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For millennia, human civilization has been flush with a succession of paradigm shifting, big ideas. Modernity's Hegelian world spirit, Nietzschean death of God and Heideggerian Being gave way in postmodernity to Foucault's dispositif, Fukuyama's end of history, Derrida's deconstruction and Deleuze and Guattari's rhizome. And yet, while we all assumed that big ideas would keep flowing hard and fast forever, in the last few years it seems that the wells of inspiration are running dry. There is a dawning realization that truly novel, creative ideas have suddenly stopped coming. Nobody knows why.
The conceptual drought couldn't be happening at a more inopportune moment. Seven billion of us are struggling through the most severe ecological, financial, political and spiritual crisis in our history. This time the catastrophe we face doesn't affect a single nation or region or continent … it is all the more terrifying because it is global and simultaneous. Odds are that if we can't pull ourselves out of this decline then we just might descend into a horrifying thousand year long dark age … an age of scorched earth authoritarian-capitalism, brutalism and mayhem which will make the genocides and holocausts of the previous century feel like foreplay. We've not only run out of ideas; we're running out of time.
Now more than ever we need the creative breakthroughs and outlier brainstorms that can shift the terrain of thought, revealing exits, opening possibilities, potentially saving us all. We need mavericks of indie media who can kill the commercial virus that infects our information flows. We need a brilliant new crop of economics students who can stand up to their professors, topple the neoclassical paradigm and replace it with a new, true cost model. We need potent new ways of dismantling corporate rule and killing corporate personhood. And then there is the biggest challenge of them all: how to spark a social revolution, an insurrection of everyday life that sweeps across the globe just in time to avert the final catastrophe?
It may be that our abandonment of the natural world and wholesale migration into cyberspace has cut our roots and scrambled our neurons beyond repair. We may be in the midst of an irreversible mental breakdown of the human race that parallels the irreversible collapse of our planet's ecosystems. This eco-psycho spiral may do us in. Maybe it is already too late?
But issue #99 of Adbusters is not about despair, it is about hope and revolution and living without dead time … it's about testing the waters and discerning whether we can muster the psychic energy for an almighty turnaround.
for the wild,
Kalle Lasn and Micah White