Living in dreamland

On a recent trip, in one of the excursions I was sitting in a bus behind a young couple. The bus had just stopped for a pee and drink break, and as soon as we were driving the guy in front of me turned on the video on his phone, and the girl started explaining what she just had bought: pulling a chocolate bar and an energy drink out of her purse and showed it for the camera. And the video immediately went online: she was an “influencer,”, and earned some money from the ‘commercials’.

It’s curious, isn’t it, that a young couple can make a trip, paid for by the proceeds of proclaiming commercial nonsense on a YouTube channel….?

So they make money by stimulating production and consumption (and thus promoting CO2 emissions) to finance their own consumption (their trip etc). And thus also causing CO2 emissions, let alone creating energy and material ‘consumption’.

It has become a self-reinforcing process, and exemplary of how mankind is disconnected from the world, has no idea what the real physical world is about. That is, people only play the game of money and commerce: money must roll, and spending it creates ‘growth’. Others support this by claiming that this growth can be used to finance sustainability, thus reinforcing this myth.

And this is how many think. Half of all people in rich countries have no idea, and surrender to capitalist life, and the other half ( well, part of it) reasons: Yes, there are some problems, and we have to do something about them, but with money, and especially with technology that can be bought and sold with money, we’ll solve things. At least that’s the common view.

Oh shit, what about CO2? Well, then we’ll just buy some trees that someone somewhere grows, right? Or that someone promises not to cut down… Where’s that website? Done. Redeemed for 1 euro. For a trip of say 1000 euros. So for 1 euro you can create 999 euros of environmental impact. A Bargain, right?

For the rest we just live on, we party, go to the amusement park or a festival, to forget reality for a while or preferably constantly. Others go to museums, to lose themselves in images of painted fantasy worlds. At home we do some reading, the books with dreamed stories (“fiction”) fly over the counter. Or don’t even read at all but scroll through fabricated worlds on social media. When there is no entertainment for a while we just sit and watch TV series, what shall I say, we ‘binge-watch’ series set in nonsense worlds. Even newspapers devote entire supplements (‘cultural’) to this human centered and fabricated world.

And energy and food ? Surely that is provided automatically, you grab your phone and 10 minutes later the roast rooster flies into your mouth, right?

We live in a dream world, and that dream is only getting bigger.

For a moment it seemed that we were waking up, in the beginning of Corona: Aiai, there is more than a dream world, there is also an evil outside world… But that passed quickly, with vaccines, and with a virus degenerating by itself. But even now many young people sit in shock, that was not the dream world they had been led to believe. They now hope to become happy again through a constant stream of happiness messages fed to them via tiktok and instagram, go back into zombie dream mode, because healthcare and certainly youth welfare is already failing them as well, investments are going to more production, to growth, not to essential professions….

People in general are almost exclusively concerned with themselves, with issues between people, at least here in the (financially) rich part of the world. Nicely illustrated by a remark of a politician in the Nitrogen debate some time ago. As a solution he suggested: ’then we’ll abolish nature, won’t we?’ But not only this politician: Almost all debates are about problems between people: about beliefs, opinions, wars, religion, me-too discussions, racism, trade, border control, slaves, weapons, export, GNP, and so on.

So about people and their infinite desires, and rarely about the Earth and its real limits. And if so, its about how the limits can be stretched, with more innovation and technology, or more resource and energy use. Those optimists get all the space, because yes, it is a dream world. And in it everything is always solved, the fantasy is infinite.

Everywhere: In round table discussion programs on TV, and even in the news bulletin, nowadays it is mainly about emotions: street interviews of people, who think this and that, and yeah, it is so bad for him or her, etc etc. Or about a painting, that had some paint thrown at it. Oh fortunately, there was glass in front of it. Paintings representing other dream worlds: by Botticelli, Klimt, da Vinci, and so on.

Recently in the national news about the upcoming ban on plastic for snack bars: “Oh oh oh,” said a snack bar owner, “what should we do, should people come by with their own plates? Then the food will be cold when they get home…” This is the national news, which really should thus bring only factual news, no background, and no individual emotions and comments from people that have no clue at all. ( And where was the old-fashioned paper bag for French fries ?)

On top of that , most people also think that if it’s about money, then we’re really talking about something, that’s reality, right? To then arrive at solutions that have a pay-back time… In money that is, not in resources or environment (recovery). People, even many who think they are on the right side regarding “sustainability,” usually talk about money and investments, returns and payback periods. But money is a fictitious entity, valued only by what people are willing to regard as value. And people assign more (financial) value to consuming, than to valuing stocks of resources, and so the money system evolves in that direction, encouraging depletion.

“Most people have good intentions (are virtuous),” was the title of a book by dutch author Rutger Bregman. ( English version: Human kind, a hopefull history)  Sure, agree , but the overall managing system that people have developed is not good, it is completely disconnected from reality, from physical reality: set up so that somewhere the last drop is squeezed out of life, to produce and degrade more and more energy, resources and food, far beyond conserved potentials. Depleting supplies, of drinking water supplies built up over millions of years, of layers of fertile soil built up over thousands of years, of minimum required levels of biodiversity, and of liberating stored CO2: which is precisely what made evolution on Earth possible, otherwise we wouldn’t even be here.



I think again of that influencer on that recent trip. Good job they thought, they had paid for those trees right? No doubt the next step will be to show in that video that they pay for trees , and then go get paid for that by the planting organization again. Most probably it will be about fake trees, it turns out, but well, that company wants to earn some money too …

The influencers had not yet discovered that revenue model.

And man? He dreamed on .



PS image made in a dream world (AI-nightcafe)

Author: ronald rovers