[NB – This article below appears to be partly in response to the United Nation’s statement against having fireplaces: Greenhouse Gases from Wood are a Burning Issue. This is not the whole focus of the article, however. The author only uses it as an example of a larger phenomenon, which is the movement away from the authentic experience to substitutes via computers, eg, virtual reality, Zoom, digital currency, social media, etc.]
Thoughts on humanity and the sterility of the world
by Milosz Matuschek, Dec 31, 2021 [translated, edited]
Is there anything better than admiring an open fire in the fireplace while the cold knocks on the outside door? Flames climb logs, crackling and hissing. The embers shine and flicker. It almost seems to breathe. The centre of the living room radiates and attracts life. The whole of existence is concentrated around one square meter of heat. Fire is something around which humanity has always liked to gather. It is also the beginning of civilization, of culture, and what it means to be human: sitting around the fire, our ancestors ate together, they enacted religious rituals, and they shared stories.
When being human becomes suspicious
It somehow seems fitting that in our day and age the open fire would be labeled as mere nonsense, as an anachronism. The keywords are well known: burning of fossil fuels, greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency. Do good and be like Greta [Thunberg, the environmentalist]. The pursuit of nourishing authentic sources of human experience in the 21st century is deemed suspicious. Let’s be honest: isn’t everything that constitutes humanity considered either suspicious or dangerous these days?
We live in a time of deep transformation of human experiences. Yes, there is a struggle against humanity. However, the struggle is not expressed as a struggle against humanity [prima facie], but as a struggle to save nature. The more effectively man fights against himself, the better he saves the planet. If you were to take these world-saving ideals to their logical conclusion, the salvation of the environment is the decimation of man. Man is not a wolf, but a pest. Greenwashing is so powerful that you can even sell population reduction agenda with it.
[NB – I think the is referring to the idea of persuading us to embrace climate lockdowns, which critics allege is a cover for the misanthropic agenda to depopulate the Earth. Advocates say such measures are necessary to ensure any kind of future for humanity, less climate catastrophe makes life untenable]
However, the experience of being human is not so easy to escape. That’s why it’s being transferred [into virtual reality]. Today, man is abducted [or lured] into a brightly coloured parallel world, into a mirror-inverted artificial metaverse. In this parallel world, there’s the illusion that the opposite of everything is also true and there is nothing that cannot be replaced. The world of artificiality is the world of substitutes and simulations. In this world, the fire no longer blazes in the fireplace; it is a pixel storm on a high-resolution screen. If something is offered as especially logical, rational, and efficient, it may seem to be everything but it’s not real.
In the world of domination of the substitutes, everything is there and in abundance, because it can be replaced. Money is replaced by paper and pixels. Information through attitude. Science by faith. Education through modules. Feeling through sensory entertainment. Love through a relationship of resource exchange. The Zoom Christmas is an ersatz substitute used during the pandemic emergency.
The experience of being human thus becomes a cocktail of substitutes that do not nourish us; they ultimately deplete [and diminish] us. However, this is hardly noticeable anymore, because in the artificial world you can even defeat the hunger for the real by making it appear as an illusion. It is already considered offensive today to refer to the abilities of a natural immune system.
[NB – This is a reference to the campaign against natural immunity by those who would push the mRNA injections – which ironically will make us sicker in the longer run, by weakening the immune system]
The transformation of humanity began with the reformatting of language and the deprivation of culture. It ends with the replay of what is called consciousness. If you want to get through the artificial world, you have to have an updated consciousness, have installed the latest version of the human operating system. It must function according to the rules of the parallel universe in order to supposedly have a connection to what will mean to be human in the future. But is that what you want?
[NB – The author is correct in saying that language itself is the initial representation of reality, which distanced us from the natural world through symbols which we took for what philosophers call the ding an sich, the thing-in-itself. Now with computers, this representation (Vorbildung) is taken to a new level, further distancing us from the world. The film the Matrix is an exploration of that distancing: what is reality and what isn’t?]
How artificial can life be? Humanity is at a crossroads: How much is true humanity worth and what price are we willing to pay for it? Which experiences are irreplaceable? How artificial can life be at its maximum before it ceases to be life? At Christmas, we celebrate this very subversive hope that life and light will come back after the longest days of darkness; that the life-giving sun (sol invictus) is ultimately invincible.
[NB – I think the author is here using the idea of ancient sun worship as a symbol for the desire for the authentic through the direct experience and appreciation of nature. Or is he saying that the representation of the sun is like our representation of reality through computers?]
It is the same hope with which I now blow into the extinguishing embers, so that the fire in the fireplace may glow again to fry chestnuts on it. Here, in a historic rustic location, Ticino [in Switzerland] With this text, I say goodbye to you from the year 2021 and thank you for reading faithfully and sharing many suggestions and letters. Don’t lose heart in these strange times.