Conversation: The Four Kinds Of Dystopia – Which One Is Yours?, by Darren Allen

Source: Zero Hedge

The twentieth century saw four basic visions of hell on earth, or dystopia.

These were:

Orwellian. Rule by autocratic totalitarian people, party or elite group, limitation of choice, repression of speech and repression of minorities, belief in order, routine and rational-morality. Control by enclosure, fear and explicit violence. Violent repression of dissent (via ‘the party line’). Erotic physicality and sexual freedom suppressed via control of sexual impulses. Control of thought by explicitly policing language (Orwellian Newspeak).


Huxleyan 
Rule by democratic totalitarian systems, excess of choice, limitation of access to speech platforms, assimilation of minorities, belief in emotional-morality, ‘imagination’ and flexibility, and control by desire, debt and implicit threat of violence. No overt control of dissent (system selects for system-friendly voices). Erotic physicality and sexual freedom suppressed via promotion of pornographic sensuality and dissolution. Control of thought by implicitly enclosing language within professional boundaries (Illichian Newspeak, or Uniquack).

Kafkaesque Rule by bureaucracy. Control of populace via putting them into writing, forcing people to spend free time on bureaucratic tasks, thereby inducing tractable stress and the schizoid, self-regulating self-consciousness (anxiety about low marks, unlikes, official judgements and the like) that bureaucratic surveillance engenders. Generation of a system which structurally rewards those who seek an indirect relationship with their fellows or who, through fear of life, seek to control it through the flow of paperwork.

Phildickian Rule by replacing reality with an abstract, ersatz virtual image of it. This technique of social control began with literacy – and the creation of written symbols, which devalued soft conscious sensuous inspiration, fostered a private (reader-text) interaction with society, created the illusion that language is a thing, that meaning can be stored, owned and perfectly duplicated, that elite-language is standard and so on – and ended with virtuality – the conversion of classrooms, offices, prisons, shops and similar social spaces into ‘immersive’ on-line holodecks which control and reward participants through permanent, perfect surveillance, the stimulation of positive and negative emotion, offers of godlike powers, and threats to nonconformists of either narco-withdrawal or banishment to an off-line reality now so degraded by the demands of manufacturing an entire artificial universe, that only hellish production-facilities, shoddy living-units and prisons can materially function there.

The reader can decide for herself under which of above we currently struggle to eke out a life worth living. I would like to suggest that all modern societies are both Kafkaesque and Phildickian with either a Huxleyan or Orwellian overarching framework; modern, western, capitalist societies tend to be basically Huxleyan (HKP) and pre-modern, eastern, communist countries tend to be basically Orwellian (OKP).

The reason why ideological managers (academics, film directors, journalists, etc) prefer to have two (or more) dystopian systems is that it makes us seem like the goodies and them the baddies. Communism is to blame for their foodbanks and breadlines, but capitalism has nothing to do with ours (or vice versa). Sure our masses have the same miserable lives as theirs, reel under the same bureaucratic insanity, stumble around the same shoddy unreal worlds, and witness the same catastrophic destruction of nature and beauty as theirs do, but at least we’ve got democracy! / at least our families stick together! / at least the trains run on time! / at least GTA 9 is coming out soon / at least the Olympics will cheer us up (delete as appropriate).

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Conversation: “AURORA”, An Interview with Author Andre Vltchek

 

“AURORA”

Interview by Italian magazine Antidiplomatico with the author, Andre Vltchek

Q: Please tell us about your recently published book, “Aurora”.

A: Aurora is my latest novel. It is short, but emotionally charged and ‘outrageous’. It breaks many taboos, especially those regarding Western, particularly European culture. You know, so many people have this fetish about European culture being refined and superior to other cultures of the world. I actually don’t think it is, after living in Asia and Latin America for many years… But anyway, in my “Aurora” I also show how this – Western – culture can indoctrinate, brainwash, and destroy.

Q: Only the culture itself, or also the European cultural institutions?

A: Precisely, both! The two main protagonists of “Aurora” are: the German-speaking head of a huge European cultural institution, which is based in an unidentified Southeast Asian country (although many would guess that it is Indonesia), and his antagonist: a lady, a great local artist who literally escaped from her country to Venezuela and there married a revolutionary painter and a muralist. Her name is Aurora.

Hans G is not only the head of a cultural institute; he is also an intelligence officer, as well as a propagandist who uses ‘art’ and the funding of local artists for clear political motives: to depoliticize the country where he is based, to keep it obedient, ignorant, and passive.

Q: Aurora confronts him. How?

A: She does. She sees clearly what Hans G. (and his ‘culture’) is doing to her country. She challenges him. She humiliates him publicly… I don’t want to reveal the entire plot of my novel here… But for Aurora, the main reason for returning to her country is to find out the truth about her sister, who used to be another prominent progressive artist, but who was kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered, mainly by those who were there to ‘promote’ that great European culture!

Q: There are Mozart, Brecht and others appearing throughout your book…

A: In the past, but also during these days, some of the greatest European musicians, writers and painters were actually thoroughly destroyed and prostituted by the elites and by the Church. They were forced to produce technically brilliant but content-wise pathetic and toothless kitsch. Mozart and Brecht, sitting in a bar in an ancient Chilean city of Valparaiso, are discussing the past, the art, although they are mainly remembering that important encounter of Hans G with Aurora, which Mozart actually witnessed, as a ghost. In a way, both Mozart and Brecht are co-narrating “Aurora”.

Frankly, “Aurora” is easy to read, but structurally it is a multi-layered novel, short but conceptually complex.

Q: It is also full of dark humor. How difficult is it to address such serious topics while still making your readers laugh?

A: For me, humor is always essential. I use it in all my writing, in fiction, non-fiction and in the theatre plays. People don’t only want to be ‘educated’ and reminded about the pitiful state of the world: when they read a book, especially a novel, they want to feel, to laugh, to cry, to be alive.

I think that any good fiction can really revolutionize the world; it can also show the reality, much more so than fact-based non-fiction works. That’s why the Western regime makes sure to neutralize, to depoliticize literature, poetry and cinema – because that’s where the inspiration, rebellion, and courage really have their homes. The regime doesn’t bother to censure most of the non-fiction work: because most of the dry and fact-based work would never truly manage to move a critical mass of people, it wouldn’t send millions to the barricades. Only true art can: novels, poetry, and great music. Western art is now hibernating. We have to wake it up, and do it very quickly!

Q: Do you have any plans to publish Aurora in Italy or in other languages besides English?

A: No concrete plans as yet, Aurora was only very recently published in English. But of course I’d love to have it in various languages. If publishers out there would really dare to touch such dynamite, then really why not?!

*

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are revolutionary novel “Aurora” and two bestselling works of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and  Fighting Against Western Imperialism. View his other books here. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Al-Mayadeen. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo. After having lived in Latin America, Africa and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.

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Age of Anger, by Pepe Escobar

source: Asia Times

Every once in a (long) while a book comes out that rips the zeitgeist, shining on like a crazy diamond. Age of Anger, by Pankaj Mishra, author of the also-seminal From the Ruins of Empire, might as well be the latest avatar.

Think of this book as the ultimate (conceptual) lethal weapon in the hearts and minds of a rootless cosmopolitan Teenage Wasteland striving to find its true call as we slouch through the longest – the Pentagon would say infinite – of world wars; a global civil war (which in my 2007 book Globalistan I called “Liquid War”).

Mishra, a sterling product of East-meets-West, essentially argues it’s impossible to understand the present if we don’t acknowledge the subterranean homesick blues contradicting the ideal of cosmopolitan liberalism — the “universal commercial society of self-interested rational individuals” first conceptualized by the Enlightenment via Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Voltaire and Kant.

History’s winner ended up being a sanitized narrative of benevolent Enlightenment. The tradition of rationalism, humanism, universalism and liberal democracy was supposed to have always been the norm. It was “clearly too disconcerting,” Mishra writes, “to acknowledge that totalitarian politics crystallized the ideological currents (scientific racism, jingoistic rationalism, imperalism, technicism, aestheticized politics, utopianism, social engineering)” already convulsing Europe in the late 19th century.

So, evoking T.S. Eliot, to frame “the backward half-look, over the shoulder, towards the primitive terror” that eventually led to The West versus The Rest, we’ve got to look at the precursors.

Smash the Crystal Palace

Enter Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin – “the first of many ‘superflous man’ in Russian fiction,” with his Bolivar hat, clutching a statue of Napoleon and a portrait of Byron, as Russia, trying to catch up with the West, “mass-produced spiritually unmoored youth with a quasi-Byronic conception of freedom, further inflated by German Romanticism.” The best Enlightenment critics had to be Germans and Russians, latecomers to politico-economic modernity.

Two years before publishing the astonishing Notes from the Underground, Dostoyevsky, in his tour of Western Europe, was already seeing a society dominated by the war of all against all in which most were condemned to be losers.

Dostoevsky: Society dominated by the war of all against all in which most were condemned to be losers.

In London, in 1862, at the International Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, Dostoyevsky had an illumination (“You become aware of a colossal idea … that here there is victory and triumph. You even begin vaguely to fear something.”) Amid the stupor, Dostoyevsky was also cunning enough to observe how materialist civilization was enhanced as much by its glamor as by military and maritime domination.

Continue reading Age of Anger, by Pepe Escobar

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