Saturday, 19 January 2013

When did luxury set in?

*

At some point the problem stopped being poverty and became luxury.

*

At some point the mass of people stopped being over-worked and became idle; at some point they stopped starving and being thin or began overeating and becoming obese; at some point they stopped having too few amusements and began spending most of their time on amusements; at some point poverty stopped being austere and became self-indulgent (tobacco, alcohol, drugs, pornography, life as psychodrama); at some point people stopped having nothing to do and found that they could not escape the relentless distractions...

At some point ugliness became a vast and tidal force, fashion became an imperative, the mass media came to define reality - we saw our own lives and the world through ideological lenses.

- But when?

*

In the USA it was earlier than in the UK; but in England it was about the mid 1960s.

But I recall in the early 1970s when I realized that the Old Left world view I had imbibed from William Morris, Bernard Shaw and the early socialists had gone.

I always supposed that when people had enough, they would be satisfied with enough, and not want more and ever more, and would move onto higher things.

I assumed that people would be satiated with food, toys, fashion, holidays, news, sports, pop music, gossip about remote or imagined stuff - yet these are ever more dominant.

I hoped that people would flip from consuming and amusing, to conserving, creating, appreciating'; would recognize the dead end of materialism and would spontaneously become more spiritual.

Ha!

*

There has indeed been recognition of this within mainstream culture, since the Beats of the 1950s, then the Hippies of the 1960s, then the beginnings of the Small is Beautiful/ ecology/ Green movement in the 1970s...

But this movement has been incorporated into consumption on the one hand (consuming ever more Green products and ideas) and New Leftism on the other hand (the soul destroying corruptions of political correctness - and the intrinsic dishonesty of that world view).

Thus this impulse has been ineffectual because - even when utterly sincere - it has joined with Leftism and been assimilated to modernity.

*

Leftism is nihilism; and destroys whatever it incorporates; and by now the Left is so large and inclusive and its propaganda so relentless and universal that people have lost the ability to comprehend any alternative. Thus they are trapped.

*

Yet, this movement of thought which we see so perverted and made counter-productive and corrupted to evil in the modern 'Green' movement, is based-on a good impulse and recognition and aspiration - to live in a world where Nature is regarded with reverence and Natural Things are treasured: a world where water, trees and landscapes are loved.

Leftism intrinsically and necessarily perverts and inverts all this - if not immediately then sooner or later (usually sooner).

*

The craving for Nature is a reactionary impulse that can only be defended and lived by in a reactionary context and will be perverted by and form or taint of Leftism, progressivism, modernism; a yearning for The Natural is a world view which is rooted in respect-for-tradition, the ancient, the existing; instead of belief in progress, the new, the future...

If all the goodness and wholesomeness of the world is not to be destroyed incrementally, then there must be a world view which regards the spontaneous and universal and old by assumption (an assumption which can be overturned in specific instances, but is nonetheless the assumption), superior to the contrived, local and recent.

That is the only foundation upon which we may build. Anything built upon Leftism will collapse due to lack of foundations, if not swiftly demolished and replaced by something 'better'.

*