Finding Freedom In The Cultural Apocalypse

by CBallinger

This piece of fiction was recently shortlisted for a prize from The New Philosopher, a wonderfully accessible philosophy magazine from Australia. It made it down to the last ten, but the $1000 prize eluded me this time.


You must absolutely, and very quickly, get used to the cold and the discomfort and the obvious endless sadness. Before the big NO came the time where apathy reigned and beyond the everyday comforts there was a sludge of living human waste. Beneath the debts and debts and lies and television lay the masterplan to feed a rich beast by making society into a tiered system of hoped-for hopelessness. Veils of idiocy kept the people placated, structured realities as entertainment.

All great empires twist their people into laughing in the mirror. The West entertained people with a parade of insanity, directed by the evil of all-costs profits. Eyes were glued on madness, on idiots tricked into performance by the offer of celebrity. Children were sold truths young, they scribbled names on their bodies and put pictures on their walls of the paraded fools. Their parents footed the bill and paid the True Price of being unable to teach better than the television.

All children are born equal. Sponges to the noise of man.

Now, in this time of deathly silence, we can be louder than bombs and billboards. The voice of Something Good must be loudest. We must prepare, as the day looms where The Man returns with desires of enslaving to rebuild. What can they promise us now, with all of our illusions shattered? The set has been struck, the death bright and timely. It was almost the case the population had to be culled and so it was. Everyone was being killed anyway, or living dead, shuffling around supermarkets looking at tens of thousands of brands all owned by a few companies.

The world got used to buying food from chemical companies that in turn got used to finding ways of making food more synthetic. Processed sugars and oils and fats gathered brutally at source then toyed with until almost unpalatable, these were the foods of the poor. Now it’s these foods that remain, uncorrupted, with laughable use-by dates. Food that is barely food lasts forever, like plastic and regret. You’ll eat these from time to time with nostalgic joy at the sheer convenience of it all.

Now we’re digging in the dirt and filling our nails with filth and hoping we can re-learn how to grow. The land is still rich and the oceans may just start to breathe again. Imagine fish! Imagine thriving sealife of all kinds! It was a shame about Japan, but it did a great deal for the whale. All animals suffer sweeping death from time to time and we should mourn them all together, as similar beasts. With the population of people cut back we should see a wonderful wild land re-emerging into view, hopefully this time to be learned from and grown with.

In all of this death has come a new age of natural selection, though we know the most savage are often strongest. We can only set out a vision and fight for the way of life our knowledge has allowed us to know is true, and achievable. Community must be a firm concept, a way of survival, a model far removed from the cancerous buzzword lips of politicians. If we don’t allow for the corporate empires to be built, then we won’t need their frontmen. We’ll need true leaders, people with ideas rather than rhetoric. We’ll find people who love people from the bottom up, rather than the top down.

Some men said that there were some men in some room pulling strings and coordinating puppets to make themselves whiter and fatter. The men were right, but the men in the room didn’t decide everything, they just set the bar, they were the example to live by. It was somehow the accepted belief that for us to live nicely, that the bottom of society is necessary. The public were sold on, or apathetic to, the truths of Africans buying rubbish to burn it for scrap metals, or for oil to be sucked from beneath the feet of the poorest people on the planet, to make people rich elsewhere whilst environments are poisoned.

The corporations did not care, they just told you they did on the packaging. Down on the farm the cages were next to the ‘free ranges’ and definitions were squeezed to bursting. The corporations ticked all the boxes, fed all of the consumers, drew smiles on the faces of animals and laid scars to bury ideals of humanity deep into the earth. The earth that has been fracked to death crumbling like an over-dunked biscuit beneath the feet of the people who simply wanted to live, because it seemed like the default thing to do.

It seemed we were willing to work all of our lives only to get a home and food and entertainment ‘til death. The illusion that this was the only way was generally built on that we weren’t allowed any of the earth for ourselves. The earth was owned, by those who said it first, and then passed on and on and on. Now we’re allowed our share and we can dedicate our lives to building a home and finding food and providing ourselves with entertainment. Would it take you 50 years to build your own house? You’ve got a lot of land to choose from and a serious impetus to learn.

Screens now are blank and we must revel in their blackness. We must love this this place where there are no fines placed on existence. This place where caged animals are an abnormality rather than the industrial norm. This place where the land is ours. This place where we are only animals, rather than some ideal higher being. This place where we can now structure our own evolutionary next step. The pace has fallen off but the knowledge remains. Consider this an ice age with the benefit of being awake; a deep, cleansing stir. If you can’t see past the difficulties of every day to see the potential purity of the future, at least take comfort in that we no longer fully rely on the things that will eventually destroy the world, what’s left of it.