The view from 5 a.m.

January 16, 2020 at 9:09 am (By Amba)

Particularly since we lost our moorings in nature, we’re carried along in the torrent of human culture, trying to make a little mark, pitch a small shelter in the midst of this moving mass. But there is no fixed point of reference, the coordinates are constantly changing, driven now mainly by commerce, propaganda, psychopathology, and technology, and the directionless ferocity of trends. There is no way for an individual mind to get any purchase. And now this mass is accelerating like the Niagara above the falls. What do we do while we’re carried along toward the precipice? Our past plans have been pulled apart multiple times by the dissolution of their context, like a house frame in a flood.

Plans presuppose a world that holds still enough for long enough so their enactment still makes sense when it’s complete, if it can be completed at all. Interruption by crisis feels imminent: why commit yourself to a course of action that you’ll have to drop at any moment to simply survive? The universe wasn’t “absurd” until we made it so.

Is dematerialization and digitization, the dissolving of everything into a torrent of electrons, a response to this or a cause of it? Only a torrent is adapted to a torrent, only total fluidity and nonattachment can thrive. Momentary insights form and dissolve like snowflakes. If the material world once kept us anchored and sane, we’re dissolving that too, with the help of fire and flood . . . and finance.

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