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2020/10/26 - Reply - Vidak - 2020 Is Happening to Me

“2020 Isn’t Happening to Me”


I don’t quite have the bandwidth for big ideas right now. But I did want to pick up on some of the themes touched on good Vidak here, if only in an impressionistic mode.

It seems to me you are talking about Zeitgeist. And that is indeed an odd and slippery beast.

I entirely grok what you say about missing the 60’s or 2020. There is something blithely imperial (colonial?) in these prepackaged cultural frameworks of time. They are bundled up into decades or generations for easy swallowing. But for those of us who have lived well apart from them, or worse, in a liminal space between dominant discourses and subalterns, it can be fairly alienating. I think this is part of their utility for certain elements of power.

For all that, there is clearly a hefty utility which zeitgeists do articulate. I’m the last person who would cynically reduce or believe the collectively imaginative to not be real. So it’s worth taking a zeitgeist seriously. Communities do have moods, miasmas, no matter how engineered toward alienation. Mate, I’m heaps glad you evade the toxic fog of these days for many; but it sure does thicken on this side of the water, no matter how outside the culture.


Zeitgeist embodies in communities, natch. And communities’ blood is culture. So a miasma is a kind of disease of the community’s blood. It’s very strange, apart from the fact of global reach of American Empire, that anyone in your neighbourhood would care much about Trump and such goings on, indeed. So it is perhaps healthful for communities to pull out of the dominant imperial events for some isolation, as a kind of social distancing from miasma. Ha.

I straddle quite a few odd cultural lines in my life, and as such have paid the price for liminality. I have largely given up trying to make subalterns intelligible to dominant cultures. Here we are yacking in English, after all, discussing stuff mutual aid, as if there is anything new to that. Mutual aid is only new in a context in which socially engineered atomization has taken complete hold, and that is really only a hitherto privileged sliver of the Anglosphere. Poor castes see nothing quite new in the catastrophic of this year, nor in needful responses to it, natch, as any SJW can tell us.

In Chinese we might basically call mutual aid 關係, the connexions which can lend both community resilience and a certain corrosion to institutions, ha. I think in country churches up here it’s called “fellowship”; nothing new to them either...


I’m not an anarchist, so somewhat less sanguine about the failures of the liberal state. For many of us who have been saved by mutual aid, it is both a joy and a worry. A worry because there are simply logistical limits to what informal networks can accomplish, just as there are juxtaposing limits to the state’s... benevolence. The welfare state in the USA has been perfunctory and shredded for decades; those elders and disabled who depend on its remnants are rightfully terrified of its demise, let me tell you. If an anarchist replacement to social security is tenable, that would be dandy. But it’s not likely any time soon. And any such replacement would need to replicate some form of bureaucracy to accomplish this task, if only to compensate for the unvirtuous circles in mutual aid networks in which critical volunteers are overused to the point of burnout.

I don’t really want to get into the nitty gritty of all that, I suppose... But it is a just worry in terms of current events. In terms of Zeitgeist, shall we say. The vampires are sucking the last bit of blood from the core of the empire. No one up here is well disposed to stop them, really. Between its fall and some prospective better commonwealth is a ravine. Too deep, too deep to humanly fathom. I think the Zeitgeist means people are feeling such impending folly, even when we like the lifeways under Covid regimes better, say. And in this there is a prophetic hermeneutic to the miasma worth attending ...in ways more creative than I have the grit to articulate.

Bla bla

So let’s turn off the aeroplanes and replace them with nice slow sealiners and solar blimps. Let’s ship off sociopathic CEOs to their own private Galt’s Gultches, pat them on the head and take the helm from them. But let’s also keep a finger to the wind, toss some salt over the shoulder, and keep an eye to the Zeitgeist.

I don’t really know what that means, either. But I needed to wrap this up somehow. Toodloo, old chap. Skip a wishing stone for me on the southern sea eh.



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