I’m sitting outside a small café/bakery alongside Vienna’s Hauptbahnhof, the city’s main railway station. I’m between trains, on my way to Brussels from Krakow, and observing the scene. Concrete and glass rising-up everywhere in absolute neutered conformity. A ‘Novotel’ trying to make itself visible amongst the high-rises, but remaining hardly distinguishable from anything else. A square featureless concrete carbuncle.
It’s 8 in the morning and it’s late August. A man in a dark business suit walks past on the wide pavement, a Coca Cola in one hand and two trim brown sandwich bags in the other. Chemtrails cover the otherwise blue sky. Someone in green shorts and dark glasses is sitting at a nearby table staring at nothing in particular and smoking nervously.
Meanwhile trains glide in and out of the elevated station platforms, their wining turbo-electric motors rising and falling as they come and go. This is the 2017 gateway into classical old Vienna.
In my mind I trace the steps of the ‘good European business-man’ with his US Coke and standardised EU sandwiches. I see him entering a large office block and taking a lift up to the 5th floor and proceeding to a white plastic cubicle with desk and computer. One of hundreds of identical cubicles. He sits down and turns on the modem, twisting off the cap of his Coca Cola bottle as he does so. The rest, as they say, is history. It’s the history of a dying capitalist dream. Of boredom, conformity and stagnation. A mediocrity so complete that it can be confirmed as insanity. Corporate, big brother contrived slavery.
So, I reflected, as I sat at this café table just outside Vienna’s Hauptbahnhof main station, I am observing a pastiche, a cameo of what is called ‘normality’, but I prefer to call ‘insanity’. The seemingly innocuous 9 to 5 office job is where millions devote a great proportion of their (precious) lives.
In reality – and tragically – they are no longer human beings, but automatons. They take the same train to work each day of the working week; or the same bus, the same car; the same car route. They do the same things each weekend. Meet the same people; watch the same films as their friends; eat at the same restaurants. They are called the ‘suburban middle class’ – but it means little or nothing. Little or nothing is pretty much the sum total of their lives.
George Orwell saw it all coming more than fifty years ago, describing it perfectly in this novel ‘1984’. Aldus Huxley likewise in ‘Brave New World’. But do we recognise this? Do we see to just what degree this dystopian cycle of daily death has captivated the great majority of the population of US and European ‘Westernised’ society?
Do we understand just how far removed from Life this stultifying daily ritual has actually taken people? I wonder.
You see, the hidden hand of oppression, whose ambition is total global dominance, is depending upon the fact that we all accept this slave trade as somehow inevitable. That we won’t ever see that it represents an advanced stage of mass insanity. And because of this, we are still vulnerable to its pull; especially those of us who think we are ‘free’. But such thinking is delusional; none of us are fully freed from the grip exerted by the dominant pattern of the status quo.
It is, after all, what informs almost everything we see and do every day of our lives. It screams at us (if we are ’alive’) in the supermarket; in the ‘gallery’; on the city street; on the billboards; in the fashion market; on the screens of our computers; the newspapers, TV, radio; the motorway; the airport; the hotel.