THE URSTAAT

Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder_-_The_Tower_of_Babel_(Vienna)_-_Google_Art_Project_-_edited

There can be no nostalgias for Golden Ages before the System, for if any existed we have long forgotten what they were like. The System is ancient. It emanates from Ur, the first city. An Ur which has evolved in a replicating way from Egyptian Thebes to the Thebes of Oedipus, from Babylon to Tokyo, from Rome to Washington via Seville and Tenochtitlan. The City is a mushroom phenomenon, engendering thousands of spores, each one with metropolis DNA, an anti-human genetics of wall-builders. With the City came the dreams of money and power, of the divisions of labour and the creations of castes and classes. A sucking-in mentality. The City is a magnet, to be successful it must process an expanding gravitational field, spread its spores, create an empire of mushroom allies, all copies of the original dream in a fairy-ring around it.

Innocuous mushrooms, or deadly toadstools?

All civilisations are bloodstained. Ours is a patricidal, incestuous, oedipal culture of competition and struggle. A struggle to suppress that which is growing old in order to feed a narcissistic love-hate relationship with the System that engendered us. The struggle to stand out above our brothers and sisters. A struggle that demands to be recognised and loved. That demands that we prove our worthiness, even to our long-dead ancestors.

Of course, it will be argued that without the cities there would have been no progress. Didn’t our expanding empires trample over the non-Ur peoples and their primitive Stone Age? Human creativity and production is a result of Ur. The development of art and science depended on the mushrooming of the Ur-concept.

But while this argument fortifies and defends the concept of Ur, it does not vindicate the abuse of the concept. For our Civilisation is in an abusive stage of Ur, in which production happens for production’s sake, and the vision of a great future for humanity is swamped by immediate needs, which is usually an immediate greed. In our civilisation the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Of course the poorest who have nothing cannot get any poorer than that. However, now there is more money than ever before, and the tiny minority who possess most of it are richer than anyone who came before them. This should not be surprising, it is what the System is designed for.

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