Monday, 13 October 2008

What "cogito" - it's Consumo Ergo Sum!

The following are just thots that run through my mind upon reading the following paper by a couple of Malaysian academics, published in CSSE journal in May.
Pretty good stuff by these guys, actually .....

"I have showed thee new things
even hidden things
and thou didst not know them."

-ISAIAH 48:6
A hallucination is a fact, not an error;
what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it.

-Bertrand Russell

We are told that consuming is the way to go - we consume till we drop dead.
It is always about consuming and consuming anything and everything without stopping to think.
Money/ loans, food, drink, clothes, gadgets,
machines, plastics, toys, gadgets/ gizmos, credit cards, fashion, movies,
television, comforts, holidays, travel, degrees ..... everything - the more the better!
In order to achieve it one has to work, work, work, and work
- everything else is secondary to being able to keep up with the Joneses on all fronts.
That's the "modern lifestyle".

We are drowned in a world of consumption, where we don't have time to stop and think about our humanity
despite all this talk about "thinking out of the box" being trumpeted, to think is wrong.
To consume and fulfil the desires is noble.
To "not want" is weird.
To refuse consumption is , is rude and to question "offensive".

Our culture caters to consumerism.
Our education caters to consumerism.
We are told to consume knowledge, without knowing how to use it, or even know if it will be of use or abuse.
As such, every so often we are faced with graduate automatons, who are simply "educated into imbecility". Lately Mukhriz said, "I can't say I know what Form 6 students are thinking..."
Well Mukhriz - I've got news for you. You may be in for a pleasant surprise - many of the don't!

In colleges it is a competition of "A"s and passing rates as a measure of excellence - not quality. It's about reproducing - regurgitating what is flushed down your brains, into exams. With express instructions to the academia, they'll have to be fit into the percentage of required passes (unlike in the old days).
The capitalist market & politics control the academia, and no longer the academics.
It is not a wholly Malaysian phenomenon - the world has been convinced to believe that it is warranted and the right way to go about "making a living" (and not making a life).

In Malaysia it has been used to transform what was supposedly to uplift the economically downtrodden to the enrichment of the elite - in the form of none other than the NEP.
Due to the increasingly devalued currency and the escalating costs as a result of "legalized robbery", we work hard.

Yes we Asians are reputedly hard workers (especially those who perceive themselves as being forced to put up with economic hurdles). We end up becoming more and more creative on how to overcome these hurdles, and work harder & harder to achieve it. We also shudder at the thought of losing a little bit of our opportunities and we have little time for the "little things in life" that make up our humanity.

In Colleges/ Universities, the students are told to write what the teachers want to hear, and not to illustrate their own thinking faculties or challenge conventional wisdom. To challenge the established school of thought is to invite retribution of some sort. Our universities and colleges advertise their "wares" like they sell cars - education is to day merely a commodity to be marketed to the employers.
Degrees and titles which were once much revered, are today simply status symbols as a means to trumpet "successes of the system".
Our civil service is supposed to think up ways to agree with their "political masters" regardless of his/her duties which the taxpayer pays him for. The politician believes that employees are there to polish apples, and not to do a job! Is it any wonder that a politician (yes - Umno's) told off a broadcaster, "... if you do not agree with government policies, don't be a government employee. Resign."
The government prefers unthinking automatons to fill up the civil service, rather than have proud, dynamic and intelligent people who might question them or have integrity.

They are supposed to be that way, as many a job/qualification is bestowed upon them, due to political patronage/advantage.
Many a graduate or "professional" today, don't seem to have enough respect for the very qualification that they have, simply because they didn't really earn them - it was thrust upon them by a system that doesn't want to appear to be making losses.
It about appearances - it's about "public perception", whether "Ketuanan Melayu", or the NEP.

The public is made to believe that it is their right to consume, till they become slaves of their own obsession and thus becomes willing slaves to the system.
Forget values.
Forget truth.
Forget ideals.
Forget ethics.
Forget Philosophy.
Forget your Humanity.

You are here because it is your right to consume - production be damned.
I'm born to consume - the "National Agenda" states that!!
It is beneath me to to produce. My job is to allow the produce to produce, and I have to be paid accordingly for my "kindness & goodwill".
Let the producers produce, while I feed my desires and exercise my right to consume ....

It is my right to demand 30% for being born with a chip on my shoulder, and go gallivanting to Monte Carlo, Harrods, Paris, New York, Switzerland, Horse riding in the Pampas or Mongolia.
But of course every once in a while we can take money from the durian trees to pay for a flight to space or even dump a Proton in the Antarctic, so that "we" highlight how "gagah perkasa" we are and look good to the imbeciles who set the national agenda .....

Sad really ....

"Where is the life we have lost in the living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information ?

The cycles of heaven in twenty centuries

bring us farther from God and nearer to dust."

- T.S. Elliot