We’re History

Gods damn it, we’re stuck in a loop. The Wheel of the Sun Temple of Konark.

Gods damn it, it’s not over and it’s never-ending. The history books have spilt open and all the demons come rushing out. Famines, plagues, wars, all supposedly banished to the past, suddenly now. Racism, colonialism, schisms, all thought buried at last, now out and about. The graves are empty and zombies walk the Earth. As Gramsci sorta said, the old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born. Now is the time of monsters. And he said that a century ago. It’s still fucking happening.

I grew up in the 1990s in Ohio—the most boring place on Earth. I was waiting for history to restart. Now that it has, I just want to get off. It’s too much, the real world, I long to just watch the Real World on MTV again, to be contained again in suburban anonymity, to get mad at some rando named Puck. As the curse goes, may you live in interesting times. We do. We live in someone else’s history. For us, it’s just bad luck.

History is all repeating, this time as farce. The 1918 pandemic, except we know better and just couldn’t bother. The pointless entanglements of World War I, now codified as NATO and completely for the benefit of arms dealers. The rise of fascism, just with worse fashion. The coming Greater Depression, which is incredibly depressing already. We hoped for flying cars and we got flying fucks. No one even cares. We’re just repeating the worst chapters of history because our ‘educated’ elites simply didn’t pay attention.

Everything I thought solid is suddenly immaterial and outright false. Democracy, free speech, all that liberal bullshit, it was just a shroud over a rotting corpse. I actually believed them when they said slavery, colonialism, it was in the past. That they’d reformed. What the fuck were we thinking? We should have slit their throats the moment they got off the boats and we still haven’t learned. We’ll never learn. We dig our own graves and look up meekly at our executioners. We just can’t believe that people would be like this, but they are.

Everyone’s still trying to clamber upwards, somewhere, but they don’t get it. It’s all going down. Our ancestors knew this but we—born into the idea of progress—can’t understand that things just go wrong. I think about the Indus Valley civilization, Anuradhapura, all the great cities that burned so bright and then were just gone. This was normal. People just let the jungle grow over those ruins and they weren’t wrong.

Then the white man came and dug them up, stole the good parts, wrote it all down, and then signed off with themselves on top, as the culmination. And we believed them. We followed along. But now it’s all gone Pete Tong. Who knew that resource exploitation led to exhaustion? That ‘good’ economics led to ecological oblivion. I mean, people knew, but they weren’t so good at violence, and so history barely wrote their ideas down.

To be honest, I never thought I’d be digging up all this ancient philosophy looking for answers, I never thought I’d be asking WTF communism and anarchism actually are. I thought these were settled question but suddenly we live in unsettling times. And I honestly feel like it’s too late.

There was a time of revolution a century ago, a deep realization that something was wrong, that we had to unionize as human beings to avoid being swamped by capital. I always learned that the good guys won, but no, they fucking lost. The colonial powers couped or junta’d so many socialist governments, and we can see from the ones that survived what might have been. Healthcare, education, some reasonable balance with the environment, or at least the ability to do something.

Instead we got consumer goods and billionaires and TV and a bunch of dumbshit distractions, without basic things like insulin. Or food. Or a fucking planet to live on. We’re dusting off the old revolutionary textbooks now, but we’re too complacent, too comfortable, and so we drown. People were willing to fight last century, but now we’ve imbibed the idea of non-violence like laudanum. We want to just ask politely, to tweet a bit rudely, and act surprised that nothing gets done. Power concedes nothing without a demand, and it flows from the barrel of a gun.

I’m drunk. I’ve hit my word count. I’ll sign out. All I’m telling you is that we’re history. As much as it feels like we’re done, this is just what it feels like when things are happening. It sucks. Like any great story, it’s miserable when you’re in the middle of it. It’s only afterwards that it’s interesting, or even fun. Right not it just sucks. So welcome to the end of the end of history. All this violent change, all this news, all this nausea, we’re history now.