by Umair Haque
from Eudaimonia Website
Here's How Not to Join It...
You're not wrong.
About a decade or so ago, hot on the heels of the financial crisis, something happened - an old story began to be rewritten, as the world found itself poorer once again.
There was an explosion, somewhere deep in the human heart, and a tsunami rippled across the globe - one boiling and bubbling with every imaginable variety of stupid:
And so now a tsunami of imbecility is rolling like a slow-motion thermonuclear bomb across the globe. Lightning bolts of foolishness shiver down it.
Smoke clouds of idiocy
billow from it. Here are the five kinds of stupid wrecking the
globe - because your first job, these days, as a human being, is
to make sure you're not being turned into an imbecile by this wave
of stupid, too.
...three words that craftily mean the same thing.
It's the idea that,
...whether "it" is,
Sure we have the money.
What do you think an era of zero interest rates mean?
It means that there is so much money sloshing around in the treasure chests of the global economy, so much loot piled up by the Jeff Bezoses and Bill Gateses, that there is nowhere left to put it.
Not a single place:
Nada left to buy equals zilch interest to lend at.
Zero interest doesn't just means,
... it means that if they
don't, the economy will go right on cruising into oblivion, because
that money will go on piling at the top, instead of doing anything
remotely useful, beneficial, or necessary.
There, thanks to four decades of people imbecilically destroying their very own government, those very people live in rank indignity:
But see the point:
He is too stupid to invest in his very own society.
He wants, instead, to kick out the scapegoats, exclude the minority, scorn the weak.
"Either he has massive balls
or he's uncommonly stupid".
But he doesn't see that "us first" and "them last" are not opposites - they quite often go hand in hand in a race to the bottom of the abyss. Ah, only a true imbecile would confuse up for down.
Social stupid is the idea that a society can function without a social contract. That Uber can replace ambulances and hyperloops can replace buses and what next?
Vending machines can replace hospitals and schools, I guess.
Alas, as it turns out... plenty...
All those extremist parties arising around the globe? They look to America as an example - not as a warning.
That's what they want to become. Hence, the bombastic demagogues that run them stand for cutting public services, deconstructing governance, shredding the social contract, and replacing it with various forms of authoritarianism, kleptocracy, and feudalism, which don't really have social contracts as much as pledges of fealty.
It took human beings
millennia to develop these things called social contracts -
and yet here we are, timewarping backwards centuries by the month.
Elon. My dude, my dude.
Maybe we could try to… prevent the next world war? You know, save
millions of lives, instead of running away while they turn into
Let's call this one techno-determinism - the idea that we can engineer solutions to our problems, like, say going to Mars. Elon hasn't quite considered the fact that if humans who make world wars go to a different planet, all that's likely to happen is world wars on Mars, Venus, and Pluto.
We can't solve human problems with technology.
Now, this form of stupid, techno-determinism, goes deeper than we think.
But let me try to boil it down. Do you think that we can even really see human problems without ever reading books, watching plays, studying ourselves, and learning history?
If you do,
congratulations, you're a techno-determinist, you just don't know
This brings me to my fourth form of stupid. It's cultural.
Let me call it salvationism.
Salvation - safety in daddy's muscular arms.
The rise of bizarre forms of magical thought - on both the left and right, the right-wing version being "race science" and genetic determinism, just like in the good old Nazi days, and the left version being the idea that shouting at Donald Trump on Twitter is going actually resolve problems of poverty, abuse, and violence?
Salvation, my old friend...
Everywhere we look,
people want a way out of this age. It's no surprise that they look
for the easiest, least painful one. You might laugh at opioid
addicts - but I'd bet if you look at yourself a little more
It's the biggest one of all, and it's psychological. Denial.
We are in deep, profound denial about…everything, more or less. Take America again. Just a few weeks ago, kids were massacred with a machine gun. The nation went hysterical - and now it's back to mostly caring about TV shows.
Denial. Nobody can pretend they don't know kids massacring each other is terrible - they can only be in denial, no?
But I could extend that example endlessly - because my first four forms of stupid are really also forms of denial.
Nationalism, extremism, demagoguery, the rebirth of literal Nazism, salvationism, determinism - all the manifold, maddening forms of stupidity that define this age of globally catastrophic stupid - these are all strategies of denial.
Denying someone else
rights, dignity, a chance, a future, belonging, a self.
Things will be OK, go back to normal. We stick our fingers and cry "LA LA LA LA!!" at the merest mention of even the tiniest inconvenient truth - quick, change the channel, unlike that person, unfollow.
So here are a few of those truths, now that I've got you in a position where you can't squirm away so easily.
We are in deep, deep shit as a world, as a species, as human beings. I could go on.
The point isn't to depress you. Sorry, you're not that important...
The point is that it isn't about you. What isn't? This. All of it. The planet. Society. Democracy. Life. Even your life.
Denial is a way to retain one's egoism, really, to cling to the delusion that one is all-powerful.
Sorry. You just don't
matter that much. The great truth of this age begins right there.
It is that we don't matter at all. Not this way. We have lived all wrong for the last century or so.
What have they produced?
What have those produced? At a human level - beneath the festooned gadgets and the glittering spires?
But it is we ourselves who chose all this.
This futility, emptiness, hollowness. We chose it by saying nothing
mattered at all, except winning, conquest, cruelty, possession.
Nothing mattered except having the power to make nothing matter.
This is the age of the
Then we will matter again, too.
But if we do not make those things matter, then we will not either. We will vanish, unremembered, like the dust on the wind that we are. Tiny blind creatures who thought they were something more than that - how funny. Swept away by the oceans in the blink of an eye. And not a star in the universe wept a tear...
That is the message of this age. But we are not quite ready to hear it yet, I fear.
What does it really mean, this word, "stupid"?
It means something like:
Doesn't that describe where we are today?
We made everything meaningless, a game, a contest, a reality show, including ourselves, keep right on doing it, and then wonder ,
That's because nothing
matters to you, including and beginning with you - not the planet,
democracy, society, prosperity, your grandkids, nor your mind,
heart, body, or soul.
And that's because they swallow lies most children wouldn't believe.
Such lies make fools of
us - because when we believe them, soon enough, nothing means
anything, except our immediate desires, but in that way, nothing
much matters at all, and in the end, we are left baffled by the lack
of meaning in our worlds, selves, lives.
The world is engulfed in stupid, which is a way to say:
A world of self-interested pleasure-maximizing robots in human flesh will happily watch everything burn for another hit of greed, envy, power, and hate.
And that level of stupid,
that absolute and total lack of meaning, which is what
totalitarianism really is, is what must begin with
changing if we are to come back to our senses again...