General Question

Jiminez's avatar

Have you ever considered the possibility that you're on the internet because the world is an oppressive, restrictive place?

Asked by Jiminez (1253points) March 25th, 2009

It’s certainly not concerned with empowering you.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

49 Answers

allen_o's avatar

No, I use it to skive from work on my iPhone, I think you’re being paranoid, the world isn’t such a bad place

Jiminez's avatar

No, I think you’re probably just superficially-minded and can’t see the bigger picture.

allen_o's avatar

Don’t get me wrong, I know that George bush ordered the 9/11 attacks, I know the the new world order is behind every major political party, and that capitalism is the biggest oppresion of all. But I know that these things can not change, so I just accept them and get on with my life, I smoke weed, play playstation and screw my fience, as Orwell says, war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength

Jiminez's avatar

Wow! You think these things can’t change? Isn’t that nihilism? Do you think it’s beneficial to anyone for you to think like that?

George Orwell didn’t say war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength. He said that in a dystopic world war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength. What George Orwell said is that war is war, freedom is freedom, ignorance is ignorance, peace is peace, slavery is slavery, and strength is strength.

I think you interpreted his words wrong.

YARNLADY's avatar

I would say it’s just the opposite. We are on the internet because of the freedom in our lives that allows us the time to be here. I have a blog friend who teaches in China, and she says that she can’t get many of the sites and resources we have available to us, because of the restrictions of the people’s freedoms.

Jiminez's avatar

@Yarnlady There are 2 types of freedom; freedom to do what you want to do, and empowerment to do what you really want to do. Do you feel empowered by the system here in America?

bythebay's avatar

@Jiminez: I am free, and I feel in no way oppressed. I read your other question about oppression and I suppose I echo @BLuefreedoms sentiments. Having traveled all over this globe, I can truly say the freedom & gratitude I feel when I land back on home turf is always palpable. That said, to answer this question…the reason I’m on here is pure entertainment.

On a final note, we may not be in step with regards to our views, but I admire your thoughtful Q’s & A’s.

allen_o's avatar

I know that I can’t make a massive difference to the world, so there’s no point in getting angry or paranoid about the state of the world and the corupt systems of government that control us, just get the most out of life while you can

Jiminez's avatar

@allen_o I’m sorry, life isn’t that meaningless to me. I’m not a nihilist.

Jiminez's avatar

@bythebay First of all, thank you for being appreciative. It’s definitely reciprocal.

But, from my perspective, all of us (you) are resembling of slaves in mental bondage; truly supreme sufferers of Stockholm syndrome. If you’ve seen the entire Century of the Self series you may have some idea of what I mean. We think of our way of life now as the normal, default way of life. But if you look a little deeper this way of life is all kinds of backwards and less free than you might realize. It surprises me that you say you’ve traveled all over the globe. That means you’ve compared our culture to other cultures. Did you not notice any unfavorable differences? By that, I mean things that are unfavorable about our socio-political system?

laureth's avatar

Have you ever considered the possibility that people have stopped fighting for freedom because the internet is more fun and distracting, plus they’re fat and lazy from fast food and reality TV (bread and circuses)?

(Just devil’s-advocating here.)

Jiminez's avatar

@laureth I have, but have you ever asked yourself why people feel so inclined to only have fun and be distracted?

bythebay's avatar

@Jiminez: You may be right, I do view this as my default life, however, I have really put forth the energy to t make this life as personally fulfilling as possible; all the while giving back to the world around me. But that definition (fulfilling) is clearly very different for you and I. I believe I may have a spiritual/religious factor that you do not subscribe to. I have 2 children and a husband, I’m not sure of your “situation”. I was raised one way, you probably another. All these things serve to feed what we view as our default. Is it a masquerade for Stockholm, perhaps? But I am (and I hate to use such a trite word) happy, with the life I have. That is not to say I am happy with world conditions.

Yes, I have seen and experienced many other cultures, and I have witnessed unfavorable differences. But I have also seen visual utopias with starving people, feces filled public water supplies, children begging in the streets, etc. We have our own disgraces right here in our back yard, too. I don’t believe it is ever possible to achieve the remarkable world that you describe, and certainly not in my lifetime. But people like you, who strive for betterment and true difference, are admirable.

allen_o's avatar

Living my life makes me happy. Worrying about the World doesn’t.
Plus I don’t think that life is meaningless, I just don’t really care about the bigger picture, as long as I have weed, playstation and my woman I am happy

Jiminez's avatar

So, you just care about yourself. That’s what you’re saying.

allen_o's avatar

Of course

Jiminez's avatar

That’s sick.

allen_o's avatar

Thank you

allen_o's avatar

What exactly are you going to do to change the world captain America?

Jiminez's avatar


I’m sorry, but I think you’re projecting your perception of me onto the real me. It’s understandable, because we all tend to do that (some more than others), but the real me (and what I value and strive for) is probably nothing like what you think it is. My situation is irrelevant. That’s just appealing to the lowest common denominator; aesthetics/superficiality/meaninglessness. I have no doubt we were raised in different ways, but I’ve raised myself more than I’ve been raised by anyone else (with a little help from my friends). I would ask what you’re raising your kids for. I don’t mean to ask what are you raising them to be like. I mean to ask the reason why you are raising your kids.

This allusion to less materially-opulent cultures is unimportant, too. No one has said anything about utopias. It seems like everyone has been told (and believes) that anything better than the current situation (which is pretty grim if you leave the confines of your life) is utopic in nature. Any form of betterment is utopic. That’s a slave mentality. That’s a mentality of someone who is enslaving themselves, and justifying their own abuse. It’s nothing short of self-hate. But you said you don’t experience any abuse. Makes me wonder why.

Jiminez's avatar

@allen_o All that I can. While meaningless indulgence, superficiality, and masturbation makes you happy… making things better for others (and myself) makes me happy.

allen_o's avatar

And that’s where we are different, don’t get me wrong, I can respect your view, I am just a happy selfish man that has given up caring about others

Jiminez's avatar

I’m not sure how you’re able to live with yourself, but I hope you recognize how sad it is that you’ve been driven to that, and acknowledge that it’s not the ideal way to be.

allen_o's avatar

I could say the same thing to you, tell me, are you happy?

Jiminez's avatar

I’m happy when I make others happy and free.

bythebay's avatar

@Jiminez: I certainly don’t mean to project any perception onto you, I don’t know you, at all, which is what I was saying above. All I know is what I’ve read in your posts. Your situation is not irrelevant, it’s in part what makes you able/willing or unable/unwilling to pursue what’s important to you.

I want to answer your question, but I don’t understand it: what is the reason I am raising my children? Will you help me to understand what you’re asking?

And as to your reference of self hate & abuse. I’ll just respectfully say that that’s not for you to judge. Why do you think I have self hate and am experiencing any abuse; is it just because I have a different view?

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

@Jiminez nihilism is the belief that there are no absolute rights or wrongs, and that any right or wrong is nothing more that a perspective that can be shared by a group of people. For instance, some people find homosexuality wrong, others see no problem with it, so which is it? The argument can be made for both and neither has any more base than the other.

Also, one of the major things I’ve noticed with a lot of people that share many of your views(not saying you are one of these people as I obviously have no idea who you are) is that they will rant and rave all day on the travesties of our time and the butchering of freedom, propoganda, etc. Yet, aside from voicing their dispeasure in a blog, they largely do nothing about it. Several carry this elitist sense because they think they know so much more about the world than other, yet still live in the same circumstances as those they scorn. To me, I think it’s worse to be that person, they claim to have the knowledge and the means to change, yet do nothing.

Jiminez's avatar

I didn’t mean that personally. I just mean culturally that’s what we all do; think that civilization has a right to be oppressive. I don’t think it’s not for me to judge. We’re all free to judge. We can’t help but do it.

I guess I’ll simply phrase my question another way: Why are you raising your kids?

I know it’s probably hard to think of an answer because you never thought about it before, but surely you’re doing it for a reason.

Jiminez's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 Actually, nihilism is the belief that since there is no “objective morality” (God, if you will) nothing matters. It’s that “nothing matters” part that’s important. Take Patrick Bateman from American Psycho; he is the perfect example of a nihilist. He doesn’t think it matters if he harms anyone else; he’s apathetic to their suffering. Questions of morality are dependent on the victims. If they say something was an injustice upon them, if they’re being honest about their feelings, then they’re right.

Your characterization of me is inaccurate, and expected. Let’s just say that. I don’t feel free to help anyone else, however much I want to—my civilization is oppressive. Regardless, I am trying. I wrote a book I’m trying to get published. Projects require start-up money, don’t they?

bythebay's avatar

@Jiminez: You said above that didn’t want to know what I’m raising them to be like; I understand you’re asking why I’m raising them. Do you mean how and in what manner? In the simplest of terms I’m raising them because I gave birth to them – but I know that’s not what you’re referring to.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

@Jiminez our definition was essentially the same, just different words.

And in what way don’t you feel free to help anyone else? specifically, that is. I know often times it seems like there is nothing you can do, but there always is.

cwilbur's avatar

@Jimenez: so if I really feel that you posting here is an injustice, and that the only remedy for that injustice is for all your fingers to be broken, because I honestly feel that way, then it really is an injustice for you to post here?

I’m sorry, I’ve just run into way too many wingnuts and lunatics to give any kind of credence to such a subjective definition of “injustice.”

Jiminez's avatar

@bythebay Well, yeah, that’s what I mean: why did you have them at all?

Jiminez's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 I don’t have the money to do so. Getting the money is why I’m trying to do.

Jiminez's avatar

@cwilbur First of all, I don’t appreciate your tone. Second, you’re morally-confused in more ways than one. You don’t know how to communicate. You’re not doing it honestly. You’re doing it in a punishing way. If you told me that posting here was an injustice, I would proceed to ask you why, and then we would explore the rationality of your grounds for feeling that injustice. If we’re communicating honestly, and then we come to conclude that your injustice has no rational basis to it, then you’ll admit it. But that’s not likely to happen with you because I can tell you’re not interested in any kind of process like that; and probably incapable of engaging in one.

If the only remedy was for all my fingers to be broken (nice passive aggressive threat there) that would be an injustice upon me, wouldn’t it? I’d certainly say it was.

cwilbur's avatar

@Jimenez: I’m sorry that you don’t appreciate my tone; I’d rather make my point in few words, and get it across, than lard it with passive-aggressiveness and nonsense.

So let me translate your answer: “I don’t have a response for you, and I’m insulted that you asked it so directly, so instead of answering the question, I’m going to call you stupid.”

Jiminez's avatar


Read my response.

cwilbur's avatar

@Jimenez: I did. Read how I interpreted it, and see if you care to amend it.

Jiminez's avatar

@cwilbur I meant what I said. There is no amendment. If you can’t respect my words, there is no point in talking.

wundayatta's avatar

I have never considered this. I have noticed that there are more depressed people here, and, to some extent, oppression in life is a cause of depression, but mostly, I think depression is more related to chemical imbalances in the brain. I think depressed people use the internet more as a way to socialize because it is much harder for them to get out in the real world.

To the extent that society does not understand, nor make accommodations for depressed folk, you could argue that we are oppressed. As a consequence we are online due, indirectly, to oppression, and the restrictions placed on us through limited accommodations.

I think this is fairly circuitous and indirect reasoning, and it doesn’t really help us achieve our goals of getting better understanding and accommodation by society. The victim logic is usually pretty ineffective. It might make victims feel better, or feel oppressed, but it usually doesn’t get any action. Far better to take responsibility, and ask for what we want, and show folks how much better off they will be if they give us stuff that helps us be more effective.

cwilbur's avatar

@Jimenez: And I meant what I said.

Your answer to everyone who disagrees with you seems to be that we are “morally confused,” with the implication that if only we shared your moral compass, we would agree with you. Which is probably true, but the next step—that if everyone agreed with you, you would not feel oppressed—is true but meaningless.

Civilization is what happens when people disagree on what’s important and find a way to live together anyway. If your response to someone who thinks you’re seriously delusional is to say “there is no point in talking” and walk away, you’re not really wishing for an end to oppression, you’re wishing to be in charge of the oppression.

Which is probably more pleasant for you, but doesn’t decrease the oppression you’re complaining about.

Jiminez's avatar

@cwilbur Well, no. There is a right and wrong, is there not? Me saying you’re morally-confused is not incorrect. Why? Because an oppressed person has a right to tell you you aren’t treating them right. Do they not? I’m not saying I am that person in this case. I’m saying that the way you are talking about treating people is almost certain to be opposed by a good number of them. Does that make sense? I’m not using my moral compass. I’m using a fair and reliable method of determining oppression.

Civilization, to me, is not what you describe. Civilization is a society a complex society characterized by the practice of agriculture and settlement in towns and cities. I don’t involve myself in relationships that are hostile, aggressive, or violent and I don’t engage in conversations that are hostile, aggressive, or violent, so that is my reason for telling you that there is no point in talking if you’re going to do it that way.

That’s how I roll. If you don’t like it then goodbye.

Jiminez's avatar


“I have noticed that there are more depressed people here, and, to some extent, oppression in life is a cause of depression, but mostly, I think depression is more related to chemical imbalances in the brain.”

I’m not talking about depressed people. I’m talking about regular people. People like you (assuming you are regular). Is it not generally more preferable to be out traveling, or playing sports, or going to concerts, or whatever? If you had more money, would you not be doing something like that right now? Is it plausible to say that you are here right now (instead of there) because you don’t have that money? That’s what I’m saying.

Later on you talk about taking responsibility for something that could also be referred to as our oppression. Isn’t that like laying blame on the rape victim for what happened to her? I think this logic reflects a real backwardness of the prevailing philosophy.

I agree that oppressed parties should “ask for what they want, and show folks how much better off they will be if they give them” but what if what they want is money? That’s unlikely to be fulfilled by said oppressors.

cwilbur's avatar

@Jimenez: great! So now I decide that by telling me I’m morally confused, you’re oppressing me, and I’m telling you that you’re not treating me right. So now, by my simple say-so, I’m in the right and you’re the oppressor. At least until you respond and tell me that no, by mocking your viewpoint I’m oppressing you and not treating you right, and then I’ll be the oppressor! This is fun! Can anyone play?

And, at this point, I can only conclude that you are seriously delusional, and your bizarre notions of oppression are so flaky that they fall apart under the weight of their own internal inconsistencies.

Jiminez's avatar

I think you’re banking on the idea that I haven’t thought this all out. If so, you’re going to lose all your money, because I have thought this all out.

I’ll get to the bottom of this right here.

You skipped a couple key steps, but you’re on the right track; it is good to go back and forth like that to find out where the oppression lies. Otherwise it will never be found and supposed to be irrelevant or non-existent. Is oppression irrelevant? Is oppression non-existent? Answering those questions would help a lot.

The key steps you missed are where you engage with someone non-punishingly (you haven’t done that yet) and where we examine the rationality of each of our claims of oppression. I’m not going to assume you’re oppressed and that’s that. I’m going to treat you like you’re are (because that’s the right thing to do) and then I’m going to examine the rationality of your claim with you. More than likely you’re going to say your claim is in response to my claim; and that’s you communicating in a punishing way.

You seem to have a lack of tolerance for different ideas. In truth, I don’t really care what names you call them. It’s just a defense mechanism on your part.

What I’m essentially explaining to you is so fundamental and so elementary that a grade-schooler should understand it.

You’re basically arguing that morality doesn’t exist. I don’t know if you knew that. Would you like to refute that claim?

cwilbur's avatar

No, I’m pointing that your original statement—that simply having someone say so is sufficient to prove oppression—is nonsense. You appear to have grasped that, and are now amending your original statement.

You still haven’t defined “oppression” in any sort of useful way. As near as I can tell from your argumentation, it’s anyone who makes you do something you don’t want to do, or something you need to do but don’t especially want to. If that’s the case, yeah, the only way you’re going to get away from “oppression” is to live all by yourself in the wilderness. And even then, you might not enjoy hunting, growing your own food, or removing your own appendix when it gets infected, so I guess there’s a fair chance you’ll be “oppressed” there too.

And it’s not that I have no tolerance for different ideas; it’s that I think the more ludicrous an idea is, the more appropriate mockery is as a response. It’s also that I’ve run into wingnut communitarian ideas before, and I don’t think they’re any less ludicrous coming from your mouth. Ideas that appear ludicrous but are actually brilliant will withstand the mockery; ideas that appear ludicrous because they actually are ludicrous will not. Your ideas certainly appear to be the latter, if all you can do is tell me I’m “communicating punishingly” and call me stupid.

YARNLADY's avatar

I am free enough to realize that most of the world might as well be considered imaginary, since I have little to no influence on it. I am completely at ease with my life due to a conscious decision on my part to be happy every single day for the rest of my life. I had enough of the alternative to last a life time. I lost my first two husbands to sudden death in the space of 10 years. The only thing that saw me through was a strong belief in myself, plus the help of psychological counseling, and the fact that I was responsible for a young son.

The only “world” that I have a direct impact on is my own self, and the close family around me. Once I learned to accept that I have no control over it, I lost the frustration that is inevitable for people who think they do have.

20,000 people starve to death every single day. Every time you take a breath, someone dies. Do you have control over that? Do you believe that “one step at a time” is the answer? I don’t, because in reality, simply watching from the sidelines is just as satisfying and a lot less trouble.

resmc's avatar

Not specifically, no.

But it’s easily a contributing factor. Am online to connect & to grow intellectually/philosophically… and with the first, it’s harder to find people with whom the connections yearned for are possible/likely offline because of how our society affects us – strongly encourages various sorts of ignorance &/or apathy, which aren’t conducive to much of the connections i seek.

Relating to both the connection & the intellectual bit, our society doesn’t have as much of a focus on fasciliating informal public socializing, nevermind deep discussions. Not that it can’t happen, just that it’s hard enough to find that the ease of it online stands out, but not to the point where it outweighs the value of face-to-face discussions, even when the quality/density-level of the intellectual/philosophical content is much lower.

Also, the internet strips away some degree of stuff relating to oppression; .
... much less time pressure means more people can talk.

… louder, more assertive folks can’t drown out quieter voices.

… if one wants, they can hide their lack of being white, male, rich, Western, straight, cisgendered, politically well-connected &/or ablebodied…. and thus, at the cost of hiding part of themselves, get to enjoy the freedom & dignities that wouldn’t have otherwise been afforded them by some.

wundayatta's avatar

@Jiminez: I don’t think your theory about income works. I’m in the top five percent of incomes in this country, and here I am. I could be out doing a lot of stuff, and yet, I choose to be here. I don’t know if I count as a regular person, either. But then, is anyone “regular?” When I was in my twenties, I lived on seven thousand dollars a year, and that was the lowest income of anyone I knew. I lived in a dangerous part of town. For a while, I was unemployed, and next to homeless. I’ve come a long way since then.

If people can be on the internet, even these days, it means they have resources. The digital divide is real. If you’re here, it means you have the resources to be here, and that means you can choose to be here, rather than somewhere else. You do have options. It ain’t poverty that keeps you here.

As far as taking responsibility is concerned, I am not blaming the victim for their problems. I’m just saying that can play a positive role in solving their problems, and that will work better than whining about unfairness. Get real. Life is unfair. Trust in society is trust misplaced. The Bill of Rights? Yeah. A pipe dream for far to many of us. Paper never saved noone no harm. Organization, now there’s something with power.

If you want money… well, I don’t know what to say to you. Just remember that money is just an abstract concept. It can help you get resources, of course, but in the end, what is most important to us advanced monkeys is status. Money measures status somewhat imperfectly. You can gain status by being a good organizer, or a community builder, or a person with ideas, or a person who does good works.

I would point out that the economy online if primarily an economy of status, and it judges people by how good their ideas are. The more eyes that look at your words or video, or listen to your music, or download your apps, the higher your status. To some extent, that will be reflected with money, but don’t let money drive you. Let what you love to do drive you.

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