Filed under: brave new world, unseen world | Tags: intemperence, liquor, spirits, temperance
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: alain de botton, Bill Gates, justice, poverty, wealth
photo: Gregory Crewdson
Your fault if you’re poor – says Gates; how can it be your fault there’s just so much randomness – counters de Botton, below. Gates’s – also Trump’s – view adds misery to life unnecessarily.
If you are born poor it’s not your mistake, but if you die poor it is your mistake.
I think it’s the randomness of the winning and losing process, that I want to stress. Because the emphasis nowadays so much is on the justice of everything … Now I’m a firm believer in justice. I just think that it’s impossible. We should do everything we can to pursue it, but at the end of the day we should always remember that whoever is facing us, whatever has happened in their lives, there will be a strong element of the haphazard. And it’s that that I’m trying to leave room for, because otherwise it can get quite claustrophobic.
Alain de Botton
Filed under: brave new world, chronotopes | Tags: animals, Anthropocene, Earth, plants, Roy Scranton, the Opinionator, We're Doomed Now What?
The profit, progress, accumulation, growth, tech, market, oil ideology is old and doesn’t give us meaning. The instinct for meaning is strong and will circumvent this old idea. But then we will need a new language and a new way of seeing to make a new world: to look through the eyes of the ‘other,’: human, animal, vegetable, mineral; the eyes of birds, the being of clouds, seas, rocks, stars:
Yet it’s at just this moment of crisis that our human drive to make meaning reappears as our only salvation … if we’re willing to reflect consciously on the ways we make life meaningful — on how we decide what is good, what our goals are, what’s worth living or dying for, and what we do every day, day to day, and how we do it. Because if it’s true that we make our lives meaningful ourselves and not through revealed wisdom handed down by God or the Market or History, then it’s also true that we hold within ourselves the power to change our lives — wholly, utterly — by changing what our lives mean. Our drive to make meaning is more powerful than oil, the atom, and the market, and it’s up to us to harness that power to secure the future of the human species.
We can’t do it by clinging to the progressivist, profit-seeking, technology-can-fix-it ideology of fossil-fueled capitalism. We can’t do it by trying to control the future. We need to learn to let our current civilization die, to accept our mortality and practice humility. We need to work together to transform a global order of meaning focused on accumulation into a new order of meaning that knows the value of limits, transience and restraint.
Most important, we need to give up defending and protecting our truth, our perspective, our Western values, and understand that truth is found not in one perspective but in their multiplication, not in one point of view but in the aggregate, not in opposition but in the whole. We need to learn to see not just with Western eyes but with Islamic eyes and Inuit eyes, not just with human eyes but with golden-cheeked warbler eyes, coho salmon eyes, and polar bear eyes, and not even just with eyes at all but with the wild, barely articulate being of clouds and seas and rocks and trees and stars.
Opinionator, We’re Doomed, Now What? Roy Scranton
Filed under: chronotopes, unseen world | Tags: change, Figures of Dissent, terry eagleton, utopia
Idealist 1 (believes in perfect society) > Realist < Idealist 2 (supports the status quo)
The realist, wedged between two types of idealist, believes things will change no matter what, either for the better, or for the worse. The true idealist believes there will be no change or that there can be perfection. The big surprise though, status quo is an idealist position because of the inevitability of change.
There are two kinds of starry-eyed idealist: those who believe in a perfect society; and those who hold that the future will be pretty much like the present. Wedged between them are the realists, who recognize that the future will be a lot different, though by no means necessarily better. To claim that human affairs might feasibly be much improved is a realist position; those with their heads truly in the clouds are the hard-nosed pragmatists who behave as though chocolate-chip cookies or the International Monetary Fund will still be with us in two thousand years time. Such a view is simply an inversion of the television cartoon The Flintstones, for which the remote past is just American suburbia plus dinosaurs.
Utopias I, Figures of Dissent, Terry Eagleton
R. Crumb: music died in 1935, poisoned, stolen, resold, repackaged, neutered and killed by the music business.
In the ’20s in Philly, in every house, people played and sang live music. In the country as a whole there were bands, dance halls, ballrooms, auditoriums and clubs. Radio, the depression, movies and finally TVs killed it. Itunes, streaming are more nails.
“I don’t miss that culture. The America that I missed died in about 1935. That’s why I have all this old stuff, all these old 78 records from that era. It was the golden age of recorded music, before the music business poisoned the people’s music, the same way that ‘agribusiness’ poisoned the very soil of the earth. In the old days, music was produced by common people, the music they produced to entertain themselves. The record industry took it and resold it, repackaged and killed it, spewed it out in a bland, artificial, ersatz version of itself. This goes along with the rise of the mass media, the spread of radio. My mother, born in the 1920s, remembered walking in the street in the summertime in Philadelphia, and in every other house, people were playing some kind of live music. Her parents played music and sang together. In her generation, her brothers didn’t want to play an instrument anymore. It was the swing era and all they wanted to do was to listen to Benny Goodman on the radio. The takeover of radio happened much later. In places like Africa, you can still find great recorded music from the ’50s. I have many 78s from Africa at that time that sound like some great rural music from America in the ’20s. In the U.S at that time there were thousands and thousands of bands, dance halls, ballrooms in hotels, restaurants had dance floors, school auditoriums, clubs in small towns. A small town of 10,000 would have a least a hundred bands. In the mid 30’s radio spread very fast in America and the depression killed a lot of the venues where live music was performed. You could go to the movies for 10 cents. Then in the 50’s TV finished it all off. Mass media makes you stay home, passive. In the 20’s there was live music everywhere in the States. I talked to old musicians who played in dance bands. This old musician bandleader Jack Coackley in San Francisco told me that in 1928 when you went downtown in the evening on the trolley car to play at a ballroom, the streets were full of musicians going to work, carrying instruments in cases. Same thing happened in France with the death of musette, the popular dance music of the working classes. There hasn’t been a decent popular music in America for a long time.”
Robert Crumb Hates You, Jacques Hyzagi, Observer
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life, unseen world | Tags: David Luttschwager, Life in One Cubic Foot
Central Park, Smithsonian exhibit “Life in One Cubic Foot” by David Liittschwager