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Apocalyptic Philosophy

May 28, 2013

Steal this Meme: “Get Apocalyptic: Why Radical is the New Normal” by Robert Jensen, journalism professor at the University of Texas, originally published as “Love and the Apocalypse“, Summer 2013 issue of YES! Magazine:

Life as we know it is almost over. While the dominant culture encourages dysfunctional denial—pop a pill, go shopping, find your bliss—there’s a more sensible approach: Accept the anxiety, embrace the deeper anguish—and then get apocalyptic.


the central illusion of the industrial world’s extractive economy: that we can maintain indefinitely a large-scale human presence on the earth at something like current First-World levels of consumption. The task for those with critical sensibilities is not just to resist oppressive social norms and illegitimate authority, but to speak a simple truth that almost no one wants to acknowledge: The high-energy/high-technology life of affluent societies is a dead end. We can’t predict with precision how resource competition and ecological degradation will play out in the coming decades, but it is ecocidal to treat the planet as nothing more than a mine from which we extract and a landfill into which we dump.

We cannot know for sure what time the party will end, but the party’s over.


The critic Fredric Jameson has written, “It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism,” but that’s only part of the problem—for some, it may be easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of air conditioning. We do live in end-times, of a sort. Not the end of the world—the planet will carry on with or without us—but the end of the human systems that structure our politics, economics, and social life.


Don’t Let the Apocalypse Get You Down The climate crisis is spinning out of control, and the gap between the rich and poor continues grow unabated. It’s time to let the radical uncertainty of this moment enlarge our sense of possibility.

In contrast recall Professor Drezner on the dangers of Apocalyptic Thinking

Consider also Amanda Schneider in HuffPo: “Meaning Is the Antidote to Corporate Zombies“:

We’ve all seen the glassy-eyed, open-mouthed and wildly carnivorous creatures roaming around. No, I’m not referring to extras on The Walking Dead; I’m talking about your co-workers. Despite productivity levels reaching an all-time high, morale is flagging and more and more people are just going through the motions.

Schneider suggests trust and encouragement to empower workers to make their work meaningful. She claims this will prove valuable to the company’s economic bottom line but dodges some of the questions about how exactly meaning is made. It remains a somewhat unanswered philosophical question, on which the latest issue of the magazine “Philosophy Now” may be informative. The current issue focuses on zombies in philosophy and includes editorial overview at “Problems With Zombies” by Tim Madigan

Meanwhile at The Telegraph: “Man with ‘Walking Corpse Syndrome’ believes he is dead” by Ben Bryant. To which we might also refer to Philosophy Now: “What’s So Bad About Being A Zombie?” by Dien Ho.


From → economics, money

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