This is not an orange
orange in your hand — what is it? first — there is both a sign and a signifier, the orange and the orangeness — but where did it come from? what comes before precedes what comes after — where was it grown? the orange is the tail end of an agricultural industrial behemoth manufacturing and distributing, employing laborers, subject to regulations and marketing — supply chains — the orange — stand-in for this networked life, everything connected, plugged into the system, and though the world is not beamed straight into our heads matrix-style, it may as well be, since our entire existences are subjected to systems of control — not unitary totalitarian, but emergent totalitarian, as market instincts and global networks knit everything together into a tight mesh.
Our system does however allow for individual choice on any number of things — which multinational to buy from, which multinational to sell our daily bread to — and perhaps it is these choices, this illusion of control, that provide the safety valve, that protects us from the uncomfortable truth that we are now an inevitable piece of the machine, a factor of production, a thing to be controlled —
Marx’ diagnosis was right, but his cure was wrong — and he never saw the effect of late-state hypercapitalism, or offered a viable alternative — but the way in must necessarily also be the way out — and hypercapitalism will not be destroyed (and how could we want it to be, its destruction would necessitate and require unimaginable suffering and loss of life) but its ravages might be mitigated, its edges softened, its deadening effects transcended.
The first step may be to bite into the orange, and taste the fruit. To understand that wealth and its creation is not the only value we strive for. That sustainability and balance are the true hallmarks of a healthy system — to understand that human dignity, shared endeavor, shared sacrifice, are values that ennoble us and enable us to build our golden cities on the hill — that happy heterotopia’s are not impossible, that we must strive to make our society good again —
America was born a virgin and can be again — and the rest of the world can follow — after long journeys, it is sweet to return home, and to slip into our own bed —