We are not at "The End of History" where all problems look to be solved; we are "Post-history", it looks to be over for our species! Nuclear war and environmental destruction can descend at any moment, and for those people bombed to oblivion in Syria or blown to bits in Iraq, the end of the world has indeed come. For us, watching and waiting in the West, we can only ponder, will we see out the 21st Century? So take the rest of this rave as a meditation: "to be or not to be...?"
A democratic socialist world of shared wealth, of education, health, shelter, employment, consumer goods, for everyone, what a dream! But look at Venezuela today, collapsing from all manner of inconsistencies and attacks, instituted from within and without, socialism not seeming to truly get a fair go. Venezuela seems to prove that, while Capitalism is not perfect, it’s the best system so far. No one wants an ant-hill dictatorship such as North Korea, bread-lines as in Venezuela or civil-war destruction like in Syria, so most of us have to put up with elitism, wage-slavery and oxidizing lifestyles. That's what we're brainwashed into believing! Poor old humanity, there seems to be no hope.
As a 7 year old child, at the dawn of my self-awareness, I asked myself the big questions: why war? What led to the Nazi horror camps and the dropping of the atomic bombs? Was it Humanity’s inherent evil and stupidity, his hubris with science, race and power? Or his inability to organize society rationally, in fairness and equality? I thought being a leftie, green sympathizer was part of the answer to improving civilization but I feel now that I was being a bit of a wanker. There’s no way I want to return to a peasant hut to pick fleas off my compatriots' hairy backs. Though nor do I want to amass capital like Smaug sleeping on a mountain of gold.
The things I do hate about modernity, other than the dehumanism and despoilation of the environment, is the vacuity of our media entertainment: only half-hearted effort put into thinking out solutions to the world's organizational, environmental and scientific fixes, mostly the collective mind is dumbed down with trashy befuddlement. This seems to be what the masses want, too tired from work to exercise their brains and only interested in the accouterments of nesting. Advertising really gets on my nerves, searing my eyeballs wherever I look, on people's T-shirts, going up railway steps, billboards at every seven paces, blimps in the sky, paper floating upon the ground, most of it for shit I don't want. But that's consumerism for you, it encourages desires and provides jobs, I've got to live with it.
I may even take ads on this site as I'm desperately poor and realize I'm still a part of the System, for all my bitching. The shallowness of celebrity worship also gets my goat, everyone clamoring for their fifteen nano-seconds of fame, most of them seeming to be air-heads except for their ability to make money. I guess there's always going to be someone the rest of us enjoy gawking at and money makes the world go round, (pear-shaped actually.) Thankfully modernity is pluralist, a surfeit of choices, and I can turn to a hot movie, doco or book as an alternative to the deluge of crap raining down upon me.
For me, the major flaw in Leigh Phillips argument in "Collapse-Porn Addicts" is the hope that a democratic socialist revolution across the entire globe will happen sooner than the destruction of the biosphere and with it human civilization. This also seems like ideological masturbation as such a revolution might be fifty or a hundred years away, if at all, considering the might of the powers that be, while resource depletion, pollution, species extinction and climate change all bolstered by a run-away consumerism might do us in before the grand day when we're all equal and sharing the planet responsibly.
An apocalypse has indeed come for those running from forest fires such as the people of Alberta, or tornadoes like those in Kentucky, the floods in Europe, the wars in Syria and Iraq, the drug-lord death squads in Mexico and South America. Thankfully they're not eating each others brains yet, outside communities have come to their rescue, some refugees have made it to sanctuary, relief efforts have alleviated the pain proving humanity can stick together in a crisis. But the chopped off heads mount up and I can only shudder from my cozy, hard-won refuge in Australia.
I don't live to consume. I own second-hand junk for the most, I recycle zealously, I rarely buy anything from a department store, I eat little and I leave a small carbon footprint. I try to vote for pollies I believe will make a difference and harangue them to keep doing so. I attend demonstrations and sometimes even get caught up in riots. I’ve spent my life searching for the answers, studying and thinking, about how it could be better. I’m a nobody, with no power, gone in a flash. But I continue to hope. If I really wanted money I suppose I’m smart and healthy enough to have gotten out there and hassled, pushed, worked, even cheated, conned, lied, back-stabbed to amass wealth and power. But I didn’t want material goods that much, I wanted experiences and fulfillment of my potentialities.
But I sure wouldn’t mind a better phone, a bigger sound system, an improved push-bike, a faster computer, cheaper electricity, better healthcare, yummy nutritious food, peaceful shelter, the latest books and videos, the chance to realize my full potential, get fully educated. And I want this for everyone on the planet. After all the scary movies about the end of the world we’re still here, some of us that is, but a nuclear war could break out any moment, destroying everything civilized overnight. Yet many cities still bustle, most of us go about our lives peacefully, and I sit safe in my flat and watch the world go by. I’m recovering from my “Collapse-Porn" addiction, now there’s just my addiction to sex-porn videos to deal with.