Globalisation. “A rising tide lifts all boats.” It was always a lie — a propagandistic slogan only — from the outset, for even its proponents described it in terms of “creative destruction”. There would be “winners” and “losers”. But in public, they overplayed the “creative” and downplayed the “destruction” bit, and they did so in the context of an “age of diminishing expectations” as Christopher Lasch called the period.
“Neo-liberal globalisation” isn’t, actually, the most accurate term for this process. “Globalised neo-liberalism” is the more accurate term. “Globalisation” is actually the creative aspect of this process. Neo-liberalism is the destructive aspect. But these two processes — one creative and integrative, one destructive and nihilistic — have become conflated as the meaning of “globalism” itself.
Imagine, if you will (as if, these days, you need to imagine it at all) that you wake up one morning and find yourself propelled into a Franz Kafka novel, or into a painting by Salvador Dali or a mind-bending M.C. Escher print. What you would most likely experience is a state of aporia where nothing makes sense. Aporia might be translated as “puzzlement” or bewilderment, but perhaps “stupefaction” is the most accurate translation of the meaning of aporia.
While we are on the topic of “the collective representations” (that is, images) and how this plays out in relation to Howard Bloom’s “Global Brain” theme, I’ld like to revisit an earlier posting (pre-Trump) on that and build upon it further. That posting was called “The Image and the Spirit of Place” and addressed some of the missing information that always attends the image as a “genuine imitation” reality. Images are abstractions from the real, and often only have a tenuous relation to the reality which they supposedly mirror or represent. The Anthropocene. as the “built-environment”, is, amongst other things, a vast ecosystem (or technosystem) of images and image complexes, or “collective representations”. So, in a sense, we live inside this collective hallucination of the “Global Brain” within a system of mental abstractions called “the images” or the “representations”, which is a kind of schizophrenia.
… and a cast of millions.
I just wanted to briefly follow up on the last post on the Global Brain with a comment about Trump’s “style” — and megalomania – in terms of his seeing himself as the actor and director and star of his own movie or reality TV show. That was clearly evident in his referring to his cabinet appointments as “central casting”, and how he views himself as a star and “celebrity” that affords him certain exceptional entitlements, not least of which is “grabbing pussy”.
This is, I think, very much involved in the meaning of the term “hypernormalisation” and Rolf Jensen’s notions of “The Dream Society” as also “New Normal”.
Harold Bloom is the author of a book, published in 2000, called The Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century. It’s been some years since I first read it (and even then I notice that I bookmarked it only half-way through), so I will have to take it up again in light of Iain McGilchrist’s insights into neurodynamics in his book The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World. Bloom doesn’t use the term “Anthropocene” in connection with the Global Brain, but for all intents and purposes, that’s what the Anthropocene really is — the built-environment, the “genuine imitation”.
It’s here in terms the “Anthropocene” and “Global Brain” that a number of critical threads converge, which we will explore in today’s post.
If there be any lingering skepticism about our fundamental thesis — that the modern mind, intellect, or “mental-rational consciousness structure” (Jean Gebser) is presently in the throes of its own disintegration, fracturing, and decoherence — and if the abundance of compelling evidence for this examined in this blog, and evident in current events, still fails to convince that the personality and character structure of “modern man” is disintegrating or losing integrity, consider what is happening to the meaning of “politics”.
It is not alone the decay of the university into the “multiversity” of overspecialisation that reflects the decay of the unity of knowledge (and thus of the consciousness structure of Late Modern Man), or “the post-modern condition” we now refer to as “the New Normal” of “post-rational, post-truth society”. The commonplace assumption, today, that politics is “war by other means” — a gladitorial contest, a bloodsport such as assumed by Mr. Bannon and his circle — belongs also to the decay and degeneracy of the consciousness structure we refer to as “modernity”. Politics as war is just another aberrant symptom of the disease of post-truth society. It’s here, in this equation of politics with warfare, where the proverb “live by the sword, perish by the sword” finds its proper interpretation and meaning.
While I was reading a profile of Paul Nuttall, Ukip’s controversial political leader in the UK, in today’s Guardian, I recognised in his profile the classic “trickster” archetype. (Actually, it could be a profile of almost any one of our current political (mis)leaders. It’s a type that is presently quite pronounced and hyper-active). Nuttall’s apparent penchant for self-aggrandising, but untruthful and counter-factual, autobiographical details (– in today’s idiom, for polishing up the “Me Brand”–) has become, rather, part of the “New Normal” of the Great Con — burnishing the public image for mass consumption.
That brought to mind the North American indigenous figure of Trickster — Nanabozho (or Nanabush) amongst the Ojibwe of Eastern Canada or, as he is known in these parts, Wisakedjak amongst the Plain’s Cree or Inktomne (or Iktomi) amongst the Sioux (and whether the name “Bozo” the Clown is derived from Nanabozho is, perhaps, an open question. Also, one of the classic counterparts to the trickster figure in European lore is Baron Munchhausen.)