Eschatology 401: Taking the Communism out of Communes, Putting the Socialism into Social Media

Films predict it; sci-fi books thrive on it; non-fiction books expound upon it; now even half-assed TV shows like ‘Revolution’ are jumping on the Ark, with their thinly-scripted post-Apocalyptic scenario based on a B-movie premise of “Who turned out the lights?”  Some of the takes are much more well-thought-out, of course, and the message is the same: we’re heading for the cliff, and no one seems to care enough about it to do anything to change it, as if our cherished out-of-control ‘way of life’ is sacrosanct, iPhone and iPad and the drone of incessant wars in the background. This is not denial; this is deliberate negligence and misguided religious eschatology.  The irony, of course, is that the average world citizen has never been wealthier…as the water rises up around our knees.  

I don’t see why nature and technology should be seen as opposites, much less enemies.  To me the two together are key to a sustainable future, the power of technology propelling advanced civilization long after the oil is gone, long after governments have left us to our luck, pot luck.  Solar power is easily enough to run one’s personal computers and router, and an Internet signal can come from a satellite almost anywhere.  It’s been done many times.  Whether it can run those central servers and that massive storage is another question.  But I bet it can.  After all, we’ve barely scratched the surface for solar energy. Will governments step up to the plate or will we have to wait for private industry to decide–or not–that life is commercially viable enough to save?

Maybe there’s another option. I wonder what happened to the old 60’s-styles communes? There are still a few of them around and many more modern ones in the works.  This could be the paradigm for the future.  Instead of building (literal) stairways to heaven or retrofitting our DNA for future circumstances, maybe we should be making life on earth more survivable and palatable and sustainable indefinitely.

Since governments and corporations both seem to have their heads up their own private nether lands, hooked on the false promise of capitalistic ‘growth’ until we’re all relegated to being matrix mugwumps stuck in subterranean homesick black-and-whites sucking the life out of every last resource this sacred earth still holds, hanging on to precious previous memories as our little patch-of-blue window to a world outside waiting, if only a false promise, dream, maya, illusion.  Instead of such a pitiful and dramatic fate, maybe we should be re-connecting to the land, with the help of technology, of course.

In 1980 I visited The Farm in Tennessee, at its height of 1500 residents, maybe America’s best-known ‘hippie’ commune, which was eerily similar to the vestiges of Cold War Communism that I witnessed in its late autumn phase, around 1995.  The Farm ultimately faced a diaspora some five years later, in 1985, a victim of poverty, Cold War scrutiny, loss of idealism, and triumphant materialistic Reaganism, no doubt, but I’m not sure. I haven’t seen the movie yet, made by former residents.  It’s on my list.  I only found about it just now, as I was writing the closing paragraph to this blog post.  But The Farm itself survived, and thrives to this day on a smaller level, complete with technology.  I wonder how the movie ends.  I wonder how the story ends…