Since our childhood we grow up being told what to think, what to worship, what political system we should idolize, what achievements are considered success, which people are inferior and which superior, which schools provide us with the best education, which banks pay the highest and enticing interest rate, which professions are “perfect” for us, what foreign languages make us “stand out from the herd”, what set of values really define “our level of civilization”…blah blah blah…
Cutting the crap, it is somehow no surprise that some of us have developed such an incorrigible cavalier attitude over the years growing up in a society that is under an ever present threat of ignorance, fear, indolence, debauchery and wantonness that gradually results not just in our fragmented society’s decadence but its slow obliteration beyond recognition.
It also comes as no surprise that we’ve indulged in an unbearably nihilist fatalism, that the world we hitherto lived in will one day come to a catastrophic end for there’s no one left with the courage and readiness to preserve it. While we display an unflinching zeal in defending the ideas and idols of aliens, we’ve never wondered how far we’ve consigned our existence to the flames. We dread the very mention of the word originality as in aboriginality, for the world constructed by vanquishers and usurpers is an epitome of the highest level of imagination and creativity, so we’ve been led to believe. As the Russian nihilist writer Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote in his crème de la crème novel The Idiot:
“Lack of originality, everywhere, all over the world, from time immemorial, has always been considered the foremost quality and the recommendation of the active, efficient and practical man.”
As can repetitively be witnessed in the novel, the protagonist Prince Lef Nikolaievitch Mushkin is the most despised and satirised character because of his unrelenting originality, his insistence on not paying any attention of whatever sorts to the perpetual lamentations of the gullible masses orbiting about him trapped in their irresistible and uncontrollable compulsion to repeat others, the so-called are the “expressions of a genteel and civilized society“. And this is what brings us to the beginning of this essay – this self-righteous and inconsiderate mimesis with infinitesimal shades of kitsch to be admired by the dilettante is not self-contained it rather is contagious. And that’s the principal reason we’ve to be reminded day in and day out that we should not believe in the “gospels” of the ironically self-proclaimed “good society” that doesn’t know (1) what it wants & (2) yet strives hard to convince others of the need to “realize their dreams”, “be successful”, “be this, be that”. This by way of a digression brings us to Slavoj Žižek’s psychoanalytic concept of “forgiveness”. Though unorthodox, his bold proposition in his “For They Know Not What They Do: Enjoyment as a Political Factor” that a society should not be forgiven just because it feigns ignorance is what we should exactly do. One way to do this is to strengthen our grip on our cavalier attitude, for it’s at the moment the most potent and effective defense mechanism, a formidable bulwark against the cataclysmic epic flood of ignorance and sophistry. As Žižek succinctly put it in this work of his,
“Ignorance is not a sufficient ground for forgiveness since it masks enjoyment; an enjoyment which erupts in those black holes in our symbolic universe that escape the Father’s prohibition.”
Apart from our nonchalance towards the absurdly asinine mass that thinks ignorance could help ameliorate our condition by getting us out of “solitude, failure and reprobation”, I propose that we keep not just poking fun at it but also meticulously continue prodding its gaping ignorance-inflicted wound. At the end of day, given our individualistic yet unreserved rage to master our ineptitude we could celebrate our victory, of course, “in the eyes of the winner” with the Ancient Persian parable: War Nam Nihadan – We can kill their self-imposed ignorance that blindly goes around trying to “proselytize” us, bury their defiled primitive, Simian corpse and plant beautiful flowers on their grave to conceal not just the pungency of their putrefaction but also their resurrection that might reignite the mass ossification of the credulous and the desperate.