The triumph of triviality thesis

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The triumph of triviality thesis

The results of the cultural indoctrination stakes are not yet in but there is a definite trend — triviality leads, followed closely by superficiality and mindless distraction. Vanity looks great while profundity is bringing up the rear. Pettiness is powering ahead, along with passivity and indifference.

Curiosity lost interest, wisdom was scratched and critical thought had to be put down. Ego is running wild. Attention span continues to shorten and no-one is betting on survival. Half a century ago, humanistic thinkers were heralding a great awakening that would usher in a golden age of enlightened living.

People like Erich Fromm, Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, Rollo May and Viktor Frankl were laying the groundwork for a new social order distinguished by raised consciousness, depth of purpose and ethical refinement.

This tantalizing vision was the antithesis of our society of blinkered narcissists and hypnogogic materialists. Dumbness was not our destiny.

Planetary annihilation was not the plan.

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But Fromm was also confident that we would avoid further descent into the fatuous. Advert We would be upwardly driven toward authenticity, social equality and the welfare of coming generations. We would revere nature, realize the unimportance of material things and hold a healthy scepticism about technology and science.

The triumph of triviality thesis

Once widely accepted, it was also inspired by a faith in innate positive human potential. Maslow claimed that human beings naturally switch attention to higher-level needs intellectual, spiritual, social, existential once they have met lower-level material ones.

But something happened along the way.

The triumph of triviality thesis

Human potential took a back seat to economic potential while self-actualization gave way to self-absorption on a spectacular scale. A pulp culture flourished as the masses were successfully duped into making a home amidst an ever-changing smorgasbord of false material needs. Operating on the principle that triviality is more profitable than substance and dedicating itself to unceasing material overkill, consumer culture has become a fine-tuned instrument for keeping people incomplete, shallow and dehumanized.

Materialism continues to gain ground, even in the face of an impending eco-apocalypse. Pulp culture is a feast of tinsel and veneer.

The ideal citizen is an empty tract through which gadgets can pass quickly, largely undigested, so there is always space for more. Reality races by as a blur of consumer choices that never feel quite real.

We know it as the fast lane and whip ourselves to keep apace. Some critics did predict the triumph of the trivial.

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Today, the demand for triviality has never been higher and our tolerance for seriousness has never been lower. In this dense fog the meaningful and meaningless can easily get reversed.

Losers look like winners and the lofty and ludicrous get confused. Not even God has been spared. Once a potent commander of attention and allegiance, God has been gelded into a sort of celestial lapdog who fetches our wishes for this-world success. The age of trivialization has left its mark on marriage, family and love.

In a recent AC Nielsen survey, when asked to choose between spending time with their fathers and watching television, 54 per cent of American year-olds chose television. The same study reported that American parents spend an average of 3.

To which we can add cellphones, computer games and other techno-toys that are inducing a state of digital autism in our young people. Out of this cock-up comes the most pressing question of our age.

Can a highly trivialized culture, marooned between fact and fiction, dizzy with distraction and denial, elevate its values and priorities to respond effectively to the multiple planetary emergencies looming?

That seems far-fetched given the ethical coma in which we now find ourselves.Some critics did predict the triumph of the trivial. In his essay, ‘A Theory of Mass Culture’, Dwight MacDonald foresaw our ‘debased trivial culture that voids both the deep realities and also the simple spontaneous pleasures’, adding that ‘the masses, debauched by several generations of this sort of thing, in turn come to demand trivial cultural .

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Some critics did predict the triumph of the trivial. In his essay, ‘A Theory of Mass Culture’, Dwight MacDonald foresaw our ‘debased trivial culture that voids both the deep realities and also the simple spontaneous pleasures’, adding that ‘the masses, debauched by several generations of this sort of thing, in turn come to demand trivial cultural . For those who may have miss, miss, missed the 'Miss, Miss, Miss' sketches on 2FM's Breakfast Republic, don't worry, because you're miss, miss, missing nothing. On Wednesday, the boys went camping. Benjamin Franklin Founding Father of the United States. Oscar Wilde Writer. Mahatma Gandhi Civil rights leader.

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