Disillusion- A new pandemic of one of history's greatest forces

Continuums on a horizon

The mechanics of change

Some of history’s greatest moments have been achieved not through any specific action, but as a result of disillusion. The French Revolution, the American Revolution, and the Russian Revolution were based on loss of faith in a system. China’s murderous history from 1911 started with disillusion in the Manchu Empire’s ability to deal with foreign aggression. The collapse of colonialism was as much about general disillusion of both colonies and colonizers.

Everyone knows the process personally. The great ideology or the great new acne treatment, followed by a slow but irritating realization that these things go so far, and no further. The fanatics of today are the idiots of tomorrow, and the acne has to be treated with soap and water, not hype. Even if an ideology persists for generations, it falls to bits as its flaws become more obvious.

The present time is a time of massive disillusion. Many younger people feel as if they’re living in a museum/nuthouse, a world run by people far less literate than themselves. Worse, these people don’t even seem to understand the science which is so much a part of basic issue management. Social collapse is obvious, and unmentioned. It festers away and people trundle around like robot zombies as if there wasn’t a problem.

The same conditions as previous massive upheavals, in fact. The sheer maladministration of France was one of the reasons for the French Revolution. The imbecility and insensitivity of the British Townshend Acts started the American Revolution, and directly caused the Boston Tea Party. Russia and China were in states of utter chaos when their revolutions occurred.

Socialism, which was originally no more than a pretty basic principle of social justice based on disillusion with inequalities in societies, became a self-righteous “lowest common denominator” ideology, in which all rocks were to be legally considered diamonds. The Common Man, with all his various handicaps, was extolled as a superman he could never be in the 19th century. If it was an improvement on the theory of degenerate wealthy people as role models, the practical issues were largely overlooked. Socialism fell in a screaming heap in the democracies because it simply became too dogmatic and impractical, and completely lost track of its origins.

The capitalist ideal is perhaps the only ideology on Earth which is able to commit suicide through its own stupidity on a regular basis. The most insane optimist could not possibly describe the post 2007 crash as anything more than an indictment of a system which has routinely no idea what it’s doing. The crash cost more money than all America’s wars combined, including World War 2 through to Afghanistan, in bailouts. America’s other huge problems have barely received a mention since. Grounds for disillusion?

Disillusion with obviously dysfunctional societies is the natural starting point and initial motive power of change. Sadly, disillusion usually brings with it some baggage of its own. The irony is that many forms of change are ideologically driven. These ideologies start off as the working principles for fixing problems, then become “laws” of the movement.

Ideologies, having shelf lives like any product, tend to suffer from a lot of “adaption” to situations. This process usually translates into “Better paid politicians are more representative”, and other absurd concepts. It’d be funny if it were fiction, but the fact is that ideologies are now no more than commodities. A gravy train for parasites, from policy writers to spin doctors. Nothing is achieved but delusions.

That’s the major factor in the current pandemic of disillusion. The default global reaction to social policies, politics and finance is now total distrust, with good reason. The failures are obvious, the situation is terrible, and the ideologies and ideologues keep spouting new “triumphs of ideology” like burst sewers.

Whatever it is, our new Easy-Sleazy policy and jingle can fix it. However ridiculous, we’re getting paid to do it. We have a process which will never create a product. We’re on one side or another of a debate which never goes anywhere or gets anything done, so we must be right.

Irritating, isn't it?

Disillusion will never be an ideology. It will, however, always be a huge force for change, when it can apply itself. The problem is that it never insists on achievements or clear objectives. The French Revolution produced the Terror. The Russian and Chinese revolutions produced bloodbaths for decades.

If you’re disillusioned, stay objective. Ignore ideologies, dismiss hate groups, disempower parasitic political groups. The best results have to be practical, not rhetorical.

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Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

A fantastic way of looking at history. Will we ever learn?

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