The philosophy of the rat race. From the book GI Gerasimovs Consumer Society: Myths and Realities. 1982

In that year, when the book "The Consumer Society: Myths and Realities," in the Soviet Union by the carrier rocket "Proton" brought out into space orbital station "Salyut-7", said goodbye for the last time with the general secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, LI Brezhnev, conducted the first flight of the prototype of the largest in the world by capacity mass transport aircraft AN-124, from the hospital to the new five-story apartment house brought the author of these lines.

Today, obviously, there is no question about whether the Soviet propaganda objective to showcase debunking the myths of the West. In this doubt only a handful of marginal, miraculously escapes from forced psychiatry intellectuals. Another question is how to adequately ordinary Soviet citizens perceived threat posed by the West.

The advantage of the modern Russian society in the late Soviet lies, in our view, is that it is painful and losses, but it was vaccinated against market liberalism and has a strong immunity to various tricks PR-managers of the new world order.

Is our main feature — the ability to delay the internal strife and unite for a decisive battle with the enemy — gives hope for the continuation of the history of mankind. After all, we are today is not about choosing a long-term policy framework for the country, as we try to convince enraged townspeople, and the fate of the Russian and Eurasian civilizations, as a subject of geopolitics as a bastion of morality and traditional values. Only you and I are responsible for the fate of the country — to the future generations of the great and holy tombs of their ancestors. Glory to Russia!

This book — the result of his observations, the study of the real life of the bourgeois society of consumption and its surrounding illusions. In his book on live examples as well as the words of the Americans shows how the cult of consumerism leads to spiritual impoverishment and moral degradation in society without ideals and the future of man is a wolf to man.

According to popular and official opinion of the U.S., America is moving forward the idea of personal financial success. This is actually an old concept of "economic man" and virtuous selfishness of the "Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith. According to this view, in the life of each guided by self-interest, and that is good for society, because the desire to get rich, "excites and keeps in continual motion the human diligence."

"In order to understand America, you need to learn what a huge role in our idea of personal success", — emphasized in conversation with me, Richard Huber, dean of the Faculty of Advanced knowledge of New York University.

I met him when he had just returned to his office after a visit to the department store "Macy's", the largest in New York and, if you believe the advertising over the entrance, the largest in the world. Perhaps the way it is: the building department at eleven floors occupies an entire block along 34th Street. Once a year, "Macy" even happy in their own parade with a band and drum major. Practice and meetings with buyers. And the topic of one of them, in which Huber was invited as a presenter, was: "How to succeed in life?" The reason for the discussion was the publication of the book "Success: as every man and every woman can achieve it." Attending immediately and clearly thriving by signing autographs.

A few years ago, Huber himself published a study entitled "The American idea of success" and it is considered to be a recognized authority in the field.

— In our society — said Huber — the traditional definition of success has been, and remains the ability to make money and have already brought by relying on their power and authority to use the social position or fame, and even so, and others. It is because the prospect of success is open to everyone as if it was an ideological defense of inequality, which is based on our capitalist system. Like, everyone is free to tackle inequalities, everyone is free to do well, no matter in stars, but in ourselves.

As any person in any society tends to live better, then you need clarification of how this desire is refracted and distorted in American society. On this occasion, Professor of the University of Cincinnati Roger Fortin wrote the following:

"It is easy to show that the pursuit of material wealth and greed are not only uniquely American traits that these features are observed in other nations. The difference is that with the early colonial Americans linked the concept of success with the accumulation of things. Social historians and cultural historians of our time agree with the statement of the American sociologist William James that "the worship of the goddess of evil by the name of success and it is the only worship the national disease of America."

Once in New York I went out in the flat TV. I called the repair shop, where he sent a guy who was all feast for the eyes — and the color of the face, and smile, and growth. He spoke with an accent, and when the conversation, then said that he came from Austria. In America, the second year. Dreaming of a warm place in this life.

— Do not be lost, — assured me of TV-maker. — I get around the apartment all day. With my then-external data on this work will not be long. I'll find a rich bride, started his own business …

Casually said so, probably not for me first and with a smile: say, playing through the local rules. It makes no sense and the "old-fashioned" would tell him that the marriage of convenience — it's the sort of thing which at least does not boast, because it seems to be contrary to generally accepted moral norms. But here in America, are placed on the altar of success, this "evil goddess," and the boy had learned that once the goal at any cost the material to succeed in life, it justifies any means.

The idea of success, as we shall soon see in America has undergone an evolution. But it certainly is the basic idea of the American way of life and its roots reaching to the days of the first settlers, "Pilgrim."

Then, for the development of a new continent needed people with character, hardworking and thrifty. Only those supposedly expecting success. This topic has received its initial development in the writings of Benjamin Franklin. He obviously did well — his portrait adorns the bill of one hundred dollars.

Franklin wrote a textbook became "Poor Richard's Almanac," a collection of aphorisms and sensible advice, including, for example, like this: Early to bed and early to rise — a healthy, wealthy and wise become. At Franklin had hundreds of followers and imitators. Mention Horatio Alghero, the American author of the printed second half of the last century. Starting with "Dick-beggar," he "bake" for three or four years in the sentimental novel about a poor boy, yes diligence diligence have become millionaires.

Absolutely nobody reads now Horatio Alghero, and many do not know it and know it. But a naive little idea about the paperboy (or shoeshine boys), which became a rich man, around which the author builds his story, still cherished by all or almost all of the defenders of the American way of life. When the American Association of Schools and Colleges has a "Commission named Horatio Alghero", awarding annual prizes to those who "embodies the fruits of private initiative, hard work, honesty and commitment to the traditional ideals" and who, by their own efforts succeeded "in the spirit of the American tradition."

Although Horatio Alghero demanded of his heroes overcoming laziness and other vices, yet as a theoretical background to convert messenger moneybags he put forward the idea of equality of opportunity. He literally sang hymns to her, "a great miracle I did not find in the Arab tales of Thousand and One Nights."

When an alleged equality at the start, smoothly turned out at Alghero to the finish line faster than the others came the most persistent, those who are in the business which were taken, invested twice as much as it took.

The myth of "equality of opportunity" — one of the main ideological props of American capitalism. After all, the United States had no hereditary nobility, nor artisan guilds, who set in European countries Class septum. Only the southern planters and their slaves fate was destined. Abstractly speaking, any American could participate in the pursuit of success in life. Chances to reach the winners were, however, insignificant, but it is sufficient to sow illusions and generate hope, and, therefore, to reconcile with the existing "rules of the game."

Wide geographic expanse gave settlers horizontal mobility and the absence of feudal fetters — some vertical. It was impossible to get "from rags to riches", but sometimes you can get "out of the mud" in the pillars of society. However, no one had a guarantee from the equally rapid ruin.

Amid fierce competition and the pursuit of success favored the dollar is not just the most quirky, and the most ruthless. Private initiative in the theoretical equality of opportunity in practice meant the class stratification of a gang of exploiters and the exploited masses. The transition of individuals as an exception to the "lower" classes in the "higher" nothing in the class structure of society has not changed, but it was very useful for the stability of the entire system.

One of the commonplaces of the arguments in defense of America in the status quo — the seduction abstract possibility of enrichment. An American writer of the first half of this century, Henry Mencken formulated it this way: "Capitalism in the United States would prevail if only because that every American hopes to become a capitalist, before he dies." Richard Huber, called the idea of the possibility of such a success, "the opium of the people." BS Forbes wrote: "Do not curse the capitalists, one day you yourself can prove to be a capitalist." But Forbes was Plutarch business world and wrote an apologetic biographies of 500 wealthy businessmen, and social scientists closer to our time, and more loyal to the truth long since have concluded that equality of opportunity — just a myth.

Back in 1925 an American sociologist Pitirim Sorokin Russian origin — the one whose recognition Lenin called valuable — studied the life of 600 richest people in America, concluded that "the wealthy class in the U.S. is becoming more and more closed and has tendency to turn into a group of the type of caste. " A quarter-century later, the sociologist Wright Mills noted that the possibility of the United States, more and more reduced. He wrote: "The reality and the trend of development characterized by a range of interest, so that the completion of the richest of the world's top private property is due to the higher class."

As noted in the previous chapter, is now even more difficult to break up, especially in the field of business. You can still catch a "long dollar" in the arts, on the wave of popularity or artistic glory, finally, the book is usually controversial, entered the list of best-selling in the so-called best-sellers, but it's not a rule, and the exceptions to the rule.

Of course, now that the ideology of success and reinvented in a new way. Monopoly capitalism wiped out all the advantages of such qualities as diligence, thrift, practical knowledge of the business, especially hard to recommend for success in life. The era of capitalist predators very colorful individualists has given way to the era of impersonal predatory corporations. Economic crises and turmoil have questioned the formula of "hard work leads to success." In economics, there were shifts in the direction of the service sector and the management changed the criteria for success. Now the way is opened up through the bureaucratic and organizational structure and to succeed you had to pull the trigger has other qualities: flattery, servility and cunning.

Cant rule states: "The only way to win an argument — to avoid it." Unscrupulousness elevated to a principle.

No truth is more expensive, and the interest. Opportunism is declared the standard of behavior.

A grain of truth in some councils is there: it is better to be polite to people than rough justice to their merits, and so on, however, is another matter — to use psychological picks in violation of concepts such as honesty and sincerity.

From the point of view of the vulgar applied psychology, a man — a clot lowland aspirations, which is not too difficult to manipulate for their own vile desires. People are invited to appreciate not for what they are, but for what you can get from them, take it. A person becomes an object of selfish calculation, and not subject to equitable relations.

John D. Rockefeller, founder of the dynasty of millionaires, said that "the ability to deal with people — a commodity that can be bought as sugar or coffee. And I'll pay for this ability more than anything else under the sun. " Everything is for sale, everything is bought.

An example of such a market-based approach to people was the steel king Charles Schwab. "All of us every day for the rest of his life in favor salespeople, — he taught. — We aim to sell something to those with whom we come into contact. " Maybe that's why the verb "sell" used in English in a much broader sense than in Russian. For example, when people want to show their best side, can say that he is "not bad sells itself" and that he "failed to sell itself." In general, it is important to be able to enhance its reputation. Schwab remembered the thousands of names, Schwab became rich. In New York, he held a luxurious mansion on the Hudson River waterfront. But something had finished smiling Schwab bankruptcy, as usually prefer not to remember. Did not help even a smile worth a million. The mansion was demolished and in its place built a profitable apartment building, in which, by the way, I'm in New York and lived. House still called the "Schwab-House."

Schwab no followers alive. But in recent years there has been a clear shift away from a smile. Probably, the Americans finally agreed with Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, that "you can smile and smile and be a bastard."

The current composition of the success orient the reader to a completely different behavior. "Learn to ignore their altruistic motives" — advises the author of one of them, Robert Ringer. And the name of his book, "Winning through intimidation." The weekly "Time" does not see much difference in the style of publications on such a fashionable topic in the United States and so generalized lesson, the presented Ringer: "Soon we will die, and while in this world that we do not create, not what to believe, except in success and power. "

Two dozen new books. Names: "Success — it is in your power," "Success Factor", "Strategy for Success", "How to make a quick career", "The principle of victory: how to succeed," etc.

Perhaps better than others found the book "Success!" Anyway, widely dispersed, bringing its author obvious success. He writes:

"Being greedy — well. Be like Machiavelli — okay. Okay believe that honesty — not always the best policy, of course, provided that you will not declare it to the right and to the left. And always okay to be rich. "

You can initially think that this is a travesty. The author, for example, gives advice resolution on the papers to write illegible squiggles — let subordinates realize that you wanted to say. However, absorbed in a book, one can see that for Machiavelli's really a hero. Turning to the average American, he writes: "Very well, if you can bring under his head and mine to take his place. And proceed, but while you are busy it can not be expressed in relation to him nothing but respect and loyalty. "

People who have achieved success, says the author, usually adhere to a very low opinion of others. He has such an opinion and stick with it. As an example worthy of imitation, the author writes about the late English film director Alexander Korda, who was "Leviathan, seek pleasure" and believes that the path to success — in an effort to have the good things in life. For him, it all started with the dream of a pair of morocco boots. Then there was the car, "Rolls-Royce" feast with good wine I cigars, beautiful women — "the most expensive luxury of all."

And then the author goes on to global generalizations, as enjoyable for wine, cigars and women. Voice of America, he says — is "the doctrine of the success of the U.S. … Our goal — to remake the world in our own image and likeness."

The author, therefore, proclaims the universality of consumer trends and perceptions of success as a cash welfare. But we do not agree with him. The man is not what he has and what he is, and the measure of his success in life is determined by the recognition of the people alongside whom he works, the company is considered an active member of which he is, and not the size of the current account in the bank.

Richard Huber, with whom I talk, does not approve of cynicism that pervades the book "Success!". Huber prefers a more accepted in society, its hypocrisy.

— In a capitalist system, — he explains his point of view — there will be persistent tension and discord between the way a person would have to behave in accordance with morality, and how it behaves in real life. The problem of moral compromise is usually resolved assumption contradiction between what should be and what it actually is. However, there are authors who are far from any kind was philosophical doubts. They seem to repeat the criticism of the "left" of the American idea of success. These critics believe that people are making big riches immoral methods — works just will not acquire houses of stone — and that is why it is necessary to raise taxes to take away from the capitals of these people, they do not deserve it. Theorists agree with the idea of the success of these critics to the extent that profit from ill-gotten wealth, but they welcome this fact and fill their book tips on how to succeed in the field greed …

— So, maybe — I say — they are still better than others even now that his commendable candor. In the end, they warn that they write about success, not about morality. Do you want to repent — read the other books and go to church on Sundays …

— No — objection Huber — because they offer both a textbook for the participants of the "rat race".

Well, Goober rights. He is supported by, for example, a critic of Ellen Goodman:

"It's not okay to be greedy, to imitate Machiavelli, to be dishonest. It is not always okay to be rich. There is a qualitative difference between success thanks to the production of napalm and success thanks to the production of penicillin. There is a difference between climbing the ladder of success and using a long blade for clearing the way to the top yourself. "

The pursuit of success in the American sense it creates a specific atmosphere in society, which are called "rat race". Of course, the first to finish the most nimble. Competition requires qualities that are not consistent with the rules of human coexistence. "Rat Race" generate "applied" attitude towards people. When they say "my friend" almost always mean "a useful new to me, which I also useful." The setting pegs and overtaking promotes mental impoverishment and death itself needs to be friends or love. Friendship and love require, as they say in America, "emotional investment" and mental strength is important to keep mobilized to fight for success. So the way to wealth and fame, and also leads to moral degradation. An introduction to high art? All this — just rubbish. How sarcastic remarks Huber, in his book, "love of knowledge, art, intelligence needs — all this tempting thieves that steal time and vanity. Profitable only the understanding of human relations and its application to specific situations for the profit. "

American all-consuming ambition "making money", "making progress", leaves no time or need to "squander" in science, art and literature. Still less have a desire to spend time around people and their trials and tribulations. What is this if not a moral desert?

An illustration can be seen in the museum, which opened in the building of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington. Is there a stand dedicated to Jack Graham. This young man in his time spent at the airport's own mother, sat in the plane and waved after pen. The mother was flying to visit relatives, and her son planted a suitcase bomb. Forty-four passengers, all on board were killed. Now through the glass dome you can see bits and pieces left over from the aircraft and its cargo. The inscription above the stand: "The motive of the crime?" And the answer is: "The insurance premium." So the young Jack had success in life …

In the sole pursuit of the dollar sum game more. In the competitive success of one is the failure of hundreds of competitors. Come to mind the words of the old John D. Rockefeller that the beautiful and fragrant rose can be obtained only by sacrificing all the other buds, which would hinder its growth. "This is not some evil tendency in business — taught by John D. Rockefeller, who made a rule to trample and crush all who oppose increased its capital and power. — It's just a law of nature and the law of God. " But the law of nature here at all to do with it, people are people, just helping each other, but support each other. Man is a social, extreme individualism Rockefeller — not on human nature and the nature of society, contrary to human nature. It is possible that there are scholars who argue Rockefeller and from the point of view of "the law of God."

But Rockefeller ideas are alive, because they do not disappear social ground, feeding them. For example, an expert on labor Arnold Weber shows in the weekly "United States News and World Report": "Ethics of success is by no means dead. Just now, people have more than ever before, push each other. "

In America, a person can not admit failure — he had a goner. Here are some interesting arguments on this point Craig Karpela journalist from the magazine "Playboy":

"Failure — the dirtiest word in the language. It's just weird that I was allowed to write about it in a family magazine. You may be invited to participate in televised debates Johnny Carson, and you can say that you — an alcoholic, and the audience will greet you. You can tell that you have leukemia — and the audience will welcome you. If you say that you have a sexually transmitted disease, they all cry out: hoo! But if you sit on a chair, legs crossed, and declare, "I am — a loser," you will meet a deathly silence. "

The pursuit of success — the Americans imposed an alternative class consciousness. The question is this: what's the classes if your position in society depends on you? Everyone — architect of his own fortune, and each cultivates his garden. The position is determined by his purse tightly packed even on the field of free enterprise. Or, as Huber writes in his book, "society, the social environment, the system is never to blame. Everywhere it is up to the person himself. He alone can taste the sweet fruit of triumph. He alone has to take the bitterness of defeat. "

Money, money, money, they float into your hands worthy. After all, they do not recognize the limitations of class, the Pale of Settlement. To get hold of them, do not need a rank or ranks. On the dollar or even one cent is written: "In God we trust", well, as for the rest pay cash. Business of America — it's a business, this is the multiplication of money, which serve as a measure of things and people. Everyone here has a price. One measurement — the dollar. Intelligence, talent, appearance and character — an ephemeral thing if taken in isolation from the dollar. He — universal, universal denominator on which all shares, maybe even love. You can display an average statistical value of a citizen of the United States. The average American's life may seem priceless, but it is an illusion, it has a price. If he is 30, he is "worth" 386,000 dollars. If it fifty, must take into account the age, "depreciation". Such a wonderful price 205,000 dollars.

So, anyway, the official Census Bureau counted. We can therefore say that it is a "state prices". On this American habit to recalculate all for dollars paid more attention Vladimir Mayakovsky: "You look a million dollars today."

If you look like a million — is silly not to get that million. For example, "price" Joe DiMaggio is clearly above average — after a former sports star and the first husband of the deceased, but not forgotten movie star Marilyn Monroe. And Joe flashed on a television screen, talking to different people. There was talk, taken even in the steam room with bath. Subject always the same, or rather, any talk of Joe ends the same familiar phrase: "Keep your money in the bank" Bowery. " And like so many work part time advertising the local celebrities, often with a worldwide reputation. Of the idols of the public mention Gregory Peck, Kirk Douglas …

With advertising you can start climbing to success, if for anything to cling to. For Margot Hemingway was kinship with the writer. Beautiful granddaughter started with posing for photographers for advertising of cosmetics, has moved into fashion models. Her face and figure have bypassed the cover of many magazines, bringing fame and dollars. Contributed to the success constantly tells her anecdote: "My name is Margot in honor of the brand of champagne that my parents were drinking before you go to bed, where I started." When in conversation with the widow of the writer talking about Margo, Mary Hemingway told me that Margot — his own life, which she started well, as long as the wealth has not gone to her head … Activities in the advertising field there is not condemned. Each "sells itself" as you can.

In another book about how people forcibly, paving their own path in life, called "The Power — how to get it and how to use it," the author writes:

"No matter who you are, the basic truth remains that no one cares about your interests, your gain is inevitably losing someone, and your defeat — someone's victory … your neighbor at the first opportunity when he sees it get away with it, will improve their position at the expense of your … ".

In general, each for himself and God for all. So promoted individualism and selfishness. Even concepts such is not as labor collective, citizenship, and the notion of "society" is not usually interpreted as a vital arena of struggle.

In essence, always, from "Poor Richard's" Franklin and ending with the unscrupulous careerist, having learned the lessons of the current authors, the American concept of success played a reactionary political role. It substitutes in people's minds the idea of class struggle inevitable and indispensable battles, skirmishes and just fights of individuals in the 'rat race'. Naturally, the bad, and all the more vital and defeat regarded as a purely personal matter: hat, failed to use all available opportunities, and self blame. In general, let the loser crying. But, in the words of the song, "Everybody loves winning."

The philosophy of "rat race" — a large-scale "brainwashing," constant indoctrination, which is as old as there is American capitalism. Nowadays, this "philosophy" continues to mangle the minds and distort people's behavior. Predatory and consumer attitude toward one's neighbor, to a society built to normal, cold and cruel rule of "rat race" placed above the humane rules of human coexistence.

— Life demands from us, — says Huber — that we were competitive, aggressive, impersonal and selfish. In the economic system of capitalism, the main goal — to make money. Money — it's a trophy in the natural struggle between the buyer and seller, between officials in the fight for the same promotion. The American system is based on competitive individualism in the struggle for profit and promotion. It is a cold, ruthless, cruel world of self-affirmation.

When the struggle for the success of the struggle for the dollar equivalent, it pits people with each other, most of them makes unhappy psychologically ("I have a success, but it is smaller than the neighbor"), and simply does not allow them to live as a human, because that the one who wants to live in America as a human, too much want …

As a result, society is robbing herself spiritually, as illustrated at least in relation to the writers of America.

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