Late modernity carries excess cargo, a plague of barnacles & a loss of compass. Fix it.
THE SECULAR FUNDAMENTALIST
The making of a Post-Modern Testament.
For the indulgently rotund
Moral tales are like bathroom scales
Unforgiving, maladjusted and shunned.
Great journeys must be imagined first
and so trenchant in their intent
to slake the deepest kind of thirst,
they grasp imaginers by the throat
and tell them bluntly
only through travail and trial,
by purging fire
and hammer blows be smote
can their spirit be reforged
and history's child
This ordeal can either temper
according to its whim,
or perhaps the pilgrims’ strength within.
Courage can surmount faint hearts,
but how can faith presume
that having gambled all,
there is a way to save us in the end?
There are no roads upon the other side,
except the ones we make,
every step perhaps at stake
every view through soldiers’ eyes.
And so we wile away our days
beside brooding familiarities
that will not speak to us for fear
that it is not the sun that brightens
all that we hold dear,
but the bonfire of our vanities;
that the deepening darkening shade it castes
is not shadow,
but decaying sanity.
We look for hopeful signs,
but at midnight,
the clock rings its hands and says
in anguished tones,
“Ladies and Gentlemen,
Faceplate Statement: (Picture of Martin Luther circa 1525)
Introduction and Executive Summary
PERSPECTIVE AND HISTORY
1. Modernism: Satan’s bargain
This uses a modernized and secularized version of Faust’s deal with the devil as a motif for what an entire society has done to itself.
2. Plunder: species war against the planet
A profoundly dominant species faces its apotheosis in the destruction of the life support system.
3. The Blind Eye: the accounts
Accounting is a much as anything else a propaganda and screening device that conceals damage, loss and later disaster, cannot distinguish between economic obesity bloating, cancerous over-replication and healthy output, distorts and mythologizes economic effort, prevents realistic planning for the future and will likely preside over a disgraceful rationalizing of economic and ecological collapse.
4. Modernity and Postmodernity: some further explanation
The mythologization of modernity into irrational collective thinking that bunkers down rather than rationally responding to profound challenges, feeds into a scenario of disruptive historical dislocation that will propel us into a quite different and devolved order, forcing us into an uncertain and difficult journey into the future.
5. A Personal Late Modern Experience
A short personal history and explanation of why I believe what I do.
6. Early Twentieth Century Perspectives: modernism triumphant.
This is the story of the accumulating threat of blithe optimism in the face of overwhelming historical success and chronic under-estimation of the possibility that it might turn.
7. Towards the Middle Twentieth Century: construction of the modern totalitarian template
While early versions of bluntly autocratic totalitarianism had ‘issues’, they did address the overwhelming pressures and traumas of industrialism, even if at a very high price. Ironing out those kinks has led to much more sophisticated and ‘democratic’ solutions.
THE MECHANISMS OF LATE MODERN TIMES
8. The New Totalitarians: the industrial drivers – hubris
The wages of corporate megalomania are a society that has been turned into an asylum, where fantasizing and rationality are no longer distinguishable.
9. Masters and Slaves: the rule of the Idearchs
The locus of slavery has moved from physical domination to the domination of thought and its entrenchment into the collective imagination, to the point that independent contractors will deprive themselves more and beat themselves harder and more often, than the slave drivers of old.
10. Restructuring: shifting the parameters of social control.
The development of a new kind of corporate totalitarianism that colonizes civil society through the root and branch commercialization of liberty, where the instruments of enforcement and subjugation are depoliticized into products and services, the building of public pressure around them, the protracted institutionalization of mass seduction and the editing out and/or domestication of dissonances.
11. Total War and Peacetime Mobilization: the template.
Commercial totalitarianism has been reconfigured out of the all out mass mobilization for total war production to ‘peacetime’ total production war, turning soldiers into 24/7 production warriors and shop troops, reconstructing socialization in favor of adolescence, conflating critical language into doublethink and building libertarianism into the language of orthodoxy and administration.
MODERN REGIME PSYCHOLOGY
12. The Dictatorship of the Toys: the hegemony of games
The engine room of production warfare is the conversion of objects into icons, relationships into games and reality into fantasies, desires and fulfilling them.
13. ‘The Edge’: the psychology of totalitarian mobilization
The extremism of production warfare forces everyone to the edges of their character and the possible in ways that energize and reward the enterprisingly nimble, over-tax the hard working, marginalize and strip the vulnerable and turn all human intercourse into a fall prone exercise in slippery cliff hanging and scrambling, that all too often ends in the valley of the shadow of marginalization.
14. The Western Existential Hinterland: once you saw it, now you don’t
The journey into the modern world of instrumentalized and specialized thinking has eroded the parts of us that religious life and institutions looked after, to the point the we are so stripped of an existential heartland that faith and reason no longer meaningfully correspond, such that reason degenerates in rationalization and faith becomes blind.
THE CRUMBLING EDIFICE
15. Hypatia’s Ghost: the decline of modernism
The secular critique of religion, as exemplified by the work of Richard Dawkins, not only underestimates the rise of religious fundamentalism, but entirely misses what is giving it its traction; serious flaws in the secular world itself that require a complete existential, social and economic rethink of the absolute basics; what the purposes of life and wealth are. Failure to do this has given old time religionists a free get-out-of-the-garbage-heap-of-history card, enabling them to re-stake their claim on the territory and preparing the way for a reformational shift, which only a determined secular counter-reformation will stop
16. Adaption Success and Failure: The early modernizing and late modern experiences
The challenges raised and responses to them during the transition into modernity are analogous to the challenges we face today, as the modern project begins to confront its own mortality, just as its predecessors did, when they had to decide what could be ported from their past into a new world order, and what had to be left behind.
CASE STUDY IN EMERGENCE, TRANSITION AND DECAY
17. Romeo and Juliet Revisited: ‘childthink’
Shakespeare introduces us to a very ‘early model’ version of the autonomous child in the face of traditionalist expectations and political realities; traditionalists who are made to take the modern blame for the adverse outcomes arising from the children’s willful and inconsequential egoism and their adult collaborators’ irresponsible and indulgent behavior.
18. The entrenchment of Adolescence: the modern Romeo and Juliet
Our system of one to one familial social governance has been systematically unpicked and replaced by market forces and methodology to the point that parenting without a sales and marketing division is out of the question. We are not helpless before this, but not only is the challenge daunting, the road back is strewn with mines and obstacles that every parent must understand and negotiate.
THE 4 UGLY SIBLINGS: sexism, homophobia, racism and religious fundamentalism
19. The Sexual Revolution 1: the case of abortion on demand
The ease with which this practice was legitimized had very little to do with the extremely dubious anti-sexist arguments for it, and everything to do with the internal politics of production warfare and the reconstruction of sex and female ‘liberation’ as consumer constructs.
20. The Sexual Revolution 2: the case of the homosexual lobby
While women have been ‘had’ by the sexual revolution, homosexuals have been able to leverage and fudge the gender critique of feminism with the rise of ‘sexistentialist’ consumer ideology, which became the perfect matrix for homosexual claims to sexual equality and the right to invade an increasingly chaotic and defenseless reproductive commons.
21. Aboriginals: racism, imperialism and ‘sorryspeak’
A narrative about ‘time travel’, adaption and governance, and what happens to not just an indigenous population, but anyone who fails to manage major and difficult historical shifts. Those who support and excuse such failure to reinforce their own ideological position through a culture of aggressive condemnation and shoddy excuse making, not only further disable their ‘clients’, but set themselves up for the same fate, as their own world and worldview starts to unwind.
22. Shylock and His Bastard Children
As Islam (and to some extent almost all other religions) start to convulse into a Reformationary spasm of puritanical rage, at the bottom of this highly volatile and explosive cocktail we are just bound to find an absolutely fascinating and extraordinary little tribe; the Jews. If you do not believe in divine providence and end-of-the-world eschatology, explaining how the modern era has become hostage to the fate of this tiny ethnic group is a tough ask, but I do my best…..for to not understand it is to not understand the rise of fundamentalist religion.
The civil libertarian side of capitalism has reached its use-by date and the market now needs to take over the space left by a laissez-faire implosion of governance. Social reproduction is just another services product and can be delivered in exactly the same way, by applying the same totalitarian principles of production warfare and consciousness control as one might use to promote bottled water.
24. Denazification as a Model of Change
The process of denazification was a unique experiment in changing consciousness at a mass national level, by combining the consequences of failure with collective shame and rehabilitation, in ways that modeled new values and behavior. The 2008 GFC offered an opportunity to repeat it in the context of prospective economic catastrophe, to break some very unpleasant habits and rebuild productive and prudent financial behavior throughout society, from top to bottom.
The deconstruction of manhood into permanent adolescence eventually caused such grievously dysfunctional reproductive outcomes, that parents who could afford it, or families that had exceptionally understanding distant female relatives/friends, started to build a sexual right-of-passage mentoring process for adolescent boys into the practical business of becoming considerate, thoughtful, stable and emotionally mature adults, who could engage their future female partners in ways that would secure them and their future family throughout an entire reproductive cycle.
26. Aspirants, Redemptories and Practical Salvation
Salvation is the business of constructing the attitudinal software, social practice and institutional setting to enable communities to high function collectively and bring out the best in the individuals who compose them, in ways that enrich future generations, no matter how trying and dangerous their material circumstances.
27. A Post Modern Death
Death becomes our summary and the legacy that it leaves behind is not merely a dead hand, but a living artifact that buries itself into our successors, just as much as if we were to individually live on as immortal spirits. It is to be embraced, where possible, as an exalted moment rather than one denied and unnecessarily put off out of fear or egoism, so that our successors can take over our space in the generational social matrix at the height of their powers, and that the dying person does not overly consume scarce medical resources through unnecessary elongation of the process.
28. The Softwell Man
No institutional structure, no matter how high its ideals, is immune from the ordinary effects of political struggle, mistakes or the ineluctable transition processes that all living organisms must endure. Movement founders are often not the same sort of people as those who build them into great institutions. And if they are compressed into the same time and space, conflict is likely and the apparatchiks usually win. As a founding father dies, we see the dynamic of that kind of defeat and how movements change gear.
29. Post-Modern Heroes: Michael and Giordanda
This is a visionary ‘history’ of a post-modern commune and a family within it, making their way in an extremely hazardous, violent and deprived world, where the rules of conduct and social engagement form an integral part of its armory and wealth capital. The strength and discipline of their commons and the solidarity that it produces is the key to their survival, and everything they do and the entire process of reproductive effort, is geared to that end.
30. Satan’s Bargain: the ‘FutureSafe Guarantee’ ®
Satcor CEO, B. L. Zeebub, offers the company’s human elite genetically and memory engineered immortality, as part of their remuneration packages, in return for collaborating in the final solution to the biology question; death.
31. War, Peace and the Ongoing Struggle
We are in a society that is living wildly beyond its means and putting crushing pressure on everything it touches. We must now prepare ourselves for a most difficult journey into the future in which there are no rescue services except our own, face the prospect of a multi-millennial time line to struggle against extinction and build an opportunity to port something of a legacy that includes virtue as a civilizational goal for our descendants.
Introduction and Executive Summary
In 1517, an obscure academic monk called Martin Luther (See faceplate) did what seemed impossible. He unwittingly started a massive two hundred-year political-religious upheaval whose echoes can still be felt today.
The trigger for this maelstrom was his objection to the sale of ‘Indulgences’. These religious instruments enabled sinners to buy their way out of the consequences of their negative behavior in this life, in the next. The Church Establishment of his day profited immensely from this sales practice. However, he felt it defeated the quest for salvation. For him, this institutionalized attempt to buy off God meant that the redemptive value of all well intended Good Works and Worthy Behavior had been hopelessly compromised. Only blind faith in His mercy, grace and forgiveness gave any hope for the deeply faulted character that is inherent in every one of us.
In its day this message had enormous resonance.
Today, Indulgence has become embedded into the foundations of our economy and culture in ways that Luther could have hardly imagined. As much as it did in Luther’s time, self indulgence and the indulgence of others equally subverts and damages us. We no longer try to buy off God. Instead, we try it on ourselves, family and friends, and the wider community. We try to buy salvation through goods and services satisfactions, but the more we fail, the harder we try to make them give what they cannot deliver.
Self-deception, lies and false hopes however are only the beginning. Systematically giving in to every desire and whim gives rise to an economic system that ravishes everything it touches in its efforts to feed a bottomless pool of demand and entitlement. We no longer end up in an afterlife purgatory. We have a self-designing and dynamically evolving form of hell that colonizes us in the here and now. Its name is the Golden Gulag. It is so overwhelming it absorbs everything, including our best intentions and Good Works.
Salvation and redemption can therefore still only be achieved by blind faith that one can do what seems to be impossible, which is to somehow escape its power.
The Golden Gulag is a concentration camp for the prisoners of desire. Unlike its predecessors, the facilities are very comfortable and copiously supplied, but its processes are exactly the same. It is a feedlot that takes many multiples of the value extracted from the victims of the Nazi SS or Soviet NKVD. Its victims are destroyed by their labor and starved of existential nourishment until all that is left are ghosts. Despite the pretty facades of the buildings, the well kept roads and gardens, the orderly administration and quality entertainments, it is a charnel house. It feasts on the living world for its fuel, debouches an acrid odor of burning flesh and leaves behind mountains of the charred remains of our needs and wants.
Inside the Gulag, people enslave themselves and each other to intensely engineered passions, unbridled egoism and pathological levels of overproductivity and consumption. They are persuaded to abandon the domesticity and community sociability that not only existentially secures them and their intimates, but also constructs them as adult characters. Adolescence breaks out of its age niche to become a toxic mainstream force that paralyzes adult consciousness and critical thinking.
Within the Gulag, freedom, human rights and indulgence seamlessly merge to benignly disempower the inmates in ways repression never could, thus binding them all the more tightly to their voluntary destruction. Liberalism has been elevated into a powerful orthodoxy, but at the price of denuding it of the discipline that made it work as an independent social ideology. It has been reduced to a cruel parody of itself in return for its role in masking the more negative aspects of the Gulag’s operations. Its control of our social welfare, educational and legal establishments has become as corrupted as it is incompetent.
Humanist libertarchs hang around the civil gateways of indulgence capital, delegitimize what is left of a social commons, its discipline and the authority vested in it, and provide unconditional, excuse rich and all inclusive absolution for the lumpen proletariat, the sexual underworlders, the picaresque edge dwellers in the valley of the shadow of marginalisation and those still in denial about responsible moral agency. At least in the sixteenth century unreconstructed sinners had to pay up front to avoid damnation. Not anymore, with the special all-you-can-eat-don't-have-to-pay-til-next-year offers you just cannot refuse.
All that freebie get-out-of-jail-pass-go inclusivity is now absorbed and co-opted into a giant theatre of fantasies posing as wants, evolving into needs and apotheosing into rights, because the customer is always right, ready for the masters of business administration to orchestrate the real business of uncontrolled spending and inconsequential behavior on the never never....whether international banker or humbleton credit card hound.....indefinitely, as if the future will never come, because we can put it off.
This Gulag is not an autocracy. It is self-regulating. There are no guards or fences. The prisoners cannot bring themselves to leave. They have not been arrested or deported there. They have been driven in by proudly sponsored visions of paradise.
The Gulag is a revolutionary and totalitarian organism in all the worst and grossest senses of those words. No goal it ever sets itself is ever enough for long. No amount of force or institutionalized violence could possibly accomplish the extent of those goals. However, selling and marketing can. Thus even the most pathologically insane values and aspirations can be readily turned into middle-of-the-road, state of the art and reasonable. And while the organism assiduously purveys an image of concern for the value of life and property, like all its revolutionary predecessors, it too eats its children.
The culture of the Gulag is characterized by the language of ‘Doublethink’ (conceptual conflation), ‘Hollowthink’ (vacuous clichés) and ‘Childthink’ (adolescent consciousness), revolutionary enthusiasm, institutionalized veneration of icons, personality cults, privatized, massively budgeted and science driven propaganda ministries, ever intensifying productivity and compliance requirements, systematic white anteing of pre-Revolutionary values and institutions and an agenda of nothing less than the complete reconstruction of the individual and society for the maximizing of production and consumption outcomes.
The Gulag production system originated from the initially temporary expedients of total war. These have now been adopted and re-engineered by industrial ‘war machines’ for marketing assaults on civil shop troops. They have turned episodic war production into permanently institutionalized ‘production warfare’ by systematically overproducing and then ‘wasting’ goods and services onto market ‘battlefields’. At a profound level, it no longer makes any difference what sort of battlefield is being fought over or whether the munitions are poison gas or air freshener.
The damage inflicted by traditional warfare and modern productivity is gradually becoming indistinguishable. The costs of this damage, both tangible and intangible, are externalized out of the accounting system. Even the most merciless and rapacious looting of off balance sheet capital accounts are never disclosed. Thus this system now conceals vast accumulated ‘invisible’ losses that will eventually bankrupt a great part of our institutionally organized, existential, cultural and ecological capital bases.
Obesity and cancer are not just medical blights, but metaphors for our age. Damage to healthy tissue through excessive feeding and developmental bloating, over-replication, and aggressive metastasizing are pictured as fabulous success stories, even as they kill their hosts. The Gulag is death, not just for us, but the life force itself.
Post-Modernism is an art movement whose aesthetic fractures, deconstructs and dysfunctionalises images. Post-Modernity is a potential historical state of being and living that expresses this prescient art form with all the violence, dislocation and chaos that its definition would imply. The greatest question for the latter days of modern times is how we can limit and manage our exposure to the worst effects of such an age.
The defining strategy for managing the answer will be to recast modern technology and ideas to facilitate retreat into sane and defensible existential, cultural, community, corporately institutionalized and ecological boundaries; i.e., to industrially calm and ‘disarm’. Such a process would redefine what it means to be productive, wealthy and fully human. It would make a start down the long road to resuscitate our inner hinterlands, recapture our now thoroughly demolished sense of the sacred and redemptive and rejoin the worlds of faith and reason, so that once more they can make sense of each other.
As things presently stand, the only groups currently ready to deal with a post modern period are the militant religious fundamentalists of all persuasions, who have dispensed with reason in order to maintain existential and social capital, which they are increasingly inclined to sustain by blind faith and force. Seculars have barely begun to even contemplate the business of rebuilding this wealth, that has been systematically smashed to be bits by the requirements of a consumer society that needs only production drivers and consumer responders for its veteran third generation contract drones and shop troops.
And of all global religious movements, the Abrahamic one, whose power and persuasiveness derives from the greatest totalitarian idea ever created, monotheism, will very likely come to a civilizational flashpoint between its equally absolutist traditions, in the one place that is holy to them all, over which numerous wars have already been fought, and now held hostage to Zionist fundamentalism, in a historical irony too profound and terrible to plumb.
And the question has to be asked, how such a tiny ethnic group could possibly be at the centre of what maybe the last modern war, because if it comes, it will very likely be a nuclear one.
The timeline for the emergence of post-modern disorders and war has already started and the options for a moderately effective response degrade every day we delay in facing it. Totalitarian megalomania, revolutionary zeal and the awesome momentum of two hundred and thirty years of energy, capital and technology intensive development will likely thwart such a response. Unless we can pull off the impossible, we can look forward with some confidence to a very dark and traumatic period.
Seismic shifts in human history bring out the best and worst of our nature. There will be the inevitable violence that characterizes such periods, whereby criminal elements and new contending social forces will move in from the margins to the center stage and challenge the traditional state and confront each other. And there will also be those that arm their communities with the tools to not only overcome adversity, but redefine the human condition, the means by which it assembles itself and their ability to deliver sustainable, stable and empowering solutions to the age old conundrums of what makes human society and its social and existential software, worth living in.
|Chapter||1||Modernism:- Satan's bargain||14.79k|
|Chapter||2||Plunder: Species War Against the Planet||6.29k|
|Chapter||3||The Blind Eye: The Accounts||24.13k|
|Chapter||4||Modernity and Post-Modernity: Some Further Explanation||10.48k|
|Chapter||5||A Personal Late Modern Experience||27.13k|
|Chapter||6||Early 20th Century: Modernism Triumphant||6.37k|
|Chapter||7||Towards the Mid 20th Century: The Totalitarians||6.52k|
|Chapter||8||Total War and Peacetime Mobilization||25.39k|
|Chapter||9||Masters and Slaves: The Rule of the Idearchs||5.85k|
|Chapter||10||The New Totalitarians: The Industrial Drivers||12.73k|
|Chapter||11||Restructure: Shifting the Parameters of Social Control||22.71k|
|Chapter||12||The Dictatorship of the Toys: Hegemony of Games and Fantasy||19.06k|
|Chapter||13||The Edge: Totalitarian Mobilization||40.24k|
|Chapter||14||The Disappearing Western Existential Hinterland||18.07k|
|Chapter||15||Hypatia’s Ghost: The Decline of Modernism||19.07k|
|Chapter||16||Models of Adaptation Success and Failure||8.42k|
|Chapter||17||Romeo and Juliet Revisited - ‘Childthink’||14.68k|
|Chapter||18||The Entrenchment of Adolescence - The Modern Romeo & Juliet||37.34k|
|Chapter||19||The Sexual Revolution 1 - The Case of Abortion on Demand||65.93k|
|Chapter||20||The Sexual Revolution 2 - The Case of the Homosexual Lobby||88.23k|
|Chapter||21||Aboriginals - Racism, Imperialism and 'Sorryspeak'||111.04k|
|Chapter||22||Religious Fundamentalism - Shylock & His Bastard Children||87.36k|
|Chapter||24||Denazification As a Model of Change||11.99k|
|Chapter||26||Aspirants, Redemptories and Practical Salvation||13.31k|
|Chapter||27||A Post-Modern Death||10.50k|
|Chapter||28||The Softwell Man||21.00k|
|Chapter||29||Post-Modern Heroes - Michael and Giordanda||57.14k|
|Chapter||30||Satan’s Bargain - The ‘FutureSafe’ ® Guarantee||6.94k|
|Chapter||31||War, Peace and the Ongoing Struggle||16.90k|