I’ve been mulling over a follow-up post to my last post here, but it has been difficult to try to pull everything into one concise package. So I’m thinking what I’ll do is break out into a mini-series, sketch out some notes and what I’ve been contemplating recently and having conversations with people about.
Also, I don’t want people to think I’m being excessively angsty or come off as a doomer, because I’m not (really, I swear), and we need to move past this.
Cynicism is Obedience
Giving in to burnout is to lose. The forces in this world don’t want things to change. This isn’t a conspiracy theory, and I’m not pointing fingers at greedy, rich corporate toolbags (but, hey, since we’re on the topic: fuck those guys). Those guys are useful targets for the daily Two Minutes Hate sessions but what we’re really up against is a vicious system that empowers and fuels people like that. Corporate asshats are a symptom of that disease, not the cause of it. They’re the phlegm you hock up when you have a chest cold, not the chest cold itself.
What I’m casting as adversary in this narrative is the collective intelligence and emergent intention of the entire world system. The gargantuan momentum of society that keeps everything going the way it is. This is why we need to question everything and fight everything, but this is also why we cannot give in to despair and angst and allow our energy and passion to be diffused. This leviathan wants us to be cynical. It wants us to feel defeated. It doesn’t mind our hate and disgust, as long as we’re too overwhelmed and too over everything to actually do something about it.
In a weird way, then, maintaining emotional balance and even cheerfulness becomes a revolutionary practice. Radical faith.