The Big Ideas of 2012

Post Idea World

Where do we turn when the wells of inspiration run dry?
Selingkuh Tak Sampai - 2004 - Agus Suwage

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

124 comments on the article “Post Idea World”

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In the past the Australian Air Force, first discovered the snow boots Ugly Boots of the wonderful features pink uggs it is the wool inside the outside is very light tanning too soft sheepskin, designed to go to design

greg_2

"A meme is an idea that behaves like a virus--that moves through a population, taking hold in each person it infects." -- Malcolm Gladwell

The "Occupy"/"99%" idea has evolved beyond a meme. Never before has an idea spread so rapidly throughout the entire literate world in just a few months--from a few people, to millions, spread on an infrastructure of wires, satellites, microwaves, run by computers, this idea is now everywhere. This idea is now a "supermeme."

The wired (and wireless) world was ready for this. Could one say even, made for this? Have the wires and computers and social networks evolved into something greater than the sum of its parts? Are the wires becoming intelligent? Some sort of artificial intelligence that has enabled the moaning Earth to whisper to a few: "help me."

Millions of people who have never had a "say" in this world, now do.

"We are the 99%" spread to protesters in every country on Earth in a matter of weeks. And now, after a mere three months, these words no longer need to be explained when written or talked about in the Media -- these words have gone beyond the vernacular and have now become self-evident -- world-wide.

Many Occupy encampments are now gone, and many still remain. Protesters the world over, though, will never forget the idea of the 99%. Non-protesters and anti-protesters too will never forget. It is too late for that.

In the words of Thomas Jefferson:

"That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation."

Now is the time of the 99%.

greg_2

"A meme is an idea that behaves like a virus--that moves through a population, taking hold in each person it infects." -- Malcolm Gladwell

The "Occupy"/"99%" idea has evolved beyond a meme. Never before has an idea spread so rapidly throughout the entire literate world in just a few months--from a few people, to millions, spread on an infrastructure of wires, satellites, microwaves, run by computers, this idea is now everywhere. This idea is now a "supermeme."

The wired (and wireless) world was ready for this. Could one say even, made for this? Have the wires and computers and social networks evolved into something greater than the sum of its parts? Are the wires becoming intelligent? Some sort of artificial intelligence that has enabled the moaning Earth to whisper to a few: "help me."

Millions of people who have never had a "say" in this world, now do.

"We are the 99%" spread to protesters in every country on Earth in a matter of weeks. And now, after a mere three months, these words no longer need to be explained when written or talked about in the Media -- these words have gone beyond the vernacular and have now become self-evident -- world-wide.

Many Occupy encampments are now gone, and many still remain. Protesters the world over, though, will never forget the idea of the 99%. Non-protesters and anti-protesters too will never forget. It is too late for that.

In the words of Thomas Jefferson:

"That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation."

Now is the time of the 99%.

nagle

Kalle Lasn and Micah White have a good point. One of the basic reasons we're in trouble is that nobody knows what to do. We have plenty of productive capacity, the natural resources situation isn't really that bad, yet the standard of living in the developed world is declining. But what do we do about it? Communism didn't work out too well. Free-range capitalism got us into the mess we're in now. Too much government control of the economy and the economy stalls like post-Imperial Britain.

Religion isn't helping. Islam, Judaism and Christianity all now have growing right wing factions which verge on nutcase cults. (They all seem to be anti-education and into oppressing women, too.) And the "Jesus is coming back Real Soon Now" crowd is still making noise. No help there.

Most economists didn't see the current disaster coming. There was Alan Greenspan, saying nothing was wrong as late as 2007. He was the person whose job it was to "take away the punch bowl just as the party gets going". After a screwup like that, he should retire to a monastery and never speak in public again.

Occupy Wall Street is in desperate need of a second act. They've accumulated a group of unhappy people and obtained public attention. But now what? They don't know. Most of their effort is now going into keeping their camps going, which is a pointless exercise without an agenda.

nagle

Kalle Lasn and Micah White have a good point. One of the basic reasons we're in trouble is that nobody knows what to do. We have plenty of productive capacity, the natural resources situation isn't really that bad, yet the standard of living in the developed world is declining. But what do we do about it? Communism didn't work out too well. Free-range capitalism got us into the mess we're in now. Too much government control of the economy and the economy stalls like post-Imperial Britain.

Religion isn't helping. Islam, Judaism and Christianity all now have growing right wing factions which verge on nutcase cults. (They all seem to be anti-education and into oppressing women, too.) And the "Jesus is coming back Real Soon Now" crowd is still making noise. No help there.

Most economists didn't see the current disaster coming. There was Alan Greenspan, saying nothing was wrong as late as 2007. He was the person whose job it was to "take away the punch bowl just as the party gets going". After a screwup like that, he should retire to a monastery and never speak in public again.

Occupy Wall Street is in desperate need of a second act. They've accumulated a group of unhappy people and obtained public attention. But now what? They don't know. Most of their effort is now going into keeping their camps going, which is a pointless exercise without an agenda.

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