ESR 5 Blog September 2021: Claude Nassar

Existence Will Resume After this Ad

The following reflections are incomplete heterogeneous but interconnected segments of thought. Like a fast spoken radio ad, they stop as soon as they begin, leaving you with a frail mental impression that lingers for a moment after which your life continues as if nothing was said. The meaninglessness of human existence in relation to the earth it mutated from and the universe in which it floats, gives us the impression that we have to pay a price to exist. The insignificance and fragility of ‘civilisation’ in comparison with the world around it makes for a fertile ground in which a transcendental higher power can sprout. Some civilisations thought the price to exist could be repaid through human sacrifice to appease their creators, but the civilisations that persisted learned to produce its own gods, or at least managers of the gods’ desires. Managers that associate this existential debt with production, employing fundamental human obsessions in service of propagating the manager’s power and the fragile civilisation that sustains them. The more a civilisation can manage desires—artificially produce lack which allows the suppression of some desires, the divergence and the reinforcement of others, in order to employ the resulting embodied tensions into expansive production—the more likely this civilisation could survive, expand, and subjugate others. This line of development finally gave rise to a social, political, and economic, structure that appropriated this principle from competing religions into a system, globalised through violence, where difference is ordered ‘productively’.

The channelling of this existential debt in the late-capitalist world happens through two interrelated categories of development: communication and transportation. From one side there is the promise of evermore efficient communication that defies time, and from the other evermore efficient transportation that conquers space. At the edge of these interests, from these ambitions we can observe the grounds on which capitalism continues to occupy the position of the only legitimate system of reality. There’s the drive to reach the depth of the universe to colonise its resources, and there’s the drive to create a world tailored to each individual, where each individual creates their own world and curates its elements in exchange for just a few bucks to remove the ads.

These two domains of development fulfil the same function: the legitimisation of the continuation of capitalist development; to have a common purpose for the sake of having a purpose. To justify the supremacy of the few over the mass and to justify massing in itself—the simultaneous clustering of individuals and the fragmentation of multiplicities—in order to produce saviours to each mass, and production itself the saviour of all the masses. A goal that produces a world where the leaders of production are the leaders of civilisation, and the saviours of each social fragment the leaders of society.

If the goal is not to solve the problems of the world with more production in order to be able to continue the enrichment of the few, if the goal is not to produce more, to expand the horizon of humanity only to be able to produce even more, if the goal is not production for the sake of production, and the goal of production itself is to enrich the rich, then wouldn’t the solution be the halt of the compulsive competitive production that only maintains the comfort of the few who so desperately want to save us?

Capitalism, its protagonists, and its authors, call this Sisyphic pursuit productivity, and title the unfinished book development. Production in the direction of an unattainable goal in the future; development because the now can never live up to what it excludes; the better future. Until then you have to work, to make things bigger, faster, more efficient, so we can make even bigger, faster, more efficient things. The longer the intensification the more intense the climax; the longer the wait, the riper the fruit. The more time you spend complying with a system that thrives on the breakdown of your body, the saner your sanity, the more human your humanity, the more rightful your rights and the more legitimate your existence. Our saviours, the people and systems whose labour is the management of our labour, glide on top of our disintegrating bodies, dangle a utopian carrot in front of us, tell us to keep working because once we get to the carrot, when the climax is reached, when the fruit is ripe enough, no one will have to suffer; even you. Now, back to work.

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