The slow cancellation of the futureIt is the contention of this book that 21st Century culture is marked by the same anachronism and inertia which afflicted Sapphire And Steel in their final adventure. But this stasis has been buried, interred behind a superficial frenzy of ‘newness’, of perpetual movement. The ‘jumbling up of time’, the montaging of earlier eras, has ceased to be worthy of comment; it is now so prevalent that it is no longer even noticed.
In his book After The Future, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi refers to the ‘the slow cancellation of the future [which] got underway in the 1970s and 1980s.’ ‘But when I say ‘future’’, he elaborates,
I am not referring to the direction of time. I am thinking, rather, of the psychological perception, which emerged in the cultural situation of progressive modernity, the cultural expectations that were fabricated during the long period of modern civilization, reaching a peak after the Second World War. These expectations were shaped in the conceptual frameworks of an ever progressing development, albeit through different methodologies: the Hegel-Marxist mythology of Aufhebung and founding of the new totality of Communism; the bourgeois mythology of a linear development of welfare and democracy; the technocratic mythology of the all-encompassing power of scientific knowledge; and so on.
My generation grew up at the peak of this mythological temporalization, and it is very difficult, maybe impossible, to get rid of it, and look at reality without this kind of temporal lens. I’ll never be able to live in accordance with the new reality, no matter how evident, unmistakable, or even dazzling its social planetary trends. After The Future, AK Books, 2011, pp18-19)
While the background is of less relevance, I was reminded of the final episode of Quantum Leap, where Sam, after completing his final mission, disappears within - or outside of? - time:
Given that this was 1993, as futuristic thinking was beginning to close down, this seems strangely relevant and portentous. More here.