Saturday, June 09, 2012

An Intermission

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing."
- Macbeth (Act.V, Scene V)

Despite the gloom and doom, I suppose I remain cautiously optimistic about my own and our collective future. Or, perhaps, I’m just trying to “fit in” by being more realistic about things? Either way, it still seems easy to also feel hopelessly pessimistic and defeated by our ethos; after all, the conversation tends to encourage sentiments of victimization or is just reduced to downright trivial bullshit. 

News of an increasingly warming planet is presented besides celebrity gossip. Criticisms of ineffectual governing and economic power structures -incapable (or just unwilling) to alter their destructive policies- appear alongside sporting events and car commercials. Our collective discourse oscillates between the serious and somber to total farce. As this tragic human comedy continues to bumble along, we -every so often- notice a chasm opening before us and we run - scared. We try to medicate the anxiety and panic away. We sterilize the suffering, which comes easy when digested with the banal. We, as Chris Hedges argues, “escape into illusion.”
 
Indeed as Trent Reznor sang back in the nineties, “Everything goes away in the end.” Yes we may never have the power or ability to prevent the collapse of our civilization, much as we’re also unable to ever conquer our own death. Powerless to prevent this inevitability, the question then becomes - how long can we prolong our own survivalism? Moreover, how will we experience this moment and life when right now is the only thing we have ever really had any control over? Can we change our individual and collective experience to ultimately become more deep and meaningful for all?

Currently, we seek our fulfillment, enlightenment, and enrichment through cheap instantly gratifying and superficial mediums. Our commercial and consumer culture thrives on our inability to imagine or create new signs and symbols to re-imagine and remake our world for the better. In so many ways, our very identities are associated with the very products and ideals that have been packaged and sold to us. Of course, this is all nothing new, we’ve been aware of what ails us for sometime, but instead of replacing our addictions, we carelessly continue to consume the same corporate codes and experiences, incapable of creating new ones, because it is what comes easy.
     
Although we pretend otherwise, we cannot reject our own mortality. The fact of our own demise is such a troubling certainty that our cultural and religious beliefs were conceived to appease our fears. The concept of an afterlife, or eternity spent with our loved ones and close to god is a fantastic collective presumption. This idea is potent and highly intoxicating; however, it is also completely delusional. 

All that is real, true, and mutually beneficial has been bought sold and commodified for market value. We have lost our connection to the natural world. We have replaced our archetypes with hyper-real simulations. There is no going back; but perhaps there are ways to establish new codes and new modes of experiencing this quick and fleeting moment called “NOW” before we are truly “heard no more.”

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