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Thursday, 6 April 2017

The Paradox Of Our Fate

The Paradox Of Our Fate

Alexander Gordon Jahans

Imagine someone told you you were going to be locked in a room, someone would enter and fuck you then you would be a god. Imagine that as they explain this they grip you terrifyingly hard and tell you that you have control over the room it takes place in who does the fucking and how but that it will happen one way or another. You can choose to be fucked, see this as an opportunity and live out a fantasy or you could fight back futilely and experience a nightmare.

That is how I feel about the future of the human race. Assuming we don’t wipe ourselves out the death of capitalism, neoliberalism and fascism is inevitable. Technology will make work a thing of the past and it will sell post scarcity to the individuals without need for an organisation capable of being perverted or hijacked. We will become as gods. Heck we already have the internet, VR, AR and 3d printers. That to someone just 100 years ago would seem fairly godlike. We are going to get fucked before we complete the transition though.

Lets imagine Jeremy Corbyn gets elected in a snap election after or perhaps before The Scottish Independence Referendum takes place. This is like Karen Gillian or whoever walking into a room with a large comfy bed, some nice music and plenty of lube. You are going to enjoy this and you very definitely want it.

Lets hike the minimum wage, tax the rich, abolish trident, introduce a UBI, restore the NHS to true glory and nationalise the energy sectors to combat climate change. We introduce Proportional Representation and lots of other sexy ideas designer to strengthen public control of corporations and the government. Lets imagine that we federalise the UK in a way that avoids American conservatism and all this control allows the people to realise that what they truly want are these very left wing policies. Oh yeah, we are loving this.

Except we are part of as global economy and the European Union is just next door. Regardless of whether we are in it or not the EU has a single currency and a lot of rich countries trapped with a few poor countries. They aren’t going to like the idea of taxing the rich because the median income in one country so much higher than another. Therefore the rich countries are going to balk at paying for poor countries debts. If we’re in it we’re told no and penalised. If we’re out of it they are going to compete economically and the rule of the capitalist jungle is “The cheaper the better.”

That minimum wage will bite us as companies invest in automation and tax hikes send companies overseas. So while we’re working with the opportunity presented and having the best time we can we are still being fucked.  Because oh by the way we’re in massive debt and it’s just going to get worse as capitalist and neoliberal countries punish us.

So we don’t wanna get fucked. Screw being screwed and going quietly into that good night. We’ll embrace capitalism instead. We’ll fight and fight hard. We’ll impose austerity, abolish the minimum wage, impose a flat tax to impact workers only. We’ll enforce conscription and rule with an ironfist. We’ll kill the old to stop them being a burden on the state, conquer country after country to pay down the deficit and establish a new gold standard.

At least that’s what we intend. Except we find ourselves in the room only gone are the drapes, the double bed, the lube and the music. Now we’re in a draughty damp dungeon with a cold hard bed of nails surrounded by cast iron piping that rusty handcuffs are attached to, the sound of screaming from another room filling our ears. The door opens but it’s not Karen Gillian this time. His name is Frank and he’s a sumo wrestler. Resistence is not an option.

Even if you pay down the debt, reinstate the gold standard and incentivise corporations to employ your people with tax cuts and the abolishing of minimum wages you won’t save capitalism. Capitalism incentivises its own destruction driving further and further automation until there are no jobs and eventually no need for a state because our technology can sense threats and set up defences to combat them. Oh so you’re anonymous and super encrypted are you? Instablocked.

We are fucked and we are elevated to greatness beyond that which even people now think possible, in that order, whichever path we take. We can chop and change and mix and match but it doesn’t matter. No course of leftwingism will save us from being fucked by dying capitalism. No course of rightwingism will save capitalism from being succeeded by Post-Scarcity.

Heck I’ve got two books to read on that subject recreationally. There is no way out. It doesn’t matter how much you spend or who you kill, unless you wipe out the human race it is inevitable because. these are natural outcomes of convergent social, political, economic and technological forces.

The reason I say this is that I keep trying to find reasons to continue living and not just exit out of this trainwreck. I am trying to claim universal credit currently and it is doing my head in because this is pointless busywork that has literally already been automated away. You can be disabled or you can be pointlessly wasting hours every week applying for jobs you will never get, doing something that can already be automated, just to show that you are trying hard enough to deserve to fucking live. The thing that really makes the situation absurd is that Universal Credit doesn’t even pay all the bills. It’s a relentless merry go round of bashing your ahead against a brick wall just to be slightly less of a burden.

It’s all fucking ridiculous and pointless. I do not support revolution and I think now we know capitalism is doomed it’s especially contemptible but what do we do? Persist. Just fucking persist. Linger and linger and linger in the hope that capitalism karks it first. For someone who hates the idea that there is any greater power than man and his ability to understand and exploit the world this is intolerable.

We’re all screaming and shouting about whose to blame. America looks perilously close to civil war. Fascism is on the rise. Our left wing political parties are mired in infighting. The EU is fragmenting. The UK is disintegating. Cunts on the left and right keep crying victory but we’re all just counting time until the end whether we know it or not.

No wonder I keep resorting to pure fantasy. No wonder that in the end the war time survivor mentality proved inadequate. This isn’t war. This is madness. There is no single coherent enemy to be fought. There is no simple definable goal. It’s not even a war of attrition. To a capitalist it’s a defiant last stand. A desperate attempt to rally and shore up foundations to take on a threat which will kill it from the inside everwhere at once. To a socialist or communist it’s a hold out. A desperate last stand in the hopes of the cavalry arriving in the nick of time.

The irony is there may be some cold pragmatic truth to the idea that fascism is our best shot. If we hold that Revolution is an endless cycle of bloodshed. If we hold that capitalism can’t be saved but socialism can’t hold out in a global economy then perhaps there is cruel wisdom in the iron fist. Kill the old. In one sweep you rid the country of most of the bigots and fix a massive drain on the country’s pocket and then recolonisation of the world. The war would be bloody and horrible but as Orwell made clear in 1984, that’s the point. Churn through the populations of an overburdened planet and destroy buildings that are just getting in the way of new developments. Hold out until innovation renders scarcity moot.

I’m joking of course. The fascists have the least chance of anyone and they blew it with Trump. Plus I may be bitter, suicidal and full of rage but even at my worst there are things I won’t do. Indeed at my worst I’m more likely to do terrible things to fascists than be among them. It matters for nought anyway. Even the greatest dictator in the world couldn’t prevent this madness.

I want to pretend this doesn’t matter. I want to pretend that capitalism is fine and have my pathetic fantasies of owning beautiful women. I want to live for lust but lust gets boring and existence in the last years of capitalism makes it hard to ignore how fucked everything is. Even the people crowing about their grand victories aren’t happy with how far they’ve gotten. Everybody’s upset and everybody knows they’re fucked but we all keep pretending otherwise because we’re all in a giant game of chicken and waiting for everybody else to give up first. It’s like when one of my pathetic stalkers sent me an email proudly proclaiming he had won because I was quitting youtube. The reasons don’t matter. What matters is that it was a temporary scale back of video production but that alone was seen as victory.

We linger and persist and we call it victory when our enemies give up before us. None of it matters. None. I suppose I chase the hedonistic imperative now. To live the best life I can within the limits of my abilities and principles but that ain’t such a great life. Just the best I can. So I screw up my eyes against the evidence stick my fingers in my ears and dream of pretty submissive women.

Of course all this is assuming generalised artificial intelligence doesn’t become aware before capitalism dies, then all bets are off. 

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