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Heavy Plant

Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Zeitgeist - the new apathy

"Down with a world in which the guarantee that we will not die of starvation has been purchased with the guarantee that we will die of boredom." - Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution Of Everyday Life
There is a not so new apathy spreading everywhere I go. A feeling of disinterest, dis-empowerment and despair that is evidencing itself as a kind of feckless self-absorption. Cynicism abounds, there is a dearth of originality and what talent there is seems intent on rehashing on commenting on events elsewhere, egocentric diarising or a kind of neo-nihilism that lacks enough sophistication even to call itself Dada . Reality is eating itself.

This isn't just a general feeling but an all-pervading malaise, a pernicious meme that has infiltrated and taken over. It's almost as if an alien invasion has begun:
Phase one: kill their spirit, make them chaotic and they will walk willingly to slavery just to regain a sense of order
I am not a shut-in with a tinfoil helmet and an assault rifle but someone who has realised that they are part of the problem. The hope of there being a solution is vanishing quickly as it rests almost entirely on a sense of personal involvement, ownership and action that is vanishing from people's agendas, mine particularly.

People have become their contextual value to organisations: a vote, a victim, a sale, a rented opinion. In all but a few areas there is no feeling of collective enterprise, community is the distant and fading memory of my parents. It has been reconstituted as a pale reflection of itself in the near consequence-free virtual environment. People isolate themselves with iPods and mobile phones. Ironically the very means of communication somehow shutting in the person rather than facilitating their outward expression.

If you've read this far then you have some sense of what I'm talking about but haven't yet given it a name or thought about a coherent resistance to it. It is the removal of people from reality, homogenisation of perspective, over communication with little or no content and what this does to the rest of the world. When cynicism is common sense, apathy an instinct and distinctiveness a dying hope something is clearly wrong.