I probably had gone 18-24 hours without disenthrallment, and was going into a giddy mania.
Or something like that.
Then Paul Kingsnorth’s latest Substack post rescued me.
If we can convince ourselves that we live in ‘liberal democracies’, for example, we can tell a comforting story that such horrors as slavery, forced labour, colonialism and the mass destruction of nature for profit are either things of the past or are being steadily wiped out by ‘progress’. We don’t have to look at the reality: that our entire way of life is dependent on these things continuing – though usually at a convenient distance. What George Orwell wrote in 1942 of the British empire and its critics remains true of today’s empire, the ‘global economy’, and of the elite classes who shill for it:
We all live by robbing Asiatic coolies, and those of us who are ‘enlightened’ all maintain that these coolies ought to be set free; but our standard of living, and hence our ‘enlightenment’, demands that the robbery shall continue.
The Machine, in short, is a creature of the cities, and the cities are the creation of the Machine.
… The city provides opportunities for wealth that the village never could, but it treats its poor and marginalised with a contempt that the village would regard with incomprehension.
Paul Kingsnorth, The Great Wen
City: an impermanent collection of structures for making money. (Paul Kingsnorth)
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."
(Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias; H/T Paul Kingsnorth)