Whenever I look at political debate amongst our elected leaders, it becomes increasingly clear to me that we are children being governed by children, only without the innocence or compassion that characterise childhood. Sure, some people know stuff but it’s quite evident that almost nobody actually thinks anymore. It almost appears that decisions are made by trial-and-error, which does little to instil belief, and this is perhaps most evident in the field of economics. According to our economic model, the general population seemingly exists only to consume but, as a society, we no longer actually produce anything other than landfill and turds.
Perhaps it’s just me but I rarely feel inspired or enthused by anything anymore. I don’t know, maybe it’s always been like this: sifting for diamonds in raw sewage. History picks out events, discoveries and advances that were considered worthwhile, artistic and noble but, in comparison to the ages that have elapsed, there’s pitifully little of it.
The problem, for me, is that every single aspect of what passes for news, entertainment or progress seems to be lame, bland or so infinitesimally meagre that I feel let down by life itself. Our politics and our legal systems are corrupt, many of our people are criminals – and petty criminals, at that – and we have allegedly conquered space simply in order that we can use satellites to beam crappy television programmes and mundane telephone conversations around the globe. Our belief systems serve little purpose but to allow us to justify waging war upon each other. As a species, we are a failure.
People may tell you that this is how everything works: it’s survival of the fittest and only the strong survive. That isn’t true now, though: this isn’t about the strong and the weak, it’s about the exploiters and the trusting – truly, it is no more than survival of the shittest. This is not “the way the world works”, it’s the way the world doesn’t bloody work – and it’s because people just accept it that everything is so utterly, painfully awful. We are so mollified by our comfortable lives of being exploited that we simply accept the futility of resistance and allow ourselves to waste our days being spoon-fed corporate excreta.
So that’s it: we are stuffed – there is seemingly no point to anything. Humanity will eventually die out and our planet will just be a worthless scrapyard spinning pointlessly in space, surrounded by an infinite vacuum and other long-dead worlds.
Perhaps the problem is that there are no dreams for us to pursue anymore – we have only illusory images: the memory of a dream or the dream of a memory. In what we laughably call the first world, there are no more causes or adventures left – everything has been sanitised and every aspect of our lives is owned so all that we can do is chase rainbows: the passion of a first love (do you remember that aching longing deep inside that you felt when you were a teenager? That was it. Everything else just calls back to that memory).
What we have done and what we continue to do to the developing world, meanwhile, is so shameful that we will not even acknowledge the truth of it – generations have been enslaved and poisoned that we might continue to consume. So we close our eyes to it and distract ourselves with the minutiae of our new electronic existences: we seek popularity and influence but it achieves nothing – less than that, even, for there will be no physical record of who we were or what we did. We digitise ourselves onto equipment that is redundant almost as soon as we use it so that all that we record will be lost. We exist at the end phase of civilisation, just as everything that we are and have become begins to rot.
So is there any alternative? I don’t know but I’d have thought that at the very least we have an obligation to try to reduce the abhorrence of the world we have created. We really ought to rise up out of our shackles, cast off the chains which we have allowed ourselves to be laden with and shout, “No more! We will not just be subdued as we wait for extinction.” Perhaps we could boycott companies which exploit workers overseas until they were paid fair wages and given the same protection that employees in the west enjoy. In fact, it shouldn’t be that hard for governments to legislate so that goods may not be imported unless the conditions under which they are manufactured meet with generally accepted levels – that’s got to be something worth campaigning for. The question is: can we – the apathetic and depressed masses – gather the strength and motivation to pull ourselves together with the spirit of revolution? Perhaps later, right now I’m sure there’s probably something good on telly.
So what remains? All that we can possibly have without consumption to fill our days is creativity, taking the chance to explore our own possibilities and achieve some kind of spiritual enlightenment. Switch off the screen that’s absorbing your life-force and go and do something: paint, write, dance, sing, play – hell, revolt against the status quo but just go and experience something. I don’t know if there’s anything after this existence but I sure as heck hope there’s something because if this is all that there is then we have destroyed it. Some speak of the end of the world as though it were still to come but it feels to me like we’re just watching the end-credits roll. Do something that makes you feel alive. Do it now, while there’s still time.