Saturday, 9 July 2011

More filled with the Body Politic

I don't have time to start writing again, but I'm taking it anyway.

I wrote in my last post that times were tough. They are no longer - for most of us, anyway - yet the crisis has moved the goalposts of what is right and what is wrong: the moral dilemma of how to live, how to work and what exactly defines success has been resuscitated, despite the DNR order that the conformist 90s and early 00s signed for it. The "way things are" has been put into question (for those of you, who don't think it has: it needs to be).

Social order is a slave to art, as much as it is slave to politics and slave to philosophy - and an utter bitch to the historical experience of a society. Just recently, our collective memory has been enriched by the experience of an economic crisis, which now begs the question, whether we misunderstood what mankind is supposed to do on this planet. Strangely, the majority of us just seems hellbent to ignore this question altogether.

I moved back to the continent, back to Luxembourg, because there was no discourse in the UK addressing that question. It just didn't happen in Britain. My interpretation of why that was, is that the conduit between the different subcultures within this marvellously liberal society was broken. It still is.
It seemed that - while we were allowed to have our diverging opinions in a pluralistic society - we weren't arguing them anymore. Hell, we weren't asked to argue them anymore!!!
We preferred to think of ourselves as pop idols and strictly dancers... yet we stopped talking between ourselves.

That is why I left. That is why we left.

A year ago, we returned to Luxembourg. Having been parachuted into a place that has transmogrified, since we left it some 6 years ago, we've been rediscovering it ever since. What used to be a somnambulant, homogenic and deeply conservative society, is now metamorphosing into something new. The drivers behind this change are not rocking the foundations of the conservative money-making elite (nobody wants to rock this boat: the old hacker credo: never touch a working system, is at the very roots of the Luxembourgish consenus model - and who would want to go through all this trouble, after we just exalted ourselves so much, trying to shake the spectre of material demise during the banking crisis?).
However, WE ARE TALKING with those, who insist to ask society this all-important question: how should we live, if we want to sustain the current state of things? How should we grow? How much should we work on things that fascinate us, instead of working on those that maximise our financial gain?

Admittedly, while we crowdsource this question, the majority of the populace remains gobsmacked by the discourse - but an ever-growing number of people recognises that the question has merit.

The signs are visible and they constitute the seed of a new current in the Politics of the place (the political discourse, as opposed to the stinking, rotting carcass of the zombie that polity has become). We've been racking our heads about what, besides the systemic shock and resulting doubt after the crisis, drives this change.

What we know is:

- this country can literally afford concurrent cultural evolution: the crisis hasn't killed our hope for a positive future, because it hasn't impacted our wealth as much, as elsewhere. We are not impoverished and scared to death to lose our jobs, house or social status, as people in France, Belgium or the UK are. We are therefore not slave to the corporate hand that feeds us. We are increasingly well-educated, welcome people of all cultures and languages - of which we speak three or more - and look to discover aspects of life beyond the mainstream of the 9 to 5.

- the nascent art scene of Luxembourg has broken free of its kitchy, baroque neo-romantic past and is expanding its reach. The implantation of the Luxembourg Museum of Modern Art (MUDAM - Musée d'Art Moderne) has slowly superimposed a novel layer of sophistication on Luxembourg. Art is the avant-garde of social change. MUDAM is the nucleus for it.

- we are the digital natives: we have the ability/money to buy the portable tech (as in: gadgets) that allows us to be online on the go and network across all the languages and cultures we speak. This is no longer the digital hinterland it once was: we can connect to Your social network - and we're not afraid to show our iPads in public for fear some chavs might steal them (they're going to be much more interested in carjacking the Beemer of the bank director next door).

- we are a fusion of the old and the new. We are accepted in our habitat not as foes, but as citizens of Luxembourg, who parallel-shift out of post-crisis austerity. We are the pupils of contrausterity, but we love this country and respect its past.

Don't try to take away this freedom. It'll be the end of you.