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Self-Destructive Social Habits, Loneliness, and Propaganda

When many people share thoughts, speech, or conduct that is frequently repeated and becomes automatic, it is fair to call it a social habit. Such habits tend to become invisible and unspeakable. They become part of our taken-for-granted-world.

When I recently wrote an essay about hoarding – “The Last Temptation of Things,” many people got angry with me.  A friend wrote to me to say: “I congratulate and curse you for writing this.”

He meant it as a complement.  I took it as meaning I had touched a raw nerve and it touched off a series of further thoughts about social habits and people’s angry reactions when they are challenged.

Some people who criticized me absurdly complained that I was supporting Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum’s “You Will Own Nothing” campaign, something I have opposed from the start.  Others said that I was attacking people who kept mementos and photographs, etc. and that I was advocating living in a shack.  This was clearly false.