…Life is like going to the cinema… A Double Binding Society

Life is like going to the cinema. Only at the end of the film do you know whether it was worth it or not. But when you leave the cinema, it doesn’t matter. The only difference is that you don’t have to pay an entrance fee for life….

I wrote that once maybe 25 or 30 years ago. As a fairly young man. Raised and shaped in capitalist materialism. Carpe diem nihilism. That was what this system taught me and others too. Not much of anything. We went as calmly as possible through the instances that were provided for us by the system – school. Study, training. We made the best of it and were aware of the absurdity of human existence. There was nothing left for us to do. There was so little that materialism wanted to teach us. Others, who did not want to or could not become aware of this actual message of materialism, the absurdity of existence, took a different path. They repressed the fact that they had to leave the cinema once and that the film had then finally and irretrievably run its course. Their way was surrender to the system and acceptance of the pretended meaning in self-realisation and so on. Let’s look around. I don’t need to elaborate on that.

Now I know by now that there is much much more than materialism in its doctrine is capable of recognising. But even back then I was always amazed at the doggedness and the expenditure of energy (and also harmful to oneself and others) with which man in materialistic capitalism – and at that time also still – materialistic communism or socialism, took his way towards the final end of his existence. And actually also with regard to the transience of everything. Of the universe. Of matter itself. As materialism teaches in its sciences.

At some point I read something about a psychological theory. The so-called double-bond theory. This theory deals with a certain situation in which a person is exposed to certain messages. In it, the addressee of the message, the human being, receives two contradictory compelling instructions for action, the paradoxical character of which he cannot resolve and the disregard of which is punished in each case. He cannot escape this situation and he is not allowed to address the paradox. These contradictory and sanctioned messages can also be communicated non-verbally. They are often subliminal and cannot even be consciously named by the person concerned.

When I read this, I asked myself: What are the messages in our materialistic capitalist consumer society?

Perhaps like this:

Love your neighbour, but know that love is only a biochemical process.

Feel identity, but know that you are only a biochemical machine calibrated for survival and reproduction.

Live a productive and happy life, but know that it is futile and will end with your death.

Know that everything that makes up your world will eventually pass away, but value this matter more than anything else. Be meaningful in this attitude and take all the trouble and pain for it.

Somehow contradictory…. Hard to implement somehow… and there are some more….

I think that people (as a rule) cannot escape these contradictory commandments because they are forced by norms – and actually also purely economically – to remain in the society that postulates these commandments.

Due to the social control and the pressure of the valid norms, he is also not in a position to be allowed to decide in favour of an alternative perception. Also, the contradiction in the commandments may not be addressed or clarified by him – in most cases and social situations: „My goodness, what is he thinking about again! He should rather go to work. Nobody understands what he is saying!“ or something similar in this sense.

Humans now have the choice (or most of them do not) to either recognise their alleged existence as a material bio-machine with a pre-programmed expiry date or to strive for a somewhat expanded perception of their existence – beyond the material, undeniably transient aspect of our existence – in order to be able to live in real happiness and meaning.

In the former case, depression is likely to follow at some point. But this way of simply dropping out is not allowed. The person is then considered sick, weak and – worst of all – unable to cope and perform. So he better represses his helplessness and despair, censors himself and others (see above: „…Nobody understands what he is saying!“) and does as he is told: he works and consumes.

If he were to choose the second option, he would also no longer be part of the consumption- and material-focused events, but would have to turn to eternal truths. This exit is also sanctioned. This person would then be considered a non-conformist dreamer or perhaps a dangerous nutcase or something. In any case, no longer really belonging to the „community of values“. And actually also as somehow sick… Then many people turn back or are content with compromises – and silently join the ranks again….

Those who try to address this contradiction at all (even to themselves) will usually fail, because it is an unspoken consensus to simply persist in this contradiction.

In this tense state, people are called upon to be happy, because they can’t be better off. Only who they are, who they really are and what their life would be like in natural harmony, completely without the gruelling paradoxical compulsory demands imposed on them by materialist capitalism, is something they are unlikely to experience in this way…..

Experiments on dogs, by the way, have shown that there are three alternative courses of action when someone is permanently exposed to such a situation with paradoxical, unresolvable and sanctioned imperatives (they follow one after the other): Fear, aggression and then apathy.

You might know this from somewhere….

Pain must never be allowed to guide us. Our actions grow out of the fearless knowledge of our security in the meaning, of our soulfulness and of the eternal unity of everything. We always act in love for everything and everyone. There is no inner separation. Pain alone must never guide us.

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