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15th of January 2017, Scott Dickinson McGehee (EN)
The financial crisis of 2008—now being referred to as the “Great Recession”— seems destined to mark the beginning of a long durèe of instability and uncertainty of every sort: economic, political, environmental, social and personal. Ours is an age in which the pillars of meaning, which tenuously made sense of the world yesterday–are today crumbling. The neo-liberal doctrine, that the unbridled pursuits of personal gain works for the benefit of all, seems embarrassingly naïve today. Indeed, we live in a strange world. Trapped in a bizarre dance of progress and regress; we are simultaneously inundated by the appearance of ever-new technological wonders paired with the relentless decomposition of the social fabric. Isn’t one the advertisement for the other, forever promising a bright future with the next innovation before its too late? The flash points of this developing crisis greet us each morning as image after image appears to us as a phantasmagoric display of human misery: the children of refugees washed up on Italian shores, militarized police attacking peaceful protesters in Dakota, apocalyptic cityscapes in the Middle East. The endless list overwhelms our sense of empathy to the point of numbness and slowly we begin to experience a slow death through our own dehumanization.
What can we do in a world that appears more menacing with each day? The lucky retreat into the imagined safety of home and hearth, others by withdrawing from the “grid,” a growing number by experimenting with alternative modes of living, others through the direct confrontation with power itself. At this stage it is impossible to say what is a “correct” response; we are all experimenting. There are so many issues that warrant our urgent attention it seems quite impossible to find the starting point. But we must. We really have no alternative.