Having a social conscience, as an adult, is going to lead to many rough nights spent contemplating how awful the supersystem has become, at every turn, and in every institution. There’s no way to cheer-lead to a happy innocence – there are no indicators of social progress that will make the individual’s life a better, happier adjustment to the demands of living in an inherited social reality. Economic inequality, climate catastrophe, global corporate control of all institutions, all large social factors add to the endemic ills perpetuated by a fearful, death-cognizant, drug-infested upright ape existence.
This is not the truth that large institutions can contend with. The higher education imprisonment system is now largely privatized and corporate-owned in this society, yet its practitioners, needing that paycheck, cannot level with their charges about the straitened destiny of debt, under-employment, and precarity that will await the, even if they do stick out their sentence to earn the degree. Religions are staffed by lunatics and commercial charlatans, fomenting tech versions of hate and censoriousness. Drugs and music are no way to rescue the bits of social conscience that a sentient adult might have left over, since they invariably lad to boredom, over-saturation, and avoidance of the raging outside world.
“Resistance” to the social order that produces and amplifies the horrors pf poverty and militarized empire is a function of delusion – vote for this Vermont geezer, and somehow it’ll all be a magically refurbished new world – only it never does. Be an anarchist, squat and ride the rails and drop out – yet mass society will not notice your martyrdom in the least. Be workplace Joe Hill -and watch your whistle-blowing and consciousness-raising lead to in-house co-worker demolition campaigns against your name. Try to sire and educate little Jesus children of your own to fight as family unit against the depredations of the modern world – and watch them rebel, as distinct and unmanageable progeny, against your hermeticism. Write books as the sage of poetic disaffection – and see all your works ignored by a culture clamoring for vampires and serial killers.
Yet your social conscience can never be abandoned. You know that the rat race is a killer menace. You know that rich become stress rodents, and that the poor are locked in cages of social neglect. Your vote goes to amiable sociopaths and fully-corrupt lawyer-buncombe artists, but your knowledge of the lies, myths, and enforced obligations of ignorance-based credulity feeds your enduring, vibrant social nihilism. You do not need to become a follower of specious social claptrap, like Christianity, libertarianism, anarcho-primitivism, poetry slams, geek tech mindlessness, workplace ambition, NGO cultishness, ethnic separatism, or any of the other feeble, vapid institutions that corral the young and the greedy. The life you will lead in society, as someone with a job, a life partner, or family and friend connections, will be far, far from the one you imagined when you were a callow youth being fed the slop of dreams, but it will far, far better to have ascertained the workings of social truth.