Oh, I am in a state today. Fully 36 hours since consuming childish amounts of alcohol and I appear to still be hungover. My dear wife is even worse off.
Leaves me feeling low, this nuclear holocaust of headache and nausea and contrition. And so I'm thinking about John Gray today. John Gray was the first person I ever heard suggest that there is no such thing as progress, at least in the political and ethical sense of the word. I found that a complete and utter headfuck when I heard it, right up there with when you first seriously ask yourself whether there's a god or not. As a species we are obsessed with the potential of things and people, from footballers to musicians to actors, but we rarely ever stop and say "This is as good as it gets and I think it's just fine." We'd see that as defeatist, as letting ourselves down.
As Gray puts it:
"The idea of progress is detrimental to the life of the spirit, because it encourages us to view our lives, not under the aspect of eternity, but as moments in a universal process of betterment. We do not, therefore, accept our lives for what they are, but instead consider them always for what they might someday become."
"The core of the belief in progress is that human values and goals converge in parallel with our increasing knowledge. The twentieth century shows the contrary. Human beings use the power of scientific knowledge to assert and defend the values and goals they already have. New technologies can be used to alleviate suffering and enhance freedom. They can, and will, also be used to wage war and strengthen tyranny. Science made possible the technologies that powered the industrial revolution. In the twentieth century, these technologies were used to implement state terror and genocide on an unprecedented scale. Ethics and politics do not advance in line with the growth of knowledge — not even in the long run."
Most discomforting at first, that kind of rhetoric, but oddly uplifting once you get used to it. I am a riot to be around while dwelling on these things. I have also been learning about Black Swan Theory and reading this remarkably good piece about Internet stupidity. If you only click on one link in this post make it that one.
But I leave you with some even wiser words, as spaketh by the prophet Andrew:
"€5 cocktails do not make for a cheap night out when you consume eighteen of them between the two of you."