"Tulum – The Next Burning Man
..." This weightless fast-talking and wildly gesticulative sales flick going viral (see bits of it below) perfectly manifests what philosopher Hannah Arendt in her time marked out as the banality of evil
. By contrast with radical evil
which means that one does shit knowing it's wrong, banal evil
is shit action grounded in one's blind or myopic belief that it is the right thing to do. Or so awesome.
How art can possibly be not so fucking awesome or even go wrong! Like most Nazis who, "dressed to kill" in Hugo Boss, were marching, bright-eyed, to the beat of their fabulous ideology*
following their charismatic gurus' transcendental visions to the point where they could not step out of their metaphysical fairy-tale. So, mesmerized, they kept marching all the way to hell.
The reference to Nazism is perhaps too strong an allusion in this "spring break" context, my friend comments, and suffices only as an explication of Arendt's notions of purposeful and mindless wickedness. On the other hand, it was Theodor Adorno in his Dialectic of Enlightenment
who traced this extreme form of social degeneracy to the relation of humans towards nature as a whole. To quote: it "begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they're only animals." Or: it's only "environment" and this environment is ours
. It happens to be theirs at the expense of biodiversity which suffers with every extra step along the path of this kind of anthropocentric thinking. In and around Tulum, it starves ever more with every extra "art" piece in the name of nature.
This arrogant "we decide" attitude affects the local population (that is to say, not only
plants and animals, but also humans – which brings the question of analogical relevance back) and just as bad
– definitely parts of population, each in different ways. In some cases, it's just as well
. As elsewhere. As always the case in the societies where everyone is equal, but some are more
equal than others – for historic reasons or some other and more immediate, and not always fair reasons. Otherwise "gringo" would not spell and sound so pejorative. It's easy to construe this situation – it being so not uniform – in terms across the entire political spectrum. In the ugliest of terms also. Not everyone is in the same measure willing to play the "development" game on their land against their nature and culture, even if they could, while also unwilling to leave. But who cares: "They are only locals." We burn
as we please.
In the final analysis, of course, it all boils down to the issue of power, where Nazism is just one and most symbolically coded of its multiple expressions, wrapped in utmost negativity – here I press this button for a reason, along with other nitro-signs: to dissolve**
the hyper-seductive semiosis of global mobilization for the Art with Me
massive outing. It is one of the expressions of power that generates superior
forms of life; stipulate, institute and impose grand
agendas while dismissing others as trifling
concerns. It is the issue of power in a vulgar sense: of the power that grabs and accumulates drawing its force from the depths of its impotence and insecurity (hence its vanity). Not the kind of power which grants
left and right gifting until it exhausts itself. Or it is so resourceful it would never exhaust its strength. Like that of the Sun infinitely outpouring its energy – something worth worshiping and aspiring to personify. (See: Georges Bataille: The Accursed Share: An Essay on General Economy