The Fight For and Against the Future
I think theres an unseen battle raging in the world today. Its
not a battle, really, over politics, society, or even the world.
Its about you. Who you really are, why you are here, and what your
life means. Its a battle for control of your soul.
You might think thats overstated. I just want to put it simply
and clearlyand you can be the judge. This battle is between between
two ways of thinking, seeing, understanding the world. Ill call
them reductionism and expansionism. Now, I mean them in a subtle,
difficult way. What is expanded or reduced is us, in the end, our
better selves, our possibilities for meaning, happiness, purpose,
our truths but let me explain how.
To illustrate it, Ill use the example of capitalism, which is
todaysand maybe historysgreatest reductionist system. You can skip
it, and go straight to the marrow if you want.
What do all todays great problems have in common?
Somenationalism, extremism, neo-fascismare forms of reactionary
backlash to capitalism, what happens when capitalism degenerates
into its raw elements, greed, fear, and hate. Someclimate change,
inequality, middle class implosion, precarity, democratic decayare
direct consequences of capitalism, which, left to its own devices,
will happily eat through everything. Todays great global problems
are all results of capitalism because capitalism is a form of
reductionism. Its a system that reduces everything in the world
that matters, more or less, to nonexistence, erases it, beginning
Hence, the more capitalism there is in a society, the more
people feel a sense of meaninglessness and emptiness and futility.
Our lives dont matter very much, we feel, all too oftenand so we
try to fill the hole in our souls by doing what were told will make
us happy, which is going out buying stuff. But whats the point of
buying stuff? Its not the stuff. Its status. So we buy something to
relieve ourselves of the pain of meaninglessnessand maybe it works
for a day or two. We feel like someone again. Until everyone else
has it, and then the race starts all over again. We call all this
consumerismbut I think that word fails to convey the sense of
desperation, of hopelessness that drives the process.
Maybe, though, we dont have the money even to do that. So what
do we turn, for a sense of meaning and belonging and status?
Nationalism, extremism, various forms of neo-fascism. Were not at
the bottom of the pecking order anymore. They arethose dirty,
filthy subhumans. Now theres not just a voidtheres a darkness,
which is better, at least, than a nothingness. Hate, spite, and
rage fill up the absence of a live which has gone nowhere. Now
there is stat...