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Our Virtual Horizon

Ven, 07/03/2014 - 9:30am
Why we called Adbusters “The Journal of the Mental Environment.”

From Adbusters #112: Blueprint for a New World, Part 1: Psycho


LEAH MCINNIS

One of the first really big ideas we had at Adbusters 25 years ago, and the reason we dubbed our magazine “The Journal of the Mental Environment,” was the notion that we humans are entering a scary new phase in our evolution … that a few million years ago we crawled out of the ocean and learned how to live on land … and now we are on the cusp of making another great evolutionary leap, leaving behind real life in the physical world for a virtual one.

For many years it was a bit of a joke … ha ha … how crazy to spend your life staring at screens, having virtual friends, enjoying virtual sex? And anyway, the technology was clunky … we spent more time dialling up, logging in, fighting viruses and troubleshooting than actually enjoying the wonders of the virtual world.

But after passing so quickly through 8-tracks, beta, VHS, VCRs, TV antennas, commodore 64s, cathode ray tube televisions, floppy discs, DVDs, desktops, iPhones and Google Glass eye-ware, we suddenly realize that living digitally is no joke at all and that our glance into the horizon twenty five years ago was if anything too modest … that the Moore’s Law driven digital revolution is now enveloping us in ways none of us ever thought possible.

As virtual worlds become more elaborate, more complex, more beautiful, more pristine and real … the natural world around us has become more polluted, more lonely, more devastated, more bleak.

We are surrounded by flashy screens and glance at them every few minutes of our waking life. The average student from grade five to grade twelve in America will spend more time online than in the classroom. In South Korea, the most wired nation on earth, the suicide rate is one of the highest in the world.

Gripped by the virtual gaze, we seem incapable of standing back far enough to take stock of the evolutionary migration now well under way: a migration that is unique in that it has no return grounds and the final destination is a permanent one.

Our last great evolutionary leap from ocean onto land was stunningly successful, but we have to be careful … the leap we are currently making into virtuality may well turn out to be a dead end.

The Cult of Self

Mer, 05/03/2014 - 9:30am
Image over substance, illusion over truth.

From Adbusters #112: Blueprint for a New World, Part 1: Psycho


DIESEL REBOOT ADS 2013

It is the cult of self that is killing the United States. This cult has within it the classic traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, grandiosity and self-importance; a need for constant stimulation; a penchant for lying, deception and manipulation; and the incapacity for remorse or guilt.

This is also the ethic promoted by corporations. It is the ethic of unfettered capitalism. It is the misguided belief that personal style and personal advancement, mistaken for individualism, are the same as democratic equality.

It is the nationwide celebration of image over substance, of illusion over truth.

And it is why investment bankers blink in confusion when questioned about the morality of the billions in profits they made by selling worthless toxic assets to investors.

We have a right, in the cult of the self, to get whatever we desire.

We can do anything, even belittle and destroy those around us, including our friends, to make money, to be happy and to become famous.

Once fame and wealth are achieved, they become their own justification, their own morality. How one gets there is irrelevant.

The American Dream

Lun, 03/03/2014 - 8:55pm
A lottery on steroids.

From Adbusters #112: Blueprint for a New World, Part 1: Psycho


DOLLY FAIBYSHEV / PIETER HUGO

My mother was an immigrant from Egypt, and she was brought to this country because people believed in the American Dream, which is that America is like the lottery on steroids – everyone wins big.

Anyway, that first memory I had was being carried by my mother through the streets of Santa Monica, California, at some big-haired point in the late 80’s and being taken into one of those places like a jamboree. One of those places where expectant and new mothers go to learn and do things with their babies.

Well, I 
remember going by this place, and seeing from the outside a circle of women with 
their infants doing some kind of game that involved singing and clapping their hands.

My mother walked in off the street and joined their circle. I remember the looks of horror on those upper-middle class women’s faces to see my little minority mother walking in there smiling and laughing like the rest of them and holding my little wrists to clap my hands in time with the music.

Then there was a little bit of language I couldn’t understand because my pre-frontal cortex was still about the consistency of pudding, the music stopped and suddenly we were back walking on the sidewalk and my mother was crying.

I learned that day that the world I now inhabited was a very strange one that had some desolate and alien god that lived on paper and ruled the world with an iron fist. And from my position in the universe, the very act of my existence had angered this nameless demon god, and that the only way to exist would be to fall down and worship it by some kind of sacrifice unknown to me.

—E.M. Radulovic

Iran

Gio, 27/02/2014 - 11:42pm
Nations, like people, have festering psychic wounds.

From Adbusters #112: Blueprint for a New World, Part 1: Psycho


Iranian hostage crisis 1979

Mainstream American media sees Iran as a perpetrator. Whenever Iran is mentioned on CNN, FOX, NBC, CBS or even in the pages of The New York Times, you’ll get an image-orgy of the 1979–1981 hostage crisis.

You’ll see the American embassy in Tehran ransacked by revolutionaries and 52 of its staff held hostage for 444 days, and you’ll learn how humiliating this was for President Carter and the American people.

What you won’t be told is why the Iranian revolutionaries were so livid with anger.

For most of the 20th century, Iran was pillaged by the West, first by Britain, and then by the United States. These two empires did whatever was necessary to keep cheap Persian oil flowing. Murder. Torture prisons. Death Squads. Puppet tyrants. Thousands killed for resisting. Since the 1920’s Britain controlled Iran’s resources with underhanded politics and military might.

Then in 1951 a secular leader named Mohammad Mosaddegh became the first democratically elected leader of the country and he set out to nationalize Iran’s oil industry . . . to bring the resources back.

This idea was so popular, so powerful, that Britain needed help. They called the CIA.

Within a few months, America and Britain agreed on a plan . . .

Mosaddegh was taken out in a CIA-led coup and left under permanent house arrest. The dictator – the Shah – was put back into power, this time with renewed Western arms deals and American assurances the he’d be given a carte blanche to use the terrifying SAVAK secret police network however he saw fit.

What would Iran look like today had the fledging democracy’s head not been chopped off, its resources ransacked, its sovereignty stolen and its people demonized for daring to fight back?

Rural > City > Cyberspace

Lun, 17/02/2014 - 9:30am
The Biggest Migration In Human History.

From Adbusters #99: The Big Ideas of 2012


Lao P. Xia Xiaowan

Audio version read by George Atherton – Right-click to download

This article is available in:

As Digital Detox Week comes to an end, most of us risk relapsing and falling prey to the distracting, mind-numbing world of clickbait, endless tweets and selfies. Before you go back to the same old routine, take the following words by Nicholas Carr as a warning ... and a guide on how to stave off the frenziedness of our souls:

A series of psychological studies over the past 20 years has revealed that after spending time in a quiet rural setting, close to nature, people exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory, and generally improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper. The reason, according to attention restoration theory, or ART, is that when people aren’t being bombarded by external stimuli, their brains can, in effect, relax. They no longer have to tax their working memories by processing a stream of bottom-up distractions. The resulting state of contemplativeness strengthens their ability to control their mind.

The results of the most recent such study were published in Psychological Science at the end of 2008. A team of University of Michigan researchers, led by psychologist Marc Berman, recruited some three dozen people and subjected them to a rigorous and mentally fatiguing series of tests designed to measure the capacity of their working memory and their ability to exert top-down control over their attention. The subjects were divided into two groups. Half of them spent about an hour walking through a secluded woodland park, and the other half spent an equal amount of time walking along busy downtown streets. Both groups then took the tests a second time. Spending time in the park, the researchers found, “significantly improved” people’s performance on the cognitive tests, indicating a substantial increase in attentiveness. Walking in the city, by contrast, led to no improvement in test results.

The researchers then conducted a similar experiment with another set of people. Rather than taking walks between the rounds of testing, these subjects simply looked at photographs of either calm rural scenes or busy urban ones. The results were the same. The people who looked at pictures of nature scenes were able to exert substantially stronger control over their attention, while those who looked at city scenes showed no improvement in their attentiveness. “In sum,” concluded the researchers, “simple and brief interactions with nature can produce marked increases in cognitive control.” Spending time in the natural world seems to be of “vital importance” to “effective cognitive functioning.”

There is no Sleepy Hollow on the internet, no peaceful spot where contemplativeness can work its restorative magic. There is only the endless, mesmerizing buzz of the urban street. The stimulations of the web, like those of the city, can be invigorating and inspiring. We wouldn’t want to give them up. But they are, as well, exhausting and distracting. They can easily, as Hawthorne understood, overwhelm all quieter modes of thought. One of the greatest dangers we face as we automate the work of our minds, as we cede control over the flow of our thoughts and memories to a powerful electronic system, is the one that informs the fears of both the scientist Joseph Weizenbaum and the artist Richard Foreman: a slow erosion of our humanness and our humanity.

It’s not only deep thinking that requires a calm, attentive mind. It’s also empathy and compassion. Psychologists have long studied how people experience fear and react to physical threats, but it’s only recently that they’ve begun researching the sources of our nobler instincts. What they’re finding is that, as Antonio Damasio, the director of USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute, explains, the higher emotions emerge from neural processes that “are inherently slow.” In one recent experiment, Damasio and his colleagues had subjects listen to stories describing people experiencing physical or psychological pain. The subjects were then put into a magnetic resonance imaging machine and their brains were scanned as they were asked to remember the stories. The experiment revealed that while the human brain reacts very quickly to demonstrations of physical pain – when you see someone injured, the primitive pain centers in your own brain activate almost instantaneously – the more sophisticated mental process of empathizing with psychological suffering unfolds much more slowly. It takes time, the researchers discovered, for the brain “to transcend immediate involvement of the body” and begin to understand and to feel “the psychological and moral dimensions of a situation.”

The experiment, say the scholars, indicates that the more distracted we become, the less able we are to experience the subtlest, most distinctively human forms of empathy, compassion, and other emotions. “For some kinds of thoughts, especially moral decision-making about other people’s social and psychological situations, we need to allow for adequate time and reflection,” cautions Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a member of the research team. “If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people’s psychological states.” It would be rash to jump to the conclusion that the internet is undermining our moral sense. It would not be rash to suggest that as the net reroutes our vital paths and diminishes our capacity for contemplation, it is altering the depth of our emotions as well as our thoughts.

There are those who are heartened by the ease with which our minds are adapting to the web’s intellectual ethic. “Technological progress does not reverse,” writes a Wall Street Journal columnist, “so the trend toward multitasking and consuming many different types of information will only continue.” We need not worry, though, because our “human software” will in time “catch up to the machine technology that made the information abundance possible.” We’ll “evolve” to become more agile consumers of data. The writer of a cover story in New York magazine says that as we become used to “the 21st-century task” of “fitting” among bits of online information, “the wiring of the brain will inevitably change to deal more efficiently with more information.” We may lose our capacity “to concentrate on a complex task from beginning to end,” but in recompense we’ll gain new skills, such as the ability to “conduct 34 conversations simultaneously across six different media.” A prominent economist writes, cheerily, that “the web allows us to borrow cognitive strengths from autism and to be better infovores.” An Atlantic author suggests that our “technology-induced ADD” may be “a short-term problem,” stemming from our reliance on “cognitive habits evolved and perfected in an era of limited information flow.” Developing new cognitive habits is “the only viable approach to navigating the age of constant connectivity.”

These writers are certainly correct in arguing that we’re being molded by our new information environment. Our mental adaptability, built into the deepest workings of our brains, is a keynote of intellectual history. But if there’s comfort in their reassurances, it’s of a very cold sort. Adaptation leaves us better suited to our circumstances, but qualitatively it’s a neutral process. What matters in the end is not our becoming but what we become. In the 1950s, Martin Heidegger observed that the looming “tide of technological revolution” could “so captivate, bewitch, dazzle, and beguile man that calculative thinking may someday come to be accepted and practiced as the only way of thinking.” Our ability to engage in “meditative thinking,” which he saw as the very essence of our humanity, might become a victim of headlong progress. The tumultuous advance of technology could, like the arrival of the locomotive at the Concord station, drown out the refined perceptions, thoughts, and emotions that arise only through contemplation and reflection. The “frenziedness of technology,” Heidegger wrote, threatens to “entrench itself everywhere.”

It may be that we are now entering the final stage of that entrenchment. We are welcoming the frenziedness into our souls.

Nicholas Carr is the former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review. He is well-known for his cover article in The Atlantic which asked, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” He explored this question in more depth in his latest book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. Carr lives in Colorado and blogs at roughtype.com

Excerpted from The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr (c) 2010 by Nicholas Carr. Used with permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Top 10 jobs for out-of-work Environmentalists

Lun, 03/02/2014 - 11:39pm

How to survive the ecologically disrupted century to come.

From Adbusters #111: The Big Ideas of 2047

Now that the nonprofit environmental sector has for the most part gone bust—it was, after all, supported primarily by surplus wealth held by rich individuals and foundations (much of which vanished as the Ponzi-esque global stock market crashed)—many of us “professional” environmentalists are now looking for work. Might I suggest considering the following jobs, as they all have significant growth potential in the years ahead: 

10) Taxi Driver

Very few people will be able to afford a car any longer. Public transportation will shrink as other government services do. Getting around will become increasingly difficult. Shuttling people around in a car, small truck or bus would provide a guaranteed income. It’s a tried and true method in many developing countries already.

9) Teacher


No downside here—teaching is a respectable career in good and bad times. Of course, public schools will probably become even more chronically underfunded, so teaching may become an informal sector job. The job may pay in barter—housing, food, doctor and dentistry services—but you’ll probably get by. And you might even be able to center the curriculum around ecological values.

8) Doula or Midwife


In boom times or bust, people get pregnant. But fewer people will have health insurance, so they will choose to deliver their baby at home. Not a bad development overall, considering the social and environmental costs of the current birth industry—from America’s 31 percent caesarean-section rate to continuing overuse of formula. Both jobs are relatively secure but do require some training.

7) Small-scale Farmer

Not just crops in your front lawn or in the abandoned parking lot on your street, but raising small livestock—rabbits, chickens, guinea pigs and, most importantly, bugs. Shepherding thousands of crickets or mealworms to exchange with your neighbors will provide a good form of barter currency. This isn’t an easy life, especially in a climate-disrupted future, but will be an important part of a robust economic foundation for any family.

6) Artisan


In the post-consumer era, gone are the days of buying a new T-shirt or chair for $5 at the local Walmart. Most people will be back to wearing clothes until they’re just fabric, and making chairs out of scavenged milk crates. Local artisans will once again make things their neighbors need. The life of the artisan will be pretty secure, since you’ll only be making stuff your community really needs; and satisfying too—as you create something beautiful with your own hands. E. F. Schumacher would be proud.

5) Trash Miner


Long hours going through a mix of food waste, baby and pet crap, toxic household chemical residues, and the occasional valuable scrap of metal–it’s not easy or even all that safe. But you’ll be cleaning up decimated landfill sites and providing higher quality materials than are left in most remaining mines, making this both a green and well-paid job.

4) Death Midwife


As systems breakdown, more people are going to die. And few will be able to afford today’s “traditional” funeral that costs consumers an average of $10,000. More people will choose to bury their loved ones at home without any of the toxic trappings—casket, embalming fluid, plastic vault, and so on. Being a trained Death Midwife to help families cope, and to navigate the legal hurdles of burying their loved ones naturally, will be a rewarding and useful career path.

3) Urban Forager


You ain’t gonna get rich collecting pounds of acorns, black walnuts and dandelion greens, but no matter how bad it gets you’ll have an inside track on surviving. Most people don’t know how to process acorns to make them edible. While they are queuing up to buy the few loaves of bread available at the supermarket, you’ll be making acorn flour pancakes and feeling comfortably full on meal that is higher in nutrients.

2) Eco-preacher

Foundations may no longer be issuing grants but donations to church communities continue in good times and bad—as these institutions provide community security and emotional support. If the environmental movement were to evolve to focus more on building local fellowship, providing basic social services—daycare, economic aid, free clinics, garden plots—and use these efforts to spread an ecological philosophy, perhaps they’d find the resources necessary to continue their essential work, and more importantly, over the course of the ecological transition help spread a new eco-centric culture that could help provide a more sustainable model for life on a hot planet.

1) Political Revolutionary


You might have considered this when you had a comfortable salary to support the efforts, but when you had that comfortable salary, the risks probably didn’t seem worth it. Now that Earth’s systems are rapidly unraveling and a corrupt nexus of corporations and governments continue to dig out fossil fuels from a warming Earth, perhaps it’s time to consider more radical strategies. Maybe join up with a few other jobless friends, squat in an empty house in Detroit, write a manifesto, and build a new political party while doing a bit of urban farming? Or even better, run for office and try to recapture the political system for the 99%. It's not an easy lifestyle but it may pay off in the long-run.

Erik Assadourian is a Senior Fellow at Worldwatch Institute.

Doom Diary #14

Sab, 01/02/2014 - 9:30am

You will be able 
to remember because of this.

From Adbusters #111: The Big Ideas of 2047

This is #14 of a series of diary entries that have arrived in our lap from beyond the horizon of now. The journey begins on July 3, 2020 and continues on March 6, 2020, January 1, 2021, July 9, 2022, January 3, 2023, February 2023, March 4, 2023, March 19, 2023, April 20, 2030, June 15, 2030, August 20, 2032 and May 2, 2041 ... continuing all the way to the year 2047.

Jan 28, 2047

My dearest,

Perhaps that was stupid of me. Perhaps I will regret it as these last few breaths leave my body on this page. There could have easily been five years more—maybe even ten, twenty, a hundred, if I had the money, put more work in, made the right connections. I was one of the purists, you could say … one of those who opted for what is now called the “human life.” Maybe I could have found some surrogate sucker who wanted to sacrifice. But had I done that, you wouldn’t hold this scrapbook in your hand. You’d have no idea how we got here. 
I can’t say I’m happy, though I am happy with this.

I know I’m to become a dinosaur of sorts. They’ll dig this up and maybe they’ll even dig you up, too. They’ll scrape away the petrified wood and fragile compressed clay from your limbs. They’ll peel back the stone layers that have become rock on your face. Ever so carefully, they’ll get to your stomach, your bones, your brain. It will look like obsession … because it is … though they won’t know how to feel the origins of their own madness … it’ll be some sort of trance … your last meal, your last fight, even your last thought. They’ll long for the enigma … and be amazed by your archaic and natural coloured eyes, your ancient and imperfect hips, your intact 
and alien heart.

I guess the great tragedy of life is you never know what 
you’ll be after you’re gone. But maybe … you will be able 
to remember … because of this.

Yours forever,
Kono

Doom Diary #13

Mer, 29/01/2014 - 8:33pm
The #One-All Meme.

From Adbusters #111: The Big Ideas of 2047


LINNEA STRID

This is #13 of a series of diary entries that have arrived in our lap from beyond the horizon of now. The journey begins on July 3, 2020 and continues on March 6, 2020, January 1, 2021, July 9, 2022, January 3, 2023, February 2023, March 4, 2023, March 19, 2023, April 20, 2030, June 15, 2030, August 20, 2032 and May 2, 2041 ... continuing all the way to the year 2047.

July 15, 2047

Everyone’s talking about this throwback Communist/Confucian-inspired #OneAll meme coming out of China ... even Lil who rarely gets chatty about politics is all excited.

The idea is that the four + billion of us left should adopt a new principle to live by – not based on individual rights but on individual responsibility – that no one should have a footprint greater than another.

So in this new world, you can still aspire to greatness, accumulate a widely admired persona ... you can get all the acoolades, have a billion followers, be a cultural icon, even a world leader if that’s your destiny ... but you canntot consume more than anyone else.

Your planetary impact cannot exceed that of a single other.

The pre-crash dinosaurs hate this idea ... but it’s gone viral in a big way, becoming one of the founding principles of our bio-region ... maybe it will inspire a whole new global order!

Continue with us on the journey to 2047 ... stay tuned for the final chapter ... Doom Diary #14!

Doom Diary #11

Sab, 25/01/2014 - 9:30am
The monotone symphony.

From Adbusters #111: The Big Ideas of 2047


YVES KLEIN

This is #8 of a series of diary entries that have arrived in our lap from beyond the horizon of now. The journey begins on July 3, 2020 and continues on March 6, 2020, January 1, 2021, July 9, 2022, January 3, 2023, February 2023, March 4, 2023, March 19, 2023, April 20, 2030 and June 15, 2030 ... continuing all the way to the year 2047.

August 20, 2032

Many of us start the day by turning the tape player on. The same song is always queued up. Monotone Silence by Yves Klein. After the crash you heard it everywhere.

First on the student radio stations ... then at spontaneous gatherings which sprung up in NYC, then in San Fran, then Austin, Toronto, Montreal and Chicago.

People would sit in circles. One person would start to hum it ... then another ... and another ... before you knew it, everyone was humming. Leaning against a stranger. Holding hands with an elder. Eyes closed or looking ahead with blankness. The first hit of the new Earth. It’s twenty minutes of an entire orchestra and chorus playing D followed by twenty minutes of silence.



They say that when it was originally played back in 1960, it brought the entire audience to uncontrollable tears.

Silence is a real thing. It’s not nothing. Yves said silence is the most important part of sound ... something we all lost sight of somewhere along the way. No beginning. No end. One chord with all the emotion and intensity of a single build ... poured into the physical anguish of twenty minutes.

New songs come into your head. You hear words and melodies where you once thought there were none. And then smash. An abrupt halt. All the notes in the world in your head and not a single string moving ... not a single breath pushing air.

I think Yves was onto something ... but then he went and died of a heart attack not long after. He was 34.

The other day I had Yves playing in the car. I passed one, abandoned, that was the same make and model as mine. I pulled over. I managed to get both rear tires off. Then I smashed the driver side window and took a peek inside. Just a bunch of paper and garbage. I felt a bit bad in case the folks who left it were coming back. But no one ever comes back.

I siphoned what fuel was left in the gas tank into a milk jug. Three litres maybe. The hood was up. Looks like they busted a belt. I snatched the spark plugs too. I don’t know why they didn’t take the gas. I kept the modified tape player in my car at full volume while I was scavenging. At the moment of crescendo into silence I cried.

Continue with us on the journey to 2047 ... stay tuned for Doom Diary #12 and the final .... Doom Diary #13!

Doom Diary #12

Ven, 24/01/2014 - 8:53pm
The future of beauty.

From Adbusters #111: The Big Ideas of 2047


YAGO HORTAL

This is #8 of a series of diary entries that have arrived in our lap from beyond the horizon of now. The journey begins on July 3, 2020 and continues on March 6, 2020, January 1, 2021, July 9, 2022, January 3, 2023, February 2023, March 4, 2023, March 19, 2023, April 20, 2030, June 15, 2030 and August 20, 2032 ... continuing all the way to the year 2047.

May 2, 2041

Lil and I finally made it to San Fran. SFMOMA is so much more run down than it used to be. Just two guards at the door. The gift shop seems to be the only thing keeping it going.

It looks totally different now that the abstract paintings that so mesmerized the art world in the pre-crash days are nowhere to be seen. I asked one of the curators where they all were. A few are still in the New York archives he said, a handful at the Tate ... others are squirrelled away in private collections by folks hoping they’ll be worth something again one day.

You’d be hard pressed to find any artist or collector who respects anything from that era anymore, those pieces are coveted only as artifacts of a culture in decline. Finally everyone agrees ... abstraction was the last gasp of a dying imagination, an aesthetic dead-end that first passed through Rock n’ Roll, Grand Theft Auto and microwave popcorn (remember that?)

It feels good to be here. To see the art world leaping forward in bold new directions. The shift is everywhere. Beyond these gallery walls, music is playing with full choruses. Craftspeople everywhere are experiencing a renaissance. To be an artist now is to be part of the world, not somewhere outside of it peering in ... art is no longer just about putting paint on canvas & hanging these precious items up on giant white walls. Welcome ... at long last ... to the dematerialization—the spiritualization—of art!

At SFMOMA, now, the building is a playground. Each drinking fountain is a water slide waiting to get out. Around every corner you’re confronted by faces and bodies, people and moving objects coming in and around and at you in provocative ways ... sometimes surprising and playful, sometimes choreographed and artful, yet sometimes it feels a bit threatening if you’re not used to it. It all reminds me of the early performance artists like Tino Sehgal and Marina Abramovic who were big right before shit went down.

Lil and I wandered around having our minds blown. Kept wondering, ’is this even art?’ ... which lead me to epiphany after epiphany. The same way Malevich’s Black Square or Warhol’s Soup Cans once challenged me to reshape my perspective. That was years and years ago.

But now the experience is less cerebral, more visceral and hands on ... face to face, eyes to eyes, minds and bodies connecting in the here and now. It feels like a new kind of meaning is emerging ... Living Art ... it shows us how to live. How to reclaim that essential thing we all lost somewhere in the abstraction ... gratitude.

Continue with us on the journey to 2047 ... stay tuned for the final chapters ... Doom Diary #13 & #14!

Doom Diary #10

Gio, 23/01/2014 - 9:30am

by

Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going?

From Adbusters #111: The Big Ideas of 2047

This is #8 of a series of diary entries that have arrived in our lap from beyond the horizon of now. The journey begins on July 3, 2020 and continues on March 6, 2020, January 1, 2021, July 9, 2022, January 3, 2023, February 2023, March 4, 2023, March 19, 2023 and April 20, 2030 ... continuing all the way to the year 2047.

June 15, 2030

Spent the final dawn of science looking for the God Particle inside the smallest bits of matter we could fix our auxiliary eyes upon — searching for something to explain all of this ... mass, gravity, motion, strong and weak force, our origins.

Underpinning it all is this stubborn and all-too-human desire for answers to things that we will never know ... maybe we can’t ever know — it is forbidden to peer behind God’s door.

But of course we will never stop trying to sneak a peek, we will never stop trying to figure it out, never stop knocking on the doors of perception, never stop questioning ... Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? Do we have free will? Do we, at least sometimes, glimpse reality? Is there a God? Does he like me? Or are we Gods ourselves?

Do these last few hundred thousand years of our evolution ... this ‘epic’ human journey we’ve been on ... add up to anything?

Or are we just like a swarm of carpenter ants ... doing what we’re told ... running around a mound of dirt, destined to spoil our nest and die an insignificant death alone somewhere in the vast reaches of all that is ...?...??

Continue with us on the journey to 2047 with Doom Diary #11.

Doom Diary #9

Mar, 21/01/2014 - 9:30am
Is there a final secret that will eventually be revealed?

From Adbusters #111: The Big Ideas of 2047


THEO GOSSELIN

This is #8 of a series of diary entries that have arrived in our lap from beyond the horizon of now. The journey begins on July 3, 2020 and continues on March 6, 2020, January 1, 2021, July 9, 2022, January 3, 2023, February 2023, March 4, 2023 and March 19, 2023 ... continuing all the way to the year 2047.

April 20, 2030

So many decades, years and eons of religious war our planet has seen...across the Middle East and Asia...the conquests...the crusades...It’s a bloody shame (literally...bloody) that all the great religions of the world which dominated our spiritual life for thousands of years couldn’t see their reflections in each other.

They all used different metaphors to tell us essentially the same thing...how to live a good, honest life. To love our neighbours, to live with integrity, to keep our word, to share with strangers, exist with gratitude...and yet, as our existential crisis reached its terrifying peak, none of them were able to offer a unifying narrative that could pull us out of the darkness we were plummeting into. Why couldn’t these spiritual traditions gel?

What in the name of God was it...about Sunni & Shia, Hindu & Buddhist, Catholic and Protestant, Judaic & Islamic that stopped them from embracing each other?

Why did they turn their backs on the most precious gift that their prophets gave them, and bully each other to death for 2000 years?

Is this Dark Age that we’re entering into some kind of existential riddle, another great spiritual test that we must live through before we can see the light?...is there a final secret that will eventually be revealed?

Continue with us on the journey to 2047 ... stay tuned for Doom Diary#10!

Doom Diary #8

Sab, 18/01/2014 - 12:49am
Beyond the spiritual wasteland ...

From Adbusters #111: The Big Ideas of 2047


HOPE BY ABDESSEMED

This is #8 of a series of diary entries that have arrived in our lap from beyond the horizon of now. The journey begins on July 3, 2020 and continues on March 6, 2020, January 1, 2021, July 9, 2022, January 3, 2023, February 2023 and March 4, 2023 . . . continuing all the way to the year 2047.

March 19, 2023

I feel lost. Scared. Don’t know what to do.

But we’re all feeling lost these days. No wise elders to take our hands and walk us through the treacherous path that lies ahead.

What heroes are there to look up to that have conquered a demon as big as this?

“Climate change” ... why don’t we call it something else already? Like the name of a beast in a Greek tragedy, one of those cannibalistic demigods, like Lamia, Medea or Medusa, who threatens to eat all of her children? Yeah, that would be more fitting ...

We had the Greek Tragedies to show us our frailty at the hands of desire…and Hamlet to teach us that thinking too much prevents action. we had the Odyssey to teach us the importance of humility and the Bible warned us many times over about greed, corruption, injustice and hatred. The Koran taught us the importance of limits while the Bhagavad Gita showed us the importance of duty and sacrifice. but right now ... we have no oracle ... no repository of ancient wisdom ... 
to guide us through this dark time.

March 21

There’s a real healer among us! She’s a one-of-a-kind old soul. I don’t know how we ever survived without someone like her before the crash.

She applies herbs from the garden to my cuts and bruises and advises me on what I need to eat more of based on the tinge of my iris. She checks my pulse and tells me I need to laugh more and start eating meat again.

A few days ago she looked at my tongue and told me I needed to make love to Lil daily at sunrise for one month. My old shrink never said that to me. And when Lil has bouts of anxiety ... she not only calms her down but transports her to this whole new dimension of insight.

I twisted my ankle the other day and as she was fixing it ... it was as if she was fixing every other part of me that’s ever been twisted and mangled and broken.

Sure, she teaches us how to heal our aches and pains and our digestion, our in-grown toenails and our infections, but what she’s really doing … is teaching us how to live and die.

Continue with us on the journey to 2047 with Doom Diary#9!

Doom Diary #7

Mar, 14/01/2014 - 9:00am

Will philosophy still matter after the crash?

From Adbusters #111: The Big Ideas of 2047

This is #7 of a series of diary entries that have arrived in our lap from beyond the horizon of now. The journey begins on July 3, 2020 and continues on March 6, 2020, January 1, 2021, July 9, 2022, January 3 2023 and February 2023.

March 4, 2023

Rumi, Hafiz, Camus, Nietzsche ... they were the real deal. They were grounded ... they stared at the void and laughed ... danced in the field beyond good and evil ... these badass free spirits are my only solace now.

Foucault ... too dense. His theories on power made sense at the time ... but we all know Discipline and Punish was really just a projection of his obsession with S&M.

Baudrillard ... too obtuse.

Lacan ... pure bullshit.

Derrida ... no longer relevant.

Wittgenstein somehow still works for me, especially the stuff about death and eternity in the Tractatus.

Descartes ... too Christian.

Logical positivism ... a sad joke.

Heidegger was definitely on to something when he lived alone there in his hut ... too bad he was a Nazi.

Through all these dead white guys, you can trace a line ... the abstraction of mind from flesh, of being from earth, of humanity from its soul. These were the types of philosophers Nietzsche mocked ... those who “waged war” on life.

Truly ... Friedrich was right when he said ...“’for as long as men have existed ... man has enjoyed himself too little: that alone, my brothers, is our original sin!’ Thus Spoke Zarathustra.”

Continue with us on the journey to 2047 with Doom Diary#8!

Doom Diary #6

Dom, 12/01/2014 - 9:30am

Living with permanent dirt under our nails.

From Adbusters #111: The Big Ideas of 2047

This is #6 of a series of diary entries that have arrived in our lap from beyond the horizon of now. The journey begins on July 3, 2020 and continues on March 6, 2020, January 1, 2021, July 9, 2022, and January 3 2023 ... ending in the year 2047 ....

February 17, 2023

Lil and I finally met up with the Rainbow gathering folk. Not much Rainbowness about them anymore. They were down to the end of their supplies. When the grub grew scarce the good vibes ended. Things got cultish real fast.

I jostled with one of the sub-leaders when my handbag went missing. They held some “healing” trial-thing after the fight. They said I had the choice of apologizing ... giving up my bag ... even the few small things that were my mother’s ... Because “we all had to share” or we would face banishment.

I had my pocketknife in my hand and I let them see it when they were talking to me.

We left that same day.

Feb 22

Lots of broken people … folks who can’t seem to shake the modernity from their boots.

They’re in a lot of pain. Most have trouble working … they strike the ground like scarecrows. Can’t get used to living with permanent dirt under their nails.

Feb 27

Every week or so a massive bomber flies over the farm real low like the passenger jets used to do ten minutes before landing. Not sure what they’re doing or where they’re going. They don’t seem that interested in us and they only fly in one direction.

The government tried to control the countryside after it all went down but they gave up on that. I don’t know what’s going on in the cities but it can’t be good. Thank god i’m not stuck there anymore.

Continue with us on the journey to 2047 with Part Seven of the Doom Diary.