Thursday, February 28, 2013

Living Together

Ragnarist Individualism ~ Overview

Ragnarist individuals and systems seek to fabricate different forms of segregation, creating illusory categories that divide different elements of life against one another. As touched on in classification, this method is optimal for a sustained destruction of life because it allows for the destructive agent to target an isolated, weaker section, rather than all life. In more simple planetary terms, one species is easier to drive to extinction than the whole biosphere. In economic terms, one individual is easier to drive to homelessness, exposure, and starvation than a community of a hundred, a thousand, or eight billion.

"Western" human societies express this tendency in its strongest form through the idea of the "individual": a self-supporting, self-responsible unit of measurement underscoring all transactions. While vague allusions are made to shared responsibility and collective burdens, all professions, all law, all medicine, and all entertainment are centered around the individual; the single biological human unit.

Practical Implications for Housing

Zoom in a little, to the single human making life decisions. In western society--again, use America as the easy example--each person is solely responsible for that person's welfare and actions. A person may starve, thrive, kill, save, spend, and buy, by her- or himself. Criminal punishments and economic damages are levied against single persons; single identification numbers make a single person liable for taxes and other social responsibilities.

Operating within this context, the cleverest thing any given person can do is live with a partner. Why? Because housing is designed to exploit the idea of "individuals." The "elite" humans who control zoning, development, construction, and capital flows design entire societies around the individual. Sidewalks, meals, bikes, cars, apartments, condos, houses, and offices are designed primarily for one person, with occasional allowances to "couples" and "families." This creates ridiculous planned inefficiencies in resource usage for people who accept things as they are: when a young woman hits 18, she's expected to get her own apartment and provide for herself. A family home, formerly housing her plus two parents, suddenly has a vacant room, kitchen space, hallway space, bathroom space, etc., and the kid now pays for her "own" place, furnishing space and food and furniture for one. It's a fiscal nightmare that translates into massive profits for credit card companies, low-quality department stores, sexual abusers, vocational training schools, and other young-adult predators.

Everyone essentially understands some of the money aspects of this, which is why so many people find roommates, get married, or order the "extra large" pizza and share out slices, instead of everyone ordering their own personal pie. If you're into evolution, people have been hardwired since the inception of life to live together, sharing labor, protection, and comfort, and maximizing their returns from everything they do together. So when a society tries to destroy this, and turn people into isolated individuals, it takes a few thousand years--antilife is fighting against, say, millions of years of evolution.

Ergo "the family" is allowed. Cities carefully use zoning restrictions and fire codes to limit the numbers of people allowed to live within any given apartment or house ("single family residence" or "no more than two people a bedroom" being popular examples), but in America, those codes are generally not necessary, except on Indian reservations or in low income communities: social mores have already crushed into most Americans' brains the idea that they should be in charge of their own household.

Costs of Individualized Housing

The costs of single-, couple-, or family-limited housing are tremendous. Not only in terms of wasted space, but in terms of energy, food preparation, security, entertainment, and health, the single-unit residence is a calamitous extravagance. A nation filled with individuals and small family groups, each provisioning standalone walls, roofs, refrigerators, and front doors is a weak, fragmented nation, succumbing easily to elite divide-and-conquer tactics, such as recessions. The "I am independent; I have my own car!" American trope is being recognized by many as a mistake, compared to mass transportation, but individualized housing is a far greater nightmare than that, on par with individualized health insurance.

Space. So easy. How many hours a day is the kitchen counter used by one person, two people, or six? How many vacant hours does any given individual/family pay for the privilege of having that kitchen counter empty and unused? A private toilet, tub, or bed makes more sense, but--the garage? The guest room? The back staircase? The upstairs linen closet?

Energy. A house with more people is warmer, nach, but in winter, maintaining a warm house for X dollars of heating oil warms up everyone in the house. If ten people in ten apartments pay quantity 10X for their heating bills, ten people in one large apartment probably pay about quantity 2X. Same for air conditioning.

Health/Food. Who's going to finish the last of that 23 pound turkey? Who makes dinner tonight? Just like the extra-large pizza, or splitting stuff at a Chinese restaurant, individualized food preparation, or "having it your way," causes either massive proportional wastes in terms of preparation time and grocery bills, or decreased sanitation in terms of necessary storage time. Increased variety, e.g. health and enjoyment of life, comes either through being a rich yuppie dropping $80 every three days at Whole Foods, or being willing to split your organic squash-salmon quiche with three other people.

The health effects of a "community" are more profound, though less dollar-measurable, than anything else. The most individualized nations on Earth are the more depressed (diagnosed, drug-taking, and hidden) nations, and they're also the ones with more suicide, child-care costs, unsupervised violent kids, wacky middle-aged bachelors trying to ape the young, and lost, mournful, wandering elders with no one to talk to. Children are meant to be raised by a community, which is relatively easy to see; what is more difficult for most westerners to accept is that adults are meant to be raised by a community, too. Loss of access to the wisdom of elders, and the wisdom-outlets of juniors, is emotionally crippling to isolated individuals or closely-proximate families. It leads the very young and the very old to pet fetishism in search of child replacements, and the frantic middle-aged to fertility clinics, wedding planners, and excessive use of Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr, in desperate attempts to mimic the communities that millions of years of evolution have told them they need.

Not only in terms of reduced use of cigarettes, caffeine, alcohol and pharmaceuticals, but in the immeasurable costs of conversation, emotional security, heart-attack call response time, and peacefulness of life, does the individualization of housing destroy humans.

Security/Entertainment. So, who's gonna watch the place while you're on vacation? Feed the fish? Water the magnolias? Anyone wanna watch Batman? Gosh, I wish I could afford a 50 inch plasma. Oh crap, I forgot to pick up eggs. I wish Steve was here--he owns the DVD. What album was that from, again? Does this face look right to you?

Pitfalls

Obviously, there are a lot of nice things about the idea of shared living space. Even more obviously, there are a lot of awful things about it. Who put that red smear on my towel? Who left the quiche on the counter all night? No, you can't watch Top Gun right now; I'm sleeping!

They're all avoidable, and rather easily. There are ones you haven't guessed at, which pop up only when you get started doing it; we'll cover those, too, in the next segment, and explain how they can be easily fixed.

Then we'll talk about what the elites have in store if you figure out how to do it right. Finally, we'll conclude with how to keep under the radar, solve the community-building problems, and make it all work without getting Branched.

3 comments:

  1. LOL, without having finished the last paragraph, I immediately thought about the Waco massacre, and what do you know - just a few words later, a warning on avoiding "getting Branched"! Indeed, that would be nice to know ;)

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  2. "A family home, formerly housing her plus two parents, suddenly has a vacant room, kitchen space, hallway space, bathroom space, etc., and the kid now pays for her "own" place, furnishing space and food and furniture for one. It's a fiscal nightmare that translates into massive profits for credit card companies, low-quality department stores, sexual abusers, vocational training schools, and other young-adult predators. "

    Wow! Now there's a nice encapsulation of what happens when "rugged individualism" merges with capitalism.

    For all that some politicians and religious leaders focus on "the family", and for all that some on the left talk about "community", almost everything about the current system conspires to alienate young people from their families and communities--and to get said families and communities, as well as the individuals, to foot the bill. What's "family friendly" about people competing with each other to get their kids into the best pre-school?

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  3. Dona, the whole concept of "personal responsibility" is *completely artificial*, even in the specific capitalist circumstances that created it. The notion that the individual alone is 'responsible' for their survival is possible only in a society where social and economic relationships have evolved so much that they have reached a point where they are completely abstract and depersonalized in the marketplace. In thse circumstances, obviously, nothing else but the 'individual' exists. However, the further back in history you go, the less possible it is do discern the possibility of an "individual" outside of embeddedness in personal relationships.

    The liberals got a bit too excited a bit too early, and thus the doubtful confounding of freedom with individualism. It's a tragic misunderstanding. A human can only develop their capacities to the fullest in cooperation with others. (And obviously, these are not my words).

    Nevertheless, it is still true that the inability of a family to attain independence or for the young to leave the house "in time" is for all intents and purposes a "tragedy" in contemporary life - when the society at large operates in completely contradicting terms, failure to conform is rarely liberating - it either gets you "Branched" (i laugh and cry simultaneously thinking about that shortcut), or condemns you to judgment from others (even if you are strong enough to avoid the self-doubt)

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