Future Tension

What happened to the new century we were promised?


Fifth Estate # 396, Summer, 2016

What happened to the future? The twenty-first century was supposed to be a new era; an age of liberty, love, and lucid life. The old world of misery was scheduled to be destroyed.

Instead, all we got is more slavery, hatred, and hyper-alienation.

Where are the dreamers? Why do we continue living on a prison planet? Why does it seem that it is each one of us alone against the universe?

The future was supposed to be a horizon of freedom, the undiscovered country, but the empire has colonized even that. The long dreamed of interactive, multimedia, liberation laboratory has turned out to be a collection of progressively more miserable video clips of cruelty and epic failures or simply the quest for the most extremely degrading porno clip.

Contrived nightmare images amplify the viewer’s own misery and self loathing. Compensation for miserablism through a lightweight shock, while adding nothing positive. No exorcism, no transgression of caste. Nothing is shocking.

The future is a component of the control system.

The 1990s TV series “The X-Files” featured FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully investigating marginalized, unsolved cases involving the paranormal. Characters and groups created mythology and archetype, such as The Syndicate, an archetypical control conspirator.

In one episode, “The Blessing Way,” Scully first meets a member of The Syndicate who introduces himself at the funeral of Mulder’s father. He warns her, “We predict the future, and the best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Futurists usually provide ideological justification for the continuation and preservation of hegemonic control. Part of how they do this is by projecting a trajectory for these mechanisms of control into the future.

For example, James W. Carey writes in his 1988 Communications as Culture:

“Figures such as Toffler and John Naisbitt are manifestations in popular culture of a vision of a desirable future loosely shared by a variety of groups: the major engineering societies leading corporations with global stakes in high tech, universities looking for substitutes for declining federal support, the military seeking to augment its share of the gross national product, and the state department searching for new technological means to maintain an American hegemony”

A singular image of the future is held up as inevitable. This is not a new tactic. Marxists use the notion of historical determinism in an attempt to prove that their control philosophy is correct. Supporters of European settlement in North America and U.S. expansion used the concept of Manifest Destiny to justify occupation of the continent in the 19± century.

Those who question the futuristic image are portrayed as hopelessly retrograde. But each of us can fight the planned future and its purported inevitability. This is necessary if we want to live life on our own terms.

The past becomes important in this struggle. Poet Diane di Prima writes, “History is a living weapon in yr hand.” Looking at the past allows an understanding of how totalitarian control developed, and possibly how it will continue. It also presents a history of resistance by individuals, movements, and tactics. The early 19th century English Luddite power-loom breakers provide an example of a group willing to challenge technological development.

Looking back, people become, in the words of Kirkpatrick Sale in his 1995, Rebels Against the Future, “Armed with an understanding of the past, perhaps that can allow them to be rebels against the future.” Wisdom of the past can be a weapon against a manufactured future. Nostalgia, a longing for something lost in the past, is the opposite of this wisdom.

Jaded, hipster cynicism prevents us from challenging dominant culture, dominant norms, the all-encompassing controlling ooze. No longer mere machination, gears have been replaced by nanotechnology. The hipster remains comfortable in the certainty that humanity is genuinely bad and no alternative is possible.

Ultimately, totalitarian state capitalism seems to be the only possibility. Formal education and the media say so.

Instead of a hip cynical hope, let’s mutate and release the suppressed—an uprising of the uncontrollable; every last outsider. Anarch, break down your tame reality.

Hipster cynicism stands in opposition to an authentic cynicism, a hedonistic cosmopolitan rejection of the totality.

English anarchist John Moore described a future envisioned by anarcho-primitivists as open. He wrote, “There’s no blueprint, no proscriptive pattern, although it’s important to stress that the envisioned future is not ‘primitive’ in any stereotypical sense.

“As a corrective to this common misconception it is important to note that the future envisioned by anarcho-primitivism is sui generis—it is without precedent.”

At times it might be possible to imagine a particular future, but to rely on a particular vision seems dangerous. To be too specific in plans excludes possibilities that do not conform to the blueprint.

The world controllers have provided too many disastrous blueprints already. Instead, it may be necessary to cultivate a bit of Nietzschean amor fati, embracing of fate, and go on fighting and struggling.

Jason Rodgers publishes Media Junky and Psionic Plastic Joy from PO Box 10894, Albany, NY 12201.