Thursday, 1 January 2009

An Alternative New Year Message...

The media is awash with prognostication today, most drawing on some pre-war "all pull together" subtext either suggesting that everything's about to collapse and go to hell in a handcart, or that somehow, magically, a solution will appear if we all just knuckle under and do as we're told.

Manuscripts Don't Burn doesn't think any of this is anywhere near good enough. We have an emergent global civilization, enough technology and sophistication to resolve world poverty, hunger, destitution, and homelessness at a fraction of the cost of the cynical jobs-for-the-boys of the War on Turr, and instead we piss it all up against the wall and congratulate ourselves for being so liberal with our irrigational generosity.

We need a slap in the face, now more than ever. Just as our economic miracle is about to catapult us into poverty, civil unrest, and the danger of yet-another artificially instigated war (to wipe out the old surpluses and generate some REAL demand...), Manuscripts Don't Burn would just like to offer a lone voice, crying out amidst the censorship of cacophony that the modern world has become. In Kafka's The Trial, Josef K happens by "chance" into a cathedral, where a preacher is waiting for him in the pulpit. Josef K approaches, passive-aggressive, "what are you looking at", "I'm doing everything I can". The preacher leans over from the pulpit, his face an appalling picture of horror as though seeing a man walking blindly over a precipice, and cries "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?"

Manuscripts Don't Burn would like to offer this post in the same spirit.

The time is overdue for us to realise that all of us in Western Civilization are guilty of a singular failure of imagination. The levels of technology and sophistication we have achieved could - TODAY - be being used to ensure that basic food, shelter, utilities, education, and healthcare for the whole globe should be unconditionally free and a basic human right. To ensure that once these rudimentary basics of life are finally given free, gratis, for granted, we could all get on with the real business of life - personal development, societal improvement, evolving into what we believe we should be, rather than floundering in the muck.

We should be disgusted with ourselves, that instead of embracing this bright new future, we have voluntarily opted to remain in a stagnant late Capitalism where a bunch of cynical criminals are allowed to manipulate our societies with artificial war, conflict, and scarcity, so that all of our wealth- and livelihood-creation is syphoned off into their bottomless fat cat pockets, and the rest of us have to keep buggering about spending all of our pointless days scrabbling around for a roof over our heads and enough food for eat - when in reality there is of course already plenty to go round.

The time is long past for a collective decision that this IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH, and we finally have to pull our fingers out, take responsibility for our civilization, and do something about this absurd situation of self-imprisonment and self-impoverishment in the name of some dodgy outdated ideology.

Our civilization has the power to GET BRAVE AND CREATIVE AGAIN; the strength to say no to crapness and cynicism, to dare to dream to aim for something better.

Sometimes in history we reach turning points, when a brave hand and a willing imagination could take our civilization a quantum leap forward. We had one after the Second World War; the history of the past 30 years have been one of the retrenchment of the old guard to try and tear down those hard-won social and cultural achievements in the name of a divisive inequality. Here we are again; this time, the odds are stacked against us, and the reactionaries have their pockets wide open to receive the last few drops of blood they can squeeze out of us. Hands up who's prepared to keep assuming the position?

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