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Truth in a Feel-Good Society

  1. Sep 13, 2008 #1
    Truth in a Feel-Good Society

    A feel-good society is one guided more by the pleasure-principle than the reality-principle.

    The pleasure principle is a concept originated by Sigmund Freud; it is a principle that continuously drives one to seek pleasure and to avoid pain. The reality-principle, in contrast, is one that defers pleasure when necessity demands it.

    As one matures one becomes ruled more by the nature of reality, i.e. truth, than by the desire for pleasure. Freud informs us that the mature individual "no longer lets itself be governed by the pleasure principle, but obeys the reality principle, which also at bottom seeks to obtain pleasure, but pleasure which is assured through taking account of reality, even though it is pleasure postponed and diminished".

    I claim that America is now functioning as an ‘adolescent society’; America has in the last several decades come to be guided more by self-absorption in feeling-good than by truth. I do not think that such was the case following WWII when Harry Truman faced reality eye-to-eye and America acted very much as a mature society accepting its responsibility to act as a leader seeking to help guide the world beyond the dangers that had grown up primarily because of the technologies developed to fight WWII.

    America has learned the power of mass marketing and has used that power to revolutionize its politics. “Madison Avenue” has become the symbol of mass marketing expertise in America. Madison Avenue has developed an understanding of human behavior that has allowed it to successfully and consistently manipulate human desires in America.

    Americans have grown to accept the identifying appellation of ‘consumer’ with apparently a large degree of eagerness. We have become happy consumers reacting to the manipulations by Madison Avenue; we think of consumerism as synonymous with being a good American. When asked what Americans could do to help in the war effort against terrorism Bush told us to go shopping and we accepted that as the patriotic thing to do.

    Political operatives, having recognized the power of the Madison Avenue techniques, have successfully directed those techniques into the world of politics. And those political manipulations have turned America into a Feel-Good Society, which has little regard for the value of truth.

    Focus Groups and framing issues have become the bread and butter of political campaigning. Politicians pander because that is the road to election. American citizens can’t handle the truth; therefore politicians do not tell them the truth.

    Success is the metric of truth.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2008 #2
    Correlates quite interestingly with the recent swelling of the ranks in evangelist fundamental christian churches. Though we are seeing quite the stir from many secular intellectual writers in return to the growing appreciation of comforting delusions.
  4. Sep 26, 2008 #3
    Look further than the internet, media and entertainment to blame. They are held by corporate giants and only want your money out of your pocket.

    What really governs pleasure principle nowadays, involves spending a lot of money. Greed will destroy us all.
  5. Sep 27, 2008 #4


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    I've always thought this was true, because people have always attacked me if I suggested that people might consider refraining from having children because the world is becoming overpopulated. It's like, they bury their heads in the sand, about everything from the environment to the national debt.
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