‘[…] Something’s coming. But isn’t that what we want? Isn’t this the burden of consciousness? We’re all played out. Matter wants to lose its self-consciousness. We’re the mind and heart that matter has become. Time to close it all down. This is what drives us now.’
He refilled his glass and passed me the bottle. I was enjoying this.
‘We want to be dead matter we used to be. We’re the last billionth of a second in the evolution of matter. When I was a student I looked for radical ideas. Scientists, theologians, I read the work of mystics through the centuries, I was a hungry mind, a pure mind. I filled the notebooks with my versions of world philosophy. Look at us today. We keep inventing folk tales of the end.
– “Point Omega” D. DeLillo, p. ø
There is a disturbance, a whirl, a wrinkle in this world. And it’s not doing nobody any good. That’s a double negative for emphasis. Sometimes I would like to talk about things on a different scale, say not the world but instead our city or my body or this apartment block we happen to be living in. But the world seems to make everything just a slight bit less insignificant “Listen here boyo, we are talking about the world. So you better wise up and give a fuck!”
But it’s just the other way around. People listen when it concerns them personally, when they know what limb or good they stand to loose in a worst-case scenario. Worst-case scenarios are overrated because they are damn near useless. This is already the worst case scenario we are living in right now, this is the on-going apocalypse we are dealing with by any other name.
We have invented, as is necessary, a whole vocabulary of euphemisms and acronyms and official designations to deal with the perennial emergency: climate change, AIDS, nuclear holocaust, pandemic, extinction level event [E.L.E], 9/11, empire, SARS, discrimination, endangerment of the global life support system, Anthropocene, systemic financial collapse, the end of days.
We have tried inventing a language that can somehow approach, swallow and neutralize the extent of the total disaster but it’s proving equally disastrous. Every day that we continue to persist equals a millennium of regression, the terms have been set and we fumble amidst them, drowning in the amniotic fluids of our incoherent tongues. There should be something we could do that bears no strict relationship to catastrophe and the impossibility of survival, something that is not beholden to the absurd syntax of hope. Or change for that matter. What could it be? Nobody knows. The ignorance spawns a yet bigger rampage by this hopeless, hapless beast we are in the habit of calling “public discourse”.
I write in English, knowing well that all that is words melts into air. I think in SwissGerman sometimes, and acknowledge that it is a sucker-punch in the belly of German, which in turn is the bloated, delusional corpse of a certain romantic dream of rationalism. I try to understand Chinese, simply by looking at it, simply by listening intently and recognize the fundamental gibberish, which makes all dialects tick and finally fail like a heart.
I fall from the high horse of wanting to say something to somebody and realize what an incredibly high horse it is I have been riding. I translate my name into a language I understand and wonder if I might be, at some point beyond time and space, be justified in loosing it or if I will have to carry it forth into the uncounted days until my spine snaps.
I consider all this with an incredible melancholy and absence of understanding, not angry but confused by the persistent presence of our inventory of symptoms: climate change, AIDS, nuclear holocaust, pandemic, extinction level event [E.L.E], 9/11, empire, SARS, discrimination, endangerment of the global life support system, Anthropocene, systemic financial collapse, the end of days. I realize that I am infected but that, fortunately, I am not The Infected One.
I go back to the beginning and write: There is a disturbance, a whirl, a wrinkle in this world. Wrinkle is not quite doing it justice. It’s a specter, an infection, a disquiet that will never be entirely straightened out. And let me talk about its most hideous wraith: Capital, capital C Capital. You cannot hear this word any more, it’s ambient noise, it’s a cliché, it’s the same word the meaning of which has eluded us a thousand times. But something different too. It’s like a body without eyes or nose or any sensory channel. And instead of a brain there is muscle. And instead of lungs there is muscle [no stamina]. And instead of a heart [which is actually a muscle] there is more muscle [minus the heart]. A big convulsive apparatus of power that wants to keep merging and merging ad infinitum. There is that big principle in the universe of entropy, which on the face of it looks chaotic but indeed actually just wants to even things out in the long haul: mountains into oceans, an even layer of dust everywhere, all matter justly distributed across the universe. And then there is a force that wants to bring all things together, put them in the same place and make them homogenous. As a physical principle gravity is acceptable but for organizing a planetary civilization….it fails.
The name we give this grand failure is Capital: blind, gluttonous, not even a servant to those who would seem to profit from it the most ~ the captains of the industry, the billionaires, the hollow-hearted Norman Bateman’s on Wall Street and all the hordes who tried replacing an invisible god with a green one. Capital, at last a success for language, something out of the infinite continuity of chaos&cosmos more or less designated, it would seem, even if it is a symptom of the human catastrophe itself.
Congratulations, well done!!!