Just finished it - I don’t usually watch that much telly. I think the final two hour episode is where he starts to pull various strands together - obviously ideas about the individual and whether individualism can exist or win out, corruption, the failure of revolution, the inexorable power of capitalism, the elites and possibly their inability to maintain control. It’s also rather sad for the greater part because it’s full of stories of those ideals are lost or they themselves become broken and lost.
This feeling of sadness with regards to the failure of almost all well-intended attempts to change the world for the better which Curtis returns to time and time again is one of the reasons, I believe, why former left-wing radicals who once took the idea of egalitarian system building extremely literally make far more ideologically minded conservatives later in life than your Woodford cityboys or Cotswolds landed gentry - the former radicals know, and continue to be haunted by, the pain and melancholy which arrives hand-in-hand with the realisation that the failure (or defeat) of the grand project is an intrinsic component of all revolutions.
Also why I agree with what Luka has stated previously regarding everybody on this forum being liberal rather than socialist or conservative (although I would personally exclude Third who is the only self-defining communist I’ve ever come across to actually get what it’s really all about). Whilst we may enjoy discussing them (ideas for ideas sake as someone suggested when I asked what’s the point of the Left publishing complex), none of us really believe that the implementation of the theories and projects ruminated on in those spheres would actually lead to an egalitarian future.
No, I never interacted with him, however he comes across as one of the most humourless and self-absorbed individuals imaginable from the posts of his I have read. Third’s mode of thinking can take a bit of time to get your head around but once you’ve cracked it, you quickly realise that he’s actually both very funny and very sociable in a good way. Zhao on the other hand was simply an insufferable c*nt.
His fans (luka) commend his prescience and his global perspective; his detractors (boring old craner) – “the rationalists who hate me” – say that he makes connections that aren’t there: that his work can be a bit ‘galaxy brain’.
"“That’s not to say that there aren’t a lot of people who are completely stupid and believe in QAnon, but there are lots of people who, I would argue, are pretty stupid to believe Vladimir Putin gave you Donald Trump, Mr Tea for instance” he says."
The films also brought to mind the academic Mark Fisher, who argued that capitalism has delimited our political imagination. Curtis tells me he was influenced by “one of the great works of art of our time” – South Park’s ‘Imaginationland’ trilogy. He sees three futures – a return to management by benign elites like Biden; the death of individualism via algorithmic surveillance, a la China; or a third way, a world where we “regain our confidence” and try to imagine a new future.