Wednesday, 22 March 2017

late stage prometheus

From the vantage of a quarter of a century, Æon magazine looks back at the publication of one of the more often cited, derided and misunderstood publication that addresses post-moderism—Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man.

Of course little-h history rolls on but Fukuyama recognised, presciently some could argue, that History in terms of the way society coalesces politically is exhausted and though we might be concoct something more noble and utopian that liberal democracy, there were few to no other directions to go for society—except to collapse in feudalism and rigid class hierarchies. The philosopher took the longer view than what occupied the geo-political landscape at the time of his book’s release—the collapse of the Communism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which some naively took as a mandate to ratchet up freedom and free markets. What do you think? While Fukuyama’s prediction is just that and perhaps fails to factor in technological redundancies and natural conclusions (disruptions that might render economics meaningless), it does grasp the shallowness of celebrity culture that embraces nihilism and the triumph of tribalism. The Last Man is a borrowing from Friedrich Nietzche whose insistence on transparency was apparently not deity-friendly but for those at the leading edge of the end of civilisation’s evolution, there are no trappings to adequately fill the void and people will wallow in whatever mediocrity and material awards and recognition that remains.