For myself and most people I know, 2018 has been a dire and brutal year. I have given some occasional deep background into myself sublimated into a number of these pieces, and much of my work here has been about attacking controversies and lies. Most of it has been explorations of world (especially American) history, and attempts to discover the trends and repetitions in human behavior. I believe I have been nominally successful.
But as we end this year, instead of a top or bottom list, and aside from a stale summarized evaluation–even contrary to the hopeful movement of thinking about and wishing for a better new year–I am here to declare that we should expect simply more of the same. Of course in our individual lives things might shift up or down; we may find unexpected pay-offs, or hard work finally bringing us success. We might face illness, tragedy, insanity, death. All of these things are no more or less likely than in the year that is ending. We will still have a crooked president (and it does not matter, does it, who this individual might turn out to be?); we will still be socially, ethically and morally at war with each another. Hatred will not even rise in the world, but stay at its same expansive level, perhaps a little more frequently exploding into the sort of violence we have all come to expect.
The new year has very little meaning. Time itself, or at least the way we have been taught to acknowledge it, has hardly anything to do with the reality of days and hours passing us by. Even those terms: ‘days,’ ‘hours,’ are meaningless if we strip human history away and, look towards the limitations each of us places on endlessness. But this is not meant as a discussion of the theoretical physics of time. No, all I wish to say is that things will most likely not get any better, nor will they get worse, at least as far as our expectations are concerned.
Many of us see a world war just around the corner, while some more extreme people dream about the end of the world. We see hate crimes and racial domination (of any race, the fear truly equal which inspires irrational hatred). The world is too crowded. We are running out of food; out of clean water. War is everywhere and it is mostly for profit. Human life means very little, and it always has. Whichever individual we historically hold up to sainthood is simply a mythologized version of the actual, flawed person they were when alive. Flaws are either exaggerated or suppressed. Good and evil are not so easy to define as we like to tell ourselves. When we say tamely that ‘no one is perfect,’ that is usually meant as a happy-faced acknowledgment that everyone sometimes makes little mistakes. Such a statement is not taken as it should be. If no one is perfect then all of us are flawed. It is not the degree or conviction of our flaws, but their simple existence that leaves all of us on the precipice of self-destruction and rage.
In many ways, for me at least, 2019 is a hopeful year. I have a lot of new work to do and, I expect, one project that is going to get me quite a bit of attention, perhaps even make me a nice paycheck. The world is a cold and indifferent place, and it is rather unfortunate that the chief road to success for a self-declared ‘artist’ (I have often been guilty of this arrogant, pretentious claim) is to piss as many people off as possible.
I hope to fulfill this promise in the year to come. Happy New Year . . .