Frequently on television as I was growing up there was a ticking time bomb, and a hero gained the glory of saving the day and the temporary relief of not dying by defusing it. What does this situation require? Not only a confident hero, but a masochistic one, to use the threat of annihilation to achieve success. His confidence is only generated by his terrible fear.
This is the psychological reality in the minds of people during the Cold War, where the ticking time bomb was averted day after day by the “heroes” who save us all by avoiding pushing the death button.
This theory, or philosophy, of “progress through threat of annihilation” is the basis for industrialization. The technology of the 20th century is often heralded as a success, as a justification for civilization and capitalism. It’s nearly never stated that the reason for the frantic technological development is to save the world, and that industrialization is the root cause of the need to save it.
That’s the core lure of industrialization, the seduction – at the very time it’s causing such utter fear, depression, and despair it’s offering solutions to those very problems. It’s both the disease and the cure in one. It’s annihilating the Native Americans and then “preserving” them. Who knows? Perhaps without their very annihilation they would have gone extinct without being brought under the domineering umbrella of capitalist civilization. So human beings are killed in order to maintain their life – capitalism is the necromancer who gives “undying life” to the very people he kills.
True believers say it will never stop. The Endless Summer so popular in the United States at the height of Cold War terror is the idea that industrial capitalism will always produce the cure to every life-threatening disease, through the magical powers of “innovation” and “entrepreneurial activity”. They point to technological progress as more sign of The Cure, which one day will provide the Final Cure which will render all future diseases moot.
The final stage of reality to true believers is when human beings can do literally anything they want, total license, with zero negative repercussions, because all cures are technologically built-in. Hugh Hefner’s dream vision of sexuality is a metaphor for how the true believers, such as Gene Roddenberry, view capitalism.
The purpose of capitalism is to transform the world into one which produces and maintains the final cure to itself.
Capitalism no longer believes in this “positive” vision of capitalism. Capitalism is no longer seeking to generate the Final Cure for all of humanity. Capitalism is now generating an “escape the earth” model where a few people may escape the earth, “repopulate the human race”, “make the desert of outer space bloom”, and the rest of the people will be “left behind” on earth to die.
This is the core reason for the death of the global middle class. The vision of the Final Cure involves bringing all of humanity into the heart of the system, at least as intimate to the system as patients are in a doctor’s office. But this new vision, that of Escaping the Earth – that involves the rejection of humanity by the escapists. In other words, the Zombification of humanity in order to justify it’s extermination by the “noble humans”.
This is why I often object to the use of “problem” by liberals and progressives when they speak of various capitalist antics. Like, the war in Afghanistan is a “problem”. How is people dying and being terrorized and as a result others being better positioned to escape the earth a problem, exactly? It’s certainly not a problem as far as the current capitalist vision is concerned. How is torturing people in Guantanamo Bay a “problem”? It’s part of the solution.
What I truly object to is not so much deep ignorance on the part of people who believe themselves good but their lack of any alternative vision to the terrible but at least extremely clear and logical capitalist vision. As a hungry man says “I’m eating terrible food, but it’s better than nothing”. It may well be a symptom of humanity that it prefers a terrible vision to no vision at all, and if this is correct then what is desperately needed today is a positive vision of a future. Unlike most “positive visions” offered, a worthwhile one needs to become real if it’s people make it real, so it needs to be founded in reality, just as Escape the Earth is despite it’s seemingly unlikely nature (the low probability of sustaining human life outside of earth).