Turns out I am not the only one who thinks The End is Near. A group of artists are starting what they call The Dark Mountain Project. They articulate many of the concerns that inspired me to start Apocalypse Wow!, except they come across as much smarter than me.
Their claim is that our current civilization is quite fragile, that we no longer believe the myths that sustain it, and that its economic underpinnings are destined for collapse:
The myth of progress is to us what the myth of god-given warrior prowess was to the Romans, or the myth of eternal salvation was to the conquistadors: without it, our efforts cannot be sustained. Onto the root stock of Western Christianity, the Enlightenment at its most optimistic grafted a vision of an Earthly paradise, towards which human effort guided by calculative reason could take us. Following this guidance, each generation will live a better life than the life of those that went before it. History becomes an escalator, and the only way is up. On the top floor is human perfection. It is important that this should remain just out of reach in order to sustain the sensation of motion.
People are starting to grasp that the appearance of motion is not in fact motion, and much of what has been cast as progress is only “change”. If the myth crumbles, so will the civilization built upon it.
Unlike the Dark Mountain I am more optimistic about the potential of technology to work through the environmental problems it causes. Where I diverge sharply from The Dark Mountain is in its sixth principle:
Humans are not the point and purpose of the planet. Our art will begin with the attempt to step outside the human bubble. By careful attention, we will reengage with the non-human world.
It is laudable to want to re-engage with nature using non-modern categories, to overcome the sharp distinction between nature and man, but the perspective than man is nothing special will end up in misanthropy, it always does.
They are in fact anti-humanists and big fans of the one of literature’s biggest assholes, Robinson Jeffers, whom, were I Dante, I’d condemn to a special circle of hell reserved for misanthropes.
I’ll look to The Dark Mountain for ideas, but I’ll have to look for inspiration elsewhere.