Posts Tagged ‘possibility’

To the kids of the future…

December 25, 2008

I see this shit all over the internet. Stuff like this has been coming across my inbox for as long as I’ve had one, and I’m old enough to remember this kind of thing being faxed around. Who writes this shit? And why the fuck does it continue to circulate? What kind of zombie would agree with this? It’s the type of thing that anyone with any critical sense automatically ignores, but this type of reactionary thinking, the “get used to it” response to critical awareness, can’t be something that anyone would seriously defend. Would any parent consciously squash their children’s dreams of a better world? And when made aware of the dampening effect their pessimism is having on their children, could anyone passionately defend the destructive effect of their unconscious attitude? Who could proudly proclaim the motto “Accept your lot, do as you are told.”?

I feel the need on this snowy day before The Big Day Off, to suggest some possibilities. It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are the suggested possibilities, following the given rules:

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Possibility 1: Life’s not conscious – you be the judge!

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Possibility 2: Do what makes you feel good. AND Don’t ever let anyone tell your children they’re not worth it. Esteem your children over and above their own self-esteem, build them up, develop their creative powers. Why don’t we support our children in their imagination? If we can imagine a better world we can create a better world.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Possibility 3: Make your own goals. How do you want to live? Use your imagination.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Possibility 4: If your teacher is tough, tell him to fuck off. QUIT SCHOOL and follow your dreams.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Possibility 5: Find work with friends and people who are passionate about what they are doing. Do the work you want. AND Not all our grandparents called wage-slavery an opportunity. Some fought for shorter work weeks, safer working conditions, and worker control. Those who fought, fought physically. They were beaten by police, jailed, killed for trying to make the world more fair. Why don’t we tell our kids about these grandparents?

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Possibility 6: If you mess up, your parents will be there for you. Mess up, mess around. Finding your way in the world is near impossible if you want to change things. Your parents understand this and will always be there for you.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Possibility 7: If your parents are boring, find some that aren’t. Seriously cool parents will always take on the responsibility of another seriously cool kid. Don’t accept the given. Never accept your lot.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Possibility 8: Who’s making the rules? Who has the right answer? If you can live your out your imagination in your everyday life, who cares what anyone else thinks?

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Possibility 9: There is no time that is not for you. Why use it making someone who isn’t interested in you money? Life is how you and your friends make it.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Possibility 10: Imagine life as a creative possibility, where real life is what you want to do, not what you have to do.

This was a difficult mental exercise. There are many traps to fall into when dealing with the given or established consciousness. The given categories need to be completely rejected, and alternatives need be created in their place. Then the word count needed to convey alternative conceptions far exceeds the pithy clichés needed for conventional reactions. Plus many of the propositions in the rule list are true, but their extension into the acceptance of “real life” makes the truisms into more than true, maybe fixed, and reality is not fixed. How do you unfix dominant ideas? How do you found an alternative on an unfixed reality?

Some of my possibilities are pretty lame, do you have better suggestions?

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Technocracy and Rebellion: The May Events of 1968

February 21, 2007

This chapter… some notes. Feenberg “argues for subjecting technology to democratic debate and reconstruction.” That’s from one of the blurbs in the front of the book. I’m going to read through to the end of the book before I touch another chapter. There’s something happening here in the first part of this book that is completely disconnected from anything I understand.

This chapter is supposed to “open a window on the revolution in thinking about technology that continues to this day.” But again, not being much of a reader, and born after May ’68, I haven’t been much influenced by the thinking before this revolution. The essentialism and determinism explained in chapter 1, I don’t know, maybe being born after ’68 the thought of being creative in the world has just always existed.

And I don’t mean creative in the sense of free and easy artists. Maybe determinism comes from an inability to see our own selves. Perhaps it’s a belief in God, or a desire to believe in an authority, because the superficial message we get is not our people’s. The perfect example comes around every year. Each November 11 we’re reminded of the state’s role in securing our rights and freedoms. I grew up in a union home. The change in our standard of living didn’t come from the government. A dying generation created my situation. They literally had to fight the state(complex) to improve our lives.

Once you’ve seen it in your life, you recognize it in history. Civil rights, women’s right, Gay rights, no one in standard issue uniform went to war for their rights.

The ’68 student movement creates a new politics, “challenging capitalism in new ways.”(p.21)

Feenberg “reconsiders” the May events along four themes.

  1. logic of student revolt
  2. student/worker relations
  3. middle strata’s ideological crisis
  4. new libertarian image of socialism

“[the students] refuse to become professors serving a teaching system which selects the sons of the bourgeoisie and eliminates the others;”(p.25) They rejected their “role in the process of social reproduction.” While Feenberg alludes to a complex “c” conservatism in the university(p.23), the students’ writing claim the revolt was not about the situation in the university.

Society “pretends to be based on knowledge.” The students called for workers’ self management and for a transformation of daily life and culture.

The middle strata sided with the people.

“workers would set there factories back in motion on their own account.”(p.39)

Sartre wrote, the events of May ’68 “enlarged the field of the possible.”

“In the domain that interests us here, these movements were precursors that announced the limits of technocratic power”(p.43)