Feb 122012

Here is a taste of the latest of my epigrams at Global Brief just published.


Cooperation is local, competition is pandemic. It has always been this way. We live in a churning cauldron of competitive vectors, of drags and accelerants. We compete for money, jobs, love, space and power. We compete, and we are competed for (for our votes, for our consumer dollars, for our admiration – desire desires desire). What goes for thinking these days is mostly competition; what goes for information is mostly shill and exhortation. The media world is a vast infomercial – competing for the mind of the reader, the e-reader or the (TV) e-watcher.

Conversation is a competition to have one’s voice heard; to have one’s ideas prevail. Languages compete and extend their reach or disappear. The world is a chessboard of international gamesmanship. In space, we are all competing for the higher ground. And, willy-nilly, the whirling, pulsing interactions of competition seem only to grow faster and denser as the world goes digital, and as connectivity multiplies arenas of contention. The individual human being wins and loses a thousand times a day – mostly without even knowing it, as the virtual and invisible electronic tickers mark the rise and fall of prices, currency and interest rates. Being alive, we compete.

via The Future is Red in Tooth and Claw : Global Brief.

  2 Responses to “The Future is Red in Tooth and Claw : Douglas Glover at Global Brief”

  1. If the choice comes down to Schopenhauer v. Nietzsche, then the choice is clearly the latter. Nietzsche, over the course of his development, literally embodied the overcoming of Schopenhauerian pessimism (in the Birth of Tragedy) towards the re-willing of the world, complete with all its warts and failures. “A monster of energy,” he calls it, this world which is “will to power–and nothing besides!” To shy away from this is to accept mysticism over materialism, when good philosophy should lead us away from opting for such a conclusion. I’m tempted to recall Freud’s quotation of Virgil that opens up the Interpretation of Dreams: “If I cannot deflect heaven, then I will raise hell.” Schopenhauer seems to believe that he can catch a reflection of heaven in his renunciation of the will, while Nietzsche’s worldly tendencies keeps him in tune with those vital themes of the underworld that continue to be repressed and disavowed to this day. We can learn more from these latter themes than we can from Schopenhauer’s pseudo-Kantian transcendentalist Mayaism. That is, even if Nietzsche’s philosophy seems to lend itself more readily to capitalist “creative destruction.” At least it takes the world for what it is, without any opiates.

    • Noah, Up to a point, yes. I suppose. But the Overman is an unworldly idea, a leap into mysticism, unless I misread it completely. Aside from the pseudo-Hindu stuff, I find Schopenhauer’s pessimism more realistic than Nietzsche’s joyful leap into the fray. Not that realism isn’t a completely suspect category. I think they both seem to agree that the world is driven by the energy of desire.

      I love that Virgil quote.

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