Random Musings on the
End of Civilisation
by Mike Cotgreave
People are strange, sang Jim Morrison. And the dead Doors front man was
dead right. People are strange, and irrational, and savage - especially of
a weekend when we're out guzzling the carbonated imports. Booze unlocks
violence and psychosis that usually lies dormant in our souls. We're
more human than when we take our place in the sordid ranks of the pissed
Anyway, back to our dysfunctionality: Take christianity and communism.
are great in theory, but historically pretty cack when people are factored
into the equation. Uncle Einstein might have put it...Good Idea x Humans =
Big city libraries are another case in point. They seem to be the urban
cradles of madness,
attracting weird people like cake shops attract the obese: from drunks to
deviants, psychotics to nerds - all lacking any recognisable trace of
morals or human decency. Then there's the humourless narks who work there,
most of whom should never be allowed near sharp cutlery or small animals.
These places are a microcosm of the insane filth that wind me (and Travis
Bickle) up with such blinding frequency as I sit watching never-ending
quiz shows beckoning me to name as many vegetables beginning with the
letter C as I can with the chance of winning £20 grand, 72 virgins and
everlasting happiness. Carrot, cauliflower, courgette...
There's only one character in Coronation Street I truly identify with, and
in the moments betwixt eating and sleeping I've given the matter much
thought - arguably too much thought. That character is Steve Macdonald -
has the soul of a creature trying to break through the egg shell of his
absurd surroundings into the meta-reality beyond (if you haven't noticed
this yet, try a bit harder next time you're watching Corrie). Really it's
us who inhabit this strange soapland in which we're all performers in the
theatrical spectacle of each other lives. In this cosmic pantomime there
no script - we just make it up as we go along.
The West Wing; Series 6; 'Faith Based Initiative'
Josh Lyman: "What are you gonna do when this is done?"
Toby Ziegler: "Whatever it takes to stave off the chaos, mayhem and
self-interest that lies just beneath our civil disguise."
The boundaries of our creativity are exceeded only by our capacity to
destroy - which is pretty shit. Erich Fromm wrote in The Anatomy of Human
Destructiveness: ?Exploitation and manipulation produce boredom and
triviality; they cripple man, and all factors that make man into a psychic
cripple turn him also into a sadist or a destroyer.?
In a similarly vein, Bill Hicks said that the human race was just a ?virus
with shoes?, and like other great Philosopher Kings such as Marx, Camus,
and the aforementioned Mr Fromm, he had a point. He also said we have a
choice: ?between fear and love.? Sometimes it seems like that choice has
been made for us. I'm at the point where MI5 are sending me colour-coded,
apocalyptic emails detailing my likelihood of being dirty-bombed by
religious zealots. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is warning that we
standing on ?the brink of a new nuclear age? ? and if the nukes don?t get
us, then the ?dire threat to human
civilisation? posed by climate change will.
As the dead Doors front man sang...
...Show me the way to the next whiskey bar
Oh, don't ask why, oh, don't ask why