luka

Well-known member
Staff member
This is one of the things Ballard got right. We are all aware our feet have never touched the ground. We are desperate for disaster. We are hungry for The Real. We are not content with global warming, we have to accelerate it. There is no way out of this logiv. We all know our secret desires. We want to turn the world upside down. The protagonist in any Ballard novel only comes alive once the worst has happened. We want it. We need it. The vultures waiting on the street lights and telephone wires.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
I've noticed this sentiment in the Brexit debate. There's a morbid curiosity about just how bad it can possibly get and a sense of excitement over the increasingly ominous headlines.
 

droid

Beast of Burden
Bullshit. The human nature narrative is bollocks. Our current situation is the consequence of the victory of a deeply toxic and violent ideology, which has been dominant for half a millennium but now senses its time has passed and is unleashing its most grotesque avatars in an attempt to wring the last drop of life from the planet.

Were trapped in a machine and the machine is bleeding to death, and yet still, hundreds of millions, nay billions of people live flawed lives marked by compassion, sensitivity and cooperation.
 

vimothy

yurp
I don't think the hidden desire for catastrophe is the cause of global warming or anything like that, obviously the causes are more complex, but anyway there's a heideggerian aspect to ballard: disaster brings us closer to death -> disaster brings us closer to reality -> disaster brings us closer to the possibility of genuinely living.
 

yyaldrin

in je ogen waait de wind
yeh, i'm on on droid's side with this one. although i find it an interesting hypothesis.

i read this passage from crime and punishment before going to bed yesterday:

Her cough choked her—but her reproaches were not without result. They evidently stood in some awe of Katerina Ivanovna. The lodgers, one after another, squeezed back into the doorway with that strange inner feeling of satisfaction which may be observed in the presence of a sudden accident, even in those nearest and dearest to the victim, from which no living man is exempt, even in spite of the sincerest sympathy and compassion.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I think there is a powerful primal urge to destroy things when they get too messed up and complicated. So that it might not even be that we don't feel "really alive" or whatever, but that we feel swamped and occluded by all this complexity and moral ambiguity.

Not sure I'd extrapolate this to global warming. Maybe there's a sense of impotence in the face of gigantic (to us) invisible agents of destruction that finds an outlet in fatalism or cynicism or excitement.

And like version points out that Dostoevsky points out, disaster (so long as it doesn't involve us directly - and perhaps its hard for many of us to believe global warming exists FOR US) is exciting. Certainly more exciting than the banal routine of our daily lives.

Is there even an anticapitalist strain of thinking in favour of global warming, as a means to destroying capitalism?
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I find this an interesting subject psychologically, the way we are tormented by self-consciousness, how we are happiest (arguably) in self forgetting.

Beneath it all, the desire for oblivion runs:
Despite the artful tensions of the calendar,
The life insurance, the tabled fertility rites,
The costly aversion of the eyes away from death –
Beneath it all, the desire for oblivion runs.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
ideology -- and the dominance of particular ideologies -- has no relationship to human nature?
Lol. And apart frim that it's by no means certain ideology even exists beyond the contortions required of us by power.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
As I say this tendency is seen most clearly in droid (which is why he reacts most vociferously) but it's present in all of us. Cheering on the apocalypse.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I've noticed this sentiment in the Brexit debate. There's a morbid curiosity about just how bad it can possibly get and a sense of excitement over the increasingly ominous headlines.
Everyone's humping the furniture with excitement.
 

yyaldrin

in je ogen waait de wind
is there a classical times equivalent of the hollywood disaster movie? cos i feel like it's just the ruling class that loves disasters really, or at least it's in their interest. have tornadoes and earthquakes sweep away social institutes and make the people dependent on the monopolists. they love katrina, they love the amazones burning. maybe we're just being fed the same fetish trough watching the day after tomorrow?
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I've thought about making this thread a few times over the years but it was the sheer horror of seeing the Amazon burning that pushed me into it. Escalation on a scale that is stark raving insane. It justifies military intervention. Altamout assassins with blow darts. Terrifying.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Of course this tendency co-exists with dismay, horror, fear but even the ability to feel fear is something we have been estranged from and welcome.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
I always thought Ballard's usage of apocalyptic imagery was kinda post-traumatic in itself, in that the imagery is so strong but there's no emotional content. It's like the trauma can't be voiced, only played out in these obsessive images. All the hunger and fear (which he must have experienced in Shanghai) is occluded. Perhaps there's a parallel there .

I've read quite a lot of post-revolution Syrian testimonies and there's no schadenfreude or similar there. Just a lot of loss and trauma, though people are still proud of the revolution, when they lived out their highest values against opposition unimaginable to us. I'd link this into the values Droid invokes.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
The weirdest moment to me so far was the February heatwave. I remember the heat at dusk and it just feeling wrong, for the sun to be going down so early on such a hot day.
 

droid

Beast of Burden
As I say this tendency is seen most clearly in droid (which is why he reacts most vociferously) but it's present in all of us. Cheering on the apocalypse.
Then you need new glasses. Ive never known you to be so spectacularly wrong or show such a disastrous lack of insight.

Like anybody else who understands the enormity of what's happening, my feelings are a mix of fear, sorrow, grief and rage. You may as well be accusing me of secretly wanting to murder my own children.

Pontificate around your ill thought out thesis as you wish, but please exclude me from your half baked psychoanalysis.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
The more you thrash and flail the more you reinforce what I'm saying.
 
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