My previous posts on social atomization focus on its large-scale effects on society. But what about the so-called “elites”? Are they not adversely affected by social atomization? Or does it benefit them to the detriment of others?
I believe that the so-called “elites” do suffer the consequences of social atomization, in more ways than one. However their position in society allows them to temporarily insulate themselves from its worse effects- without changing the final outcome.
Let me start by pointing out two odd and interlinked features of present-day “elites” all around the world. Unlike their predecessors throughout recorded human history, they have very few kids and they work even when doing so is not essential and damaging to their ability to enjoy life. The kings, emperors, warlords, high priests, landowners and rich merchants of previous eras used their ill-gotten resources to eat, drink, fornicate and party till they dropped. Today their equivalents go to great lengths to keep on “working hard” and generally act and look like faceless rich drones. Most of the “elites” today are involved in shitty low-sex marriages and generally under the thumb of one or a series of aging miserable cunts who drain their money and sap their happiness. Few of them have more than a kid or two, who generally turns out to be mediocre at best.
So how do you explain people worth billions of dollars living such pathetic lives, when they have the resources to do have much better lives?
The sophists among you might claim that they choose this pathetic lifestyle because it is morally superior, indicative of ‘high IQ’ or long-term priorities. However “elites” throughout human history have always been opportunistic sociopaths who got lucky, and the same is true today. Nor is it due to the present being a “meritocracy” since merit plays a minor role in determining your “place” in society. Furthermore, humans beings don’t live forever so anything that occurs after your death is inconsequential. In my opinion, the progressively odd behavior of “elites” over the last 200 years cannot be explained by invoking conventional explanations such as the ones given above.
I believe that the direct and indirect effects of social atomization are behind the increasingly peculiar behavior and lifestyle choices of the so-called “elites”.
So how did I come up with this explanation? What drove me to associate social atomization with anhedonic behavior? The answer lies in first being honest about what motivates people as opposed to what makes them happy. While we like to believe that the same factors which motivate people also make them happy- that is often not the case. Fear of status loss, fear of material loss, desire to dominate and hurt others are often the strongest motivators. However going down that road takes you away from any chance at achieving any worthwhile degree of happiness or satisfaction with your life. Some morons might see happiness and satisfaction as the desires of an “inferior” and “unambitious” mind, yet they cannot explain the self-utility of a “hard workers” effort after his death.
Any conscious action which lacks self-utility is well.. stupid. If it does not make you happier, “better off” or keep you alive till the next realistic chance at escape- why are you doing it?
Which brings us the question of why “elites” live increasingly pleasure-less lives. To understand the reasons behind this change one has to first appreciate how “elites” become “elites”. In the past, people became “elites” because they were born to the right parents at the right time. They justified their position in society by claiming that they descended from gods or were chosen by gods- and used religion and greedy priests to support their claims. Those who challenged them were usually murdered- though sometimes the challengers murdered the previous “elites” and replaced them. To put it another way, their position in society could not survive even a marginally literate populace with a basic level of critical thinking. Which is why the enlightenment and the effects of the industrial revolution made it hard for the old “elites” to remain relevant, let alone command power or respect. They were ultimately replaced by the new “elites” who justified their position in society by claiming “merit”. While there was some truth to that claim, it did not justify the level of social inequality that exists and used to exist. However there was another little noticed side effect of this shift- loss of social cohesion among the “elite”.
Throughout history “elites” have defended their power through collusion with people related to them. Doing so was very easy in previous eras when you could fill all the important posts in your fiefdom with your progeny and relatives. But it is much harder to pull that off today because intense competition and the lack of good extended family protection means that conventional nepotism will almost certainly cause loss of status, money and dimunition of the ability to dominate/hurt others.
Today people have to work hard or put up a convincing appearance of hard work to justify their “elite” status- even if doing so is a losing proposition at multiple levels.
Therefore they cannot do stuff that would actually make them happy. Nor can they allow other “elites”, with whom they don’t share any deep personal bond, to do something that would make them happy. The “elites” now have more in common with a bunch of brain-damaged dogs who hate each other and are constantly fighting each other in a conflict that no one can win. Yet, they would rather prefer to keep on fighting over who is top dog than come to some form of agreement and live in relative peace and enjoy life- because nobody can trust nobody else. Even the “elites” are too atomized to act as a coherent entity.
Consequently they spend all their waking hours on posturing and fighting an unending war, rather than enjoying a relaxing and luxurious life. It does not take a genius to figure out why such people also have few, or often no, kids. On the bright side, social atomization has finally made the lives of the “elites” almost as miserable as the people they dominate and abuse every single day.
What do you think? Comments?