STRESS AS WAR

Was is of course stressful, but can stress be war?

As Hans Selye, the expert on stress, points out, too little stress kills us and too much kills us. Dosage is all-important.

Stress that stimulates we call stimulation, not stress. We all need to be stimulated. A small child needs to be touched and stroked (see Eric Berne on this) and as we grow older this need remains but is usually “sublimated” or subverted (Facebook “likes”).

Too much stress is awful while the right amount is lovely — but there is a phase which is both stimulating and stressful and we are often confused about where we really stand; is it more bother or fun?

Being adaptable creatures we can also learn to regard bother as “fun”.

This vagueness of scale and the non-awareness of whether something is positive or irritating is used by media for their own advantage.

Euphemisms are all over. “IT” supposedly means information technology, but how much is actually information and how much fun and games, gossip, discussion, debate, flames (a scale going from warm to hot), killing time, spying on others (through Facebook) is an open question.

I would guess that information plays a small part of what IT is and conveys.

One more thing on the list is distraction. That word is close to “entertainment”, a wordbag with very varied content. Sometimes we turn on the TV to “take our mind off things”, but often TV puts our mind ON things. TV and of course social media puts all kinds of parasitical cuckoos into the nest of our mind.

We need to be aware of supposed stimulation which is actually stress. The term “weapons of mass distraction” is very much to the point.

Distraction is a weapon against peace of mind, something that makes us consume less, makes us lame consumers. The business interests of our society do not want calm and contended people.

Nervousness, stress and over-stimulation weakens our immune system, both on a somatic and philosophic level. So war against calm and contentment seems very important for consumer society.


I now see a paxological aspect of this. If war is bad and peace is good, is then peace of mind also good? And for whom, and for whom not? Are people there for business or is business there for people? The film Network (1976) presents a very clear answer:

“There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. … The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business.”

If this is correct then even states that “have peace” don’t have peace. There is an invisible civil war between people (individuals) and business interests. Stress is an important weapon in this war, often called and disguised as stimulation.

However, that stress if generally only aimed at people. People (individuals) need to get together and organize themselves to direct stress at the system of business and economic interests.

So in a way this is not war, rather occupation or invasion. And the best kind of invasion — in these subtle, sophistical and sneaky times of ours — looks like something totally different. Stimulation. Fun. Parties. Entertainment.

Shall we call this occutainement?