A Collection Of Ordinary Everyday Madness
This Collection Of Ordinary Everyday Madness is a compilation of human behaviours that from my particular perspective seem incredibly insane.
In fact to call these things merely insane is an understatement. Really what we are talking about here is a global pathological condition. It's the patients running the asylum.
They are most prominent is western society however I am sure they exist in eastern cultures also.
Turns out Charles Bukowski wrote a collection of short stories called Tales of Ordinary Madness. I only discovered this when I went to write this article.
I've not read any of the books in the series and there's no relationship with those here.
The Idea For This Article
What prompted this article today was a conversation with my sons Ruairí and Cian. We were talking about Horrible Histories, you know that kids Netflix show?
Well, it's a show that details some of the craziest things that passed for normality in ancient and even more recent cultures.
So I got thinking that there are equally insane behaviours existent today.
These things are short and sweet, designed to allow you breeze through them.
Later I'll use this list as an idea bank to draw from and expand upon for longer more indepth articles.
So, without further ado…
Oh, before I start, I should be clear that this is my view on things. It's just how I see it – agree or not.
We Follow Others Like Sheep
Most of us have limited capacity to think outside the group mentality. As such we look around for what others are doing before we have the courage to act.
We Sit In Front Of The TV For Hours
TV has become a social institution and as such it holds a very powerful place of influence. We spend most of our spare time staring at this digital representation of life instead of living it.
We're Critical Of Those Outside Our Clique
In-group out-group mentality exists everywhere in society. If you're not in the group you're out of the group, and to be out of the group is to be isolated and alone. And so to reinforce the in-group we criticise others who are not like us.
We Believe Illegal Drugs Are Bad
Government and it's powerful business allays decided one day back in the 60's that some drugs would be illegal and so they were demonised. We believed what we were told.
And Legal Drugs Are Good
They also said that the manufactured drugs they sold were good. We believe them then too, until Thalidomide came along and changed all that. But only for a while. Now we believe them again.
We Glorify War
This is a big one. Check out your TV, see how war is justified and glorified by news channels and government officials in the language they use. They need our support so they tell us what they know we'll believe.
And We Demonise Sex
Then in the next breath they demonise sex – the one things that comes natural to every single one of us. Without it we would not exist. Yet these leaders attach all kind of moral judgement to this perfectly natural and enjoyable act.
We've An Obsession With Celebrity
Celebrity is the new religion. We follow the beautiful people in millions believing everything they say and trying so hard to be like them. Leaving ourselves behind in the process.
We Believe State Sponsored Murder Is Ok
Did you take the life of someone? Ok then we are going to kill you too, that's fair enough isn't it? In many countries across the world an eye for an eye still exists and is executed by the state. Pretty crazy idea…
But Civilian Murder Is Bad
While we strap you to this chair and give you a lethal injection or electrocute until you are dead, know we are honorable and just. It is you who are the evil one. What you did cannot be condoned so you must die for us to have a better society.
We're Unaffected By The Homeless
Every day we walk past people who live on the street. Government make excuses and pay lip service to the problem while giving your taxes to themselves and their cronies. We sit by and see it happening year in year out and accept it as normal.
We Scream At Other Drivers
Shouting at other drivers from behind the wheel is common and sometimes it goes a bit further. Gallop says Britain is the worst country in the world with 80% of drivers experiencing road rage.
We Scream At Our Children
Losing the plot doesn't stop when we get home either. Most of us are so stressed out with the lives we live that we are willing to sacrifice our relationships too. Mental and even physical abuse of our kids is not unusual.
We've More Stuff Than We Need
We live in a consumer driven society that's all about having the latest and greatest stuff to make us feel good. But that nice feeling doesn't last too long and the stuff we buy ends up in the attic, the basement or in landfill.
We Eat Fake Food
We no longer eat real food and choose instead to live on packaged highly processed foods that damages our health and the environment. Big corporations are trusted to supply us nurishment with small local producers forced out of business.
The Media Is Believed To Be Impartial
TV, Radio and the Internet are our sources of information. Media corporations drive misinformation our way and manipulate our lazy minds with carefully scripted news. We believe pretty much all of it without any challenge.
Advertising Is Accepted As Truth
Corporations know that through repeated exposure to a thing we eventually begin to trust it. So they bombard us with positive reinforcement, even paying trustworthy celebrities to endorse their shitty products so we'll believe them.
We Need Others To Give Us Jobs
Most humans possess very little internal sense of creativity and self sufficiency. We rely heavily on outside parties to provide us with jobs, a source of income. When these sources of income dry up and the economy fails, we suffer.
Then Sit In Lines Of Traffic For Hours Getting There
When someone thinks us good enough for a job, we spend hours driving to get to it. Rush hour they call it. Here we sit like sheep in lines of cars for hours each day under the stress and axiety of financial pressure.
We Work Instead Of Play For A Living
So this work thing we value so much above everything else, what about it? Most of us don't even like what we do, yet we spend our best years doing it. They give us money in return, that we then give back to them via debt repayment.
We Give Our Time To Bosses We Don't Like
If you get a boss you like then you're in luck. Most of us don't like the people we work for. We bitch about them around the coffee machine to colleagues and choose to believe that they don't feel what we feel.
Then Ask For Two Weeks “Off” In The Summer
So here we are working our assess off doing things we'd rather not do, with people we'd rather not do it with and rationalise it by giving ourselves a couple weeks off relaxing with family. Wow, we're really kind to ourselves aren't we?
We Drink & Take Drugs To Be Happy
Bring on the weekend so I can get hammered! Partying is great but many of us are hiding behind compulsive behaviours as a means to silence the internal pain. That works for a while, until it doesn't.
We're Destroying Our Planet
All this stuff we amass, useless stuff that advertisers convince us we need to buy, destroys the planet. It's like the story of the goose who laid the golden eggs. The farmer wanted more and more and eventually killed the goose to see what was inside.
We Put Animals In Zoos For Entertainment
There are great initiatives in zoos across the world, but for the most part they are commercial enterprises, caging wild animals to draw crowds and make money. Then we visit and stare at creatures through bars and glass.
We Believe We Are More Knowledgeable Than Our Children
Adults largely believe children need to be taught. Without our guidance they would be lost. In actual fact if they were left to their own devices it's likely they would create a better world than we have. But we are too arrogant and afraid to chance it.
Then Put Them Through The Same Insane System
Our education system is largely a one size fits all that focuses on languages and science and maths. It doesn't encourage development in humanities or the arts. Therefore many children's innate abilities are ignored.
We Blame Others For What Happens Us
When things don't work out we look around to see who was to blame. In the most difficult of circumstances we find ourselves there is always someone else who caused our problem.
Or We Blame A Mystical Thing Called Bad Luck
Either that or we blame circumstance. If it wasn't some person or persons that caused this problem then it was simply bad luck. Whatever it was it wasn't me.
We Don't Believe In God
The fundamental tenet of religion is love, and that's all good. But the story we are given has been more than a little screwed up. So we throw the baby out with the bath water. We are on our own out here with nothing to guide us.
We Believe In God
On the flip side those who do believe in God see it as a force outside us. Some benevolent old bearded bloke up in the clouds somewhere casting his rule down on us. We have no sense of an internalised God, no understanding of the truth.
Yet We Don't Believe In Ourselves
We believe that we have no control over what happens to us. We have no concept of self creation and our ability to bring about all manner of experience. Many of us we hold the concept that we are lesser beings than we are.
We Believe Money Is Evil
We've got this serious negative association with money, it's built into our psyche. Here we are working our assess off to pay bills, thinking money is evil, yet loving it at the same time.
Then Spend Our Lives Chasing It
So all of this thought and counter thought about money is going on, yet we spend our time chasing the big win. Betting on sport, on winning the lottery and so on and we never really see it for what it is.
We Believe Others Are Happier Than Us
Others lead perfect lives. Everyone else is always better off and have been afforded more opportunity and resources than us. Social media tells us a utopic story and we swallow it hook line and sinker.
We Pass By Each Other In The Street
I often remark at how in less populated areas people are more friendly than in higher populated areas. In the city we walk past each other, in the country they wave and say hello.
We Think Partners Are Here To Make Us Happy
Find a mate, buy a house, settle down, have kids. Now while you're at it you better make me happy. That's what you signed up for. My happiness is your responsibility so you better behave the way I think you need to. Right!
We Think We Need Leadership
There's little sense of internal self governance. Almost in every walk of life we are looking for someone to guide us, to lead us. Economically, morally, socially, there has to be a leader otherwise we are lost.
We Can't Handle Death
Everyone is going to die, that's a fact, yet when it comes to death we have a melt down. Very few people actually die when they are supposed to. Unless that is your 80 or 90 years of age.
We Can't Handle Suicide
Or worse again, suicide. Don't decide to check out of your own accord whatever you do. Coming to terms with someone we love deciding their own fate is one of our greatest difficulties. Die slow or die fast, you're leaving here no matter what.
We Over Inflate Ourselves
We pretend to be more than who we feel ourselves to be then project it out into the world. But it doesn't last. We build relationships based on this false self but it eventually wears thin. Usually with the ending of those relationships.
Or We Under Inflate Ourselves
If it's not over inflated ego then it's a lower idea of ourselves that's prominent. Probably a hangover from repeated negative childhood experiences, carried forward into adulthood.
We Believe The Past Created Today
Looking back at past experiences we insist this present came out of that. We assign these experiences to ourselves and make them ours, not realising that the past is created now as we think.
We've A Fear Being Found Out
It takes a lot to break down the structure of the ego personality. It's a shadowy psychic structure but a very strong and necessary one. The trouble is we believe it's real and we dread losing it.
We Believe We Need To Act Responsibly
Whatever you do make sure you don't have too much fun. Have a little bit, but not too much! There has to be more pain than pleasure, sure that's what makes life worthwhile, right?
We're Way Too Serious
Linked to the last point, we seem to be way too serious about everything. Everything has to be structured and organised, put in a box and arranged neatly in rows. Hmmm…
We Lock Up Those That Need Our Help
This is getting better but it's still a problem. People with psychological problems are shipped away to homes and institutions where they can't bother us sane people. Then we give then psych drugs to dampen their “symptoms”.
We've Turned Prisons Into Businesses
Jailing people is big business. What would happen to all those jobs if we found a better way to treat those in society who needed our help. Compassion? Na, fuck that – lock 'em up.
Big Pharma Hides Cures
Pharmaceuticals are big business and these corporations have a vested interest in people staying sick. Cure everyone tomorrow? No way José cancer is our cash cow! How else will we make money?
We Think We Are Sane
We look out from behind our rose tinted glasses and we see other's behaviour as insane. The guy on the street talking to himself is crazy, and we laugh at him. Yet we don't realise that we do the same only we don't verbalise it.
So What Do We Do?
The human race is asleep at the wheel, that's the bottom line here.
Through our constant drive towards outward stimulation and the need to be led by others, it seems to me that we've given ourselves the equivalent of a full frontal lobotomy.
Now, I do admit at the same time there seems to be pockets of people waking the fuck up, but it's way off any kind of tipping point in my view.
Increased self awareness is welcome, and when it comes we should act on our new impulses instead of those old ones that no longer work.
The truth is our society is in a lot better place that it was 100, 200 or 1000 years ago and it's getting better.
I think everything will work out just fine…what do you reckon?
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Ray Heffernan says
Great read, Lar. You can feel Watts’ influence in your writing and your clarity of thought.
What do I reckon? Although I’d agree that life IS what you think or feel about it, and I share your optimism to some extent; I just feel that, on a profound level, something is broken, and I don’t see how we fix it. I dunno, though. I suppose Watts would say to ‘fix yourself’ and he’d be right. Anyway, thanks for the food for thought.
Maith an fear Ray, Watts is my dead guru 😉
He says in many of his lectures that (paraphrasing here), there’s absolutely nothing any of us can do about ourselves and to try is a complete waste of time. I used to wonder about that a lot, but something creeped up on me very quietly recently and my idea of that has changed.
Yeah I still get uptight about stuff but not as much as before. It’s not exactly a case of “ner a fuck will be given” but it’s not far off it.
We’ll be dead soon, better live. (Reckon there’s a song in that line…)