Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A virtual finale

The finale is just about to begin, I heard someone whisper softly. Perhaps not whisper. Perhaps the words came through a sense for which we have no words. Whatever it was, it got translated in that mental silence to imaginary sound and vision. A noise / a mouth, the lips moving in a certain way. A picture / words, sound encased in geometry. A prophecy, about the end of our days.

The finale is just about to begin.

I wonder if it was like this after the Wall Street Crash all those years ago. The people again a mass of disillusionment, and yet without half as much death and suffering as could be seen back then. Now there is a rhetoric of equality, speech laden with universal aspirations - political correctness. But if you look over the horizon, you can see suffering, war and famine. The exploited ones of the nation without title or name. This is the global nation, a notion which strives towards the Universal and the end of all distinction. Race, religion, gender, and many more distinctions besides.

But how long can those in starving, wartorn centre of the world remain phantoms, hovering on the edge of our vision, never calculated into what we deem to be civilised? The new unconscious for our new world. We endeavor so hard to call it the third world, to give it a distinction to separate it from ourselves. They will be the ones where all the good stories will come from. Because, as Kiberd pointed out, for many years it was the Irish who were the unconscious of the English, imbued as they were by their stronger neighbour with all that was not English. 

The third world, a shadow of those mighty other realms which come before.

But can there be room such an unconscious in the universal village?

For us, in our first world (which is fast giving way to the one world), the dismay of today lies in a great disappointment. The hope was that we would eventually reach Marx’s golden paradise, Hegel’s final synthesis, or even the capitalist’s dream of equal opportunity for all. One world for all. We hoped that we were living at the end of history. The end of struggle and war, famine and plight.

The conditions for unconscious repression had never been so great. We could insulate ourselves with all manner of media, and whole swathes of the global population could retreat inside of their respective bubbles. Virtual bubbles. First through television, then via the internet and google’s great quest to deliver exactly what you want, when you want it. 

The virtual utopia.

It was in countries where the spell of consumerism had not taken hold so readily - the middle east, in particular - where the true possibilities of the new global consciousness could truly be seen. What was their tool? The internet, of course. And the virtual, for a moment, was seen for what it was. For these were far from virtual revolutions. The people used the internet as their tool, over which they were the master. They did not get drawn in and lost in the flashing lights and bright images as we can do at times.

This is because the virtual of the consumerist-internet experience is tailored to personal taste. This is to counteract a problem they see, a lack of a filter for the internet, a mass of data that needs sorting. The internet is presented as if it were the unconscious itself, as if it is some limitless place. We act as if we are in the dreams of our unconscious, that the internet is some sort of dreamscape that can be experienced while awake, or a dream in which you are conscious, like a lucid dream. This seems like a synthesis, an answer to the problem of the conscious as opposed to the unconscious. 

The end of history indeed.

Only it is not. It has none of the hallmarks of the unconscious. It is particular, fine-tuned, calculated. It is not a messy array of possibilities. Or it is, but not on the level that we experience it. It is then virtual, unreal. The internet, which is a real thing with massive influence on society, is presented in a false way, a demeaning way, a desperate way,

The virtual internet is the place where the hopes of utopia are seemingly attained. This golden cup; we take it to our lips; only to taste a sour, slow-working poison in the liquid reflecting your face; a radiant, opulent face.

It may be some time before we actually realise what the internet actually is, but we should perhaps look to the Arab Spring, if we are to look anywhere.

That we have not approached eternity or paradise, only managing to surround ourselves in the blanket of a virtual one seems to be a genuinely disappointing thing. Our bewildered politicians finally seem to be awakening from their drunken stupor. 

The same can be said for the rest of us.

The finale is just about to begin.

I feel like someone or something is forcing this feeling upon me, these visions of post-apocalyptic children scavenging through the ruins of our dead cities. Dirty, harsh and sour their world has made them. 

A finale. Not paradise; of this world we will make a Hell! 

Christian, after all. A very Christian utopia.

The finale is just about to begin.

Were we trying to engineer the end? Was that what all the selfish stupidity of the boom years - the years of that virtual utopia - amounted to? If we were then it is becoming ever more apparent, with each passing day, that we have not succeeded. Not at all. And I feel that sense of an ending, of a finale, wilting mournfully in the dry soil of the past. 

Times have changed; times have changed.

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