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The Brave New Merry-go-round



Reading a short comment by Jon Katz in Slashdot I couldn't but take a pencil (I still use it sometimes for writing) and sketch my own version of of doomsday prophecy. Maybe because I feel so awkward in this brave new world that has suddenly arrived here to Eastern Europe. In this B. N. W. I am like a dinosaur with my Oxford English, learnt from the BBC, somebody come from the USSR, a big contry ruled by half-fossilized Jurassic bureaucrats (nasty creatures, but probably a little more humane than the modernizing Indonesian technocrats). Recently converted to Linux by my son who discovered it already four years ago, a reason to be proud of him.
Instead of old bureaucrats, we now have young cybercrats. Yes, they have no time, they exchange it all into money. To think, one needs time, money isn't enough. But does one need to think? Is thinking also become an obsolete hobby, a survival of times past as growing your own potatoes (what I still do) or milking a cow (I hope I can do it). Thinking with your own head is similar to subsistence economy, and that is considered something definitely bad, a way of life doomed to disappear with globalization. Nowadays we have a huge supermarket of ready-made ideas, thoughts, beliefs, theories, philosophies, religions. Why then should one bother to invent his/her own? Why really? Isn't it better to surf in the net, or if you still prefer books, surf in a big university library? What is the difference with a thought you arrived at and formulated yourself and a thought you found in a book or on a web page? I think there is a difference, and maybe because of that I feel myself even more lost in the brave modern world.

Once I discovered there are four types of societies. People can have:
a. plenty of time, little money.
b. plenty of money, little time.
c. plenty of time, plenty of money.
d. little time, little money.
Now the ex-Jurassic, ex-Communist world is moving from a. to b., at least it hopes it is doing just that. But in any case the way to b. goes through d., it's our present state of affairs. As to c., it is probably what they have in Saudi Arabia ...
In a book I read in my childhood there was a description of a marketplace attraction, a carousel that is simply a big polished horizontal wheel. People climb on it, then it is put to turn faster and faster, until the last brave person is thrown from it. I think our Brave New World is like that. It is throwing us away. Sooner or later we will be out of the game, all of us.
What they call capitalism is becoming a totalitarian system like the one they called socialism. It will be a global system with a cyborg face. What should and could those of us who don't like it, do? Revolution, terrorism, appeals to reason, poetry and philosophy seem to offer little help, maybe some consolation. Maybe the only thing to do is simply to look and wait until the carousel, the merry-go-round destroys itself, unfortunately with a big part of our beautiful world. Let's hope somebody will survive and find a more easy-going and less time-consuming way of life.
I feel more and more sympathy for traditional religions (that are also ways of life) like some forms of judaism or some tribal religions. Probably what we humans need is a system of taboos or mitzvoth. Most simple taboos/rules seem irrational or just funny, but as a system they are rational. They don't let us loose, don't let us to run amok. There is a fairy tale about a man who was able to run as fast as wind. He had to chain an iron ball to his feet not to run away. From himself, from other people. After all, thinking with your own head also puts brakes on the efficiency of your thinking. Maybe it's just something we need nowadays.

 

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