(from “The Essay as a Training Ground”, Blesok, 2010)
Manipulation is, undoubtedly, a vicious and destructive category. On top of it, it is also a category of dark origin, but of a strong, almost tectonic potential. We all recognise it at the first glance, we all think about it, we all have direct experience with it and we have all felt it, more than once, in our own lives. In short, we can all say something about it! Because of its persistent and unavoidable “involvement” in almost all moments of our lives and its imposing presence everywhere, even in our dreams, we have felt many times not only powerless or enraged, but also – directly manipulated! By whom or by what? I fear that such a question, only seemingly simple and rhetoric, hardly implies a simple answer. I think, of course, about an answer that would be direct, short and clear.
Do you ever think that the manipulation itself – an apparition floating everywhere – has managed to impose itself as one of the last “great topics” that our confused culture still knows how and can deal with? In these not-very-joyful postmodern times of the general deconstruction and fragmentation, times at which – allegedly – everything has been swept under the big globalization carpet, but really everything that, as much as yesterday, seemed relevant to everybody (or worthy of serious involvement), all other “great topics” have become hopelessly worn out and completely wasted, and they unavoidably led to general marginalization. To their own end. If we are to trust the connoisseurs and those who consider themselves as such, all of us have for a long time – not since yesterday! – lived in the famous end of the world pandemics, on which Fukuyama and his company have already said and written almost everything. Whole legions, cohorts and phalanxes of the postmodern theorists and prophets – we all know it, because we could not by read their loud texts! – this cataclysmic science of the end of the world (which now conditions our small lives) was elaborated long time ago, not only in detail, but also very effective. All of its themes, modalities and varieties have been described until now: the end of ideology, the end of history, the end of metaphysics, the end of art, the end of big corporations, the end of the economic, political and educational system… And the end of the world, of course!
The end of everything, including man himself, the misfortunate hommo sapiens, who has managed in the meantime to multiply on this small and more and more endangered planet up to the incredible seven and something billion.
If we are really to believe those proponents of the disaster that has happened to us, especially some of them – maybe those hyper popular, in the media sense of the word hyper exposed convinced end of the world scholars, our dear Nostradamuses of the XXI century… – once should immediately take into consideration the several most critical facts that they suggest as definitive.
That everything humane around us and inside us has gone to hell (definitely and irrevocably); that, as a consequence, our humane/humanistic perspectives have thinned out completely; that, as human beings and thinking units, we have reached the luring border of our sane mind, after which there is barely anything. Especially hope.
I have read, recently and not without any interest, several of these people. One of them looked especially indicative. I almost wrote: bizarre. His name is Gerald Celente, an American with Italian roots.
This Celente looked quite ambitious and appropriately clever. A real career prophet, who managed quickly and easily to become a manager of something that he himself invented and established, and it is called “The Trends Research Institute”. Can you imagine any more prestigious, trendier or more needed company at all? As it goes, Celente anchored it at the super prestigious New York address (Park Avenue), because – for God’s sake! – everybody should know that one can not imagine a better and more appropriate place for one of the best and most precise analysts of the recent reality to preach. And there is none.
If you open his well packed web page, I don’t doubt that you would be immediately charmed, and them flabbergasted by the style of the above mentioned prophet-analysis used to (self)advertise himself as the most secure and most reliable visionary of our future. The one that is more and more uncertain! The page can not but impress you. There you will find out that he only hangs out with the world elite: he has lunches and dinners with the former presidents, he likes to be on photographs with the State Secretary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey calls him to her shows… His virtual kingdom, properly singing and dancing, shows all of this with words, pictures and music.
Because he is (allegedly) considered the most well known world trend forecaster, and he (allegedly) enjoys a superstar status among his other disaster-forecasting-colleagues, this Celente – at least that what his web page states – managed to foresee a whole pile of fatal events that significantly influenced the overall world fate. Some of them are: the break-down of the Soviet Union, the fall of Yugoslavia, the global financial crisis, the global capitalism disaster that started to roll a year or two ago…
By the way, a digression, which is not irrelevant:
I am not trying to be cynical when I say that I am not very impressed by foreseeing the break-down of the Soviet Union or the sad socialist Yugoslavia. I dare guess that I am neither lonely nor the only one in this “unimpressed” feeling. I am almost sure that this “unimpressed” feeling is shared by all of us who lived our usual/small lives in those unhappy states, managing, as the Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulić states, not only to survive socialism, but also to live it laughing. Actually, such a survival, personal and collective, made Kundera and Havel compose a complete library, full with laughter and forgetfulness. Everybody who has forgotten this should re-read their books again. To see that the so-called reality does not always have to be indicated/spied by the stupid politicians and/or completely destroyed economy, but it can be done – even more successfully, funnier, and for sure more convincing – by the well written literature.