When will we get back to normal? Never. We’ll achieve a new normal, but it won’t be the old one.
This is our Red Pill viral moment.
In 1999, The Matrix explored our condition metaphorically: the machines would have given us comfort, but human beings need more than comfort; they need work and a sense of purpose. So the mechanical vampires gave us the rat race, a plausible lie, a virtual-reality Veil of Maya. As hard science fiction it was hopeless, but as social commentary, it’s still timely: the Machine is self-serving and self-perpetuating, employing humans as dupes and quislings.
The virus has gotten into the Machine and stopped it. So where do we go now? First, let’s be clear about what we’re looking at. Strong libertarianism is a mushroom-cloud landscape of exploded brains, fissioning with cognitive dissonance. Communism is unlikely to work — the Machine tried that too.
We need to slow down and think, reflect on how we’ve been pawns of this collective, amoral force, and then build a new community that uses its powerful machines rather than lets itself be used by them. The air is briefly clean right now. The Machine treated the air as worthless, but we see it’s priceless. That’s the tragedy of the Machine and its sustaining ethos — it can set a clear price on gilded towers, but not on clean air and water, and society, and sanity.
The Machine has stopped. Let’s take control before it reboots a version of the old program.