Kennemer dunes, today. Consolidation [ together we know more ]

Min/max temperature: 3°C/10°C; humidity: 91%; precipitation: 9 mm; sea level pressure: 988 hPa; wind SE 33.8 km/h; visibility: 10.0 kilometres; Clouds: Few 609 m., Scattered Clouds 1249 m

"Our era is the individualistic one, and the myth of the happy single obscures our longing for the other in combination with our distrust of this other. This is strange. We live in one of the safest regions of the world and we have never been so afraid of one another! Why do we view the other as a possible threat? In my opinion, the explanation is to be found in the dominant nature of neoliberal ideology, setting the tone of the past thirty years or so. When it started , Margaret Thatcher produced a very prophetic formulation: ‘There is no such thing as society, there are only individuals’. In the meantime, neoliberalism has installed a society with isolated and ever competing individuals. An unexpected side effect was the growing need for top down control of everything and everyone. We have been turned into lonely hedgehogs filling in forms for every step we take. And we have to take it, that’s for sure. The golden goose is called success. Michael Douglas puts it quite clearly in one of 1987’s blockbusters ‘Wall street’: “Greed is good. Greed is right. Greed works.” Neoliberalism has realised its own principle, a ‘rational’ selfishness. We do no longer parent, or teach or love. We invest in parenthood, education and relations. And if the investment does not return satisfactorily, we dump the lot, and move on to the next. Get rid of the weakest links in order to boost productivity. The other is first of all a competitor. Team spirit has become rare and needs to be boosted by team building weekends, ironically enough filled with survival of the fittest games. In the early stages of neoliberalism the principle was limited to industry and trade, but today it dominates everyday life. An ironic example can be found in so called ‘reality shows’ on TV, with striking titles such as 'The Weakest Link', 'Temptation Island' or 'Top Starter'. The irony is that they pretend to show us who we really are, whilst they are dictating how we should behave. Their message is clear: the ideal human is a rat-raceloving player, always looking for number one. We have to score. In bed, at work, in life. The winner takes it all. Under the skin of our successful society, fear thrives, from fear of failure to a general distrust of the menacing other. Indeed, if everybody is only looking for number one, then no one is to be trusted. […] For the last thirty years, our neoliberal society has been promoting competitive individualism and top down control. Today, the smoke is clearing and we are left with a world of winners and losers, all of them on their own. The winner, swell but lonely at the top. No favours for the lady. The loser, lonely and ignored anyway. Both of them controlled by Big Brother, with almost no autonomy left. And we are sick of it, both literally and metaphorically."

Paul Verhaeghe 'Ted-X talk', first published in 2013. Transcript available as Pdf

" [ Jim: ] "I'll tell you one thing about growing up in Beverly Hills. Rich people are fucking weird. Money makes you weird. What I finally realised was these people worked their whole lives, a lot of times -- it's not old money, it's tons of new money -- worked their whole lives to get this stuff that's gonna fix 'em, that's gonna make everything okay, you know, the wife and the car and the house… and it doesn't work. So they get really pissed off and start acting out in really strange ways, like doing large amounts of cocaine and sleeping with prostitutes. People's fathers were doing things like that. […] It was really a trip growing up in this environment. Huge amounts of corruption and drugs and sex. I remember kids in fifth grade that were already in recovery. They had AA chips, but I didn't know what they were at the time. The moms are constantly on antidepressants -- these soccer moms. There are huge things of pills in everyone's house. They would take their kids to the doctor if they had a bad haircut. Everybody I knew was on some sort of allergy medicine, Ritalin or Valium or Percodan, something -- everybody was being treated."

David Weddle in 'Among the Mansions of Eden', Tales of love, Lust, and Land in Beverly Hills', page 231, 232, first published in 2003 by Harper Collins Publishers Inc., New York

"Let me repeat once more that identification is emotion. You might start gently to arouse emotion in us, but your success or failure will depend on whether you can sustain the rising emotion which also corresponds with rising suspense. […] Why has emotion such fatal power over our lives and, finally, why do other peoples' misfortunes arouse in us such thunderous reaction? Fear for their lives drove our forefathers to live in the trees and hunger and fear drove them down to the ground once more. Although we think of fear as a concept, something we cannot touch, the moment it permeates our consciousness it becomes a dreadful reality, causing real pain. Fear is a universal emotion and one of the deadliest of all human experiences. But this singular emotion is responsible for man's survival. It is paradoxical but true that hate or love, treachery or loyalty, spring from one and the same source -- insecurity. Emotion then is a thousand-pronged weapon to safeguard our lives. It spells out for our survival the basic tenet of our experience, insecurity, and now it has become a truism that life would be impossible without that insecurity of which we are so mortally afraid. Insecurity gives impetus to inventors to safeguard our existence. But insecurity […] can disguise itself as any one of an endless variety of things. It is almost impossible to recognise the naked fear behind the disguise of, let's say, philanthropy -- a beautiful gesture, a sign of understanding, love -- is the outgrowth of fear. [ All ] human emotion and conflict, whether personal, national, or international, spring from the same source -- insecurity. Logic doesn't always have a change to win against emotion, because emotion has the power to melt even granite and make prejudice blush with shame. It is the most potent weapon man can wield against man, the prime power behind all human conduct. Reason may triumph in the end but emotion will carry a project to success. […] Our emotions are aroused to the highest pitch whenever -- in reality or imagination -- our security is endangered. No reason or logic governs emotion. Most of the time it is spontaneous […] It is the forerunner of evil or happy tidings and the invisible guardian of our well-being. […] The spectre of danger haunting people in creative literature reminds us of our own safety. Whatever happened to others can happen to us. This is the reason then that even the shadow of danger panics us and our emotions are instantly aroused."

Lajos Egri in 'The Art of Creative Writing', page 26, 27, 28, first published in 1965 by Kensington Publishing Corp, New York