The Banality System

Muawad Mustafa Rashid

I recently read that in several places in the USA, Canada, and Western countries in general, people will see an expressive painting dominating the arena which reads (Stop Making Stupid People famous).

Indeed, pushing scumbags to the frontlines of social and media work is considered a crime as it will have a bad impact on the upcoming generations and our youngsters.

If we view the social media accounts of the new famous figures we will discover that they share one characteristic which is their dependence on (Banality Making) or what we can call understatement e.g. dance, scream, make strange voices, say meaningless phrases, after which you will find that your followers in your social media outlet exceed million. You might receive offers from festivals and tournaments.

Then what will happen after:

  • Morals decline.
  • Culture declines.
  • A lost generation

Who is responsible for all that? All of us are responsible as individuals, and organizations, and accordingly, we should work jointly to stop making stupid people famous.

In this regard, Canadian Philosopher and writer Alain Denault published a book titled “The Banality System”. The Book is categorized in “postmodern” literature as an intellectual trend that is concerned with critiquing the fate and process of Western modernity, which has become impossible to inflate materialism, not to mention the objectification and commodification of man instead of working to liberate and preserve his dignity, which is what the contemporary Canadian expressed in this interesting book.

The book can be defined as the social system in which a class of petty people dominates all aspects of life, and according to which mediocrity and vanity are rewarded instead of hard and committed work.

The author of the book refers to the transformation that has occurred in our representation of the concept and essence of work to the virtue of the rule of the logic of savage capitalism that has turned humans into mere harnessed machines to achieve the surplus production necessary for the continuation of the economic system.

As a mere means of providing the workers’ sustenance and ensuring their survival, which is in the interest of the growth of the capital, hence it is not surprising that we saw, for example, but not limited to, the seller of newspaper and books that h does not bother himself to read, as they are nothing more than a source of income and livelihood for him.

The author sheds light on the shocking fact that the spaces that are supposed to be classified as anti-bad, especially the university, have become a basic building block in the banal system in which we live.

Instead of playing their enlightening roles with pressing societal issues and questions, universities have become a nursery for the so-called experts or (quasi-experts) who are trying to legitimize the hegemonic economy oligarchy and disregard its excesses.

The expert, as the author asserts, makes him think in a certain manner. Therefore, it is not surprising that we find him questioning the phenomenon of climate change caused mainly by polluting capitalist industries, or when he denies the health harms caused by smoking.

The triviality system means the withdrawal of deep and contemplative thinking in looking at things and giving way to the technical tendency of a simplistic and stereotypical nature that is guaranteed by the established academic rules and norms.

In addition to the example of the expert, universities graduate annually what can be called the “secondary illiterate”, a person who is well-reversed in technical and practical knowledge but is intellectually and ideologically empty, and incapable of dealing with philosophical and theoretical problems characterized by depth and intensity of meaning.

The author refutes the postulate of the classical theory of capitalist economics that the market is driven by rational controlled considerations, citing the uncalculated and out of our control consequence of algorithms and other artificial intelligence techniques.

The author also debunks the (drip-down) theory that if rich people get richer, the riches will quickly trickle down to lower-income social groups.

Although the reality belies that theory, its assumptions still resonate with the (pseudo-experts) who fiercely defend it in media outlets.

What makes matters worse is that the groups that are supposed to constitute a counterweight to the hegemony of capital have been demonstrated and subjugated and this applies to the unions that have abandoned their (warrior approach) and become pacifist toward multinational corporations, while many of the leaders of union organizations have turned into shareholders and investors in a quest for a small piece of the mainstream system pie.

What was said about unions applies to the left-wing parties that are no longer relentless in defending social justice and the welfare state.

The author notes that there is no accurate and clear separation between politicians belonging to the right and those affiliated with the left.

The author concludes that we live in an oligarchy(the rule of few) or plutocracy (the rule of the rich) and not in a democratic system that accommodates all orientations and interests.

The authors dwell on the reality of the inflated roles of global companies and non-governmental organizations that plunder resources by employing loose terms such as governance which leads to emptying the powers of elected governments and parliaments of their content, as the latter becomes a mere cover and a façade for the patty capitalists who dominate the world.

 We believe that the Banality System could be eliminated through a collective rupture and not through the quest for individual salvation, with what this entails of radical ways of thinking to end the existence of institutions and rules that harm the public interest.

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