I live my life under the constant frustration that things of fundamental and preeminent importance must so frequently take a back seat to the practical business of being a worker/consumer cog in the prevailing economic machine. And the machine does not care one iota for grand ideas such as reality, authenticity, and self correction. Rather, it does considerable and deliberate work to the detriment of these principles.
Philosophy in general, and societal reform in particular, are not pursuits well suited for those who lack the means for leisure. This is because considerable time and uninterrupted, high-energy cognitive effort are required not only to accurately identify a problem, but to contrive its solution. And from there, substantial funding is necessary to market it and to maintain it.
But there is no outcry for such solutions in our society. Hence, there is no “market” for it, and a non-wealthy philosopher/reformer can either starve to death as a full-timer, or piddle with it as an avocation while he keeps the plates of industry spinning in order to eat.
Further, if I had the means to research and to write uninterrupted, I’d be writing—and this is quite ironic—I’d be writing for an audience that is itself too worried and distracted at present by its own economic constraints to give a flip about the very solutions that could deliver them from it. They are too biased to listen to an alternative, too overconfidence even to reconsider their own beliefs, and much less, to unbelieve the ones that need unbelieving. Who, then, would buy my books or come to my seminars? Yes, I know you four would come, so you can put your hands down. But with only four participants, the cost of admission would have to be astronomical for me to quit my day job!
These are the things I ponder as I fix hail dents on cars. Hundreds and hundreds of dents….thousands and thousands of dents…one after another…over and over. This is what I ponder as I struggle to fulfill my duties, such as navigating the auto insurance company’s poor website in order to renew my policy. This is what I ponder while in the cattle chute (checkout) of the megastore, having done my best to avoid the poisons and toxins I’m supposed to be buying as a consumer.
I hear the crap that gets said on the radio, whether in politics or religion or history or heatlh—and I read the crap that people post on Facebook—and I overhear the conversations as I go along my way. It is filled with bias and error—lots and lots of bias and error. And even so, I think, “That could be fixed.”
And indeed, it could! After all, people are people, too. And if I can change my mind, then other people can change their minds, too.
But who will pay for it? It takes time and study just to devise the solution, and then it takes time and marketing to advertise that it’s available. Then it takes constant, constant, constant pushing and persuading and convincing and repetition to make it stick.
I would gladly embark on such an endeavor. But alas! Until more funding is available, I have dents to fix. So rather than turning a corrupt economy into a principled society—rather even than turning non-thinking individuals into thinkers—I turn golf balls back into cars. And along the way, I continue to learn more and more about reality, which serves to compound the frustration.
In short, the more I aspire to be better than I am (overcoming my flaws and failures), and the more evidence I see that it is not only possible, but that it is a sustainable and rewarding way of life, the more aggravating are the obstacles to helping others do the same.