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Author Topic: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread  (Read 3506 times)

MetalSlimeHunt

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It's late and I'm tired but the five year plan of this long awaited thread can tolerate no more delays.

As has been discussed all over the forum and allegedly, the world, everything is screwed up. Modern human civilization has reached a state of brokenness and stagnation that is simultaneously so blatant that it grinds on us without end and so subtly hidden from sight that much of discussions about these issues take the form of sudden realizing just how fucked up specific facets of the crisis are, and then returning to silence like a person nodding off at the wheel of a car.

This thread has been requested more than once, in more than one form. It has even been requested of my person specifically. While I have differed the creation of this thread out of a desire to not maintain anything less memetastic than DPRK Thread (now ruined by the serious peace and/or war with DPRK in 2018), both recent events in my life as well as a reawoken spirit to respond have lead to it being made at last.

This thread's purpose is twofold. The first is to discuss the nature of and articulate solutions to what I will henceforth refer to as the Crisis. While my intention years previous was to create this thread purely in the context of ecological collapse, it is increasingly clear to myself and hopefully the world that even this immense problem is only one element of the overarching problem with postmodernity. These problems are not independent of one another. They are tied together, and taken as a whole they compose the titular Crisis.

Elements of the Crisis include but are not limited to ecological collapse, energy and resource shortage, social collapse, political and intellectual stagnation, cynicism and demoralization, oppression in all forms, structural corrosion, and the consequences of the great game.

The second purpose of the thread will be to try to develop learning and exchange in the thread, and reach superior quality discussions. Since pleading for not repeating the same five talking points for all eternity is already proven ineffective, my first attempt at this will be through the medium of various books instead of reading their wikipedia articles and pretending I read them. I encourage the rest of you to not use "skim knowledge" as well, and in doing so get as far from reddit quality as possible. I am currently reading Zizek's Welcome to the Desert of the Real and will be commenting on it here after I have finished. Twenty pages in, it looks pretty promising on describing some of the attitudes behind humanity's impending suicide. I'm going to keep the "thread reading" updated if anyone feels like following along, but beware because I will eventually force you to actually read Capital (or at least volume one). It won't all be theorists though, my second book is an outwardly apolitical one about the servant class in late 19th century Britain.

I don't have time for it tonight but my first substantial post will be related to the discussion that pushed me over the edge on this, from the Abusive Policing Thread, and will address the establishment of criminality as well as alternatives to the police state and mass incarceration.

The day is coming that will divide an ascendant humanity from an extinct or degenerate one, and we are not on the right side of that line. If you have something to say, have at it.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 10:06:29 pm by MetalSlimeHunt »
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nenjin

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2018, 10:32:33 pm »

I guess my thinking is thus:

Via mechanization and the advancement of science, our species capacity for depleting the environment outpaced the planet's ability to replenish itself. Coupled with globalization putting all nations, races and creeds in contact with each other, and then accelerating the pace at which communication can be facilitated, has culminated in a state where we face ecological collapse soon, and our capacity for communication with all near and far hasn't raised us above our natural shitty human tendencies. It's in many ways just exacerbated them. On a personal, national and global scale, we have the ability to be shit human beings to each other like never before, and that shittiness reverberates and resonates around the world. Where previously you were not exposed to the sheer unknowable mass of humanity at any time, now you are one statement away on any number of mediums. For every thing out that there people of all nations can identify with, I feel like there are so many others that leave your conscious shocked. We're more aware of the rest of the world around us and on balance I don't think it's made us feel warm and connected and united. Rather crowded, put upon or may be even at risk. The signal to noise ratio is so high now sometimes all you start to crave is silence. We're too connected, too stimulated and we've lost touch with our contemplative minds except when shit has gone pear shaped and it's time to brood. We move too fast and consider too little because that's the speed of life these days.

I don't think we're much worse than humans of the previous thousand years. Everyone has looked at their time and thought it was the worst time. Their time is their only true frame of reference, after all. But as a species we've been changed by our advances, and we have started running down the clock on the planet in a way previous generations did not. We're the most knowledgable and advanced we've ever been, but we have the bitter aftertaste of knowledge in our mouths and I think in some ways it has poisoned us. The 1st world has the ennui of having everything they pretty much need and want except contentment, and are left feeling unfulfilled and unhealthy despite being empowered materially, intellectually and spiritually to be both of those. Meanwhile the 3rd world continues to close the gap and raise its standard of living based on the model presented by the 1st world, helping deliver the knockout punch to the environment and possibly to their own health. We know where we are heading with the environment, overpopulation, geopolitical tensions and nuclear war, but we've become jaded, apathetic and territorial in response to it. We think about the sheer mass of other people out there probably not doing their part to not fuck shit up and it leaves us wondering why we should either. If the world is gonna tank regardless, should I spend my time pissing in the wind or getting in as much entertainment before something happens and everything changes and the dank memes disappear. Or to put it someone else's frame of reference, should I be spending time helping others and sacrificing to find a solution, or protecting what I have now and trying to secure it against the future? (The family, the money, the lifestyle, the legacy, etc...)

I'm starting to think if we want to see dramatic changes, it will take something dramatic to spur them. Something that effects everyone equally so no one can really say they don't understand the problem. Like hitting critical levels on the ozone layer. Globally erratic weather patterns that disrupt food production on a massive scale. The end of readily available energy sources enough to fuel the capacity of nations that they do now. Digital terrorism that disrupts the flow of information that people are now literally addicted to, and that we rely on for our day to day. Nuclear war with far reaching global effects. A cosmic disaster which by its nature changes the way we have to live and gets us to roll back some assumptions about what's acceptable.

Enlightenment doesn't usually come without suffering. If the entire species needs to get enlightened, it's gonna take a lot of suffering.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 10:58:56 pm by nenjin »
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MrRoboto75

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2018, 10:57:49 pm »

Nothing will change, no one will learn.
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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2018, 01:30:04 am »

Pissing in the wind can be fun as long as you aren't facing the wrong way.

This is both a dumb joke and a less dumb philosophical statement.
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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2018, 01:30:12 am »

Some things are messed up. But that's pretty much always been true. Doesn't seem helpful to claim that the problems we face today are somehow more dramatic or final than the troubles that people have been running into since the beginning of civilization.
The problems themselves are individually complicated and intertwined. I'm not really qualified to offer solutions. But I think being a good person will help some, so I'll try for that.
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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2018, 10:06:09 am »

PTW, will post later when I actually have time.
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MrRoboto75

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2018, 10:18:41 am »

Nothing will change, no one will learn.
Nihilism is a waste of time, effort, energy, and is one of the most repulsive and reprehensible ideologies to deface our civilization with its presence.

This thread is a waste of time, effort, and energy.

If you want something done go outside and do it.  No amount of Bay 12 posts is going to save humanity.
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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2018, 10:37:11 am »

I mean, saying that pessimism that we'll ever sort out our societies suicidal urges is a waste of time is rich on a thread on a second-bit forum for a niche indie game made to discuss How To Save All Of Society: A Debate By The Unqualified And Opinionated
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Levi

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 12:31:14 pm »

I think people have this weird tendency to believe that things can't change.  I've been spending (to much) time on reddit and had a hard time understanding why people argue so vehemently that things need to stay as they are. 

Humanity is our biggest obstacle, but I think there is some hope.  People don't believe things can change until things do change.  The only way to get people to embrace change is to show its possible.

I think Elon Musk is a great example here.  Electric Vehicles were never going to happen until he came along and started Tesla.  Now pretty much every car manufacturer is building or designing electric cars because suddenly people believe its possible and are clamoring for it.

What we need is an Elon Musk that uses his fortune on societal projects.  Somebody who can design and implement better ways of living and show that it can be practical. 
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 01:43:52 pm by Levi »
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MrRoboto75

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2018, 01:41:31 pm »

Just be glad that people care enough to try, rather than having given up on everything entirely.

Society has given up on me many times.  I honestly think the only reason it pretends to care about me at this point is because suicide is taboo.  Sorry if I want to do the same if it comes crying for help.
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Trekkin

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2018, 03:04:50 pm »

I'm a nihilist and an optimist. There's no reason to life, everyone runs on their own morals, religion is man-made, the whole nine yards. And yet, here I am, promoting the idea that we get to live life once with no meaning, so we should make our own and enjoy it.

Is that not more conventionally called existentialism?
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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2018, 03:11:32 pm »

I think that's more along the lines of a hedonism/nihilism/existentialism hybrid. Where sure, there's no reason for anything, but we should all still try to be happy and help one another.
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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2018, 05:25:40 pm »

Well, that kinda hits a snag with classical cynicism, which was all about self-improvement and criticizing society in an attempt to make it shape up. "A dog bites his enemy, I bite my friend to save him".


As for the world of today, we've got environmental crises pretty much everywhere we can fit them, less-developed countries are stagnating under oppressive corruption and bureaucratic criminality while more-developed nations are busy tearing themselves apart with the power and entitlement they've gained by being on top.

On the lower, cultural and societal level, everyone's so estranged from everyone else that the only common points we find to connect us are the brightest-burning and most extreme, and we cling to these ideologies because we're just so damned desperate to have someone to talk to. And what would a thread with Marx in the title be without a little capitalism-bashing? Most of us have grown up learning about a way of life that is defined in a disturbingly large fashion by capitalistic ideals... The only important thing is getting ahead, there will always be winners and there will always be losers, and the split between them shall remain absolute.

So we're left fighting, squabbling and insecure as we try to find some way, any way to prove to the system that we are in the winner group! Even if that means making someone else lose just to make you look better by comparison...

We are the proverbial snake biting its own end, and we're going to keep eating ourselves until we either undergo a massive paradigm shift (into something *better*, mind! Because I'm sure we're capable of finding a different gestalt that's even worse), or we run out of tail.

And for some damn lunatic reason, we've still got gargantuan stockpiles of massively destructive nuclear weapons that could have catastrophic ripple effects on the world at large... Because apparently the only way to keep someone from rocking the boat is to give drills to some of the passengers.



...not that I'm helping, mind. I just like to have a rant now and again.

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2018, 10:19:07 pm »

This will probably not be well received, considering how people responded to it in the Abusive Policing Thread when presented by someone else, but the (social, I'll ignore the environment but not because it's not important) problems people complain about in modernity are for the most part their own doing. It is the result of the rapid approach of final supplanting of the Gemeinschaft of society by Gesellschaft, and all of us, including me, are complicit in it. I see many people complaining about how they barely know their neighbors, that there's no real communities for the average person anymore, or how everyone is sociopathically self-interested and can't be trusted to act right on even the most basic levels, or some combination of all of those things. They do this, but they simultaneously strive to annihilate the institutions that supplied those needs in the past in all that they do. I say "why not go meet your neighbors then?" and the reply is always no because they don't actually want to meet their neighbors. They expect them to be terrible people, or even to have something bad happen to them if they so much as knock on the door - and I almost can't blame them for getting that impression, because chances are very good that they'll be seen as suspicious for doing so! As community goes, it's much the same story. Churchgoing, for example, is seen as (or at least proclaimed as) virtuous but terribly old-fashioned by some and as a backwards and malignant evil to be left behind by others. But, ignoring the teachings of the Church and speaking solely from a sociological standpoint, the institution is still a critical element of social glue. It is one of the only situations left where people of all ages and professions come together and interact as equals in a friendly setting, and it provides a reinforcement of a whole people's common identity. It also provides a support network not contingent on anything other than membership in the church. Family and neighbors once did this too but it ended up atomized in the West, first by the move from extended to nuclear families with little contact with relatives outside the household as the norm, and progressing further from there.

Other markers of common identity - national identity, secular traditions, common ideals, and ethnicity; aka culture - are likewise ingredients for creating an actual nation. These things are what keeps people who otherwise have very little in common with each other working together for the betterment of all, and these things are all deeply eroded. What makes western nations nations is in fact being systematically destroyed. Normally that sort of thing only happens when conquerors seek to erase a conquered people, but here for some reason it's westerners themselves who destroy their own institutions. Many in Europe are uncomfortable even seeing their nation's flag flown, and the United States, though not quite as demoralized, is trying very hard to catch up. Massive influxes of foreigners to both places only worsens the situation, as it leads to common people having even less in common with their neighbors and everyone else they interact with on a daily basis than they did before. So, is it any surprise that peoples that increasingly have no will to live are dying, and even invite their own demise? No, it fucking isn't. But diagnosing a problem isn't too difficult, the question that must be asked is why it's happening. Then, having answered that question, what can be done about it?

As to why, it's certainly a complex, multifaceted question. MSH is right when he talks about the scope of the issue, and decides to just call it The Crisis in the OP. Part of the problem, I think, is globalism, in two aspects. You used to hear the term "global village" thrown around in sociological circles, but it's sort of fallen out of favor lately. The man who coined the phrase envisioned the Global Village as being a disharmonious place, as people were effectively forced into contact with others with whom they can barely even agree on the basic facts. Nenjin touched on this idea in this post:


But it seems to me that in reality the opposite has happened. People are now able to self-segregate on a level that would have been considered absurd twenty years ago, and would have been entirely inconceivable thirty or forty years ago. Their community, their village, stops being their neighbors (and to a lesser degree their countrymen) and instead increasingly becomes the scattered but like-minded individuals they associate with online. Some people fall more into this trap than others, but there is a generational trend in this as people start growing up in a world where the internet is more and more ubiquitous (and as mainstream online platforms are starting to deliberately exploit this tendency), and it's not an encouraging one either. That may seem hypocritical given my calling mass migration a problem in the previous paragraph, but consider that foreigners are just as vulnerable to this trap as the locals are. Even though their societies at home are actually healthier in many respects than those here and they bring some of their Gemeinschaft with them they still self-segregate, and so end up feeling embattled on more levels than just those that come with the territory of being in a foreign land even as they flood in to take advantage of its economic success. The ultimate effect of this is that people end up looking for community in places that cannot provide it, and peoples with increasingly little in common are forced to live with each other but do not interact, and so we get all the negatives of diversity (and I don't just mean immigrants, but different sorts of people regardless of origin as well) with no benefit to the average person. But this trend didn't start with the widespread adoption of the internet. Arguably the success of counterculture movements that sprung up as baby boomers reached the age of majority, who sought freedom through the erasure of social obligation and tradition, are responsible for actually creating these conditions.

The other aspect is more economic. A global economy means that it is increasingly possible (and extraordinarily profitable) for work to be done overseas. The upper class has always had the least loyalty to their homelands in aggregate, but with the cultural erosion culminating in the above combining with the massive opportunities presented to them to empower and enrich themselves makes it more attractive than ever before to disconnect themselves from society and become part of a growing global class of rootless cosmopolitans. This group, as most do, knows its own interests, and it is able to leverage its massive resources to get governments to align to those interests. This class of people has effective control over international finance, mass media, big business, and much more besides. Some people believe that there are conspiratorial power groups (Illuminati, Jews, Freemasons, Skull and Bones, etc.) but the worst part of it is that there doesn't need to be. These people could work toward their own personal interests completely organically and without collusion, and the result would be exactly the same. That result is a society increasingly (and increasingly openly) geared toward the service of a very small slice of the population, often at the expense of all the rest. This is why wages have not meaningfully risen in the last 60 years, why the wealthiest are wealthier than the poorest than they've been in the last 120 years, why the relative condition of labor has stopped improving in some areas and even rolled back in others, and why the poverty rate hasn't meaningfully shifted long-term in the last 40 years even as spending on welfare has ballooned as a category to become the US government's greatest financial commitment. All despite new technologies making the economy more productive and efficient than it's ever been. Those that have an actual say in these things simply have everything to gain from defecting in our societal prisoners' dilemma and nothing to lose.

Globalization isn't the only issue. I agree with the people talking about fatalistic outlooks, although I might argue that it's just an outgrowth of more fundamental problems. I also agree that the pressures put on society by the environmental crisis cause damage to it. But globalization is something that I think is both a very important component of the problem, and something most people here would overlook or even disagree with me on. As to what to do? I have no idea. The best I can come up with is to somehow convince the people to force the government to break the power of the international elite if they want to preserve their own power, but by now much of the government is the international elite, and activism is either pointless bullshit, channeled into culture wars, or stomped out.
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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2018, 10:57:09 pm »

As to what to do? I have no idea. The best I can come up with is to somehow convince the people to force the government to break the power of the international elite if they want to preserve their own power, but by now much of the government is the international elite, and activism is either pointless bullshit, channeled into culture wars, or stomped out.
Smash the system. Yeah, I know, advocating violence and all but... how the fuck else? The ultrarich are just too damn entrenched and play the current sociological system like a damn fiddle to remove otherwise. Of course, preventing whomever topples them from just taking their place is also a rather big issue regardless of how you remove this international elite.

As for globalism: I don't see it as inherently evil. The concept of community, of tribe, has evolved before and continues to do so. It was merely, shamelessly, abused by our capitalist overlords.

In a more fantastical alternative, we could just say "fuck this, I'm out" and go to either the Moon or Mars and have our Utopic Gay Space Communism there, away from the woes of the Allmighty Dollar.
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