Thursday, November 20, 2014

When we fear losing

We like to fantasize about having nothing to lose, because in such a situation, we can finally show "the real me!" unrestrained by burdensome social expectations. If only zombies would cause the collapse of civilization; if only carbon emissions; if only a fatal war with the Sino-Russian Alliance; then, then we could be completely true to ourselves, no doubt. What if we had terminal cancer and were past the "sad" stage and onto the "preparation" stage, or what if we went to hell, or got locked up in prison for life? Finally, released from all the burdens. Finally, we could be honest with ourselves about how ruggedly survivalistic we truly are. No more holding back when the manager at Sports Authority tells us those branded trainers were mislabeled, and the price is actually more than $4.95! Finally, being constrained at the grocery store only by the number of laden carts we can push at once, and whom we can knock down in the produce section before they see us. We too could be as powerful and independent as our imaginary homo erectus forebears, solving once and for all the riddle, "How did such as weak and dependent as I make it this far with such a rickety set of genes?"

We know we could do it. All the bottled water will surely be ours! Finally, we have to let all our lusty lust and our forlorn gluttony out of the bag, because it's necessary to impregnate the few remaining human females (for the survival of the species, and not because we know Lot was a naughty fantasy rather than good advice), and to get all the preserved calories we can shove into our maws (because it's the sensible thing to stock up, and not because feeling duty-bound to eat a bag of Snickers is what we always wanted). Thank God the government has stopped pretending it cared, so that now, now, at last, we can do what we really want, and defy them without any fear of losing their false approval. The world can become GTA, free of constraint, where everyone else is an NPC that gives you points if you click extra hard.

1 comment:

  1. "Having nothing to lose" is not a baseline state of mind. It is a discrete jump, and if we are honest, most of us do not know when - if ever - we can find ourselves in a position to make it, but there is surely a variation in the propensity to do so. Then there is the question what kinds of things (e.g. good or bad) provide the spark and the goals.

    I think an interesting recent example was that guy Dorner, who declared a war (sic) on LAPD a few years ago. Check out his manifesto:

    Going on a murder spree is insane by default I suppose, yet on the whole, that's a pretty articulate rationalization, which is actually pretty often the case, if you think of some of the famous rebels/criminals.