Requiem For a Golden Age
I want to shake us out of our complacency. I want to jolt us out of our cynicism.
Fuck it. Who am I kidding?
Here’s the truth. I’m weary. I’m tired. Of this time. Of this…way.
I look around. And mostly, I think:
Who cares if there’s yet another Amazing Blockbuster Movie..about superheroes…recycled from 30 years ago?
Who cares if there’s another episode of another season of the Really Real Reality Stars of another city?
Who cares enough to think a fucking ad is actually worth recommending…or even watching in the first place?
Who cares if someone had some scandal somewhere with someone and you!! can!! watch!! it!! over!! and!! over!! again!! until!!
Who cares whether 72% of viewers agree with the judge’s decision…in a brain dead game show…designed to please…the viewers?
Who cares that if a corporation put a burger in a burrito, and called it “a flavor revolution”?
Who cares what color the plastic and rubber and foam have been dyed on the sneakers this month?
Who cares how lifelike the graphics are?
Everything’s criminally stupid these days.
Not just absurd, or preposterous. But stupid. Not stupid as in senseless; not stupid as in laughable; not stupid as in dull. Not stupid as in empty of reason and logic.
But empty of passion, rebellion, imagination. Empty of wonder, grace, truth.
The world does not obey reason. But there are higher logics than reason. Intuition, dreams, instinct, inspiration, ambition, determination. These are more powerful than reason; because reason cannot bring anything new, startling, true into being. Their absence is where true stupidity begins.
Hey, why wouldn’t I watch that video? It was really funny! I liked it. You should watch it too! Everyone should!
There is a point at which we grow too rational. Too logical. Too calculated. Too reasonable. To ever accomplish what is great, noble, worthy. Too sensible to ever undertake what is laughable, hopeless, impossible illogical, improbable. And that is the most senseless thing of all.
Stupid isn’t just being thoughtless and mindless. Stupid is being dreamless, soulless, heartless, spiritless. The heartless will be defeated before they even open their eyes; the soulless will open their eyes, but only see themselves; and the dreamless will, no matter how wide their eyes open, never awaken to their possibility.
That is what stupid truly is. Not just being foolish. But being foolish enough never to be foolish enough.
We live in a world that tells us to be sensible people. Wedded to analysis, rationality, data, evidence, numbers. Of the convenience, disposability, ease they allow. So inference and deference and reference rule us.
And the sense it tells us to make is making us stupid. It is killing our capacity to think, know, dream, wonder, imagine, create, dare, risk, defy, rebel.
And so. We have come to inhabit a place, a society, a culture, a time; that is deficient in purpose; denuded of ambition; stripped of meaning.
A world that is shrunken and stunted in human possibility.
This is a requiem for a golden age.
It would cost $100 billion to write off the student debt of everyone in the US. Snapchat’s “worth” $10 billion.
The average teacher makes $56,000 a year. The average CEO makes $740,589 a year.
Google just bought Twitch for $1 billion. The last three newspapers left in the English speaking world are barely breaking even.
Half of humanity doesn’t have working sanitation, education, or healthcare…clean water…three square meals a day. The eighty five richest people in the world are worth as much as half of humanity.
The richest ten people in America could pay off all of America’s student debt. And still have billions left.
The average American spends eleven hours a day on social media. A quarter of Americans haven’t read a single book in the last year.
Twenty five years ago, only eight percent of Americans didn’t read a book all year.
Twenty five percent of Americans admit to not reading a single book in the last year. Twenty six percent of Americans don’t believe in evolution.
We care. We care too much. We just care about the wrong things. The things that wrong us.
Remember when I discussed what stupid really is?
Distract me. Amuse me. Please me. Entertain me. Don’t challenge me; enlighten me; provoke me.
Just don’t remind me.
I’m not here. I don’t want to be here. I can’t bear to remember I’m here.
Please, someone. Anyone. Help me escape my fear of the future; my fear of the world; my fear of myself.
I’ll do anything. Anything you want.
I’ll give you the most valuable thing I have.
I’ll love you.
About your reality show, viral video, minigame, amazing celebrity lifestyle, product, brand, image, surface. Just distract me. So I forget. So I sleep. Sleep so deep I don’t dream.
What are we doing with our lives? Escaping into make-believe worlds. Preening our imaginary selves. Giggling like toddlers. Beating one another senseless…just to have something to do. Oohing and aahing at counterfeit lives. Playing with toys in the void.
What are we doing with our lives? We’re trying desperately not to care. It’s the only thing we really care about.
The savage life sentence of an age of stagnation. The ruins of a golden age. The meaningless cruelty of it all. The senseless ugliness of it all. Working harder for people you hate to buy stuff you don’t need to impress people you don’t like with money you don’t have to live a life you don’t want.
Who wouldn’t want to escape that?
That’s all that freedom means to us, anymore. The freedom to escape. Into cheap pleasures. The freedom to run away. Into meaningless distractions. The freedom to flee. From ourselves. Anything but ourselves.
What do we really care about? Freedom. From the hard work of living. Of wondering, suffering, doubting, dreaming, knowing, loving, forgiving, becoming.
What we want is the freedom of the slave. The freedom to nullify ourselves. The freedom never to have stare at the sky. The freedom never to be have to free.
What the fuck are we doing with our lives? Numbing the pain. Dulling the ache. Freezing away the hurt. Deadening ourselves. We’re trying to disappear.
The future abandoned us; the world deserted us; the lives we should have lived shipwrecked us. There’s nowhere for us go; and nothing for us to do.
Except vanish. Wink out. Disappear.
We’re extinguishing ourselves. We’re eradicating ourselves. We’re negating ourselves. We’re annihilating ourselves. Reducing as much of ourselves as we can to as much nothing as we can.
Escape. Run. Flee.
We exist. But we’ll do anything we can not to have to live.
We care. We care furiously about not caring about anything at all. We’ll do anything at all not to care.
This is what a world in decline looks like. A million selves disappearing into the glowing void of the screen. A million million moments winking out into the processed artificial night.
The smoke they leave behind isn’t their ashes. It’s fumes. From the exhaust of their escape.
Better to disappear than to stand and face the future. The future that laughs at us for being too smart to ever say.
Fuck what’s sensible. Damn what’s reasonable. Let us do what is great, necessary, noble, true.
You’re right. I’m wrong.
Kill me. I’m disappearing anyways.