Any person who has ever built any complicated structure, idea or work of art will know the feeling: you love pure, clean, uncomplicated logic.
When a building flows together with the fewest lines possible, or an idea stitches together a handful of concepts that lead from one to the other without glitching, or even a book reads as naturally as a lover’s confession, you know you have reached that uncomplicated clean logic.
In the wake of Anders Behring Breivik shooting up Norway, and the recent rise of far-right parties across Europe, people are re-assessing their beliefs. They are looking for an uncomplicated view to express to others.
This view should not be reactionary; it should keep the best of our current time and also fix its problems. It should not attempt to resurrect the past with its problems, but to take from the past what is good. In other words, it’s right now 2.0, not pre-now 1.0.
Let me sketch it for you:
Deep ecology. Laws and green-branded products don’t avoid ecocide; making reverence for the environment a part of our culture does. Culture is flexible where laws are limited. Culture endures. Culture is participated in without resentment. We will never fix our environmental problem until we have a culture that loves nature more than the latest gadget and having another 20 people on the block. Until our culture wraps itself around environmental protection and nurturing, we will always see ourselves at odds with nature because its needs conflict with our profit motive, which right now is our stand-in for culture.
Nationalism. Without a central identity and heritage to unite a culture, we’re left in the land of political dogma and academic theory. Those do not unite a civilization, as the Soviet Union found out. Instead, we need something at a level lower than that of words or symbols; we need our blood, our family ties, our kinship and our hereditary, historical values. These alone can provide the basis for the kind of culture we need to be deep ecologist in nature.
Human biological diversity. Any future philosophy is going to begin with understanding that we are not equal; in fact, our biology defines us to a greater degree than our conscious choices, because our “concious” choices are influenced heavily by biology. We don’t like to admit this, because biology is outside of our control; it is not a gesture of our personalities. But the sooner we admit our differences, and put the people who are good brain surgeons into the brain surgeon role, and pick the fair-minded, noble, deeply intelligent and perceptive into positions of power, the happier everyone will be.
Disconformity. The bonus of admitting that we are all different is to admit that we have different paths through life, and they cannot be compared in a “universal” or “objective” sense the way paychecks can (or obedience to the state dogma of morality can). This future is not non-conformist, because non-conformity relies upon conformity as its anti-template; instead, this future will have no expectation of uniformity, utilitarian equality and universal methods of finding ourselves, like equality, salaries and popularity. This future world will accept that our path is ours alone to carry and that social attention, while it seems to make the situation better, is in fact a wrong turn.
Beauty and grace. When we come through the cataclysm of watching modernity run down into a dysfunctional wasteland, we will come back at our problems with higher standards. Specifically, “most people weren’t offended by it” will no longer count as good enough. Nor will quantity without quality. People are going to want to live in beautiful cities without ghettoes, without advertising scribbled across every open surface, and without the oppressive atmosphere of rodents scrabbling for a few peanuts. When people turn their focus to this, the result will be authoritarian at first but then like clouds parting over a clearing, the inherent wisdom of beauty will appear. Architecture, art, city designs and products must not only be functional, they must have a grace that imparts joy to living, and a beauty that centers us and makes us think of a positive future.
Right now, most people will call you a crazy dreamer if you say these things, but most people parrot what’s on their TV, or their friends parroting what’s on their TVs, or even state dogma, or the kind of lowest common denominator negativity that passes for detached wisdom in these confused times.
This future is uncomplicated. The present design of our civilization has endless footnotes, irregularities, taped-over loose wires and doors that go nowhere. It’s an ad hoc hack based on the culmination of what is left over after most things have failed, which means it is clearly the average in a negative sense, meaning unexceptional and utilitarian.
An uncomplicated future, on the other hand, has a few clear principles and those guide us seamlessly in both detail and bigger picture. From those few seeds, we can generate the rest of the patterns of behavior, just by applying those abstractions to the local level. The confusion and doubt of a commercial time will fade into memory.
Very few modern people will address what it means to say that history is cyclic. They imagining we are denying the linearity of time; instead what we are saying is that there are time-proven ways of not just surviving, but living well, and that after the confusion, we return again to those times of uncomplicated grace.