Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wednesday Morning Ramble, 29 Nov.

Seeking my muse, or in order to find inspiration to write about this I browsed PCs blog - the fatuous nature of a lot of his content usually irritates me enough to write, for that I guess he deserves thanks. Sure enough I found inspiration in footnotes titled Saturday Morning Ramble, 25 Nov. The informal blog begins with this rather facile truisim (paraphrased).

As the world becomes more technologically, scientifically and economically advanced ... what?

The overweening gleeful pride in this statement almost made me gag. And so an inspired rant begins.

I was reminded of my drive from Canberra to Sydney after meeting with my PhD supervisors in late August this year. Scrub and Australian gum trees skirt the road for hundreds of kilometres until you hit the hideous chain store corridors and seemingly endless "nappy valley" subdivision developments that is Sydneys 1.5 hour commute exurban sprawl. At one point, during the drive, I glanced at the road shoulder. The verge was littered with empty plastic and glass bottles, plastic bags, confectionary and fast food wrappings, all manner of trash. Kilometre after kilometre this continued. People (Australians), with absent regard, simply toss their rubbish out of their vehicles as they speed along at 110k towards Sydney, creating a roadside rubbish tip.

It makes me think this unrelenting march towards technological, scientific and economic utopia is ultimately a race to process as much natural resource turning it into eventual landfill (or highway verge) fodder as quickly and efficiently as possible - and this is supposed to be a good thing. I notice Walmart is entering the Indian market - in a bizzare kind of uroborian feedback cycle - the west sells the same shit back to those that produce it and steel the profit from the exercise.

Technological, scientific and economic advance blurs the senses, it distorts our sense of place within the world. It separates us and socialises away our connection with nature. The ultimately doomed project, apollonian idealism, is the driver of technological, scientific and economic advance - the re-birth of tragedy, hedonistic out of control desire surrenders to technological gadgets and the faux status symbols that fill the chain stores. It has turned us into clowns, made a circus of civil society, it dresses us like babys.

Western society knows by seeing. This perceptual vice is at the heart of our culture responsible for producing everything from monstrocities of titanic proportions to the electronic baubles and trinkets that consume us. Our attempts to distance ourselves from Darwinian waste and squalor drive us toward clown-like idiotic ritualised behaviour overtly emphasised in late-capitalisms consumptive society. Browsing with serious concern the endless array of crap we consume which don't actually meet or satisfy any actual need but indeed create the need they claim to satisfy.

The great irony of Capitalism, predicated on freedom is that its most adherent proponents compulsively re-enslave themselves to its spoils. (So much so that the US are now entrenched in a war against the "theft of enjoyment"). One can't help but wonder at the intellectual moralising of those that worship this fiasco. It's called freedom people, and it has you in chains.

No comments: