2012 election

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

holey America, 2005, acrylic yarn and rubber bands

The utopian dream that the industrial revolution, secular humanism, and Freudian psychoanalysis promised: a rational society concerned with the well-being of its weakest members, this was the Modern project born of the French Revolution.  Now, Utopia has become the sad, embarrassing uncle with Alzheimer’s and a penchant for impolite speech, his scent of dysfunction nearly intolerable.  Like book collectors and grammarians, contemplating a utopian future is for the antique academician.

Unlimited campaign spending by secretive, outside groups protected by tax-exempt 501(c)(4) status, a consequence of Citizen’s United, undermines democracy.  Unregulated global capitalism thrives.  The masses, far from representing a rational society, are easily manipulated by emotion and false narratives.  Industrial modernity as mass salvation has been betrayed by its own success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This dream has repeatedly turned into a nightmare, leading to catastrophes of war, exploitation, dictatorship, and technological destruction.  To continue this dream into the future, impervious to the ecological dangers, would be nothing less than suicidal.  But these catastrophic effects need to be criticized in the name of the democratic, utopian hope to which the dream gave expression, not as a rejection of it.

Susan Buck-Morss, Dreamworld and Catastrophe: The Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West, MIT Press, 2002

 

 

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