days of sipping wine or fine scotch and waxing philosophic about art, literature, music, politics, and the world are few and far between and are now saved only for readers of The Firebrand and Europeans (and possibly Canadians).

Instead, we are left with pale, fake, insincere, turds who hide behind their gadgets and then piss and moan because they are 32-years old and incapable of finding a fulfilling relationship. Not that they should. But, they should stop trying. Psychologist Philip Cushman has noted in his spectacularly pertinent and timely article “Why the Self is Empty: Toward a Historically Situated Psychology” that “our terrain (culture) has shaped a self that experiences a significant absence of community, tradition, a shared meaning” and that as a result, the modern American “experiences these social absences and their consequences interiorly as a lack of personal conviction and worth, and (he or she) embodies the absences as a chronic, undifferentiated emotional hunger.” Dr. Cushman goes on to describe how this internal desolation and rampant narcissism has resulted in a society that “seeks the experience of being continually filled up by consuming goods, calories, experiences, politicians, romantic partners, and emphatic therapists in an attempt to combat the growing alienation and fragmentation of its era.” And he is right on. America is a lunatic asylum filled with desperate, drug-addled, fat, lazy, super-consumers completely self-absorbed, brain-washed, and technologically walled off. They are not in tune with themselves, each other, the planet, or anything else and don’t deserve to have anything good happen to them.

Put that in your self-help book, Dr. Phil, you terrible jackass.

* Philip Cushman, “Why the Self is Empty: Toward a Historically Situated Psychology.” American Psychologist, Vol. 45, No. 5. (1990): 599-611.