Paris Letters #100

Doomsday

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Th­­­­ere is a sense that the world is coming apart at the seams, that we are fractured and broken as a species and as a planet. And yet hasn’t that feeling of doom always present to some degree — hasn’t somebody always been ringing the doomsday bell? The microcosm and the macrocosm reflect each other: our own ‘falling apart’ is mirrored the outer world. As parts of us dissolve and decay we feel our world is dying too. But regardless of the real devastation that is being caused, this may be a projection and an illusion.

The problem is to have attached ourselves to an ‘image’ of how thing are. When that image gets reified, then whatever doesn’t correspond to it is deemed ‘alien’. But what is really alien is the image, which doesn’t correspond to the fluid and changing aspect of reality. A coward will not let things fall apart and dissolve, he will cling to his illusions and world view with a murderous intensity; whereas a brave person will welcome different kinds of ‘death’ — he will know that new life will always rush into the space that is left behind. Life and death are a singular and continuous process and one can’t exist without the other.

It is hard to navigate what is actually happening, the more and more we are ‘mediated’ — or being sold images of how things are. What is ‘true’ is decided by what is broadcast, what is sensationalized, what we are told is important. Broadcasting the ‘news’ is of course a natural activity, and we have been doing this for centuries — originally we told the news in public places or on street corners, so that the person with the message was seen and heard. But todays news has taken on a frightening hue: both the message and the messenger are obscured.

News has merged with the entertainment industry: it’s often hard to tell the difference between titillation and horror, let alone get the facts. The ‘lefties and liberals’ get their news from comedy shows, and the ‘right and traditional’ get their news from holy-roller preachers. Mixed in with the serious news, whose message is mediated by advertising dollars and hidden ‘interests’ — there is a state of perpetual confusion and illusion. In the extreme form news is created simultaneously with events: there are ‘live’ executions, courtroom dramas, and natural disasters. The dollars pile it as the outrage and horror builds. There is a sense of an overwhelming force of evil, which can never be destroyed — for we can never digest all the horrors we are assaulted with daily. And the strait news is not compelling enough to keep up with the drama.

Still, underneath it all, the same pristine wonders are going on, indifferent to all the noise and hubris. And when we are tired of the game/drug we may come back to what people used to call in more ecstatic and dangerous times: ‘The Glory’. It is still there. The question becomes: is there still a context or place where we can dedicate our selves to uncovering this? Or will we live in a shattered reflection broadcast to us though our endless form of shallow media and entertainment.

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