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Utopia?

 
(For Gayatri Spivak)

 
Imagine, wrote(and sang) John Lennon.
Beautiful, evocative, words.
But , regrettably, illustrative of what I have termed EM (European Modernism) delusions.
Ever refining utopias – in the mind.

Flights of fancy have their place.
Dreaming has a function.
Undoubtedly.
It helps many us survive the iniquities of the present.
In hope.

Hope has a place, too (as indicated above).
Though as Ben Franklin said, they who live on hope die of starvation.
And as Walter Benjamin said: hope is (oft) given as a sop to the hopeless.

 
*

 
Yet the real cannot be talked, or hoped, away.
It needs be recognised, understood, in its ontic depth.
So we know limits, boundaries, of what is possible.

Quantum Physics suggests that sub-atomic reality is flush with possibilities.
But , at our level of existence, we need to scale in probabilities, as a check to that ontic largesse.

Question arises: is nothing impossible?

I know very little physics, though I’ve read heaps.
So I cannot say.
I do know human anthropology.
Better than any EM ideologue.

I will sum that up.

Our species has essential, instinctual, properties which EM ideology has buried, elided, and/or hid from sight, in its facile constructions.
We are, familial, communal, co-operative , convivial , and affective beings.
That is our inner species-being.

 
*

 
But human devolution, continuous since the eclipse of simple, early, tribal forms (which are like extended families bound by affections) deforms that essence, in manifold ways, via the vagaries of history/societal processes.

EM sanctions and sacralises that deformation in the form of extant EM ideology and social theory.

And , in so doing, has us live and function (mentally, and eventually, actually) in a bleak, banal, avaricious, competitive, adversarial, uncaring, world in stark alienation of our own essential needs and capabilities.

The consequences of this error are grave: it becomes a self-fulfilling lie.

It has turned a band of convivials into a company of strangers.
It has morphed mammals into reptiles.
It has us viewing society as but a means to achieve sordid, asocial, adversarial, acquisitive, individualist, ends, pitted against one another, in incessant, if dubious, struggle.


It is what must be Undone.

 
*

 
But that is not to invent, au contraire, some fantasy utopia(s) ( where all traffic lights stay green? ) in its place (anthropic life is fragile and tenuous, and in variable natural environs, has multiple vicissitudes).

Simple tribal forms are caring, cooperative, and convivial, within: but suspicious and dubious of other such forms without.

This us and them distinction is basic, and cannot be wished , ‘imagined’ away.

We share that with many fellow animals.

 
*

 
So, to be reasonably content , and at ease, we need to recognise, and cater to, our real needs.

We are best suited to live in small , face to face (Gemeinschaft), communal forms.

So, e.g., the EM ‘nation-state’, an artificial, imposed , entity, now the universal norm, is wholly inimical to its bent.

Ties to family , kindred, and close community are ‘natural’: ‘citizenship’ is but an ‘assumed’ (enforced) identity.

Our highest anthropic need may also simply be to huddle, not to ‘climb every mountain’, or to seek out Higgs-Boson particles, or to circumnavigate the universe.

So, the effect(s) of the ill-conceived idylls of ‘Progress’ in EM societies is sheer, tragic, cumulation of wholly gratuitous angst, alienation, anomie, and loneliness.

Liberte, egalite, and the entire slew of EM sloganeering, are mere chimera that have us expend precious living time/resources chasing after will-o’-the-wisps that can rarely be attained- as generation after generation can bear witness to – mumbling ‘yes we can’, all the way to perdition.

They are but the labors of Sysiphus.
 
*
 
It is also EM that gave us 2 Global Conflagrations and is insouciantly heading now for another , perhaps final, cataclysm.

Note that.

Just that alone should give us pause, and have us reflect on the dubious gifts of (E)Modernism, instead of still trying to locate intelligent space within it.

And soon, before we are all swept away.

The ‘opportunity cost’ of EM ‘Progress’ may well turn out to be universal destruction.

 
*

 
So, don’t go about ‘imagining’ surreal worlds ( if the object is to really escape the toxic world -natural and social – we have created).

Instead, recognise our real, anthropic, roots and (re)organise day-to-day living within their achievable, and sustainable, perimeters.

That is no paradise, mind: it simply means we live in conformity with our given social natures.

Before early tribal forms are destroyed ( usually owing to male adventurism) such societies reveal the closest we have come to a palpable modus of contentment.

Little wonder they impressed a host European Modernists, including Marx (who saw in them a microcosm of his model of ‘communism’)


They form , therefore, the living laboratory proof of what our ‘human nature'(mind the oxymoron) really is.

Compare that to the perpetual ‘war of each against all’ we face in E-Modernist societies, esp. in their so-called , if self-styled, ‘advanced’ formations – and you can appreciate the Argument.

Here’s hoping…

 

[© R.Kanth 2022]

 

Professor Rajani Kanth, is Author of Coda (Novel) , A Day in the Life (Novel), and Expiations (Verse)
 

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