An MBA walks into a room – the start of a bad joke – and proclaims this institution – or company, NGO, whatever – no longer works and I am going to fix it, and then proceeds to radically alter the root structure of the thing – which has existed and served people well in the black for generations – even to the point of destruction, and pockets the profits. This has happened over and over, again and again during the neoliberal age: education, health, food and agriculture, transport, government services, housing. So what next, after all of the conventional businesses and institutions have been gutted? Here’s a dark vision of the next step in which the MBA ups the ante and air, water, flesh, our minds become the new targets.
Sex, sunshine, sleep, singing. The best things in life are currently free. We’d better make the most of them, because in a frackable future they’ll all be metered and chargeable. Libido International or whoever would be alerted to any sexual activity via, I don’t know, some sort of monitored hormonal “thinkernet” and would shut it down after 60 seconds unless you authorised a debit or had a prepaid sex account.
Maybe people will be fitted with retinal paywalls to allow in sunshine, which will be owned by a solar consortium based somewhere tax-efficient and warm. Sleep would be traded on the international sleep exchange – imagine the premium new parents would pay for an hour of ultra-deep oblivion. And all human singing would be automatically Shazammed to a central licensing bureau for billing, the days of “out of copyright” having long gone. Everything out of copyright will be automatically the copyright of Singinc, who own “trad” and “anon” now, too. And your vocal cords.
In the future it will probably be best to stay celibate, in the dark, awake for as long as possible and quiet. So let’s live a little now, before we’re all fracked.
Fracketeering: how capitalism is power-hosing the last drops of value out of us all: Once you’ve mined the earth and milked the service industries, what is there left to frack? Us, that’s what – with everything from admin charges and estate agent fees to blockbuster premiums and ‘cakeage’, by Ian Martin, The Guardian
Filed under: brave new world, chronotopes, departure lounge | Tags: Dziga Vertov, Soviet Toys
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: america, Bertrand Russell, civics, teachers, teaching, The Functions of a Teacher, Unpopular Essays
In case you wondered why: the complete cynicism, the lack of public ideals, the acquiescence, the inability to combat evils:
There is in America a subject called civics, in which, perhaps more than in any other, the teaching is expected to be misleading. The young are taught a sort of copybook account of how public affairs are supposed to be conducted, and are carefully shielded from all knowledge as to how in fact they are conducted. When they grow up and discover the truth, the result is too often a complete cynicism in which all public ideals are lost; whereas if they had been taught the truth carefully and with proper comment at an earlier age they might have become men able to combat evils in which, as it is, they acquiesce with a shrug.
The Functions of a Teacher, Umpopular Essays, Bertrand Russell
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life, unseen world | Tags: dance, Marcel Kinsbourne, ritual dance
Habits persist and cluster and conform us to shared dull, thoughtless behavior: mimicry in speech, going along with the mob.
Drums, dancing and music induce a primodial state outside of habit that is irrational, pleasurable and relational.
Perceived behavior gives a leg up to more of the same in the observer, who becomes a participant. Yawning and laughter are contagious, fashions are slavishly obeyed, catch phrases permeate everyday speech, and the mob drags along its unthinking but strangely comforted individual mobsters. The rhythm of the drum drowns out independent judgment and induces a reversion to the primordial state. To cite [Walter J.] Freeman . . . “to dance is to engage in rhythmic movements that invite corresponding movements from others.” Dancers synchronize, reciprocate, or alternate – all of which are forms of entrainment open to the infant. Entraining with others into a shared rhythm – marching, chanting, dancing – may trigger a primitive sense of irrational and beguiling belonging, and a shared mindset. Music elaborates this effect, and by virtue of its diverse complexity, averts habituation. Even rhythmic activity confined to oneself – rocking, spinning, finger tapping, leg shaking – may dearouse and confer a pleasing sense of calm (Kinsbourne 1980).
The Imitative Mind: Development, Evolution and Brain Bases, Marcel Kinsbourne
Filed under: chronotopes, the sweet life | Tags: Alain Daniélou, Gods of Love and Ecstasy
Imagine asking pardon of the spirit of the tree before cutting a branch, of the mountain before extracting stone for aggregate, of the lake before fishing, the stream before removing water, the sky taking a bird, the earth mining minerals. Processes would slow down, awareness of the nature of things and the relationship between them would increase, respect for life and the earth would bloom. Would life be a perpetual ritual again and natural order restored? Would the tree, mountain, lake and sky respect us back?
Animalistic man behaves in the same way and thus acquires a very acute sense. He asks pardon of the spirit of the tree from which he has to cut a branch. He tries to conciliate the divinities whom he believes protect the world. His life is a perpetual ritual. Respect for the spirit which dwells in all things, in all beings, is thus the basis of all morality and religion, and allows man to reach a level of intuitive knowledge which the logical mind can never grasp. Animistic concepts have been perpetuated amongst the ‘primitive’ tribes of India. Animism is opposed to the appropriation of land, to property, and to agriculture which destroys natural order and to anything which subjects nature to man. It is against the development of urban and industrial civilization. Such a concept, however, appears to be one of the most fundamental approaches to the religious problem. The animistic attitude is not sentimental or ‘naturist.’ Hunting is the basis for survival, and the cruelty of the gods and spirits requires sacrifice.
Gods of Love and Ecstasy, Alain Danielou
Filed under: brave new world, departure lounge | Tags: insult, northerners, southerners, United States