Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thrown to the Wolves

The state, as the last spectacular locus of the world of simulation, will be forced to practise social triage, letting go of real control over zones which fall beneath the level of adequate involvement in the empty discourse. Zones: classes, races, marginalized groups, and to some extent actual geographic areas. Triage: gradual and imperceptible letting-go of "services", leading to the emergence of no-go zones where "control" is reduced to purely simulated means (e.g. TV as social glue). Zones which have been economically abandoned (the homeless, small farmers, migrant workers, "welfare classes") will gradually be eliminated from all other networks controlled by the spectacle of the state, including the final interface, the Police. Officially of course this policy will not exist and the specto-state will continue to claim jurisdiction and proprietorship of these zones -- no political autonomy will be permitted, and occasional terror acts will be broadcast in the spectacle to provide a veneer of control-simulation. But in stark economic reality these zones will have been sacrificed, like passengers thrown out of the troika of History to the wolves of Memory...

Just as we need now to re-imagine the "Economy of the Gift", so also we need to re-invent (or even to fabricate) a "spirituality of freedom" relevant to our future as inhabitants of the NGZs -- a spirituality of "everyday life" in the situ sense of the word.

I'm thinking of certain old European genre paintings which always fascinated me as a child, depicting peasants or gypsies living in the ruins of some vanished empire -- usually Roman. The images appealed to a Bachelardian sense of reverie and magic about certain kinds of "home", certain kinds of "space". I like the sense of abandonment implied in the paradox of abandoned ruins brought to life by "abandoned" bohemians, low-lifes, Breughelian fiddlers and dancers -- the contrast of the heavy remains of vanished triumphalism with the lightness and brightness of nomads. I may very well be romanticizing the NGZ as a possible utopian topos or site -- but then again, I might be inclined to defend the occasional usefulness of romanticism: -- it beats despair. The NGZ is on the way, whether we dread it or romanticize it.

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