Jean Baudrillard: From Revolution to Implosion

<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/in-theory-baudrillard-10/">Cease Fire Magazine</a>

<em>Ceasefire columnist Andrew Robinson begins an exploration of what Baudrillard's critique of capitalism has to say about political resistance, and explains why Baudrillard thinks that revolution is now impossible.</em>

<p><strong>Baudrillard and resistance</strong></p>
<p>Last week, this column explored Baudrillard&#8217;s <a href="http://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/in-theory-baudrillard-9/">account of the collapse or implosion of capitalism</a>. What does all of this mean for political resistance? For one thing, it means that the dominant system must continue to be opposed. For Baudrillard, there is always something missing from the code. It is always incomplete, leaving a radical remainder.</p>
<p>The system is based on a split. The code is differentiated from reality. It has to be, to avoid symbolic exchange. It cannot achieve the complete inclusion which comes about with generalised reversibility. Yet the code tends to take over all of social space. Its “other” disappears or becomes invisible. It <em>tries</em> to be a complete system, a total reality. It largely succeeds in sucking intensity from social life. Yet it also remains vulnerable, because of the exclusion on which it is based.</p></td><td><img title="Can't get there from here" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/waterman_nun.jpg"></td></tr...

<p>Baudrillard theorises resistance in terms of the irruption of the symbolic in the realms controlled by the code. It is something like <a href="http://www.spunk.org/texts/writers/bey/sp000118.html">what Hakim Bey terms the &#8216;return of the primitive&#8217;</a>. We really <em>need</em> the dimension of the &#8216;secret&#8217;. Its forced revelation is destructive and impossible. The return of the symbolic is discussed in various ways in different texts.</p>
<p>Resistance arises when subjects come to see their own programmed death in the accumulation, production and conservation of their subjectivity. They become fiercely opposed to their reduction to the regime of <a href="http://workbuyconsumedie.com/">work-buy-consume-die</a>. Resistance becomes increasingly nihilistic, in response to the programming of the universe. It becomes resistance to the code as meaning, and at the same time as lack of intensity. In seeking to restore intensity, it resorts to the modalities of symbolic exchange.</p>
<p><strong>The impossibility of “revolution”</strong></p>
<p>It is important to differentiate Baudrillard&#8217;s view from standard accounts of revolution. To be sure, this is the position from which Baudrillard emerges. In the early work, <em>The Political Economy of the Sign</em>, Baudrillard argued that the regime of the code could only be destroyed by a total revolution. &#8216;Even signs must burn&#8217;. Baudrillard&#8217;s early work can be read as a call for a Situationist-style overthrow of capitalism through a revolution in the everyday, which breaks the power of the code and of signs.</p>
<p>In more recent works, Baudrillard rethinks this view. He claims that revolution is now impossible. Baudrillard makes this claim because of the end of production. Revolution was historically seen as the liberation of the productive energy of humanity from the confines of capitalism. But if production no longer exists, this kind of vision has no hold. Labour has become another sign. There is no tendency for it to liberate itself by moving beyond capitalism.</p>
<p>Baudrillard is deeply critical of standard leftist responses to neoliberalism. He criticises revolutionaries of his day for seeking a return to the “real”. He sees this as nostalgia for the previous, Fordist period of capitalism. People seek to get rid of the code, and go back to the earlier kind of simulation. Or they seek to identify something which is not yet signified in the system and which ought to be – for instance, excluded groups who should be included. This actually ties people to the prior forms of the dominant system. For Baudrillard, the weapons of the previous period are already neutralised in the order of the code.</p>
<p>Revolution is a casualty of the end of the period of system-expansion. Explosions and revolutions are effects of an expanding order. This expanding order is an effect of the regime of production. But simulation is instead an inward-looking order. It is &#8216;saturated&#8217; – it cannot expand any further. As a result, explosion will never again happen. It has been replaced by the &#8216;cold&#8217; energy of the simulacrum. Instead, there is constant implosion. The world is saturated. The system has reached its limits. It is socially constructed as dense and irreversible, as beyond the &#8216;liberating explosion&#8217;.</p>
<p>Baudrillard believes that we are past a point of no return: the system can&#8217;t be slowed down or redirected to a new end. We are in a &#8216;pure event&#8217;, beyond causality and without consequence, and every effort to exorcise hyperreality simply reinforces it. These are little fractal events and gradual processes of collapse which no longer create massive collapses, but exist horizontally. Events no longer resonate across spheres.</p>
<p>It is as if the forces carrying the meaning of an event beyond itself have slowed to a standstill. The London &#8216;riots&#8217; or the student fees protests, for example, do not turn into generalised rebellions in Britain as perhaps they still might in Egypt or Greece. We are in an era of &#8216;anomalies without consequences&#8217;.</p>
<p>But the system will nevertheless come to an end, by other means. Even if people can&#8217;t revolt, a reaction is certain. Explosive violence is replaced by implosive violence, arising from a saturated, retracting, involuting system. The system has lost its triumphal imaginary because of its saturation. It is now in a phase of mourning, passing towards catastrophe.</p>
<p>Things don&#8217;t get transcended anymore, but they expand to excess. Baudrillard sees this as the culmination of a kind of negative evolution. Systems pass through stages: a loose state produces liberty or personal responsibility; a denser state produces security; an even denser state produces terror, generalised responsibility, and saturation. Beyond saturation there is only implosion.</p>
<p>Anti-consumerism is another target of critique. Criticising consumer society for doing what it claims to do – for supplanting &#8216;higher&#8217; virtues with everyday pleasures – is a false critique which reinforces the core myth of consumerism. Consumer society functions as it does, precisely because it <em>does not</em> provide everyday pleasures. Rather, it simulates them through the code.</p>
<p>Baudrillard also criticises moral critique and scandal, such as Watergate. He argues that the system requires a moral superstructure to operate, and the revival of such a superstructure sustains the system. What is really scandalous is that capital is fundamentally immoral or amoral. Moral panics serve to avoid awareness of this repressed fact. Similarly, critiques of ideology risk reaffirming the system&#8217;s maintenance of the illusion of truth. This helps cover up the fact that truth no longer exists in the world of the code. Since there is no reality beneath the simulacrum, such analyses are flawed.</p>
<p>It is now the left (or the Third Way) that tries to re-inject moral order and justice into a failing system, thereby protecting it from its own collapse. Baudrillard implicitly criticises theories such as Laclau&#8217;s, which seek to re-inject meaning and intensity into politics. For Baudrillard, this task is both impossible and reactionary. Baudrillard sees the system as creating the illusion of its continued power by drawing on or simulating antagonisms and critique.</p>
<p>There is thus a danger that critique actually sustains the system, by giving it a power it doesn&#8217;t have. Trying to confront and destroy the system thus inadvertently revives it, giving it back a little bit of symbolic power. He also sees conspiracy theories and current forms of Marxism as attempts to stave off awareness of the reality of a systematic code.</p>
<p>In any case, the energy of the social is simply a distorted, impoverished version of the energy of “diabolical” forces (i.e. of symbolic exchange). Baudrillard thinks that societies actually come into being, not for the management of interests, but coalesce around rituals of expenditure, luxury and sacrifice.</p>
<p>Politics itself was a pure game until the modern period, when it was called upon to represent the social. Now politics is dead, because it no longer has a referent in reality. This is because it lacks symbolic exchange. The absence of symbolic exchange leads also to an absence of possibility of redistribution, either North to South or elite to masses.</p>
<p>Fascism also resists the death of the real, in a similar way. It tries to restore in an excessive way the phenomena of death, intensity and definite references, in order to ward off the collapse of the real. Fascist and authoritarian tendencies revive what Baudrillard terms &#8216;the violence necessary to life&#8217; – they keep up some kind of symbolic power. (Baudrillard&#8217;s Lacanian heritage is clearly shown in this idea of a necessary violence).</p>
<p>Baudrillard has a certain sympathy for the desire to escape hyperreality in this way, but also sees it as futile. People doing this – both left and right – are trying to resuscitate causes and consequences, realities and referents, and recreate an imaginary. But the system deters such efforts from succeeding. Le Pen for instance is ultimately absorbed, as the mainstream integrates and repeats his racist ideas.</p>
<p>This analysis could also be applied to various “fundamentalisms” and ethno-nationalist movements today. This kind of resistance is ultimately reactionary, seeking to restore the declining regime of signs. But it can only be understood if its basis in energies of resistance to simulation is recognised. It is because it channels such resistance that it is able to mobilise affective forces.</p>
<p>Baudrillard&#8217;s analysis is here similar to <a href="http://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/in-theory-giorgio-agamben-the-state-and-t... view</a> that the sovereign gesture is now exercised everywhere because of the rise of indistinction and indeterminacy. The paradox is that the performance of fundamentalism often leads back towards the world of simulation and deterrence. Such movements map symbolic exchange onto the state, restoring some of its reality, but ultimately contributing to the persistence of simulation.</p>
<p>Resistance from inside the regime of power is impossible because of deterrence. Baudrillard suggests that it&#8217;s now impossible to imagine a power exercised inside the enclosure created by deterrence – except for an implosive power which abolishes the energies preventing other possibilities emerging. He also suggests that the loss of the real is irreversible. Only the total collapse of the terrain of simulation will end it, not a test of reality.</p>
<p>A truly effective revolution would have to abolish all the separations – including the separation from death. It cannot involve equality in what is separated – in survival, in social status and so on. The strategy for change is now exacberation, towards a catastrophic end of the system. Baudrillard believes that the resultant death of the social will paradoxically bring about socialism.</p>
<p><strong>The workers&#8217; movement, 1968, and the end of representation</strong></p>
<p>In analyses of labour struggles, Baudrillard suggests that the transition from production to reproduction has thrown workers into confusion. Strikes are difficult today because the idea of snatching back a fraction of surplus-value is thrown into doubt by the death of value. Since capital is no longer extracting surplus-value, it can leave strikes (and we might add, uprisings and protests) to fizzle out of their own accord.</p>
<p>As workers cease to be essential to production, unions cease to be representative. This leads to the phenomenon of the &#8216;savage&#8217; strike: wildcat and grassroots actions, often emerging from migrants, youths or un-unionised workers (as in May 1968). They make unlimited demands for higher wages, or demand nothing at all. These strikes undermine the unions&#8217; claims to represent or manage struggle, and threaten the edifice of the system. The unions tend to be mobilised to channel or defuse such movements.</p>
<p>Baudrillard thinks the process of undermining parties and unions as representatives is ultimately for the best, but it has costs in terms of a loss of clarity. Instead of demands, workers become able to directly exercise power, striking for no reason at all. Baudrillard sees migrant workers as particularly subversive. They have recently been extracted from &#8216;non-productivist&#8217; traditions, usually by force. In turn, they destructure productivist morality. Their distance from western ideology gives them an ability to critique it. Baudrillard sees them as an internal colony, imported by the system. He also thinks industrial discipline – which is of recent origin even in the west – is starting to break down.</p>
<p>Baudrillard also discusses the growing tendencies towards reaction among certain sectors of workers. I would argue that there has been a vicious reaction from the old included groups who were happy with exploitation and representation. They resent their own loss of power, which they blame on the excluded for refusing to be represented. Baudrillard sees this phenomenon in terms of the inclusion of workers. They become reactionary when they are no longer struggling against their own dehumanisation.</p>
<p>He also argues that deterrence functions against workers because their power is so great. It is now possible for workers to shut down the system fairly easily. For instance, electricians can shut down a national economy by flicking a few switches. Precisely because the stakes are so great, so catastrophic, the power of workers is never used – just as the nuclear bomb is never used by states.</p>
<p>I think we should add here that this capability, which is not limited to workers (a lot of nodes and hubs are vulnerable to disruption), is difficult to use because of a generalised dependence on the system. It would only be effectively usable if the rebelling force had its own sources of resources outside the system – if it was not also shutting <em>itself</em> down.</p>
<p>Furthermore, people would need a total psychological rejection of the system to be prepared to use such total power. Both of these kinds of preparedness are generally lacking today, and are preventing the most effective means from being used.</p>
<p>Similar to the unlimited wage-demands are upward pressures on prices of raw materials from producer-countries. There is no upper limit to oil prices, just as there is no upper limit to labour prices. Their negotiation becomes political. This is because each is simply the price of peaceful coexistence with capital. It no longer has a definite value within the system. However, the system tries to defuse such demands through the threat of poverty. It threatens to withdraw the use-value of the entire system in order to prevent such demands – by forcibly delinking countries, or sacking workers.</p>
<p>There is no space of production or space where something happens. Nowadays, we are simply reproductive. And the new wave of struggles, from France 1968 onwards, strike at sites of reproduction, not production. Baudrillard thinks this process will eventually spread across society into a general challenge to the system.</p>
<p>Baudrillard terms 1968 the first implosive episode, a &#8216;retraction&#8217;, a challenge to the hegemony of the social, a violent reaction to social saturation. It started at Nanterre, which for Baudrillard was an early site of the new, hyperfunctionalised university lacking in a specialised function. Since 1968 and in response to it, the social has grown. But it comes closer in many micro-sites to reversion and disaffection.</p>
<p>Institutions such as the university are rotting. Yet rotting itself threatens the system, as it is a symbolic process, related to death. If the rotting becomes violent or ritualised, if it expresses mockery and defiance, it can be turned into something dangerous to the system. This, according to Baudrillard, is what happened in 1968. It challenged the system&#8217;s deterritorialisation with an even more radical deterritorialisation. It brandished the ruins of the university for all to see, as urban uprisings brandish the ruins of localities.</p>
<p>Today it is hard to brandish ruins because power itself is rotting. Behind the illusion of power, the terror of the code has grown. The system is approaching its point of no return. It is in a mode of disappearance, not of production. Elsewhere, Baudrillard suggests that the strategy of 1968 was to force power to occupy its own place, thereby appearing as obscene. Not simply to make power seem repressive, but to make it seem simulated.</p>
<p>The 1968 effect was possible because knowledge entered the field of simulation ahead of power. Therefore, knowledge could be turned against power. This is no longer possible, because power has joined knowledge in the field of simulation.</p>
<p>While 1968 in Paris was showing the emptiness of power, in Vietnam it was the moment when non-war was waged to force the revolutionary movement to bureaucratise. And in China, in the Cultural Revolution, destabilisation was used to short-cut spontaneous popular movements. Baudrillard sees the 1968 revolt as an alternative politics which displaced activity back into the symbolic dimension. However, he also portrays it as a strategy of the system through entropy and the generalisation of difference.</p>
<p>The belief that one is productive is now a major ideological defence of the system. Today&#8217;s revolts are against the futility of reproducing the code for its own sake. The illusion of actually producing use-values or meeting needs undermines this revolt. This is why capitalism suddenly &#8216;admits&#8217; what it previously concealed: that all institutions exist to serve the economy. It is keeping up a pretence that control exists for the sake of the economy, when in fact it exists for its own sake.</p>
<p>In the same way, exchange-values now hide the fact that commodities really circulate as signs. And people become nostalgic for scarcity and the morality it creates. Baudrillard sees ecology and the fear of sudden crises such as oil shocks as examples of this nostalgia.</p>
<p><em>Part Eleven will be published next week. <a href="http://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/category/columns/in-theory/">Click here</a> for other essays in this series.]</em></p>

Comments

this is provocative.there is something reactionary in how we fetishize a "revolution", no?" - anarcho-curious

There's something reactionary about the way celebrated post-modern intellectuals fetishize revolution, yes.

this was a big debate in the 90s. It is clear that posmodernism a la Baudrillard could also work as a good argument for conformism and cynical nihilist conservatism (see how Nietzsche dealt with nihilism as related to his concept of "The Last Man http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_man). So is a way of saying "Revolution is impossible, so i will leave in the past my adolecent dreams of revolution and now i rather concentrate in my career and find a wife/husband and family and a nice suburban house and for that i will vote for candidates who will lower my taxes". In this the view of postmodernism of "the end of metanarratives" could very well mean also leaving behind dreams of collective social welfare which could be seen as "progressive enlightenment ilusions" and thus we rather accept and adapt to neoliberal capitalism and globalization. Baudrillard himself had opinions similar to these as far as reflecting on the May 68 events. See his book "the transparency of Evil". Conservatism is many times presented as relying on strict acritical embrace of ideals such as religion or nation or tradition but also has a strong component of cynicism, pessimism and conformism. In a postmodern world religion, nation and tradition can be less powerful for achieving adherence than in the past and so i can become a yuppie who both rebels or denies those things and embrace cynicism and neoliberal individualism or as they call it in the US "market libertarianism".

The concept of revolution exists in anarchism but also in leninism and stalinism as well as in fascism. Fascists do talk about after all about being "national revolutionary" and are for "national revolution". Very likely Baudrillard is inspired in writing these things in seeing the rise of the fascist National Front and Jean Marie Le Pen.

I am SO into these pictures.

in this case a giant earthworm is providing illumination to someone.

Revolution in the grand scheme of things was always a reflection of ritual,nothing more nothing less, if you look at the paleolithic epoch and the agricultural sequel both things were ultimately a product of earth changes which conjugated us, outside of those major disrupting novelties everything else you see from humans is just noise.

And so anarcho-primitivists are also "nostalgic for scarcity and the morality it creates". This has a good side in it since it denounces romanticism a la Rousseau (a return to "primitive man"). Strange that they Baudrillard seemed to be popular in primitivist circles. From my humanist ecologist view i tend to agree with a lot of what has been summarized here.

As far as revolution i tend to adhere to situationist "revolution of everyday life" and to Stirner´s existential insurrection and if people connect who are under similar perspectives they can create something interesting (Hakim bey´s TAZ) and perhaps even rethink the good old concept of anarchism: "evolution" (see Elisee Reclus "Evolution and Revolution" (http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/elisee-reclus-evolution-and-revol...). As far as the jacobinist view of revolution, or as George Woodcock called it in "Anarchism: a history of libertarian ideas)" "the comming of the millenium", i don´t adhere to that and mostly that view is pushed forward by Leninists and by informalist insurrectionist since they tend to meet in vanguardism and also paradoxically in a "heroism" of sorts (like Che Guevara sacrificing for humanity) but perhaps psychologically pushed towards that out of uncritical idealism or suicidal nihilism.

Hah, suicidal nihilism, like Eden got so fucking boring. But yes, I agree. The Che-Jacobin methodology has its roots in an eschatological desire.

STOP POSTING

Just because someone does something first or more radically does mean they're a vanguard.

People are going to use different tactics than you. Calling people names is no way to be critical and examine tactics.

If anything, why not write imprisoned comrades and find out what you can of their ideas?

Do you not recall all of the nihilist elements of the revolution of everday life? What about the part about the faithful lackey who slits the throat of his former master.

You can sit around and scorn bonanno like he's murray bookchin, or realize that in order to change this world and build up resistance movements the secret is to really begin, to create truly lived experiences. If those theories don't cause you to do this, then they're shit, a waste of time. Then they're helping to build mental prisons, where one finds justification and rationalizes inaction.

I tend to agree with Bob Black that Murray Bookchin was a nice thinker back in the 1960s. Back then he was appreciative of Nietzsche and he understood individualism as an important part of anarchism. His text "Listen Marxist!" from 1971 can even be seen as a post-left text of sorts. There he says things like "The proletariat, instead of developing into a revolutionary class within the womb of capitalism, turns out to be an organ within the body of bourgeois society...The worker becomes a revolutionary not by becoming more of a worker but by undoing his “workerness.”" I don´t know what happened to him that he went to write the "social anarchism lifestyle anarchism" text. It almost seems like he wanted to be embraced by the leninists that call themselves "plaformists" or that he felt nostalgic of his adolescent days when he was a member of the Communist Party youth brigades.

But on the other issue, just because one thinks Bonnanist actions are not wise it doesn´t mean one is saying that it is better to stay home watching TV hoping the Nobel Peace Prize gets reelected. I guess what you call "nihilist side of the revolution of everyday life" i just call "the critical side of the revolution of everyday life". For me the "nihilism" word tends to obscure the positive life affirming creative side of it. If you stay in pure negativity all you are going to do is scream and walk towards self destruction.

I see what you're saying. Loot what you will from theorists and move on. Bonanno wasn't the first to expound upon all of the ideas he does, by a long shot. Why he gets singled out for them, I don't know. The word attack gets as muddled just as you had mentioned nihilism does. But, I don't think he demands sacrifice, as he states in Armed Joy that there is no joy in sacrifce, as well as no joy in revenge. Shortly after he also mentions that the work ethic is the Christian ethic of sacrifice.

Personally, I like where wolfi/apio/feral has gone with Bonanno. I also like what you once brought up about Stirner and existential insurrection. The projectural life comes with risks. Anarchy does possess destructive joy. When we make TAZ's we are attempting to subvert and destroy relations of hierarchy. And, by struggling to do so we create something worth defending. Something that may have to be defended with the use of arms or revolutionary violence.

agreed but the point is to not be destroyed in the process.

But YOU have been yourself destroyed by your own righteousness to project your own opinion regarding revolution. Stirner or Nietzsche would have never presumed such a method, unless you be a prophet, lol, or a method for your new salvation, what, as individualists, lololol. Don't you see that revolution is the opiate for the intelligentia? ;)

A is the opiate for B.

shut the fuck up.

Elaborate please, I use the word 'opiate' metaphorically, in this context as a numbing or 'dumbing down' agent. You may be familiar with its opposite, at cinemas or take-away food outlets, where they say words to the effect 'power up', like the equivalent of putting a cerebral funnel in your brain and turning your soul into foie gras!! Which I think you are familiar with, but instead of wholesome grain they instead funnelled dog faeces through the funnel, unfortunate no?

oh, ok

*doesn't mean

"And so anarcho-primitivists are also "nostalgic for scarcity and the morality it creates".

Bullshit. Source?

"This has a good side in it since it denounces romanticism a la Rousseau (a return to "primitive man"). Strange that they Baudrillard seemed to be popular in primitivist circles."

Baudrillard is popular in primitivist circles? You don't know anything about primitism.

I always asked myself from the age of my cognition---WTF is revolution?. But maybe I was endowed with a nihilist gene, but not being a fucking social-darwinist either, just thinking this way.
One thing I do think is lacking in modern anarchist mindset is the idea of fatalism in its existentialist form, as an intuitive methodology, as opposed to the traditional ontological dialectic.
For instance, the ghetto spawns giants of creativity,( but let this not be attributed to the forces of capitalism. Hardship is the coincidental occurrence of existing conditions forced upon us by being subservient to the oppression that produces it!) Are we to say that the gigantic proportions of the mammoth (as a metaphor for the capitalist state), drove the neolithic society to produce sharper spears? No! It was the creative improvisation of the individual imagination which was more concerned with saving time and lives by producing a faster and cleaner kill, regardless of the size or power of the mammoth. The fatalist/existentialist(nihilist) does not attribute action as a counter-move (revolution, insurrection etc, etc)but rather as a personal individual desire which disregards all social forces, yet lives within its umbrella.

I did not sign in before because it came to me as an epiphany whilst intoxicated, and I did not want the abstract idea to evaporate before blurting it out, as erroneous as it may end up being. Just saying.

cool just-so story, bro

it's obvious that any collapse or decomposition of present social forms will likely involve uprisings, which will determine the effect of that collapse. likewise, any uprising produces a decomposition of existing modes of social reproduction with unpredictable and chaotic results.

opposing collapse and revolution is just a false dichotomy. don't do it.

“...people become nostalgic for scarcity and the morality it creates. Baudrillard sees ecology and the fear of sudden crises such as oil shocks as examples of this nostalgia.”

this ‘nostalgia’ is NOT for ‘scarcity’. this nostalgia is for the return to our natural ‘übermensch’ condition.

in the natural world, one is continually ‘rising to the occasion’. the Oasis beckons to the desert nomad, the early settlement beckons to the westward bound homestead-seeker, the hole blown into the heart of the large family by the father-provider’s untimely death beckons to the elder son. ‘rising to the occasion’ has been the norm.

as mach, nietzsche, lamarck, rolph and others have suggested, evolution is general and is operative in the relational One-space or ‘spatial-plenum’ aka 'the world'. 'living' in their terms is not this boring one-sided inside-outward internal process driven way of being and becoming, ... this knowledge, intellection and purpose directed way of living. ‘rising to the occasion’ is where the outside-inward receptacle, the ‘what is not there’, elicits the inside-outward blossoming of our assertive potentialities. it is where ‘epigenesis’ and ‘genesis’ are in coniunctio, where they are making ‘the beast of two backs’, the ‘coincidentia oppositorum’.

‘rising to the occasion’ means that the situation we find ourselves in with its nonlocal, nonvisible, nonmaterial relational pull on us, the ‘what is not there that we must fillfull’ in the web of relations we are included in that has our name on it, ... is the source of our persona-l evolution. the call of 'something important missing' that invites us to 'make things right', 'something important missing' that is impossible for us to fill without our transcending who we are. this is the 'rising to the occasion' that has gone awol in western civilized life.

in capitalist society we are taught to think of ourselves as biological machines, whose personal development and behaviour is driven and directed from our internal components and processes, from our internal knowledge, intellection and purpose. when we get on this one-sided inside-outward asserting tack we get very busy [oh yes, it is very ‘competitive’ when the herd runs together] so that we de-tune from the situational experiences that we are continually rocketing through on our single-minded passage to the ‘successful achievement of our intellectual and purposeful objectives’.

this machine model is no fun. it deadens the spirit. but capitalist society doesn’t just model the individual this way, it models the individual business enterprise this way, and businesses are the modern means of doing what used be done within the evolving community where most everyone was having to ‘rise to the occasion’. jobs in businesses generally don’t care about the unique situations you find yourselves in, that beckon to you like the dark hole of the cocoon beckons to the worm, with its rich but scary promise of metamorphosis. they want you to concentrate on achieving the goals and objectives that you are paid to achieve. they don’t allow you to metamorphose. the most they will allow in this direction is that if you follow orders diligently, they will ream out your cylinders and equip you with bigger pistons.

the nostalgia is not for ‘scarcity’. it is for the ‘rising to the occasion’ that used to be an everyday companion that has gone awol in capitalist society. the mechanistic version of ‘rising’ that associates with one’s bank balance and/or ‘making one's [profit plan] numbers’ and climbing the corporate ladder are no substitute.

Western civilization teaches us that man is a machine that evolves in a one-sided inside-outward manner; reproduction sprinkled with some random variation so the darwinists say, all genesis and no epigenesis. we are well on the way of becoming our own simple-minded teachings. its time to let the situational occasion morph us some wings so that we can übermensch our way out of these life sentences in soul-sickening boredom.

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