Thursday, January 23, 2014

expectation as the root of authoritarianism, part 2

Part 1 here

Every time a human is annoyed, angry, upset, irritated, etc., it's because their expectations have been foiled. Or so goes my scheme.

A TV show annoys you. You expected it to be better. I'm not using the term in the usual sense, exactly. Maybe you could have predicted you wouldn't like it, but if you're annoyed, somehow you were expecting it to be good in spite of itself. Obama drone bombs a wedding. You're disappointed because you expected something else. Maybe you predicted it, but the fact that you're still angry means there's an expectation not being met.

In my own case, I latched on to certain ideas about autonomy and human dignity by age 5 or 6 and have been very consistently disappointed ever since. It would be difficult to change those ideas if I tried, not that I'd want to. I also become committed to my immortality, which is why death owns me. When I go on about world and the impossibility of transcendence, it's part of my attempt to let that expectation go.

Other expectations may be more manageable. The wife, for example, tells me she'll be doing something at X o'clock, which means some time between X + 10 minutes and X + 90 minutes o'clock, or if I complain, never o'clock. When she tells me her plan, my expectations for the day are affected. Usually there's a reward for me when she does the promised thing. Free time to blather about expectations because she took the boy out somewhere, for example. She promises me blather, I white knuckle grasp it, then I'm annoyed when she doesn't give me that at the time promised. X o'clock is fixed in my head along with the reward, something that does not require intentional conscious intervention. Babies and dogs do it too, afterall (though not with actual clocks of course). I'm not sure why I let myself get attached to X o'clock specifically. The Charlie Brown kicking the football thing. Why not factor it in? I've gotten better at that. The only time it doesn't work is when I forget to do it, which is stupidly often.

Moving on, it's in this grasping that the roots of authoritarianism can be seen. What if I say I'll get what's mine at all costs? What sort of things could I do to get my way? Now imagine someone who sees nothing wrong with getting his, doesn't notice what he's doing, employs apologetics to turn himself into the good guy, and so on.

Better, don't imagine it. Just think of any hierarchy anywhere. Chinese kids are beating Japanese kids on tests. Oh fuck! We need to expectation set, stat. We need to beat them at tests! How do we do that? Bend world any way we can to make it real. Longer hours! Better (read: more conducive to expectation meeting) textbooks! More homework! Bomb China! Who needs to change? Not me, motherfucker! I'm the changer, bitch! Internalize profits! Externalize pain! It ain't just corporations, you know. The children of Japan are the ones who will suffer. They will be bent any way it takes. They will be made in the image of authority. And when they are bent over backwards, they will stay in that position for the rest of their lives. And it will be goddamn painful, so much so that they'll work 60 hours a week, spending what little free time they have in their apartment or (running!) car, avoiding all human contact, making love in their imaginations with impossibly submissive kawaii girls, who can be, yes, imaginarily bent to their expectations. And they'll consider this the least bad life option. And they will be complicit in contorting the backs of the next generation because fuck China, or whatever other form authoritarianism takes. It's the expectation, and the clinging to it, that bends world, and makes it suffer.

No comments: