Saturday, December 19, 2009

The twin-structure of our downfall

As "leaders" fail to agree to do anything at all, and the banking system struggles to cut its own throat for the good of the nation, it's been interesting to start getting back into some Baudrillard and, in particular, his book The Transparency of Evil.

Baudrillard starts out by noting that modern systems of "value" have actually detached themselves from any real ideas of "value", implying a transformation of the rules into, well, just that - a series of rules designed to keep themselves alive. And looking around it's getting harder to see where "value" actually comes from other than a form belief in the idea that "value" has to exist for the sake of its own existence.

Politicians are no longer interested in politics. Business is no longer about business. Both are more concerned with keeping a system of value as belief generation in place than anything else. The important thing is no longer to generate true value, but to keep the props upon which these systems are built - those in debt, those with votes - believing that the system works. So long as this belief is stronger than in competing regions and countries, we will be safe. If you realise you've lost, then you will lose. Hard.

But in this case, we're left with a quandary about how to correct a system when that belief starts to turn into doubt - as is happening now, as has been happening for 3 years, and as will continue to happen for those with sense for a long time to come.

The question that we have to face up to is this: How can a political system based on belief rather than true value fix an economic system based on belief rather than true value?

To narrate this on a more interesting level, we can similarly ask how one dream can make another dream better, or how two ghosts of the dead might battle each other. We have had virtual politics and virtual economics for longer than we have had virtual worlds. Belief is no longer a viable option.

Unfortunately belief is the hardest thing to let go off, by its very nature. If we are to come to terms with it, we must accept that fixing the cretinous state of affairs we find ourselves in demands real re-assessment of the self. Alas, the yins and yangs of our set-up, wherein politics looks to use and abuse business, and vice versa, ensure that this re-assessment is always of the other party rather than an internal reflection. MPs will point fingers at bankers, and bankers will point fingers at MPs, and all the while belief is dripping out of the system, oozing away like wet sand.

Just like the "leaders" in Copenhagen all waiting for someone else to break the deadlock, it is too easy for the general economic system of this country to lock up in a swirling whirlwind of blame. How petty. How inefficient. How dull.

If there's a way out of this mess, it cannot be effectively introduced through this twin-structure as they stand, side-by-side. For like Robin and the Friar, they are both under the same spell and the same controller, and tackling one without tackling the other simultaneously will only let the other in.

The only answer I can think of any more is to give up belief, remove the props which support the structure. Spend wisely instead of irresponsibly. Learn to create rather than to consume. Take responsibility for enjoying yourself. Care about others. Laugh and cry, but do so genuinely.

Passion is real. Emotions are real. Hunger is real. Belief that certain people will attend to these for you is not.

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