“We’re living in a society based on illusion and self-delusion…”
There’s a lot to unpack here in a quarter of an hour. It’s more of an essay than a discussion. The background is probably more valuable so if this piques your interest, and it may not, depending on how invested you are in your own sense of security (more than real security).
Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges
This video is just enough to give you an idea of what we’re talking about here. Much of what he’s talking about was published in the above-linked book in 2010. It’s not new but it certainly opens up some explanations of how we ended up where we are in 2020 and we will continue to be here essentially in this crisis after Trump finally vacates the White House, whenever that may end up to be. It’s bigger than him and it’s not even really him. It’s us.
The complicity of those of us who would identify as liberal is as much a discussion as those who would identify as conservative or Right Wing. When we settle down from bouts of shouting and arguments both sides are sitting on their sofas watching the same shows. We go to stores or sign online and buy the same things we don’t need. None of us are particularly active in any real solutions. It’s all going to take a lot more than turning and and voting and cheering for people who promise solutions. It’s going to require deep introspection and reflection. It’s going to require harsh self-evaluation and self-criticism. We need to own our complicity and guilt. Then we need to get over ourselves and change.
The celebrations over the weekend were joyous, for sure. I felt joy for the first time in a long time, but I didn’t feel out of the woods. I didn’t feel safe. I simply felt that we had won a huge battle but didn’t really gain any ground. We just survived it. That’s not the same as winning the war. It was one of the many obstacles that we had to overcome to get on the path to hopefulness.
So, a good start here with this short video. Hedges mentions in it that when you critique your own side and suggest that the sense of hope is illusory, people argue that you’re just a negative person. That you’re a pessimist… It’s the easiest way to dismiss having to do work. When they call you a pessimist it’s the equivalent of telling someone who says that winter is coming that buying a warm coat is pessimistic and negative.
As I said, a lot to unpack in a 15 minute video, but it’s a good start. I feel somewhat validated and that is really because I have begun the work. What stage of wakefulness (or woke) I’m in remains to be seen but it’s under way.