Stay with me here; this is a high fly-over to start the New Year:
-In the name of each individual’s unmediated access to the divine, the Reformation dethrones the hieratic authority of the Church.
-Capitalism metastasizes out of the English countryside.
-The Enlightenment’s dissolvent Reason challenges the pulpits and dethrones the monarch. The new liberal state is founded upon (and delimited by) individual reason and the rights of individuals (see my posts here and here).
-Capitalism and the liberal state flourish for a couple of centuries until the liberal freedom loving citizenry finds itself mired in (what Bernard Stiegler terms) “symbolic misery”.
-Unmoored by the social isolation of an atomized hedonism, they have exchanged the agency of political action for the passivity of the consumer, they experience themselves as helpless in the face of “market forces” that are devouring the planet and petrifying global economic injustice. (see my posts here and here).
-What will anchor them? Or distract them? Is there a difference?
-New retail opportunities? Goose stepping with their “brethren”? Netflix bingeing? Life in a gated community?
At the end of Yeat’s poem The Second Coming, an ahistorical and transcendant power “slouches toward Bethlehem” ready to intercede. Our planet should be so lucky. This is the longest lie. There will be no intercession for good or ill that does not spring from human agency.
All this is to say, what you or I or “they” do…or don’t do… will matter. Happy New Year!