The post I dashed off yesterday, about the Van Gogh action, has had some pick-up.
Thank you to those folks who retweeted it, especially to those who did not necessarily agree with all/most/much of it, but saw it as a useful contribution.
It has meant some good conversations with people I already knew, and also some conversations with new acquaintances/will-be friends, about the parlous state of civil society/social movement organisations, and the lack of space(s) for adult discussions about what is to be done.
“When movements don’t control their own “means of mental production”, we get these fake debates that are actually filtered thru the logics of social media / for-profit publishing / academic positions … because we’ve lost / failed to maintain other kinds of spaces.”
Indeed. The trouble is that both the physical and mental spaces have been colonised, collapsed, eaten away by the universal acids of consumerism, hierarchy, emotionally-satisfying (for some, in the moment) “easy solutions” that lead to empty performances and exhaustion. Ego-foddering, the emotacycle, the smugosphere, and the other neologisms I coined because I couldn’t find pre-existing words for them.
It’s just so damn hard to see the way(s) forward, how we can overturn the comforting bad habits and routines, how we can maintain sense-making, morale, capacity to act, given the overlapping and mutually-reinforcing crises we face.
Yes humans can be resilient, yes, we can be clever, empathic, co-operative etc etc. Those are all potentialities, possibilities. But we have other ways that we can go, ways that have been fostered and encouraged by bad faith actors, by “wolves” (interesting how we have so many animal-based terms and insults – almost as if we project our ‘beastliness’ elsewhere). And there are such things as path dependencies…
Look, I am a perma-pessimist, for reasons of -perhaps – biology, and certainly of upbringing. A catastrophiser. There are comforts in that, I know, and it can be a trap, depriving you of the vision to see and act on opportunities. I get that, I think.
But there is also a point where there just has to be an assessment of “our” chances. And our chances – given the unlikelihood of us changing the habits, the incentive structures, the rules of the game as they are played – are really not very good at all.
Right, I am going to sit in the park and just look at the grass and hopefully some insects and birds. Redemptive power of “nature” and all that.