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Capitalism presents us with a world largely stripped of playfulness and spontaneity because these are the human characteristics most deeply threatening to a society that functions upon principles of “absolute predictability and remote control from the centre” (Mumford). To the architects of a production rather than a demand based economy, the very idea that the people should be free to do as they please, to act in random or unexpected ways, is a terrifying concept – for what if the people were to suddenly lurch sideways into a spontaneous samba renaissance whilst they were supposed to be buying microwaves? What if they were to lose interest in upgrading their games consoles and their home cinema systems and started playing dominoes with their neighbours instead? To the greed driven capitalist psyche, the concepts of unhindered cultural development and genuine freedom of choice are abominations of free will. If the people stopped buying what they were told to buy, if they demonstrated genuine variety and individuality in their tastes and their interests, the financial markets of the world would quickly collapse under the destructive weight of a super-abundance of worthless and unwanted consumer goods. Thus, the entire capitalist racket hinges upon the coercive principle that the people must be made to behave in as predictable and obedient a fashion as possible at all times.

It is a depressing realisation that any society in which millions of people are centrally governed by a small capitalist elite must by its very nature, work upon principles of generality and mass appeal; the variations and deviations of the individual, be they brilliant or sublime, have no place in a system founded upon principles of servile predictability and enforced order. Thus, encoded into the very fabric of mass governance and control is the guiding principle of absolute banality. It is this increasingly bland and mechanistic model of society, with its flick switch predictability and its blind obedience to a centrally planned, profit driven culture that marks the true cost of contemporary consumerism upon the soul of man.

The teenager, beaming at his new mobile phone as he dies of boredom in a classroom, is not a teenager fulfilled by the wonders of the world before him or the opportunities for play that the world presents. The triple headed suction valve of the housewives new vacuum cleaner is, no doubt, an impressive technological feat, but after the smell of new plastic has worn off, the drudgery of her housework remains stubbornly intact. The joys mankind is afforded within the disabling limitations of an enforced mediocrity are scarcely joyful at all. For with every purchase of the latest gadget, with every music trend that is reverently followed, with every diet fad that comes and goes, humanity affirms the burial of its own creative principles.

The “freedom” to choose between a blue sweater and a red sweater cannot, in any meaningful sense of the word, be considered a freedom… and there can be no such thing as a moderately free society because freedom exists only as an absolute. It therefore follows that the freedoms we are presented with as consumers of the capitalist programme are not freedoms at all, but false freedoms… and what are false freedoms, if not systems of control and limitation – the prefabricated “spontaneities” of a system that fears the genuine intellectual and artistic play of its people. For in the free play of the mind exist the seeds of revolution.