Wednesday, February 1, 2017

So Many Intelligent, Clever, Creative People...

...In the arts. In the Sciences. In intellectual critique. In economic, and political, discourse in general.

And on the one hand we have a brand of thought (with lots of sub brands) that would happily suggest that we are on the rising wave of great success, all over the world (whether the end is coming or not); despite the hard challenges that are still out their to solve (a prominent sub brand of which just won the White House).

Then, on the other hand, we have clusters of thought swirling around each other, all on a range of "diametrically opposed to," down to "seriously questioning," the "one brand" just mentioned above. Folks who, in a significant majority, think that the sub brand now residing in the White House, is either a "final seal" broken, or at least a "this can't possibly be happening here" event.

From some of the best of these people we get the following (from the linked article below):

"...Mark Fisher, who died earlier this month, said that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Certainly it’s more fun. Our imaginations are so overpowered and outmaneuvered by the toxic gravity of the global economy that we are happy to amuse ourselves watching the whole world burn instead of doing anything to keep that from happening..."
Trust me, as a member of this second group, I can empathize where this feeling comes from. How can any of us who wade as deep as possible into the Infosphere these days not be overwhelmed, at least in respect to how we get so many intimidating problems in a constant state of "In your face." And one of the big aspects in all of this, especially as to the degree that it contributes to the difficulty of solving any of them, is the fact that they are all interconnected.

Some of all of this is certainly alluded to in Jessa Crispin's article "High On The Apocalypse;" which is where I got that quote from. She, in turn, draws from the recent book "The Ends Of The World," by Deborah Danowski, and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro. A book that, as Barnes & Noble give in overview:

"...In this book, philosopher Déborah Danowski and anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro offer a bold overview and interpretation of these current discourses on ‘the end of the world’, reading them as thought experiments on the decline of the West’s anthropological adventure Ð that is, as attempts, though not necessarily intentional ones, at inventing a mythology that is adequate to the present. This work has important implications for the future development of ecological practices and it will appeal to a broad audience interested in contemporary anthropology, philosophy, and environmentalism."
As I said, I understand where all of this is coming from but, as someone who has also spent the better part of the last 20 years trying to articulate a better vision to start from; a vision as to how change should come about, as well as someone who has also tried to give this vision at least the beginnings of a sound philosophical foundation... As that someone, I do have to say that it is quite frustrating... To Say The Least!

I know. A good part of the problem has to do with my own choices. I am anything but a practitioner of the "Accredited" path of "Successful Credibility Attainment." Having a passion for ideas, change and writing, even if you had to take a lot of time off earning a living as systems analyst, developer, usually puts you on one of a few specific road maps, through a limited set of usual suspects in education, and vocation. Being a slow learner, I suppose, as well as always being quite averse to the idea that higher education must also equal high debt, I had to take a sort of "great polar route" to get where I was when I first began my advocacy (back in 2000, or thereabouts, when I wrote, and first hosted, my own web site: Old Softy Concerns, named after the DBA business designation, Old Softy Computer Assistance, that I still maintain). The philosophy wasn't articulated much then, but I had a good start on the alternative.

In some ways, though, I think that my "great polar route" was the only way anybody could have gotten into as big a departure from standard economic thought as mine is. Floating about outside the mainstream does have the occasional upside after all. Especially as it might have allowed a better buffer against set ways of thinking already in place.

Perhaps more important, however, is how my serendipitous sojourn into computing, and system thought (I dug into data processing mostly because Marshall McLuhan got me convinced I should understand information processing at a deeper level), intimately connected with integrated solutions to complex problems.

First of all you stop attacking Capitalism from the main thrust of inequality. That's still important obviously, but to change the tenor of how this gets framed at the get go is to start the attack on a purely technological level; hence the theme: Capitalism is Obsolete.

By its own fall into hyper competition has it rendered itself so dependant on technological change, and yet, as a part of that fall, with so much change having already been rendered (especially as it relates to the electrified retrieval of experience) has it come to the point where it cannot possible hope to cope anymore with the complexity of its own, disperse matrices of ever faster transactions; let alone all of the collateral damage all of thase transactions put into effect.

This thrust then lets you also explore the fact that the very nature of work is in question now. After all, how can it remain simply a commodity if it can be done more effectively with robots. But then, of course, if it's only robots with jobs, are we going to give them all Visa, and Master cards? And the rest of us do the best we can at niche servitor duties?

Questioning the nature of work also lets you segue into the whole aspect of just how fucked up it is any more to continue thinking that social organization must necessarily be founded in a factory mindset; any more than having our needs met must be based on mass production and consumption. Being specialized, after all, necessarily means creating automatic interests groups; inevitably setting up a great deal more of "anything that's good for you is probably going to be bad for me." Which can also segue one into considering that, having as you only options, the choice either to stop poisoning your neighbors, or live on the streets unemployed, isn't exactly going to put one in a place of great incentives to do the right thing.

On the technological side you can also begin to question how any Democracy can work when information itself is money now; given the nature information is having it be both money literally, and figuratively. A Democracy depends on an informed electorate after all. In the big "It's all About Net Gain" game, however, information seldom flows for the benefit of the receiver.

Then you can get into not only the usual, and very real, inequality issues, as well as how money itself, and the very fact of a cost based economic operating system (where who pays and who benefits is always at issue) is the real impediment to solving nearly all of the big social, and environmental problems.

You then make it clear that, if we had a clean, not very technically demanding, source of energy, (which, as it happens, I have proposed via sea based, Yen Tornado Turbines, and the production of liquid hydrogen), and the free flow of information, we would have it in our power to set things up anyway we wanted. The only question to follow up being how do you go about managing it equitably, and that, I believe, I have also done.

So all I'm really saying here is this. Come on you guys. Meet me halfway here. Take some time. Look into this. Maybe... Just maybe imagining an alternative to Capitalism can be easier than imagining an end to everything. And I don't know about you, but I have really gotten fed up with all of the apocalypse themed aspects of the Infosphere; whether it be entertaining, distracting, or otherwise. It's depressing. And it's self defeating.

Get over it! Anything is possible. Truly! Really bad things obviously. But, with a little effort, really good things are still possible as well. The fact of the matter is it ain't over till the majority of us not happy with that other brand give up trying. If that's what you want to do fine. Just be up front about it and accept your fate.

High on the Apocalypse

Team Orwell is rooting for the end of the world

Jessa CrispinJanuary 30, 2017

Capitalism Is Obsolete