Think, think, think…

Among other pastimes, I’m spending the time in lockdown rereading Boccaccio’s Decameron.  It reminds me that things could be a lot worse—they often have been in human history.

But we shouldn’t settle for that reactionary bromide.  Our goal should never be to avoid the worst, but to make the world better.  

So I’m suggesting we should use the time provided by the general slowdown to think…think…think.  What can we learn from this crisis?  What will we learn if we think beyond what we hear in on the endless and horrifically dull newscasts?  

For one thing, we need to remember that the economic crisis we will be left with when this ends is not a result of the corona virus.  It was already going to happen, we were on the verge of a collapse as the false “solution” to the 2008 financial crisis was about to run out of steam.  Of course, the capitalist apologists will want us to believe the virus caused all this.   But we should take a different lesson: capitalism is inherently always in crisis, and so is unable to handle even a minor bump, much less a serious emergency.  The corruption of a relatively small group of bankers led to a crisis a dozen years ago, and now a moderately serious illness is beyond our ability to handle.  What if it were a crisis on the order of the Black Plague?  

On the economics of the crisis, take the time to read the marxist analysis offered by International Marxist Tendency: https://www.marxist.com/home/topics/economy.htm

One thing we can learn from this crisis is how much we can really do if we are motivated.  Instead of the usual right-wing proclamations of our inability to overcome our evolutionary psychology, we can see just how much we are capable of doing differently if we  see the need.  Maybe we can take this time to figure out how to persuade people that global warming really will kill more humans, and far more other species, than this virus?  

We all recall Zizek’s recommendation that we “Don’t act…just think!” https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IgR6uaVqWsQ

What if we take the time to think about what we will do when this ends?  When the hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate bailouts have left the majority even deeper in debt slavery, while the 1% have once again used disaster to get richer?  How can we respond in a meaningful way?

I’ve been using this time to finish up the book I’ve been working on.  I’ve decided that self-publishing is the only way to go, since all the supposedly leftist presses have declined to even look at a prospectus.  There are a few other avenues, but they would produce an overpriced book that few would be able to afford, and would take years to get it into print.  And frankly, I think this is a book that is perfect for just this situation.  

Because the entire project of this book is to start us in the direction of thinking more productively about changing the world.  The book will be print only, because I am convinced that it is essential to read such a book in physical form.  All the research demonstrates that we don’t retain what we read online (including on blogs like this…much less when and extended an complex argument is offered).  

I expect the book will be available within a week—I have a few proof copies if anyone reading is interested in doing a serious review to help publicize the book.  I’ve kept costs as low as I could ($12.95 is the best I could do for a 300-page paperback).  When the book is available for ordering, I’ll post a link.

In the meantime, click on some of those links above, and start thinking!  This virus won’t last forever, and we’ll have a lot to do if we hope to survive in the dystopian world it will enable the very rich to create.  Anyone read the MaddAdam novels?  

Thanks for all the feedback on my posts as I worked on this book.  Next project: getting some contributions to the online journal Imaginary Relations!  And, probably, a book on addiction, intention, and akrasia…

Update: Here’s the link to Indispensable Goods on Amazon.

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1 Comment

  1. Th current crisis is a perfect demonstration of one of the main contentions of your book, and in fact what you have been arguing for years: that we need to understand the “two-truths” doctrine of Buddhism as distinguishing between the mind-independent and mind-dependent world. The virus itself is Mi, while the economic crisis is a result of the ideology of capitalism, which is Md. The biggest mistake being made right now by the media and the academic ideologists is the failure to make this distinction. The economic crisis is not being caused by the virus, as you say, but is a result of a global ideology that is incapable of handling a disaster like this in a way that benefits the vast majority of the population.

    Certainly this period should us all the opportunity to think, think, think–to clarify these things again and again and to keep refining our understanding of the world as it really is.

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