I write to my contemporaries about a world that is not yet contemporary to us. I act in my daily life regarding a world that is not yet daily to us. It is in this tug of war that I still read the newspapers, as one reads the news of a dead star. A dead planet. None of the parameters by which we still insist on dealing with « current events » will hold for long. The market, growth, public policies… The confinement of his society in the old paradigm borders on an astonishing indifference towards it. In politics, some cling to this star to save the last illusions, a dust of light. The saddest ones displace and condense their anguishes on factitious objects of hatred, that is to say people whom one will seek to present according to absolutized differences, and to whom one insanely attributes all the evils… The others fall back on what they believe they still control, their sexual orientation, their elective affinities, their consumption, moralist crusades against the neighbor or such colleague…
Decades of extreme center policies have not polarized the left and right, but have confined them to chimeras. The dead planet does not offer a hold to anything tangible as soon as we recognize it deprived of what was tangible in it. A million species threatened with extinction, an overheating climate, melting glaciers, burning forests, waters engulfing cities, a desert advancing at the rate of climate refugees driven back by hordes… Tidal waves, hurricanes, famines, civil wars, the fascism of distraught vociferators, makeshift communities that will reinvent themselves to save what little is left… What can we seriously hold on to?
We are no longer citizens, but Cassandras. Able to feel what is coming, we show ourselves incapable of speaking about it. We have, to try it, technicist syntagms full of head. It is in terms of dioxides in « parts per million », of average world temperature compared to the era before coal machines, of earthlings responsible for universal history, of models counting years by millions… that we go in search of a lost spirituality.
Ideologues offer a formidable adversity to keep us there. All the terms given in common, with notions subsidized at the university, lexical constraints for the financing of « non-governmental » organizations, ideological formulas promoted in unison by private institutes and public ministries, aim at making the adhesion to capital an unbeatable horizon. The very idea of another model replacing the market order desired globally by hegemonic entities must remain unthought of. Governance does away with the old term « politics » and places the rules of private enterprise at the center of any model for organizing social life. The expression sustainable development erases the Club of Rome’s sustainable society, and places companies not in the position of objects of study, but of subjects, not in the position of problems, but of solutions. Social acceptability leaves behind its ancestors, the « social projects », and becomes only reactive to what is offered to it. The human resources are missing everything that could be personal to the class struggle, which in the meantime has become a stakeholder. It is by detecting points of growth in the people’s confidence that we seek to re-enchant the world. Barbarisms occupy our jaws like pebbles: customers, added value, competitiveness, process, growth… By the yardstick of these variables, let us despair of giving ourselves a psychology: optimism, recovery, the happiness index…
And it lasts, drop by drop, like an ordeal. Cleaved, shifted, untied, schizoid speeches resound in alternation with these foolishly honeyed songs that accompany our obliged consumption.
So we are looking. Let’s keep looking. We seek to give ourselves knowledge that has recently been liquidated, because it is considered passé. We seek to give ourselves a spirituality that is not borrowed. We are looking to rebuild community with neighbors who are watching TV or crossing in their computer mirror. We undertake to find a center at home from which no transportation network will keep us away. We learn about gardening, permaculture, crafts, regional democracy… Our world is already the dawn of an opaque tomorrow.
Alain Deneault, Philosopher