Thursday, March 04, 2010

"Do You Remember Peace?" Introduction, pt. 3, 399 words

Through all this, causing and caused by such expenditures and disparities, tensions remained high. Detente was the exception, not the rule, until well into the Post. When the Great Enemy of the capitalist First World fell apart, another was swiftly found – and, to a certain extent, manufactured. Hegemony justifies any act taken to maintain it, in the hegemon's eyes.

It took a dramatic restructuring of human thought and economics to end this sorry state of affairs, an act which almost did not come to pass. Indeed, the change in economy had to come first, an event that drew human thought in its wake like a planet sweeping up meteors. Prevailing culture has to race to keep up with its own creations. Like the founding of the Internet, which subdivided the Atomic Age into the Cold War and Information Ages, the development of reliable minifacturing technologies eventually ushered in the Post.

The profound change brought upon by widespread minifacturing – more formally, Nanoscale Matter Recombination – cannot be understated. We exist in an age where subsistence is not a struggle, where waste is unknown and unknowable, where weal no longer depends upon monetary power. This state of affairs seems as natural as breathing, as automatic as the beat of one's heart. We are taught but do not understand the years of turmoil that resulted from the selective control of minifacturing. We forget, as a fish forgets water, the intensive cultural engineering employed to keep the abundance we experience from warping our societal values into a sense of finalized achievement and mass ennui.

This is the world we live in: the Post, an era so named for its position as the capstone of human achievement. It is, philosophically speaking, the end of history. By this I mean that history, as presented for so many centuries as a succession of “kings and wars and dates,” no longer properly describes the course of human events. Indeed, the very name of our time derives from its immediate philosophical and cultural predecessor, postmodernism.

As postmodernism's heralds defined it in reaction to the era that came before, so did our founding philosophers name our time in reaction to its predecessors. However, we speak of the Post not strictly in relation to postmodernism – post-postmodernism being something already formulated and explored in the early Information Age – but in relation to everything that came before.

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