In a nod to the late, lamented quirk-com podcast for the ages, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter’s Topics, allow me to say that we here at Fun Social Nihilism cover 80% of all the angles that have nihilism of the vertex, and the rest of the 20% must come form the study groups, who have been awfully silent as of late, as if the entire Internext has been seized by a random force that has caused all surfing/looking to seize and desist, all across the world.
So we can only surmise, guess, be in the dark as to the potential objections from the heavy hitters of the post-stochastic Weltanschaunung. How about the fine optimists out there, feigning distaste for the gloomy doomers out there preaching social horror? William F. Schulz writes one cri de positive couer:
I’m no Pollyanna, I assure you. And I know that my perspective is colored by my white color and my privilege. I know that systemic racism remains a horrendous scourge; that economic justice and a fair distribution of the earth’s abundance remain wildly out of reach; that climate change threatens every one of us. But if we follow the advice of one of the greatest philosophers of all time, Baruch Spinoza, who said, in effect, “Always take the view from eternity”; if we take the long view; if we consider that just 250 years ago virtually no reputable person would have opposed slavery or limited suffrage or the subjugation of women and today no reputable person would support any of them; if we look at human history not, in Aldous Huxley’s famous phrase, as “one damn thing after another,” but if we see it in its totality, it is impossible to argue credibly that, on balance, humankind has not made enormous progress and that there is a chance—60/40?—that the human race will ultimately pull through.
Yes, in the long view, humanity has made important progress. On many issues, the rationality of the liberal positions of tolerance, skepticism, hedonism, and financial fair play have consigned history to history’s dustbin. Sort of. Not really.In small places of gated wealth, but not to any degree commendable.
This is our epoch, not the one before, or the ones before, and we can take another long view and see that pain, stupidity, and suffering retain their endemic places atop the list of social reality. With no reason for them being there, with no justification for their continuance, except for the intractable nature of human self- oppression. To deny them their rule is to be incapable of sociological imagination. There are abiding wonders to this technoworld, yet it cannot be that blind optimism retains any validity, when even self-declared optimists concede the dire nature of the human predicament. Will the human race “pull through”? Yes, no, maybe, okay – but at what price of its own irreparable social loss and devastation?