The title of one estimable, though seldom generated, blog is “Life is Great ! Life is Horrible!…Ok, It’s Both!: http://www.nowtopians.com/general-musings/life-is-great-life-is-horrible-ok-its-both#comments. The title is precise and accurate: we as a living people now can see nature its its real and artificially-enhanced vibrancy and majesty: beckoning blue seas, magnificent fish and whales, stunning sunsets, loon families that eat a half-ton of fish over three months, snow-capped mountains and verdant permaculture gardens – you know, the folkish/Hollywood version of nature that we have been fated to have as our birthright.
That privilege is also accompanied by its obverse: the nature that we know, or should know, is directly threatened, outside our doors and in our lifetimes, by the familiar and well-documented crises of fossil fuel-fueled produced assault: enormous floating islands of plastics, rising C02 levels in concert with rising global temperatures, rapidly gaining extinctions of large mammals, despoiled and threatened vital ecosystems, disappearing summer ice at the poles, fully corrupt and immutable social systems governing the basics of human social life, and on down that social nihilist road, bindlestiff in hand.
There’s the conundrum, the dichotomy, the source of existential confusion, the basic ineradicable contest of life – greater knowledge leading to greater problems. The same blogger answers this Dilemma A for humans by averring that
This doesn’t mean I don’t believe it’s possible to radically change the world, to radically change how we live.
There is not the slightest evidence this is true, hence social nihilism. The daily news is chockablock with evidence pointing the other way – all over the social institutional landscape, from the “Christian fascists” now in positions of power in the US government, the utilities campaign’s to defeat rooftop solar, the Christian fascist attempted rollback of the Washington DC death with dignity law, the Christian fascist inspiration of the United States for the eugenics of Hitler’s Nazism, the impossibility of even suggesting “impeachment” in a political system controlled by active Christian fascists, corporate capitalism’s advertising sway over the populace, academia’s essential conservatism answered by frantic and deleterious “deplatforming” events – There is no capacity in the supersystem for radical change – and if there were some opening through the horrors of open collapse, the counter-revolutionaries of fossil fuel extraction, militarism and feudal supplication to the capitalizer class – would be ready and able to win back the flag.
Social nihilism does not mean living every day in a black funk. The truth of our inherited social reality is that we are lucky enough to to see the Old World around us while the New World arrives to kill it off. And vestiges of that Old World will persist for a good little while while the bases of social justice and social purpose are eradicated, news item by news item. While not deserving of the term “great,” this level of life “balance” is much, much better than outright collapse or suicidal ideation.
Feel free now to take that hit of hopium – speculative non-fiction, like speculative fiction, is always free.