Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Infantults & Emotional Incontinence as Fashion

When did public crying for relatively minor inconveniences or disappointments become not just permissible but de-rigueur for adults?

Weeping was  once an expression of deepest emotion, not the sulks of some athlete beaten in a race or an event. This Olympic Games have provided us a the sorry sight of men & women crossing the finish line (or any other indicator of event completion) to hurl themselves on the ground with the abandon of an ill behaved two year old & weep  with all the emotion of someone who has learned their entire immediate family has been put cruelly to death by the government.  

This clich├ęd emotional incontinence is not just tolerated, it is encouraged as a necessary expression of "passion". 
"Marlene/Marlon is distraught" the commentator will cluck approvingly.
"Yes" will come the answer from the studio"She/he expected to do much better & you just know how passionate he/she is about this event"

Adults function in society by dealing with their feelings. Emotional storms are controlled, our inner turmoil recognised personally but not released in a spoiled child outburst. One of the great lies of the twentieth century, part of the mendocracy of Freudianism, that emotions must run free for health. The opposite is the truth: without emotional restraint, the mark of functioning adults, both society & people are ill. "Feelings" have become the touchstone for all, feeling is elevated above reason and dignity. Civilisation was built by rational restraint, feelings are a private matter, to be indulged in privacy not displayed & indulged publicly. If we do not control our feelings we cannot live in proximity to each other in a civilised manner.

The fact that it is the worlds neediest, least civilised nations such as Britain that put the most emphasis on winning Olympic medals neither excuses nor explains this childish display of sulks nor diminishes the bad example it provides. The infantilised adults, infantults, produced under this tolerance are self serving creeps without the grace of civilisation.

Anger, lust, disappointment, love are part of our interior lives, not the currency of public discourse.  Passion is not some guarantee of quality, merely a statement of the least useful mental process. At the start of the twentieth century Yeats knew this: "..while the worst. Are full of passionate intensity" That century's abandonment of rationality in favour of multiple murdering faiths & emotion conducting tyrants should have confirmed that knowledge. 

Outpourings of emotion at victory or defeat were once regarded as vulgar. They need to be seen both as bad sportsmanship & eroding the restraint necessary for civilised life. Losing is no disgrace, crying in public like a spoiled brat is.



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