When nihilism seems the only defense
SETTING: Discussion with three University of Paris female students in the Tuileries gardens, one from the French provinces, one from Germany and one from Italy.
They display no hatred for the USA but then of course they have no experience of the society there, nor do they seem to have any illusions about it as prior generations had, now being exposed everywhere to the clearly slanted news on CNN and to the obviously fake and pervasive blandishments from the Hollywood dream machine. There is certainly an awareness of the inconceivable degree of corruption in Washington, which would be more exposed in Europe as their governments are much less free from public influence, with maybe the exception of Britain, seen as torn between being an American colony and part of Europe. But the first thing that strikes one is the utter nihilism of young people on the continent, free from burdening misrepresentations which they would reject out of hand as they do with whatever they hear from Sarkozy, Merkel or Berlusconi.
This cynicism if you will, truly can be very refreshing after hearing the obfuscated and wandering opinions of American students. It is quite free from idealism, grand schemes or any utopian images of a post revolutionary kind, thus down to earth and very practical in concept for a possible and effective change. Being true realists they are perfectly aware of the forces arraigned against them and so know more than enumerating the usual capitalist criminalities, realizing that is useless to concentrate on them for rebelling against. And indeed the problem lies much deeper, in the far hidden structure of society about which private power decisions are being made that undercut a decent general human existence. A structure that is carefully camouflaged by propaganda (it is cracking under the global weight of Internet communication).
They fully well know that Western societies are stark and unmovable plantations wherein the so-called elected administrators are in place to function in collusion as overseers where consent is not only manufactured but also forced down the throat of the public. The cruelty of this kind of oligopoly far surpasses that of previous tyrannies, because social control is vastly extended by electronic means and a spiritual escape has become truly ephemeral and made to appear almost foolish. Ergo to remain uninfected, a total nihilism appears to be the only healthy response.
One may at first glance disagree with this kind of negation of everything that is being offered by the pseudo-welfare societies, but the choice is between death of the human soul in surrender to the capitalist yoke versus a complete denial of everything demanded by totalitarian capitalism and these young women try to choose the latter. It is not easy because it includes an anti-social and non-materialist mind that battles the daily requirements for study and their lives, but they choose very carefully what to abandon and what little to keep and frankly it is alluring, but I fear for their steadfastness once they become older and are forced into leading a bourgeois existence with family and kids.
—Paris, September 25, 2009