Exploring the notion that the skilled have run the kingdom, but have never held the throne, I propose that for happiness a throne is unnecessary. Similarly, a happy throne will have no need to understand cultural tools. Knowledge is not a function of power, but of the ingenuity and dexterity of the trades.
I’ve explored the notion that oil usage gave extra-ordinary power to the very few who controlled it and simultaneously removed tools from the multitude of eyes and ears which make up the responsive ingenuity of the trades. That Power (the throne) now holds the tools, which maintain the culture is a unique perversity of post modern times. Don’t forget: it is not advances in technology, which have powered our extra-ordinary consumption, but simply the rapidly-increasing combustion of coal, gas and oil.
I have also explored the idea that cultures are what we do, not what we think we have achieved. That is: cultures are methods, not states. Historically, as cultures have faded into decadence, citizens have come to protect their social positions and to regard cultural methods as the achievements of that state. The denied truth is that the state has been achieved by cultural methods.
So it is in post-modernity: We have messianic visions of esoteric technologies, which the Messiah will “one day soon” provide. Nature will be genetically modified to fit our needs. Base DNA will be transmuted to golden oil. Meanwhile, we can sit in state surrounded by our achievements in a world of “ideas”.
It is a cargo cult. I imagine Post Modernists as Easter Islanders, lining the beach for the benedictions of the tide (new druidic technologies), while behind them the island has been stripped of vegetation and beside them grand statues gaze blindly out to sea. In maintaining its “state” of civilisation, post modernity has frozen time. Having no curiosity, it has no delightful surprises – a state embodied in post-modern art – the worst of which became “Brit Art” – a world of social-climbing, limp ideas, money, fashion designers, ephemeral pop stars, politicians, patriotism and stupidity.
Post modern druids, like post modern “artists”, are discretional rather than professional and esoteric rather than curious. Of course the esoteric (& implausible) doctrine of economic growth from a finite supply would be ridiculous without oil. It is ridiculous anyway, but oil has bolstered the illusion. Ordinary understanding knows that I become rich only if you become poor – in both time and space. I can take riches from the future as well as from my neighbour.
Anyway, unless cultures leave oil where it lies already sequestered, they face chaos. Since oil is the foundation of comfortable ways of life, it has become hard for people to grasp that it will also be the destruction of them. Identities of nations are held in achievements. Off the sporting field, the most recent of those achievements have, for the most part, been powered by coal, gas and oil.
Our current economic system will collapse without oil. Money flow is directly related to energy flow and the energy flow released by oil is massive and irreplaceable. So we must find ways to live with far less energy and so far less money. The state of our debt-created casino is founded on belief – disbelief brings economic collapse. So if we are to descend from the massive powers unleashed by fossil physics to the daunting and limiting truths of real and ordinary physics, then we must truthfully-believe in both the reality of that physics and the hopefulness of the descent. A further stimulus would be to feel the wonder of that physics.
Extra-ordinary fossil physics is ultimately subject to ordinary physics, just as the extra-ordinary casino it supported, will become subject to a base resource and labour value.
A folk movement or a kind of contagious, common understanding is the only way that I can see to descend together rather than crash into fear, blame, hate and despair – a folk movement towards a reclaimed common and a self-determined terrain of milk and honey! – well at least a future for its children.
I propose that it may be possible to leave those narcissistic, post-modern statues gazing at their own futility from so many plinths revealed through so many television screens and to realise that what we do makes the culture – that one by one, we can turn away from the telly, select tools and begin to apply them. We can leave power on its throne, like a statue on a plinth – shedding our dependencies on it, while creating new dependencies on each other. In doing so, we present power with an excellent bargain – a whole civilization in which to rest its pretty head.
It won’t be easy. I’m banking on so many variables, that mine is just a midsummer night’s dream. However, the world to which the powerful are sending us will be far, far harder to bear.
Let the powerful rich become the idle rich – surely an offer they can’t refuse? I can see no way to remove the powerful. Evolution (our current mutation) will always replace them. But we can put them on pedestals, very much on-view, but where they do least harm.
Meanwhile, one by one we can resume the processes of civilisation.
That process can be progressive in that it reclaims a progressively expanding common. One citizen can make a start. Two citizens can germinate an economy.
I cannot tell you how such a folk movement may gather momentum. What’s more, I can see no other way.