Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Values for Modern Society

The question here is what are the moral values that we should adopt in order to live successfully and happily in the modern money society that we have today.

The modern society we have today is a drastic change - as a result of the scientific revolution where human beings have learned to conquer nature and gone beyond the confines of the natural environment (well, not quite) into an artificial world of the matrix which involves human activities that move money - from the very slow and mundane world of agriculture and natural self-sufficiency which managed to keep everybody in a community from starving but also from being too rich.

From the traditional agrarian society of the past, where economic fortunes laid in a delicate balance as mother nature (or some would call god) constantly threatened to upset things once in a while with either too much rain or no rain or violent wind, we learn that it is good to be humble and not too be proud because we do not know what tomorrow may bring and therefore we better not be too cocksure about ourselves and our abilities. Whatever skills we may have are nothing when considered in the context of the larger cosmos, the billions of stars in the skies and the huge expanse of the earth and everything that the sea, air and earth can hold.

Because of the vagaries of the world, humbleness is indeed the best insurance because when your luck is down, you need the help of your neighbours, and vice versa. If you were to boast and you happen to be in trouble, then you are on your own because nobody is going to help you because you put yourself above everybody else when you were lucky and now everybody want to see how you can get out of the quagmire you are in and if not to see you eat dirt.

And you don't blow your own trumpet because other people do not like the sound of the noise you are making about yourself because they could be jealous as a result of their own inadequacy or that they may be more superior to you and could come out in the open and challenge you in order to teach you a lesson on humbleness. It is okay for others to blow the trumpet for you and then you should be proud of your greatness. This is because in a small unstable society, a small fart will stink the whole place and it is better you do not let off that you are the culprit. Secrecy is key to survival, and all the skeletons in the cupboard better be properly hidden.

In modern society where Adam Smith declared long ago that the best thing to squeeze the best out of the best in society is competition. By which means, give everybody a chance to show off and be the best. The world wants to know who is the best - the fastest runner, the strongest weightlifter, the richest person, the richest company, the best technology firm, the best car maker.

The modern world is not a world of humbleness; it is a world of self-declaration (I'm the greatest, and you've better be) and self-advertisement (I'm not the best, but I can get it and you can't). The modern world is a world where everybody is the unique (hence the body tattoo) and the best in whatever little niche they have decision to hole themselves in. This is because in a competitive environment, you have to find the odd little space that is empty and you try to fill it in and capture a place in the busy market.

The modern world is no more dependent on the natural environment (though ultimately it must still do); it is dependent on how much money you have. As Joan Collins recently mentioned, to have the f--- you money, so that you do not have to kowtow to anyone anymore. With money and wealth in the mind, everybody is out to kill the competition and be the only one left standing (ask Bill Gates). The big ones crush the small ones and the world is run by the global monopolies who now have the power to twist the arms of sovereign governments - and threaten to move their investments out if they do not endorse a slavery policy and pay no tax and leave the ordinary citizens in every country they invest in unemployed and poor below subsistence. Human beings become inputs to the large industrial complex that controls the world economy, aided by the global money printing machine that is the US Federal Reserve which has happily been churning out paper banknotes in the billions over the last three decades.

So for the ordinary person in his little abode of whatever kind he and his family have managed to find themselves (read she as well, especially the single mother), how is he going to behave. If he is humble and doesn't blow his trumpet and waiting for his bosses or other people to recognise his talents and achievements, he will end up as a semi-unknown person pushing the keyboard in a little corner while his bosses take credit for all his work and allow themselves to be admired by other thieves of credit (that being their only major credit).

The bosses and managers (usually with soft skills in manipulation and lying) short change the skilled workers (with their hard skills obtained after many years of book study and brain cracking), because the skilled workers are humble and the bosses are braggarts. So the sons and daughters of farmers and fishermen, well trained in manners by their parents, languish in their little stations in life, desperately trying to pay back the mortgage on their house and car and putting food on the table everyday.

Worse still in a society of discrimination, where sections of society are either put in favour or being ignored, the values that are now being germinated are completely strange.

Among the well-to-do in favour, they are privileged and therefore everything deserved go to them.

Among the not-so-well-to-do in favour, they are being caught in twilight zone as they cannot cry that they are in trouble nor can they say that they are not good enough.

Among the well-to-do being ignored, they are really not being ignored but courted because they know how to make things happen and everybody love them.

Among the no-so-well-to-do being ignored, they are at the bottom rung of the social ladder, their parents literally sacrificed their own lives to provide a basic platform for their children to take a first step up.

Those who can't resign themselves to fate, abandon the formal society and enter into the world where no laws apply. Because the world has ignored them, they in turn ignore the world. They create a world of their own. They become rebels and rise in opposition to the government, the source of the injustice done to them. In this world, it doesn't pay to be humble, but be obedient to their code of brotherhood to fight together for survival, and probably at all cost to defend their right to live in this world.

In the meantime, the brighter world of the government officials who are employed not for their competence and who spend all their life in employment training to be fit for the jobs they were initially hired for and retired upon their graduation from education. They go on the escalation of promotion and privilege so that everyone has a chance to get the top scale upon which they can retire in luxury, never ever having to lift a finger to help their fellow citizens who are desperately in need of guidance of the rules of the societal game.

The civil service becomes bloated because those who are sent to school during employment have a replacement to do their jobs. Those sitting in position but are incompetent hire external consultants to do the job for them.

So what is the moral values that one must adopt in order to live successfully and happily in this modern world of ours? Certainly not the traditional values of self-restrained and self-righteousness. I suggest some here - kill or be killed, lie in order to avoid trouble, fake when you are can't do it properly, steal when no one is looking, steal openly when there is a policy endorsing it. Not forgetting, blow your own trumpet or rather blow with the trumpet you have stolen. Advertise your talents as there is always a demand by the incompetents who have access to funding.

The world has changed.


walla said...

If nothing is done, it will only get worse for everyone. Just from one account, ninety five billion ringgit of non-collectible debts. And they're still making wacko statements about hudud to save society when they can't even save themselves. The amokfication of Malaysia can only be stopped if good governance is returned. Those handbags and wads of cash taken from millions of taxpayers were to buy votes from the morally handicapped, no?

Capitalism requires competition but competition does not necessarily accelerate Maslow's self-actualization above which self-transcendence. We have lost the art of wrapping meaning over purpose over personal achievement for the sake of excellence.

Let's not kid ourselves anymore; we ain't going to make it even for all the window-dressed pussyfooting by so-called mainstream experts.

Since systemic excellence is a non-entity, individual excellence will be the only way left; that means primacy of personal education which means private sector wealth-building any which way to get world-class education and develop skills and ideas to leverage funds for own businesses to create new money engines. Then leave to come back occasionally for sun, food and sales. Just ignore the stupidity level which somehow has peaked.

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