“The way we live is not inevitable at all.”

Jia Tolentino, “Ask a Sane Person: Jia Tolentino on Practicing the Discipline of Hope”

Jia Tolentino
  • Capitalist individualism has turned into a death cult.
  • The internet is a weak substitute for physical presence.
  • [America] criminally undervalues its most important people and its most important forms of labor.
  • [American culture has] incentivized through online mechanisms to value the representation of something (like justice) over the thing itself.
  • Most of us hold more unknown potential, more negative capability, than we’re accustomed to accessing.
  • The material conditions of life in America are constructed and maintained by those best set up to exploit them.
  • The way we live is not inevitable at all.

Jia Tolentino, “Ask a Sane Person: Jia Tolentino on Practicing the Discipline of Hope

Postgrowth Imaginaries

This failure of the imagination for their society is not unique unto them: its common among many human societies. It also illustrates an important lesson for those who are interested in pursuing a just society in the present: that there is a certain allure to oppression and injustice — namely, that we’ve seen it work.

On the contrary, we haven’t seen justice work as much as oppression. Therefore, it’s much easier for us to imagine a society where injustice is an essential feature.

If we don’t guard our memories of our own experiences of injustice and cultivate our imaginations to empathize with others and to envision living outside of society’s normal injustices, then we will continue living in the same cycles of injustice. Without an adjustment to our imaginations, the best we will be able to do is picture someone else in Pharaoh’s chair, when we need to envision an entirely different way to live altogether.

Andre Henry, “Exodus (pt. 16): Wherever There’s A Ghetto“, Via MetaFilter.

See also: Degrowth: Igniting a Political Imagination of Joy and Postgrowth Imaginaries by Luis Iñaki Prádanos.

Our very sentience contradicts materialism

… under materialist premises, phenomenal consciousness cannot have been favoured by natural selection. Indeed, it shouldn’t exist at all; we should all be unconscious zombies, going about our business in exactly the same way we actually do, but without an accompanying inner life. If evolution is true—which we have every reason to believe is the case—our very sentience contradicts materialism.

Bernardo Kastrup, “Consciousness Cannot Have Evolved,” 5 Feb 2020

Doubting Death

Still-Life with a Skull, vanitas painting. Philippe de Champaigne. Circa 1671.

“Day after day countless creatures are going to the abode of Yama, yet those that remain behind believe themselves to be immortal. What can be more wonderful than this?”

Yudhiṣṭhira, Mahābhārata, Aranya Parva (aka, Yaksha Prashna)

“… researchers say, our brains do their best to keep us from dwelling on our inevitable demise. A study found that the brain shields us from existential fear by categorising death as an unfortunate event that only befalls other people.

Ian Sample, “Doubting death: how our brains shield us from mortal truth,” The Gaurdian, 19 Oct 2019