Read Me to Sleep, Ricky host Rick Whitaker reads "On a Winded Civilization," an essay by the Romanian writer E.M. Cioran (1911-1995) from his 1956 collection The Temptation to Exist. The introduction to the English-language edition translated (from the French) by Richard Howard is by Susan Sontag, who wrote: "Cioran's subject: on being a mind, a consciousness tuned to the highest pitch of refinement."
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Music by Brad Garton
Read Me to Sleep, Ricky is hosted by Rick Whitaker and produced in New York City.
ON A WINDED CIVILIZATION
By E.M. Cioran
THE MAN who belongs, organically belongs, to a civilization cannot identify the nature of the disease which undermines it. His diagnosis counts for nothing; the judgment he offers upon it concerns himself; he spares the civilization out of egoism.
Less restricted, less partial, the newcomer examines it without calculation and is in a better position to grasp its failures. If it is declining, he will agree, if need be, to decline too, to remark upon it and upon himself the effects of fatum. As for remedies, he neither possesses nor proposes them. Since he knows you cannot treat destiny, he does not set himself up as a healer in any case. His sole ambition: to keep abreast of the Incurable.
Given the spectacle of their teeming successes, the nations of the West had no trouble exalting history, attributing to it a meaning and a finality. It belonged to them, they were its agents: hence it must take a rational course . . . Consequently they placed it under the patronage, by turns, of Providence, of Reason, and of Progress. What they lacked was a sense of fatality, which they are at last beginning to acquire, overwhelmed by the absence which lies in wait for them, by the prospect of their eclipse. Once subjects, they have become objects, forever dispossessed of that luminescence, that admirable megalomania which had hitherto protected them from the irreparable. They are so conscious of it today that they measure the stupidity of a mind by its degree of attachment to events. What is more natural, the moment events take place elsewhere? One reveres them only if one retains the initiative in their regard. But insofar as we cherish the memory of an old supremacy, we dream still of excelling, if only in chaos.
France, England, Germany have their age of expansion and madness behind them. Then comes the end of insanity, the beginning of defensive wars. No more collective crusades, no more citizens, but wan and disabused individuals, still ready to answer the call of a utopia, though on condition that it come from somewhere else, on condition that they need not bother to conceive it themselves. If, in the past, they died for the absurdity of glory, they abandon themselves now to a frenzy of small claims. "Happiness" tempts them; it is their last prejudice, from which Marxism, that sin of optimism, derives its energy. To blind oneself, to serve, to surrender to the ridicule or the stupidity of a cause-extravagances of which they are no longer capable. When a nation begins to show its age, it orients itself toward the condition of the masses. Even if it possessed a thousand Napoleons, it would refuse nonetheless to com promise its repose or that of the other nations. With failing reflexes, whom would it terrorize, and how? If all peoples had reached the same degree of fossilization, or of coward ice, they would readily come to an understanding: insecurity would yield to the permanence of a coward's pact... To count on the disappearance of belligerent appetites, to believe in the generalization of decrepitude or in a collective idyll is to look far ahead-too far: utopia, the presbyopia of old nations. Young ones, scorning the lure of such vague horizons, see matters from the viewpoint of action: their perspective is proportionate to their enterprise. Sacrificing comfort to adventure, happiness to efficiency, they do not admit the legitimacy of contradictory ideas, the coexistence of antinomic positions: their goal is to reduce our anxieties by... terror, to buttress us by breaking us. All their successes derive from their savagery, since what counts, for them, is not their dreams but their energy. If they incline to an ideology, it is one that heightens their fury, makes the most of their barbaric stock-in-trade, and keeps them on the alert. When the old nations adopt one, it benumbs them, even while affording that fractional degree of fever which allows them to believe themselves in some sense alive: a slight case of illusion...
A civilization exists and asserts itself only by acts of provocation. Once it begins to calm down, it crumbles. Its culminating moments are its formidable ones, during which, far from husbanding its forces, it squanders them. Eager to exhaust herself, France concentrated on wasting hers; she succeeded, with the help of her pride, her aggressive zeal (has she not waged, in a thousand years, more wars than any other country?). Despite her sense of balance-even her excesses were happy ones-she could achieve supremacy only to the detriment of her substance. To lay herself waste: that became a point of honor. Captivated by the explosive formula of an ideological uproar, France put her genius and her vanity in the service of every event to occur these last ten centuries. And, after having been a star, behold her now-resigned, fearful, ruminating upon her regrets, her apprehensions, and resting from her luster, from her past. She flees her countenance, trembles before the mirror... The wrinkles of a nation are as visible as those of an individual.
When one has made a great revolution, one does not launch another of the same importance. If one has long been the arbiter of taste, when that rank is lost, one does not try to regain it. When one craves anonymity, one is tired of serving as a model, of being followed, aped: why bother still keeping a salon to amuse the universe?
France knows these truisms too well to rehash them now. A nation of gestures, a theatrical nation, she loved her acting as much as her public. She is weary of it now, and wants to leave the stage. France no longer aspires to anything more than the decors of oblivion.
That she has used up her inspiration and her gifts we can scarcely doubt, but it would be unfair to reproach her for it: we might as well accuse her of having realized and fulfilled herself. The virtues which made her a privileged nation she has exhausted by over-civilization, by development, and it is not for lack of exercise that her talents are fading today. If the concept of living well (that mania of declining periods) monopolizes, obsesses her, it is because she is no more than a name for a sum of individuals, a society rather than a historic will. Her disgust for her former ambitions of universality and omnipresence has now reached such proportions that only a miracle could save her from a provincial destiny.
Ever since she abandoned her schemes for domination and conquest, France has been sapped by nostalgia, that generalized ennui. The scourge of nations on the defensive, it devastates their vitality; rather than protect themselves, they suffer it, accustom themselves to it until they can no longer do without it. Between life and death, they will always find room enough to avoid either: to escape living, to escape dying. Stricken with a lucid catalepsy, dreaming of an eternal status quo, how could they react against the obscurity which besets them, against the advance of opaque civilizations?
If we want to know what a people has been and why it is unworthy of its past, we need only examine the figures which marked it the most. What England was, the portraits of her great men show clearly enough. If you want a shock, go to the National Gallery and contemplate those virile faces, sometimes so delicate, generally monstrous-the energy they give off, the originality of their features, the arrogance and solidity of their gaze! Today's Englishmen are as remote from them as the Greeks of the Empire must have been from Aeschylus. There is nothing Elizabethan left in them: they employ what "character" they have left to save appearances. One always pays dearly for having taken "civilization" seriously, for having assimilated it to excess.
Who helps build an empire? Adventurers, brutes, cads anyone without the prejudice of "man." By the end of the middle ages, England, overflowing with life, was fierce and dolorous: no concern for the honorable thing stood in the way of her desire for expansion. From her there emanated that melancholy of strength so characteristic of Shakespeare's characters. Hamlet's doubts fail to affect his ardor. His scruples? He provokes them by a debauch of energy, by a thirst for success, by the tension of a will inexhaustibly diseased: no one more liberal, more generous toward his own torments, nor so lavish with them. Luxuriant anxieties! What Englishman today could raise himself to that level? Who even tries, moreover? The English ideal for the last two hundred years has been correct behavior, a man comme il faut--an idea they have come dangerously close to realizing. The absence of vulgarity in certain circles assumes alarming dimensions: to be impersonal in England constitutes an imperative: to make others yawn becomes a law. By a pure intensity of distinction and inspidity, the Englishman becomes more and more impenetrable and abashes us by the mystery we attribute to him in contempt of the evidence.
Reacting against his own depths, against his past behavior, undermined by prudence and reserve, he has worked up a deportment, a rule of conduct which must divide him from his own genius. Where are his exhibitions of effrontery and hauteur, his challenges, his old arrogances? Romanticism was the last gasp of his pride. Since then, reticent and virtuous, he has let the heritage of cynicism and insolence we thought he preened himself on crumble to dust. We should search in vain for traces of the barbarian he was: all his instincts are throttled by his decency. Instead of goading him on, encouraging his follies, his philosophers have driven him toward the impasse of happiness. Determined to be happy, he has become so. And his happiness, exempt from plenitude, from risk, from any tragic suggestion, has become that enveloping mediocrity in which he will be content for ever. It is scarcely surprising he has become a character dear to the North, a model, an ideal for etiolated Vikings. As long as the Englishman was powerful, he was detested, feared; now, he is understood; soon, he will be loved... He is no longer a nightmare for anyone. Excess, delirium he protects himself against these, sees them only as an aberration, or an impoliteness. What a contrast between his former excesses and the prudence he invokes now! Only at the price of great abdications does a nation become normal.
"If the sun and the moon should doubt, they'd immediately go out" (Blake). Europe has doubted for a long time ... and if her eclipse disturbs us, the Americans and the Russians contemplate it with either composure or delight.
America stands before the world as an impetuous void, a fatality without substance. Nothing prepared her for hegemony; yet she tends toward it, not without a certain hesitation. Unlike the other nations which have had to pass through a whole series of humiliations and defeats, she has known till now only the sterility of an uninterrupted good fortune. If, in the future, everything should continue to go as well, her appearance on the scene will have been an accident without influence. Those who preside over her destiny, those who take her interests to heart, should prepare her for bad times; in order to cease being a superficial monster, she requires an ordeal of major scope. Perhaps she is not far from one now. Having lived, hitherto, outside hell, she is preparing to descend into it. If she seeks a destiny for her self, she will find it only on the ruins of all that was her raison d'être.
As for Russia, who can examine her past without feeling a thrill, a first-class frisson. A dim past, full of expectation, of subterranean anxiety-a past of inspired moles. The explosion of the Russians will make the nations tremble; al ready, they have introduced the Absolute into politics. That is the challenge they fling at a humanity gnawed by doubts and to which they will not fail to administer the coup de grace. If we no longer have much soul, they have enough and to spare. Close to their origins, to that affective universe in which the mind still clings to the soil, to flesh and blood, they feel what they think; their truths, like their mistakes, are sensations, stimulants, acts. In fact, they do not think, they erupt. Still at the stage where the intelligence neither attenuates nor dissolves obsessions, they are as ignorant of the harmful effects of reflection as of those extremities of consciousness when it becomes the agent of uprootedness and anemia. They can therefore get under way tranquilly enough. What have they to face, except a lymphatic world? Nothing in front of them, nothing living with which they can collide, no obstacle: was it not a Russian who first used, in the middle of the nineteenth century, the word "cemetery" apropos of the West? Soon they will arrive en masse to visit the remains. Their footsteps are already perceptible to sensitive ears. Who could oppose their advancing superstitions with even a simulacrum of certainty?
Since the Age of Enlightenment, Europe has ceaselessly sapped her idols in the name of tolerance: at least, as long as she was powerful, she believed in this idea and fought to defend it. Even her doubts were merely convictions disguised; since they testified to her strength, she had the right to speak in their name, and the means to impose them; now they are no more than symptoms of enervation, vague impulses of an atrophied instinct.
The destruction of idols involves that of prejudices. Now, prejudices-organic fictions of a civilization-assure its duration, preserve its physiognomy. It must respect them: if not all of them, at least those which are its own and which, in the past, had the importance of a superstition, a rite. If a civilization entertains them as pure conventions, it will increasingly release itself from them without being able to replace them by its own means. And what if it has worshiped caprice, freedom, the individual? A high-class conformism, no more. Once it ceases to "conform," caprice, freedom, and the individual will become a dead letter.
A minimum of unconsciousness is necessary if one wants to stay inside history. To act is one thing; to know one is acting is another. When lucidity invests the action, insinuates itself into it, action is undone and, with it, prejudice, whose function consists, precisely, in subordinating, in en slaving consciousness to action. The man who unmasks his fictions renounces his own resources and, in a sense, himself. Consequently, he will accept other fictions which will deny him, since they will not have cropped up from his own depths. No man concerned with his equilibrium may exceed a certain degree of lucidity and analysis. How much more this applies to a civilization, which vacillates as soon as it exposes the errors which permitted its growth and its luster, as soon as it calls into question its own truths!
One does not abuse one's capacity to doubt with impunity. When the skeptic no longer extracts any active virtue from his problems and his interrogations, he approaches his dénouement, indeed he seeks it out, runs to it: let others settle his uncertainties, let someone else help him to succumb! No longer knowing what to do with his anxieties, his freedom, he pines nostalgically for the executioner, even cries out for him. Those who have found answers for nothing are better at enduring the effects of tyranny than those who have found an answer for everything. Thus, when it comes to dying, dilettantes make less fuss than fanatics. During the Revolution, more than one ci-devant mounted the scaffold with a smile on his lips; when the Jacobins' turn came, their faces were preoccupied and somber; they were dying in the name of a truth, a prejudice. Today, wherever we look, we see only an ersatz truth, an ersatz prejudice; those who lack even this ersatz seem more serene, but their smile is mechanical: a poor, last reflex of elegance...
Neither the Russians nor the Americans were mature enough, nor corrupt enough intellectually to "save" Europe or to rehabilitate her decadence. The Germans, being contaminated in a different way, might have lent her a semblance of duration, a tinge of the future. But as imperialists in the name of a limited dream and of an ideology hostile to every value generated by the Renaissance, they were to accomplish their mission in reverse and spoil everything forever. Called upon to control the Continent, to give it an appearance of scope, even if only for a few generations (the twentieth century should have been German in the sense in which the eighteenth was French), they went about it so clumsily that they only hastened its downfall. Not content with having overthrown it and left it upside down, they then made a present of it to Russia and to America, for it was in their behalf that the Germans were good at combat and collapse. Thus, heroes on other men's account, authors of a tragic clutter, they failed in their task, their true role. After having meditated upon and elaborated the themes of the modern world, produced a Hegel, a Marx, it was their duty to apprentice themselves to a universal idea, not a tribal vision. Yet even that vision, grotesque as it was, testified in their favor: did it not reveal that they alone, in the West, preserved some vestiges of energy and barbarism, and that they were still capable of a grand design or of a vigorous insanity? But we know now that they no longer have either the desire or the capacity to hurl themselves into new ad ventures; that their pride, having lost its vigor, is growing as debilitated as themselves; and that, seduced in their turn by the charm of secession, they will add their modest contribution to the general collapse.
Such as it is, the West will not subsist indefinitely: it is preparing for its end, though it is in for a period of surprises... Think of what it was from the fifth to the tenth centuries! A much more serious crisis awaits it; another style will appear, new peoples will form. For the moment, let us envisage chaos. Already, most of us are resigned to it. Invoking History with the intention of succumbing to it, abdicating in the name of the future, we dream, out of a need to hope against ourselves, of seeing ourselves overrun, trampled down, "saved"... A similar sentiment had led Antiquity to that suicide which was the Christian promise.
The tired intellectual sums up the deformities and the vices of a world adrift. He does not act, he suffers; if he favors the notion of tolerance, he does not find in it the stimulant he needs. Tyranny furnishes that, as do the doctrines of which it is the outcome. If he is the first of its victims, he will not complain: only the strength that grinds him into the dust seduces him. To want to be free is to want to be oneself; but he is tired of being himself, of blazing a trail into uncertainty, of stumbling through truths. "Bind me with the chains of Illusion," he sighs, even as he says farewell to the peregrinations of Knowledge. Thus he will fling himself, eyes closed, into any mythology which will assure him the protection and the peace of the yoke. Declining the honor of assuming his own anxieties, he will engage in enterprises from which he anticipates sensations he could not derive from himself, so that the excesses of his lassitude will confirm the tyrannies. Churches, ideologies, police-seek out their origin in the horror he feels for his own lucidity, rather than in the stupidity of the masses. This weakling transforms himself, in the name of a know-nothing utopia, into a gravedigger of the intellect; convinced of doing something useful, he prostitutes Pascal's old "abêtissez-vous," the Solitary's tragic device.
A routed iconoclast, disillusioned with paradox and provocation, in search of impersonality and routine, half prostrated, ripe for the stereotype, the tired intellectual abdicates his singularity and rejoins the rabble. Nothing more to over turn, if not himself: the last idol to smash ... . . . His own debris lures him on. While he contemplates it, he shapes the idol of new gods or restores the old ones by baptizing them with new names. Unable to sustain the dignity of be ing fastidious, less and less inclined to winnow truths, he is content with those he is offered. By-product of his ego, he proceeds—a wrecker gone to seed-to crawl before the altars, or before what takes their place. In the temple or on the tribunal, his place is where there is singing, or shouting no longer a chance to hear one's own voice. A parody of be lief? It matters little to him, since all he aspires to is to desist from himself. All his philosophy has concluded in a refrain, all his pride foundered on a Hosanna!
Let us be fair: as things stand now, what else could he do? Europe's charm, her originality resided in the acuity of her critical spirit, in her militant, aggressive skepticism; this skepticism has had its day. Hence the intellectual, frustrated in his doubts, seeks out the compensations of dogma. Having reached the confines of analysis, struck down by the void he discovers there, he turns on his heel and attempts to seize the first certainty to come along; but he lacks the naiveté to hold onto it; henceforth, a fanatic without convictions, he is no more than an ideologist, a hybrid thinker, such as we find in all transitional periods. Participating in two different styles, he is, by the form of his intelligence, a tributary of the one which is vanishing, and by the ideas he defends, of the one which is appearing. To understand him better, let us imagine an Augustine half-converted, drifting and tacking, and borrowing from Christianity only its hatred of the ancient world. Are we not in a period symmetrical with the one which saw the birth of The City of God? It is difficult to conceive of a book more timely. Today as then, men's minds need a simple truth, an answer which delivers them from their questions, a gospel, a tomb.
The moments of refinement conceal a death-principle: nothing is more fragile than subtlety. The abuse of it leads to the catechisms, an end to dialectical games, the collapse of an intellect which instinct no longer assists. The ancient philosophy, trapped in its scruples, had in spite of itself opened the way to the artlessness of the lower depths; religious sects pullulated; the schools gave way to the cults. An analogous defeat threatens us: already the ideologies are rampant, the degraded mythologies which will reduce and annihilate us. We shall not be able to sustain the ceremony of our contradictions much longer. Many are prepared to venerate any idol, to serve any truth, so long as one and the other be imposed upon them, so long as they need not make the effort to choose their shame or their disaster.
Whatever the world to come, the Western peoples will play in it the part of the Graeculi in the Roman Empire. Sought out and despised by the new conqueror, they will have, in order to impress him, only the jugglery of their intelligence or the luster of their past. The art of surviving oneself-they are already distinguished in that. Symptoms of exhaustion are everywhere: Germany has given her measure in music: what leads us to believe that she will excel in it again? She has used up the resources of her profundity, as France those of her elegance. Both-and with them, this entire corner of the world-are on the verge of bankruptcy, the most glamorous since antiquity. Then will come the liquidation: a prospect which is not a negligible one, a respite whose duration cannot be estimated, a period of facility in which each man, before the deliverance finally at hand, will be happy to have behind him the throes of hope and expectation.
Amid her perplexities and inertia, Europe nonetheless preserves one conviction, only one, which she will part with for nothing in the world: the conviction that she has a future as a victim, a sacrificial future. Staunch and intractable for once, she believes herself lost, she will be lost, and she is. Moreover, has she not long since been taught that new races will reduce her, flout her? The moment she seemed at the pinnacle of her power, in the eighteenth century, the Abbé Galiani already observed that she was in decline and told her as much. Rousseau, for his part, prophesied: "The Tartars will become our masters: this revolution seems to me infallible." He spoke the truth. As for the next century, we know Napoleon's phrase about the Cossacks, and the prophetic agonies of a Tocqueville, a Michelet, or a Renan. These presentiments have become flesh, these intuitions now belong to the baggage of the vulgar. A man does not abdicate from one day to the next: he requires an atmosphere of retreat scrupulously maintained, a legend of defeat. This atmosphere is created, as is this legend. And just as the pre-Columbians, ready and resigned to suffer the invasion of dis tant conquerors, collapsed when the latter arrived, so the West, too learned, too conscious of its future servitude, will doubtless undertake no action in order to ward it off. It will have, moreover, neither the means nor the desire nor the audacity to do so. The crusaders, turned gardeners, vanished into that home-loving posterity in which no trace of nomadism susbsists. But history is a nostalgia for space, a horror of home, a vagabond dream and a need to die far away... but history is precisely what we no longer see around us.
There is a satiety which incites to discovery, to the invention of myths, of lies that instigate actions: it is an unsatisfied ardor, a morbid enthusiasm which becomes healthy as soon as it fixes upon an object; there is another kind which, dissociating the mind from its powers and life from its wellsprings, impoverishes and dessicates. Caricatured hypostasis of ennui, it destroys myths or falsifies their use. A disease, in short. To learn its symptoms and its seriousness, it would be a mistake to look far off: merely ob serve yourself, inspect how deeply the West has marked you...
If strength is contagious, weakness is no less so: it has its attractions, nor is it easy to resist. When the feeble are legion, they charm you, they crush you: what means is there of struggling against a continent of abulics? The disease of the will being agreeable as well, one surrenders to it with a good grace. Nothing sweeter than to drag oneself along be hind events; and nothing more reasonable. But without a strong dose of madness, no initiative, no enterprise, no gesture. Reason: the rust of our vitality. It is the madman in us who forces us into adventure; once he abandons us, we are lost; everything depends on him, even our vegetative life; it is he who invites us, who obliges us to breathe, and it is also he who forces our blood to venture through our veins. Once he withdraws, we are alone indeed! We cannot be normal and alive at the same time. If I keep myself in a vertical position and prepare to fulfill the coming moment -if, in short, I conceive the future, a fortunate dislocation of my mind is involved. I subsist and act insofar as I am a raving maniac, insofar as I carry my lunacies to their conclusion. Once I become reasonable, everything intimidates m I slide toward absence, toward springs which do not deign me: to flow, toward that prostration which life must have known before conceiving movement. I accede, by dint of cowardice, to the heart of all things, clinging to an abyss I would not dream of relinquishing, since it isolates me from becoming An individual, like a people, like a continent, dies out when he shrinks from both rash plans and rash acts, when, instead of taking risks and hurling himself toward being, he cowers within it, takes refuge there: a metaphysics of regression, a retreat to the primordial! In her terrible equilibrium, Europe rejects herself, along with the memory of her impertinences and her bravados, and even her passion for the inevitable, the last honor of defeat. Refractory to every form of excess, to every form of life, she deliberates, she will always deliberate, even after she has ceased to exist: does she not already produce the effect of a council of spectres?
... I remember a poor wretch who, still in bed at noon, addressed himself in imperative tones: "Will! Will!" The farce was repeated every day: he was imposing upon himself a task he could not accomplish. At least, acting against the ghost he was, he scorned the delights of his own lethargy. One cannot say as much for Europe. Having discovered, at the end of her efforts, the realm of non-will, she rejoices, for she knows now that her ruin conceals a pleasure principle, and she intends to profit by it. Abandonment enchants and fulfills her. Time continues to pass? She is not at all alarmed; let others bother about time; it is their business: they do not guess what relief there can be in wallowing in a present that leads nowhere...
To live here is death; elsewhere, suicide. Where can one go? The only part of the planet where existence seemed to have some justification is tainted with gangrene. These arch-civilized peoples are our purveyors of despair. To despair, as a matter of fact, it suffices to look at them, to ob serve the machinations of their minds and the indigence of their dampened, nearly extinguished lusts. After having sinned so long against their origin and neglected the savage, the horde-their point of departure-they are forced to realize they no longer possess a single drop of Hun blood.
The ancient historian who remarked of Rome that she could no longer endure either her vices nor their remedies did not so much define his own epoch as anticipate ours. Great was the Empire's lassitude, no doubt, but it was still chaotic, and inventive enough to put its enemies off the scent, to cultivate cynicism, ceremony, and ferocity, whereas the Empire we are watching now possesses, in its rigorous mediocrity, none of the prestige which produces
illusion. Too flagrant, too explicit, it suggests a disease whose ineluctable automatism might reassure, paradoxically, both patient and practitioner: an agony in good and due form, precise as a contract, a stipulated agony, without whims or lacerations, made to the measure of peoples who, not content with having rejected the prejudices which stimulate life, reject into the bargain the one which justifies and establishes it: the prejudice of becoming.
A collective entry into vacuity! But let us make no mistake about it: this vacuity, different at every point from the kind Buddhism calls the "seat of truth," is neither fulfillment nor liberation; not positive experience expressed in negative terms, not the effort of meditation, a will to askesis and nakedness, a conquest of salvation; rather a capitulation, a decline without nobility and without passion. Product of an anemic metaphysic, it cannot be the recompense of experiment, the reward of sacrifice. The Orient advances toward a Void of its own, expands in it, and triumphs there, while we bog down in ours and lose our last resources. Decidedly, everything is degraded and corrupted in our consciousness: even the Void is impure.
So many conquests, acquisitions, ideas where will they find their continuation? In Russia? In North America? Each has already drawn the consequences of the worst of Europe Latin America? South Africa? Australia? It is from this direction that we must, it appears, expect our relief, the changing of the guard.
The future belongs to the suburbs of the globe.