I’ve been thinking recently. Most of the world is not in the 21st century yet. Hell, I know that most of the world is lucky if it’s even in the 20th century yet, but what I’m talking about applies mainly to the western world. We’re in a society that for the most part is actively trying to go backwards.
I figure that part of me is in the 21st century, while part of me is still stranded in the 20th. Everytime I get pissed off at mainstream bullshit, or hate what the politicians of the world are doing, or struggle with 9-5 day job shit, that’s the 20th century. While online friends, freelancing online and intelligent political discourse with worldwide thinkers is me in the 21st century. Knowing what is wrong with the world, but then actively being affected by some of it, is the mark of this 20th/21st century dichotomy.
Of course, most people still don’t know have this. Most people are still resolutely 20th century: they believe the mainstream media, they believe politicians, they lap up nothing but corporate entertainment (and love it unconditionally.) They just don’t question the world they live in today, or look for the better tomorrow. And even worse, if they believe the discourse of scum like John Howard or George W Bush, they are actively seeking to maintain this status quo. They’re afraid of the future.
The whole anti-intellectual thing is part of it, certainly. As is the overt and often extreme nationalism. Forces designed to separate us locally and internationally. Things designed to keep us insular and xenophobic – afraid of the outside world.
But the good news for me is that I’m half way to the 21st century anyway because I recognise this. If you can see and recognise the better future, then you’re half way there already. Sadly (well a little, anyway), I know that getting the whole way there also involves getting away from those who show know signs of even seeing what awaits the world. Start to associate with people already there.
This doesn’t mean I ignore the world, it means that I take into account what really matters in it. Care about the big issues, but know what the real things are to make a change, and associate with the people already doing this. This is mostly online of course, but not entirely.
I see people that fit into this already. Warren Ellis – despite his occassional dip into “fad of the moment” tendencies when it comes to new stuff, definitely is in the new world. Neil Gaiman is as well, and I think any Internet savvy pro author could be said to be there. Or maybe it’s just that they’re leading the kind of life that I know would suit me…
That’s really all I can say right now. Is this a manifesto? Hell, I can only hope…