The compulsory slum in your head


Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2Human existence is a range of slightly augmented basic needs. All societies impose a large number of restrictions on human life. That includes providing a full-function conceptual slum by default.

The conceptual slum is based on a series of How Tos. How to be normal, how to have a family, how to have a career, how to have a social life, et cetera. This range of How Tos also eats up a lot of time.

This is a historical phenomenon with many ramifications. The totally screwed current generation of millennials can be easily forgiven for thinking that the past was some sort of great-grand-paternal benign haze of “old things”. It wasn’t.

Quite the opposite. The past was a collection of similar How To compulsions, including status-sucking middle-class imperatives like the nuclear family, two cars, endless appliances, and so on. Who you were was basically dictated by what you had in the way of possessions and social status. Sound familiar?

Paul Wallis, Live Lazy and Love It, Amazon

The theory of this book is that if you can afford to be lazy, you must be doing something right.

If Machiavelli doesn’t deserve fame for any other reason (and he doesn’t, the smug sycophantic little bastard) he deserves acknowledgement for defining a hierarchy of social compulsions. Sycophancy is nothing new. It reflects the realities of social hierarchies/real social relationships very effectively. These social relationships are a virtual map of social compulsions.

Social grovelling is your instant guide to who’s who, what’s what, and the passing priorities of whole societies. All this is based on what are bizarrely called “real world” factors.

This means that your desperate need to socialise with somebody you can’t stand is compulsory. You are afflicted with a range of social relationships whether you like them or not.

Even more excitingly, your own priorities are also very much affected/afflicted with the effects of other people’s compulsions. This banal mechanism is the basis of human society of the past and present. It dates back to the caves, and probably the trees. The big atavism of Jack London’s Before Adam, Orwell’s Big Brother, any form of vague social authority is all you need.

The Mental Slum

If you’ve ever wondered why seemingly intelligent people are virtual slaves to every sort of materialism, ideology, fashion, or whatever, the compulsion is very insidious. The metal slum is derived from the social slum. The lowest common denominator is mediocrity, and the lowest common denominator is also the average.

It may not be your idea to blunder around in a world full of idiotic lifestyles, ridiculous extravagance, and “terror by tantrum” in the form of real terrorism or office tyrants. Socialising with psychopaths may not even be your idea of a good time. This is the social environment, and this is the real slum.

A slum, by definition, is a filthy, disorganised, poverty-stricken, crime and disease-ridden environment. The mental slum is no different. Mental filth could be described as mental trash. Mental poverty doesn’t need a description. Mental crime, in its many forms, is pretty normal. Is it any wonder that mental disease is so common?

Imagine, if you will, a world where compulsions are avoidable. Real choices are available, and your mind and intelligence don’t have to wear the repulsive prison uniforms of suits, offices, mortgages, and constant need.

Somewhat different, would you say?

Talking about “different”– One of the strangest things I have ever heard, and believe me when I say I have heard some pretty strange things, was a single sentence: “Fear of being different”. Think about that seemingly innocuous expression for half a second.

Different according to whom, or what? Society, of course. This pathetic, clapped out, hopeless, mindless excuse for total failure which we call society causes people to fear being different?

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Fear of creativity is the sure sign that you should be a publisher. Read this, and you’ll never need homicidal maniacs again.

If you’re claiming to be a human being, (and you really should know better), you ARE different. Nobody else is you. Even mathematically, you are different. Forget pseudo-egalitarianism; Person A is not Person B in physical terms, mental terms, life experience, perceptions, perspectives, add dictionary here.

The social slum you were born with, however, dictates “normality”, however absurd. The irony is that normality is usually a conglomeration of accepted How Tos, and equally normally completely out of date. The norms of the previous generations are therefore inflicted on younger generations to whom they are basically meaningless.

In Western culture, that famous contradiction in terms, the norm continues to be a whole series of compulsions from roughly the 1950s. These compulsions are now almost completely irrelevant, and progressively becoming more absurd as models for doing anything.

Why inflict new generations with the mental slums of the past? What possible use could it serve? Who benefits?

Getting out of the slum

To get out of the slum:

Keep your distance from it: There is no need to participate. You’ll have a much healthier, much happier life as a result.

Avoid the Idiot Factories: Ideologies, in particular, simply restrict thinking. They rarely if ever add anything to do it. You may also have to waste a lot of time un-learning the bad habits and lousy arguments of ideologies.

Don’t merely accept anything: You don’t have to believe a damn thing. Check out your information; is it consistent, and does it make actual practical sense?

Either you run your life, or it runs you: Who’s winning, the groceries or you? Make sure it’s you.

Forget How Tos: Nobody can tell you how to be yourself. Nor do they have any right to do so. Your best friends will insist that you be yourself, and that should be enough of a hint for anyone.

When you get out of the slum, stay out.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books