First a disclaimer: we here at Fun Social Nihilism have never been highlighted in bold at a TimesTalk luncheon in downtown New York.
Second, the published of the Nein Manifesto by Erik Jasosinki has temporarily stalled the ascent of social nihilism. The Nein Manifesto is one grad student/prof hiree smacking some high culture concepts around with a new-style chopper/blender. “-ologies are all taut” seems to be such a brilliant, incredible insight that is of Keillorian penetrative wit, of such double meaning, that the whole edifice of western graduate school crumbles. The guy is making a living out of the space-age fortune cookie business that is Twitter, way to go, now please go away. Take aphoristic koan server farm Twitter with you, also. Thanks.
Humans, when engaged online, even supposed thinkers and independent social critics, are mostly interested in defending their turf, never giving an inch. asserting primacy of status over contemplation of possible errancy. In face to face situations, they may be more likely to come down from their perches of intellectual superiority lest they get punched across the orbital bone, which is why blowhards like, love the the safe typing box of the on-line column.
Human action is not altered at the individual. If I were to write a book, publish it, and then hope to change individual actions, and thereby change the course of humanity’s headlong rush towards climate catastrophe, I would making a large presumption about the effect of my presence in this universe. We do not ascribe the advent of the Neolithic Revolution to a caveman named Ogg who decided to get smart one day. The Bronze Age was not started by a college graduate who decided to do a pottery workshop as part of her master’s thesis. A female butterfly beats its wings in the hinter regions of the south Africa peninsula , and the Pentagon still allows a bomber to take off.
Human actions are determined at the social level, by large, impersonal forces that cause the human social world to experience minor fluctuations. Each of us, from Bill Gates to the proprietor of the FSN blog, is a functional nobody in this process. Our actions are determined by the confluence of temporary but intractable forces that govern our social fears, our compromised social ambitions, our latent desires. Sure, history is written as if individual human beings in their individual, human actions precipitated and generated these forces, but then history must condense human social reality to this fiction of the individual’s power and centrality, rather than boring all of us with the necessary, mountain-sized scale diagram of the major social causal actors of any given mass condition or effect. There is no Gaah, but we cannot substitute ourselves as the Gaah in that formula, either.