Politics is dying and God is making a comeback. Could it be that the religions will save capitalism? As the impossibility of the consumer society becomes clearer and clearer, doesn’t it make more sense to reach out toward a purposeful impossibility rather than a nihilistic one? Or perhaps there is a more positive, creative alternative to both politics and God. Could the saviour of humanity be something like Art?
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Humanity has been tormented by eternity ever since it was able to conceive it. The great and magnificent eternal fantasy versus our own petty ephemeral natures. Eternity is the fundamental reason for all religions and all art. We can believe that God is dead or never existed, and we can tell ourselves that Picasso is shit and Da Vinci overrated, but we cannot escape the eternal void that envelopes our own existence.
Religion and art, and hence technology, politics and the economy, all come from the same anxiety: they are ways of dealing with ephemerality. Nevertheless, each of them has a completely different way of operating, with completely different aims. Religion is constantly grasping after another reality – one which is eternal. Within the eternal paradise of the religious lies everything that is good, having filtered out the evil components of this reality. Art, on the other hand, is a yearning to create the eternal in this world. It is an anxious struggle to uncover and preserve: a building process; a concept of eternity as a becoming rather than an enveloping reality that we eventually move into when we die. Religions try to remain eternal themselves – although this has been proven to be impractical and so it has adopted a politic of becoming.
Politics has a circular moving dynamic, dependent on separation and ideological dialectics to keep itself alive and seemingly evolving. But the circular implies a process of devolution as well as evolution. The economy is a layering distraction, placing us firmly in the present with a yearning towards the void of the immediate future.
Our capitalist economy, however, is completely devoid of the eternal. In fact, it could be considered an anti-eternity, which is why some have associated it with the devil’s work. It uses money to flow through reality in a way that makes it seem the blood of reality. Its great force of exchange and communication works in a meshing, netting way over our lives, entrapping us all.
But despite this entrapment, we cannot escape the eternity that envelops everything. It haunts us with its enormity, with an idea of tremendous possibility and great purpose – that the reason and purpose that fades away in the ephemeral world has to exist out there in the infinite void. The great empty void – if only we could fill it. In the beyond is the purpose that the economic mesh lacks. But we are likewise trapped by the ephemerality of our own reality. The spiritual and religious are impossibilities that can only be embraced via faith. To make the eternal seem practical we need another force, another way of stepping over – the practical results of our intellectual and spiritual creativity that we call art.