Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Crisis of Civilization.3

Today I finished Ahmed's introduction, which included the following sentences that really distilled a lot for me. It's hard to say it better:

The War on Terror is "an increasingly polarizing security narrative that conceals the instrumental role of global crises in accelerating geopolitical rivalry, and thus justifies the increasing turn of 'liberal' societies to illiberal, extra-legal mechanisms of control based on military and police power."

Furthermore, "What makes opposition to this fast imploding system of self-destruction even more difficult is that the most powerful agents in the system - governments, banks, corporations and so on - both believe and actively seek to convince themselves and everyone else that it is the most progressive and advanced mode of existence possible for humanity, and therefore that its devastating consequences are merely natural, unavoidable but ultimately fixable aberrations from an optimal way of life that need not and must not change" (15). Then he talks about some of the way we justify our behavior and beliefs.

At the end of the introductory section, Ahmed names a few 'key structural reforms' that may help us reach his vision of a radically different kind of civilization, including but not limited to: "widening access and control over productive resources; greater community-led governance; mechanisms for more equal wealth distribution; monetary reform based on the abolition of interest; large-scale community-level investment in decentralized renewable energy technologies; smaller, localized organic agricultural enterprises; and a deep-seated, scientifically grounded yet non-reductionalist ideological and cultural re-evaluation of the human condition" (15). Easy-peasy, right? (That was sarcasm, but optimistic sarcasm, I hope.)

I'm really enjoying the cogent broader arguments Ahmed is making, but there may be fewer of those for several pages/days of reading as he begins his meatier chapters. I just started his section on Climate Change. Right now (through page 23 today) he's doing a great job debunking the claims of many climate skeptics. As usual, his methods are well-documented and his arguments are beautifully cogent and convincing. I'm already convinced that climate changes is real and caused in large part by humans, so there won't be as much to share. I'll let you know.

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