rkm> A change of vision: returning to the Garden

2001-03-17

Richard Moore

2. Where do we go from here?

2a. A change of vision: returning to the Garden

    "Before our era, the chorus of distress that had assembled
    over the ten thousand years of our cultural life consisted
    of nine voices: war, crime, corruption, rebellion, famine,
    plague, slavery, genocide, and economic collapse. Beginning
    in 1960, our own era found a tenth voice to add to the
    chorus, a voice never heard before, and this is the voice of
    cultural catastrophe - a voice that wails of loss of vision,
    failure of purpose, and the collapse of values."
    - The Story of B, p. 276

The uprisings of the 1960s did indeed amount to a broad
rejection of the dominant culture. "Turn on, tune in, and
drop out" was not a call to retreat from life - it was an
invitation to enter a new cultural space.  This yearning for
a more meaningful culture was widespread, and it went deep,
but the yearning was just being born, and it had no
direction.  It defined itself largely by an ostentatious
negation of the previous generations values, together with a
vague attempt to embrace a kind of neo-tribalism, and a "go
with your feelings" ethic.  We wanted to escape from the
asylum, but we didn't have any real vision of where else we
wanted to be.

A movement based on negation could not be sustained, and the
rebellious generation resumed its roles in the mainstream  -
pursuing educations, families, and careers.  But the
generation had been 'radicalized', and the cultural malaise
which had given rise to their movement continued to simmer. 
Some three decades later, at the end of 1990s, the malaise
had again reached the boiling point.  The excesses of
neoliberalism, corporate power, and globalization pushed a
new generation onto the streets of Geneva, Seattle, London,
Los Angeles, Washington DC, Prague, Devos, Mexico City - and
the list is still growing.

This time around, the prospects for the movement are
entirely more favorable than they were in the 1960s. There
are several reasons for this. For one thing, the movement is
not plagued by a 'generation gap'.  In the 1960s, the older
generation had lived through a Great Depression and a World
War, and they did not appreciate their finally-secure world
being shaken up by a rebellion of over-privileged youth.
With society split in this way, the potential for
significant social change was substantially curtailed. 
Today, there is no 'silent majority' with an unshakable
attachment to the established order.  Cultural malaise now
affects young and old, conservative as well as progressive,
South as well as North.

For another thing, neoliberal globalization is not going
away, and it is showing no signs of bending to pressure or
compromising its aggressive agenda.  It is 'in our face' and
it is going be more-and-more in our face - and in everyone's
face - as the global regime consolidates its power and
continues to accelerate the pace of global exploitation. 
The regime is trapped in this strategy by its Tak ethos and
by its deep commitment to capitalist economics.  The
heavy-handed police response to anti-globalization protests
around the world makes it clear that denial and suppression
are the only responses that can be expected from the regime
at this time.  Worsening conditions, combined with mindless
suppression, will only serve to embolden the movement, and
provide it with a clear 'enemy' to unite against.

There is one more reason why the prospects for the movement
are promising at this time - our cultural 'vision bag' is no
longer empty.  The sixties' generation smuggled their
radicalism into their mainstream lives in a thousand ways -
and the past three decades have brought us a renaissance of
new visions and new understandings.  Whole new disciplines,
such as environmental studies, have been introduced into our
universities.  Writers like Noam Chomsky, David Korten,
Vandana Shiva, Martin Kohr, Richard Douthwaite - and many
others - have been developing radical critiques, and have
been systematically investigating visions for more livable,
sustainable societies. Concepts like sustainability,
environmental integrity, and whole-systems analysis have
begun to permeate the general culture, and are becoming the
nucleus of an emerging alternative cultural vision.

Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come, and Quinn's
Story of B might be just the cultural meme that is needed to
consolidate our emerging vision and link it to roots deep
within our ourselves and the history of our species.  Our
common sense has been alienating us from the mainstream
cultural mythology, and has been leading us toward a vision
of harmonization with the world around us.  Quinn helps us
understand that such harmonization has always been
central to being human - except within the deviant Tak
cultural branch. The time has come for 'The Great
Remembering'.  With a firm primordial basis for its new
cultural vision, the movement has the potential to be
unstoppable.  Humanity, at last, may be on the verge of
recognizing that we've been on a wrong cul-de-sac for 10,000
years - and that it is now time to return to sanity and to
humanity's true cultural mainstream.

rkm
http://cyberjournal.org
wexford, ireland

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