Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Pop-psych to the Rescue

Dear George,

There is an inverse relationship between consumption and the Corporatist State. The more pathological the consumption becomes, the healthier the state becomes. Therefore, it behooves the state to use every weapon in its arsenal to encourage this pathology. All of these weapons are grounded in the myth that the public is entitled to a life of unbroken happiness and that if an individual fails to attain that state it is because thehe hasn't bought the right products, so the pursuit of happiness is reduced to buying even more.

But before there can be pathological consumption, before the ploys of marketing and advertising can have any impact, one precondition is necessary: communities and families must be fragmented. A viable community and a viable family retard consumption because both frown on excess and are likely to discourage impulse buying by pointing out to the would-be purchaser just how stupid and unnecessary the item is.

This is where pop-psychology has come to the rescue by furthering this fragmentation through the floating of simplistic concepts, which, though grounded in sound research, are quickly exaggerated and twisted as they become weapons of alienation.

Many families go through periods of trauma. It could be divorce, death, impoverishment, drugs or booze. Each member of the family develops a strategy to deal with the crisis, which may range from passive acceptance to anger, to failed attempts at micromanaging the crisis. The one thing they all have in common is a determination to stand by the family member in crisis, thus preserving family solidarity. This makes them a danger to the state because should this solidarity spread, we could easily see a return to responsible consumption. (I know this is a stretch, George, but the state must leave no stone unturned in its effort to encourage excessive consumption. After all, paranoia is an essential component of power. You gotta keep looking over your shoulder. Strong families will screw you to the wall every time. You just never know…)

…but I digress

Here, the dogma of codependency performs a valuable service. By treating family loyalty as a mental illness, they encourage families to dump their problem members rather than to stand by them. This preserves the fragmentation so necessary if our corporatists are to prosper. Implicit in this is the myth of eternal happiness. If a family member is the source of unhappiness, dump him. Once done, the individualized family can continue its climb up the mountain to Paradise while the discarded member rots in the lowest circle of Hell. This condemnation of the errant member is rationalized under the rubric of “tough love.” It is one of those healthy euphemisms that rank right up there with “collateral damage.”

The truth is, George, the more we hate and fear others, the more we fear and hate those close to us. This is why America is where she is today. Long may her ascent continue.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

2 comments:

pz said...

Of course, I especially like this letter!

Case Wagenvoord said...

Thanks. This one came out of personal experience.