September 21, 2004

the very pinnacle of dimwitted bourgeois individualism

You're telling me/that we've been praying/ for a bright and clever hell
I think we've been brought to our knees/ but I can't tell...

Typically elegant response from Angus to the Vampire post.

Angus is surely right to identify that 'I'm very spiritual, I'm not into organized religion' move as 'the very pinnacle of dimwitted bourgeois individualism'.

There's a very serious point here. Capitalism, Marx reminds us, 'has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation.'

Bourgeois individualism and miserabilism are coterminous because there is no more terrible burden to bear than the weight of subjectivity. Subjectivism leaves people in a state of wretched confusion and desperation that is literally hell, the only hell there is. The thought that there is nothing more than conflicting monkey perspectives, all of which are equally 'valid', is a recipe for the kind of chronic depression that is endemic in the west now.

As Nietzsche feared, no-one could could rise to the terrible challenge of filling the space voided by the dead God, no human being could become the self-legislating ubermensch. Nietzsche's breakdown was the breakdown of the west, fastforwarded and compressed into one central nervous system.

But what was the fantasy of the ubermensch if not a grandstanding aesthetico-romantic glorification of bourgeois individualism?

When they say they don't believe in organized religion, their reservations aren't Deleuze-Guattari critiques of organisation :-), they are just saying that they want to continue to Carrie Bradshaw about in perpetual shilly-shalllying consumer equivocation, treating life as a buffet lunch to pick at.

What they want to preserve is the very thing that religion can liberate you from: ego. They don't have the discipline or commitment to subordinate themselves to the self-disassembly program.

Posted by mark at September 21, 2004 11:32 PM | TrackBack