One Hundred Years of Solitude!

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Remember the New American Century.  The neocons loved planning for it, strategizing it, and talking it up.  And they fully believed their own press clippings! Well, here we are now… in the fucking midst of it!  And what do we find? War campaigns against imaginary enemies, or enemies constructed out of whole cloth and spit (more propaganda to prop up the machine), global chaos financially, socially and politically, brought on by our very own guardians of virtue and their directors of operations and communications.  So here we stand alienated and alone on a planet that no longer needs us, because it never really did need us. Again, we deluded ourselves with visions of righteousness and perfectibility. We have entered into our one hundred years of solitude my friends.  All of our neighbors, friends (if we ever had any) and enemies alike are exhausted, tired from and of our arrogance.  But they, as well, are in many cases too enthralled with the spectacle to see that the politics of arrogance is directly linked to the competitive ontology grounding capitalist economics.  And so, they want the one without recognizing the signs of the disease of the other.

The “can do” spirit!  The spirit of “competition”!  These were the mantras of a state-based religion that captured the American soul, the hollow-soul of the West. These were the tools that would lead us to the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey.  And when the populace became unmanageable, there was always room to “go West” young man.  And so we took that which was our “manifest destiny.”  We took it from those lazy good-for-nothing redskins and turned the desert into an oasis of casinos and casino capitalism. These were the props for our propaganda machine, the pitch man, all the way from Madison Avenue to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Some say, there is nothing wrong with competition, and of course, I could not attempt to mount a full-scale critique of the concept.  And there have been elements of religious doctrine over the millennia which have suggested moderation on most if not all fronts. But, religion as well (as we know it in the modern world) is itself complicit in this charade. Competition among the ‘faiths’ is rampant, even among those denominations of the same faith. And, of course, the most competitive and well-heeled among us, make their appearance before the alter of their gods, as much as they do before the alter of the mighty dollar or the diverse alters adorning Wall Street.

The global chaos into which we have stumbled (or rather, catapulted ourselves) by means of our own blind excess and greed, this is the  direct result of competition for depleted resources. For, to those at the top of the pyramid, while they understand that the game can not go on forever, they firmly believe that ‘he who dies with the most toys wins!’  And so, the race must go on, and on, and on… until all is used up in the interests of progress and self-glorification.

But, as I said, the ontology of competition may be presupposed as a given of the human condition, despite the preponderance of research suggesting that cooperation — indeed, sharing — and not competition, was the foundation stone of human community for tens, if not hundreds of thousands of years before the ‘competitive spirit’ took center stage in the civilized drama of history.  And so we continue to exercise that competitive spirit, despite the fact that 1) it has no soul, and 2) it requires adherence to a worldview that empties out all the parts of the whole, while creating the progressive hierarchy of value.

I mean, why do you suppose we instigated revolutions, insurrections and coups across the Middle East and Northern Africa, in (formerly Russian) Georgia and Ukraine?  Because we want to spread freedom?  Yeah! Right!  That may be the prop holding up the propaganda machine; but in reality we want access to more resources, greater marketshare, and cheap labor. Remember, they know we are on a finite planet, and the name of the game is winning at all costs.  It does not matter to the competitor if the end comes sooner or later; it’s all the same to him or her, as long as We Win!  So let the competition begin.

The ontology of competition, and therefore the existential pleasure of winning, has become embedded on the souls of the weak and the alienated, the twice smart animals who forgot their place in nature and how to survive through cooperation.  This condition of lethe (Λήθη), that forgetfulness or concealment of the sharing that underlie our Pleistocene beginnings – has infected the symbolism of our discourses, hiding from human memory the un-concealment (ἀλήθεια) or disclosedness of who we are fundamentally.  It is this unrestrained ascendency of the ontology of competition that not only drives “progress” but also drives us to the point of no return on a planet designed for cooperation, giving as much as receiving.

This profound forgetfulness is what characterizes our alienation from the other, from nature, and from ourselves. It defines the hundred years of solitude we now experience in this, the heart of darkness, the new American Century.  But a century, it will not last.  You can make book on it.  Winner take all.

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43 Responses to One Hundred Years of Solitude!

  1. Disaffected says:

    No, indeed! A century it will definitely not last. The US is thrashing around like a fish out of water these days, applying economic sanctions – the last real bullet left in the arsenal – to anyone and everyone. This morning I see that North Korea is the latest victim to fall prey to our diplomatic insanity for an alleged cyber attack on a private corporate entity that the entire cyber community acknowledges never happened. Smoke and mirrors to support a preconceived, prepackaged agenda from start to finish.

    It’s only in the past few months or so as the entire project of civilization began to come apart that the entire arc of your blog bacame to come into focus for me Sandy. And so, if I may:

    Agriculture > hierarchy > wealth inequality > civilization > culture > science > technology > progress > coal and steam industrial age > mass industrial technology > large population increases > more wealth consolidation > oil industrial age > oil based industrial technology > science(!) based on cheap and abundant energy > technology(!) based on cheap and abundant energy > massive population increases(!) > even more wealth inequality(!) > information technology > cynergy of cheap and abundant energy and information technology > exponential population increases(!!) > exponential wealth inequality(!!)…

    all leading us to where we are now in early 2015…

    Environmental degradation > resource depletion > obscene wealth inequality(!!!) > wars over what’s left…

    and soon to be…

    Wealth collapse > population collapse > adaption (or not) to new environmental conditions > and very possibly, extinction.

    Guy McPherson’s 2030 date is looking more likely everyday.

  2. Ron McCafferty says:

    It is quite simple to solve this most disturbing problem through acts that most of the upper working class to the middle classes can do with out radical action or violence. Turn off the radio and television or other equally entertaining electronic devices. Take part in society through neighborhood block parties or gatherings and talk about real human interest instead of stars, sports or the Jones’. Self reliance has to be realized as a necessary trait instead of dependence on the “system”. For when the system disappears you are left with the flesh and blood humans whom you share an area of the Earth with.

    The problem? People like Edward Bernays. Possibly brilliant, but also possibly morally corrupt/bankrupt. Disruption of the propaganda or equal representation of true human interest? The latter seems almost impossible as the people running the propaganda will do pretty much, if not, absolutely anything to keep it in the forefront.

    Although I am not willing to accept suicide as a possibility, I am of the mindset that the ptb have set in motion an inevitable ending that will result in a loss of human life. My only hope is that they will also suffer consequences that they did not predict so that real human beings can restore some balance to this beautiful blue marble.

    Thank you for the article Sandy. I enjoy your blog and the comments.

    • Disaffected says:

      Ron,

      Sounds like you might have stumbled onto this link yesterday from NakCap? Quite enlightening. Confirms everything I always knew about advertising, aka propaganda.

      • Ron McCafferty says:

        I started it but never finished. It is really long and very eye opening. It just made plain sense what little I watched. I am more of a reader so I read what I could on Bernays. It is a shame that a lot of people go into college debt in order to learn about him. But hey, shows how well his system works, huh?

  3. the Heretick says:

    “Capitalism is entirely without precedent, in that it is a religion which offers not the reform of existence but its complete destruction. It is the expansion of despair, until despair becomes a religious state of the world in the hope that this will lead to salvation. God’s transcendence is at an end. But he is not dead; he has been incorporated into human existence. This passage of the planet “Human” through the house of despair in the absolute loneliness of his trajectory is the ethos that Nietzsche defined. This man is the superman, the first to recognize the religion of capitalism and begin to bring it to fulfillment. ”
    http://brotherwisedispatch.blogspot.com/2014/03/capitalism-as-religion-by-walter.html

    • Disaffected says:

      I don’t understand this paragraph, although I do agree that capitalism is nothing less than a religion.

      Nevertheless, even at the present moment it is possible to distinguish three aspects of this religious structure of capitalism. In the first place, capitalism is a purely cultic religion, perhaps the most extreme that ever existed. In capitalism, things have no meaning only in their relationship to the cult; capitalism has no specific body of dogma, no theology. It is from this point of view that utilitarianism acquires its religious overtones. This concretization of cult is connected with a second feature of capitalism: the permanence of the cult. Capitalism is the celebration of the cult sans reve et sans merci [without dream or mercy]. There are no “weekdays.” There is no day that is not a feast day, in the terrible sense that all its sacred pomp is unfolded before us; each day commands the utter fealty of each worshipper. And third, the cult makes guilt pervasive. Capitalism is probably the first instance of a cult that creates guilt, not atonement. In this respect, this religious system is caught up in the headlong rush of a larger movement. A vast sense guilt that is unable to find relief seizes on the cult, not to atone for this guilt but to make it universal, to hammer it into the conscious mind, so as once and for all to include God in the system of guilt and thereby awaken in Him an interest in the process of atonement. This atonement cannot then be expected from the cult itself, or from the reformation of this religion (which would need to be able to have recourse to some stable element in it), or even from the complete renouncement of this religion. The nature of the religious movement which is capitalism entails endurance right to the end, to the point where God, too, finally takes on the entire burden of guilt, to the point where the universe has been taken over by that despair which is actually its secret hope.

      • kulturcritic says:

        Not quite sure I understand the paragraph either, DA.  But maybe I should re-read it after I get over my flu! LOL

      • the Heretick says:

        “the politics of arrogance is directly linked to the competitive ontology grounding capitalist economics”
        “the mantras of a state-based religion that captured the American soul, the hollow-soul of the West”

        “Capitalism is derived from the autonomisation or separation of economics from the rest of life. It turns economics into the ‘reality-principle’. It is a kind of sorcery, connected in some way to the disavowed symbolic level. It subtly shifts the social world from an exchange of death with the Other to an eternal return of the Same.”
        “Modern culture dreams of radical difference. The reason for this is that it exterminated radical difference by simulating it. The energy of production, the unconscious, and signification all in fact come from the repressed remainder. Our culture is dead from having broken the pact with monstrosity, with radical difference.”

        https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/in-theory-baudrillard-2/

        What I take away from all of this, is that the human race has destroyed all mystery, the cosmos is reduced to matter and all matter to code. The “primitives” respected nature, they understood the world (earth) did not belong to them, but they to the earth.
        In the OT it was a sin when David numbered the people, it implied a faith in mans understanding, not reliance upon their God, to whom the earth belonged.
        In shamanistic religions man interacts with spirits, there is a reciprocal relationship, now we simply use the earth, the connection is lost.

        Our intellectual underpinnings are flat, featureless, “the desert of the real”, there is no other, no transcendent, simply matter arranged in whatever way we see fit, everything is malleable.

        • Disaffected says:

          And third, the cult makes guilt pervasive. Capitalism is probably the first instance of a cult that creates guilt, not atonement. In this respect, this religious system is caught up in the headlong rush of a larger movement. A vast sense guilt that is unable to find relief seizes on the cult, not to atone for this guilt but to make it universal, to hammer it into the conscious mind, so as once and for all to include God in the system of guilt and thereby awaken in Him an interest in the process of atonement.

          This was the part that left me befuddled. The creation of guilt. I would have thought capitalism was the first truly guilt free religion. Do whatever you like, as long as it can be commodified, monetized, and bought and sold for profit. And if you’ve been righteous enough to win the capitalist name (get rich) and would then like to fritter your time away on meaningless pursuits, that’s fine too, since it’s a sign for others that you’ve been “perfected” by the capitalist process (hence the rich’s preoccupation with ostentatious displays of charity work, giving, and the like).

          But I like the above description better. The elimination of mystery is perfectly reflected in both our economics and our secondary religions (with capitalism being the de facto first). Even death has been largely denied, with the dead just going somewhere else (“a better place”) to enjoy their “eternal reward,” the implication being that even in death, we’re just moving on up to a better neighborhood.

            • Disaffected says:

              This one’s pretty good, although it did get tripped up slightly by its obedience to the “terrorism” meme; i.e., the false notion that there were ever originally credible “terrorist threats” out there who meant and could actually carry out harm to the US, rather than the fact that nearly all were and continue to be internally generated by rogue forces within the US power structure for propaganda purposes. But I do understand that most “official” academic sources must continue to pay lip service to the lies our culture tells if they are to continue to survive.

              On a completely different note, I think the NFL should give a league pass to the Cincinnati Bengals into the playoffs for every year Andy Dalton remains in the league no matter what their record, just so we can all continue to have the enjoyment of watching them implode in the opening round. It’s like watching a kid pull the legs off a daddy longlegs spider.

              • Disaffected says:

                Then the officials got on board to aid in the Lions all too predictable implosion (as if they needed any help!) at Dallas. I’ve often wondered if the NFL is fixed. Maybe weighted is a better word. Not officially fixed, just weighted in favor of some outcomes over others. Simulacrum indeed! Lots of money rolling around Dallas TX. Just sayin’.

            • Disinfected says:

              You’r getting to be quite a little Buadrillardite there HT. He can be a little too “ethereal” for my tastes sometimes (I’m kind of a meat and potatoes, get to the point type – go figure!), which probably speaks to his French upbringing as much as anything, but his critiques are always relevant just the same.

  4. Malthus says:

    My dream is that someday all of us here ( and others that can see the lies for what they are),can stand at the top of the cliff this train of capitalism and arrogance of the so called cultured civilization has gone over and crashed on the rocks below, and piss on the wreck it will become.

    • Colin says:

      Agreed but replace capitalism with “crapitalism”. When the central banks print trillions if dollars out of thin air, loan it to themselves and create income off of it what is that even called? I don’t even know what to call it – perhaps it is capitalism but it’s certainly not a “fair market” based on “free trade”. I am for the return of sound monetary policy first and foremost, the kind ironically the Russians are embracing you know like where you have little debt, run a trade surplus and raise interest rates when your adversary tries to get the people to do a run on the banks.

      My point is that there is a ton of common sense stuff regarding what you and I call “capitalism” that no one does anymore.

      Take for instance repealing the Glass astragal act which Clinton enacted supposedly to help provide “liquidity” to the market (a simple phrase that means moving money around really fast and taking a bigger and bigger cut of the transactions). Anyways, Glass-Steagal was designed to separate commercial banks and private lending from investment banks so that in the event of say a derivatives failure they could not use your bank deposits as collateral for say a margin call. So now that’s all gone and just last month we found out that that not only are your deposits now officially counted as “loans” to the banks but during a derivatives meltdown the banks will now be collateralized by the FDIC insurance – precisely the insurance meant for you and I to protect our banks deposits! Coincidence? I doubt it.

      But yeah, this system, whatever you may wish to call it (I prefer crapitalism) is going down, HARD. And good riddance…

    • Disinfected says:

      I think my only remaining dream is to get out of this life without absorbing too much pain in the process. What it all means and where I – or any of us – go from there, I have no freaking idea. But one thing’s for sure either way, this capitalist nightmare can’t possibly last too much longer no matter how much money they print. The resources are running out, the environment, the animal kingdom, and 99.9% of humanity have all been irreparably fucked over, and the .01% who are still doing well don’t have a clue about what’s wrong or how to fix it. Oh well, I guess we – in the west anyway – had a good run while it lasted. Maybe McPherson’s right about 2030 being the end after all. Surely not much longer than that.

  5. troutsky says:

    Obviously you’all didn’t get the memo about the entrepreneur being the savior of late capitalism. Simply tune into NPR for a half hour or so, you’ll get the full story. As for theories of contradiction and crisis, I’ve learned not to hold my breath, the edifice may be hollow but it has deep roots. And the thing which could fill the vacuum might be more horrific…

  6. Colin says:

    Sandy I couldn’t help but notice this article on Zero Hedge that speaks to the notion of the US isolating itself. Could it really be true that the Russian Bear and the German Eagle, historical enemeis suddenly both find themselves in the ironic position of being their enemy’s enemy and thus each other’s natural allies? I say it is not only possible but PROBABLE (please listen to some Jim Willie if you want some more information on this topic). The Germans are a highly logical, evolved and industrial culture and it would simply make absolutely zero sense, in the long term, for them to continue to lick the boot of Uncle Sam even to the point of self harm, a barrier passed frankly years ago as far as I am concerned. The sanctions alone are completely wrecking their economy let alone the threat of their gas supply being cut off or them simply being unable to pay for it since they can’t use dollars anymore. And Putin is now getting increasingly popular in Germany and elsewhere I am told (apparently in Italy he is VERY popular).

    So I am going to say to everyone here to buckle up and watch Uncle Sam in his drunken, drug-filled rage against the world for not doing as they are told completely get himself banned from all of Europe. Enjoy the spectacle – get out your popcorn because it is coming and the come-uppance will be perhaps just one bit of joy and justice in this increasingly insane world.

    The Eurasian Free Trade zone and BRICS alliance may very well be the glimmer of hope left for humanity.

    Cheers,

    -Colin

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-04/russias-startling-proposal-europe-dump-us-join-eurasian-economic-union

    • Disaffected says:

      Colin,

      That’s the feel I’m getting as well. Dimitry Orlov’s recent post summed it up well:

      “Now, let’s first define our terms. By Anglo-imperialists I mean the combination of Britain and the United States. The latter took over for the former as it failed, turning it into a protectorate. Now the latter is failing too, and there are no new up-and-coming Anglo-imperialists to take over for it. But throughout this process their common playbook had remained the same: pseudoliberal pseudocapitalism for the insiders and military domination and economic exploitation for everyone else. Much more specifically, their playbook always called for a certain strategem to be executed whenever their plans to dominate and exploit any given country finally fail. On their way out, they do what they can to compromise and weaken the entity they leave behind, by inflicting a permanently oozing and festering political wound. “Poison all the wells” is the last thing on their pre-departure checklist.”

      http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-imperial-collapse-playbook.html

      The US is the process of “poisoning all wells” on their way out now, which was always the plan and tells you that we’ve arrived at an end game. The US philosophy is best summed up as, “If we can’t have it no one can!” What a country!

  7. Disinfected says:

    Wow! Here’s Orlov’s opening to his latest post (talk about breathing fire):

    To my mind, the really interesting development of 2014 is that the world as a whole (with a few minor exceptions) has become quite lucid on the topic of what the United States, as a global empire, is and stands for. It is now very commonly and completely understood that:

    1. The United States is an evil empire, attempting not so much to rule the world as to disrupt it to its short-term advantage.

    2. The United States is failing, as an empire and as a country, and no amount of fraud, mayhem, torture and murder is going to save it.

    3. The United States is still quite powerful and can cause massive damage on its way down. This damage must be contained, while plans are drawn up for an international arrangement that will arise upon its demise.

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2015/01/2015-grounds-for-optimism.html#more

    • Disaffected says:

      This paragraph gets to the heart of it:

      “There are still a few holdouts: the UK, Canada and Australia especially. But even there the true picture is being distorted because of their Murdockified national media. Judging from what I hear from the people there, they are almost uniformly nauseated by the subservient pro-US antics of their national leaders. As for the EU, the image of political uniformity presented by Brussels is largely a fiction. In the core countries of Western Europe, business leaders are almost uniformly in favor of close cooperation with Russia and against sanctions. Along the fringe, entire countries appear to be on the verge of switching sides. Hungary—never a friend of Russia—now seems more pro-Russian than ever. Bulgaria, which has had a love/hate attitude toward Russia for centuries now, seems to be edging back closer to love. Even the Poles are scratching their heads and wondering if close cooperation with the US is in their national interest.”

      As noted above, GBR is little more than a protectorate of the US now and has been for quite some time, while Canada and Australia are just further betraying their roots as US/GBR lackeys, as they have been all along as well. The EU is, of course, where all the interesting action is, as European schisms once papered over by US hegemony are now exploited to the hilt on the way out. France is revealed, once again, for the yapping little toy poodle it has always been and Germany is likewise revealed, also once again, as the budding school yard bully it has always aspired to be. Of course in the end, the US and Russia both know that Europe is but a stepping stone to whatever larger ambitions either might have, although it’s laughably obvious to all involved now that the EU has been played like a freshman debutante by their US masters. “Lick my boots bitch,” commands the US master. “Bitte, for how long and how hard, Mein Herr?” responds their German/EU bitch.

  8. Disaffected says:

    By the way, Kunstler’s latest 2015 predictions are worth a view as well. I think he’s beginning to dial it in, although this rather general prediction probably describes it the best.

    “Different kinds of political revolt break out around the country among varied groups, left, right, and center. Some of it revolves around life-and-death struggles for the souls of the floundering major parties. Some of it is organized violence against the government and especially against the US security state apparatus, including overly militarized local police forces.”

    Likewise, I think he entirely misses the mark with this, obviously anti-black, but perhaps understandable, prediction:

    Low-grade racial warfare erupts across the US. Flash mobs, knock-out games, lootings, and hammer attack type outrages generate counter-attacks. By summertime the conflict heats up. Firefights become routine and casualties mount. President Obama proves to be tragically ineffectual in restoring peace.

    http://kunstler.com/forecast/forecast-2015/

    Music for an impending crisis please (Sorry, I know this a multi-repeat):

    • Disaffected says:

      When the light that’s lost within us reaches the sky, by and by! INDEED!

    • the Heretick says:

      I think Kunstler has it about right, what he fails to articulate (because of his free market prejudices) is that racial strife is really just a stunted form of class warfare.
      The supposed left in the USA reverts to racial stereotypes and identity politics because they will not engage in actual Socialist struggle.
      Identity politics are harmful exactly because they retard the growth of class consciousness, and by extension, class solidarity; of course the media and behavioral experts in government know this, so the “black leaders” (who are more and more despised down in the hood), are given the megaphone.

      Coloring all of this (so to speak) is the dismal failure of our present economic arrangement to provide dignity and rewarding employment to large swathes of the population, and all of this against the background of collapse.

      So, I think it could get really ugly, really fast. Cascading failure.

      • kulturcritic says:

        Sometimes, Heretick, you are incredibly articulate.

      • Disaffected says:

        Maybe, but that’s hardly just “the left’s” problem. The left, in fact, in one of those rare species that have been observed in captivity and are highly commented on, but don’t actually exist in the wild anymore. Thirty years of Reaganomics and vilification by the radical right have virtually exterminated them. The real “left” only exists in few social commentators/activists like Noam Chomsky and Bill Moyers. All the rest (Naomi Klein, etc) are just class conservatives who also happen to be social liberals.

        But as far as class identity, that’s purely a problem on the part of those being victimized – the poor. The poor whites (from whence I came) have always and always will hate and blame their problems on blacks and minorities, and after they’re done with them, they’ll start in on their own women again. Yes, they’ve been easily propagandized over the years by their wylier rich counterparts, but in the end, they always do it to themselves first. And Kunstler, for all his social commentary bonafides, is smart enough to know that. He’d have made a fine plantation owner back in the day, and his future novels hint that he’d like to be one still.

        In the end, there’s absolutely nothing keeping the lower classes from banding together against the rich except their own cultural programming and stupidity, which thankfully, the youngest seem to be finally getting over at least. Maybe after the baby boom generation dies off they’ll begin to see some meaningful change. Until then? Not a chance.

  9. Pingback: 2015.01.13 starting 2015 | Noise

  10. Disaffected says:

    I was surprised to hear none other than the Archdruid himself sounding decidedly pessimistic about the coming year in his latest. Might be time to rehearse those evacuation plans in earnest after all! I read a definite realization in the alternative community at least that Russia and Putin seem to be the only remaining adults on the world stage, at least the one that falls within the western sphere of influence. A few of us Americans are waking up at least. Not that it’s going to be enough to influence major political events looming just ahead on our event horizon, of course.

  11. David Johnson says:

    Thank you well said – I get it

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