What’s the best phrase to encapsulate the epochal moment of being actively human at this stage of our common evolution as upright? What’s it add up to, all the readin’ and learnin’ and livin’ that life has afforded each one of us? Of course, at this stage of time plus space, it is all but variant upon one theme: sickening & disgusting.
Yes, the $6 trillion dollar “war” unleashed by the US military and its political/academic allies in the ferociously ravaged Middle East is sickening & disgusting, truly appalling and beyond measure. The micro-“war” in Grenada by the selfsame US establishment that killed at least 20 people in a mental hospital, as recounted in John Dower’s brilliant The Violent American Century, was also sickening & disgusting. The deaths of 35,000 children a day in this world is horrific, sickening, and disgusting. The Catholic Church’s anti-woman and anti-poor ordinances are sickening & disgusting, even if Pope Laudato Si tries to gloss over its basic inhumanity with some sweet monkish platitudes interspersed with crackpot theology.
American politics is sickening & disgusting. So is religion in its promotion of anti-human oppression. So is work – as is expressed by James Livingstone in his assured, commanding No Work, with the production of goods in the hands of machines, work is, on the whole and just about across the board, sickening & disgusting in its profit-motive destruction of humanity’s natural home – a sinister waste of time & purpose, though you might have a fine job making organic crudites with five of your closest friends, laughing and dancing to the tunes of yesteryear while you feed the hungry world good, nutritious food. Good for you – that’s not the way work has been for the dominant slice of humanity, and it matters not in the main what good fortune has brought to a few.
The global economic order is sickening & disgusting. So many articles, essays, and books attest to the general rule of social institutions becoming, or just being, ever-more sickening & disgusting makes the act of reading, let alone, speaking, blogging, writing, or, perish the thought, teaching, an exercise in reality avoidance.
For we all know that the universe does not care about our hard-won knowledge that our own cultures, our own political orders, our own social reality, are locked into these whirring spirals of oppression and war, poverty and disease, social animosity and querulous badinage. Who cares? Qui cura? This is what a human global social supersystem looks like. This is what humans do, just as carrying around crumbs is what ants do. To transpose this accurate rage and despair at the human condition of social terror towards other humans, or towards the self, is as pointless as an ant trying to fly like a butterfly. There will never be a time in humanity’s future that being sickened & disgusted by the status of the human position in the inherited universe is not warranted as the default mode of thought.
Humans should not laugh off, or disregard, or pretend to not consider, the resolute predation of other humans upon the world of nature, upon other humanity, and upon non-human animals. No amount of drugs, no suicide, no soppy folk ballads to the transformative healing powers of love or music appreciation can alter the fundamental realities of how hideous social institutions have become. Stupidity and venality cannot be waved away if perpetrated by otherwise sympathetic “leaders” – Bernie Sanders was sickening & disgusting in his embrace of the F-35, in his pro-religiosity, in his willingness to join the hideous body known as the US Senate, and in his senatorial votes to advance the violence of the American empire. Look at any of your putative heroes – each one, as a human, is a fount of sickening & disgusting acts, whether direct or indirectly associated. So are all of us – you think that oven mitt for $9.99 you just bought doesn’t carry a massive amount of unseen degradation?
An ice cream cone would be good right now. Birds are good. Ducks, too, though the mother duck leading the ducklings across the road in front of highway traffic to their crushing is another matter. So let’s get ice cream – whaddaya say? There’s some chores to be done. We’ve got some good people working to have a better intellectual world during this Anthropocene – David Swanson, you the wordpress stalwart, our favorite musicians, ad-free email services, and the glorious wonders of your beloveds. The world doesn’t need more morose self-abnegators, but it sure could use some good old-fashioned oppositional art. Just don’t expect FSN to be that accepted source – it is meant, in all senses of that word, to be ignored.
Do you think social nihilists are built to care about “views” or “likes”? There are many other ways to find compensation, ones that do not involve exposing or mainlining social truth. So it’s 1 or 2 – that’s good enough.