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Slow revolution!

Go to the table of contents —by Cyril A. Skinazy Lire cette page en français

Courtesy Oleg Oprisco

The future will be “slow” or it will be No Future. Capitalism as we know it these days has not finished expiring in its convulsions, and it’s not by chance that those who made big profits’ only religion keep stumbling off the screen like characters losing in a gigantic video game. Naturally the market economy, based on competition and individual success, isn’t going to suddenly disappear. On the other hand capitalism is losing ground every day in a new context made possible by millions of computers interconnected around the world, and the determination of people refusing to give in to lies of propaganda and advertising. Since the time when anyone could become a media source unto themselves, the consciousness of humanity is realizing and recognizing what is truly better for the human race. While the old system is resting on its laurels in so many ways, exciting initiatives are shaking up traditional realms of business. The fields of health, education, housing, and soon enough energy, are undergoing unprecedented transformation.

The music and publishing industries were the first hit by this shock wave, and music is an emblematic symbol of this new society of sharing which turns each consumer in to a business player.

American sociologist and futurologist Jeremy Rifkin, in “The Zero Marginal Cost Society”, analyses this passage from one world to the other with evident prescience. As a historian of societies he explains the role of major advances in technology in the transformation of the economic model. Like the way printing presses were converted to be powered by electricity phenomenally multiplied the production of newspapers and books, making them available to millions by lowering their cost, access to knowledge, computers connected by networks, the exponential rise in their capacity and speed allowing the exchange of information so quickly that any event becomes public knowledge, likely to be scrutinized and commented upon by the entire planet with radical consequences.

The “slow” revolution is not an absolute refusal of everything progress brings us. It is a way of letting go when faced with a certain other idea of what progress is. It’s like hijacking a locomotive hurtling along at top speed towards a certain collision, and gently pushing the train back towards tracks lined with charming landscapes.

What worries the powers that be is that this “slow revolution” is blowing up the system from the inside. And this revolution is entirely unlike insurrections of the past whose objective was to topple a power by force. This revolution is taking shape on many levels. It uses disaffection, disinterest and disrepute as major weapons before truly swinging in to action. The effect of a popular ground swell will do the rest. Live and let die could be their motto. In Italy a collective of 15,000 journalists “out for reporting” has formed the cooperative Legacoop, and another group, “Corragio” in the heart of the Pignette alternative neighborhood in Rome, is proud of great rises in agricultural production, offers lessons in gardening and even sends cooks to people’s homes, while in Sicily “Adio Pizzo” is an association of 800 shop owners refuse to pay the “Pizzo”, the Mafia tax. The “Free and Authentic Community” in the village of Agios Nikolaos on the Greek island of Euboea is self-sufficient in electricity and agricultural products, and is in the process of building its own school. “I try to be the change I want to see in this world”, says one of its cofounders.

The Occupy movement which flared up in dozens of large cities, the boycott of companies making polluting products, the rising demand for whole foods, grown and produced ethically, esthetically, useful and minimalist all carry on with this same momentum: getting away from a deadly and absurd world so as to invest in a territory dreamed of, not a utopian world as evidenced by the “Tiny House” phenomenon which offers a vision of luxury independent of its space.

Neuroscientist Thomas Budzinski noticed that occupying the left brain (which takes care of logical analysis) with incomprehensible information allowed the right brain (specialized in everything creative) learn ten times faster.

This behavior of the brain is as it is with our societies. The framework of basic assumptions, absurd, nebulous, twisting and unbearable, instead of keeping people dominated, has instead freed their creativity and caused them to come up with a new social model. Letting go has done its work and the Cool Revolution is now among us.

—Cyril A. Skinazy, writer and chief editor of By Courtesy

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