Sunday, May 08, 2011

Against Nostalgia: A Call to Action

 There is no returning to the past, rather only an overturning. The value of the present cannot be denied or denigrated in the name of a mythic prelapsarian past, no matter how hollow modernity may ring.

There never was a fall.
Try primordial filth.

Was "man" better, morally speaking, from the dawn of time up to the birth of modernity and the machine?
-No. Most emphatically no.
The noble savage is a lie.

Decline, decadence, downfall?
These discredited themes hark back to Oswald Spengler's thesis of a "Faustian Civilization" in The Decline of the West. Long since reputed, this myth has had a long and continuing afterlife in both revolutionary and reactionary forms. There is little difference between the disaffection and pessimism of the left/libertarian strain and the diagnoses of decline and decadence of the right/reactionary type. Both see the present and future as hopelessly degraded and get off on nostalgia for a past that's never been.

"The pathos of this work: that there are no periods of decline," declared Walter Benjamin in The Arcades Project, a statement that applies to all of my work.

While I have no faith in "progress" and even less esteem, nay contempt, for the greater part of contemporary culture. I'm too - "honest" I suppose - to romanticize the past or fantasize and construct impossible, truly U-topian, ideals.

All we have is the here and now. We exist in and as part of the world - and thus our every action, even the slightest, must therefore change the world.

Don't like the world as it is?
What are you doing to change it?

Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011. (Or sign up to be notified of its release on

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