Saturday 23 October 2010

The Thoughts Of Chairman Demetrius

In January 2007 I did an entry for the “Ecologist” essay competition. Below are selected extracts from a near 3000 word document. The question is was I right or was I wrong?


To have a future, it is necessary to have a past. But a past does not guarantee a future. My past has offered many futures, and none of them have worked. In the decade of my birth a number of luminaries went to Moscow and claimed that here was the future, give or take the odd purge, pogrom, ethnic cleansing, or holocaust of the disagreeable elements.

In the next decade Lord Beveridge promised a freedom from want, and other things. That did not happen, and nor did the later “Butskell” ideas of a Keynsian Society, or Socialist Planned Keynsianism, according to taste. I realised that both were non-starters when I drew up a monstrous flow chart of how the system was supposed to function, and when it was finished, realised that it couldn’t.

Of the other futures around at the time and later, the Gosplan-Stasi variety was a hallucination doomed to self destruct as we will soon find out when the Blair-Brown version collapses in time for the London Olympics.

The happy clappy love-in of the hippies dissolved in a welter of pox, disease, and dysfunction in sexual relations. As for what philosophers and economists have assumed to be capitalism; that has long disappeared into debt leverage, with Globalisation and Private Equity never to be seen again; creating a footloose world of cheap transport operating on a basis of rapid resource depletion, and quasi-slave labour.

So now, in creaking old age, I daily hope for a sign in the web sites of the US Geological Service and Volcano World. Many of the Sky documentaries tell me that the end is nigh, but it seems a long time coming, and not even the Hedge Funds are taking bets. At least in HDTV it looks a lot prettier, and to hell with the carbon footprint if a super massive black hole beckons.

The end has been promised since the first Christian Millennia at least in one form or another. More recently it has been the threat of nuclear annihilation that has concentrated the minds, but now there is serious competition for what happening is about to see the human race off the planet.

Which brings us back to the money, and it is only relatively recently that a handful of daring historians have suggested that this is often the problem, rather than the scribbling of either philosophers or dogmatic theologians.

Our world in now becoming one of illusions, more and more produced and promoted by limited numbers of media operators. In the past the number of visual images seen by humans was relatively small, and limited to a narrower variety of sources.

Many communities experienced very few images at all in their lives, the vision of their minds being created by only the world around them, or the occasional hallucinatory substances, intended or accidental.

Today, there are few people or groups who manage to escape the pervading flashing of images on screens or other forms of presentation. Within a generation or two these have altered our past, and have given us a present that is a world of mirrors and falsity.

Media and marketing are now the dominate elements in the creation of the human experience and psyche. As humanity has engaged in several destructions, and seems intent on destroying its own habitat, as well as its own capability for survival, it seems to have developed the arrogance that it can determine its own future.

At least that is the message of governments, their agencies, and the marketing departments of the predatory commercial entities whether state or privately owned, and the whole shebang assumes that the financial wheels will stay on the wagon.

Our world is urbanised and more and more dependent on complicated means of distribution based on monetary systems and means of finance that are a chimera. This is the Grand Illusion, that all is financially the best in the best of all the monetary worlds.

It is just as vulnerable as any tectonic plate, sun burst, or weather system, and is different in that it can collapse in the short period rather than the long. What could happen might be a reversion to a previous world, perhaps a nasty form of tribal warfare in an unwelcoming planet, or back to a few hunter gatherers striving in one or other environment.

The one certainty is Chaos and in that event Catastrophe may be the saving hope. If geophysics fails to get us first, and we are left to our own devices, one major systemic financial failure might be enough to do it.

The consequences will not be pretty, will not smell nice, and almost certainly will be contaminated. So our future will be a past, only one that is more dangerous and more difficult, because we have expended already all the alternative futures save that of nothingness.


I did not win, the item that did was a thoughtful piece about making better use of open spaces in places like Bristol to be brought about by substantial increases in government funding under the care of a new agency.


  1. You should have won, Demetrius. A quite superb summary of the shit we are in and the reasons why. As for the winning entry, all sweetly and politically correct whitewash!

  2. All money is funny, a truth few recognize... (although it is a concept that is getting wider play/discussion.)

    You'd probably have been stunned if your piece had even placed in the competition.

    Genius is the ability to 'see' what was there all along.

  3. Just about sums it all up Mr.D. I don't think many people realise just how fragile the current set-up is, nor how quickly it could all go tits up.

    As OR said, you should have won...