We live in the midst of multiple crises—economic and political, cultural and ecological—posing a significant threat to human existence at the level we have become accustomed to. There’s no way to be awake to the depth of these crises without emotional reactions, no way to be aware of the pain caused by these systemic failures without some dread and distress.
Those emotions come from recognizing that we humans with our big brains have disrupted the balance of the living world in disastrous ways that may be causing irreversible ecological destruction, and that drastically different ways of living are not only necessary but inevitable, with no guarantee of a smooth transition.
This talk, in polite company, leads to being labeled hysterical, Chicken Little, apocalyptic. No matter that you are calm, aren’t predicting the sky falling, and have made no reference to rapture. Pointing out that we live in unsustainable systems, that unsustainable systems can’t be sustained, and that no person or institution with power in the dominant culture is talking about this—well, that’s obviously crazy.
But to many of us, these insights simply seem honest. To be fully alive today is to live with anguish, not for one’s own condition in the world but for the condition of the world, for a world that is in collapse. What to do when such honesty is unwelcome? Read more …
(via Javier Rodriguez)
Social media puts an end to shyness by generalizing its pathology
By Rob Horning
…Rather than eradicate shyness, Facebook seems to generalize its pathology to all its users. In this, it serves a broader project of institutionalizing a kind of subjectivity suitable to neoliberalism, that is, to socioeconomic conditions of pervasive risk in which isolated individuals are expected to be perpetually flexible, unattached to any particular identity, and willing to bear much more responsibility for coping with instability. Whereas it was once plausible to talk of orderly and predictable stages and roles in one’s life, economic destabilization has rendered such a course unlikely for most people. Instead, most face precarity — economic insecurity as a structured and permanent component of life rather than a temporary anomaly. Because work conditions are subject to change without notice and work itself is not guaranteed, the distinction between work and nonwork blurs. One must adopt an entrepreneurial attitude toward the business of life, identifying opportunities whenever they come and cultivating resources to replace what was once offered for merely adhering to the standard life pattern….
whuuuuut! tell ‘em, The New Inquiry, tell ‘em