Eighteen: Hour 2
Written by Agent 47 on June 23, 2018
As I mentioned in the post for the first hour, of this my first show streamcast in the year 2018. I haven’t the slightest idea what I was talking about or what (if anything) held this playlist together. I do notice from my notes that I did start off the second hour with the live version of “Whipping Post” by the Allman Brothers Band, off their 1972 live release Eat a Peach. Which tells me I must have needed some time to run upstairs to use the facilities. Not sure if I played the whole track or not. Suppose you’ll have to listen to find out.
And with that we’ll get back to the transcription of this excerpt from Daniel Quinn’s The Story of B
Signs of distress: 1960-96
The next doubling of our population occurred in only thirty-six years, bringing us to the present moment, when there are six billion humans on this planet, all but a few scattered millions belonging to our culture, East and West.
The voices in our long chorus of distress have been added a few at a time, age by age. First came war: war as a social fixture, war as a way of life. For two thousand years or more, war seems to have been the only voice in the chorus. But before long it was joined by crime: crime as a social fixture, as a way of life. And then there was corruption: corruption as a social fixture, as a way of life. Before long, these voices were joined by slavery: slavery as world trade and as a social fixture.
Soon revolt followed: citizens and slaves rising up to vent their rage and pain. Next, as population pressures gained in intensity, famine and plague found their voices and began to sing everywhere in our culture. Vast classes of the poor began to be exploited pitilessly for their labor. Drugs joined slavery as world trade. The laboring classes—the so-called dangerous classes—rose up in rebellion. The entire world economy collapsed. Global industrial powers played at world domination and genocide.
And then came us: 1960 to the present.
Of what does our voice sing in the chorus of distress? For some four decades the water has been boiling around the frog. One by one, thousand by thousand, million by million, its cells have shut down, unequal to the task of holding on to life.
What are we looking at here? I’ll give you a name and you can tell me if I’ve got it right. I’m prepared to name it . . . cultural collapse. This is what we sing of in the chorus of distress now—not instead of all the rest, but iin addition to all the rest. This is our unique contribution to our culture’s howl of pain. For the very first time in the history of the world, we bewail the collapse of everything we know and understand, the collapse of the structure on which everything has been built from the beginning of our culture until now.
The frog is dead—and we can’t imagine what this means for us or for our children. We’re terrified.
Have I got it right? Think about it. If I’ve got it wrong, there’s nothing more to say, of course. But it you think I’ve got it right come back tomorrow night, and I’ll continue from this point.