The Cultural Value of Life

Some things are instinctive to us humans in the sense that, for the average Joe and Jane, the heart cannot be totally silenced. It takes a lot of damage and willful spite to become totally deaf to it, and it’s quite rare.

Thus defined, one of our instincts is to recognize when an oppressive system goes too far. On the one hand, we can tolerate a certain amount of oppression because cynicism is built into our souls. Only with extensive conditioning would we bridle against what we perceive as minor encroachments. Most of us would not consider a frontal assault against our oppressor, but would look for other ways to fight the system and the people who abuse us. But it’s an instinct, not a question of effectiveness and efficiency. We have an instinct to assert our humanity while trying to avoid excessive suffering.

What constitutes “excessive suffering” is naturally contextual, as are the things we consider appropriate as assertions of our humanity. We can differentiate between fantasies of “happily ever after” from what is actually likely. Losing that perspective requires serious external effort.

The middle class American culture is the product of generations of such serious effort to pervert the meaning that our conscious minds give to those instincts. What makes it so insidious is how it’s advertised as the most natural meaning. We are bathed in a cultural orientation that makes the physical the ultimate value of everything. Everything is viewed in terms of material cost. And this is so, despite the huge layer of denial that claims to promote transcendent values. What this conditioning does is change the actual meaning we associate with everything, so that transcendent values are handled in terms of material costs. It passes through the same reasoning process as concrete goods and services.

This is why we have this business of “rights” so deeply stained with a lawsuit price tag. This whole thing reduces human nature down to something malleable and measurable. Yet, we know instinctively this is not so. This broad cultural orientation creates a conflict that can never be settled because reality is so thoroughly twisted. Mainstream culture treats neurosis as the norm.

This is the underlying cause of the insanity we jokingly call “political correctness” or “social justice warfare.” It’s the insanity of a legal system that measures “justice” in terms of concrete outcomes, as if justice could be measured objectively. It can never touch the real issue of humanity and heart-led instinct because it denies their existence.

We can trace some of the historical trends that put us in this awful situation. For example, we know that the dark, brooding depressive mind is a genetic trait confined largely to Germanic tribes, a primary source of Western Civilization. Not that such is absent from other racial groups, but it’s how it manifests in their cultures. Suicide is far worse in Western societies at the peak of their success as defined by their own standards, whereas the rest of the world kills themselves when things are going really bad. There are other factors, but these trends are obvious. As we enter this time of tribulation in America, watch the suicide rates and you’ll see a shift in numbers and in who is doing it.

Now, stop and think about which segment of society makes the most noise about “life is precious.” What do they mean by such words? Pull back the layers of goofy mental conditioning and you see “life” defined as property, something with a concrete material value. Of course, that assigned value changes depending on certain predictable factors; not all lives hold the same value.

Keep in mind that we are not talking about economic classes here, but middle class culture versus lower class culture (there is no true upper class culture in America). It’s not that peasants don’t value life, but the meanings of “value” and “life” are entirely different, though the words and language sound the same. Placing a high property value on the contents of a body bag is not the same as valuing human life.

In press releases, we hear a lot of noise about a few dozen military bodies shipped home and it generates a lot of political pressure to change what the military are doing. But nobody gives a thought to the million or so enemies and civilians killed in the same activity. At least, there’s no thought about it until it becomes useful for some other political pressure game. Suddenly war is transformed into either a sacred duty or a horrible evil. Violence is either necessary (and scientific) or it’s inherently sinful. The whole question is polarized and extremist. There can be no sensible middle ground; no compromise is possible. That conflict is a reflection of middle class values. Genuine peasants don’t think that way.

Again, I’ve got more to say about this.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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