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Civilization and its Discontents

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  • Sat, Sep 17, 2011 - 05:05pm



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    Civilization and its Discontents

I was just watching a recent speech by Chris Hedges (Link TV). I highly recommend it.

A <clip>…

As Sigmund Freud grasped in ‘Beyond the Pleasure Principal’ and ‘Civilization and its Discontents’, human societies are as intoxicated and blinded by their own headlong rush toward death and destruction as they are by their search for erotic fulfillment.

We live now in a nation where…
Doctors destroy health,
Lawyers destroy justice,
Universities destroy knowledge,
Government destroys freedom,
The Press destroys information,
Religion destroys morals,
and our Banks destroy the economy.

The turmoil in the Middle East, the implosion of national economies such as those of Ireland and Greece, the collapse of states such as Somalia and the Ivory Coast, the increasing anger of the beleaguered working class at home and abroad, growing desperate human migrations, and the refusal to halt our relentless destruction of the ecosystem on which human life depends are the harbingers of our own collapse. They are consequences of the idiocy of our elite and the folly of globalization. Protests and movements that are not built around a complete reconfiguration of American society including a rapid dismantling of Empire and the Corporate State can at best only forestall the inevitable.

Human societies seem cursed to repeat these cycles of exploitation and collapse. The greater the extent of the deterioration, the less these societies are able to comprehend what is happening to them. And the earth is littered with the physical remains of human folly, ignorance, and hubris. There is a dark intoxication with extinction, although this moment appears to be the [finale culmination] of the whole sad show of settled civilized life that began some 5,000 years ago, fore there is nothing left this time on the planet to seize. And we are now spending down the last remnants of our natural capital including our forests, fossil fuel, air, and water. This time when we go down, it will be global. There will be no new lands to pillage, no new peoples to conquer and exploit. Technology, which has obliterated the constraints of time and space, has turned our global village into a global death trap. The fate of Easter Island will be writ large across the broad expanse of planet earth.

The failure of the liberal class’s role in society, as designed to prevent unchecked assault by centralized power, is discovering what happens when you tolerate the intolerant.