Preparing for Utopia


Shenzhen: Technocratic paradise and glimpse into the future

We just went through an election cycle that many called a brutal one. In my opinion the cycles get more impassioned in order to mask the actuality and dawning of a post-political reality. Politics are always tied to a polis, which historical processes outside of our control are hollowing out as we speak.

We are living in Hellenic times, not Athenian. The polis ( in our case, the nation state ) has been plucked from its self-referential comfort and thrown into the uncertainty of a world civilization. Its socio-political pendulum swings now affect peoples everywhere and they have very little elbow room to avoid or undo its effects. Our capitals have become cosmopolises. Not the heart centers of a people, but nodes in the world wide web. Every other city decides to act as an outpost of it, the public relations centers of cosmopolitanism. The oecumene of today is truly globe-spanning. The entire world is mapped. No more terra incognita. We filled in all the blanks. Besides a few Amazonian and Pacific islands tribes, who probably spotted our modern oddities in the skies, most of humanity have their eyes fixed on the screens of the modern era. Unlike the Hellenic world, the modern world Magellanized itself into every pore of the sublunar. Space truly is the final frontier and where our hopes and fears reside.
An anti-globalist surge is mostly a pause, a brief moment in which the affected peoples collect their thoughts and resources. As soon as the uncertainties have been banished… off we go again. Our sakoku’s are shortlived and suicidal in the long run.

And as such, any investment into politics, personal or national, walks a thin and wobbly tread of diminishing returns. As you can guess, I’m not exactly the activist type. I think the playing field has become too vast for any individual, group or nation to affect in any shape or form.  At least…. that seems to be more and more the case as time progresses.
I applaud and salute those who are driven by their moral compass to do so though, as long as they’re not bullying anyone in order to accomplish their more ideal world… which more often than not is the case. Concerning oneself with politics now is like concerning oneself with the rivalries inside the houses of the Seleucids and the Ptolemies. It’s fruitless and dangerous ( cfr. Snowden and Assange ).
As such, every investment into politics is also a source of unhappiness, as Epicurus teaches us, living in an analogous time period. That other important school of Hellenic times, Stoicism, acknowledges the chaos of the world as well. We cause ruin upon ourselves trying to affect it. The world outside of us WILL turn us into a disaffected individual. As such, the only thing we can change is our attitude towards it. Develop an inner serenity, a mindfulness if you like, with the outside world as just a sea of phenomena while you are anchored in a noumenal ocean of bliss.
Only our skin and emotions belong to us. And as such, it’s not a surprise then to not only see the New Age lecture halls, but also the gyms filled with young and adult.

Speaking of Stoicism… This blog was triggered after reading the interview Vice had with what they called the “Totalitarian Buddhist” , a Filipino guy who built a perfectly functioning society in Sims 3000. Using extremely elaborate mathematical models for total planning and sacred geometric urban grids to house the entire population, it is the wet dream of every fascist. A New Jerusalem that evokes terror and wonder.
I was particularly struck by this passage:

Sims don’t need to travel long distances, because their workplace is just within walking distance. In fact they do not even need to leave their own block. Wherever they go it’s like going to the same place.

This is very much how I experienced life in the neighbourhoods in some of the metropolises of Asia, where technocracy already holds much more sway. And as such, there might be something to Slavoj Zizek’s prediction that Asia holds a picture of the future.
Buddho-Fascism might sound oxymoronic, but that is only because most people aren’t familiar with the history of the philosophy and the universal applicability of it, even in the most authoritarian of regimes.

It’s a sweet ironic twist of fate that the emperors of Rome, who supposedly ruled as demi-gods over this world empire, found comfort in a philosophy very much akin to Buddhism, namely Stoicism (f.e. Marcus Aurelius). A philosophy that aimed to provide comfort to the denizens of the world empire.
As if they too were aware all of this was outside of their control. It most certainly was. Natural deaths were a luxury for the ruling class.
Epicureanism on the other hand teaches us to avoid political office, as it most probably brings damage to our minds and bodies, as well as a short life span. Nevertheless, it is the ultimate guide and philosophy of how the the fortress will never extend beyond the body again. Utopia is coming.

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