Nirvana. An Awakening. People who have had brushes with death don’t return wishing they had spent more time in the ofﬁce.
The heart takes over. In the words of deep ecologist Joanna Macy: "Whatever happens, this can be a moment of unparalleled awakening. We have a sense of what it means for an individual to wake up. Philosophy on the Edge. Last October, in anticipation of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives — a tiny nation made up of more than one thousand low-lying islets in the Indian Ocean — called an urgent and highly unusual meeting of his cabinet.
Government officials donned scuba gear and headed into the sea, convening on the ocean floor five meters below the surface where they signed a document calling for global cuts in carbon dioxide emissions. The half-hour meeting, observed by snorkeling journalists and captured on video by waterproof camera was, to use a phrase coined by political theorist Stephen Duncombe, an “ethical spectacle”: a theatrical attempt to call attention to a very real threat and moral predicament. The Maldives aren’t submerged yet, but they will be soon enough if the world doesn’t take action to prevent such a fate. Ecology of the Mind. For thousands of generations we humans grew up in nature.
Our teachers were flora and fauna and our textbooks thunderstorms and stars in the night sky. Our minds were like the forests, oases and deltas around which our cultures germinated: chaotic, wild, fecund. But in the last couple generations, we have largely abandoned the natural world, immersing ourselves in virtual realms. Today the synthetic environment rivals nature as a driving force in our lives, and the mental environment has become the terrain where our fate as humans will be decided. By emigrating from nature we’ve done something more than just move domiciles – we have fundamentally altered the context in which we live our lives. We Are an Army of Zombies. I arrive home from work, drained and empty.
Too tired for human interaction, I press the buttons on the remote and stare blankly into the big TV box. It’s not long before the commercials and endless parade of product placements overwhelm my defenses and penetrate my mind. Every detail of every message is meticulously calculated, designed to be repetitive and hypnotic, played over and over until the mindfuck finally kicks. In. My head is now filled with fatuous desire. Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters. Dead or alive. , 15 Apr 2011 Courtesy of Maleonn / Galerie Paris-Beijing.
Cocaine Culture. Who the F**k Do You Think You Are. You blame China.
You blame India. You blame America. You blame the CEOs, the oil companies, the vague and incoherent 'system,' the international regulatory regimes, the hypocrisy of the left, the righteous of the right, the educators, the economy, your parents, your childhood, your job, your bank account, your mental health, your government, everyone and everything but yourself. Wake up! This is no joke. I, Revolution. Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin.
In all revolutions, the agents of change – usually a small core of fired-up individuals – reach a personal point of reckoning where to do nothing becomes harder than to step forward. Then come the televised actions, the rebellions on campus, the random acts of defiance in high schools, supermarkets, malls, workplaces. A mass of support accrues. People Are Waking Up. People are waking up.
They’re saying, Not another day! This is where I mark the line. The Eternal Idea of Revolutionary Justice. Resurgence is in the wind.
The cynicism that has dogged every gesture of our resistance is giving way as the disappointment of 20th century communism is eclipsed by the rebellious will to try again. Guiding this radical revival are two philosophers whose political theories breathe new life into the revolutionary project. We speak of Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek, a neo-Platonist-Maoist and a post-Lacanian-Leninist, whose carefully considered political philosophy revives the ideals of egalitarian-communism and heralds revolution in our lifetime.
The Activist's Dilemma. It’s late, maybe 2, or 3 a.m.
I’m scanning my email inbox for anything important I might have missed. I notice a message that lists the names of two famous activists – Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein – in its subject header. It’s a call to action, soliciting support for Tim DeChristopher, a climate change activist who faces ten years in jail after disrupting an auction of oil and gas leases in Utah.
DeChristopher prevented the Bush administration from selling off 14 parcels of land for fossil fuel extraction by placing fake bids on them, and he is being prosecuted for this crime, despite the new US administration ruling that the land had been inappropriate for sale. The Second Great Global Uprising. G20 Jam. We are a colony of maggots, feeding on nature’s bloated corpse while economic policy makers soothe our troubled minds with lies.
Not to worry, they tell us, we’re pulling out of this recession, we’re making progress – the key is more liquidity, more stimulus, more credit, more consumption, more growth. The time has come to call their bluff. We need to band together and challenge this powerful intellectual army, whose generals include Greenspan, Summers, Bernanke, Geithner, who have boots on the ground in Blankfein, Buffett, Bloomberg, Straus-Kahn, whose propaganda ministers include Wolf, Friedman, Krugman and textbook authors Samuelson, Nordhaus, Mankiw, and whose foot soldiers are the business and economics professors in universities around the world.
Their combined efforts perpetuate the great economic myth of our time: the necessity of ever-increasing growth and consumption, a myth that keeps the ghost ship of consumer capitalism sailing perilously toward certain destruction. Buy Nothing Day + Buy Nothing Christmas. “Today, humanity faces a stark choice: save the planet and ditch capitalism, or save capitalism and ditch the planet.” – Fawzi Ibrahim Until we challenge the entrenched values of capitalism – that the economy must always keep growing, that consumer wants must always be satisfied, that immediate gratification is imperative – we’re not going able to fix the gigantic psycho-financial-eco crisis of our times. The journey toward a sane sustainable future begins with a single step. Consumable Youth Rebellion. Over the past 30 or so years, most people have chosen to pursue the rewards of conformity instead of the fruits of revolt.
What they have been left with are ugly and stupid lives, ugly and stupid places and a planet pushed to the very edge of destruction by capitalism’s efforts to keep feeding them new promises of consumable happiness. But the thought that one is wasting one’s life is not a cheerful one, and respectable citizens everywhere have gone to considerable lengths to avoid it.