I've been obsessed with the insidious power of free-market capitalist brainwashing.

Lately, intimacy between men and women seems to be at an all-time low. Women in my circle have been lamenting about men. The essential argument:

Even the most rare, beautiful, exceptional women — like Huma Abedin (Mrs. A. Weiner) — can't seem to keep their husbands from betraying them. Men don't seem to become adults anymore — they're intimacy-phobic adolescents with zero attention spans, incapable of enough emotional depth to love themselves, or anyone else.

I wondered for a while if this was due to an unprecedented mainstreaming and availability of pornography. Now I believe that this tendency alienating men from women is part and parcel of the exploitation built into the character of our free-market economic principles, as they are being exercised.

An economic depression gives rise to “status anxiety” — the idea that you are personally to blame for failing within your failing system. A depression, by its very nature, is depressing. When you are broke, miserable and confused — you are isolated, and your ego is weak. You are prey to your unconscious drives — and to aggressive, psychologically savvy advertising geared to seduce your “secret self.” You'll feel better, says the propaganda, if you acquire this new thing, which exists outside of yourself.

A “strategy of desire” exploits your deepest, most primitive desires and fears. You were trained to want things instead of need things, and to want new things even while your old things were still functional.

Humans are an assortment of compartmentalized, unintegrated, barely formed I's that long for self-expression. By using invasive psychological “hidden persuaders,” corporations convince us that indulging our desire for new products helps us to define ourselves. But this manipulation has only created a constant discontent: an insatiable hunger for new things. It is expenditure at the price of investment, dissatisfaction at the price of satisfaction, novelty at the expense of quality.

Ultimately, this myth of self-definition creates an alienation from the self, at the price of a knowledge of the self.

The cult of consumerism ultimately manifests in a schizophrenic existence in which you are alienated from human connection — alone in a room with your gadgets.

Monogamy runs in opposition to the idea of free-market capitalism — which, by nature, abhors limits and is obsessed with expansion — both imperial and capital. Boundaries must be transgressed, worked-around, cheated.

The biological imperative of men has been exploited by capitalism: There is a pervasive sense that a man is not a man if he loves one person — to be a “real man,” he needs to acquire lots of disposable new people.

Men seem to have forgotten how (or why) to be men, and leaders of men. Valor, honor, nobility and courage are virtues now exclusively relegated to sports and video warfare, both real and virtual.

Men have apparently abandoned efforts to cultivate the interior qualities that have classically defined a warrior/philosopher/poet/ king/hero (or an adult man). They now seem to regard virtues like loyalty, chivalry, honor, integrity and honesty as being less than manly — even to the point of being gay. This culture has downgraded virtue — it is seen as too expensive and difficult to be worthwhile of desirable.

Women have been collateral damage in this human devolution — apparently, we too are too difficult to be worthwhile, or desirable.

Men no longer understand or appreciate that a primary function of women (besides childbirth) is to be critical of the corruptions that divide men from themselves.

Only a close, sustained human relationship, with all of the rigor, ordeal and misery this implies, can actually inform you where the termites live in your psychological foundation.

The knowledge and integration of your inner self is a threat to outside control. Strong familial bonds between adults are therefore actually very subversive, in that they protect you from being psychologically victimized by the cult of consumerism.

Separation of people from their families has always been considered an act of tyranny — now we are so brainwashed, we actually do it to ourselves.

Capitalism is the whore that does anything, for money. She doesn't criticize you to make you a better person. She does not help your disconnected selves to integrate. She doesn't love you.

She merely enables your immediate primal desire to transgress, and leaves you disgusted with yourself.

I have seen couples on their 50th wedding anniversaries. The fight goes out of them when they go the distance — they fall in love all over again. Not that it's easy. Nor should it be. United we stand, divided we fall.

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