We’re sitting in Avi’s new house out in the middle of the woods. We’ve driven there. We’re talking about how destructive the automobile has been to the creation of a functional society. Avi says: “y’know this is a sort of fucked up way to say this.” Avi and I grew up together, but we also grew apart together. He’s building a house in the woods with a beer in his hand while I keep shivering and saying “y’know I can help if there is something that I won’t fuck up too much” knowing full well that there is nothing. I like to analyze pop music videos, and Avi likes to use chainsaws. I say things like “this might be a problematic analogy,” he says “this is a sorta fucked up way to say this.” He’s better than me in every way, essentially. He continues: “when slavery existed – it was impossible to imagine an economy without it. People were like: we can’t do it – we can’t live without this industry. And we got rid of it. Cus it was fucked up. We can do that with cars.” I like Avi. I agree completely. I fucking love trains. I’m on a bus while I write this. And busses are not cars. I keep thinking about how if I had more money people would expect me to have a car to go back and forth between Maine and New York, but I wouldn’t. I would be on the bus. Not simply because I’m a guilty self-hating-privileged Marxist dude who loathes the societal pedestal that he’s been given above his brethren. Also because I like being on a bus. There are people sleeping and crying and reading, and being flawed all around me.
This is the big difference between me and Avi. He’s building a house so that he has a get away from the small town that we’re from to get to an even more rural place to have chickens and a garden and a natural well and life away from the destruction of man. I’m building a community of people in the epicenter of the destruction of man, but my people will be ones that know how to build a garden and a schedule and a communication structure.
Because I’m secretly competitive (especially when it comes to extending analogies), I started to think about what other times in human life everything changed about our perceptions of the defaults. I’ve read as much Nietzsche as you, which is to say that if you’ve read none, don’t worry neither have I. If you’ve read a bunch of his work: you think you’re better than me? I’ve heard some people talk about him and I listened to a podcast analyzing his influence and I bet I can speak just as intelligently as you about him. And I think the real reason is because a philosopher is like an airport designer – if they do their job correctly, nobody will notice. Nietzsche said “God is dead” and really he was proclaiming joyously that we had a whole new world available to us released from the tyranny of God.
And we have been living in a godless world for about two hundred years. Really, we’ve been on this path since the agricultural revolution, but definitely since the scientific and industrial, and now the technological revolution is like the final injection that puts the OD in god. <– I’m way too proud of that joke.
I don’t mean God like church or mosque or temple or prayer or chant or meditation or faith. That shit won’t die. Routine and tradition are not dead, and I hope never are. I mean God like human sacrifice or ripping out my own heart or running into the woods to yell at the sky or virgin murder or dig holes or write mythology. That’s dead. And Nietzsche was right (probably. once again: I’ve never read anything he’s written). God was dead because we were empowered to take control of our own narrative as humans. And I think this is just the transition into adulthood. Mostly because I’m dealing with that, so the analogy makes sense to me. When we started growing corn instead of picking berries we were moving out, telling God that we could handle ourselves and we’ve spent the last 1000 years trying to convince God that we could live on our own without their help. And God keeps trying to be in charge of our cell phone bill or pay for dinner so that they can still feel like they are needed, but then we release naked pictures of other people onto a device that projects that image into everybody’s home – and God feels powerless. God couldn’t do that, back in God’s day a lake was impressive, now we can kill cells with lasers and barely any of us know what cells or lasers are. We don’t need to freak out in the desert screaming about sickness and witches. We’ve figured out how to live, and we don’t need God any more. We’re starting our own society now and God can come visit, but they don’t get a say in how we run it. Plus God’s just getting more senile by the minute.
But because I’m secretly competitive (especially with insane declarations of a succinct but reductionist nature), I wanted to say something else was dead that was more present tense – something that we don’t think we can live without. If Slavery is to Cars, “God is Dead” is to ________?
The individual is dead. This statement may feel ludacris given that selfie is making its way into the dictionary, but I claim that the ease at which we are able to project our selfs out into the world is actually undermining the power of the individual. We are continually getting lost in the everybody. The author is unimportant – whether hidden behind a username or simply by the fact that the statement has been retweeted, shared, reported from another website that reported it from another website. The author is unimportant – the statement is important. Nietzsche is not Frederich Nietzsche. He’s the “God is dead” guy.
And I believe this to be honest. We are all just miners in the thought mines – searching for the pieces of thought that push society to a place that society wasn’t. And while we still desperately hold onto authorship that is simply because we have delusional and nostalgic view of the prosperity and financial security that comes with it.
The economy is approaching the asymptote where the creator of ideas aren’t credited, opting instead to credit those who ask for the credit loudest. The amount of money people have no longer represents anything besides how much money people have. So as this house of flimsy cards called coinage falls apart we embark on a new world where the individual … is dead.
I need to take a break. Because I’m talking about money, and … ugh.
Just like the statement God is dead doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t believe in God but rather that we should believe in God because it’s not as scary any more, “The Individual is Dead” is a call to arms asking everybody to proclaim themselves and their individuality because it no longer is problematic. All of our individualities just become a voice in the increasingly democratic plethora of voices that make up the zeitgeist. We are the zeitgeist. Each of us is society.
So because we can all tell our stories, we should. And because we can all document our stories, we should. And because we can all hear each others’ stories, we should. And soon society will shift in this tectonic way where we break apart from the pangea of humanity. Or maybe we form the pangea of humanity. I’m not really sure how this analogy works or what the future holds.
I’m not sure what any of this means. Like, literally the words. I don’t think they make sense. Especially the “pangea of humanity” part. That was weird. Sometimes I think words are my chainsaws – tools to show off that help me build shelter to hide from the rest of the world.