After Trump

Here, at the beginning of the 21st century, we are enduring an enormous moral crisis that is exemplified and amplified by the Donald Trump presidency in the USA.

The Trump phenomena has given us a perfect antithesis-model of the universal good, in which self-love (and self-pity) came to the fore as the most powerful driving force of the most formidable self-loving and self-pitying nation in the world. That such a super-narcissist like Trump could be elected in the nation that is the (self-proclaimed) leader of the democratic world, not only highlights the fundamental flaws in the USA’s electoral system, it shows how dangerously accepting of flagrantly immoral discourses our self-loving, self-pitying societies have either become or are capable of developing into.

That such supposedly moral and even puritanical groups as the evangelical congregations in the USA have been able to embrace the megalomaniacal candidate so warmly and enthusiastically, reveals their own profoundly shallow relationship to universal love as well as their complete lack of appreciation of any objective concept of moral good. Even the Christian teachings of moral uprightness and universal love become swamped by their self-loving/self-pitying support of their self-loving/self-pitying champion.

But while the evangelicals highlight the problem, they are only the tip of the global pandemic of nihilist self-love and pity. Moral law, if it exists at all in this nihilistic global village, has deteriorated into a state that gives ultimate credence to self-love/self-pity as a sufficient reason for duty and action. Rather than striving for the highest good in the world, those who once laid claim to the world’s moral high-ground have collapsed into the wreckage of self-loving and self-pitying patriotisms.

Likewise, virtue and happiness have become corrupted into forms of decadence and perversion. Nothing comes out of the narcissist’s office that remotely resembles virtue anymore.

But there is a positive side to Trumpism too for, through his absolute lack of morality that has highlighted the antithesis against a universally good world, he has also illuminated an image of another possibility, and his tremendous immorality has put a spot light on what an impeccably good society might be like. The very existence of a seemingly impossible entity like the immoralist, malefactor President Trump has made the antithetic element of a universally good system, which has always been considered impractical, now also seem not only desirable but possible. The positive lesson to be learned from the Trump phenomena is that if a dystopia can be made a reality, then so can Utopia be brought about.

Necessity makes the universal good an imperative, and the existence of its antithesis demonstrates the achievability of that imperative. But to get back on the road to goodness and universal love it is not to defeat Trump and what he represents in an election, we have to firstly evolve out of the nihilist state that our self-loving/self-pitying world has sunk into, embracing rational, logical truth to combat the relativity of lies, and promoting authentically humanist values over all attempts to separate humanity into races, nationalities or the politics of segregating identities. The concept of humanity is an all-inclusive ideal and once the whole is embraced the idea of the inclusivity of its parts becomes a non-issue. Humanistic purposes such as knowing, caring for the rest of humanity and the world, and the drive to improve the human condition and develop our enormous creative instincts are needed to temper and vanquish the perverting weaknesses of all self-loving/self-pitying desires.      

Language, Meaning, Existence & Authentic Purpose

Language allows us to give meaning to our existence, and meaning is a bridge between existence and purpose.

Because of this, only sapiens organisms that possess a language can be creatures of purpose.

This does not mean, however, that the meaningful construct created by language necessarily has to produce purposiveness. Even with a deep understanding of the meaningfulness of human activity in the world the purpose of the word itself alludes us.

This is because the reasons for things are as numerous as the things themselves and all their parts, but not any of those reasons on their own give us any indication of real purposiveness.

But, how can this be? If existence and purpose are bridged by meaning, why isn’t that bridge a clear enough path to understand what lies on either side of it? What is the difference between meaning and purpose in this case?

If meaning comes through language, we are talking about the understanding of things provided by language, primarily through the naming of stuff (physical objects and mental concepts) and secondly through our linguistic capacity to formulate questions about things and find answers to those questions.

Once we have a language structure capable of providing an inquisitive mechanism we can search for an understanding of all things through the formulation of questions about them.

Authentic purposiveness is concerned with questions aimed at the totality of things as a singularity, or of the experience of the total, human singularity within the greater singularity of the Universe. Authentic purposiveness is related to metaphysics and the questions concerning the potential scope of human beings in the Universe.

We can discover what something is, and, by naming it we can preserve it and make it easy to recognise when we find it again or remember it. Likewise, by observing things or by using them or experimenting with them, or by learning about them from others with experience of them, we can know what they are for, where they have come from, or where to find them. Even things that no longer exist can be rediscovered through documents written about them or by talking to witnesses, or communicating with others who have talked to witnesses, or through photos or drawings. Some things seem easy to understand, like doors and tables; so easy that we do not even need to think about them. Their purpose is self-explanatory. Some other things of which we know beforehand what they are used for and which we take for granted, like televisions and phones, have complex technological motors that need instruction manuals in order for us to decipher how they operate. Cars need a driving course to learn how to manipulate them and musical instruments require hours of practice, study, and accumulative experience in order to make them sound harmoniously and be able to create musical forms with them. However, when we examine everything as a singularity in order to ask the big question, what is it all for?, certainty seems to crumble within our very minds.

Traditionally this is the area of gods and God; of myths and faiths, as if any answer can be good enough if you believe in it because the important thing, traditionally, is to have an answer, and really any answer will do as long as it is convincing. To make it more convincing, metaphysics turned to logic, which complicated things because logic can be complicating. Then, when any answer was now no longer good enough, we preferred no answer at all. God was pronounced dead and metaphysics died with It. If we really cannot know, then why try to know?

But let us return to the idea of meaning as a bridge metaphor. Through it we see that (i) meaning is a natural end result of existence and thinking itself, and (ii) the meaning that language invests our lives with drives us in singular direction that terminates in purpose. Meaning is dependent on a concept, object or an act making sense, but the sense of any concept, object or act can only be determined by considering its purpose.

When we stop looking for it our Sapiens qualities, of knowing, thinking, and questioning, lose their driving energy. Nihilism threatens all progress because it negates the drive that produces progress, which is purpose. As living creatures, we struggle to survive, and as Sapiens we need to know what that survival is meant for; but also, as Sapiens we struggle to give a purpose to our lives that transcends mere survival. It is because we need purpose to vindicate our evolution and progress that we need to make purposiveness a central feature of our culture and our societies.

Authentic purpose gives us a reason for language; a reason for meaning; a reason for thinking; a reason for being.

Purpose is also a measure of meaning. That which is imbued with more purpose is more meaningful and that which lacks purpose is meaningless. But, if this is the case, the difference between meaning and purpose has become muddied again, hasn’t it?

Meaning can define a phenomena and tell us what it is and even what it is for in the immediate sense of that term, but purposiveness points in the direction of an end result to the phenomena, to what it is ultimately here for, to its true vocation or destiny, if you like.

Meaning is discovered through scientific enquiry, whereas purposiveness is found through philosophical questioning via the results of the original scientific enquiry.

Meaning reveals how the world is; purpose shows us how it can progress and develop.

Meaning is factual; purpose is creative.

For this reason, purposiveness is tied to aesthetics, and through aesthetics to judgement, freedom and the eternal.    

Ugliness

Ugliness shares the element of discovery with beauty, but opposes it in the sense that it is that which cannot bear to be discovered, or that its discovery is an unbearable experience. Art can therefore use ugliness to amplify the impact of discovery – the feeling of rejection for something is more powerful and obvious than an attraction.

We want ugliness to be an ephemeral discovery and the prolongation of ugliness can have interesting psychological effects on the beholder that artists can manipulate and exploit. Likewise, as we saw with beauty[1], the impact of discovery is a waning phenomena and a lengthy exposure to ugliness begins to render it more bearable. To create horror, for example, the discovery of the monster must be as fleeting as possible. The more we are exposed to the beast, the more the discovery melts into a normality, taming the beastliness, and, if the artist wants to, the initial terror can be rendered even desirable. Perhaps the most classic example of this is the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, especially Jean Cocteau’s magnificent film version of that tale.  


[1] See our post On Beauty and Art https://wordpress.com/post/pauladkin.wordpress.com/3549

On Beauty and Art

What is beauty? We’ve seen beautiful landscapes, have met beautiful people, and have experienced the awe of standing before a beautiful art object, but what do these examples of beauty have in common? Or is beauty an illusion? From an objective standpoint this can easily be argued, for beauty (and ugliness) are subjective judgements, opinions. Beauty is bestowed by us on the objects or forms that we perceive and so to say what beauty is we have to look at the nature of the judgements being made whenever we apply the term beautiful to anything.

Beauty possesses a positive value, and it is something worthy of being discovered or experienced, but it is through its association with discovery that we find beauty’s apparent weakness for, after the initial impact of discovery wanes, so does the beauty. Nevertheless, it is this flaw that provides us with a possible definition of beauty: Beauty is an awesome discovery, the impact of which begins to dissolve upon making that same discovery.

Nevertheless, the awesomeness of the discovery of beauty defies the ephemerality of the experience of its own nature. Beauty is a discovery that wants to be prolonged, although it itself is incapable of such a prolongation, it needs a psychological and emotional effort to preserve it through feelings like nostalgia and love, or the practical effort of preservation that comes through the process of art. The creation of beauty through art, therefore, is concerned with prolonging the impact of discovery. Through love and art, beauty challenges the ephemeral, as if it has a longing for permanence. Whether or not the romantic, the existentialist, or the classical theory applies, once the artist takes beauty into consideration during the process of creation, he or she is wrestling with the struggle between permanence and ephemerality.

BEAUTY AND ART

Is beauty an essential ingredient in art? When artists reject beauty, what they are doing is rejecting the idea of whether or not their work should be considered worthy of discovery. For such an artist this question is irrelevant as they are looking for something in the work that transcends the importance of its discovery. The aim of such a work is not to be exhibited or published, and its worth might lie quite simply in the process of the elaboration. Artists can, have, and do ignore beauty. It is not essential to art. Nevertheless, art and beauty are tied together in the fact that both of them are things worthy of being discovered or experienced. The work of art can be given the same definition we gave to beauty, but its relationship with discovery may not be the same as beauty’s.

Art can revoke the need for permanence and reinforce itself in the uniqueness of the moment of discovery. This can be seen in live theatrical performance, because the experience of seeing a piece of theatre is empowered by the fact that it can never be exactly repeated. Each night on the stage is a unique, unrepeatable experience. Theatre is as much a dialogue between the actors and the audience as it is a dialogue between the protagonists and antagonists of the drama themselves. Likewise, despite the efforts to preserve theatrical productions by videoing them, the filmed-theatre is never the same kind of discovery as the theatrical experience itself. Theatre is ephemeral art par excellence.

And because of the nature of beauty, ephemeral art could also be seen as that most faithful reflection of beauty’s character, which is that once it has been discovered its impact has already started to wane. In this way we find that the ephemeral art of performance has a direct link to emotions of loss like melancholy and nostalgia.

As for the desire embedded in both beauty and art, because of beauty’s fragility it is firmly tied to the concept of love and its triangular form of appreciation, understanding, and preservation (for more on this concept of love, please see: https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/love-the-real-the-ideal/ ).

Via this love the ephemerality of beauty is transformed into the ersatz permanence of art, and so emerges another triad: Beauty → Love → Art.  

On Empathy

Humanity (homo sapiens) is the revealing, learning species and empathy must be considered one of our most valuable attributes. It is that which the psychopath lacks and it could be said that a dearth of empathy makes one less human, more monstrous.

Empathy recognises the positivity expressed in life and the importance of the adage ‘to live and let live’, which also means ‘live well and let live well’.

Empathy therefore promotes humanity: its preservation and its progress. It encourages the evolutionary process from the pseudo-humanity, that we endure now, into the fully developed form of authentic humanity that we will have to become for the species to survive in the distant future. Because of this, empathy is a progressive component in the law of natural selection applied to human beings. Progress towards the authentic humanity will only occur when humanity learns how to properly exploit the creative, revealing qualities of our species by allowing all of humanity real access to the conditions and resources needed to liberate and develop their most human capacities. Our empathy is the quality that will allow this process, through the development of human potential through dignity.

Empathy is the emotional quality needed to fight for the rights of those who have been disinherited and condemned by the anti-human historical process created and maintained by the power of Wealth. Empathy enlightens us enough to fight for the rights of those who are born into a world that has been fashioned to give them none.

Not only is empathy a virtue, it is the source of all virtues. In this way, it is the antithesis of all nihilisms, or at least as long as it maintains itself rooted in reality. We are not talking about religious virtues like Christian pity, which are in themselves nihilistic in their denial of the importance of this material reality, which is, in effect, the denial of the importance of life itself.

Empathy builds through the process of uncovering and unites by revealing and opening the common space of humanity and life for all of humanity to enter.       

Education

Learning things changes us and binds us to those changes. Once we learn a new skill we are moulded by that acquisition and introduced into the world in which that skill can be applied. Being able to play the piano, bake meat pies, or even ride a bike, locks us into a relationship with those activities and the objects involved in performing them. Likewise, reading a novel, uncovering historical data, or understanding certain laws of physics, alters our perception of the world and moulds us into a different person than we were before we had made the discovery of such things.

Through learning we ourselves become more un-hidden and more available for use in the world. In a sense, we are imbued with more purposefulness because we are more embedded in the world and the complexities of reality. All education as such, is a kind of spiritual experience that opens the essential reality of sapiens before us and allows us access to that reality, not unlike any other initiation ceremony. But unlike most religious or cultural initiations, real learning cannot be restricted by constraining concepts such as purity, or truth. Learning things binds us, but the ties that are made are ropes of freedom, that unleash our un-hiddenness and our accessibility to life. To be open to the world, as such, is to be tied to the things of the world and only by mastering the knots of reality can we be truly capable, truly sapiens, human beings in the world.      

WILLS

All living organisms are influenced by a will for survival. Of course, this statement is tautologically obvious, without a will for survival, living things could not exist. Even the passivity of domesticated and farmed animals has beneficial consequences for the survival and multiplication of the species. But does this obvious fact, that embedded in life is the will to live, tell us anything useful? Could there be any philosophical meat in this will, of the kind that Nietzsche found in his Will to Power?

Considered separately, species will struggle for their own survival, even at the cost of other living organisms. Species compete with each other: when herds or other kinds of communities are formed these will compete with each other for genetic proliferation through mating rituals and alpha male domination, and with other species for territories or for the food and water sources available in those areas. In some fragile environments this competition might be an existential one. Nevertheless, humanity is unique as a species that will kill, even slaughter members of its own species for reasons that may be purely emotional (out of revenge or even resentfulness) or ideological (political or racial differences) that have nothing to do with the necessities of survival.

Nietzsche interpreted this struggle to indicate a natural will to power, indifferent and superior to the will to survival: live and let die. And yet if power actually threatens survival itself, what would be the stronger instinct? Obviously, it would have to be the will to survive – the will to life. The will to life above all else, and this means that Nietzsche was mistaken to make power the essential human drive. Power can only ever be chosen when it augments the will to life, and the idea that it a priori enhances the will to life is erroneous. Power can threaten the extinction of the species when it clashes with power, putting existence on the brink of an absolute mutual destruction. There can be no authentic will for such an internecine negation.

In fact, power should be seen as a perversion of the will to life, the fundamental will of which is for permanence through the survival of the species. Our sapiens species has to preserve what is unique to its own peculiar evolution, its ability to uncover reality, to discover and to use its peculiar imagination to invent and fabricate its own special kind of world within the world. Power, as such, only makes sense if it works in favour of the ability of the species to perpetuate itself (which does not mean to multiply itself, as overpopulation also creates an existential threat to the colony). To be a legitimately species-perpetuating quality, power has to be a tool for the development of our sapiens species’ most positive faculties geared towards our survival. If it is not, then it is an aberration.          

THE HUMAN AS A VALUE

Anatomy art by Leonardo Da Vinci from 1492 on textured background.

Whilst the human is something enormously valuable that should be treasured, in actual fact it is a worthless thing, made so by its dubious existence. Asking what humanity is, is like asking what a unicorn is: everyone knows what it should be like but no one can actually find one.  

In the conditional sense, humanity has become a should be: The human should be something we want to become, even though we already are. But: How can we become what we already are? The problem is that everything we want to become (and do become), things like our nationality, race, wealth (or lack of wealth), and religion, strip us of the human thing that we authentically are.

In a sense, our human way of life erodes our humanity. Because of this, the value of the human needs to be regained. It needs to be rediscovered in our nostalgic ability to resurrect lost things, restore them, and preserve them. Of course, there is a great irony in this process, that what needs to be discovered is that which is all around us; that we cannot find the forest because the tree we are sitting under gets in the way. But this irony only reveals the simplicity of the task once we find the will to achieve it. To rediscover we have to merely remember; recall that our humanity is that which unites us to the rest of our species; it is that which we all have in common … that we are bipods with hands that have fingers and a thumb; that we have the ability to laugh, etc.. However, an amputee is not considered non-human because they have lost a leg, or a thumb, and one can imagine human beings who never smile or laugh. No, the real determiner of the human being is rooted in our special intellect, in our special ability to communicate via language, and in our curiosity, to know things, and our creativity to invent and make things. It is in these qualities that the sapiens instincts are housed, and it is the sapiens qualities that really define the human.

Curiosity creates our restlessness and our passion for uncovering. It makes us capable of boredom, when there is nothing that sparks our curiosity, and fires our creativity. Curiosity then is a positive human value that needs to be stimulated and nurtured by any sapiens-human society. Likewise, our intellectual and high artistic values need to be resurrected as that which is valuable, where valuable is considered as that which is enriching for our humanity.  

But aren’t we curious and creative enough already? If you look around, the world is full of the fruits of our curiosity and inventive imagination: Aren’t we living in a marvellous information age in which we can enjoy the gifts of the incredible technologies we have already developed and can be purchased? Yes, and no … because in the reality expressed in that question lies the great divider of the human … in human civilisation as we have it at the moment, the fruits of our creative, collective, curiosity have to be bought. Money, and what we call the economy, is the great shredder of humanity, slicing through us like a ploughing machine through the common home of our humanity.

A civilisation geared toward what money can buy, turns its back on the human and the intellect as things of little value in themselves. Intellect in a society driven by the plutocratic impulse of making money, will be little more than a small tool toward achieving that final goal, or even an impediment to it. Intellect in our society is not valuable in itself, and its only value comes from the salary gained by the kind of job requiring intellectual skills. In the economy, the authentically human is undervalued while those with the anti-human, human-shredding skills that know how to manipulate money are the successful sub-species that has turned much of humanity into the sad-cruel figure of the homo economicus.

When civilisations become too dependent on, or become slaves to their own technologies, decadence sets in, and this truth must not ignore the most influential technological invention we have ever come up with – money. Our relationship with money has been the most obvious whilst at the same time most obscure process of human degeneration. In its essence money is a tool that can be used to facilitate exchange and make life simpler. Nevertheless, the effect of money on society has been quite the opposite. Money is now a complex thing that dominates all human societies. It creates more misery than happiness; it is responsible for the virtual enslavement of the vast majority of human beings; it is used as the measure of society and its use is, for the most part, unjust.

Money is the root of all evil: and yet we cannot live without it. We are totally dependent on the evil of it; it is the cause of all degeneracy; it is degeneracy itself. The degenerate-value of money.

To be able to remedy this essentially anti-human reality buried in the very fabric of our civilisation and to resurrect the authentic nature of the human, will require a revolutionary upheaval. Yet at the same time, that revaluation will have to come from a very simple source: through the recognition of the authenticity of what we already are – through a recognition of the authentically human. To rediscover we only have to remember.  

Capitalist Crisis and the Rise of International Fascism

There is no greater indication that our global economic system, the capitalist system, is immersed in a profound crisis than the current rise and spread of international fascism. From Narendra Modi in India and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, to Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Donald Trump in the USA, the success of populist, alt-right, nationalist leaders has punched its way through the fragile veneer of democracies throughout the global village. With their xenophobic and racist policies of state homogeny, ultra-right-wing governors enhance their power through lying, cheating and inveiglement, and through corruptions they threaten to install nightmarish, dystopian dictatorships in places which have always seemed impervious to radicalisms. And as the crisis of capitalism deepens with the coronavirus pandemic, the risk of a wave of goose-stepping, military-religious national-socialisms spreading across the globe’s political map is more and more a tangible possibility.

This capitalist crisis is not a simple readjustment of the marketplace, this glitch has uncovered a chronic, structural malevolence and a sense of unsustainability has wormed its way into the subconscious of the global-world populace, creating a general malaise based on a strong dose of incomprehension and peppered by a crippling sense of impotence.

The first great victim will have to be democracy. The ugly truth that is facing us is that this crisis is an infirmity that demands extirpation. A revaluation of all values is needed, and democracy is not an effective system at all for establishing systemic change.

The traditional democratic dance that sees a continual exchange of power between liberal-democrats and social-democrats (i.e. between conservative capitalists and progressive capitalists) is no longer viable. The make-up of most democratic, parliamentary systems today (or partial presidential republics) take the following, simplified form:

THE LEFT:

  1. There is a social democrat party that favours the capitalist economy but believes in a strong state-run public sector. Traditionally it is the left-wing party most voted for, and still is in many cases, although the existential threat of the capitalist crisis has created an anti-systemic consciousness in the left that has sparked the creation of radical rivals to the centre. These groups are …
  2. Ecological groups that have risen according to a vital need, the climate emergency, that has been looming for decades and which is the principle negative result of the capitalist policy of continual growth. However, the movement itself has failed to establish itself as a governable option as voters do not clearly see the way a green alternative would deal with day to day problems and many green parties have associated themselves with a broader platform …   
  3. A broad radical-left amalgamation that has gathered and grown because of the social democrat’s impotence or tardiness in dealing with the reforms necessitated by the crises. These groups are fuelled by an awareness that systemic change is imperative, an attitude which frightens many centre-left voters and terrifies the right. To govern, these parties need to convince the electorate in the vital need for systemic change, but when it has been able to achieve democratic power, as in Greece with SYRIZA after the Grexit crisis, it is rendered largely impotent and unable to fulfil expectations.

THE RIGHT:

  1. There is a conservative-liberal, pro-capitalist democratic party, that often has close ties to religious pressure groups and, because it is economically liberal, it supports the private sector and disdains the public sector. In most cases these parties still vie with the social democrat parties for the post of the party most voted for in the election race. However, the obvious capitalist crisis and the threat of an anti-systemic left-wing radicalism has drawn many disenchanted voters away from these parties into the lap of the alt-right.
  2. There is often a more-liberal-than-conservative pro-enterprise party that also draws votes away from the conservatives and represents more agnostic or atheistic entrepreneurs. They are neo-liberal in their roots and need to obtain support from the centre-right conservative electorate if they are to govern. In order to do that, however, they need to adopt a conservative mask which undermines their own identity.
  3. In the last decade alt-right forces have established themselves throughout most parliamentary systems. They vie with the conservative-liberal centre to appear the most patriotic of political parties and link their party image to church and the military with nationalist homogeneity being the centre of their agenda. They are therefore economically anti-globalisation and protectionist, and also racist and xenophobic. Once elected they distance themselves from all other parties and play a more disruptive role in parliament than any positive participatory role. They are not in politics to do the democratic dance of governorship. When they reach a position of power they want to stay, and they begin the process of rigging the system in their favour in order to make it difficult to remove them.

Over the last decade, parliamentary-system politics has become more and more a stressful struggle between these six main groups, usually spiced up by smaller local, regional groups making secessionist demands. In terms of making the necessary systemic reforms needed to replace capitalism or simply mitigate its malicious effects and defects, it seems unlikely that these parliamentary stews will be able to make significant headway. But, as the crisis thickens, and the political atmosphere becomes more densely charged with a necessity that seems impossible to satisfy, the simple solutions of building walls around our fears that is offered by the alt-right will become more and more politically appetising.

To counteract the fearmongering that will inevitably come from the right, the left must be able to be primarily seductive. But that will only be possible if they are also effective. The climate crisis and the restructuring of labour are systemic reforms that need to be implemented now wherever the left is still able to govern. Systemic change needs to be sold from, not just the radical but also the centre left as something beautiful and desirable. Green deals and more economic systems with more equative distributions of money have to be made if an alternative to the alt-right dystopia is going to be feasible, because, at the moment, for an ever  larger part of the democratic world’s electorate, the only way out of the crisis of capitalism leans toward fascism.     

Notes on Capitalism

The audacious dreams and relentless striving for acquisitions of capitalism are nourished by the conception of the ‘I’ (the individual), and because of that, as an ideology, a worldview or a doctrine, it is fundamentally selfish and narcissistic. It is a narcissism that presides over capitalism’s work ethic, which is a cult of initiative tightly wrapped up in the endless search for novelty and pleasure.

If it has an aim beyond the pleasure of the eternal search for the next acquisition, it is for the absurd dream of an eternity of growth and the establishment of dynasties.

If it has commitments it is toward those aims and for assuming the responsibility of ensuring the well-being and success of its descendants. Nevertheless, in general, the capitalist is worried about the future, or at least concerned with the future’s influence on present day reality. For the capitalist, the future threatens to break up the uncontested equilibrium that the capitalist imagines existing in the capitalist-created world, and which capitalism believes is fully controlled by itself, or can be fully recuperated if antagonistic forces manage to interfere. This gives the capitalist an essentially conservative character, although it is also an anxious conservatism.

The capitalist is preoccupied with business and sees reality according to the acquisition of profit and the pleasure that brings (either through enjoyment of the commodities it buys or through the mere excitement of the acquisition itself).

In the large part, capitalism sees science as a tool for the creation of innovation and novelty which is desirable in the marketplace, as well as providing a defence against the unforeseeable. Nevertheless, it is quite willing to deny science when it itself becomes an enemy, as in the fight between fossil-fuel producers and ecologists.

The instinct for acquisition gives the capitalist an appearance of being open to integration, although that openness is just a necessary part of the capitalist’s mechanism of acquiring more.

The capitalist has a paradoxical attitude towards the world. It loves the world’s resources, and it believes it has an inherent right to exploit them. It loves to luxuriate in ideas of how the natural world can be turned into a generator of vast profits, but it ferociously disdains nature’s complexity and is constantly trying to make the planet a flatter, simpler environment that is easier to manage. The paradoxical effect of this, however, is that the process of making the world simpler in order to make capitalism’s communication lines shorter and straighter, actually increases the complexity of nature and opens the door to chaotic climate conditions that threaten to destroy what has been created.

The capitalist is unscrupulous in his or her willingness to abuse nature, while retaining a shameless posture of ‘inner peace’ in the wake of their pillaging. Rather than envisioning a better future, the capitalist hopes to carve that future out of the present in order to perpetuate the present order and guarantee an ever-rising spiral of accumulations for the generations to come.

The maintenance of the status quo is guaranteed by what the capitalist has, i.e. his or her capital. The capital of capitalism is its future, i.e. the insurance against risks and its guarantee that no matter what befalls, no matter how complete the next crisis and collapse will be, it will always be able to pick itself up again and build the present world again.

Of course, these narcissistic ideas are a dangerous threat to humanity. Its time for humanity to realise and act against the monster that is driving us toward the dystopia of all megalomaniacal visions. This has to start by seeing beyond the individualism of the ‘I’ to the greater picture of ‘us’ and the totality of the partnership between ‘us-and-the-world’. Capitalism needs now to be sterilised because another generation of a capitalist-dominated civilisation will be fatal for humanity.