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Rebirth and Revolution

At Adbusters, Micah White argues that “capitalist-materialist disenchantment of the world” must be undone by “a vision in which mystery has a place.”

All that is wild about the world has been systematically penetrated, catalogued and destroyed. The explicit intention of the scientific mindset, to pierce the mysteries of Being, has led to a world empty of excitement in which not even endless consumption can fill the void. We are both cut off from the natural environment, enclosed in sprawling concrete cities, and cut off from any previous philosophical or religious conception of the world that celebrated possibility, contingency and mystery. How would it change things if we rallied in support of nature not because of climate change (an abstraction identified by science and therefore conceivably able to be “fixed” by science) but instead because the nymphs Socrates felt at the river are no longer with us.

Just look at the left’s demands for a new world: we want “clean” energy, full employment, a middle-class standard of living for everyone and “green” corporations. To acquire these desires, we insist that more scientific research must be funded. All our dreams for the future rely on scientists, technocrats, capitalists and the highly educated. That is a fundamental error. Unless the revolution can be accomplished by us, each of us as we are right now, whether we be poor or rich, educated or not, literate or not, then we will continue to perpetrate the myth that only Western style progress is the way forward.

What we need now is a spiritual rebirth that grants the magic back to the world. Only then, through the development of a parallel culture, will we be able to see that the way forward may be to go back.

But the problem is that our spirutal feelings/experiences/rebirths are the very commodities that are traded in the current economy of global capitalism. What is ultimately decisive about capitalism is that no one needs to believe in it, but we all must participate in it. We need more than this to posit anything truly revolutionary.

One Comment

  1. adamsteward wrote:

    Your site won’t let me log in. I don’t understand.

    I thoroughly enjoy adbusters – I think it’s a very insightful and creative magazine that has a clear outlook on how our ways of trying to convince people to buy things in America perverts our humanity. It does seem, though, that they simply commend their readers to understand the effects of marketing, and by this make their escape. As if our knowledge would save us.

    However, their offshoot Christian publication, Geez, seems to grasp much more clearly the need for an alternative space that is ruled by another ethos.

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

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